DC Comics' New 52 Reboot: The Complete Guide

Week One (Part 2): Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 

Swamp Thing #1 (BUY)

Swamp Thing by Scott Snyder
Written by: Scott Snyder, Art by: Yanick Paquette


“One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth! Alec Holland has his life back…but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!”

Beautiful artwork by Yanick Paquette + (probably) beautiful writing by Scott Snyder = buy, buy, buy.

Swamp Thing was one of the most creative and innovative comics of the 1980s, thanks primarily to Alan Moore’s acclaimed work on the series. Alas, the character has been severely underutilized for a very, very long time – not to mention absent from the DCU – so it’ll be interesting to see this team attempt to return him to his former glory.

For fans worried that Paquette is too slow to draw monthly books, let alone really detailed, foliage-related monthly books – you’re right. He is. His speed, or lack thereof, was at least partly responsible for Batman Inc.’s tragic derailment. Thankfully, there will be alternating art teams for every arc, and the awesome Francesco Francavilla is on deck.

Long story short, BUY.


Stormwatch #1 (BUY)

Stormwatch by Paul Cornell
Written by: Paul Cornell, Art by: Miguel Sepulveda


“They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds...”

Sure, it’s weird as hell to see Martian Manhunter on this book instead of Justice League. Sure, Midnighter’s chin-spike is the strangest design choice since Invisible Woman’s 4-shaped cleavage hole or Thor’s bare midriff. All that aside, this is written by Paul Cornell (Captain Britain and MI-13, the Black Ring storyline from Action Comics), so it deserves to be in your buy pile.

Plus, the art in this video preview (via Bleeding Cool) is truly a thing to behold:


O.M.A.C. #1 (EH)

Omac by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen
Written by: Dan Didio and Keith Giffen, Art by: Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish


“The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!”

It must be nice being Dan Didio. Basically, the guy just hires himself to occasionally write comic books, regardless of how poorly they sell. For example, he recently wrote the universally-disliked Outsiders book until it was canceled due to not making money. For any other writer in the world, that might mean the end of his/her comic book writing career - or at least less opportunities to write comics. Not so for Dan Didio! Dan Didio just tells Dan Didio not to sweat the small stuff and hires himself again, regardless – this time on O.M.A.C.

On the upside, Keith Griffen (Lobo, JLI, Annihilation) is co-writing and drawing the book, and the art looks like an excellent throwback to Jack Kirby in his New Gods period.  So maybe it’s not a total loss? Regardless, I suggest waiting for the critical consensus/word-of-mouth before depleting your bank account.


Batwing #1 (EH)

Batwing by Judd Winick
Written by: Judd Winick, Art by: Ben Oliver


“Africa, a land of beauty – and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa! (Written by Judd Winick, drawn by Ben Oliver.)”

On the one hand, I like the idea of a black member of the Bat-Family getting his own book for the first time ever. On the other hand -- Judd Winick. Hah, just kidding, Winick! You were on my second favorite Real World, so you’re okay in my book. Remember Puck? Remember how crazy that guy was? Pretty darn crazy, even by Real World standards.

Anyway – the truth is, despite his seemingly limitless detractors, Winick has occasionally produced some very solid comic book work. Part one of his Batman: Under the Hood arc was well-written and extremely entertaining (thanks, in no small part, to Doug Mahnke’s flawless art). Likewise, with the help of industry veteran Keith Giffen, Winick did a pretty good job on Justice League: Generation Lost. The point being, Batwing, too, could fall into the “solid and/or entertaining” category.

Personally, the preview pages don’t scream “buy” to me, so I’ll be waiting to hear what people are saying about it before I put my money down. I encourage you to do the same.


Men of War #1 (EH)

Men of War with Sergeant Rock
Written by: Ivan Brandon, Art by: Tom Derenick


“On the ground and on the front lines, a young, headstrong soldier known as Joe Rock assumes the command of Easy Company – a grizzled team of ex-military men turned contractors. Will they survive the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DCU’s Super-Villains? Find out in this explosive new series from Ivan Brandon (Viking) and Tom Derenick (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!”

What is this? What am I looking at here? Someone thought it was a good idea to take a classic World War II book and make it look like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare?

Honestly, I can’t tell if this was a really dumb creative decision or a really smart business decision. For whatever reason, comic books based on popular videogames – like Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, and, well, Modern Warfare – tend to make bank in ways that your typical superhero comic books do not.  And frankly, the more I think about it, the more interested I am in seeing Sergeant Rock – the Nick Fury of the DC Universe before Nick Fury was even a thing – as a modern badass.

Still, money is precious these days, so I’ll be waiting for the word-of-mouth before I buy.


Static Shock #1 (BUY)

Static Shock
Written by: John Ruzum and Scott McDaniel, Art by: Scott McDaniel


“The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static! A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs! As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?”

Static, created by the dearly-departed Dwayne McDuffie, is one of the few semi-successful new superheroes of the last twenty years, thanks in part to the excellent Kids’ WB! animated series from the mid-1990s.

Now, after years of being owned by DC, they’re finally integrating the character into the DCU in a significant way. I’m cautiously optimistic about the book – the writer, John Rozum, was good friends with McDuffie, and the art seems to harken back to the aforementioned animated series. Fingers crossed.


Hawk and Dove #1 (DO NOT BUY)

Hawk and Dove by Rob Liefeld
Written by: Sterling Gates, Art by: Rob Liefeld


“Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland! […] And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!”

It’s hard to remember at this point, but there was a time in the '90s when comic book companies actually encouraged their artists to draw in the style of Robert Liefeld. Those days are long, long gone now, but Liefeld’s art still manages to sell books.

Hey, maybe you’re a fan of the guy! Maybe you’re one of those people who keeps buying his books! If you are, then you’re probably going to buy this book as well, and good for you. If not, then you have to ask yourself – is Sterling Gates a good enough writer to make up for the fact that Liefeld can’t draw hands, feet, backgrounds, or superheroes that don’t look like they’re in constant, jaw-clenching agony?

I fall into the “No one is that good at writing” category, but to each his/her own.

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