DC Comics' New 52 Reboot: The Complete Guide

Week Two: September 14th, 2011

Mr. Terrific #1

Mister Terrific
Written by: Eric Wallace, Art by: Gianluca Gugliotta


“The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Gianluca Gugliotta! [...] Michael Holt is the head of a successful high-tech corporation and an institute that recruits and encourages the finest minds of the next generation to excel. As Mister Terrific he inhabits a world of amazement few others know exists, let alone can comprehend.”

I’m a big proponent of Mr. Terrific as a character. Really I am! Alas, I haven’t loved anything written by Eric Wallace or drawn by Gianluca Gugliotta, so I won’t be picking this up straight away. I genuinely hope that it ends up being great, though, at which point I will buy it.


Superboy #1 (EH)

Superboy by Scott Lobdell
Written by: Scott Lobdell, Art by: RB Silva and Rob Lean


“They thought he was just an experiment – and a failed one at that! Grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, the Clone was no more than a set of data to the scientists of Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon! Now the question is: Can a clone develop a conscience?”

Superboy is a character that seems, as a result of The New 52, to have been half-booted – a term I just made up, but you can use it around your friends if you want to look cool. Basically, half-booted means that certain things that happened to the pre-reboot Superboy also happened to post-reboot Superboy, and certain things did not. A sort of cherry-picked continuity, if you will.

Like Lobdell’s Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws (further down the list), this book just looks plain weird, to the point that I’m seriously interested in seeing what critical and consumer consensus is the day that it’s released - but nowhere near to the point that I’m willing to pay money for it beforehand.


Batman and Robin #1 (BUY)

Batman and Robin by Peter Tomasi
Written by: Peter J. Tomasi, Art by: Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray


“Battling evil with his son, Damian, at his side, Batman now realizes that the hardest part of the job may be trying to work together! As Batman and Robin try to adjust to their new partnership, a figure emerges from Bruce Wayne’s past: His name is NoBody, and he’s not happy that Batman Incorporated is shining a light on his own shadowy war against evil...”

Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason did consistently excellent work together in their two-year tenure on Green Lantern Corps. Were they anywhere near as excellent on their more recent run of Batman and Robin? No. No, they were not. Unfortunately that run, while fairly entertaining, was delayed, short-lived, and ultimately unsatisfying.

But Pete and Pat deserve a second chance! Especially since Bruce Wayne is back under the cowl in Gotham City, now that Dick Grayson has returned to his role as Nightwing. Basically, this will be the first book to thoroughly explore Bruce and Damian’s burgeoning father/son relationship since Grant Morrison’s Batman and Son, which is reason enough to call this book a buy, in my opinion.


Batwoman #1 (BUY)

Batwoman by J.H. Williams
Written by: J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman, Art by: J.H. Williams


“At last! Batwoman’s new series begins, from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman! […] In “Hydrology,” part 1 of 5, Batwoman faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld – and new trials in her personal life as Kate Kane. […] Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane? And why is a certain government agency suddenly taking an interest in her?”

Much like “Grant Morrison writing” is all you need to know to buy Action Comics #1, “J.H. Williams drawing” is really all you need know to buy Batwoman – the highly-anticipated follow-up to Greg Rucka and Williams’ award-winning run on Detective Comics.

It’s unlikely that either Williams – or W. Haden Blackman, for that matter – will be able to match Rucka’s smart, understated writing style, but the real star of this series will no doubt be Williams’ chillingly beautiful art work. Buy the hell out of this book, if only for the art and the character.


Green Lantern #1 (BUY)

Green Lantern by Geoff Johns
Written by: Geoff Johns, Art by: Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy


“The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.”

FYI: This is perhaps the only book that seems completely unchanged as a result of the reboot.

I like Geoff Johns. I love Green Lantern. For the longest time, I loved Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern. But recently – since Brightest Day, basically – the book has been about different colored Lanterns getting possessed by different-colored cosmic monsters (rinse, repeat). The only thing keeping it afloat, if I’m being honest, has been Doug Mahnke’s always-reliable artwork.

Anyway, the reason I say all this is because Sinestro recently became a Green Lantern again and it was the most interesting thing to happen to the book in a very long time. Green Lantern #1 will see Sinestro coming to terms with his newfound goodness while Hal Jordan comes to terms with his exile from the Corps. Plus, Doug Mahnke’s superb artwork! It’s still here! Hurrah!

So for me, it’s a BUY, but I wouldn’t begrudge you if you’ve had enough.


Red Lanterns #1 (EH)

Written by: Peter Milligan, Art by: Ed Benes


“Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable!”

I guess this book is going to be some kind of extreme, violent version of the Green Lantern Corps book – perhaps DC’s response to Marvel’s Thunderbolts, even – with all manner of vengeance and retribution and what have you as subject material. This book could, in fact, be downright excellent, as Peter Milligan is an excellent writer. Excellent writer begets excellent book? It’s happened before!

But the problem is, I’ve never really liked the Red Lanterns. I think they’re fine as far as secondary villain types go, but I would’ve much preferred to see a Sinestro Corps book instead. As it is, I envision page after page of Atrocitus – the leader of the Red Lanterns – spitting blood and screaming at everybody about his terrible thirst for vengeance. We get it, Atrocitus! You want vengeance! Everyone knows you want vengeance!

Add to that the fact that Ed Benes is a poor man’s Jim Lee and this book just does not warrant immediate purchase. Still, keep an eye on the critical response, as it’s very possible Milligan’s writing could elevate this thing to a must BUY.


Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 (BUY)

Frankenstein by Jeff Lemire
Written by: Jeff Lemire, Art by: Alberto Ponticelli


“It’s Frankenstein as you’ve never seen him before, in a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Alberto Ponticelli (UNKNOWN SOLDIER)! Frankenstein is part of a network of strange beings who work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive! But can he protect the world from threats even more horrifying than himself? And since he’s vilified for who and what he is, will he even want to take on this mission?”

Grant Morrison’s version of the Frankenstein monster – as created in his classic Seven Soldiers of Victory – has been one of the most underutilized characters in DC’s arsenal since his first appearance some six years ago. So you can imagine my excitement upon reading that a book featuring Frank front and center would be amongst The New 52.

Jeff Lemire, with his bizarre writing sensibilities, is perfectly suited to write this comic, this character, and this corner of the DCU. And while my preferred Frankenstein artist will always be Doug Mahnke, Alberto Ponticelli will do in a pinch, I guess.

Lemire is on the record as saying he wants to turn S.H.A.D.E. into the big spy agency of the DCU – not unlike S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Universe, though presumably with more of a supernatural slant. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise; even the title is a riff on those Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. books from the sixties and eighties.

The only misgivings I have about Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. are that the same team – Lemire and Ponticelli – merely did an “okay” job on their recent Frankenstein Flashpoint mini. Ultimately, though, I’m willing to chalk that up to the impermanent, alternate timeline nature of that book.

Week 2 part 2...

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