DC Comics' New 52 Reboot: The Complete Guide

Week Four: September 28th, 2011

Superman (EH)

Superman by George Perez
Written by: George Perez, Art by: Jesus Merino


“The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!”

Man, am I sick of fanboys (and girls) complaining about Superman losing his red trunks. They’re gone. The trunks are dead and gone. Let’s please, collectively, get over it right now, because the part they play in whether or not these comics are any good is well and truly nonexistent.

I’m almost tempted to call this book a buy just to enrage the embittered fans, but as much as I adore George Perez the artist, I’m indifferent to George Perez the writer. And while I’m interested to see what Superman’s new status quo is – you know, now that he’s not married and all – I can get all the requisite information from Action Comics, Justice League, and Wikipedia.

Now, had George Perez been on penciling duties – instead of just cover and breakdowns – this book would’ve been a BUY, without question. But since he isn’t, it’s just an EH.


Aquaman (BUY)

Aquaman by Geoff Johns
Written by: Geoff Johns, Art by: Ivan Reis


“The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths! Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!”

DC released a four-page preview of this book about a month ago and it was gorgeous, entertaining, funny, and best of all, fun.

Despite being a household name, Aquaman is the most widely-mocked mainstream superhero in all of comicdom (the butt of many SNL, Family Guy, and Entourage jokes, amongst others). Now, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis are using that unfortunate reputation as an integral part of the book’s appeal. See, even the citizens of the DCnU think Aquaman’s a joke! Hilarity ensues.

The goal of this book – beyond pure entertainment value – seems to be the return of Aquaman’s superhero stardom without having to cut his hand off and shove the blunt-end of a harpoon inside the stump. The preview, the talent, and the villains of the book (carnivorous sea creatures reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft’s worst) all indicate that he’s well on his way, in my opinion.


The Flash #1 (BUY)

The Flash by Francis Manapul
Written by: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, Art by: Francis Manapul


“The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that’s not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!”

Francis Manapul drew Geoff Johns’ recent Flash run and it was beautiful, so this book is bound to be beautiful, too. The writing, on the other hand, has no such guarantee. Despite what Manapul and his co-writer Brian Buccellato would have you believe, their writing is completely untested as far as mainstream comic books go.

As such, I’m reluctant to recommend this book as a buy. “But it looks so good!” I hear you say. It looks like comic books should. It embraces the unrealistic nature of the medium. I mean, all I have to do is stare at this cover and suddenly I'm having fun.

So okay, I’m going to call this book a BUY. But it’s a buy with massive reservations! Keep that in mind, please! And don’t blame me if the writing doesn’t quite stack up to the stunning, colorful imagery that will doubtlessly come with it.


Fury of the Firestorm: Nuclear Men #1 (EH)

Firestorm by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
Written by: Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone, Art by: Yildiray Cinar


“Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond. These two high school students are worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super-science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control. The dark secrets of the murderous Dog Team and its Firestorm Protocol force them to put aside their differences to confront a threat so terrifying that it may lead to a new Cold War! Welcome to a major new vision of nuclear terror from writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone with astonishing art by Yildiray Cinar!”

If you ask me, this is just a really strange comic all around.

Ethan Van Sciver is one of the most unique artists working today; indeed, he redefined the way Green Lanterns are drawn company-wide (via Green Lantern: Rebirth). Slow as he is – ironically, his Flash: Rebirth was continuously late – he’s a name talent and can sell books based solely on his art. Which is why, when you see his name on a comic, you assume he’s going to be drawing more than just the covers.

Not so with Firestorm. Indeed, Sciver is drawing the covers (to trick me into thinking he’s drawing the interiors, I guess?) and he’s also writing the book with the help of Gail Simone - but Yildiray Cinar is drawing the interiors.

The whole thing just seems too messy – too many cooks artists in the writing kitchen and what have you – to be a guaranteed homerun. On the other hand, if Gail Simone weren’t assisting, I almost definitely would’ve listed this as a DO NOT BUY, despite the intriguing synopsis. We’ll know for sure soon enough.


The Savage Hawkman #1 (DO NOT BUY)

Savage Hawkman by Tony Daniel
Written by: Tony Daniel, Art by: Philip Tan


“Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive! Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before!”

Try as I might, I just cannot get excited about Tony Daniel writing Hawkman. And Philip Tan? No way, man, forget about it. His arc was the only weak link in an otherwise (nigh-on) perfect Batman and Robin run by Grant Morrison.

In fairness to Philip, the art on this book looks leagues better. And in fairness to Tony, the synopsis looks intriguing enough, what with all the archealogy, adventure, and, uh, intrigue. But the problem is, there are just far more, far better-looking, comic books in The New 52 to risk wasting money on this. Sorry, guys.


Voodoo #1 (EH) 

Voodoo by Ron Marz
Written by: Ron Marz, Art by: Sami Basri


“Who is Voodoo? Is she hero, villain – or both? Learn the truth about Priscilla Kitaen as she leaves a trail of violence across America. Discover the new DCU through her eyes, because the things she sees are not always what they seem…”

To be honest, I have next-to-no interest in Voodoo as a character, but the art on this book is very, very pretty and Ron Marz – despite being missing-in-action from both DC and Marvel for years – was responsible for some great books in his heyday, including Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight.

Does that make this book a BUY? No, it does not. But it’s not a DO NOT BUY either, and that has to count for something.


Blackhawks #1 (DO NOT BUY) 

Written by: Mike Costa, Art by: Ken Lashley


“Welcome to a world waging a new kind of war that’s faster and more brutal than ever before. It’s fought by those who would make the innocent their targets, using computers, smart weapons and laser-guided missiles. The new enemy is hard to find – and closer to home than we think. Between us and them stand the Blackhawks, an elite force of military specialists equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us.”

Honestly, I can’t point to a single thing that makes me want to buy this book.

It’s not that Mike Costa is a bad writer – he’s just not a known quantity, writing-wise, as he’s written very few things so far in his career. Secondly, while Ken Lashley’s an okay artist, he’s only drawing the first book. For as yet unknown reasons, the art team on Blackhawks continues to change with every issue, which is never a good sign. And lastly, the synopsis reads like it’s actively attempting to be unoriginal and uninteresting.

Call me predictable, but I’ll be passing on this unless I hear it’s awesome.

Week 4 Part 2...

Jon Watts Likely to Return for Spider-Man: Homecoming 2
Spider-Man 3: Jon Watts Reportedly NOT Attached To Direct

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