Week Four (Part 2): September 14th, 2011
All-Star Western #1 (BUY)
“Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!”
Most comic book fans won’t give All-Star Western the time of day because there aren’t any superheroes in it, but I implore you to branch out. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti were on the consistently great Jonah Hex pre-reboot (forget the terrible Josh Brolin movie), and this is essentially a continuation of that series with a new title and a new coat of paint.
Teen Titans #1 (EH)
“Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world! They – along with a few other tortured teen heroes – will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!”
This seems to be one of the few fully rebooted comics in The New 52. While Tim Drake’s history as Batman’s third Robin is still intact – and probably his work as Red Robin while Bruce Wayne was lost in time – his years in Young Justice and Teen Titans are apparently no more.
The book itself has received a lot of Internet flack, thanks to the “extreme-nineties!!!” nature of issue number one’s cover and the Titans’ uniforms. However, it’s worth noting that Scott Lobdell did a legitimately great job writing various X-books in the early '90s, not the least of which was the similarly youth-centric Generation X. Additionally, Brett Booth’s Titans art has improved with each and every new image released, regardless of how 90s-esque it is.
Still, I can’t, in good conscience, suggest this book as a BUY, though I admit to being tempted to put money down myself. Even if this thing is terrible, it looks so charmingly bombastic that it might actually be fun.
Batman: The Dark Knight #1 (BUY)
“The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly – yet strangely familiar – foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, ACTION COMICS)! As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!”
No one would begrudge you for not buying this book – a seeming continuation of the David Finch written/drawn Batman: The Dark Knight that started in December and subsequently got delayed time and again. (It was also poorly reviewed, to say the least.)
In fact, this book would be smack dab in the center of my “DO NOT BUY” category were it not for the fact that Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer, Wolverine: Origin) is on the record as being the main writer. Due to the bureaucracy of exclusivity contracts, Jenkins wasn’t allowed to be credited with having written the book, so David Finch got sole credit. Finch, of course, is still a co-plotter or some such thing, but I’m okay with that.
Hey, when he’s on, he can be a great artist. When Jenkins is on, he’s a great writer. And since Batman is always on, I’ll be giving this thing a chance. Again. (One last time.)
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1 (EH)
“Kyle Rayner has assembled the most powerful team in all the universe, selected from the full spectrum of corps. But can he even keep this volatile group together?”
This looks to be, at least in part, a continuation of Bedard’s run on Green Lantern Corps, which “ended” just before the reboot took effect. That book was basically the adventures of Kyle Rayner and his girlfriend, and since I’m an unabashed Kyle Rayner fan, I was initially very interested in reading it.
Unfortunately, Bedard’s GLC run was somewhat underwhelming, especially coming after Peter Tomasi’s. (It didn’t help that artist Ardian Syaf was no replacement for Patrick Gleason.) I guess the thing that sets this book apart from that run is that the “New Guardians” are made up of variously hued corps members – Kyle is Green, Arkillow is Yellow, Glomus is Orange, Saint Walker is Blue, Bleez is Red, Munk is Indigo, and some nameless woman is the Star Sapphire.
Which could, in all honesty, make it a really fun book, but I’ll be waiting to hear how fun it is instead of buying it first.
I, Vampire #1 (EH)
“For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU!"
Joshua Hale Fialkov is a mostly unknown writer. Andrea Sorrentino is a mostly unknown artist. I…Vampire is an all-but-forgotten series created by J.M. DeMatteis from 1983. So it’s hard to say with certainty what we’re in for with regard to this relaunch, entitled I, Vampire. I’m cautiously optimistic, based on the popularity of the original series, the synopsis, and some artwork that popped up a few weeks ago, but I wouldn’t go out and buy this right away, if I were you. Wait for critical/consumer response before you put your money down.
Justice League Dark #1 (BUY)
“The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against this mystical madness? Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?”
DC could have also called this book Justice League Vertigo or Vertigo League or Vertigo Force 5, because that’s precisely what we’re getting. For those fans worried about the stupid name, don’t fret – that’s pure branding right there. I can’t imagine the characters of John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Zanadu, Deadman, and Shade the Changing Man ever using the words “Justice League” to describe themselves, let alone “Justice League Dark.”
After Action Comics, this may very well be my most highly-anticipated title of The New 52. I’m hoping Peter Milligan and up-and-comer Mikel Janin take this concept to town, because it deserves to be as creatively crazy as possible. Frankly, September 28th can’t come soon enough.