Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day-And-Date: Action Comics 1, Batgirl 1, Justice League International 1, Stormwatch 1

Today I was so anxious to read all four comics I bought, I had a hard time deciding which to read first. (I ended up reading them in alphabetical order, unintentionally.) This is what Wednesdays should be like. I hope the New 52 continue to hold my interest even after they're no longer new.

Action Comics 1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Rags Morales & Richard Bryant
Release Date: September 7, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5 Pixels
Definitely an action-packed issue deserving of its title. I'm impressed that Grant Morrison has managed to give Superman a personality makeover that somehow still feels true to the character. I suppose it's because Superman is still all about truth, justice, and the American way, but it's no longer the truth, justice, and the American way of a 1950s suburban America, as it has been for the past sixty years. Rather it's truth in the face of a corrupt system, justice for the underdog, and the American way of the average American struggling to get by. This interpretation feels like a return to the character's Depression-era roots and wholly 21st-century at the same time. So far I'm liking this new Superman.

Batgirl 1
Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Ardian Syaf & Vicente Cifuentes
Release Date: September 7, 2011
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels
This is a fun, upbeat comic, as you would expect from a comic written by Gail Simone and starring Barbara Gordon. Babs is back in action and enjoying it. This issue reassures readers that The Killing Joke did still happen and it remains an important part of the character's history, and it also tells us that some "miracle" has happened to allow Barbara to walk again, but it doesn't tell us what that miracle is, exactly. I hope it's explained before long, as this series really needs to move forward and so long as that mystery is unsolved then we readers will be stuck at "How did we get here?" I was also disappointed that we didn't see much reference to Barbara's time as Oracle--where are her computers, her hacking skills, her connections with everyone who's anyone in the superhero community? These aspects of the character need to be kept in order for this to feel like a move forward and not two steps backward. I do, however, like the new villain introduced in this issue, a man who flashes victims with the mirror under his trench coat, apparently making them see their sins before he kills them.

I was also shocked by this:
Has Jim Gordon been de-aged so much that he's a redhead again, or has he just started dyeing his hair? Inquiring minds want to know!

Justice League International 1
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Aaron Lopestri
Release Date: September 7, 2011
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Pixels
I really want to like this comic, as it has several characters I like, it's by a writer who's written stuff I enjoyed in the past, it has a great artist, and it's the first Justice League International that is not composed mostly of white Americans, but several things just aren't working for me:
  • Andre Briggs, the guy who founded this League, comes off as Max Lord Lite.
  • I'm totally cool with Rocket Red speaking like a Russian stereotype because that's his shtick, but when Russia's U.N. representative also says things like "Da, da! Now I must give to you the fine cognac," it makes it seem like the writer just doesn't know how to write Russians any other way. 
  • I cannot get over the W on Booster Gold's collar. Why a W?
  • I like that Booster is leading this League, but otherwise the return to Booster as glory hog feels like a regression for the character. 
  • It's clear that none of these characters have been on a Justice League before, and that feels weird. I think it's more confusing that DC decided to do a soft reboot because at least if they'd done a hard reboot we'd know that everything is starting over from scratch. This way, I don't know who's met whom and who's done what before. As a result, the characters seem foreign.
  • For a first issue, this comic doesn't do a good job of introducing the characters. I know everyone's names, but I know very little about who they all are. What does Godiva do? What is August General in Iron's deal? I have no idea. 
I hope Jurgens wows me in the next couple of issues, because I really do want to like this comic.

Stormwatch 1
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Miguel Angel Sepulveda
Release date: September 7, 2011
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Pixels
Wow. This comic did several things that Justice League International failed to do. First, it introduced each of the characters in such a way that I have a good idea who each of them is, without being super-familiar with these characters before reading the issue. There are a few moments that border on too expositiony, with characters explaining things that they would not likely explain in real life, but this didn't take away from my enjoyment at all. Second, Stormwatch has me interested in the conflict from the get-go. There's a sense that something very big is going down, and these characters are in the thick of it. Third, the cliffhanger actually left me hanging, wondering how Midnighter and Apollo are going to fit into the larger scheme of things. As an added bonus, Paul Cornell actually managed to pique my interest in the other New 52 series he's writing, Demon Knights. I have zero interest in medieval swords and sorcery, but there's a brief sequence that suggests a possible connection between Stormwatch and Demon Knights (is the connection that Etrigan's team of knights are really the first Stormwatch?), which just might be enough to get me to check out the latter.

After Superman: The Black Ring, Knight and Squire, and now Stormwatch, I haven't yet read a Paul Cornell book I didn't enjoy immensely. So maybe I'll give Demon Knights a try after all.

1 comment:

  1. Also, we have confirmation that J'onn has in fact been a member of the Justice League in the DCnU. Hurray!