Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day-And-Date: Batman 1, Nightwing 1, Red Hood & the Outlaws 1, Wonder Woman 1

Batman 1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
Rating: 4 out of 5 Pixels

I've been hearing a lot of good things about Scott Snyder's run on Detective and I recently read Gates of Gotham and enjoyed it, so I had high expectations for Batman 1. My expectations were met. This issue does what I'd expect a first issue to do--it introduces me to Batman and his world, including the setting, the villains, and the supporting cast--and it does all this while telling the overlapping stories of Batman quelling an Arkham riot with some unexpected help, Bruce Wayne's efforts to improve Gotham (reflecting a subplot from Batman & Robin 1), and a mysterious new killer that appears to be closer to Batman than he first suspects. Capullo's art is fun and dynamic, though I have to say I'm not crazy about his Dick Grayson, who looks about sixteen. I mean, I know Dick is short, but not a full head shorter than Bruce. And what, is Tim thirteen again?
Nonetheless, it's good to see the boys all together, bickering and all.

Nightwing 1
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artists: Eddy Barrows & J.P. Mayer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

This is good. It didn't blow me away, but it's good to see Dick as Nightwing again--or as he says, "finally me again." I like that Gotham City is as much a character in this story as it is in Batman 1 (though not surprising since Higgins co-wrote Gates of Gotham with Snyder), I like that Dick recognizes both the differences and similarities between him and Bruce, and I like that we're starting out with a story centered around the circus. Also, I'm glad to see that the red eyes are not a permanent thing, but just some kind of infrared thing he can turn off and on as needed:

Red Hood & the Outlaws 1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Kenneth Rocafort & Blond
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Pixels

I had high hopes for this. I won't say my hopes were completely dashed to pieces, as there is some good to this issue: Jason and Roy work well together, they make sense as a team, and both characters are written more or less in character. There's a backstory hinted at, something to do with Jason Todd's past involvement with a secret society in the Himalayas, which I won't call good or bad because right now it's more confusing than anything--but potentially interesting, assuming it's explained soon. And the end of the issue tells us it will be:

Starfire's characterization, however, is horrible. It's established that Tamaraneans can't really tell humans apart and that they "have a terribly short attention span about all things Earth." Starfire doesn't even remember her former Titans teammates, or her ex-fiance, Dick Grayson.
(Also, who the hell is Dustin?) Worst of all, she tells Roy that for her making love has nothing to do with love. Apart from the fact that her seemingly empty brain and voracious sex drive make her into nothing more than a fanboy's wet dream come true, it's totally contrary to her character. Historically, Starfire has been driven above all by passion. Not by hormones, passion. If anything, she loves too easily and too fiercely. A Starfire who doesn't even remember Dick Grayson, who wants only sex without love, is not Starfire. Scott Lobdell has promised that even though the Teen Titans characters are being rebooted, they'll all be true to the core of the character. If Starfire is an indication of his idea of being true to the core of a character, then I'm scared to read next week's Teen Titans 1.

Wonder Woman 1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Rating: 3 out of 5 Pixels

This is a good Wonder Woman story, but like Nightwing, doesn't knock my socks off. Diana is at least fully recognizable as Diana, and I do like the reinterpretations of Greek mythology going on. True to Azzarello's promise that this would be a horror comic, the gods and creatures here are more Pan's Labrynth than George Perez's Wonder Woman. Azzarello and Chiang's Hermes, especially, strikes me as a unique interpretation, with blue skin and birds' feet.

Overall, one thing I'm liking about the New 52 is that all the stories feel fresh. There's very clearly an effort to write new stories, not to redo the same stories that have already been done a thousand times. That, at the very least, DC can count as a success.


  1. I know ... I'd like to be outraged over the portrayal of Starfire (and I am), but I can't read that scene without being more concered about who Dustin is. Maybe that's the shadowy purple figure?

  2. You mean the hooded woman popping up in all the New 52 titles? Hmm... Could be...