Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Month Late and a Dollar Short: Demon Knights 1, Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE 1, Legion Lost 1, Mr. Terrific 1, Superboy 1

Demon Knights 1
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

I won't say this is my favorite comic ever, but I'm glad that Stormwatch convinced me to give this a try. Paul Cornell manages to take two characters I've never found interesting, Etrigan and Madame Xanadu, and make them interesting. He's also set up an interesting premise, bringing together a team of somewhat familiar DC characters in the Dark Ages to battle Mordru and the "Questing Queen" (should I know who she is?). It's also not lost on me that out of this team of seven, four are women, one a cross-dresser, one a paraplegic, and one a Middle Easterner. And this is centuries before diversity became cool!

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 1
Rating: 4 out of 5 Pixels

This is another one that I was not going to buy, but I'm glad I changed my mind. Jeff Lemire writes a solid first issue--the cast of characters is introduced, the concept and setting are fleshed out, and an engaging conflict is established right from the start. I love Father Time as a little girl, I love that Ray Palmer shows up, and I love the miniaturized floating headquarters--as I've said, I'm a sucker for cool secret hideouts.

Legion Lost 1
3 out of 5 Pixels

This is a decent story, but doesn't work so well as a first issue. I've been a Legion fan for nearly twenty years, but I don't know these characters--I know both Waid reboots much better than the classic version, and I'm not quite caught up on recent Levitz trades in order to get acquainted with characters like Tyroc, Tellus, and Chameleon Girl. Gates I know, and I'm pretty familiar with Dawnstar, Wildfire, and Timber Wolf. If I were a brand new reader reading a Legion story for the first time, though, I'd be even more lost than the titular characters here. We don't even have the little caption boxes providing name, home planet, and powers, as is common in Legion books. Also, I'll be pissed if (spoiler alert) Gates is really dead. He's one of my favorite characters from the first 90s reboot.

Mr. Terrific 1
3 out of 5 Pixels

This is an okay comic, but it didn't wow me. And I'm afraid that in order for this comic to succeed, it needs to wow people. It's a title starring a lesser-known minority character, launched in the midst of 51 other new titles. It has a strong lead character and interesting supporting characters, but the conflict is a little too vague so far to really grab onto. Here's hoping issue 2 has something more tangible to grip readers and keep this title alive.

Superboy 1
4 out of 5 Pixels

This, on the other hand, wowed me. Of the three Scott Lobdell titles, this was the one I was least excited about (hence putting it on my Month Late list), and after loving Teen Titans and hating Red Hood, I didn't know what to expect of Superboy. What I got is the most interesting take on this character since his introduction nearly twenty years ago, a well-rounded supporting cast (hey, Rose Wilson has two eyes again!), and a great narrative twist halfway through the first issue. I love the reason why Superboy ends up going to school in a small town, I love that he's fascinated by the redhead (presumably for the same reason), and I love that Lobdell seems to be picking up on the Superboy/Ravager relationship that was just blossoming in J.T. Krul's Teen Titans. I hope this leads to Ravager joining Lobdell's Titans. This title just may end up graduating to my Day-And-Date list, especially if it continues to tie closely into Teen Titans.

I have just one nitpick, though: Is it just me, or is R.B. Silva's Superboy very oddly proportioned?
He has the forearms of a gorilla! Least sexy dude in briefs I've seen in a while.

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