Comic stores in Los Angeles haven’t opened yet, so I maintain I completed these before the reboot titles hit shelves.
Except for Justice League, that doesn’t count. Fuck was it doing coming out in August, anyway.
These are the 52 Commandments, in which Comic Critics explores the relaunched DC titles in no particular order.
Stormwatch is pretty much just proof that if Paul Cornell writes a book, no matter what it is, I’ll probably read it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I adored Warren Ellis’ Stormwatch and Authority back in the day. But there was a time and place for those books. And the DCU is not that place, and during this reboot is not the ideal time.
The setup is right out of the Warren Ellis playbook: “We are professional badasses, and super heroes are gaudy amateurs.” And that setup is fine. It worked for “Authority” and “Planetary”, works now for “The Boys”, etc. But there’s a big difference between using it in a world where the super heroes can be portrayed as clueless jerkoffs, and using it in one where they’re the backbone of the company. One where Batman and Superman live. Because quaint or not, they will, quite simply, kick your fucking ass for you.
And that’s really the big question about this series. How long until Stormwatch and the Justice League go at it? When a series is about a secret on this big a scale, issue #1 is just the beginning of a countdown until it’s discovered. So on the face of it, there’s reason to be wary about this book.
But…Paul Cornell. That’s it, DC wins. I’ll be trying it.
And I am curious about a few things. What’s J’onn doing there? Was he ever a Leaguer, if he’s not in the flashback series? And if Stormwatch has been watching from the shadows all this time, is Superman merely the first super hero to go public? I guess I’ll find out, because Stormwatch gets a THOU SHALT BUY, HALLOWED BE CORNELL.
28. RESURRECTION MAN
Was there really any more to say about Resurrection Man? I wouldn’t have thought so, but here we are.
I really liked this series the first time around, but its return still feels odd to me. It was a bit of a breath of fresh air, providing some low-key superheroics on the opposite end of the scale from, say, JLA. But it felt like one of those lightning-in-a-bottle books that could only exist at that point in time. Even with the original creators, could the concept and character possibly reproduce that magic again?
Abnett and Lanning state that this isn’t a reboot, but also compare it to a Hollywood remake, making things clear as mud. The fact that it’s being branded as one in a series of “DC Dark” books (or whatever) doesn’t instill confidence either. Instead of occupying its own niche, it will be fighting for attention against several books also going the horror route.
I’m sure it’ll be at least decent, maybe even real good. But I doubt it will have the staying power of its title character. For Resurrection Man, I’d have to say THOU SHALT DOWNLOAD OR WAIT FOR THE TRADE, AND SEE IF IT BE WORTH INVESTING IN.
29. SAVAGE HAWKMAN
Savage Hawkman is the latest in a long line of 1st issues for the character, so it’s about time we all accepted something: Hawkman should not be headlining his own comic series. Hawkman should be hanging out with the Thundercats.
It makes sense! He’s shirtless, animal-themed, his name ends in Man…hell, that thing on his chest is the Eye of Thundera!
But my conspiracy theories aside, Hawkman is a tough sell even with a great creative team and clear, unique direction. With Tony Daniel and Philip Tan? All the clapping in Never Never Land isn’t going to be able to save this book’s life.
I like Hawkman enough that I’ll keep an eye and ear out in case the book defies expectations, but I’m not optimistic. Until then, Savage Hawkman gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY. HOOOOOOOOOOO!
30. WONDER WOMAN
So soon after her last reimagining, Wonder Woman is…y’know what, fuck it. Cliff Chiang is drawing this, so just buy it.
What, that’s not enough? You need more? How dare you. Well, I GOT more, sucka!
Brian Azzarello may seem an odd choice for Wonder Woman given his past DC work (to say nothing of his creator-owned stuff). Stuff like “Superman: For Tomorrow”, “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel”, and “Joker” could get pretty grim and sometimes nasty. And I had some problems with each of them (continuity niggles and the like), but y’know what, they were pretty compelling. And I’ll just come right out and say it, that’s something Wonder Woman could benefit from. Something to draw people in.
Wonder Woman needs this revamp as badly as Roy Harper needs another hit of that sweet, sweet horse.
Azzarello has been making friends and influencing people in his interviews, where he says things like: “There’s no such thing as the trinity. That’s invented, you know. There’s Superman and there’s Batman and there’s everybody else.”
I like this because it’s true and because I know how much it winds up the whinier, martyr-like section of Wonder Woman’s fan base. (If that doesn’t describe you, then I’m not talking about you, but they ARE out there, and they drive me up the wall)
I like what he says next even more: “So what I want to do, I want to create that damn trinity. I want it to mean something.” I don’t know that he’s necessarily the writer to pull that off, but big points for that ambition, overreaching or not!
Azzarello goes on to intrigue me and annoy others by saying that Wonder Woman will be a horror comic. Again, I don’t know how that’ll work, but I’m keen to see him try. She certainly has the background and villains for it.
And don’t be fooled into thinking that all Azzarello knows how to write is grim and grit. Lest anyone forget, it was Azzarello who wrote that wonderful Dr. Thirteen backup that ran in “Tales of the Unexpected”. Drawn by who? Cliff Chiang! And we come full circle.
I’ve always been willing to buy a Wonder Woman comic, but now I’m actually excited to get my hands on one. For that, the new Wonder Woman gets a big THOU SHA– IT’S CLIFF CHIANG, JUST BUY IT!
31-32. BLUE BEETLE/STATIC SHOCK
Can I get away with talking about Blue Beetle and Static Shock together without being considered racist?
I can’t read about either of these books without “Spider-Man” being brought up endlessly, like it’s the name of a genre. And it practically is; every teen hero book from Nova to Firestorm to Gravity have been nailed with the Spidey comparison. It’s a great framework to start from, but it doesn’t set me up to think I’m going to be blown away.
Character-wise, I like them both (Beetle a little more than Static), but don’t have a lot to say about either of them. As for creative teams, would it be petulant to mention that I’d rather still have “Xombi” and “REBELS” than either of these?
John Rozum has been impressing on “Xombi”, but Scott McDaniel is unproven as a writer, and his art’s an acquired taste. Tony Bedard is good but best read in trades. And I’m unfamiliar with Ig Guara (I really need to get around to Pet Avengers).
If I buy one DC title about a teen hero, I lean towards Firestorm, where both the characters and creators entice a bit more. But these are definitely books to keep in mind in case some of the chances we’re taking turn out to be disastrous. (Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, I’m looking right the hell at you)
Blue Beetle gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY, BUT SHALT REVISIT IN TRADE IF WORD OF MOUTH DOTH WARRANT IT.
Static Shock gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY, BUT SHALT WATCH REVIEWS TO SEE IF ROZUM IS DOING WORK AS GOOD AS “XOMBI”.
Batwoman should be a real easy choice for everyone, as it’s only a reboot title because of timing. Were you going to buy it when it was first solicited? Then buy it. Were you not? It’s J. H. Williams III, just buy it.
OK, thats twice now I said to buy a book based on the art alone. I’m just working on my karma after saying I’d buy Hawk & Dove.
The bad news? Williams is sharing art duties. The good news? He’s sharing them with Amy Reeder, whose art is just gorgeous. Williams’ co-writer Haden Blackman is not widely known outside of Star Wars circles, where he did a decent Jango Fett mini. Creator Greg Rucka will surely be missed, but I’m keen on seeing what Williams and Co. will do with this book.
Batwoman gets a THOU SHALT BUY…ASSUMING THE DAMN THING ACTUALLY COMES OUT THIS TIME.
To paraphrase Elliot S! Maggin: Must there be a Supergirl?
I have to be honest, I have never been a fan of the concept of Superman’s cousin. I’m one of those who believe that the concept of another Kryptonian hero devalues Superman, whether it means to or not.
I’ve got no problem with others wearing the S shield. I love Steel, Superboy, and even the Matrix/Linda Danvers Supergirl. But having another full-fledged Kryptonian just makes it feel like Superman is merely Player 1 in a video game. “Mario was unable to stop that comet from destroying the Earth? No problem, Luigi’s got it!”
And yeah, plenty of other heroes could save the day without Superman, but it just feels different. He’s still supposed to be a cut above the rest, and someone else with the EXACT same power set and levels diminishes that. (Yet another one of the reasons I miss the Karl Kesel version of Superboy)
Past that, the Post-Crisis (if that term even has any meaning anymore) Kara has annoyed me from the beginning. Ever since she sprang forth from Jeph Loeb’s head, fully grown and less-than-fully clothed, like an Athenian go-go dancer. Her vomit personality improved a bit over the years, but as this is a scorched-earth reboot, that doesn’t mean very much.
If I’m gonna sit through Supergirl’s origin yet again, it’s gonna have to be with a hell of a writing team. Michael Green and Mike Johnson? The guys who worked on “Superman/Batman”? Yeah, that’s gonna be a pass, thanks. “The Search For Kryptonite” is like a psychic minefield; just remembering it gives me migraines.
Green has also written for Smallville, Heroes, and the Green Lantern movie. All known for the quality of their writing. I don’t know Mahmud Asrar; a quick search shows he’s a good artist. But that’s not nearly enough to save this thing.
And this is a lesser concern, but Supergirl coming to Earth for the first time is gonna make a total hash of continuity. The writers have stated their goal to make this a book readers of any age can pick up, and I wish them well on that score. If this becomes the book that brings more young female readers to comics, that’ll more than justify its existence. But it doesn’t need me for that, so Supergirl gets a definite THOU SHALT NOT BUY. BETTER LUCK NEXT REBOOT.
35. I, VAMPIRE
Let’s just put all our cards on the table here: I’m not buying I, Vampire, are you?
I’m sure it’ll be decently written and look very nice, but I just don’t have room for another vampire story in my life. Even if True Blood and Vampire Diaries were canceled tomorrow and I needed a vampire comic to fill the void, it’d be Angel.
I don’t blame DC for wanting some of that sweet Twilight lucre. I hope it works for them. It won’t, but God bless ‘em anyway. I’ll keep an eye on what the reviews say, though. There may be no new vampire plot under the sun (ha, smart vampire humor), but it’s the characters involved that sells a good vampire story. Which is why, say, the Underworld movies suck and Let the Right One In does not.
So I’m open to the possibility that this could be a good book; I just need someone else to buy it first and tell me (I am the most half-assed comics reviewer who has ever lived). But until then, I, Vampire gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY, FREELY AND OF THINE OWN WILL.
When Grifter was announced, I’m sure a lot of people’s reaction was, “Are you fucking kidding me? Grifter?!?”
And it’s understandable. With his trench coat, guns, and bad attitude, he was a poster boy for Image’s gritty 90s excess. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that when the 90s ended, Grifter stuck around, and became pretty damn interesting. And hell, I say “became”, but I liked Grifter right from the start. As I stated before, I was an unapologetic WildC.A.T.S. fan. I still wouldn’t buy a Voodoo book, but I actually HAVE bought a Grifter book in the past. More than once, as I recall.
What’s more, I always liked how Grifter fit into the larger Wildstorm universe, which is a continuity I was fond of. And I loved his relationships with characters like Zealot and Ladytron, his stint as head of a corporation…. And this is all filibustering, because almost none of it will have anything to do with this new series, I’m fairly sure. It’s all by way of saying that there’s a character worth following behind that mask, so that’s why I’m doing so.
I’m not familiar with writer Nathan Edmondson, but Marissa tells me he’s done some great non-superhero comics. Whatever. He seems to envision Grifter as a John Constantine with guns battling Daemonites by way of the Dire Wraiths from Rom. Mmmm, okay. Sure, that could work.
With any luck, we may eventually see DC-ized versions of Kherubim, Team 7, and the Coda as time goes on. So Grifter gets a THOU SHALT BUY. NO, SERIOUSLY. NO, FOR REAL. I THINK IT’LL BE GOOD.
37. RED LANTERNS
Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan and Ed Benes. That’s…wow, that’s pretty much three strikes right there. An uninteresting concept with an uneven writer and an artist who should be drawing sleazy pinup calendars.
I can’t think of a single thing to say about this book that the rest of you couldn’t just guess, possibly verbatim. So instead, I’m just going to list things you’d all be better off buying rather than this comic:
THOU SHALT BUY A PORNOGRAPHIC VIDEO STARRING THINE OWN SISTER.
THOU SHALT BUY A LETTER FROM THINE PARENTS CONFESSING THAT THEY NE’ER LOVED YOU.
THOU SHALT BUY A PORTRAIT OF THYSELF AS AN INFANT, CHOKING TO DEATH ON A PACIFIER.
THOU SHALT BUY A ROLEPLAYING GAME WHERE THOU PLAYEST A RABID MOUSE CHEWING ITS WAY OUT OF A DEAD OWL’S STOMACH.
THOU SHALT BUY A DVD FEATURING ALL THE SCENES FROM THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIES WITHOUT ROBOTS IN THEM.
THOU SHALT BUY A VOICEMAIL RECORDING OF THYSELF DRUNK-DIALING EX-GIRLFRIENDS.
And so on and so forth.
THOU SHALT NOT BUY Red Lanterns BECAUSE IT BE A RED LANTERNS COMIC THAT HATH RED LANTERNS IN IT.
38. FURY OF FIRESTORM
I’m quite looking forward to The Fury of Firestorm, by Gail Simone, Ethan van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar. I was a fan of Ronnie back in the day, and possibly even a bigger fan of Jason in recent years. And ever since they combined in an episode of “Batman: Brave and the Bold”, I knew we’d eventually see it in the comics. Which we did in Brightest Day, although the writers have hinted that not everything’s the way it used to be in this series.
(Brightest Day, by the way, pissed me off by regressing Ronnie the way it did. But post-reboot, I have no such concerns)
But however the Firestorm matrix works this time around, the relationship between Ronnie and Jason will be front and center. That’s why I’m intrigued by Simone and Van Sciver writing this together; two POVs to bring to two very different characters. I’m led to understand, by people who for some reason pay attention to these things, that they’re known political opposites. Something I couldn’t care less about other than hoping it’ll make Ronnie and Jason’s differences feel more organic and real.
What’s even more interesting are Simone’s hints about how Firestorm’s very existence affects the whole of this new DCU. It doesn’t sound like Firestorm is going to remain a B-list teen hero in the Spider-Man Genre this time around. Add in art by Yildiray Cinar, who I’ve been enjoying on LoSH, and they’ve got me cold. I wanna see what happens.
The Fury of Firestorm gets a THOU SHALT BUY, AND EVERYONE PLEASE REMEMBER HOW COMPLIMENTARY I WAS WHEN I GET TO BATGIRL.
39-40. LEGION OF SUPER HEROES/LEGION LOST
I’m gonna tackle Legion of Super Heroes and Legion Lost together, as there’s precious little to say about either.
Like some other titles, the Legion remains largely unaffected by the reboot. If anything this is more of a “One Year Later” situation for them. Somewhere between the last book and the relaunch, seven Legionnaires went missing. And that’s where both books pick up.
If you’ve been enjoying the recent LOSH series, you’ll likely continue to. If not, this is a perfect jumping-off point. I’ve been sort of lukewarm on it, digging the Saturn Queen stuff but not much else. I’d just as soon drop it, but the Legion Lost book has my curiosity piqued. And if I’m getting one, I may as well get both.
Fabian Nicieza is great at team books, Pete Woods is a good artist, and I enjoy seeing Legionnaries in the present. And so Legion Lost gets a THOU SHALT BUY AT LEAST THE FIRST STORY ARC.
Legion of Super Heroes gets a THOU SHALT BUY IF THOU HAST ALREADY BEEN ENJOYING IT. OTHERWISE, GET THY FIX FROM T’OTHER.
If you’re only gonna buy one Superman title post-reboot, it should be “Action Comics”. But screw it, buy two. Buy Superman.
To some, it may seem like putting George Perez in charge of the book is a safe, slightly boring choice. But between the 40s-influenced neophyte Superman in “Action” and the…well, Geoff Johns-influenced Supes in JLA…I can see the wisdom in wanting a book focused on telling solid Superman stories in a more “classic” style. And with the lack of interviews we’ve gotten about this book, it would seem DC doesn’t exactly consider it a tough sell.
“Superman by George Perez” alone should be enough to let you know whether this book is up your alley or not. It sounds like it’s up mine. Super heroics and monsters and a well-rounded supporting cast, all beautifully drawn? Sold!
And if you’re one of those fans who just can’t get over “One More Day”, please don’t read this. I already can’t discuss Spider-Man online anymore, don’t take Superman away from me too.
THOU SHALT BUY Superman, AND IF THOU DOTH NOT AGREE WITH ERASING THE MARRIAGE, THEN AT LEAST LET SILENCE REIGN.
42. DETECTIVE COMICS
On the opposite side of that spectrum is Detective Comics by Tony Daniel. In the midst of all the excitement, DC hoped people wouldn’t notice they just switched the writers on Batman and ‘Tec.
“Detective” will be presenting standard, back-to-basics Batman stories. But then, so will the other 3 relaunched Bat-books. Frankly, considering how Batman is relatively untouched by the reboot, it’s not a terribly compelling sales hook.
“Bruce is back as the one and only Batman; now let’s make you absolutely sick of him with 4 ongoing titles and 2 JL books!”
This one promises shorter stories and more of a crime thriller tone. But it also promises art and stories by Tony Daniel. If you’ve been enjoying his “Batman”…well, first maybe you could explain to me why…and then you’ll likely enjoy this.
If you need multiple Batman books, and maybe you hate Damian, this is still a better choice for you than “Dark Knight”. Me, I think I’ll check back in when they switch the numbering back in time for the thousandth issue.
Detective Comics gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY, UNLESS THY BATMAN ADDICTION HATH REACHED “ROY HARPER” LEVEL PROPORTIONS.
43. JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL
Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti’s Justice League International is kind of a weird book, conceptually. Basically, it’s the “Bwah-Ha-Ha” lineup of the Justice League, minus all the “Bwah-Ha-Ha”. I’m sure it made a lot more sense to everyone before the reboot was announced, when it was just the natural culmination of the “Generation Lost” mini series (which I didn’t read).
One assumes this was meant to be a Judd Winick project, which, while not exactly a step up, at least makes thematic sense. Dan Jurgens is a perfectly okay storyteller, and he’s handled most of these characters before. But it wasn’t exactly funny. So why resurrect a nostalgia title like this if the goal isn’t to utilize what made it popular in the first place? What is it about a Justice League B-title with a lineup of second stringers, played straight, that DC thinks is a winner?
I mean, I’ll be buying it, but I’m a hopeless addict. The point of this reboot is to attract new readers. Much as I might enjoy August General in Iron arguing with Guy Gardner, try putting that in one of those dopey commercials.
This is a book that I’ll be buying mainly for the characters involved, but that loyalty only goes so far. Unless both Jurgens and Lopresti have stepped up their game considerably, I sense it falling by the wayside in a few months.
Justice League International gets a THOU SHALT BUY THE FIRST ARC, BECAUSE GOD HELP US, THOU HAST TROUBLE SAYING NAY.
44-45. ANIMAL MAN/FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E.
Jeff Lemire hits the reboot running with two books: Animal Man and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
But I have to admit something. I don’t have the same level of appreciation for Mr. Lemire’s work that so many of my colleagues do. Now, don’t get me wrong. His Superboy was perfectly enjoyable, but let’s just say the Eisner nomination surprised me.
I’m happy to have my mind changed, but I’m not quite willing to dive into both of these books to convince myself. So, in an act of capriciousness, I shall pit them against each other in a death match.
Frankenstein was one of the best concepts to come out of Morrison’s “Seven Soldiers”. Animal Man was one of my favorite Morrison works of all time.
Lemire is great at world-building, which will serve the Frankenstein series well. Lemire is also great at small-scale character stuff, which will be a benefit to Animal Man’s family.
Frankenstein, like Paul Cornell’s “Demon Knights”, isn’t about superheroes, so it might be dead within a year. Animal Man, C-list as he is, will limp along at least long enough to wait for the first trade.
Frankenstein has a Frankenstein in it. Animal Man does not.
So Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. gets a THOU SHALT BUY, AND HOPETH IT DOTH LAST LONGER THAN DEMON KNIGHTS.
And Animal Man gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY, UNLESS FRANKENSTEIN BE SO GOOD, THOU HAST TO HAVETH THEM BOTH.
46. GREEN LANTERN CORPS
Green Lantern Corps by Peter J Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna. No real need to get fancy with this one. If you’re planning to buy Green Lantern like I am, you have to buy GLC to get the entire story. That’s the way it’s been for the past few years, and there’s no reason to believe it will be any different post-relaunch. The inter-connectivity between these titles has always been a turn-off, but screw it, I can put up with it a while longer.
Beyond just fleshing out the story of the main GL, the Corps book does have its own virtues to offer. It’s an ever-changing and expanding ensemble cast, with all the pros and cons that that entails. If you like your Star Trek red shirts, and don’t mind when they’re killed in great numbers, this is the book for you.
If the books could truly stand alone, I’d have recommend this over the main GL book numerous times in the past few years. But you need both for any semblance of a complete, satisfying story. One without the other would just be frustrating. Green Lantern Corps gets a THOU SHALT BUY, AS LONG AS Green Lantern DOTH REMAIN GOOD ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY BUYING BOTH.
47. MR. TERRIFIC
I like the idea that a character like Mr. Terrific could carry his own book. Non-white, primarily uses his brains, not a character from the 60s or 70s, but still has that old-school value of fair play. I’ve always thought he was neat. Like a Doctor Who that will karate-punch you in the face.
So I was happy to see Terrific getting his own series…until I saw the creative team. Eric Wallace was most recently a writer on the Winick-helmed volume of Titans, which almost says it all right there. I say “almost” because he wrote the Deathstroke-led evil Titans, which somehow managed to be even worse. Roger Robinson is a great artist, but I only mention that ironically, since as of #2 he doesn’t seem to be on-board anymore.
So, yeah, not grooving on the potential here. (Where’s Warren Ellis when you need him?) But I really want to like this. Thus, I’m willing to ignore that small, nagging part of me that’s always right…my cynicism. At least for a little while.
I give Mr. Terrific a THOU SHALT BUY ONE ISSUE TO JUDGE, AND THOU SHALT DROPETH OR CONTINUIEST BASED ON THAT.
I have nothing against Deathstroke. I actually like him a lot. But after the past few years I am Deathstroked the fuck out. He’s been seriously overused, and much of that time, he hasn’t been used particularly well.
So it doesn’t fill me with optimism when Kyle Higgins promotes this series as being about making Deathstroke badass again. It just seems to come from the same school of logic that gave Wolverine a second ongoing series so he could be more violent.
It’s a bit of an empty boast, too. As Higgins himself notes, any ongoing series about a badass mercenary/assassin has to continuously walk a fine line between killing C-listers and failing to kill A-listers. Not too terribly badass (Something that’s not a problem when a villain only appears in the hero’s book and only occasionally, just food for thought).
Still, could be fun, if you’re simply not getting enough gun-and-swordplay from Suicide Squad, Frankenstein, Grifter, Blackhawks, Red Hood, etc, etc.
Joe Bennett is a name I’ve not heard in a long, long time. He’s been working, just on nothing I’ve been willing to read. The previews I’ve seen show he can make Deathstroke’s new costume not look completely ridiculous, so, point in his favor.
I’m sure it’ll be decent. It’s all about how much Deathstroke you can stomach before he just flat-out turns into Deadpool. THOU SHALT BUY Deathstroke OR NOT. JUST DO WHAT THOU WILT; WE’RE ALMOST DONE HERE AND I NEED TO GET THROUGH THIS.
Okay, wow. There are any number of potential reasons for people to not be wild about this new Batgirl series. Most of them don’t actually apply to me, though, so we’ll just get those out of the way first.
First is the idea that DC is being disrespectful by eliminating a high-profile paraplegic role model. I have no dog in that fight; I’ve been seeing Professor Xavier gain and lose the ability to walk off and on for 20 years.
Then there are the fans of former Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, who feel vicariously slighted. But frankly, those are fan bases that contain an awful lot of martyrs anyway, so this should be like Christmas for them (Did I just accidentally write something more clever than I’d meant to? If so, I apologize).
Then there are people, like me, who just plain feel that Oracle is a better character than Batgirl. But that’s not my main point of contention. I’ll do without Oracle like I do without Wally, Kyle, 90s Superboy, Impulse, etc. My main point of contention is just what a mindless, pointless grasp at the past I find this change to be.
Much as we all goofed on H.E.A.T. back in the day, you could still kinda see their point about Hal Jordan. How many people could possibly have been wanting Barbara to become Batgirl again all this time? Barbara Gordon has been crippled for TWENTY-THREE YEARS. I want you to appreciate the kind of time span I’m talking about. I was born and have grown to an age where I’m technically too old for comics in the time since Barbara was last Batgirl. And hell, for about six or seven years before “Killing Joke”, she wasn’t appearing as Batgirl very much anyway! Seriously, it’d be like making Cassandra Cain Batgirl again twenty-three years from now.
This notion that DC and some fans seem to have about Barbara being the one, true Batgirl just seems wrongheaded to me. Barbara wasn’t the first Batgirl, and I don’t even think she was the most interesting Batgirl. And with all the back story and baggage she brings to the table, she doesn’t strike me as a smart choice for this reboot. Frankly, much as I was bored by Stephanie Brown, she was the most new-reader friendly Batgirl since Babs debuted in the 60s! And what happens to Steph? Yet another step back for yet another Bat-character, just like Dick, Catwoman, and…well, Babs.
(And I know I said this wasn’t my main reason, but Oracle is SUCH a better character than Batgirl, it’s not even funny)
Gail Simone is the perfect choice to write this book, as she’s become synonymous with the character of Babs over the years. Babs’ fans will follow her anywhere as long as Gail is writing her, and plenty of new readers will too for the same reason. But me, I’m not one of them. I’m sure the book will be written well, but this is somewhere I won’t follow. I’ll support Gail on Firestorm, thanks, but I cannot support the backwards thinking behind this relaunch.
THOU SHALT NOT BUY Batgirl FOR FEAR THAT THE NEXT STEP ON THE RESET TRAIN IS DICK BACK IN THOSE FUCKING PIXIE BOOTS.
OMAC will be written by Dan Didio. Um…I think I might be done here. Is there really anything else to say?
Okay, yes, Keith Giffen is co-writing. And that’s surely a bit of an improvement. Maybe. It depends which Keith Giffen showed up to work that day. If it’s Magog/Suicide Squad Giffen, it could be a lateral move.
The name of this series alone turns me off, as those stupid blue robots from Infinite Crisis have tainted it for me forever. It’s not about them, but other unwelcome elements from those stories will turn up, such as Brother Eye and Evil Max Lord. If I was a cyborg monster with a failsafe kill switch, the password to activate it might be “Brother Eye and Evil Max Lord.”
The title character himself seems to be a mix of the original OMAC concept and…well, the Hulk. Which is…cool? I guess? The interviews promise lots of Kirby-style action and kookiness, which is all well and good, but is that enough? The fact of the matter is, Kirby pastiches/homages are kind of a dime a dozen in comics, and not all of them are done well.
I dunno. I just can’t know. I’m not writing off this book completely, but I’m not jumping in on the ground floor, either. OMAC gets a THOU SHALT NOT BUY. IF IT TRULY BE KIRBY-TASTIC, IT SHALT MAKE ITSELF KNOWN SOON ENOW.
I love me some Aquaman. Always have.
Well, “always”, that’s a damn lie. But for a long time now.
It’s easy to like him once you get over the lesson drummed into all of us at childhood: that Aquaman’s a useless wuss. I first discovered this in an issue of Deathstroke where Aquaman slapped him around. Hey, I was a teenager, it won me over. I read a bit of the Neal Pozner mini and Shaun McLaughlin series, and enjoyed them enough, but he still wasn’t A-list to me.
It wasn’t until the one-two punch of Peter David and Grant Morrison that I really recognized how exciting Aquaman can be. Yeah, they made him a little more “edgy” than before, but it was all in service of the idea that he was a proper king. It’s not that Aquaman’s only useful if a crime happens to break out near water. It’s that colossally bad shit is going down underwater ALL the damn time, and he’s busy dealing with it, with sharks and whales and underwater armies with superior technology and telepathy with only vaguely-defined limitations.
And, for a time, an awesome hook for a hand.
Since those days, Aquaman’s gone through his ups and downs. By which I mean he went through a helluva lot of downs. I mean, the days of “Sub-Diego” were okay and all, but they really didn’t do much for Aquaman’s image. “Hey, look, a section of American city became completely submerged underwater! Aquaman is FINALLY useful for something!”
People that wonder whether Aquaman can be made interesting annoy me, because they’re not remotely asking the right question. Aquaman IS interesting. The question is whether he can get another creative team that’ll draw enough readers to learn this. And now he finally has one again with Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis.
God knows I don’t love everything Johns does, but he has a talent for mythology-building and continuity streamlining, both of which Aquaman can most definitely use. Nobody new to Aquaman who picks up the reboot book is gonna go hunt down “The Atlantis Chronicles” to get caught up on the character and his world, nor should they have to. I’d expect the first issue will tell new readers all they need to know about Aquaman, and take off from there.
Aquaman gets a sound THOU SHALT BUY, AND PUT AN END TO ALL THE “HE CAN JUST TALK TO FISH” JOKES FORE’ERMORE AND ANON!
52. JUSTICE LEAGUE
THOU HAST ALREADY BOUGHT Justice League. LEAVE ME ALONE.
(Continue following Josh (@JoshCritic) for all manner of comic reviews, rants, and serious musings about absolutely ridiculous things!)