Friday, 30 September 2011

Issue #4: Less cheese than last time.

Here we are on the final week of the 52!  

I’d like to make a small amendment to a previous post, as it seems Deadman #1 was actually DC Presents #1, with Deadman as the first character up.  Also, has anyone noticed the recurring hooded woman in the 52?  She appears sometimes with an aura of pink light, sometimes without.  I’ve mentioned her a couple of times but a friend of mine tells me she appears in every single #1 issue.  He makes a point of looking for her in each one, and calls her Wally (that’s Waldo for our American friends).  I expect Wally will tie into a future DC event, but the fact that she is in every title suggests she can transcend time, considering her appearance in Demon Knights (medieval), All Star Western (1800s) and Legion Of Superheroes (the amazing year 400 billion or whatever).

It’s late, but I’ve managed to read and review five more for you all.  Hope you enjoy.

All Star Western #1   One of the reasons I bought all 52 of DC’s number ones is to increase the chances of finding the kind of comic I wouldn’t normally pick up, only to be surprised and engaged by it’s content, and I’m happy to report All Star Western is one such comic.  The setting is 1880’s Gotham City, and a string of Jack The Ripper style murders spawns the unusual pairing of badass bounty hunter Jonah Hex and astute physician Amadeus Arkham.  The strength of the story is in the dialogue, where these two characters contrast dramatically, Arkham’s old world educated speech invokes scenes from Deadwood, and is a delight.  As Jonah attempts to get a little space from Arkham, the doctor follows him into the street, exclaiming, “I must insist that we remain in fellowship for the duration of this case!”.  Brilliant.  Artistically, the art is thickly lined and simplified, and coloured almost completely in a sepia tone that lends itself to a glance back through time, and it’s perfect for the material.  All Star Western is a stand out in the 52, unique in style and expertly written.  Buy it.

Aquaman #1   Any big Aquaman fans out there?  That’s exactly the take Geoff Johns goes for with the “guy that talks to fish”.  The reality in our universe is that Aquaman’s a bit of a joke, pretty dated, and not really important.  This comic doesn’t pretend to ignore that.  I was tempted to accompany this review with a funny skit from youtube until I actually read this comic.  The joke would almost be on me if I did that.  The extraordinary thing about this is that I feel compelled now to give Aquaman a go, give it a chance to win me over.  What the hell, the art’s quite nice and it wasn’t what I expected.  Issue #2, then.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1   This one has a tough act to follow after last week’s Batman #1, and finds itself under scrutiny.  The fourth title in the 52 with Bats as the main character is unfortunately the weakest, though it’s not a complete slouch.  Rather, this book represents a more super-heroey take, and will likely still find a strong audience.  David Finch can draw a nice Batman, but I’m leaning way towards Capullo’s book for looks, and slightly prefer Tony Daniel’s work on Detective too.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with The Dark Knight, it’s just that the competition from within is so strong I can’t see myself continuing with it.

Blackhawks #1   My first impression picking up Blackhawks was “Not another fucking team I’m not going to give a shit about”.  Well, yes and no.  For starters, there’s no super powers on this team.  They’re all crack military types, even though they hang off planes and the like.  This is much more likable than I thought it would be, particularly the bitching marine dialogue, and the secret romance.  Yes, better than I expected.  But I still don’t give a shit about it.

The Flash #1   While there’s nothing particularly standout about this issue, I found it had a kind of charm about it I can’t quite nail yet.  It’s a straight shooting kind of superhero book, complete with timeless beats like hero-quickly-changes-back-to-secret-identity-to-continue-date, and ends with an interesting cliffhanger that might have made more sense had I had some background with the character (why does this keep happening!).  It’s drawn in a thin pencil style that’s very easy on the eyes and looks different to everything else in the 52.  Some may find this mediocre but I’ll have a look at #2.

Thanks kids.  I'll be back soon with a final fistful of reviews to wrap this month of DC domination up, as well as a look at Frank Miller's new offering Holy Terror.  Cheers!

- Jem

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Issue 3.1: Another late night drive-thru mission.

Phew, just got to the end of my reviews on the eve of DC’s final week of 52 number ones.  Hopefully I can pick up the last bag on Thursday morning and get back here a little more quickly.  There were diamonds and turds tonight, read on and obey the warning signs!

Green Lantern Corps #1   Unless you are turned on by the colour green chances are you’ll drop this as quickly as I did.  There’s not much to get excited about when third tier characters that are spun off from a second tier character get their own book, especially when the half baked sci-fi story and uninspiring artwork are all there is to hold it together.  This is for Green Lantern fans that need another title to satiate their jade-coloured lust more than once a month, and that’s cool in theory, it’s just a shame the creators didn’t put more effort in for those poor folks.

Legion Of Super-heroes #1   Does anyone know what’s happening on Neighbours lately?  Because it seriously must be more fucking interesting than this.  A few pages in this comic reveals it’s links to Legion Lost, and something becomes clear: this comic is equally horrible.  This book has no flow, is unbelievably confusing, and introduces fifteen billion characters, all of whom do nothing.  I need more swear words than exist in the English language to express my regret at having read this comic, because “fuck-cuntingly shithouse” doesn’t seem harsh enough.  Hopefully you took one look at the cover of this abortion and dismissed it immediately.  Any rational human being would have.  Because it is also crap.  Look at it.  Fuck.

Nightwing #1   Having just read a trade that featured Dick Grayson filling in as Batman, it was refreshing to have a little more background than usual as the opening pages of Nightwing monologue about Dick’s year in the big guys shoes.  Writer Kyle Higgins is also working on Deathstroke, but Nightwing  gives him much more to work with it’s clearly a better book for it.  This story is about someone returning to their roots after learning lessons, and the writing’s great.  It also works well as an entry point, like it should.  The nameless villain is an excuse for the action that closes the book, but even if he’d never turned up, this book has depth and charm that guarantees purchases of future issues.

Red Hood And The Outlaws #1   As the debate about this issue was well covered in last night’s post, I’ll try to ignore the content in Red Hood designed to turn on teenage boys and get to the other things that gave me the shits about it.  Well, just one other thing actually, and that’s the fact I don’t buy Red Hood’s character as anything else but a borderline psycho.  Come on, relaxing on beaches and apologising to the dead?  No way, this guy doesn’t work like that.  I do like the pencilling in this comic quite a lot, but that is the only thing redeeming this otherwise pointless (and to many, offensive) exercise.  No wonder they feel like they have to fill it with innuendo and tits.

Supergirl #1   Nice to see Supergirl get the pure reboot I was expecting across the board from the 52.  While not too much happens in this single issue apart from Kara’s arrival and a prompt fight (followed by a less than surprising cameo), there’s something about this comic that makes me want to collect it.  Perhaps it is the fresh start, or my on again, off again love affair with beings from Krypton.  Perhaps it’s Supergirl’s awesome new costume (my favourite of all the redesigns).  I was left hanging by the end, like I’d only read half an issue, but without any negative association.  I just want to see where it leads.  More!

Wonder Woman #1   I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect from Wonder Woman, though the cover alluded to warrior stuff.  What’s inside though is much better!  Mythology, monsters and violence!  How fitting that after blogging about a week of DC releases mired in accusations of sexism, I can end on a note of just how a powerful woman should be portrayed in comics.  Diana is big, strong, skilled and fearless.  And while there is sort of a nude scene, it’s hardly gratuitous, because it’s well handed enough not to be the focus of proceedings.  I’ve never read Wonder Woman before.  Have you?  If you’d like to, start with this issue this week.

Thanks for reading, kids.  We're almost through the whole 52.  Looking forward to Superman #1 and Dark Knight #1 from the next bag.  Not long now.

- Jem

Monday, 26 September 2011

Issue 3: The burger with a few pubes in it.

Welcome back!  This update is a little late because I was unable to get these comics before Monday and I’ve had a horror week in general.  While picking them up I got into a discussion about a feminist article that’s become a talking point this week, regarding two titles in the 52:  Catwoman and Red Hood And The Outlaws.  Driving home listening to Noncanonical I got a little more insight into the topic and decided to chase up Laura Hudson's article on Comics Alliance myself.  I wouldn’t praise every point she makes, but I value her opinions, and I urge you to read this article carefully before judging, as she makes some realistic and valid points (and she’s twenty times the blogger I am).  She’s not anti-everything, she even likes sex in comics.

To put my own spin on it:  Costumed sex is fetish territory, and can be very exciting.  Catwoman riding Batman on that last page is bad execution.  Silhouette could’ve made it hot.  Suggestion could’ve made it hot.  It’s not adult if it’s not done right, not the kind of adult the creators were probably striving for.  Comics can be a frontier medium for this sort of thing.  Catwoman sets that innovation back.

Controversy!  Sex!  Reviews!  Here's my first half of reviews for the fourth week of DC's 52!

Batman #1   Before I decided to buy every single #1 in DC’s 52, I already knew I’d be getting this.  I love Greg Capullo’s art.  His work on Spawn has always had my highest appreciation.  When a friend told me Capullo would be doing Batman I flipped.  He seems such an obvious choice, with his eye for grimy details, skilled use of shadows, and visually unique storyboard approach to drawing combat scenes.  Some touches echo Capullo’s Spawn days, with a reflection of Sam and Twitch in his renditions of Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon respectively, perhaps a coincidence of style, perhaps a deliberate tip of the hat to long time employer Todd McFarlane.  Whatever the case, I got a huge kick out of it.  I’m pleased to say Batman #1 lives up to expectations very nicely, and Scott Snyder’s story isn’t too shabby either.  A worthy addition to the 52 roster, and a book that may introduce an excellent artist to a wider audience yet.  Great stuff.

Birds Of Prey #1   So this one’s like the DJ you’ve never heard of coming on after Daft Punk, but I knew this wasn’t going to touch Batman so I did my best to judge it on it’s own merits.  My first impression was that the art was nothing special, and reading on I actually thought the colouring did this book a disservice, to the point where a nice black and white job could look a lot better.  But as the story Tarantino-time-jumped pretty heavily I envisioned it in black and white, let it be a noirish action ride, and guiltily enjoyed it.  Like Justice League, this team is forming and not everyone is featured in the first issue, despite what the front cover may suggest.  Could be worth another look.

Blue Beetle #1   Ugh, more of that conversation introduction stuff I groaned about in Legion Lost.  This Blue Beetle origin story is devoid of character and feels more geared to a teenage audience.  “Back off Paco Taco!” seemed like a racist slur when first spoken, but it seems it may actually be one character’s name.  Strewth.  There are some nice vibrant colours, but that’s about the best I can offer on this one.  I think I’m beginning to dislike anything Lantern related too.  Not for me.

Captain Atom #1   The pencil-coloured style of Captain Atom does little to excite visually, bringing the look down to an amateurish level.  Those searching past this to find an engaging story will be disappointed too, as there is little context for what is happening and no origin except for brief mention of an “accident”.  A failure then, as there is nothing for the new readers DC seek (and are getting) to hang on to, and considering several second and third tier characters have better books in the 52 I can’t see this one hanging around.  Pass.

Catwoman #1   Given the current debate about this one I couldn’t get past the argument to really take Catwoman #1 in.  I think the Noncanonical guys put it best when they said it’s sexy if you “allude to something, and make people use their imagination”.  This just has people fucking.  It seems like the “idea” was to have the sex scene at the end, then try and construct a comic book to lead into it.  Even without this scene and the discussion around it, this is an average comic with average art and story, and a character I’ve never cared about.  You may buy #1 out of curiosity, but will you buy #2 to see Batman reach for the Kleenex?

Deadman #1   Ooh, great read, this one!  Egotistical twerp Boston Brand is plucked from the moment of death and given a chance to atone by jumping into the bodies of the living and repairing their lives.  Problem is, he’s not exactly sure how to go about it.  Nicely written, especially the scene where Boston is body-jumping multiple times and speaking each sentence with a separate voice.  The monologue flirts with dark mood but never goes all the way over, allowing the charm of the basic premise to shine.  Again, I’m not familiar with the character so the reboot works well for me.  I loved Deadman and I’m on board for a few issues.

Thanks!  More to follow....

Monday, 19 September 2011

Issue 2.1: DC 52 week 3 reviews continued.

Hey there!  Not a bad days worth of entertainment while off work, juggling all this week's DC reading with the viewing of the Star Wars 9 disc blu ray box set (just two episodes in so far).  Tonight it's the midnight launch for Gears Of War 3.  Sleep is for pussies when you're a nerd....

Resurrection Man #1   While reading this I couldn’t help but picture it as a storyboard for a television show, and while Resurrection Man isn’t too bad as a comic I feel as a TV show it would have engaged me more.  The possibilities are pretty limitless:  Mitch wakes up after dying with a different power each time, and a different personal mission, all the while being hunted by what appears to be the forces of heaven and hell.  Being a long time fan of Spawn and it’s themes of angels and demons in different guises and with different agendas, to me Resurrection Man actually comes off a little second rate in this department.  Some people will dig this and it does have a fair bit going for it, but I’ll give it a miss.

Red Lanterns #1   Argghhh!  I thought these were easy jump on points for new readers!!!!!  What the fuck is Red Lanterns about?  Do I even fucking care?  No I fucking don’t!!!!  The only thing about Red Lanterns is that it features the third appearance I’ve noticed of a mysterious hooded figure in the background on one panel.  This figure also appears in Frankenstein Agent Of SHADE and another title I can’t recall.  Obviously this will be significant in the future, but if it’s an important part of Red Lanterns I’ll never know because this is the last fucking issue I will ever read.  Fuck you Red Lanterns and your fucking stupid cat.

Mister Terrific #1   Not a bad read, this one.  And almost purely on the strength of it’s as-yet-unseen villain.  Michael Holt is Mister Terrific, scientist, rich guy, superhero, a combination of Tony Stark and Reed Richards who’ll remind you he’s black just in case you prefer to have your comics read to you.  The explanations of the science don’t babble on like the garbage in Static Shock and don’t delve too deep yet, instead getting on with the story.  The real highlight is how sudden knowledge gifted to an average person results in him spouting offensive truths and dishing out violence.  Or is it possession?  This mystery is enough to coax me into issue two.  I read this while listening to Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack which seemed a fitting accompaniment.  Try it!

Legion Lost #1   I challenge anyone in the world to give two shits about Legion Lost.  There’s more uninteresting technobabble than Static Shock, and it’s so boring and terribly written I’m seriously thinking of building a fuck machine that can hold Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods against their will and rape them constantly for months, in one of those dank basements, like in Seven or Hostel.  My biggest comics no-no, teams that “introduce” characters through dialogue (“Don’t touch that machine SHITSTAR”, “Don’t worry BUMFIRE, I can handle it”, etc), is exploited throughout.  The story is shit, the characters are shit, and not only will I ignore this title from now on, I may actually hunt for a way to make our sun go nova simply to guarantee a halt to it’s production.  The really painful part is that somewhere there’s a writer/artist team with a really original and amazing idea that deserves a shot like this, an opportunity wasted on these two fuckwits.  The worst one of the bunch by a fucking light year.

Grifter #1   A part of DC’s integration of characters from Jim Lee’s Wildstorm universe, Grifter gets his own title in the 52.  Like my take on Resurrection Man, I couldn’t help but see a TV show in this (or maybe the airport/aeroplane setting just makes me think of the word “pilot”) but unlike RM I was much more engaged.  This played out like a science fiction thriller, an interesting slice of modern pulp, the only regret being there’s a bit more introduction to go than what fits into one issue.  Our mysterious hooded figure pops up again too, suspended mid air in the background of one panel.  I’m keen to go a little deeper into this one.

Batwoman #1   Oh wow, this is a great comic.  Beautiful art, with standard style square panels for the straight conversational stuff, and psychedelic and surreal panels to match the supernatural, mysterious sections of the plot.  Batwoman also plays on the subtle sexual side of superheroes by showing her changing in and out of costume.  There’s nothing to criticise about Batwoman.  This is quality stuff, and if you’re planning on collecting a couple of Bat titles from the new batch this should be one of them.

Batman And Robin #1   Again, my background in these characters is a little sketchy, but there seems to be no continuity reset here either.  No complaints though, because Bruce Wayne’s rebellious and violent son Damian taking the mantle of Robin makes for great reading.  Bruce’s frustration at the difficulty of attempting to guide a student who refuses to be led is front and centre, while another mysterious villain is set up in the shadows.  I feel like this will be Damian’s book, and the future of this boy really could go either way.  Should be a good ride.

Looking forward to next week's batch, which includes my number one favourite artist Greg Capullo drawing Batman #1!  A fucking fan boy's dream!!!!!

- Jem

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Issue #2: More on the menu

Hey folks!  I picked up week 3 of DC's 52 today, which included some really decent titles.  Here's my first handful of reviews, with the rest to follow soon.  Don't forget to leave comments, even if you thought Hawk & Dove was rubbish (which is what everyone else seems to think)!  Enjoy.

Superboy #1   Out of the thirteen titles that make up week 3 of DC’s 52, I went straight for Superboy, mainly because the cover intrigued me so much.  I have no background on this character, so this image of Superboy as a lab experiment grabbed me.  The artwork is functional, and while definitely not ugly isn’t particularly arresting either, but the story hook works perfectly.  A powerful multi-national is making their own version of Superman and they have plans for him.  He has telekentic powers and has learned language, maths and science simply from observing and listening to the labcoats that surround him every day in his water tank prison.  I’m so sucked in already I don’t think I’ll be dropping Superboy anytime soon.  Well worth a look.

Deathstroke #1   My introduction to Deathstroke was as a second tier character in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, so I didn’t have much to start from.  He’s a mercenary and bodyguard, and not your hero type at all.  Other than some over the top violence and action there’s not too much to recommend from me here.  Perhaps if I’d had a little more background on the character I’d be into it, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of renumbering to bring in the new readers?  I can see the beginnings of a couple of story threads that may bloom later, either in Deathstroke or another title, but unless you’re a fan of Joe Bennett’s extensive career there’s not much to chew on yet.

Green Lantern #1   Oh man, there doesn’t seem to be any reset of Green Lantern at all!  Sinestro returns to the Green Lantern Corps after a betrayal, and Hal Jordan was a Green Lantern but isn’t anymore.  Yep, renumbering be damned, you’ll need at least a year’s worth of backtracking to get up to speed here if you’re a new kid like me.  As the next volume of GL though, it holds up pretty well.  The human side of the story balances things nicely and is actually the real standout here, with Hal dealing with real earthly hassles while Sinestro gets galactic.  Artwork does the job and even though it’s early days, DC go-to guy Geoff Johns (fresh off DC event Flashpoint) should write a book that stays interesting.  I’ll check out number two.

Frankenstein, Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. #1   The extended title of this story is “War Of The Monsters Part 1:  Monster Town USA”, and is pretty much what you’d get if Rob Zombie collaborated with 2000AD.  Admittedly I’d dismissed this one before I’d even flicked through it, but Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E.  had me smiling along the whole way.  The Super Human Advanced Defence Executive’s headquarters is called the Ant Farm.  It’s a “3 inch indestructible globe” that hovers 2000 miles above the surface of the Earth and inhabitants must be shrunk down and teleported into it to gain access.  Frankenstein is far from the mindless zombie you might expect, drawing parallels from poetry to question scientific ethics.  There’s a vampire.  There’s a wolfman.  There’s a mummy.  There’s an “amphibian/human hybrid”.  And they fight monsters.  Pure awesome.

Demon Knights #1   Oh man, another unexpected diamond!  Demon Knights’ sword and sorcery setting frees it from the rest of the DC universe and allows for a story that crams so much in without being confusing at any point, and leaves you with a sense that something could really take off from here.  Merlin imprisons a demon into the body of hapless Jason, giving him the power to bring the demon out at will.  He and his partner Xanadu find themselves in a tavern full of tough customers of varying temperaments, and when the kingdom bullies come knocking hell breaks loose!  If the cross-dimensional being romance doesn’t sign you up for the next issue, surely the fact that this is Game Of Thrones on steroids and cocaine will.  Absolute gold.

Suicide Squad #1  When we join this group of villains they are on the receiving end of some pretty heavy Saw-style torture.  There’s brief background on each one telling how they the recently screwed up, but to divulge any more would be a the real crime.  I’ll just say that drawing Harley Quinn sexy while writing her this crazy is the equivalent of setting up a direct debit to DC right now, and she’s the obvious choice of them all to put on the cover too.  Another issue #2 on the cards for me.

Thanks kids, I'll be back with more sometime in the next 24.  'Til then!

- Jem

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Issue #1.2: Incredible Hulks #635

There's comics I've been collecting longer, and there's stuff I loved as a kid, but if I was forced to subtract from all the titles I collect until there was just one, just a single title I could have each month, it would have to be Incredible Hulk(s).  For this, I give massive credit to writer Greg Pak, who began by banishing Hulk to a distant planet, redeveloped him into a hero, broke him down again, and again, and explored the Hulk's rage as a source of power and fleshed it out so extremely, there will never be any doubt again who the toughest bastard in the Marvel universe is and always will be.

Grek Pak's run was massive, five and a half years, a luxury any comic writer would relish.  Sadly, issue #635 sees Pak's run on Incredible Hulk finally come to an end.  I just finished reading this one, part six of the Heart Of The Monster arc, and I loved how much crazy shit this guy crams in before walking out the door.  There's so much fighting, magic, and bright colours everywhere it's surreal.  They even squeeze in Dr. Strange and a gamma irradiated Fin Fang Foom that spits gamma missiles just because they fucking well can!

For those looking to check some of this stuff out my highest recommendations are for the two big event books:  Planet Hulk sets the story up for absolutely everything that follows and is essential for access to the rest of Pak's work on Hulk, while World War Hulk is easily one of the greatest action comic books I've ever read.  Both of these are widely available in collected editions.

Writer Jason Aaron and artist Marc Silvestri pick up the reigns next month to begin a new volume.  Incredible Hulk #1 will be reviewed here soon.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Issue #1.1: More reviews from the first batch of DC's 52!

Hey there!  I've been smashing through the first round of releases for DC's 52 to wrap up reviews and get ready for more due this week. There have already been some highs and lows amongst this batch of titles, so read on to see what I at least thought.

Batgirl #1   I went into this one knowing the now no longer crippled Barbera Gordon is Batgirl again, pissing off wheelchair bound and able bodied comic fans alike, enough to warrant an article in the Herald-Sun. While referenced, her recovery is not explained but simply called “a miracle”. An opportunity lost for a decent re-origin story in favour of a mystery involving a pretty spooky villain named Mirror. Pencilled by Adrian Syaf, probably best known for his work on Green Lantern, the art is rich and colourful. Why Batgirl appears on the cover smiling like a 1950s housewife selling dishwashing detergent is perplexing though – this character is scarred and angry. There's not enough gelling with this one for me. I'll pass.

Detective Comics #1   My introduction to the work of Tony S. Daniel was way back when he did a short stint on Spawn. I can still see similarities with that work and what he's doing with Batman here. Pencilling and writing must afford tremendous creative control, and he doesn't waste it. The book looks amazing, the gritty, grimy feel of Gotham is palpable enough to taste. The content is violent and it's cliffhanger will turn your stomach. Beginning with Batman hunting The Joker, there's plenty of classic Batman boxes ticked, including the always amusing Batman-silently-pisses-off-somewhere-halfway-through-a-conversation gag. Detective Comics just won a place in my hold drawer for the forseeable future.

Green Arrow # 1   My familiarity with this character being low, I dived into Green Arrow #1 with open mindedness. The art style reminded me of late nineties work, and a little research revealed penciller Dan Jurgens worked on two stories from that time I was familiar with: Death Of Superman and Superman Vs. Aliens. It's a little basic, particularly with backgrounds, but the nostalgic reader won't mind. There's plenty of action throughout, and a hint of conflict to be fleshed out later. Green Arrow's costume looks a little more designed for hand-to-hand combat, dispelling my perception of this character being a rooftop sniper. He also has Batman style gadgets which seem pretty nifty. Not brilliant, but not bad, and might get better.

Hawk & Dove #1   Rob Liefeld has had a long career in the comics spotlight, often for the wrong reasons (read more here: ), but his talent is undeniable and style immediately recognisable. Considering Hawk & Dove was one of his earliest projects, how fitting he be able to work on it's reboot now. While there seems to be almost a formula for the 52 being splash pages 2 & 3, and begin with high action, Hawk & Dove actually makes it work well for itself. The initial save the day scenario ends less than perfectly. There's secrets and conflict between the two heroes. But there is also a humour that sets this apart from the other titles so far that gives this book a fresh edge. The art's great. The writing's sharp and flows nicely. These guys work well together, and I'm going to collect it.

Justice League International #1   Dan Jurgens works on this title too, though on writing duties, and lays strong foundations for future issues. The U.N. assembles it's own Justice League based on an ideal of control, placing Booster Gold in the leader's chair for little reason other than they consider him a malleable puppet. There's plenty of banter and jibes between the team members as they find their feet with one another, and the book is not afraid to take the piss out of itself. “Batman. Why?” comments Booster Gold. I thought the same thing, as someone at DC HQ saw fit to jam Bats into as many of the 52 as possible, as if all these titles need their hand held by someone with some box office clout to get them running. It's a shame, because ironically this is where the book failed for me. He's not a member of the team, he goes against what the U.N. clearly state about their intentions for the team, and doesn't really do anything except appear. With Batman, Batman And Robin, Detective Comics, The Dark Knight and the real Justice League all on the roster for this relaunch his inclusion here seems clumsy and an obvious appeal to the masses, and he should be left to his own books. Still, the setups are clear and for those not afraid to add something second-tier to their list, Justice League International could turn out to be a nice gamble.

Men Of War #1   Why would DC, a publisher that owns the two most famous super heroes in the world, include a military comic amongst it's list of new titles? Men Of War is actually not what you might think. I was expecting something along the lines of Call Of Duty when I saw the cover for this, but so far it's not really that at all (it's accompanying story Navy Seals: Human Shields covers those bases), but a well drawn and well written story that also employs the theme introduced in Justice League: that super-powered humans are new and not fully understood. I have a pretty good idea which character is doing all the damage, but I'll keep my thoughts under wraps for now (hint: It's not Batman!). I appreciated the explanations of all the military acronyms, and the script is pretty good. I'll give another issue a go and see where it's leading.

OMAC #1   OMAC treads the kind of weird creature / science fiction comic style that was popular in the 1980s, which was never exactly my cup of Twinings English breakfast tea. OMAC is big, blue, covered in flashy lights and is on a mostly mindless rampage. I was thinking about this review while reading this title and already condemning it to the “no thanks” pile until my interest piqued on the final page. No spoilers here, but the story concludes with a banner announcing, “Next issue things get really weird!”. I like weird. I like things that make me curious. Issue #2 please.

Static Shock #1   WARNING! SPOILERS!   If you've read this far you might be thinking I have too many positive things to say about all these books. Well I just read Static Shock and I hated it. Firstly, Virgil Hawkins is a cocky little shit and his own biggest fan. If they ever make a Static movie (and they fucking better not) they would cast Will Smith's kid in it – that's how unappealing he is. He spouts technobabble during combat so boring you'll scream, and he flies on a hovering board of arranged hexagonal something so far into wtf territory the only option is to kill yourself. Or him. Or maybe the lame fish man or the fucking Power Ranger like villains that are after him. At the end this turd of a character gets his arm blown off, and not that I'll ever read the second issue, but you know what? I'll bet he just uses his lame ass electrical powers to just sew it back on again. This was crap.

Stormwatch #1   SMALL SPOILER AHEAD!   Alright, the sci-fi comic thing done with a seemingly more modern edge, or maybe it's just the influence of the artwork. This one is a little confusing because what's going on actually originates in Superman #1, which isn't out until the end of the month. Given that this relaunch resets more than a few details, we see Apollo and Midnighter meet for the “first” time, pre-relationship. There's some freaky strange stuff happening on the moon, and I like that a true threat is already emerging here, where some titles are content to stick with super-powered street fights. I'm sticking with Stormwatch for now.

Swamp Thing #1   This one's already generating positive buzz and rightly so. It juggles a mystery / horror narrative well and cliffhangs nicely. The cover is great too, with a classic B-Movie style logo above the character and a foreground of flora that looks like something printed on curtains from the 70s. It may be a bit of an acquired taste for some but I suggest to anyone picking up a few DC titles this month that you throw a copy of Swamp Thing in with your other titles.

Issue #1: The First Burger

After fighting for an hour to get a layout I liked (it still looks wonky) I have my first fistful of reviews of DC's number 1s.  I will get around to giving this treatment to the entire 52 issues, then continue onto the second issues I think are worth going on with.  I will make every effort to keep spoilers to a minimum.

With this initial review period being so DC heavy and my DC knowledge being what it is, I'll admit I'm feeling around in the dark a little.  I'll be a little more confident when I get to some Marvel stuff in a future issue.

These reviews are published in the same order I read them.

Justice League #1   This one's been a topic of every comic blog on the planet, being the first of the 52 out of the stable.  Justice League always seemed a little bit camp and silly to me, so this entry point was refreshing.  Kicking off with a Batman chase scene and an awesome splash page on pages 2 and 3, this title is up first for a reason: it's pretty badass.  This issue features half of the seven team members (that's 3.5?  It'll make more sense once you've read it) and does what any good issue #1 should: intrigue you enough to give the next few issues a go.  Jim Lee's pencils lay a perfect foundation for the visuals, and everything looks sweet.  If you're curious about any of what DC is up to, Justice League is your first port of call.

Batwing #1   Batwing is the Batman of Africa.  Is your world set ablaze yet?  Neither was mine, until morbid curiosity gave way to pleasant surprise.  This is so nice to look at, with visuals in a painted style that reminded me a little of Iron Man Extremis, and in what must be a world first, actually trounce the quality of the front cover!  It's also pretty fucking violent.  If you thought Gotham was a lawless city, it's a wonderland compared to the shit that's going down in Tinasha.  The bodies are literally piling up, and Batwing who's real identity is police officer David Zavimbe is at the beginning of a mess that's looks to be an intriguing and gory read.  Batwing is a quality title.  I think I'll follow this for a while.

Animal Man #1   This title came highly recommended, but my initial thoughts were the art style looked rushed and the colour palette was quite bland.  Still, the family angle is one seldom explored like this and the plot dives into some spooky territory!  A nightmare sequence is unnerving and appropriately surreal.  One to watch for now.

Action Comics #1   This is a little confusing.  Superman gets around in a jeans and t-shirt ensemble, which seems to conflict with the new costume seen in Justice League and the upcoming Superman #1.  He also is much less the boy scout we know and love, and is.... um.... a bit of a bullyboy prick.  My DC noobness may be coming to the fore here, but maybe Action Comics is a vehicle for experimentation.  What I like about Superman is his absolute incorruptibility, a hero for all time, exactly what our world needs and has always needed.  Still, I enjoyed it.  Maybe they're going somewhere with it.  I'll give #2 a crack.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Issue #0: The Comic Burger cometh!

Hello and welcome to Comic Burger!  A place where one person's opinion is likely to differ slightly to your own!

I plan initially to use this space for comic book reviews and general critique of associated media like films and video games and hopefully drum up a little friendly opinionated discussion.  We'll see how it goes.  I'll be starting off with short reviews of every single issue of DC's 52!  I'm particularly excited about these titles, and their release partly inspired Comic Burger's inception.  I'm also really more of a Marvel guy, having found DC hard to jump on to in the past.  I've been collecting Superman for a year and enjoy the odd Batman trade paperback, but The Flash began for me with Flashpoint, and the Green Lantern... um..... Ryan Reynolds, right?

So DC's relaunch really is aimed at people like me.  I am the precise market they are aiming for this year, and I am diving in head first.  The plan is to pick maybe five titles out of the 52 and stick with them, which may mean sticking with quite a few of them until they lose their spark.  This blog should help the process, not just for me, but hopefully you too!

For those confused about what a 52 is, DC Comics have basically scrapped all their titles and started fresh with another 52 titles, each beginning again at issue #1.  Ever wanted to own Batman #1, or Action Comics #1?  Go buy it now.  Your grand kids won't know the difference.

So, "Comic Burger", eh?  The name really stems from a concept of variety.  No two comic collections are the same.  My best friend and I on the surface have identical tastes, however how we like our comics varies massively.  Like a burger (and I'm a vegetarian.  If you fuck up* a vegie burger, dude, it's bad).  Get it?  No?  Well I needed a catchy name in a hurry and that's it.  Fries, sir?

Okay, I've got some reading to do before reviewing.  Thanks for checking this out.
- Jem

* yes I swear a bit.