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

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