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

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