On Comics and DC’s New 52

As I’ve mentioned, the foremost of my geek passions is comic books. I’m a  mainstream superhero guy, mostly Marvel and DC. I’ve always loved Spider-Man and the X-Men on the Marvel side and the JLA and Firestorm on the DC side. While I enjoy the continuity of comics on the one hand, I have always loved alternate reality stories in the comic world. The best example of that are Marvel’s “What-If” stories but there have been other versions of the idea, my favorite being “Kingdom Come” over at DC.

So I have been especially intrigued with what DC Comics has planned with the reboot of their entire universe. The willingness to overwrite 50+ years of continuity is audacious and I’ve been interested to see how they’d do it. DC kicked things off last week with Justice League which I really enjoyed, but the meat of it was this week with the release of 13 new books. Now a blogger I follow, CS Daley, is planning to review each of the New 52. I have no such ambition. I do plan to read them all though. I think the big 2 questions for DC in all this are: 1) how any people will buy the second issue of these books and 2) how many new people will begin reading these books.

I don’t expect to buy all 52 of these books on a monthly basis. There are certain titles that are a given: the Superman books, JLA, core Batman titles, etc. But  the reason for my buying all 52 number ones is to see if anything else grabs my attention. Out of the first week’s run here are the titles that surprised and intrigued me enough that I’m getting the next issue:

Yeah, they're bagged and boarded.

Swamp Thing In all honesty I’ve never been a fan of this book (not even the “OMG Alan Moore is a god” version). But something about this issue really piqued my interest. I like the TV Hulk aspect of it that Alec Holland is on the run from his past. I appreciated the little details like the plants constantly reaching out to him and the big detail of Holland essentially telling Superman to kiss off.  No spoilers, but the two hooks at the end of the book left me wanting more so I’ll be back next month.

Animal Man My only exposure to Animal Man are guest appearances and his roles in DC’s Infinite Crisis fallout books. I think what pulled me into this book was the focus on Animal Man’s home and personal life and less so the action. Here’s a guy struggling with what we all struggle with: career, family, fatherhood. He just happens to have a real cool side job. Not sure how long I’ll keep going with this but hey, have me for at least one more issue. I’d like to see a better artist on this book though.

Green Arrow Wow, they totally rebooted Green Arrow. It seems to me they’ve pulled generously from the Smallville version of Oliver Queen, especially his look. Of all the characters so far he seems the most obviously de-aged.  The art here is great and I like the new Rogues Gallery and support team they’ve created for GA. I think I’m on board for the long haul here.

Justice League International I went into this book tentatively. I never enjoyed Justice League Europe by Giffen and DeMatteis (I enjoy humor in a comic book but not slapstick). I was afraid JLI would follow a similar path. There’s humor here, but it’s not corny. This issue is a pretty standard team origin story. Interestingly, it’s being done in the way that many critics say the new Justice League book should have done. Dan Jurgens gets all the characters in at once and we get to see their initial effort to work as a team. I enjoyed the interplay of the various nationalities involved and the use of the old Hall of Justice from the cartoon. I’ll be back for future issues if they’re as good as this one.

As to the rest of Week 1, here’s how I see future purchases.

In for the long haul: Action Comics, Detective Comics

Giving it another try with issue 2: Batgirl, O.M.A.C., Static Shock, Stormwatch

At least I’ll have #1: Batwing, Hawk and Dove, Men of War

For those of you who also picked some (or all) of these titles up, what did you think?