DC Relaunch: 52 Words on 52 Titles (Part 1)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just about every website out there has featured one of these posts where they run down the list of the fifty-two new titles in the DC Comics's relaunch with a yea or nay on the offerings. Well, I thought I'd make mine really quick; in the first of a two-part series, here's no more than fifty-two words (sometimes less!) on DC's first twenty-six offerings -- tomorrow's second part will cover the second twenty-six.

What looks good to you?

1) Justice League by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee
One of the titles for which I’m most excited. Been waiting for the iconic Justice League to return since Barry’s resurrection and Blackest Night; plus, one imagines a Geoff Johns/Jim Lee title should be a Hush-level bestseller.

2) Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang
You all know I’m a fan of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman; the character faltered a bit after that, before Gail Simone started, and then again after she left. Hoping Azzarello’s run is a long-term take on Wonder Woman, and he won’t be gone after the first few issues like Allan Heinberg.

3) Aquaman by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis
Aquaman deserves his due respect after a number of not quite on-the-nose attempts, and if anyone can give him that, it’s Geoff Johns. I wonder what Johns’s “in” will be for his brand of character-driven story using Aquaman.

4) The Flash by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccallato
In terms of the DC Relaunch overall, I am somewhat hesitant about the number of new artist-writers, simply in that they’re unknown quantities. I’m glad Manapul is still drawing Flash, but this is one that worries me. Also that Wally West might be the villain.

5) The Fury of Firestorm by Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver & Yildiray Cinar
Of all the DC characters, I haven’t previously been much of a Firestorm fan, mainly due to lack of access. I’ll sample this -- especially with Gail Simone writing, and I’m curious to see Ethan Van Sciver draw her words [edit: Van Sciver is co-writing Firestorm; art is by Yildiray Cinar, whose work I really liked on Teen Titans: Ravager. No, this edit doesn't count for the fifty-two words]. My hope is this still has a tie to Brightest Day.

6) Green Arrow by J.T. Krul & Dan Jurgens
This is a seemingly “dark” book, but with Dan Jurgens drawing; usually I don’t equate Jurgens with “dark.” J.T. Krul continues from the previous Green Arrow series, and this is one where it’ll just depend on the story for me. Also curious whether Black Canary relationship is still in continuity.

7) Justice League International by Dan Jurgens & Aaron Lopresti
One of my top picks for the DC Relaunch. I have a soft spot for Jurgens’s Justice League in the early 1990s that featured many of these characters, and I’m excited for Jurgens to use them again with a more serious take.

8) Mister Terrific by Eric Wallace & Robert Robinson
I liked Eric Wallace’s Final Crisis: Ink a whole lot, and then was nothing but disappointed with his Titans: Villains for Hire. This could go either way -- either Wallace writes the Mr. Terrific we know and love, or Titans’s blandness creeps in. Checking this out with fingers crossed.

9) Captain Atom by J.T. Krul & Freddie Williams III
I don’t mind a new spin on Captain Atom; he’s one of those characters that pretty desperately needed a definitive relaunch. Freddie Williams’s art doesn’t always appeal to me personally, and I’ll be curious whether J.T. Krul can make the series interesting to me irrespective.

10) DC Universe Presents by Paul Jenkins & Bernard Chang
Notably we don’t know much about this series, really, but solicitations promise to follow Deadman’s story from Brightest Day, so I’m in for the first collection, at least.

11) The Savage Hawkman by Tony Daniel & Philip Tan
Here’s another artist-writer I worry about; Tony Daniel did great work on Batman: Life After Death, but not so much on Battle for the Cowl, and I have not enjoyed Philip Tan’s art previously. I’ll try the first book in part to see how DC works out Carter Hall’s new origin.

12) Green Lantern by Geoff Johns & Doug Mahnke
Of course I’m in for this one. DC seems to be trying to suggest Hal Jordan might not be the Green Lantern of the book, but we all know better. Hope there’s minimal interruption between this and the previous series.

13) Green Lantern Corps by Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin & Scott Hanna
Peter Tomasi has been knocking Green Lantern Corps out of the park, at times even better than Geoff Johns (see Emerald Eclipse). No question I’m in for this one, either.

14) Green Lantern: The New Guardians by Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham & Batt
In considering former DC editors-turned-writers, I have not been as high on Tony Bedard’s work as I have Peter Tomasi’s. There’s a right and wrong way to write Kyle Rayner -- one is strong and sensitive, and the other is just sensitive, to a whiny fault. Hopeful Bedard gets it right.

15) Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan, Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
I liked Peter Milligan’s work on Infinity Inc., I know his reputation as a Vertigo contributor, and I’m excited for his “Dark” books. Red Lanterns seems an unlikely series, but I’m curious what Milligan will do. Ed Benes art often garners criticism, but it doesn’t give me pause for trying this.

16) Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
Overall I’m least excited for the Batman titles. Moving Scott Snyder from Detective to Batman doesn’t shout “new” to me, nor am I familiar enough with Snyder to appreciate his writing Batman #1 (as opposed to Grant Morrison or George Perez re-starting the Super titles). I’ll see how it goes.

17) Detective Comics by Tony Daniel
I feel the same here. Tony Daniel’s writing has been hit-or-miss for me, and I don’t feel he’s distinguished himself enough to be writing Detective Comics #1. Grant Morrison has made plain Batman-fighting-villains in Gotham stories seem too small for Bruce Wayne, and that’s what this seems like.

18) Batman & Robin by Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleeson
This is the former Green Lantern Corps team, so I know they can produce eye-popping comics; according to solicitations, this book also reflects events of Batman Inc. I’m not excited about a book where Bruce Wayne is a dick to his son for twenty pages, but I’m more optimistic about this.

19) Batman: The Dark Knight by David Finch & Jay Fabok
A fourth Batman title, especially without the distinction of being the team-up book or such, seems wholly unnecessary to me, as does restarting David Finch’s title after only five issues. Just the fact that this, too, ties to Batman Inc. raises it above Batman and Detective in my opinion.

20) Batwoman by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman & Amy Reeder
I’m glad, as I’m sure many are, that this book finally sees the light of day. That the solicitations mention Kate Kane’s cousin Bette make me hopeful that, when collected, the first collection will also include Greg Rucka’s Bette Kane-centered three-part story “Cutter.” Of course I’m getting this one.

21) Batgirl by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf & Vicente Cifuentes
I’m getting this one, too. I know the controversy and I’m sympathetic to all sides -- torn, really -- but it comes down to this: if there’s anyone out there who can make this work, it’s Gail Simone. I’ll pick this up at least in part to support Simone taking the risk.

22) Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski & Jesus Saiz
I like Jesus Saiz’s art, but writer Duane Swierczynski is an unknown quantity, and I don’t love the idea of a rebooted Black Canary with some unknown partner (it also looks like Poison Ivy and maybe new character Voodoo here). I’ll sample this, but I’m not sure I’ll keep up with it.

23) Catwoman by Judd Winick & Guillem March
Certainly I wish it were Ed Brubaker writing this, and Guillem March’s always-unzipped costumes seem the wrong direction to take this title. I like Judd Winick’s work, however, and that gives me some peace of mind here; I’m rooting for Winick to deliver something that respects the Catwoman character.

24) Nightwing by Kyle Higgins & Eddy Barrows
I don’t know Kyle Higgin’s writing; Eddy Barrows’s art has not been my favorite, though he did well recently on War of the Supermen. The red costume with blue highlights concerns me, too. Lots of eyes will be watching the Nightwing title when DC relaunches; here’s hoping for good things.

25) Red Hood and The Outlaws by Scott Lobdell & Kenneth Rocafort
This is such an outrageous concept that I’m very excited to see how it manifests itself. In interviews, Scott Lobdell seems solid in his description of this book as one about the redemption of Red Hood and the other characters, so I’ve heard nothing to cause concern so far.

26) Batwing by Judd Winick & Ben Oliver
Again, I like Judd Winick’s work. He handled international issues and locales well in Outsiders. And I’m not an advocate that writers must have personal experience to write convincingly. But Winick writing the adventures of the first black Batman, set in Africa? I’ll have to see how this turns out.

Tune in for part two, tomorrow!
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18 comments:

  1. Firestorm is not being drawn by Ethan Van Sciver. He will deliver the covers and will also function as a co writer. The talented Yildiray Cinar is the artist of this book.

    All in all I agree with your thoughts regarding these books. However I am more excited about the batman line. I got the trade for American Vampire (his vertigo title) and I must say that he did a splendid job building a dark world populated by realistic characters. I hope he does the same for the bat-universe.

    ps: I haven't yet read Snyders detective run since it hasnt been collected yet. But I heared only positive things about that particular stiory arc.

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  2. Most excited about the JLI, Red Lanterns & JL Dark amongst these.

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  3. I agree that Four Batman books is a bit much, unless one of them follows more in Streets of Gotham or Legends of the Dark Knight and focuses on the side characters of Batman: a look at Jim Gordon or others.

    I've tried to research Kyle Higgins but I can't seem to find much on his work, so I'm worried for Nightwing, I personally don't believe Nightwing has been written well since Dixon's departure. Scott Lobdell is another one that worries me, but not for Red Hood and the Outlaws. I'll wait for your next post to comment on him, though.

    Where is this supposition that Wally West will be the villain of Flash?! I'm worried about that!

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  4. Yeah, I hadn't heard about this Wally as a villain theory, although it's an interesting one. Is it necessary if Zoom is still around post-Flashpoint? I'm really concerned about the Flash title; since the mid-80's, there's really only been 3 long-term Flash writers: William Messner-Loebs, Mark Waid, and Geoff Johns. Most of the other writers, in my opinion, haven't done a good job with Flash (even the Morrison/Millar issues were hit-and-miss for me). I'm really hoping that Manapul works things out.

    When I first got into comics as a kid, it was mostly Batman. However, these days, I'm turned off by the franchise just by how many Bat-titles there are out there. I've been reading Morrison's books, mostly because I know he's basically leading the way, with the other Bat-titles either doing their own thing or following what he's doing. If they went back to just Batman and Detective, then I would start reading them again.

    Finally, as I've said before, I really have no interest in Aquaman, but I can't see myself passing up on a series by Geoff Johns and Ivan Ries.

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  5. My only experience with Kyle HIggins is the first two issues of Gates of Gotham (co-plotted w/Scott Snyder). With Snyder as the co-plotter, and the fact that Snyder's first Batman arc deals with Gotham history, I imagine the overarching story is Snyder's, but the main points and dialogue are Higgins. The Batman in GoG is Dick Grayson, and he seems competently written so far, so I'm hopeful.

    Snyder's run in 'Tec has been great - I think fans of Gotham Central and the post NML Batman/'Tec runs by Brubaker and Rucka will be happy with The Black Mirror when it comes out.

    I'm torn on JLI - I liked Jurgens writing Booster, but the rest of the cast I'm rather blase about. I imagine one of the GL books will give me my Guy Gardner fix, and I read as much Batman as anyone, so it's tough to get excited about Ice . . .

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. I stopped buying JLA back when Jurgens took over from Giffen/DeMattis, as I didn't enjoy the more serious direction and didn't care for the characters he brought in (Superman, Maxima, Bloodwynd). That being said, I've since read some Jurgens stuff I liked, and I like his art (particularly on the 2nd Booster Gold series), and as a fan of the JLI characters, I'm definitely giving that series a chance. Will probably try out Captain Atom too, as I really liked him in Justice League Europe back in the day.

    If the Blue Beetle series was Ted Kord, I'd get it in a heartbeat. But I really have no interest in Jaime Reyes, even if I know I'm missing out on some BB-legacy storytelling because of it.

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  8. Love the range of opinions here -- pro-Jurgens on JLI, anti-Jurgens on JLI, more Batman, less Batman, etc.

    No one has bad things to say about Scott Snyder's Batman work, such that my guess it I probably will like it when I check it out. And honestly I can't really imagine skipping any of the first DC Relaunch trades (except maybe I, Vampire, Voodoo, and All-Star Western), so probably I'll sample the Batman stuff, too. It really comes down to their having just been one Batman book for so long (whatever Morrison is writing) and then a bunch of other things trying to capitalize on that, that I'm predisposed to be un-enthused by four Batman titles going in different directions.

    "Wally as bad guy" is just my guess for the mysterious villain mentioned in the Flash solicitation. Really I don't think DC wants to make the fans that angry, though maybe we shouldn't tempt fate. I actually have a different favorite theory for Wally's fate right now; email or DM me if you want it, because I don't want to spoil if I'm right.

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  9. I'm just glad we finally have a JLA title we can be proud of.

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  10. I've read all of Scott Snyder's Detective Comics run thus far and.....I'm just not seeing what he's doing that's earning all this praise. Is there anything in particular that I should be paying more attention to that will increase my appreciation for his work here?

    There are too many Batman titles. I miss the halcyon days of Morrison on Batman and Dini on Detective.

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  11. I think you oughta try All-Star Western. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are actually pretty solid on the current Jonah Hex title, writting excellent stand-alone stories. With All-Star Western, it seems like they want to make a continuing story with that character, which sounds like an excellent idea.

    Unless of course you do not care at all about western comics, which would explain why.

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  12. Had to delete Glint's earlier comment because of a formatting issue (sorry Glint!). It read:

    I think I'm the only person who likes Philip Tan's work, his art on Batman & Robin was fantastically creepy and spot on for the story.
    However, he isn't suited to superheroics, whether that demonstrates the direction for Hawkman we will see.
    Put J H Williams III on any series as a regular and I would buy it.

    Scott Synder has been hitting it out the park, if you want some idea as where he's going with Batman listen to his interview with IGN.

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  13. @Anon It's not that I have any objections to westerns, per se, but in terms of my own twisted comics-buying habits, it seems to me that Palmiotti and Gray's Jonah Hex/All-Star Western is *never* going to intersect with the DCU proper.

    That's not a bad thing; I have no problem with certain titles existing on their own, and I imagine for readers of Jonah Hex it's something of a relief to know that title will never be affected by, say, Legion of Super-Heroes's continuity. That's just not as interesting for me personally as titles in the DC Universe main, or as Paul Cornell's Demon Knights, which does seem to have more lasting ties to the present. No doubt I'd like Jonah Hex -- I hear great things about it -- but there's enough else vying for my attention and dollars that All-Star Western is an easy skip.

    I'm certainly open to reviews of the title, however, and interested parties can email me.

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  14. @ CE, no problem, thanks for sorting that out! For future reference is there anything I and other posters can do to avoid the issue happening again?

    @Robert Young I wouldn't put Snyder up there with Morrison's redefining and leading the way, but I would have thought he's comparable to Paul Dini in character focus, including building the city as it's own entity.
    True he lacks the subtlety of Dini.

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  15. Thanks for understanding, Glint. Long unbroken phrases, or in this case the URL you used, are causing an issue. Better to use hyperlinks. Shouldn't be an issue too often, though, and one of these days we'll have a new template here ...

    Thanks again.

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  16. For the last few years I've treated the Bat books as being in two categories - the essential stuff by the a list writters and the non-essential stuff by everyone else. Looks like they're still split that way with Snyder & Tomasi leading the essential side.

    I'm quite disappointed by the choice of Jurgen's on JLI, but other than too many Lantern books, most of these seem likely pick ups for me. I will be a digital sampling with trade follow up guy.

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  17. I think having 4 Green Lantern titles is too much, and I say that as a die-hard GL fan. I'll be picking them all up, but I would actually prefer if it was just 2 or 3 a month. I wouldn't be surprised if that New Guardians series (or even Red Lanterns) doesn't last that long. As I already mentioned, it's too many Bat-titles that keeps me away from that franchise (with the exception of the Morrison stuff). If I were to read them all, I wouldn't have the time/money for the rest of the DCU!

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  18. Four green Lantern titles is a little much, but at least they all star different characters (and yeah, I don't give them all that long to last, either). But four Batman titles, all with Bruce Wayne in the lead, and none with Grant Morrison writing them? There's a certain fetishizing of Batman at DC right now that puts me off the character but good.

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