Jacob’s Comic Review: DC Comics’ New 52

This blog entry represents my views and beliefs on several of DC Comics’ new 52 comics.

During the past couple of months, DC Comics announced that they would relaunch their entire DC Comics line with 52 number one issues.

For hard-core DC Comics readers like me, the news was…shocking!  Especially with the news that longtime DC Comics staples “Action Comics,” “Detective Comics,” “Superman” and “Batman” were also going to restart with new number one issues.   At first, I was both disappointed and skeptical.  One of the reasons why I was disappointed was that there would not be a 1000 issue for both “Action” and “Detective.”   Another reason why I was skeptical was would DC Comics be able to pull this off?

Now realistically, I cannot afford to buy ALL of the new 52 number one issues so I only focused on the comics that appealed to me.  So here are my reviews on five of “The New 52.”

Action Comics-Creative Team: Grant Morrison (Writer), Rags Morales (Penciller), Rick Bryant (Inker) and Brad Anderson (Colorist)

One of the titles that I looked forward to was the relaunch of “Action Comics” with the creative team of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales.    Morrison has had success with “JLA,”  “New X-Men,” “Final Crisis” and most recently the Batman books.    Rags Morales on the other hand drew some of my favorite stories including the controversial “Identity Crisis” and  “Countdown to Infinite Crisis.”  This book rocks from the beginning to the end and I enjoyed how they re-introduced the Man of Steel as a cocky superhero protector of Metropolis and several main players of Superman’s supporting cast including:  newly single Lois Lane, a new revitalized General Sam Lane (who committed suicide in 2010) and the always entertaining Lex Luthor.

Final Thought and Grade: I can get used to having this creative team on “Action Comics” for a while and I cannot wait to see the next issue.  A

Batgirl-Creative Team: Gail Simone (Writer), Ardian Syaf (Penciller), Vicente Cifuentes (Inker) and Adam Hughes (Cover Art)

For 22 years, Barbara Gordon was Oracle, the wheelchair confined DC Comics’ information broker and one of Batman’s strongest allies.  She was confined to a wheelchair due to Joker’s horrific crippling of her in the now classic 1988 Batman tale “The Killing Joke.”    In DC Comics’ “The New 52,” Gordon returns as Batgirl, her original and most remembered alter ego.    Besides watching reruns of both the 1966 “Batman” TV series and Warner Brothers’ “Batman” cartoons, I have never read a book in my lifetime that featured Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.

This all changes during the first issue of Barbara Gordon’s return as Batgirl;  “Batgirl” #1 was very well written and Simone cleverly weaves flashbacks of “The Killing Joke” into this new Batgirl tale.   In this first issue, we met a new villain named the Mirror, whose goal is to wipe out accident survivors and Barbara Gordon is on his list.  In addition to the Mirror, Barbara’s new roommate: Alysia and a new Gotham City Police Detective Mel McKenna also make their debuts.

Final Thought and Grade: A terrific first issue from start to finish! Enjoyed the artwork and the story’s pace.   A-

Batman: Detective Comics-Creative Team: Tony S. Daniel (Writer, Artist and Cover), Ryan Winn (Inker), Tomeu Morry (Colors) and Jared K. Fletcher (Letters)

Like “Action Comics,” DC Comics’ second longest running title “Detective Comics” also received a new number one issue.  This issue marked the first time that the Bruce Wayne Batman debuted in a premiere “Detective Comics” issue.   Tony S. Daniel has come a long way since he took both the writer and artist duties of the “Batman” book in 2009.    The art is still incredible and Daniel’s writing has improved tremendously.

In Daniel’s “Detective Comics” debut, The Dark Knight tackles his arch-nemesis, the Joker and also tackles the Gotham City Police Department (minus his lone supporter: the de-aged Commissioner James Gordon).   This issue also features cameo appearances by longtime supporting cast members Harvey Bullock and Alfred Pennyworth, with the latter appearing on a holographic feed.   Daniel ends the issue by introducing a new villain: the Dollmaker, who gives Joker…a terrifying makeover!

Final Thought and Grade: Daniel’s artwork and storytelling abilities have improved tremendously and I cannot wait for the second issue.  B+

Justice League-Creative Team: Geoff Johns (Writer), Jim Lee (Pencils and Cover), Scott Williams (Inks and Cover) and Alex Sinclair (Color and Cover)

What happens when you put several of DC Comics’ biggest heroes together?  They form DC’s greatest superhero team: The Justice League!    When you are dealing with DC Comics’ premiere super squad, you need to have big name creators on board: enter Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.    Johns has written some of my all-time favorite comic stories including “Green Lantern: Rebirth,”  “JLA: Crisis of Conscience,”  “Infinite Crisis” and too many to mention, while Lee has drawn my favorite heroes including Batman and the X-Men.

The first arc of the book will focus on the formation of the new league and also revealed the first villain that the League will be tackling.    The first issue takes place five years earlier where authorities hunted down superheroes and a world did not know what a superhero is.   This book has been one of my favorites of the New 52.    Some of the highlights include the bickering between Batman and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and the first appearance of Superman in his new armor costume.

Final Thought and Grade: This book is fantastic and I highly recommend getting it!  I also liked the cliffhanger too!   A+

Justice League International-Creative Team: Dan Jurgens (Writer), Aaron Lopresti (Penciller), Matt Ryan (Inker) and Travis Lanham (Letterer)

If the Justice League is supposed to be DC Comics’ premier superhero team, then the Justice League International must be their most dysfunctional.   United Nations Head of Intelligence Andre Briggs puts together a team of superheroes to represent the U.N.   The line-up includes leader Booster Gold, the honorable August General in Iron, the loyal Rocket Red, BFFs Fire and Ice, the mysterious Godiva and the animal absorber Vixen.    However, there are several roadblocks that this team faces including the public hates the idea that the team’s headquarters: The Hall of Justice belongs to the U.N. instead of the American people.

Another roadblock is the team in fighting which includes Green Lantern Guy Gardner refusing to be led by Booster Gold, the hatred between Rocket Red and August General in Iron and the sudden appearance of Batman.   The team’s first mission involves rescuing four U.N. research teams who have gone MIA but as the team finds out, recovering the U.N. research teams will not be an easy task especially if certain giant creatures are trying to destroy them.

Final Thought and Grade: Despite the excellent creative team, it is going to take me a while to find my way within this book.   B

To find out more about the titles and characters that were featured in this blog post, visit DC Comics’ official website at: http://www.dccomics.com

Comments

  1. Do you remember the action movies in the 90s? There was a Rambo – as leading character (usually acted by Stallone himself, or by Schwarzenegger) forced to fight against innumerous enemies: any other man would have been doomed, but our hero, with his guns, muscles, fight techniques and (last but not least) brain, was always able to find a way out. “Grifter” has the same storyboard, it is the exact translation of those movies in the comic book language: no matter how many enemies he has to face and how complicated their plans are, you can be sure Grifter will find a solution to all his problems. The stories are easy but cleverly written, and the drawings are simply explosive. It is definitely one of the best DC comics right now, so I can’t understand why it doesn’t sell: it should be at the top of the list of every comic book lover.

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar