Week One of The DC New 52! Plus a heap of other great books that were overshadowed by Action Comics #1! Let’s get to it!
With all eyes on DC this week, Marvel snuck by with new issues of Hulk, Mook Knight, Punisher, Red Skull Incarnate, Thunderbolts, Wolverine, X-23, X-Factor and X-Men. The biggest release for the week was the New Avengers Annual by Brian Michael Bendis and Neal Adams, which saw Wonder Man come back as a bad guy, or something, I don’t know. You know Marvel are doing well when this is what an “off” week looks like.
Wolverine: Debt of Death, a one-shot by David Lapham and David Aja, saw Wolverine travel to Japan yet again to protect an old friend, whilst getting caught up with the Yakuza, the local police and Nick Fury along the way. I mentioned last week that I’m a sucker for done-in-one stories, and this one is certainly worth the $3.99USD pricetag.
In creator owned comics, there was no bigger release this week than Casanova: Avaritia #1, the long-awaited return of Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba’s mind-bending super-spy thriller. There was also new issues of iZombie, Sweet Tooth, Morning Glories, Irredeemable, The Boys, Kirby: Genesis and Mega Man.
THE DC NEW 52: WEEK ONE
Animal Man #1: Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman’s Animal Man is not so much a relaunch as a return to the character defined in Grant Morrison’s seminal run in the early nineties. This is one of the strongest books to come out of Week One, although Foreman’s art is a little divisive. Lemire manages to capture everything we love about Buddy Baker while bringing a heap of new concepts to the table. In short, it’s exactly what you want from a new creative team. Highly recommended.
OMAC #1: Keith Giffen and Dan DiDio’s OMAC #1 is far and away the biggest surprise of Week One. OMAC, one of the many characters created during Jack Kirby’s tenure at DC Comics in the mid-seventies, is a book I had no intention of purchasing leading up to the relaunch, but overwhelming positive response from fans of the character convinced me to give it a go. I was not disappointed. Giffen and DiDio manage to capture Jack Kirby’s vision better than anyone could have expected, but like Animal Man, they bring enough to the title to make it their own. Highly recommended.
Stormwatch #1: Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda’s Stormwatch was one of the few let downs of Week One. Although there was nothing inherently wrong with the book, there wasn’t really much to grab onto either. That said, there are some great moments in the book and the inclusion of Martian Manhunter really works, if only because Martian Manhunter is great in any setting. But there isn’t enough here to leave me with any interest in Stormwatch #2.
Swamp Thing #1: While Swamp Thing hasn’t been in the DC Universe since the birth of the Vertigo line in the early nineties, Alec Holland, Swamp Thing’s original alter-ego (it’s a long story, Alan Moore is involved), has been been absent from the book since his character’s death in 1984. Scott Snyder and Yannick Paquette bring both Alec Holland and Swamp Thing back into the DC Universe this week, and they do it pretty damn well. The horror-tinged writing style Snyder’s perfected in books like American Vampire and Detective Comics suits the book perfectly, while Paquette’s pencils take it to the next level with breathtaking visuals that really need to be seen. Highly recommended.
Other New 52 titles out this week: Batgirl #1, Batwing #1, Detective Comics #1, Green Arrow #1, Justice League International #1, Static Shock #1.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Action Comics #1
Grant Morrison returned to Superman this week. It was a pretty big deal.
Action Comics #1 is not the Superman we’re used to. This is Grant Morrison’s version of the Golden Age Superman, the one that debuted in the first Action Comics #1 back in 1938. This Superman can’t fly just yet, having to settle for being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But he’s still faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive.
Set five years before the “present day” Superman, we’re introduced to a young Superman in a homemade outfit fashioned from jeans, boots, a cape and a t-shirt. This is a Superman fighting for the common man, feared by the authorities and loved by the people.
But let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t All Star Superman #1. Instead of giving us the explosive first issue some people expected, this book feels more like Batman Incorporated #1, a great first issue that lays the foundations for what looks to be a fantastic series.
Action Comics #1 was not without it’s detractors. A North Carolina retailer has announced that he is boycotting nd all future Grant Morrison titles after Morrison’s “slap in the face to Superman, Christians and Superman creators Siegel and Shuster” in the pages of the blasphemous Action Comics #1. The sacrilege in question? Superman grunting “GD” after being shot by a tank. Seriously.
While any sane person would take this as a simple grunt, The Comic Conspiracy owner Jeff Lamb is adamant that Superman was taking the Lord’s name in vain, and he’s “tired of having comic writer’s liberal agendas force fed to [him]“. Apparently GD was not a grunt but in fact an abbreviation for “God damn”, the “final straw” for Lamb. Since the boycott began, Grant Morrison himself has come out to state the obvious, confirming that “the offending panel and caption, a mere ‘GD’, is a sound effect grunt – to suggest Superman’s breath being forced through gritted teeth – much like ‘DHH’, ‘GNUHH’ or the many others used throughout this book and in general in the comics business. It’s not in any way representative of God or a curse.”
And with that we conclude the first week of The DC New 52. Next week we’ve got Batwoman, Batman and Robin, Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Grifter and Red Lanterns to look forward to, but more importantly, we’ve got Ultimate Spider-Man #1 featuring the all-new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and boy has he got some big shoes to fill.
Until then, I leave you with my submission to Kanye Plus Comics, a tumblr that brings together two of my favourite things in the world. I think this one is relevant.