East of Gotham: 10 Disappointments of the New 52 DC Comics Relaunch

This time, we’ll be looking at the recently completed New 52 #1s without the positivity.  All of these books aren’t bad, but I had really hoped that they would be more than they are, and was let down with the quality in them.  You can read my 5 Pleasant Surprises right here, and stay tuned for my Top 10 coming soon.

10. Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee (read the full review here)

Let’s begin with that this wasn’t a bad issue.  The characterization of Batman was great, and Hal’s every bit as obnoxious as always.  The problem, for me at least, is that practically the whole issue was two members of the team fighting what amounts to a minion.  It was horribly slow with the high majority of the cast getting next to no screen time.  This is almost the exact opposite of hitting the ground running and made me feel like I had wasted my $3.99.

9. Deathstroke by Kyle Higgins and Joe Bennett and Art Thibert (read the full review here)

Who let the art fall out of the 90s?  That was disappointing, if expected, but Higgins has been a big hitter in his short time in comics. The story, however, felt as generically 90s as the art, so this issue ultimately failed for me.  Nightwing was, luckily, much much better, so Higgins?  Me and you are still cool.

8. Stormwatch by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda (read the full review here)

I love Stormwatch.  Warren Ellis’ run on the book got me back into comics.  The radical re-imagining of the situation is fine, but they are pushing these characters a bit far for my taste.  This is my favorite book on this list, but the storytelling was sloppy, the character introductions were heavy handed, and there was a lot changed for change’s sake. Paul Cornell is probably my second favorite writer currently at DC, so I have faith this will pick up, but for now is a big let down.

7. Batman and Robin by Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason Mark Gray (read the full review here)

Peter Tomasi, when he was writing GLC and Nightwing, was one of my favorite writers in all of comics.  He understood storytelling, characterization, and kept making fun comics with building threats.  Since then, he has become heavy handed and melodramatic.  I was really hoping that wouldn’t continue here, but it has.  I wish I was more surprised.

6. Red Lanterns by Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter (read the full review here)

Every time I get a Milligan book, I’m scared.  He’s either going to be wild and original or absolutely dull and safe.  By it being on this list, you can tell which Milligan we got.  Red Lanterns, off on the fringes of the cosmos, could have been anything.  Instead we get blood spewing space-Punisher, which is sadly a whole lot less cool than it sounds.  Thanks for killing the issue with exposition.  At least Justice League Dark rocked.

5. Aquaman by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis (read the full review here)

Apparently the solution to making Aquaman a joke is to make him a huge downer.  More on my thoughts on that one, right here.  Apparently, I’m in the minority on this one, so if you were planing on reading it, don’t let me stop you.

4. Red Hood and the Outlaws by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort (read the full review here)

I really like Scott Lobdell a lot.  His Wildcats 2.0 is genuinely excellent and sets up Joe Casey’s 3.0 awesomely.  He’s a really good writer, and even on X-Men handled women really well.  So, that said, what the hell happened?  The guys are complete cliche’s and they devolved Starfire into a one dimensional joke.  This is simply the worst book in the relaunch, but, well, Red Hood and Roy Harper, so I didn’t have huge hopes.

3. Batgirl by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes  (read the full review here)

I love Gail Simone, but this may be the single worst plotted thing she’s ever written.  The beginning is jumbled between narration and character monologue.  The middle is full of trite characterization.  The end is a confusing mess that makes all the characters seem to be quite stupid, and I don’t mean Babs freezing from the gun.  I mean her being called a murderer while the murderer is in the room and the cop making the accusation saw the murderer kill her partner and instead points a gun at Batgirl.  What. the. hell.  I think the villain was supposed to have escaped by then, but, seriously, no.  I was really hoping for Gail to bring a joyous, fun tone to her favorite hero, but this just… isn’t good.

2. Blue Beetle by Tony Bedard Ig Guara and Ruy Rose (read the full review here)

I read this comic a few years back by a different creative team and it was one of the best teen hero stories I’ve ever touched.  This is the same comic minus the charm, minus the mysteries, minus the great characterization and plus a bunch of Claremont-esque Spanglish thrown in.  Thanks for nothing.

*Note: I don’t blame Bedard for this.  He got a crap job having to re-do what was just done so spectacularly.*

1. Legion Lost by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Wood (read the full review here)

I love the Legion of Superheroes.  After a hiatus, DC built them a ton of momentum between Johns’ Action Comics run and Legion of 3 Worlds, then gave the book to Paul Levitz.  Only problem is Levitz has apparently utterly stopped making compelling comics, much the way Claremont has, and he’s still controlling this franchise.  Well, DC relaunched, and kept Levitz, so Legion is still not something I’m going to read.  But I love Legion. And I love Fabian. And I love Wood.  What happened here?

This is the single most rushed, incomprehensible issue of the New 52 and in all of comics this year.  Say what you want about Red Hood, and it is terrible, but at least it tells reads what the heck is going on and bothers to introduce the characters before randomly killing them off.  The art is a mess and does nothing to help tell the story.  Apparently, DC is just dead set against taking my money for a Legion book.  Their loss, but mine too.  I love the Legion.

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