It’s the all-important second month of the New DC relaunch, and conspicuous by its absence is Justice League #2, which doesn’t ship until the end of the month. That’s quite a wait for the mythical new readers who are presumably hanging on the adventures of jerkass Batman and jerkass Green Lantern.
To the comic shop!
Action Comics #2
No letdown from the first one here. Maybe even better, in fact. Early Superman gets tortured by Lex Luthor, which acts as exposition for newer readers (although who doesn’t know his powers and backstory inside-out by now?) and then gives him a badass edge because Luthor monologues too much. Grant Morrison has the snappy dialogue going here and the cliffhanger definitely leaves you wanting more. I don’t know if the series is going to be permanently set five years ago, but I’m fine with it if so. Still lovin’ it, thumbs way up!
Justice League International #2
Still mostly fun, but Dan Jurgens is as cliche as ever with the broad stereotype characters like Russian Guy and Chinese Guy who don’t get along. I thought the storyline direction was interesting, with Booster ordering a retreat when the threat of a giant robot proves too much too soon for them. You don’t see that done very much, although there’s generally a reason for it. The problem for me is that Booster’s solo title was such a perfect vehicle for him, and we still don’t really know if the person here is the same guy as the time-travelling secret hero or just the gloryhound. This is your basic superhero team book with basic superheroes. I can live with Jurgens’ writing (I’ve read Zero Hour…TWICE!) and I’m probably soft on this title because I like all the characters. I’ll keep with it for now, but I don’t see it lasting all that long unless they punch it up somehow.
Animal Man #2
Boy, this is some weird stuff, but Buddy remains a very likeable guy. The bleeding eyes from issue #1 have progressed into creepy tree tattoos that will lead Buddy and his creepy daughter, Maxine, into something called The Red. This series delves a lot into domestic stuff, an area that most superhero comics tend to gloss over. How exactly DO you handle something like your kid accidentally transmutating your neighbor’s arm? I would definitely say it’s not for everyone, including the sketch-feeling art from Travel Foreman, but I’m continuing to enjoy where it’s going, much to my surprise. Maxine is adorable, though, and might end up being a breakout character as the kid sidekick here. I’m thinking this is gonna be an awesome trade paperback when they collect the whole story.
The first one didn’t move me, but I picked up the second one for the hell of it, and I’ll give Judd Winick this much…he’s sucking me in. We still don’t see very much of Batwing doing his thing, but Massacre’s showdown with the teacher, who naturally has a secret, was very intriguing stuff. And the art is wonderful, as the photo-realistic look from Ben Oliver lends itself well to things. This sucker is really, really violent, though, with gruesome stabbings and limbs getting hacked off. I still don’t think the Batman name is enough to carry this thing for long, but I’ll giving it a go.
Detective Comics #2
Well luckily no one got their face hacked off in this one, and the extreme gloom of the first issue was toned down to the point where it was pretty dull stuff overall. Bruce has a playdate with another eccentric billionaire (“Hugh Marder”? Really?) and then taps another random piece of ass. How many times is Batman gonna get laid in the New DC Universe? It’s only the second month! We get another shock ending, but not anywhere near as shocking as the first one. Not much to hold my interest here, although I found the art much cleaner and less murky than the first issue. Not terrible, just a decent comic.
Men of War #2
Eh, they lost me already. Instead of sticking with the gruff war comic stuff from the first issue, they change gears and now have Rock either hallucinating or actually meeting the goddess Circe. That’s not what I’m reading this for, and it ripped me out of the story immediately and I never got back into it. I’ll give it one more, but I’m not sticking around for long if this is where it’s going.
The first one was a fun, if mindless romp, but this one blew me away. I LOVED it. Great Giffen humor and light-hearted tone, and it dove right into the mechanics behind Kevin Kho turning into OMAC, as we meet Brother Eye and start setting up the various government agencies who are jockeying for control behind the scenes. Plus there’s a giant, knockdown battle with Amazing Man. The whole thing is very big and Kirby-esque (duh) and I just enjoyed the hell out of it. It’s a very easy read and no backstory is needed going in. I have no idea how they’re going to continue the witty meanings for “OMAC” in every title, though.
So once again, the winner out of the pile is ACTION COMICS, although Animal Man continues close behind. The surprise of the week for me was OMAC, a comic that was middle-of-the-road for me last month. I think I’ll circulate it onto the pull list and dump Men of War pretty fast if it doesn’t improve.