Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff, Too!) – 12.14.11

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!) – 12.14.2011

Being the generous guy that I am, I figured that I’d give New Avengers (aka Dark Avengers v2) another chance to wow me before I moved on and forgot about it, so we’ll see if a second chance redeems it. And that’s as good a place as any to start…

New Avengers #19

See, last time around, at least I knew who the major villains portraying the Avengers were. Bullseye was in the crappy Daredevilmovie, Daken is Wolverine’s son, Venom is Venom, good enough. This time around, we’ve got a six-armed dude playing Spider-Man, someone named Gorgon as Wolverine, and apparently Hulk has a son who doesn’t like him. None of this is explained by Brian Michael Bendis outside of the long-winded introductions from the last issue where no actual information was given. I really dislike feeling like I need to go to Wikipedia to follow the damn plot of a comic book, and that’s exactly the feeling this is giving me. Plus, even the people on the Dark Avengers make an excellent point: Norman Osborn already tried this once and failed spectacularly at it, so why try it again? There’s some amusing stuff outside of the primary selling point of this arc, like Squirrel Girl acting as nanny for Luke Cage’s baby, and that’s the kind of plot point that I’d like to read more about. We know Osborn is insane and his team of loser villains aren’t going to win this battle, so why build it up as something it can’t deliver? Also, this one has one of my pet peeves, in that the cover has absolutely no connection to anything going on inside the book. It’s not even the same Spider-Man costume! I might actually try the main Avengers team given that they’re rebooting the team yet again, but this doesn’t appear to be the title for me.

Atomic Robo and The Ghost of Station X #4

The rollicking fun of Atomic Robo continues, with the team on the run from shady bad guys with big guns, leading to their transportation getting sadly totalled. The only solution to continue their quest for the mystery Station X? A CONVOY! For SCIENCE! Robo bonding with his new ride (“You’re Tucker the Trucker?” “Well, you’re Robo the Robot.” “Well played.”) absolutely cracked me up for some reason. There’s some really great dialogue here, plus the comic book equivalent of whip-pan gags and some good old-fashioned Bugs Bunny “imitating the boss over the phone” jokes as well. This didn’t feel as good as the rest of the series has been thus far, but I can’t really put my finger on why that would be. I’ll be kind of sad when this volume wraps up next issue, but they’ve got everything set up for the big finale and I’m really curious what the big conspiracy behind everything is all about. Big thumbs up here.

And now for the regularly scheduled DC product…

Batwoman #4

Speaking of big thumbs up, Batwomancontinues to be the must-see comic of the New 52. The story is moving at a good pace now, and I know I say this every week but holy shit this artwork from JH Williams might be the best I’ve ever seen in a mainstream book. Batwoman coming into a window, and her cape forming the panels of a double-page spread? Wow. Plus the beginning of the book is fantastic, with Flamebird striking out on her own and quickly regretting her cocky attitude, while Kate makes sweet sweet Sapphic love to Maggie Sawyer in contrasting panels. It’s such a simple storytelling device, but the dreamlike layout of Kate’s panels overlaid on the harsh, realistic beating taking by Flamebird…WOW. And then it gets even BETTER, with Cameron Chase using the brutalized sidekick to finally figure out Batwoman’s identity, because she’s both awesome and kind of a dick. This is the kind of series that makes me excited to be a comic fan again.

Feels like everything is going to be a letdown after starting with that one, but we’ll see what happens.

Green Lantern #4

OK, so the cliffhanger at the end of #3, with Hal Jordan apparently getting vaporized after diving into the yellow power battery, was good enough to bring me back again. And yeah, the whole story arc of Sinestro The Green Lantern is a pretty good one, mainly because GL is Geoff John’s baby and he’ll do everything to make sure it gets over. As expected, Hal is not actually dead because things weren’t quite what the cliffhanger suggested, and instead he’s just thrown into Korugar prison until his faux-ring can lose power. Sinestro, meanwhile, gets tortured by his former cronies and thrown in with his very angry former subjects, at which point Hal (who never thinks things through) has a great suggestion: Give all the disgruntled Korugans (who want to kill Sinestro themselves) their own fake power ring, and even if it only lasts for 10 minutes they can still wipe out the bad guys through sheer numbers. Of course, Sinestro learns the fatal flaw in that plan moments after enacting it, and we have another cliffhanger. Obviously my meagre say-so isn’t going to boost sales numbers much more than they already are, but I’m digging this series despite myself, because Sinestro’s redemption is an interesting plot twist and Johns is keeping it exceedingly simple (unlike the other two Green Lantern titles I have now dropped).

Batgirl #4

Gail Simone continues to drag out the secret behind Barbara’s escape from the wheelchair, dropping another hint about a clinic where they most definitely were not supposed to perform miracles. I’ve kinda been sticking around just to find out the damn reason, because the plot has been all over the place so far in this series. This one is the big showdown with The Mirror (in a funhouse Hall of Mirrors for extra sledgehammer of theme) and aside from Barbara moping around on Christmas Eve there’s not much going on here. I gave it four issues, but I’m done.

Grifter #4

Green Arrow? That’s supposed to be the big sales booster? I guess Batman has already been taken by a bunch of other titles for crossover. I dunno, the first couple of issues were interesting, but I don’t have any vested interest in Cole Cash and there hasn’t been much else going on besides him shooting at people and running from the law. Aliens are invading, and Green Arrow wants to know why! I don’t. Dropped.

And finally this week…

Batman & Robin #4

Definitely the second-best of the Batman titles, but that’s not really a criticism because ain’t nothing touching Scott Snyder’s Batman right now. I just find it really fascinating that Peter Tomasi can take such an unlikeable little shit like Damian Wayne and make a very good story around him. Really, this title is more Robin (also starring Batman)but given the abundance of Batman around the DCU right now, it’s OK for this one to focus on Damian’s daddy issues and serial killer tendencies. In this case, our heroes have been put in a bad way by Nobody, who Batman figures out to be the son of Henri Ducard, aka his original trainer. Another good cliffhanger here, as Damian decides that maybe emotionally unavailable Bruce Wayne might not be the best choice to be guiding his life. Not that I wouldn’t like to see Damian killed off in definitive fashion TOMORROW so that Tim Drake or even Jason Todd can reclaim the Robin costume, but this is good stuff regardless.

So Batwoman of course wins the week, and Grifter gets dropped.

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