Selecting From The 52 New DC Titles

The first title in the ‘new’ DC universe of titles (I refuse to call it DCnU, which I think is very silly indeed but seems to have caught on) arrived yesterday in stores and online, both legally and unfortunately illegally, so it seemed about time to talk about the titles that interested me sufficiently to pick them up.

An aside: I think this is a bold move by DC to try to improve sales of comics, which have been decreasing in a depressing fashion for some time. DC has constantly rebooted its superhero universe, so this isn’t completely unexpected. However, doing it to the entire universe and starting everything again from the beginning, and then expecting people to pick up 52 new series seems ambitious and wildly optimistic. (And why 52 issues? It makes no sense.) Good luck to them, but the price of comics and the value for money they provide suggest that the business model is no longer viable for such a large-scale operation and the future does not look good for mainstream comic books, and I say this as someone who loves comic books.

Justice League #1
So, I didn’t buy it. I’m not a big DC fan, so I don’t have the affection for the legacy of this team that others have, and I’m not a fan of Geoff Johns’ writing, so it was not going to be on my list, even if it is the flagship of this launch. The only lure was the Jim Lee art (I’m a bit of a fan), but that wasn’t enough.

Action Comics #1
It’s written by Grant Morrison; obviously I’m buying it. I saw him give a Q&A recently, which only reinforced my desire to see a Morrison Superman book. Definite purchase.

Superman #1
A little comic book heresy: I don’t really like the art style of George Perez. I think that it looks stuck in the 1980s. For one of the big books of the ‘new’ DC universe, this seems at odds with the mission statement. He’s only doing breakdowns, but that’s enough. I have never read any of his writing, so I don’t have a compulsion to check this out.

Superboy #1
Don’t care about the character, don’t care for the writer, don’t care for the artists.

Supergirl #1
Don’t care about the character, don’t know the writers, I quite like the artist but not enough to sample this.

Batman #1
I haven’t read the Scott Snyder Detective Comics that has been getting a lot of good reviews (I might check out the trade), so this is an unknown quantity. It would take a proven, high-calibre writer to make me take a chance on this, especially with Greg Capullo on art duties, whose work has never appealed.

Detective Comics #1
Tony Daniel on writing and art? No thanks.

Batwing #1
The idea of the Batman of Africa is intriguing, but not by Judd Winick, who hasn’t written a superhero comic that I’ve liked.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1
Bwahahaha. David Finch doing both the writing and art on Batman managed two issues in all the time he’s been working on the character. I can’t see that changing any time soon.

Batman and Robin #1
Unless it was Dick Grayson and Damian by Grant Morrison, I don’t want to know. Apologies to Peter Tomasi (I don’t think I’ve ever read anything he’s written) and Patrick Gleason.

Batgirl #1
Gail Simone is an interesting writer and Barbara Gordon is an interesting character, but I don’t want to see her back in costume; I think that Oracle has been one of the best characters at DC and it’s a shame that we won’t be seeing her any longer.

Batwoman #1
The artwork of JH Williams on Batwoman in Detective Comics was astounding and I’m sure that it will continue. The only thing that prevents me from this becoming an automatic purchase is the untested nature of the writers: I don’t think I’ve read any Williams work and I’ve never heard of W Haden Blackman. Possible purchase.

Nightwing #1
Never heard of Kyle Higgins (sorry) and I don’t particularly care for the adventures of Nightwing (see previous comment about enjoying him as Batman previously).

Catwoman #1
Another Judd Winick-written comic book, another excuse not to buy.

Birds of Prey #1
Although I like the artwork of Jesus Saiz, I’m not tempted by ‘Gotham City’s covert ops team’ as a concept, and Duane Swierczynski isn’t a sufficiently proven author to change my opinion.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
The name alone is embarrassing enough for me to ignore this title, I’m afraid.

Green Lantern #1
I’ve not been reading Green Lantern and this seems to be a continuation of what was happening before (I guess Geoff Johns gets a pass on this title because he’s revived it so successfully and because he’s Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment, which means he can do what he wants), so I’ll continue with that track record.

Green Lantern Corps #1
See above for my Green Lantern-related reading habits.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #1
Ditto. I know Green Lantern has been doing well, what with the Brightest Night/rainbow Lanterns stuff, but how much mileage does DC think it can get out of this title?

Red Lanterns #1
Apparently, DC thinks it can get quite a lot of mileage out of this concept. Even though it’s written by Peter Milligan, a writer who has created some great work, I think this will be one of his lesser works (e.g. Elektra). And I don’t want to read about people who get so angry that they vomit blood, thank you very much.

Justice League International #1
I have no deep-seated affection for the Justice League (I’ve only read the Giffen–DeMatteis and Morrison iterations), and Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti don’t do anything for me creatively, so this is a pass, even if it does have August General in Iron.

Aquaman #1
Dear DC, please stop trying to make people care about Aquaman. It really doesn’t work. I think that this only exists because Geoff Johns is writing it (see previous comment about his position of Chief Creative Officer).

Wonder Woman #1
The creative team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang is an appealing combination but I’m not sure if it’s enough to get me to try a Wonder Woman comic. I’ll grade this as a possible, and wait to see what the reviews are like. Possible purchase.

The Flash #1
An artist writing his first comic book (albeit with a co-writer) doesn’t fill me with confidence, and I think it’s a strange choice for one of DC’s A-list characters. I’ve nothing against Francis Manapul, who is a fine artist, but I won’t be getting this.

Captain Atom #1
Seeing that JT Krul is supposed to have written some of the worst comics at DC recently (Cry For Justice and Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal), I don’t think I’ll be trying this book.

The Fury of Firestorm #1
When was the last time Firestorm was able to sustain his own book? More bravery from DC, but even the presence of Gail Simone as a co-writer isn’t enough to tempt me into buying what I can predict will be a short-lived title.

Green Arrow #1
JT Krul strikes again, so it’s another issue that can be left on the shelf.

The Savage Hawkman #1
Another character that DC refuses to acknowledge as a failure. Nobody has been able to make Hawkman work in an ongoing series, and I don’t think that Tony Daniel has got the skill to write a story that will change that.

Mister Terrific #1
I’d like this book to work because of the character (Mister Terrific was a great character in Greg Rucka’s Checkmate) but I can’t see it happening, unfortunately. The creative team doesn’t inspire me, and it needs to be a more famous team to give a character who has never had his own series before for it to stand a chance in the current market.

DC Universe Presents #1
I haven’t read a Paul Jenkins-written comic in a good long while, and although he is a competent writer, he’s not a must-read author.

Stormwatch #1
This one has me intrigued: I have a lot of affection for Warren Ellis’ Stormwatch, it’s written by Paul Cornell (who wrote the short-lived but enjoyable Captain Britain and MI:13), and it’s got the Martian Manhunter on the team. That’s enough to make me want to buy this. Purchase.

Grifter #1
I don’t know anything about the creative team, and the character always seemed to be trying too hard in any books I read with him in, but it gets a pass because it seems to have taken its story concept from Killer of Demons by Christopher Yost and Scott Wegener, which was good but it doesn’t mean it can be stolen from for a superhero comic.

Deathstroke #1
I’m showing my ignorance of the DC universe, but wasn’t Deathstroke a villain? Has he been recently converted to the good guys, or is it just this new series? Whatever the truth, it means I don’t really care for something that is trying too hard to be cool with its ‘finest in mayhem and gore’, as it says in the solicitations.

Suicide Squad #1
Another creative team that I’ve never heard of takes control of a strong concept but which hasn’t survived in its own ongoing series since the lauded John Ostrander series. And that cover: oh dear.

O.M.A.C. #1
I usually look at anything that Keith Giffen co-writes and draws, but I really don’t care about OMAC and, more importantly, it’s co-written by Dan DiDio so I’ll be ignoring it and watching the negative reviews.

Blackhawks #1
DC really likes it legacy concepts – when was the last time that the Blackhawks were able to sustain a series? Good luck with updating the concept for the modern world, but I can’t see this comic surviving without a powerhouse creative team behind it, which this doesn’t.

Men of War #1
I haven’t done exhaustive research, but I’m pretty sure that no war-related or soldier-based mainstream comic book that hasn’t been written by Garth Ennis has sold at all in the past decades, so good luck to Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick, because I’m not confident.

All-Star Western #1
A cowboy comic book? I’ve always felt that this a genre that is loved by creators but not by audiences, but they still keep coming back. Even Brian Azzarello couldn’t keep Loveless going past two years. Another case of good luck to the creative team.

Teen Titans #1
Bob Harras was editor-in-chief at Marvel in the 1990s; he is now editor-in-chief at DC and, based on this title, is trying to bring back the 1990s. Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth seem to be doing a comic that looks about 15 years too late.

Static Shock #1
I have liberal guilt because I haven’t read enough of the Milestone comics, and it looks like I’ll be continuing that by not picking this up either. I’m not a great fan of Spider-man and a copycat version doesn’t interest me.

Hawk and Dove #1
Rob Liefeld drawing Hawk and Dove? The 1990s are back, and that’s not a good thing.

Blue Beetle #1
I really enjoyed the John Rogers-written Blue Beetle, so I want this comic book to succeed, but I don’t think that Tony Bedard is the man to do it.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1
DC loves the LSH because it’s the comic book that won’t be allowed to die. Will the man who was creative force behind the team’s success in the 1980s be able to repeat the success now? Based on Chris Claremont writing the X-Men again, I’m guessing no.

Legion Lost #1
Not one but two LSH books to spread the lack of love? That seems cruel. If they had a crazy creative team, perhaps, but Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods are nothing more than a safe and competent pair.

Justice League Dark #1
This has got a sufficiently stupid idea (Shade the Changing Man, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine on the same team) and a writer in Peter Milligan sufficiently oddball enough to pull it off. I don’t think it’s going to work, but I’m going to find out for myself. Purchase.

Swamp Thing #1
This is a conflict: Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette is an interesting creative team (if Paquette stays on art duties longer than a few months) but I haven’t read an interesting Swamp Thing comic since Mark Millar wrote it. I might take a look if the reviews are positive. Possible purchase.

Animal Man #1
Animal Man will always be associated with Grant Morrison’s run, so I can’t imagine the character in any other way. It’s not helped by the ‘child manifests powers’ storyline, which doesn’t excite me. I’ve never read a Jeff Lemire book before (mea culpa), which could be another reason why I’m not interested.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
See above for the Jeff Lemire link. The Grant Morrison Frankenstein was awesome, so this has potential, and Alberto Ponticelli is a great artist, but I’d need good reviews before checking this out.

I, Vampire #1
Scott Snyder’s American Vampire is the only vampire comic from DC that has appealed, and I don’t think that’s going to change. I’m completely unaware of the previous work of the creative teams, so that doesn’t help.

Resurrection Man #1
Another comic from the 1990s, and a comic that didn’t last back then either. The concept is quite strong – a character who keeps coming back to life and with a different power each time – but I can’t see it doing any better than its earlier incarnation.

Demon Knights #1
Despite the fact that Paul Cornell writes this, I have no interest in a comic book about the Demon set in the Dark Ages of the DC universe. At all.

Voodoo #1
I didn’t like Voodoo when she was written by Alan Moore; I doubt that Ron Marz is going to change that opinion.

Three definites and two possibles. Hmm, I think I might be a Marvel guy …

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