Sunday, September 25, 2011

The DC Reboot Continues

New week, new comics. But first, great news: J.T. Krul is off Green Arrow. The reign of terror is over! Even better, he’ll be replaced by Keith Giffen. Looks like the wall of pure hate I’ve been sending out finally paid off.

We’ll start off with the one I missed last week:

Mister Terrific
I’ve always like the Michael Holt incarnation of Mr. Terrific. In addition to being a believable take on a hokey Golden Age character, Holt is a really likable guy. Therefore, seeing him turned into a complete ass in the first issue (even if it is due to some kind of crazy mind-altering something or another) doesn’t really inspire confidence. Also, while I’m a big fan of Holt having access to all kinds of crazy super-science, an extra-dimensional fortress might be just a little much. Still, I’m a big fan of the character, so I’ll give this one a few issues to pick up.

And now for this week’s reads:

Like most of the Batman books that have come out so far, this has the makings of a good, solid Batman story. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t really look like they’ll be covering any new ground, either. My favorite thing about this book is probably Capullo’s art, which I think fits Gotham very well.

Birds of Prey
The first issue only introduces half the team, the story isn’t great, the art is mediocre, and the costumes are terrible. Not sure if being a Black Canary fan is going to be enough to keep me reading this one, especially if there’s no Barbara Gordon or Huntress. Judging from the cover of issue one, the rest of the team is made up of characters that I’m at best ambivalent about.

Blue Beetle
I’ll admit that, aside from his occasional supporting character appearances in other books, most of my exposure to Blue Beetle was on The Electric Company. When it comes to the DCU, I usually get the Beetle and Booster Gold mixed up. Still, I always thought the character was basically a science guy with lots of gadgets, so the whole mystical alien scarab thing kind of threw me for a loop. In general, I prefer street-level super-heroes like Green Arrow or Batman, but I can appreciate cosmic when it’s REALLY Cosmic (Morrison’s JLA, for instance). The background on the mystical alien scarab thing seems to be right at that “ho-hum cosmic” level that a lot of comics get stuck in, so I’m not sure if I’ll bother reading the second issue of this one.

Since I’d read Laura Hudson’s Comics Alliance article about this one, I thought I knew what to expect and expected bad. Turns out, it was worse. Hudson’s article article focused on the book’s smarmy, fanboyish attempt to make Selina a “sexually empowered woman,” but didn’t point out that even the non-”adult” parts of the book also sucked. Outside of the opening scene and the porn, the bulk of the issue follows the exact same plot as every bad action movie with a female protagonist (which, of course, have their own twisted view of what constitutes a “strong” female character) without the slightest hint of irony.

First off, a tangent inspired by the reference to Dick’s year as Batman: Can we please stop trying to squeeze references to the old DCU into every single reboot comic? Since the heroes in the new timeline are only supposed to have been around for a few years, trying to squeeze every single storyline (or some variation on it) from 70+ years into that time frame is just a little much. Also, it defeats the whole “remove all the continuity baggage that makes the universe inaccessible to new readers” idea that I thought was one of the reasons for the reboot in the first place. As for the comic itself, there’s just enough of a hook that I’ll probably at least follow the first storyline.

Red Hood and the Outlaws
Neither Roy Harper nor Jason Todd finished out the old DCU as likable characters, so it seems like a bad idea to start them off in the new universe with equally unlikable qualities (and in Todd’s case, apparently most of the unlikable background). And then, of course, there’s the whole “Starfire is basically a Real Doll with superpowers” thing that Hudson commented on in the article I linked earlier. Really the only positive thing about this comic is that (as far as we know), Roy hasn’t raped anybody yet. Unless a court determines that Starfire’s apparent inability to distinguish one human from another renders her mentally incompetent to give consent, that is.

The only Supergirl series I’ve read was the one Peter David wrote back in the 90s. In it, Supergirl was an angel who had taken over the resurrected body of a devil worshipping teenager. Or something. The point is, I don’t know much about the Kryptonian version of Supergirl. Maybe if I did, I’d recognize something in the first issue to tell me where the story’s going or what Supergirl continuity/origin is being used. As it is, I just know that Supergirl’s apparently just fallen to earth for the first time and has no idea that her home planet has been blown to millions of tiny chunks (a surprising number of which fell to earth in locations easily accessible to Lex Luthor). I’ll pick up the next issue or two and see if it looks like it’s going anywhere interesting.

Wonder Woman
There’s a chance that this is the first Wonder Woman comic I’ve ever read. It’s not that I don’t like the character, just that I’ve never been inspired to pick up any of the books where she’s the star. The new book might just change that. Judging from the first issue, it looks like the plan is to go full-blown mythic, and I think I trust Azzarello’s to do thatl. Also, Cliff Chiang’s art has kind of a Sandman vibe to it that I really like.
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