Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis
Aquaman is cool. I’ve always known it and so have a handful of other fans. A lot of other people don’t know who he is or what he can really do. And that’s the first problem with the character. People tend to think he just spends his time swimming in the ocean, fighting people polluting the sea, working with Greenpeace and talking to the fish and dolphins. The writer, Geoff Johns, is aware of this and in the first issue he plays up the stereotypes, but there are also a few scenes where he shows the true power of Aquaman. He was one of the first members of the Justice League. He can survive and still fight at depths under the ocean that would crush normal people. He is incredibly strong, he can communicate with some sea life, and is a King to boot, a position he had to fight for. In this issue we see a group of armoured robbers open fire on Aquaman with machine guns. The bullets bounce off him, he gives them a look and then tips their armoured car onto its roof with his trident. The rest of the issue highlights the problems people have with him whilst providing answers and while it was quite funny, I think it was trying a little too hard. Nevertheless, this was a good first issue as it sets up his background very quickly and a few pages towards the end show you that something very dark and unpleasant is coming, and that he is ideally placed to deal with it. The artwork is gorgeous as well so that really helps. Probably the best comic of this fourth week and I just hope others agree and this title has the space and time to tell some awesome stories that the writer will have up his sleeve.
Green Lantern – New Guardians
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Tyler Kirkham & Batt
As a long time Green Lantern reader I found this issue intriguing but not very gripping. To someone who is completely new to Green Lantern I think it would have been incredibly confusing, even with 99% of the issue devoted to setting up the different coloured Lanterns and giving some clues as to their purpose and power source. If you’d seen the Green Lantern film or an animated version of the character somewhere, picked up the first issue of Green Lantern and based on that sought out other Green Lantern titles, this is not the one for you. The source of the Green Lanterns power is Will, and other coloured lanterns have different coloured rings and power sources. Blue for Hope, Red for Rage and so on. The also have different purposes as Green Lanterns are essentially space cops, but some of the others do not have such noble aims. It’s quite a complex and difficult thing to explain in a few sentences and unfortunately I think this first issue suffers because of it. I did enjoy the brief flashback and introduction about how Kyle Rayner became a Green Lantern, but the rest spends so much time on detailing background it leaves little room for a story. I think this title will read well in trade when you have more to sink your teeth into and I think it’s a solid title for existing comic book and Green Lantern fans. If you are a new fan I would wait until you’ve read some of the other Green Lantern books for a few months before coming back to this one.
Justice League Dark
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist Mikel Janin
Once again like Green Lantern – New Guardians, there are a lot of characters to introduce to the audience whilst also moving forward with a story. Milligan does a better job than Bedard, but by the end of this first issue I was left scratching my head. There are some good scenes, some interesting ideas, the artwork is lovely and there are lots of questions, but I just didn’t have a feel for the book. I have no idea where it’s going, which is fine as I like a mystery, but there was no obvious shape to the book. I think it suffered from trying to introduce too many characters in one issue and I also believe the appearance of the Justice League (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Cyborg) hurts the book rather than helps it. As I understand it, Justice League Dark (I still think it’s a dodgy title) is one of the Edge comics, aimed at teens and above and this team of magicians, wizards and magic users are working together to tackle the dangers and things lurking in the dark that the regular Justice League are ill equipped for. Demons, ghosts and other nasties that can’t be solved just by punching them really hard in the face. I’m simplifying things, but you get the idea. Having the Justice League appear in it muddies the water. People might come to expect to be in every issue as regular characters and will be disappointed when they don’t turn up. Really this title isn’t about them, there’s a whole other book about them. Showing the Justice League defeated by a magical enemy could also have been done in one or two short sentences. Looking back on my review so far, I think the title lacks focus is what I’m trying to say. It might crystallise in a few issues, but for now I won’t be getting this title and I am a bit disappointed as I was really looking forward to it.
Writers: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art: Francis Manapul
There have been a number of different characters that have been called The Flash before and this new series focuses on the second man to embrace the Speed Force, Barry Allen. He’s not been a part of comics for decades until a couple of years ago when DC writer Geoff Johns brought him back, but most fans have no idea why, myself included. The Batman has passed on the mantle, the cape and cowl, to a former sidekick but he always took it back and they became heroes in their own right: Nightwing and now Red Robin. The short version is Barry was believed dead, so since the 1990s Wally West has been the Flash in the comics. He used to be Kid Flash, a teenage sidekick, but he grew up, took on the mantle and earned it the hard way. As an adult Wally was a member of the Justice League and he fought alongside legendary heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and so on. Now, Barry is back, Wally has disappeared and I have no idea why. Apart from struggling to care about Barry this first issue sets up the story well enough, it gives up a bit of Barry’s history and sets up a mystery surrounding an old friend of his. The Flash is an interesting character because he doesn’t have any powers except the ability to run at incredible speeds by tapping into this energy field called the Speed Force. He isn’t super strong, or invulnerable and doesn’t have any gadgets. He has to do all of it for himself. He can use his speed and gravity to make it seem as if he is super strong. He can create tools and weapons in the same way and avoid fists and bullets with ease because for him every second can seem like hours. Manapul does some interesting stuff with the artwork and does a good job of highlight the Flash’s talents and a few of his abilities. Despite my personal issues with the series and how it came about, it’s a good comic, and if you like the sound of the Flash as a superhero then I would suggest it’s worth picking up.
Batman: The Dark Knight
Writer: David Finch
Artists: David Finch and Richard Friend
I really like Batman and he is probably my favourite comic book character. However, even though I thought this was alright, I just don’t see why there are four ongoing monthly Batman books with him as a central character. None of them really are doing anything radically different to the others. Two titles I can understand and for decades we’ve had Batman and Detective. If one of the new titles was 99% focused on Batman as Bruce Wayne, then you could probably squeeze in a third title, but four? This title was good fun, it was lovely artwork and the story was alright, but it was just another Batman book. I’ve hitched myself to Batman by Scott Snyder, because of the writer and the story, so that’s it for me, I’m not going to bother with the others.
Title: I, Vampire
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artists: Andrea Sorrentino
I just didn’t enjoy this. Not much else I can say really. I think if it existed in a bubble somewhere, if it wasn’t part of the DC Universe then it might work a lot better. But having a whole city or town wiped out by vampires is just silly in the DC Universe. If you create a set of rules or state of logic then you have to stick to them at all times, not just when it is convenient. If a town was wiped out every news crew, tabloid journalist, blogger and kid with a phone camera, plus every superhero in the world would fly in and wipe out every pasty faced vampire in a few hours. Batman would flood the place with UV weapons and special high tech lights, Superman would toast them with his heat vision, Firestorm would light up the sky with a fiery blaze, eliminating all shadows and every vampire would burn and that would be the end of it. Some of the titles from the new 52 should exist somewhere else, in a sub universe or whatever, and this is one of them, it just doesn’t work for me and it didn’t appeal.
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Sami Basri
This was basically Showgirls the comic. Its about a strip club and one of the strippers is actually an alien monster thing. 22 pages of strippers dancing and skimpy underwear with lots of T and A shots. Pass.
Writer: George Perez
Artists: George Perez and Jesus Merino
I really liked this title. Superman is a hero of sorts, but he’s not the golden boy that we think of from the movies. Clark works at the Daily Planet and yet the world and technology has moved on. The Planet has been bought out by a giant media corporation and the new owner promises to let them maintain their integrity and quality but Clark doesn’t buy it. He thinks Lois is being naïve and has been blinded by promotion and a lot of misdirection. Lois is also dating someone that isn’t Clark and he is viewed as a bit of a loner. This incarnation of Superman and Clark is definitely a more sombre and isolated version, a real alien among humans, as he doesn’t have his parents anymore and there is no heart warming scene at the Kent farm with apple pie. A new and bold direction for the Man of Steel.