Final Week of ‘New 52’ Issue 1 Releases

The final week of issue 1’s from DC’s New 52 have been released and the public has had their day in the sun to review them. While I didn’t get to every issue that came out last week, I did take a look at six of the titles. I passed on David Finch’s The Dark Knight, simply because I’m not big on the idea of stopping a series three or four issues into it, then rebooting it right away. Plus, that title did not receive favorable reviews on Comixology, so in its place, I went with the lesser known I, Vampire. With other titles like Superman and the Flash gracing last week’s releases, week four saw the New 52 first-issue premiers going out with a bang…or was it more like a pop?

So what would be this week’s Supergirl?  That was my top pick of the September 21st debuts which outshined every other title on that date.  Will her cousin take the reins this week or would an underdog surpass the red-caped superhero?  Here are the results on the last round of issue 1’s for the New 52…

Aquaman – Was the reason you never read Aquaman before because he wasn’t cool enough?  If so, you can no longer use that as an excuse.  Not only does he kick ass and take names, but this title turned out to be one of the best of the New 52.  Geoff Johns needed to be the writer for this book and he needs to be penning Arthur Curry’s life for a long time to come.  Johns took all the aqua jokes and rolled them into one issue where bystanders threw zingers at the Atlantean king saying what so many readers have already felt about the sea hero.  The highly detailed artwork was a superb compliment to the equally brilliant story built here.  We get a little bit of Aquaman history here combined with a new breed of vicious enemies…think of piranha with limbs!  (Writer: Geoff Johns / Penciller: Ivan Reis)  Grade:  A+


Black Hawks – Oh, how I wish this was about my favorite hockey team.  Instead, it’s about a super secret band of mercenaries out to protect the world.  Think of the G.I. Joe movie, but with less colorful characters.  The book starts off with a flurry of action…and I had no idea what was going on.  Someone’s getting bit.  That guy gets punched.  This bloke’s shooting at something.  It’s a whole thing.  It seems like in each week of DC’s New 52 multiple title release dates, there has been one dud that suffers from frantic and/or hodge-podge story-telling.  Demon Knights was like that.  Wonder Woman was a little bit like that.  Black Hawks is a whole lot like that.  I established no care for any of the characters.  The artwork  was decent but that was the book’s highest point.  Other than that, we’re re-fed a story of nano technology that can enhance individuals once they’re in the host’s bloodstream.  Unique this is not.  (Writer: Mike Costa / Layouts: Graham Nolan)  Grade:  D


The Flash – While I’m familiar with Barry Allen, the fastest man on earth, I never really delved into an issue of The Flash.  Here we get a somewhat decent origin story with some proficient (but not my favorite) art and a story that holds your attention long enough to get to the whiz-bang-wow final page.  I’m not sure why the Flash wears a ring now that magically puts his costume on for him, but other than that, this book had a consistent story taking place with a great little twist thrown in for good measure.  (Writers: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato / Artist: Francis Manapul)  Grade:  B


I, Vampire – Here’s a story about an elderly couple with quite the romantic past.  No, they’re not wrinkled and gray.  Quite the contrary.  They look young and vibrant and they’re at least 400 years old.  This is the tale of Andrew Stanton and his former love Mary.  Andrew is the lead character in I, Vampire.  He’s one of the strongest vampires around, yet despises the bloodlust that Mary has for humans, as well as her distaste for the race itself.  Andrew will stop at nothing to keep Mary and her murderous band of followers from wiping out entire cities as gore is found in significant supply amongst the pages of this title.  The book was very muted in its lines and coloring, using a lot of shadows and mid-range blues combined with blacks for the night time sequences while going heavy on the tan and light earth tones for the sun-bathed daytime panels.  The story was a slightly difficult to follow at times as a conversation between Mary and Andrew was often playing out during events that were either currently or previously happened.  I did get the overall gist of it, which provided to be a pretty entertaining read.  With the vampiric pair mentioning Superman and the Green Lanterns, it’ll be interesting to see what’s on the horizon for this book.  (Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov / Artist: Andrea Sorrentino)  Grade:  B


The Savage Hawkman – Carter Hall is an interesting character.  The guy has been bumped off and rejuvenated countless times, thanks in part to the Nth metal that comprises his gear.  There is a well-founded build here as we get inside the head of Hall who is trying to run from his identity, while at the same time an archeological study is taking place.  When Hall arrives on the scene, he soon finds himself unable to escape his wing-bearing Hawkman persona to take on an impending danger.  This all sounds like good fun, but it was a little stale to be honest, some of which was rehashed from any number of sci-fi films.  It wasn’t horrible, but it missed the mark of greatness by a long shot.  If it makes Carter feel any better, I give it props for best cover of the 9/28 releases.  (Writer: Tony S. Daniel / Artist: Philip Tan)  Grade:  C


Superman – This was without question the most dialogue-heavy book I had come across yet in the New 52 series.  Lois Lane is making like the Jeffersons and movin’ on up.  Superman is just coming back to Metropolis after a mysterious hiatus, and an unknown threat makes its move on the famed city from afar.  On the bright side, thank goodness it’s not Lex Luthor.  I can’t think of a villain I hate reading about more.  On the other hand, what Superman faces here is a little silly, though there are some clever aspects interspersed.  Unfortunately, I never got excited on this lone issue.  I found it depressing at times, but still, it had its significant moments that stuck out like a ray of light where you could see something was possibly building for the long term here.  I loved September 21st’s Supergirl, though I’ve got a feeling that will take a more bubblegum path (and that’s fine) whereas Superman is going to go a more serious, even darker route.  Solid writing, some lag, great art.  (Writer: George Perez / Pencils & Inks: Jesus Merino)  Grade: B-

And that concludes our coverage of DC’s New 52 reboots.  Nobody can use the excuse now that they didn’t want to jump into a story mid-stream.  Almost everything has started over so there is no mid-stream!  We’re all at the source now and while there have been some less than spectacular titles, all in all I think DC’s efforts scream victory as most of the reads have been at least good.  Reflecting back over the past five weeks, I’d have to say my favorites include Justice League, Red Lanterns, Supergirl, Detective Comics, Animal Man, Batwing and my numero uno, Aquaman.  The second issues of a lot of these stories are already starting to show up in stores so get your hands on them now!


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