September 21st ‘New 52’ Releases from DC

Yesterday witnessed another barrage of DC Comics restarts as we get closer to the final launch date. Though September 21st’s releases consisted of twelve titles, we’re going to take a quick look at half of those, including DC standouts Batman and Wonder Woman.  It’s hard to believe four of the five ‘New 52’ release dates are already said and done.  So far, personal favorites include Animal Man, Batwing, Justice League, and the Red Lanterns.  How does this week compare?  Let’s find out…

Two of DC’s biggest characters made their re-entrance this week along with one of the most anticipated books for me, Blue Beetle.  True, he’s not tier-1 character, but I guess I’m just fascinated by the whole Egyptian scarab thing and alien technology.  After all, humans didn’t build those pyramids, but that’s a whole other story and we’re here to talk comics, right?  Right!  So let’s get down to business…

Batman – The second biggest name in the DC Universe arrived in jaw-smashing fashion as the Dark Knight delivers one fist of justice after another.  The story seamlessly transitions from fight scene to Bruce Wayne dialogue and closes with a shocking twist that should have readers hooked in heartbeat.  The art is courtesty of former Haunt artist, Greg Capullo, who provides a gritty, more jagged style, certainly befitting of the dark parallels Gotham has to offer.  However, his drawings of the Caped Crusader are not my cup of tea.  On the upside, the colors are muted through most of the panels, which helps set the dark forboding mood we’ve come to know Batman stories so well for.  (Writer: Scott Snyder / Penciller: Greg Capullo) Grade: A-


Blue Beetle – For those not familiar with the Blue Beetle, think of it as Iron Man with organic armor.  Hey if the grocery stores are going organic, why not battlesuits too, right?  Anyway, Blue Beetle features the story of an average-Joe high schooler named Jaime Reyes.  One fateful day he comes in contact with an alien blue scarab that envelopes his body in a suit of armor that packs the firepower of a nation’s military…and then some!  This inaugural issue not only gives us background on Reyes, but on the armor itself as well, and does so quickly, but solidly enough that it doesn’t come across hurky-jerky.  There is a fair amount of Spanish dialogue throughout this title, some translated, some not.  Since it’s been 17 years since I took a Spanish class, I was really getting detached from what was going on.  Nevertheless, the backstory is above average with detailed artwork and vibrant inking.  Look for issue 2 to be a wet-your-pants unleashing of firepower. (Writer: Tony Bedard / Penciller: Ig Guara) Grade: B


Catwoman- Start off with a bang.  Literally.  This title makes its presence known out of the gate with its in-your-face panel-to-panel storytelling.  Selina Kyle is Catwoman.  Part time thief. Part time vigilante.  Full time hotness.  This was the underdog title for me this week.  I did not expect a whole lot here, but it turned out to be a well-deserved, stand-alone title for the sexy burglar.  The story isn’t as deep as I’d like it to be, but then again, is Catwoman that kind of character?  She can certainly be the Yin to Batman’s Yang…err…you know what I mean.  Bruce Wayne has a much more detailed history than Selina Kyle, but make no mistake, this isn’t the shallow end of the comic book pool.  You’ll find some expertly drawn characters here paired with writing that doesn’t make you feel like you’re out in left field.  The build-up to the action is timely, and once unleashed, makes for a thrilling ride.  (Writer: Judd Winick / Artist: Guillem March) Grade: B+


Nightwing – The original Robin helps guard the streets of Gotham as Nightwing, picking up in continuity after protecting the doom-and-gloom city as Batman for the last year.  Dick Grayson returns to his roots while facing a new enemy in this high-flying acrobatic delivery.  Most of the dialogue is that of Grayson’s thoughts, and while the writing is done well, the one-sidedness of it wore on me after a bit.  It’s still a good story with some great action.  Plus, there is a direct tie-in to the aforementioned Batman #1, which should provide for some gripping plot-work as we progress into both titles. (Writer: Kyle Higgins / Penciller: Eddy Barrows) Grade: A-


Supergirl – I know the basic cousin-to-Superman storyline, but outside of that, I was never all that familiar with the last girl of Krypton.  Let me just say that this title knocked my socks off.  It proved to be a great establishing issue and wasted little time getting some brawls thrown into the mix.  Even better than last week’s Superboy, this title excels at providing action with emotion to support another S-donning hero. The art is more than proficient (minus the cover), while the writing is intuitive and excels in establishing tension and the title character’s inner conflict. (Writers: Michael Green & Mike Johnson / Penciller: Mahmud Asrar) Grade: A+


Wonder Woman – Right behind Batman comes the third most significant DC character; none other than Wonder Woman.  First off, this title wins points for its nostalgically drawn cover, courtesy of Cliff Chiang.  The story inside, however, seems to resemble a little of what it’s like to flick a wet paint brush at a canvas.  It kind of ends up all over the place, and while it may hold imagery for some, it can be incoherent to others.  Issue 1 of Wonder Woman wasn’t quite that bad, but an origin book it is not.  All of a sudden as a reader you’re just kind of thrown into the mix.  Granted, there are some wicked action sequences, and while it wasn’t as fragmented as last week’s Demon Knights, it came close at times.  Here’s hoping they get this story ironed out with more coherency in the next issue.  (Writer: Brian Azzarello / Artist: Cliff Chiang) Grade: C

So there you have it.  Four release dates down, one to go and Supergirl comes out the big winner this week.  Next week’s New 52 releases include my most sought after book, Aquaman, this time written by Mr. Geoff Johns himself.  Some of the other DC books making their debut next week are The Flash, Teen Titans, Batman: The Dark Knight, and All-Star Western where Jonah Hex enters a 19th century Gotham and becomes the city’s first vigilante.  Let’s not forget the king daddy-o of them all…Superman.  Yes, the Man of Steel makes his entrance known on September 28th as well.  I’ll be away from Why So Blu next week so the review of any 9/28 titles will be the week after.  Thanks for your patience and happy reading!


7 Responses to “September 21st ‘New 52’ Releases from DC”

  1. Brian White

    What is the difference between the Batman comic and Btman: The Dark Knight?

  2. Gregg Senko

    Two separate storylines going on at once. Same concept as Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Peter Parker titles. Right now there are four Batman titles going at once: Batman, Batman & Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, and lastly, Detective Comics. The only one that really holds continuity with the main DC universe is the regular ‘Batman’ as whatever’s going on there, goes on in ‘Nightwing’ at the same time. As for Robin, the kid’s got a different personality from the one in ‘Batman & Robin’ (smart mouth punk) versus the one in ‘Batman’.

  3. Brian White

    I previewed both Catwoman and Batman on the iPad. They look awesome! I just have a hard time justifying 2.99 each for a digital copy.

    What does TDK deal with?

  4. Gregg Senko

    The previous TDK series only made it to issue 3 or 4 before DC stopped it and rebooted the series as part of The New 52. The previous one dealt with a mysterious killer bumping off homeless people around Gotham. Unfortunately, it turned out to deal with the Demon Etrigan and some other supernatural being and that killed it for me. Issues 1 and 2 had the Penguin and I think Killer Croc. They were awesome, gripping, dark…I couldn’t get enough. Then the demon thing started and it was a buzz kill. Like I mentioned in my Batwoman review last week, I think of Gotham as more grounded in reality. When I saw demons getting involved, I was done with it. Still, David Finch authored last year’s series and will do The New 52 Dark Knight as well. The guy is great and whoever was doing the artwork is awesome too. I just hope they steer clear of ghosts and goblins.

  5. Brian White

    Just read Catwoman. Whoa Batman!!!

  6. Brian White

    I liked Batman, but didn’t know what to expect from Animal Man. I never remembered him growing up.

    So what’s weird, none of these number one issues tell the origin story of the hero, do they?

  7. Gregg Senko

    No. Ironic, eh?