I had originally planned to do this much earlier in the week, Wednesday or so, but never got around to it. If you follow comics, or use the internet, at all you've probably already heard that DC Comics ended all of their current running titles in August. Beginning this month their entire line is relaunching with all new #1's. Everything, including Batman, Superman, Justice League, all starting over. It's definitely a bold move to say the least, but if nothing else it's gotten a whole lot of people excited about DC Comics, some for the first time ever, and regardless of what else I may think about a complete relaunch, I'm definitely down for anything that gets people reading DC.
September will see 52 brand new books released, roughly 12 or 13 a week. Being that not everybody will be familiar with some of these characters, let alone the creative teams working on the books, I thought I'd highlight the ones that I'm reading from each week as they ship. Not that my opinion matters in the least, but what the hell I'm excited about some of these books and I want to post about them. First post will include everything from the first week of September, along with the single book that kicked the relaunch off on the last Wednesday in August.
Justice League #1 from writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee started things off with a bang. I'm really excited about Johns finally writing the League, as he's definitely shown over the years that he just plain knows how to write DC characters. He's the man responsible for fixing the convoluted histories of both The Flash and Hawkman, he fixed the mess that Ron Marz made of Hal Jordan's legacy in Green Lantern by writing Rebirth and returning Hal to his deserved glory, and he also wrote one of the greatest Green Lantern stories of all time, Blackest Night. Jim Lee is known to Marvel fanboys the world over as the quintessential X-Men artist, he also handled the art on Jeph Loeb's Hush arc in Batman, and countless other projects for Marvel and DC, and is also one of the founding father's of Image Comics, and created WildCats among other projects. Jim's always been a favorite of mine, I generally buy anything he's drawing. Justice League is a no-brainer.
Action Comics is probably the book I was the most excited about from week one. I may not enjoy Grant Morrison's vision for Batman, but there's no denying the guy is more than capable of writing Superman. In fact, truth be told I've never been a big Superman fan and it takes a special writer to make me care about the character. Morrison's All-Star Superman pretty much assured that anytime he writes big blue, I'll be the first to sign up. Another of my favorite artists, Rags Morales, is handling art duties on this one. Again, I would've bought this book just for his art, the fact that Morrison is writing is just icing on the cake. Rags had a good run on Adventures of Superman a few years ago, he also did art on the criminally underrated Hourman series from the early 00's, but he really made his case for one of the best ever with Identity Crisis. The scene where Tim Drake finds his father's body is one that I'll never forget.
I've never read much Animal Man. I know Grant Morrison had a pretty acclaimed run back in the 90's but I've never bothered to read it. As a character, Buddy Baker is pretty cool, he can channel the power of different animals. Things like eagle vision, bear-like strength, rhinoceros hide to deflect bullets and shit, it's not the flashiest super power to have, but I wouldn't kick it out of bed. The reason I'm stoked for this new Animal Man series is writer Jeff Lemire. I've just recently discovered his work on the currently running Vertigo series Sweet Tooth. I followed him on to Superboy, a character I couldn't possibly be less interested in, and I liked that series too. So yeah, basically if he can make me enjoy Superboy, he can pretty much make me enjoy anything. The artist on this book is another story, I'm not a Travel Foreman fan at all. Sure this cover looks pretty cool, but cover art, and sequential interior art are two entirely different things. I have hope that his art won't detract too much from my enjoyment of the story, but the jury is most definitely still out on this one.
I read all the Bat books. ALL of them. Still even if I were to pick and choose, there's absolutely no way I wouldn't be reading Barbara Gordon as Batgirl again. She's one of my favorite characters of all time, and even though I liked her as Oracle, she'll always be Batgirl to me. Writer Gail Simone has always been hit or miss for me, I liked Secret Six, but hated her Birds of Prey run. She writes female characters pretty well most of the time though, and I'm really hoping that this turns out to be her best work to date. Barbara certainly deserves it. Ardian Syaf is a-ok as artist on this one in my book. His style is a little bit Jim Lee and a little bit Travis Charest, but even with that, his art almost jumps off the page. He particularly does action sequences very well. Can't wait to see what he does on Batgirl.
Got to be honest here, even though I read all the Bat books, this one I would almost consider skipping. I'm not going to of course, but I'd consider it. I'm not a huge fan of Grant Morrison's whole "Batman Inc." thing, and the idea of a flying armored "Bat" character in Africa doesn't particularly excite me. I'm a Judd Winick fan though, I thought his Generation Lost was the best Justice League series in years, and he's written other things I didn't hate. I'm not really familiar with Ben Oliver's art. I know I've read things he's drawn before, but I guess his art didn't really blow me away, because I can't really think of anything off the top of my head. Winick's really going to have to do something special with this one to keep it going much longer than a year, and honestly I don't see it going much farther than that, especially for readers who don't buy everything "Bat" like I do.
I'm a big, big, big fan of the old Justice League International series from DeMatteis, Giffen, and Maguire back in the 80's. It's still to this day one of my favorite Justice League runs. Then Winick brought the magic back in Generation Lost last year. When I originally read that JLI was going to be back as one of the new 52, I just assumed that Winick would be writing. Unfortunately he isn't, Dan Jurgens has taken over. Dan's been around for a long time, and while he's a perfectly capable writer, he's never really done much that I just loved. Aaron Lopresti is on art here, and again, he's a solid artist but not somebody who's really going to blow anybody away. Still I love these characters enough to hope that these two guys will be able to recapture a little bit of the magic that Winick rekindled earlier this year in Generation Lost. Plus, Batman's in it, and as long as Batman's in it, I'm going to be reading it.
Another character that I don't particularly care about. In fact, other than the mini-series right before Infinite Crisis, I'd never read any Omac at all. I'm reading this one based off of the preview I read in the freebie book that DC released prior to the new 52. Keith Giffen is another old timer who was around a lot while I was cutting my comic book teeth many years ago. His is not a name that I'll follow onto any book, but I do like his art. On Omac he looks to be channeling his inner-Jack Kirby, and I'm willing to give the book a shot based solely on the preview art I've seen. Dan Didio, the head honcho at DC is writing this one along with Giffen. He's still new to the whole writing thing, and I skipped his Metal Men series as well as his run on The Outsiders earlier in the year. This one will likely be the first one I drop, unless it ends up being really, really good.
I've only ever read one Swamp Thing run that did anything for me, and that was Alan Moore's legendary run. Again, Swampy isn't a character that I'm particularly interested in, unless a creative team is on board that I really dig. I gave Andy Diggle a shot a couple of years ago and the book was horrible. This time Scott Snyder takes the reigns, and believe me when I tell you I have every confidence that this will be the next legendary run for Swamp Thing. Scott could write a book about a gay Nascar driver who loved Paramore and Nicolas Cage and I would sign up for it on day one. He's currently writing the book that introduced me to him, American Vampire, and also just ended the best Detective run since Englehart/Rogers. If Scott Snyder writes it, I read it. The art is being done by Yanick Paquette who in my opinion is good, not great. He most recently worked with Grant Morrison on Batman, Inc.
Again, I read every Bat title, always have, always will. Sadly, one of the main Batman titles, Detective Comics, is one that I'm not really all that jazzed about. Tony Daniel is given the honor of relaunching DC's original flagship comic, Detective, the book that fist gave us Batman way back in 1939. The thing about Daniel is, he's a decent artist although not consistently so, but he's not much of a writer. I didn't like him as writer on Batman post-Morrison, and I doubt very much that I'm going to like him as writer of the Detective relaunch. At least some of the pictures will be pretty to look at, and Joker's in it, so that's something to look forward to. Don't want to completely pass judgment before I get to read the book, but I'd like to see somebody else writing 'Tec before too much longer.
That's a wrap on what I'm looking forward to from week one. I'm hoping week two will be done and ready to post for Wednesday. If not, look for it later in the week at some point. I'm sure you'll be holding your breath.