DC Comics has released so many new #1 issues this week, it seemed as though a collection of quick, concise reviews is in order. So, with a deep bow to Robert Christgau, who invented the music version of this format, here’s a Comic Book Consumer Guide.
• Detective Comics With writer-artist Tony S. Daniel doing Batman, you know the art (sinewy anatomy lessons; crinkly fabric textures) is going to be superior to the story (someone’s been reading his old Thomas Harris/Jack Ketchum paperbacks, hasn’t he?). Still, if you’re up for a bloody, naked Joker fix, this is your go-to book. B
• Animal Man From the canny creation of a fake profile in The Believer (let’s hope it boosts sales of that fine mag among superhero fans) to the heartrending family drama that underpins this new story, this is probably the cream of the “New 52!” crop. Writer Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth) really knows how to convey the inner workings of the always-cerebral hero Buddy Baker. For more extensive analysis and reasons why, be sure to read Jeff Jensen’s upcoming post on this title. A-
• Batgirl Writer Gail Simone takes her Birds of Prey storytelling powers and focuses them on the newly revived Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. The result is a burst of exhilaration, as Barbara/Batgirl revels in her new freedom even as she encounters a so-far not-terribly-chilling villain called Mirror. B+
• Hawk & Dove Mostly an excuse for artist Rob Liefeld to draw even sleeker, more hollow-cheeked, slightly more manga-ized versions of the hero duo he sculpted in the 1980s. Writer Sterling Gates is around to simply retell the (latter-day) origin story. As such, it lives up to DC’s promise to get you started if you don’t know Hawk and Dove from Wolverine and Kitty Pryde, but not much more. C+
And for those of you who missed my first post on this week’s new comics, here’s a quick summary of my review of
• Action Comics From writer Grant Morrison, a rousing Superman tale. It presents a Superman who’s the guy we know from the waist up (blue shirt, red cape, “S” symbol on chest, forelock dangling flirtily from dark hair) but new from the waist down (jeans,motorcycle boots). This Superman does not believe the rich and poor are treated equally under the law. Excellent: a Superman with opinions about Earth folks’ justice system. A few comment writers here have observed that the wise-guy/rebel Superman portrayed here is Morrison’s way of harking back to the original, 1930s Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; a good smart aleck is timeless. B+
More DC #1 reviews to come; keep refreshing…
More about comic books:
‘Action Comics’ #1 review: A radical Superman, forever in blue jeans?
Crisis In Comic Book Land? Comparing new and old ‘Justice League’ tells the tale
‘Justice League’ #1 review: Batman meets Superman, as DC Comics gets back to basics
Comic Book Heroes: A conversation between Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison