The first week of DC Comics New 52 has past. Following the release of Justice League #1, last Wednesday DC released its first week of full comic releases of the new relaunch. Excitement has never been higher for DC Comics, and one single question has been asked by comic fans, new and old, everywhere.
Are the books any good?
That’s what the DC Comics ‘New 52’ report card is here to answer! Each and every week, I will read and review each and every book of the ‘New 52.’ Letting you, the reader, know exactly which ones to buy, which ones you should avoid, and which ones you should give to your friend that has never read comics before.
So let’s get started. This week’s books are Action Comics, Animal Man, Batgirl, Batwing, Detective Comics, Green Arrow. All books will be graded on a scale of A to F. Check in tomorrow morning for our second half of last week’s comics. Withoutt further adieu, let’s get started with our first book: Action Comics #1.
Written by Grant Morrison | Art by Rags Morales
This is the book that DC should have released first. Action Comics #1 completely reinvents Superman as a crusader for social justice, and a defender of the little man. Superman is younger, has a t-shirt for a costume, and isn’t powerful enough to fly yet. He just runs everywhere really fast.
There’s not much more I can say to praise this issue as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Grant Morrison’s writing gives the character a new, simple, yet relevant origin, and he seems to literally be testing the phrase “faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap buildings in a single bound, and more powerful than a locomotive.”
Except for some minor flaws in the art towards the end of the issue, this is an issue that you should give to anyone that doesn’t like Superman. It is the perfect introduction point for any non-comic fan and full-on fanboy.
Action Comics #1 Grade: A-
Written by Jeff Lemire | Art by Travel Foreman
Animal Man #1 is the poster child for why the DC New ’52’ Reboot should have happened. Here is a book that takes an obscure character, gives him a slight redesign, and creates in 22 pages one of the best stories I have read in a long time. Fans of strange horror and mystery will not want to miss this one. Buddy Baker, better known as Animal Man is a father, a celebrity, and a superhero, and he loves being everyone.
This is the story of a celebrity superhero done right. Animal Man has some strange dreams that foretell of some exciting stories to come. These small hooks in the story, and the developments with his children ensure that I will pick up this book every month.
Any non-comic book fan could easily read this book, and enjoy it.
Animal Man #1 Grade: A+
Written by Gail Simone | Art by Ardian Syaf
Now we come to the first misstep of the ‘New 52.’ Batgirl #1 is a book that confuses as much as it entertains. Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl! Apparently, three years ago, she suffered the horrible gunshot wound inflicted on her by the Joker in The Killing Joke. She spent that time paralyzed in a wheelchair, but it is unclear whether she spent that time as Oracle or not.
Now, through what Barbara calls a miracle, although she doesn’t tell us what the miracle is, Barbara can walk again! So Batgirl flies through the night again! Confused yet? I read a lot of comic books, and this confused the heck out of me. Oh, and she fights a villain that somehow knows she was shot, and wants to kill her for good.
I expected Batgirl to be so much better than this, and I know Gail Simone can do better. Don’t even try to give this to a non-comic fan.
Batgirl #1 Grade: C-
Written by Judd Winick | Art by Ben Oliver
NANA! NANA! NANA! NANA! Batman! In Africa! Thankfully, Batwing #1 is more than a Batman knockoff living in Africa. David Zavimbe, aka Batwing, was trained by Batman, and now wears a high-tech suit of armor to fight crime and injustice in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The art was good, and the issue has a very decent, but very bloody cliffhanger. It’s also interesting to note that Batwing is cop in his civilian identity so he fights crime in both sides of his life.
While the book uses a lot of generalities to deal with its setting being the dark continent of Africa, Batwing #1 still pulls off a very average issue. A great introduction to the Batman family for a non-comic reader, but it won’t exactly wow their socks off.
Batwing #1 Grade: B
Written by Tony Daniel | Art by Tony Daniel
There is a lot riding on your shoulders when you reboot a title like Detective Comics #1. The original Detective Comics was one of the first titles that DC ever published. In fact, it’s where DC got the name for its company. So how did Tony Daniel do? Not bad. There is nothing spectacular about this issue, but there is nothing horrible about it either.
The basic story is Batman chasing down the Joker after he has committed a series of murders. Then a villain called the Dollmaker shows up, and he and the Joker devise a new strategy that ends the issue with a pretty large cliffhanger. I’m very curious to see where this story goes.
Tony Daniel definitely took advantage of the “anything goes” attitude of the new DCU. If you have a friend that likes Batman, they could easily read this comic. It features Batman, the Joker, and a young Commissioner Gordon. A simple, plain Batman tale is what this entire book is.
Detective Comics #1 Grade: B-
Green Arrow #1
Written by J.T. Krul | Art by Dan Jurgens
Somehow the Green Arrow from Smallville hopped out of the TV show, and jumped right into the pages of this comic book. This is one of the funnest Green Arrow stories I have read in a long time. Instead of a brooding Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, we get a Steve Jobs superhero.
Green Arrow runs a multi-million dollar company that makes all the best technology of the new DCU; things like Q-pads, Q-jets, and Q-phones are mentioned. Oliver doesn’t think it’s enough to make technology to save people. He wants to physically help out wherever he can.
If you enjoy watching a guy shoot arrows at criminals with a smile on his face, then this is the issue for you. A good introduction to anybody that wants to read some Green Arrow.
Green Arrow #1 Grade: B+