DC New 52 Report Card #2: Hawk and Dove, Justice League International, Stormwatch & More

Yesterday, we brought you our first batch review of DC’s newest line of rebooted books, and today, we’re finishing up on the massive 15 books that were released.

Books that we still have to get through include Hawk and Dove, Justice League International, Men of War, O.M.A.C., Static Shock, Stormwatch, and Swamp Thing. Lots to get to, a few good and a few just terrible, so let’s get right into it!

Hawk and Dove #1

Written by Sterling Gates | Art by Rob Liefeld

Hawk and Dove #1 is the worst book of the DC ‘New 52″ week one. The plot is a mess as it mentions and references things specific to old DCU continuity. The art is only good if you like to see characters constantly grit their teeth in every panel.

Seriously, how is Rob Liefeld still getting work? Unless you have read Brightest Day, this story will not make any sense. Do not buy this book.

Don’t even bother to borrow it from a friend. Sterling Gates, you can write much better issues than this.

Hawk and Dove #1 Grade: F

Justice League International #1

Written by Dan Jurgens | Art by Aaron Lopresti

It’s very cool when a writer like Dan Jurgens can show Geoff Johns how writing is done. In one issue, Dan introduces all the members of the team, and has them get into a battle something that we did not see in Geoff John’s Justice League #1.

You do not need to know a single thing about the Justice League International to read this book. The story is simple. The UN decides to form its own Justice League to protect the world from threats. They pick Booster Gold as the leader since he is popular and they think he would be easy to control. The team forms, travels to investigate the issue of some missing scientists, and then fight a big monster.

The issue even gives a good reason for why Batman would be on two Justice League teams. The art while simplistic is fun, and gives the book a good energy. My only concern is that in this issue, we seem to have lost all the character growth that Booster Gold has made in the last five years. It’s my theory that Booster Gold remembers the old DCU, and he’s playing the fool to keep his cover as a Time Master.

Hopefully, that’s the route that Dan Jurgens is taking with the character. Justice League International #1 is a simple, fun issue to read if you like comic book adventures.

Justice League International #1 Grade: B


 

Men of War #1

Written by Ivan Brandon & Jonathan Vankin | Art by Tom Derenick & Phil Winslade

A war comic is an interesting choice for the new DCU, but it’s a welcome one. It’s nice to see DC expand their line to publish something more than a superhero book. Although, this issue is about common soldiers dealing with the emergence of superheroes into their world.

It ties back to the history of the old DCU by introducing a new soldier with the last name of Rock. There’s nothing in this issue to suck you in.

The premise is exciting, and could be an amazing story. Only read this book if you like war comics.

Men of War #1 Grade: C


 

O.M.A.C. #1

Written by Dan Didio | Art by Keith Giffen

I feel like my eye sockets just exploded after reading this issue. The art is fantastic and colorful. Keith Giffen does his best Jack Kirby impression, and gives us pencil work that is a mixture of the best comic art combined with crazy colors and dynamic shading. Sadly, the story does not live up to the amazing art.

It combines elements of the original Jack Kirby O.M.A.C. concept with elements of Infinite Crisis into a brand new Hulk-like character. The characters are silly, and the dialogue is expository.

The charm of this issue is that it comes off as an issue that could have been published in the 1960s just with better coloring. Maybe a young kid would enjoy this book, but most other people will just cringe while reading some of the silly elements contained within.

O.M.A.C. #1 Grade: C-


 

Static Shock #1

Written by Scott McDaniel & John Rozum | Art by Scott McDaniel

This issue is DC’s answer to Marvel making Ultimate Spider-Man African-American. Dwayne McDuffie created Static Shock for the Milestone universe, which DC purchased a couple of years ago. The issue follows story threads that were laid in previous issues of Static Shock, but at the same time is so reader friendly that those elements are introduced so that all can enjoy the issue.

The basic premise is that Static moved from Dakota to New York, works as an intern at STAR Labs, and has a mentor in the other Milestone hero known as Hardware. Plus he fights crime, duh. This is a genuinely fun book. The art by Scott McDaniel starts off strong, but by the end of the issue, his pencils become loose and detail is lost. The only major problem is the ending.

For a book that could definitely be aimed at the younger crowd, the last page of the issue may be a little too violent. I’m looking forward to reading more issues, and hoping to see more elements of Dwayne McDuffie’s Milestone universe to be introduced. (I want a Hardware book now!)

Static Shock #1 Grade: B-


Stormwatch #1

Written by Paul Cornell | Art by Miguel Sepulveda

Stormwatch is a secret organization that aims to take on the biggest threats to the world. Threats the public doesn’t need to know about. We learn in the first issue that Stormwatch has secretly been around for hundreds of years, and the team in the book Demon Knights, coming out on Sept. 14, founded Stormwatch. Paul Cornell does a great job with this issue.

Stormwatch #1 could have been a continuity nightmare since it is the first Wildstorm book that is being integrated into the DCU. Instead, the book sets up each of its characters, and sets up a ongoing mystery that is interesting. The plot is simple. Stormwatch wants to recruit Apollo into their group. Apollo doesn’t want to be in their group. They fight. Midnighter shows up, and asks Apollo to join him. This issue also features Martian Manhunter as part of Stormwatch, and I have to say it includes the best Martian Manhunter character moment I have seen in a long, long time. The secret organization feel of Stormwatch #1 will be intriguing to anyone who likes the X-Files or Fringe. Stormwatch deals with the secret history and threats of the New DCU, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Stormwatch #1 Grade: B+

Swamp Thing #1

Written by Scott Snyder | Art by Yanick Paquette

Swamp Thing #1 is an interesting book. Especially since Swamp Thing doesn’t show up until the very last page. The funny thing is I still found myself enjoying it. Alec Holland, the human formerly known as Swamp Thing, is now free of the green. He works at a construction site, and wants nothing to do with plants, animals, or any kind of magic. When animals all over the world begin to die, Superman seeks out Alec, and tries to get him to help figure out what is going on.

Alec refuses, and tells Superman to leave him alone. When alone, Alec begins to have some terrible dreams of the threat that is killing animals everywhere, and that leads to Swamp Thing showing up to confront Mr. Holland. Scott Synder mixes the right amount of horror with just enough dash of the superhero DCU to suck the reader right into the story.

It was still compelling without Swamp Thing even being in the issue! Yanick Paquette’s panel layout and design emphasizes the mystery and horror. Creating one of the best-designed books I have read in a long time. Although, this story is heavily influenced by the events of Brightest Day, the story slowly introduces its characters and plot elements so a reader unfamiliar with Swamp Thing will have no problem understanding what is going on. If you like horror, and you like superheroes, go buy this book.

Swamp Thing #1 Grade: A

So out of fifteen books published last week, DC ‘New 52’ week one scored three A’s, six B’s, three C’s, and one F. Making the average score DC’s first week a B, not bad for DC’s first week of the relaunch.

DC ‘New 52’ Week One Grade: B-

See you again soon for the DC ‘New 52’ Week 2 Report Cards!

 

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