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DC Comics Reboot Week 1
September 9, 2011 - Amy Phelps
DC Comics has released its first slate of its reboot titles. Will DC fans like this new take? That will remain to be seen, likely next month when retailers will see whether fans will come back to the new books or not.
Here's a look at this recent week's offering:
"Batwing" (written by Judd Winick with art by Ben Oliver) - A brand new character created for the reboot, David Zavimbe is an officer for the Tinasha Police Department in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works to free the people from the clutches of drug lords like Blood Tiger, by day and by night as Batwing. Given armor and tech from Batman himself, Zavimbe faces a deadly nemesis named Massacre, who in the first issue, lives up to his name. The artwork is very well done and the story is interesting, but is there a need for another Batman on another continent?
"Static Shock" (written by Scott McDaniel and John Rozum with art by Jonathan Glapion and Le Beau Underwood) - A teenager named Virgial Hawkins uses his powers to fight villains while attending high school and working an after school job that turns out to be a front for his secret headquarters with a mysterious benefactor named Hardware. But little does Static know, New York City was free of superheroes until recently, and a group of villains aren't too happy with his appearance. This one is going to appeal to younger fans and has a vibe similar to Marvel Comics' "Spiderman."
"Green Arrow" (written by J.T. Krul with art by Dan Jurgens) - Oliver Queen is the wealthy owner of Queen Industries, which has a tech edge in just about everything. But Queen has been "multitasking" by using his time and his technology to fight crime under the guise of Green Arrow. With the help of employees/friends Naomi and Jax, to monitor his movements and to come up with new arrow-weapons for him, he takes on a group of superpowered people named Dynamix, Doppelganger and Supercharge. And there's more where they came from... This Green Arrow is drawn a little younger than the last one and seems less jaded, so we'll see if fans relate to him.
"Hawk & Dove" (written by Sterling Gate with art by Rob Liefeld) - Hank Hall is Hawk, the avatar of war and is a brash, angry man still bitter about the death of his brother and former partner. Dawn Granger is Dove, the avatar of peace, was involved with Hank's brother, and knows Hank doesn't want her around. The two must find a way to work together to keep their powers amped. This story was more an introduction to the characters than anything else, so it remains to be seen where the book is going next.
"Justice League International" (written by Dan Jurgens with art by Aaron Lopresti) - When does Jurgens sleep if he's writing one book and drawing the other? The United Nations, seeing the public's confidence in authority dropping, decides to form their own superhero team, one that will answer to them, unlike the Justice League. If the team is successful, the U.N. takes the credit, if it fails, the team gets the blame. Thus Justice League International is born, made up of characters like Booster Gold, Ice, Vixen, Fire, Rocket Red, August General in Iron, Guy Gardner - a Green Lantern, Godiva and Batman? The heroes are mixed on whether or not they want to be answering to someone, but they've got a job to do - find out what happened to a missing research team. This one has a good start with an interesting mix of characters.
"Swamp Thing" (written by Scott Snyder with art by Yanick Paquette) - Alec Holland used to be a botanist, his life's work a bio-restorative formula. Until there was an accident in his lab and he died. Until he woke up in a swamp with memories of being a monster creature. Now working as a construction worker, all Alec wants to do is forget. Until Superman shows up at his worksite and needs his help after a series of strange phenomenon. And some pretty freaky stuff is happening elsewhere. But who is Alec Holland now? It seems that Alec Holland may be remembering his life as Swamp Thing from previous continunity, or at least that's what it seemed to me. "Swamp Thing" used to be the weird, paranormal book and it looks like it may be going that way again.
"Detective Comics" (written by Tony S. Daniel with art by Ryan Winn) - Batman is hunting for a depraved criminal, The Joker, who has been leaving a trail of mutilated bodies in his wake. As Batman and Commissioner Gordon are both searching for the fiend, they save a little girl's life who just may know his whereabouts. But is it a trick? And what is the Joker up to? The last page is the biggest shock of all! This one seems the most like the old Batman series, so I don't see fans having much trouble transitioning from the old continunity to this one.
"Stormwatch" (written by Paul Cornell with art by Miguel Sepulveda) - a group of super powered people (they don't like to be called superheroes) have been protecting the Earth from alien threats for centuries and they're not about to stop now. The Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor, Jenny Quantam, Projectionist, the Eminence of Blades and Martian Manhunter are looking for some new recruits and it seems Apollo just might fit the bill. And they've both big problems because it seems the moon is threatening the Earth - literally. Or at least something inside of the moon who is looking to infiltrate a human and it may have just found a member of Stormwatch will do just nicely. I was a fan of the Authority, so I'm glad to see a similar, but different version of them back again.
"Men of War" (written by Ivan Brandon and art by Tom Derenick with secondary story by Jonathan Vankin and art by Phil Winslade) - This is an update of an older book, Sgt. Rock, about a soldier in an elite group. If you're into military comics, this would be your thing, but I'm not and it didn't do much to peak my interest.
"Animal Man" (written by Jeff Lemire with art by Travel Foreman) - Buddy Baker is a seemingly ordinary family man who just happens to have animal powers. Having decided to stop the costumed antics and become an animal rights' activist and spokesperson, Buddy is finding it hard to stay completely away. But in the course of saving a hospital ward from a gunman, Animal Man shows some strange symptoms. And after a very strange dream that night, he finds that it may be harder to balance his family life and super-hero life after all. I'm not familiar with the character pre-reboot, but the ending of this issue intrigued me enough to want to pick up the next issue.
"OMAC" (written by Keith Giffen with art Dan Didio) - Kevin Kho, working at Cromus Industries, may have actually been experimented on and turned into the monsterous creature, OMAC, by a strange being that seems to be remote-controlling him. He ends up invading a top-secret section, Cadmus, housed under the building. What do they want? Who messed with Kevin's genetics and why? This seems to be a good jumping off point to the book, but it just didn't appeal to me.
"Batgirl" (written by Gail Simone with art by Ardian Syaf) - Barbara Gordon is back to being Batgirl after a horrific home invasion with the Joker temporarily paralyzed her (that's still staying in some form.) But she's still a bit nervous getting back out there and she's finally moving out of her dad's house and into a new life. But will her past come back to haunt her? Though I'm a bit bummed that Oracle is gone, so far the story is handling her return to being Batgirl well, so I'll be looking forward to seeing what's next.
Last but not least is "Action Comics" (written by Grant Morrison with art by Rags Morales) - Superman has more of an edge in this new reboot version. Whether he's dangling wealthy but shady businessmen over ledges or swinging wrecking balls into tanks, it seems the kinder, gentler Superman is no more. While the authorities scramble to deal with this superpowered alien, the mild-mannered Clark Kent struggles to make the rent in his shabby apartment. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen meanwhile, are on a collison course on a train and need a hero to save them. But did someone sinister, like oh, say, Lex Luthor, put the train in harm's way on purpose? Despite Superman's mood change, I think his fans will still enjoy this new take on their hero.
Now all that's left to do is wait until next week for more new releases!
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