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DC Comics Reboot Week 3
September 22, 2011 - Amy Phelps
DC Comics enters week 3 of its new 52 issues, this time with a few more female-centric titles. Here's a look at this week's offering:
"Batman" (written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo) - Batman breaks into Arkham Asylum, investigating a weak link, fighting some villains and seemingly teaming up with the Joker. Seemingly. Later, Bruce Wayne gets ready to attend a fundraiser for a new project he is planning along with his proteges, Dick Grayson, the former Robin now Nightwing (and drawn to look like he's 13) , Tim Drake, the former Robin now Red Robin of the Teen Titans (which we haven't seen yet) and Damian Wayne, the current Robin and Bruce's son (whom we have seen. Unfortunately.) The evening is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body with a message that Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow and the body has a familiar set of DNA under its fingernails... This is a well written Batman, and his fans will easily be able to pick up this storyline.
"Birds of Prey" (written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Jesus Saiz) - In this issue, we meet two of the four Birds of Prey pictured on the cover, Black Canary and Starling, as they attempt to protect a reporter from an "invisible" group that seems out to kill him after he's been following them around. In flashback, we see Black Canary looking for new members of a team she is creating and talking to Barbara Gordon about it, also telling Barbara that she is trying to clear her name of murder (and even more apparently DC is just picking and choosing what continuity to keep and what to toss). Will the two women succeed? I liked the former Birds of Prey team and don't know what to think of this one yet, but I'd definitely check out the next issue. And Black Canary's famous "fishnet" tights outfit looks updated to weaved patterned armor, which makes a bit more sense.
"Blue Beetle" (written by Tony Bedard with art by Ig Guara) - Somewhere out in space, a deadly Blue Beetle armored invader wipes out an entire planet seemingly at the command of another strange alien. The Beetle-man remembers nothing, and more of the scarabs are being sent all over the world to create soldiers. Meanwhile, a Puerto Rican teen named Jamie is being picked on by the jocks, a girl named Brenda is handing out invitations to ber birthday party at her rich aunt's house, inviting everyone, including a high school dropout friend of Jamie's, Paco. His parents don't want him to go to the party because they think the aunt is involved with something shady (looks like they'd be right) but Jamie goes anyway. He and Paco go anyway and on the way are attacked by super-powered bad guys who are fighting over a mysterious artifact. In the midst of the attack, Jamie gets the bag containing the artifact away and it rips into his skin, transforming him. This seems like a tech-version of Spider-Man, with a misfit teen being transformed by a bug. So it may appeal to those fans, but it just seemed redundant to me.
"Captain Atom" (written by J.T. Krul with art by Freddie Williams II) - An atomic powered man is fighting a man in a robot-suit when he realizes something is different with his powers, he is able to transform metal to dust. He's worried, and then gets the call to go out to stop a volcano in the middle of New York City. But when he tries to neutralize it, something happens to him and he changes. This one didn't hold any interest to me and didn't really explain all that much about the characters or inspire me to care about them.
"Catwoman" (written by Judd Winick with art by Guillem March) - This one was probably my favorite of the week. Selina Kyle has been traced back to her apartment by some shady characters she's probably stolen something off of. Once again her apartment is destroyed and she gets out with her costume, cats and little else. Going to see a friend, fence Lola, she finds a place to squat at and rumors of a job - some shady Russians talking of stealing a horse painting. Spying on them, she also sees a shady character from her past she wants a little revenge on. But that surprise holds nothing to the one that is waiting on her at "home" - someone else who followed her - Batman. What does he want? I doubt it's what you think! I loved this book and would definitely be back - Winick writes Selina just right - sassy and dangerous, but with vulnerability.
"DC Universe Presents: Deadman" (written by Paul Jenkins with art by Bernard Chang) - Apparently this book will rotate characters, but this first story is about Deadman, Boston Brand, an arrogant circus performer who died and must now live the lives of various people, attempting to write their wrongs in order to bring balance back to himself, or at least so says Rama, the mysterious alien-looking woman he meets on the other side. Boston has done so, with varying degrees of success. His latest person is a disabled soldier named Johnny. But has Boston had enough? The "Quantam Leap"-like storyline intrigued me and I'd be back to read this but I don't know how long each "run" will be with the character.
"Green Lantern Corps" (written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin) - Someone's going around killing Green Lanterns. Meanwhile Guy Gardner just wants to live a normal life as a high school coach and John Stewart just wants city hall to listen to his construction plans that will help the town (even if it is expensive.) They are both finding civilian life hard and are almost happy to be called back to work for the corps. But what wiped out an entire planet and two Green Lanterns? I thought this was the best of the Lantern books I read so far with two heroes struggling with both sides of their lives and a good mystery.
"Legion of Super-Heroes" (written by Paul Levitz with art by Francis Portela) - At least 15 super-heroes from the 31st century attempt to get along and deal with the fact that some of their members are lost in time, tying back to "Legion Lost." There are way too many characters to sort out all of their backstories or really find anyone to care about in this short issue, and none of them seem to be at the same place at the same time. And the book almost seems to assume you know who they are and what they are going on about, which I didn't, and didn't care to try to find out.
"Nightwing" (written by Kyle Higgins with art by Eddy Barrows) - The former Robin, Dick Grayson, now Nightwing, finds a blast from his past as the circus he and his parents used to belong to (before they died) comes to Gotham. Reconnecting with a few old friends, Dick feels a link to his past once again. But on his way home, he is attacked by a strange super-villain. Taking the moment to change into Nightwing and fight him, the villain mistakens him as Dick's "bodyguard" and tells him he doesn't know who he is protecting - Dick Grayson is the fiercest killer in all of Gotham and doesn't know it. What is going on? I like the character of Nightwing and I think this is a good jumping off point for new readers, and the story's definitely intriguing.
"Red Hood and the Outlaws" (written by Scott Lobdell with art by Kenneth Rocafort) - Another former Robin (so, so many former Robins and all of the alive and still in continunity), this time Jason Todd, now the Red Hood, springs Roy Harper, Aresenal, (Green Arrow's former protege, at least he used to be but who can tell continuity-wise anymore) from a small Middle Eastern prison after he tried to help the people overthrow a dictator. Red Hood is aided by backup as he so eloqently puts it, "38 of them," in the form of the alien princess Starfire (or her parts he's obviously talking about) whom he immediately tells Roy he's been with. While hanging out at a tropical paradise and oogling Kori in a bikini, he mentions how it isn't awkward about him trying to kill her ex (so we keep that in continuity too) because aliens don't see humans as much more than noise and smell and have a short attention span, and she doesn't remember people, even those she's known for a long time (including former teammates of previous continuity, which apparently stays in this one.) When Jason is visited by a creepy goth girl that only he can see named Essence, she tells him about several murders robbed of organs without any cuts, probably the work of the Entitled. Which means Jason needs to get involved with the All Caste again. And meanwhile, once Roy is done quizzing Kori on people they both worked with and she no longer remembers (including Nightwing, whom she intensely loved in former continuity, but that gets wiped away in this one) she asks if he wants to be with her and when he does mention that she's proportedly with Jason, she says she can be with whomever she wants and drags him off. Where Catwoman was my favorite book of the week, this was my absolute least favorite of the entire relaunch and I'm including ones that I was absolutely bored by. That's because of the way Kori's character is handled - a former alien warrior princess reduced to being nothing more than an empty-headed vessel devoid of personality, memory and emotion with a nice body for the men to ogle and to take to bed. And don't misunderstand, I've never liked the character of Starfire, I was just disguisted with how she was handled now. I guess I just don't take too kindly to sexist writing.
"Supergirl" (written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson with art by Mahmud Asrar) - In this issue, Supergirl crashes onto Earth. She's frightened, wearing clothes she doesn't remember, doesn't know where she is, and when she's beset by men in robot suits, doesn't understand what they are, what language they are speaking and where her strange powers are coming from. And then Superman shows up... Not a whole lot happens in this book, it's the very beginning of the introduction of her character, but the writers do a great job of sucking you in and making you really feel for Kara and experience her raw fear. I would come back to this one and see how it progresses considering how well written this first issue was.
"Wonder Woman" (written by Brian Azzarello with art by Cliff Chiang) - A small farmhouse in Virginia sees its horses transformed into dangerous cenataurs who attack the owner, one Zola. A bird-man, Hermes, is trying to protect her, but she has no idea why they are after her. She is transported to London and meets Diana, Wonder Woman, who is going to protect her. When they are transported back to the farmhouse, she puts an end to the centaurs and finds Hermes dying, who begs Diana to take the girl and run to the ends of the world or the queen will kill her - because she is pregnant with Zeus' child, which is news to Zola. This looks like the start of a great mythical story with lots of action, so I'd come back to this one too.
Other than the continunity thing, which continues to confuse me with its keeping some of it and deleting other bits, I'm enjoying the DC Reboot. What does everyone else think? What will next week bring? What's been your stand-out title of the relaunch so far? Who is the glowing pink lady in the background? Will we ever know?
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