New 52 Week Three Predictions: How’d I Do?

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Last Wednesday, in recognition of the second full week of DC Comics’ New 52 promotion, I recommended the seven new DC titles that I thought were most likely to be worthy of your attention and your money sight unseen. Now that we’ve had a week to digest them, the question is how did I do? I think it’s safe to characterize the entire promotion as a monster success for DC at least in terms of PR for month one: sellouts across the line, reprints on the way and copies being ordered in the six figure range. Overall, I can honestly say the quality of the actual product has been stronger than I was expecting. The books I personally recommended for week three in order of expected quality were as follows: Batman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Green Lantern Corps, DC Universe Presents: Deadman, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Catwoman.

So how were they in reality?

Batman #1 – This is the book that I (along with many other people) expected to be the best title of the entire DC relaunch and I have to say I think it delivered. I really enjoyed the entire “Gotham is…” speech that ran throughout the comic. I loved the art during the Arkham scene. Yes, I agree that Damian, Tim, Dick, and Bruce were drawn a bit too similar to one another and it really drove me nuts that Dick was so much shorter than Bruce. (How was he just able to stand in as Batman? Did no one notice that Batman was suddenly two feet shorter?) I love the way Bruce Wayne’s optimism was displayed throughout the issue. A Bruce Wayne who believes in the future of Gotham is the only version of the character I can relate to because otherwise he is too much of a lunatic. Much like with Detective Comics, I don’t believe for a second that Snyder can pay off the issue’s cliffhanger in a satisfactory manner, but we’ll see where it goes. This book was definitely in my top three titles of the relaunch to date.

Wonder Woman #1 – Brian Azzarello promised this relaunch of Wonder Woman would be a horror title and there are definitely some horrific moments in this issue. I don’t really have a ton to say about the book, but overall I think it was one of the stronger titles of the New 52. Maybe not top five, but definitely top ten. I loved the art. It feels like the Wonder Woman we know with a bit of an edge. The intensity of her mythological roots is dialed way up. Her gods are more brutal than we’re used to. I’ll be back next month.

Nightwing #1 – Overall, I enjoyed this Nightwing relaunch. We don’t really get to see why Dick gave up being Batman, but he seems happy about the decision (at least as the issue opens). It’s a little strange to see Dick’s anxiety about visiting Haly’s Circus. It seems like he hadn’t been there in years, though he seems to indicate he just hadn’t seen it in Gotham since his childhood. If I recall correctly, pre-reboot he actually owned Haly’s Circus. So that rebooted element feels odd. It’s interesting that the assassin/villain(?) who shows up trying to hunt down Dick Grayson declares, “Dick Grayson is the fiercest killer in all of Gotham.” Is this tied to Batman #1? If so, it’s weird to kick off a reboot of the DC Universe with a crossover plot. If not, are any of the Batman editors reading these books or communicating? How could two titles featuring the possibility of Dick being a killer launch during the same month? Seeing as how Nightwing writer Kyle Higgins and Batman writer Scott Snyder co-wrote the recent Gates of Gotham mini-series, I’m assuming there’s a plan in place here.

DC Universe Presents #1 – I really enjoyed DC Universe Presents: Deadman #1. Deadman by the nature of his powers is very difficult to provide with a consistent supporting cast. He’s in and out of people’s lives too quickly. A side effect of this problem is that it’s hard to give Deadman someone to talk to about himself and as a result this issue is heavy on too exposition and narration. Having said that, were I a new reader I’d feel pretty caught up on who Deadman is after reading issue #1. I might have found some of the mystical elements of the character a bit off putting though. Personally I thought the issue had a killer cliffhanger ending. Way better than say… Catwoman.

Green Lantern Corps #1 – Didn’t really love or hate this issue. The one element I did really enjoy was that they addressed the concept that Guy Gardner and John Stewart chose not to disguise their identities when they became Green Lanterns, unlike Hal Jordan and Kyle Raynor, because they had no interest in blending in. It’s an interesting idea that sets John and Guy apart as Green Lanterns and also explains why we’ll see these characters teamed together. Guy’s efforts to get a job and desire to have some semblance of a normal life contrasts nicely with Hal Jordan’s cluelessness in Green Lantern #1. I would have liked to have seen who the antagonist for this first story is going to be, however. They seem pretty deadly from what we do witness.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 – As surprisingly good as Scott Lobdell’s Superboy title was, this book was bad. We’re given no introduction to the characters or reason to care about them. These characters have clearly been rebooted as Arsenal has regrown an arm and Starfire’s personality is basically unrecognizable. Why bother?

Catwoman #1 – I suspected Catwoman was going to be a bad book, but I had no idea it would be this pathetic. This was the most amateurish conclusion to a number one issue of a series I’ve ever read. You’re handed the keys to Catwoman – arguably one of the most iconic characters in all of comics – and all you can think of to do with her in your debut issue is have her run around with her bra hanging out and have sex with Batman for several pages? Judd Winick has been a bad writer at DC for a long time and enough is enough.

Dear Marvel – I will give you $52 if you offer Judd Winick an exclusive contract immediately. What do you say? – KevinMLD.

What’s that? You already took back Jeph Loeb and I never paid up on that deal? Fine.

Dear whoever makes those Extreme Comixxx films – I have the perfect writer for all of your future comic book inspired porn. Please hire Judd Winick and lock him in a room with a typewriter and a cheese sandwich. I’m sure you’ll like the garbage he comes up with. What do you say? – KevinMLD.

I know Judd thought this book would get attention and it certainly has. The New 52 talk all last week was about sexism at DC Comics. I’m sure Warner Brothers would be thrilled.

Overall I think four of the five titles I strongly recommended were pretty great and none of those were actually bad. That’s a pretty good week as far as I’m concerned. Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws were books I felt I had to check out even though I had reservations about them, and was I ever right. These are books that any fan of comics really should be familiar with at this point in order to be an active and informed participant in the community’s discussion of the issues that have been raised. Neither of these titles are ones I ever intend to revisit. It’s a shame that they are the first real black eyes for DC in the New 52 era. Public relations nightmares are inevitable, but it would have been nice if DC could have survived the launch month unscathed.

Read more about DC Comics’ “New 52″ on MyLatestDistraction
and keep up with each week’s picks for September:

Week Three / Week Four (coming September 28th)

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