As previously blogged about in the PiercingMetal Musings; DC Comics recently re-launched a number of titles and started them off from issue #1 under the branding of “The New 52”. The initiative’s prime objective being to up the number of titles available each month and to offer new readers an easier chance to jump on board with their characters. New costumes and beginnings are par for the course with the reboot but a number of the company’s most historic moments shall remain unaffected. The New 52 appears to have segmented the titles into a number of different groups based on the relation of the character – for instance there is a Superman and Batman grouping to enjoy and each title relates directly to the character. From these segments I have opted to share my thoughts on the first issues for your reading pleasure. In similar fashion to the Green Lantern titles, Superman also gets four new titles which find half directly aimed at him and the remaining two at the other most known super beings. The titles are Action Comics, Superman, Superboy and Supergirl. Here are my thoughts on the first issues.
Action Comics #1: How do I begin with this one? To most comic fans “Action Comics” was the flagship title of the DC Comics universe and the book that first gave us the mighty Superman back in 1938. The character has gone through numerous changes in his powers and abilities and even died for a little while back in the nineties and despite this he still maintained the banner of truth, justice and the American way. Given The New 52 was going to renumber “Action” from issue #1 after maintaining a continuous run for so many decades I had high hopes for this one. Instead we find a Superman who while sporting his classic emblem and cape, is also wearing jeans, construction boots and has a short sleeve shirt on. He is also a bit of a punk and this totally breaks away from the inspirational and revered hero of note. In the new continuity he has only recently met Lois Lane and Lex Luthor appears to be the counsel to some military powers but don’t worry, as he is still a bit of a cretin. Jimmy Olsen is Clark Kent’s best friend and works with Lois at The Daily Planet. Sorry to spoil this but Kent does not in this scenario. He was also rather brutish on the villains and treated them with malice. Traits we never saw in the Man Of Steel over the years. I am not sure where Grant Morrison is going with this one, but can say that the artwork of Rags Morales was at least nice to look at. This was another $3.99 issue and that was kind of steep to find being the case on some really disappointing revelations in my opinion.
Superman #1: With Superman’s debut issue we are apparently a number of years into the future and witnessing the demolition of the original Daily Planet building. Superman hovers over the fallen piece of history wearing his armor (yes I said armor and I have no idea why this is the case). His Clark Kent guise does not appear to be married to Lois Lane and comes off as a bit of a somber loner instead of the affable klutz we have come to love. This Clark seems to be the downer and the one you invite to the party last if at all. There is a ton of talking in the title and nothing really seems to happen that excites the reader. There is a battle with a fire creature and it’s all anti-climatic. George Perez wrote the script while Jesus Merino did the artwork and I had to say that I wanted the time back that I spent reading this one. I was very disappointed and had expected nothing short of greatness from one of DC’s most iconic characters. It’s safe to say that the other Superman #1’s we have enjoyed over the last twenty five years were far better than this attempt at revision. Am I looking forward to issue #2? Not really and I hate to be harsh.
Superboy #1: This debut introduces us to yet another Superboy and that means not the one which we long knew as a young Man of Steel or the clone that came to be during the whole Doomsday fracas. Our story begins in a lab where a test tube grown clone is growing and learning and eventually becomes free to live his life as an individual. There appears to be a lot of lab time and very little action against the massive amount of dialogue to read. There are some virtual reality scenes and they lost me a little bit when I was not sure if the whole issue was a VR scenario as opposed to not. I was left curious more than compelled about what can follow this debut issue and that is largely because of the splash page we see of the Teen Titans at the stories closure. It’s not really a spoiler in revealing this since it was probably the most exciting part of the whole book. Scott Lobdell penned the tale. I’ve read better from him for sure.
Supergirl #1: I wondered if this was going to be the Matrix version of Supergirl or something else and well, the answer was the latter. We find our heroine crash landing on Earth and struggling to get acclimated to her new surroundings. “Snap out of it Kara” she thinks to herself, so we are obviously dealing with the vintage Supergirl who most readers know originally met her maker at the hands of The Anti-Monitor during the Crisis On Infinite Earths so many years ago. Of course this is the new model of the old identity I am sure and as she comes to grip with the world around her she realizes she is not on Krypton anymore and begins fighting armor clad soldiers with levels of ease that seem to surprise her. Clearly this Supergirl is unaware of her powers under the yellow sun. This goes on for the entire issue until the final page where a similarly garbed man comes into the scenery and tells her to stop in her native tongue. Care to make a guess about who that could be. The story by Green and Johnson was decent enough to keep me wondering and I did enjoy the art of Mahmud Asrar. There were plenty of questions by the end of this one so I am hoping that as all gets revealed to the current incarnation of Supergirl that equal enlightenment will come to the reader. Not a bad effort for a reboot.
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