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. The Young Justice grouping of titles aims to prove that youth is not wasted on the young by delivering us a new go round of Teen Titans, Static Shock, Hawk & Dove, Blue Beetle, Legion Of Super-Heroes and Legion Lost. Let’s take a look at these shall we.
Teen Titans #1: During my younger days, the New Teen Titans title that was done by Marv Wolfman and George Perez was an absolute killer. The title gave us Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and some new cool heroes like Cyborg and Starfire against menaces that constantly kept us on the edge of our seats. A lot has gone on in the Teen Titans mythos and this aspect of The New 52 appears to find the team building up from scratch. The opening finds us meeting Kid Flash who is a serious show boater. He arrives at the scene of a massive fire and ends up causing more harm than good and puts innocents in harm’s way. It’s not likely that he means this; he is just wet behind the ears in this. We catch up with Red Robin (formerly known as Robin) who is monitoring this activity before being attacked by a mysterious group called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. – Drake escapes and soon comes in contact with a new Wonder Girl. She does NOT like being called that. Some additional tussling with the forces of NOWHERE ensues before the heroes win out and as the issue closes we find a secret lab getting ready to unleash “The Superboy”. It’s rather obvious that he will be a part of the new team and joining these four will be Bugg and Bunker. I was intrigued about this one since I liked Red Robin and was curious about some of the revisions to the core membership. Scott Lobdell writes while Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund do the art.
Static Shock #1: My only knowledge of Static Shock was when he was a part of the Milestone Media universe and having only read his debut title when that came out in 1994 I didn’t know much about the character outside of his being able to work with electrical charges and having been one of the creations of the late great Dwayne McDuffie. The action starts off right at the beginning with Static in pursuit of a science experiment gone wrong apparently. We don’t get to hear the explanation from the unwilling villain who gets offed immediately but we do meet some baddies that want Static done and gone called The Slate Gang and their big guns Virule. I am not sure that I will keep up on the character as he never really was one that interested me over the other books that I enjoy. Scott McDaniel wrote this and Rozum, Glapton and Underwood provide the artwork. Nice stuff if you enjoy this character.
Hawk and Dove #1: My background on the original Hawk & Dove comes from a few of their interactions with the Teen Titans before the death of Dove in the Crisis On Infinite Earths. I picked up on the second go round of the title with the new Dove back in 1988 and I liked the title despite it taking many loops and pitfalls. The characters were involved with a lot of continuity fluxes and were even killed a few times only to be resurrected. This third go round of the title seems to pick up where they last left off and fully aware of their pasts. We find Hawk and Dove trying to overcome terrorists who have hijacked an airplane and while they begin to get this underway are attacked by zombies. A weird premise for sure but they do win out despite some accidents to one of our nations landmarks. Hawk is just as you expect, a brash and angry individual with a quick temper. He speaks of his deceased brother Don, the first Dove and how he would have handled things differently from the way the new Dove does. Dove appears to be dating Deadman, and that was a weird scenario to find but I guess this all stems from the “Blackest Night” storyline which I have yet to indulge myself in. More bad guys appear towards the end and it leaves us with a curiosity about more of the back story and where it will lead us. The tale is spun by Sterling Gates and the art comes from Rob Liefeld who I felt did a good job in this title. I had grown tired of his style after books like “Youngblood” and “Bloodstrike” came out. Oddly enough Liefeld worked on the original mini-series featuring this incarnation of Hawk & Dove so in some sense the artist has come full circle. Or almost full circle.
Blue Beetle #1: I had to admit that I was initially surprised to see Blue Beetle listed in the mix of these titles since I knew him best as a member of Justice League. Of course I had not realized that Ted Kord, the Beetle that I knew and loved, had been murdered by Max Lord during the “Countdown To Infinite Crisis” storyline. This titles Blue Beetle is the third person to take up the identity and is Jaime Reyes, a young man of apparent high school age. The story starts in outer space where we see a version of the Beetle and also some Green Lanterns. It shifts to Earth where the Brotherhood of Evil is up to no good and on a quest for the scarab that gives power to who possesses it and hence creates the next Blue Beetle. An unfortunate timing finds our young protagonist with the bag and hence the scarab which takes him over to protect him (or itself). Once connected he transforms into the Blue Beetle and appears on the final page of his title. I will admit to not being supportive of an issue where I need to wait the entire book to meet the main character in his full capacity. I cannot say for certain if I will remain with this title as the character no longer really interests me as a solo effort but perhaps more as a member of a team (Teen Titans anyone??). Tony Bedard writes while Ig Guara and Ruy Jose provide the art.
Legion of Superheroes #1: I have to start by saying that the Legion Of Super-Heroes was NEVER my book and the characters for some reason just never did it for me. As an adult I do feel that the idea of them is cool but during my formative years I couldn’t care less. I had enough characters to follow and admittedly was much more of a Marvel Comics fan at the time that my friends who were passionate about it were trying to convince me of its value. Issue #1 of this relaunch finds the Legion already in action on whatever mission it is and they are aware of the circumstances that their companions are dealing with in the other title “Legion Lost”. We meet a LOT of Legionnaires in the issue and to make this easier, there are balloons who mention who each character is and where they hail from as the tale progresses. I counted fifteen such balloons and hence characters who are all interacting in the tale. The story felt sound enough but as someone who never much followed the mythos I doubt I will keep up on it. It’s written by Paul Levitz and drawn nicely by Francis Portella. While not much my cup of comic book tea, if you are a fan of these characters in any sense you will likely be drawn to it. It’s one of those titles that is like an underground band and has its own diehard fan base.
Legion Lost #1: This title is a spin-off from the LSH mythos and finds a number of their membership roster active in our present time. The events of Flashpoint seems to have sent Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Dawnstar, Tyroc, Tellus, Gates, and Chameleon Girl to the past and trying to figure out how to get home. There is a lot of action in the opening issue as the group tries to figure out where they actually are and when they encounter Alastor they learn that he has unleashed a pathogen that might have infected them as well. This pathogen would cause the death of the human race in the future should they return and that leaves them with a little bit of a problem. Even though I mentioned that I was not much the LSH fan this kind of story can hold some promise as it’s vastly different from its companion title. How can the from the future heroes deal with such a primitive past and how will they be received by the heroes of today. I am sure that many they encounter will not know how to deal with them or their abilities. Let’s see what comes of it. Fabian Nicieza writes and Pete Woods does the art.
As I closed up the overviews of the “Young Justice” assortment of titles I had to chuckle that there was not an edition labeled “Young Justice” at all and there was one many years ago that did feature a number of the characters we find in action across this span of titles. The only constant is change I guess.