Don't expect me to take you with me when I go to s
Sep 15, 2004
I thought we should have a general discussion thread for the new 52 titles which we can then split off into separate threads for each title depending on how much discussion there actually is.

Quick thoughts: Action Comics #1 is a completely different Superman written by a completely different Grant Morrison, Detective Comics #1 is surprisingly decent considering it's written and drawn by Tony Daniel but has a ridiculously extreme cliffhanger, and Stormwatch #1 is an odd mix of annoying, interesting and exciting but has the most potential out of all three.

More later when I actually wake up.
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Can't wait to read some of these. Particularly the Morrison stuff.
Action was fun, 'Tec was banal, Stormwatch was disappointing, JLI was about what I expected.

So far, a pretty average start to the relaunch, but as far as this week's titles go, what I'm really looking forward to is Men of War and Animal Man, and I haven't had a chance to check them out yet.
Animal Man blew me away. On par with the Morrison series, and the art is gorgeous. Easily the best thing I've ever seen from Jeff Lemire.

I might be biased, but Animal Man and Swamp Thing are the best books so far in the relaunch.
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I've read the JUSTICE LEAGUE which was alright but felt dated.

I really don't know if I'll read any of them. For 6 years, I've been told, "Read this new title, it's awesome" and I read it, and I've read it all before. There are some exceptions, and I know my current pull list of FF, DEADPOOL MAX, and PUNISHER are indicative of the best quality titles out there by the big two since, well, I'm done with them except for FF which I still love.

I think one of the reasons I love FF so much is not because it's wonderful (it is) but because it's the only one I like. If it came out in 2002, maybe I would've thought, "It's pretty good" but because it's 2011, I'm going, "This is the best superhero comic ever ever."

The only reason I'd read this comics is so I know I'm not missing out. I dunno. Maybe I'll try ANIMAL MAN or UNCANNY X-FORCE or whatever the hell is supposed to be 'good' right now. :?
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Just read the first issues of BATGIRL and ANIMAL MAN.

BATGIRL I found to have some nice elements (Adam's cover being the highlight); the Mirror is a rather intriguing gimmick for a villain, and the Brisby Gang were rather good. But, on the whole, I think it was balls. Batgirl is really rather uninteresting as a character and the storyline is pretty non-existent and undefined. This is because the Mirror is far too random as shown here. Sure, he probably has a backstory and more stuff, but unfortunately, all we see is the "poetic justice deaths" or whatever it is and as I said, it's a good gimmick, but gimmicks aren't enough for a character. His desire is important. Now, he's working down a list of people to kill, but we ask, "Why?" Without an answer, it's hard for us to have an emotional context about why we should care if he succeeds or not, which is only compounded by Batgirl's uninteresting nature. The other problem is that the inciting incident of the story, that which throws the protagonist's life out of balance and creates the spine of action is going to be the only major scene in #1, and likely the cliffhanger. In this case, it's Batgirl vs the Mirror, in that she becomes aware of the Mirror's crimes. This is fine, and precisely what I expected when I saw the note on page 1 or 2; immediately I knew that the story couldn't 'begin' as it were until Barbara either stumbles onto the Mirror or he comes after her and I knew that scene would be the cliffhanger for the issue. Unfortunately, the rest of the issue doesn't set up why that encounter matters. Batgirl is called a "murderer" so I'm assuming the story is that Batgirl is going to be hunted by the police? Is that the story? I don't know what that has to do with anything, I don't know who the cops are, I don't know anything.

Speaking of not knowing anything; how can Batgirl walk? I assumed that THE KILLING JOKE had been retconned away, or at least, if it happened, her paralysis was retconned away. But in this issue it makes it clear that Babs was shot and was paralysed, but we're not told how she's able to walk, but given the impression that there's a 'reason'. While this isn't a problem in and of itself, it becomes a very real problem as it is central to the story. The Mirror knows Barbara Gordon is Batgirl and uses the knowledge of the shooting against her to kill the person who I don't know who he killed. So it's rather frustrating; on the one hand the issue makes a big deal out of THE KILLING JOKE but on the other, retcons it away without explanation. Hrm. What's more annoying is what's good in the issue is Simone's portrayal of the Brisby Gang and their home invading. In fact, the Brisby Gang is a far better invention than the Mirror; with less set up they work better. What's more, it's a rather brilliant choice on Simone's part to have Barbara save people from a home invasion when you consider that she's a victim of a home invasion. It's a great idea, but Simone fails to deliver. First of all, the revelation Babs was a victim of a home invasion is placed after the Brisby Gang encounter not before. This could work as an expositional scene after the fact if it was set-up that we wanted to know about her past. Which brings me on to my second point: Babs is supposed to have mental scars of the invasion to the extent that three years later she's still having nightmares and that anyone who points a gun at her stomach makes her absolutely terrified. This is great, but during the Brisby home invasion, Batgirl is cocky and making flippant remarks and leaves as if it was no big deal. If, on the other hand, Babs was properly nervous and terrified, if she was shaking, hesitating, and almost gets everyone killed, then we'd ask, "Why can't she do it?" and then we see she's a victim. Alternatively, you could open the issue with Barbara being shot, dealing with PST and rehabilitation, and then building the cliffhanger which is Batgirl diving in to stop the Brisby home invasion. I think a 20-page diving into her life as to why she would be Batgirl and how she's not going to be a victim, seeing her take her first steps (as it were) into crimefighting after a three year absence and then he first real encounter is a recreation of her tragedy would have worked very well and made fans rather happy as it would address the central question of the character up front and honestly. Then, you could reveal that the Brisby home invasion was a ploy by the Mirror. Hell, you could have half the issue build up the invasion, the second half be the invasion which she overcomes, and then a final page cliffhanger pointing out that the Mirror, a new ironic villain, set it up... and why? Find out next month, same Bat-title, same Bat-price!

ANIMAL MAN, on the other hand, did what I suggested above. It has a terrific inciting incident: Maxine can bring dead animals to life. It's effectively set up so that when we see the scene, not only is it unexpected, but it makes sense, it's a pay-off, and we get why it matters. The whole issue discusses Animal Man and his responsibilities to his family to keep them safe and do the right thing as a hero. We assume this is setting up Buddy's family to die horribly at the end of the issue, but it turns out to be much worse; his daughter has superpowers so now all their lives are out-of-balance, but her power is grotesque and so there's a darkness there of her own soul that could destroy this family and resonates with the true worst fear of a parent: how do you save a child from themself? And it's set-up well; the man in the hospital begging to see his dead daughter is very dark and tragic, but most of all, it's insanity, which in turn sets up the spine-tingling moment where blood is pouring from Buddy's face, which is a rather horrific scene set-up by the insanity as it looks Buddy too, is about to be betrayed by his own body, and that then sets up the dream of blood with Buddy just as a nervous center and Maxine walking in blood, which then sets up Maxine as pet-necromancer. Very nicely done indeed. It could do with a spit and polish in terms of dialogue and art; some panels are under-rendered and sparse, and some reactions such as Buddy's wife towards his superheroics are just completely out of whack with her opinion changing on a dime. But it's good, solid work in every regard. I'm looking forward to the next one because I want to know where it goes! That's why I don't buy the whole "It's a set-up" excuse for incomprehensibility; you can be mystifying and confusing provided you make people want to know the answers. That's why empathy is important; I have empathy for Buddy and the issue I think really helped set up the unknown future in a way that I wanted to know more, while I found Batgirl to be rather emotinally uninteresting and couldn't understand where it was going or why any of what's happening matters. Nonetheless, I like this creation of "The Hunters Three", which is a terrific name for an Animal Man villain as of course, we like the symbolic elements of supervillains to be in some measure linked to the hero's, so animals vs hunters works nicely. The dream sequence art is also rather beautiful and so that whole sequence works. Indeed, the story is very dark, and the art has a wonderful darkness to it, everything is slightly off in perspective and the lighting is muted and lurking which helps evoke what is clearly going to be a somewhat dark and horrific story. And I like how it set up the sheer terror of loss a father could have when he loses his family. That scene with the crazy father was a great choice to help us understand why a single image of Maxine playing with dead, animated pets, would be a horror for Buddy. Really, when was the last time a writer just used one panel at the end of an issue to pay off the entire issue and set up the rest of the story and actually make it work? I doubt it's often. Here's hoping it continues to please!
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Action Comics #1 was good - I was hoping for something more Morrison-y but it's only the first issue. Who knows.

Stormwatch #1 was decent and I agree that there's some potential. I don't recall having ever read Stormwatch before so these characters don't mean much to me. But I'll keep with it and see how it turns out.

Detective Comics #1 was okay. The ending was weird. And I much prefer Morrison's Joker. This one was too cliche.

I've got Animal Man and Swamp Thing queued up - hopefully I can get to them tonight.
So this week I got Action, Stormwatch and Swamp Thing. I had planned to get Animal Man but my shop sold out before I got there. The owner said it sold very well for him. Hopefully i'll be able to get a copy soon.

Action - i'll be honest guys, I didn't really feel this one. I did like Superman as a champion for justice instead of the Law, and Luther hitting him with a train was pretty sweet. Maybe I just need to read it again. It is a Morrison comic after all.

Stormwatch - so this is big ideas and clunky exposition? As long as the dialogue cleans up i'll keep on board.

Swamp Thing - is this a continuation of Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing? They're talking about a lot of already happened events and i'm not sure where and when they happened.

A slightly underwhelming week one for me. Hoping to have Animal Man before week 2 starts.
I thought Action wasn't all that great.

I hated the art in Animal Man but liked the story.

Swamp Thing seemed to not realize the universe was rebooted.

The purple Lady is a female Phantom Strange in my opinion.
Now updated with all 13 titles from the first week.

My overall ratings so far:

5/5 - Animal Man, Swamp Thing
4/5 - Action Comics, Men of War
3/5 - Batwing, Justice League, Stormwatch
2/5 - Batgirl, Justice League International, O.M.A.C, Static Shock
1/5 - Detective Comics, Green Arrow, Hawk and Dove

Everyone seems to be really into O.M.A.C. which makes me think I need to read it again.

Next week: Batman and Robin, Batwoman, Deathstroke, Demon Knights, Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Green Lantern, Grifter, Legion Lost, Mister Terrific, Red Lanterns, Resurrection Man, Suicide Squad and Superboy. What's everyone looking forward to?
The art in Animal Man reminded me of Jae Lee, whom I love, so that made it that much more enjoyable. Great cliffhanger and story.

Swamp Thing was really good even though I have no idea what is going on, why or how Alec Holland is separated from Swamp Thing, or anything else.
I haven't read the Aftermath thing and it makes sense to me.

I'm sure everything will be explained.
What makes no sense is that the universe got rebooted, but the events that happened in Aftermanth, are the same basic events except for costume chnges.
What makes no sense is that the universe got rebooted, but the events that happened in Aftermanth, are the same basic events except for costume chnges.

The universe got relaunched - some things still happened, they just happened differently. Each title is effected differently.

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