So, for the fun of it, I’m going to be collecting all 52 DC #1 issues. And I’m going to review them all. Keep in mind, though, that I’m generally a Marvel fan and, while I’m working may way through DC’s recent big events, I’m only up through the middle of Countdown and I haven’t read any of DC’s non-event comics in a long time, so I’m coming at these stories with a bit of a disadvantage in terms of chronology and character knowledge. Since DC is certainly trying to attract new readers, though, this makes me come at them with a perspective similar to their hypothetical new fans…
Batman #1 (DC) – Maybe DC should just stick to stories about Batman or written by Scott Snyder. They seem to do well with those. I’ve liked all of the Batman issues of DCnU and this one is no exception. Greg Capullo does a great job on the pencils on this one. This story gives us a great intro to many of Batman’s enemies, reaches out to Batman’s wider universe of allies, gives a great nod to his past and leaves us with a great mystery at the end. This is a very good comic.
Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5
Birds of Prey #1 (DC) – Unlike some of the other creative teams this week, Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz at least try to balance the “hotness” of their female characters with a good story and clothing that is functional. Sure, they’re still models and there is still some titillation, but the costumes are legit for superheroines and the women are well-written characters in a well-written story.
Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5
Blue Beetle #1 (DC) – So far, this is DC’s best attempt at diversity. There have been a number of other minority characters in the new comics, but they all seem to be colorblind attempts at diversity, with the black characters not being stereotypical, but also not being distinguishable from white characters beyond the visual elements. In this issue, Jaime Reyes is written as a real human being and his Hispanic heritage is not ignored and he doesn’t descend into a characature, either (although a few of the other characters come dangerously close). There is also a great Spanglish joke that was my favorite moment of the week.
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5
Captain Atom #1 (DC) – The art is a bit too loose for my tastes and I’m not sure that I like this particular take on Captain Atom, but J.T. Krul does commit to a particular vision of the character and does a good job of being consistent and creating a coherent narrative and personality for Captain Atom and his supporting cast. Definitely worth a continued look.
Story: 7.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 7
Catwoman #1 (DC) – The art by Guillem March is bad enough to sink it (near-Liefeldian body proportion problems mixed with Macfarlane-esque contortions). Tht title of the story is “most of the costumes stay on,” which has to be ironic, since in the three pages before we learn that title, we see five separate panels showing Selina’s bra-covered breasts. The rest of the issue has naked hookers and a throwaway woman who is beaten and killed for no particular reason. The story seems like a man’s revenge fantasy of what a woman would do to a man who had brutalized and killed another woman. Sort of like his heart’s in the right place, but he doesn’t quite understand women. And the concept is undercut by the wall-to-wall TNA and the uncomfortable Batman sex scene. One positive note: through 39 DCnU issues, Catwoman’s contact Lola is the first female character I’m aware of who isn’t skinny. She’s still in skin-tight clothing and is somewhat sexualized, but it’s something
Story: 1 Art: 4 Overall: 2.5
DC Universe Presents #1 (DC) – Another issue where there is a coherent vision for the character and an attempt at creating a style and tone for the series that, while I may not love it, I can appreciate the quality of what is being done. This issue has some interesting things in it, including a possibly unintentional homage to the movie Fallen, with Denzel Washington, that works well.
Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7
Green Lantern Corps #1 (DC) – This issue isn’t perfect, but it’s still very entertaining. The Guy Gardner-John Stewart team-up works well. Artist Fernando Pasarin’s strength appears to be the big, epic shots. In a GL story, there are a lot of those and most of them in this issue are breathtaking. Definitely a series to keep reading. So when I said above that DC is really getting it right on Batman, I’d add the Lantern stuff to that, since I think all of the Lantern issues have been well done, too.
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (DC) – Not surprisingly for a Legion comic, there are too many characters here to really grab on to any of them. It’s not a bad issue, it’s just not something that is really interesting. Good, but not great.
Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5
Nightwing #1 (DC) – It’s a little confusing at times and the art isn’t my favorite, but it’s very good, if necessarily derivative of Batman comics.
Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75
Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (DC) – This comic is very sexist. It’s all about objectifying Starfire, her having sex with random people in the perfect male fantasy, and spying on her and posting pics of her in a bikini on the Internet without her knowledge. I think Jason Todd and some kind of plot are in there too.
Story: 1 Art: 7 Overall: 4
Supergirl #1 (DC) – The issue is all action and the action is pretty good. The art isn’t great and I keep getting the feeling that if she turned the wrong way, Supergirl would accidentally be bottomless, that’s how skimpy the bottom of her costume is. Also, it seems like DC is relying too much on the “reveal” of a major character guest appearing in another issue, despite it not really being a surprise most of the time. This is at least the fourth or fifth time that Superman or Batman has shown up on the last page of a comic starring someone else. This one does have a lot of potential, though, so I’ll be back.
Story: 7.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 7
Wonder Woman #1 (DC) – I’ve never cared for Wonder Woman since I’m not a huge mythology fan and I was prepared to really dislike this comic. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. While this issue has some of the same wardrobe problems and male fantasy takes on what women should be like that other issues this week have, they are minor here compared to other issues and this one is superior because of a very good story. The comic is almost cinematic in its tone and Diana is clearly established as a strong female character, something we can’t say for Catwoman or Starfire.
Story: 9 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.25