This Week in the DC 52

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DC comics is undergoing the biggest shift in it’s line ever, relaunching 52 comic books with brand new number 1 issues and updating the characters for modern times.  It’s the prefect starting off point for new readers, but there’s numerous series and characters I could tell you anything about.  This is a breakdown each week of that week’s releases as well as suggestions on previous arcs that’ll get you introduced to the characters.

ACTION COMICS #1Writer: Grant Morrison, Art: Rags Morales and Rick Bryant

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

This is year 0 of the DC universe.  It chronicles the first hero and the public’s reaction to him.  I’ll admit I’m nervous about this one, as I didn’t dig Morrison’s work on Batman, but this is a pillar of the DC universe and it’s Superman.  He’s an iconic character who hopefully won’t be updated too much.

Key reads: All Star Superman, Vol. 1, All Star Superman, Vol. 2

ANIMAL MAN #1 – Writer: Jeff Lemire, Art: Travel Foreman and Dan Green

Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).

This is one of the series I know nothing about.  Jeff Lemire can write, but as a whole that first issue better really draw me in.  This is one of the series I put of there as a good chance to be cancelled.  That description does nothing to introduce me to the character who is able to borrow the abilities of animals around him.  It has potential, but who knows.  Grant Morrison had a well respected run on the character.

Key reads: Animal Man, Book 1 – Animal Man, Animal Man, Book 2 – Origin of the Species, Animal Man, Book 3 – Deus Ex Machina

BATGIRL #1 – Writer: Gail Simone, Art: Adrian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl, which is odd since last we saw, Barbara was in a wheelchair.  But in the hands of Gail Simone, I expect a solid series that puts the once former Batgirl right back into the uniform.  I’d want it in the hands of no one else.  The drastic change in the character brought a lot of news with it, and a lot of criticism, here’s hoping Simone puts all of that to rest.

Key reads: Batman: The Killing Joke, Batgirl: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Batgirl: Year One (Batman)

BATWING #1 –  Writer: Judd Winick, Art: Ben Oliver

Africa, a land of beauty – and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!

There’s a lot of unknowns here and I’m pulling for the series to do well.  Winick is going to be tip-toeing a line with the latest franchisee in Batman Inc., this one centered in Africa.  It’ll either come off as completely missing the mark on African issues, being overly preachy or balance activism and story telling.

Key reads: Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1

DETECTIVE COMICS #1Writer: Tony S. Daniel, Art: Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn

A killer called The Gotham Ripper is on the loose on Batman’s home turf – leading The Dark Knight on a deadly game of cat and mouse.

I’m not quite sure where in Batman’s life this is taking place.  Is it in the beginning, where he’s a bit more inexperienced?  Is this post Batman, Inc.?  Batman is an iconic character like Superman, so a lot will be riding on this series.

Key reads: Batman: Year One, Batman R.I.P.

GREEN ARROW #1 – Writer : J.T. Krul, Art: Dan Jurgens and George Perez

Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice…by breaking every law.

Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.

Green Arrow is the liberal ying to the Green Lantern’s conservative yang.  Billionaire Ollie Queen is the bow wielding hero who is out to stop crime and hopefully espousing his liberal views.

Key reads: Green Arrow Vol. 1: Into the Woods (Green Arrow (Graphic Novels)), Green Arrow: Year One, Green Arrow: Quiver (Book 1)

HAWK AND DOVE #1Writer: Sterling Gates, Art: Rob Liefeld

Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland!

And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!

Brightest Day set up a decent dynamic between Hawk and Dove with Dove’s interest in Deadman, and it looks like that’s carrying over.  There series will hopefully have a good buddy aspect to it, my worry is the art by Liefeld, which I’m not a fan of.

Key reads: Hawk and Dove, Brightest Day, Vol. 1, Brightest Day, Vol. 2, Brightest Day Vol. 3

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1Writer: Dan Jurgens, Art: Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan

With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International.

Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?

Not sure my thought about this series.  With Justice League and Stormwatch, I’m not sure if another major team like this is needed.  The roster seems interesting enough, but I’m not totally convinced.  The concept of a UN backed team though has me interested though.

Key reads: Justice League International, Vol. 1, Justice League International, Vol. 2, Justice League International, Vol. 3, Justice League International Vol. 4, Justice League International Vol. 5. (Justice League 5), Justice League International Vol. 6

MEN OF WAR #1Writer: Ivan Brandon, Art: Tom Derenick

On the ground and on the front lines, a young, headstrong soldier known as Joe Rock assumes command of Easy Company – a team of ex-military men turned contractors. Will they survive the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DCU’s Super-Villains? Find out in this explosive new series from Ivan Brandon (Viking, DOC SAVAGE) and Tom Derenick (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

This is the updated Sgt. Rock taking the war comic and updating it to modern times.  I’m pulling for this one to do well, mostly because I want to see a cool war comic on the shelves.

Key reads: The Sgt. Rock Archives, Vol. 1 (DC Archive Editions), The Sgt. Rock Archives, Vol. 2 (DC Archive Editions), The Sgt. Rock Archives, Vol. 3 (DC Archive Editions)

O.M.A.C. #1Writer: Dan Didio and Keith Giffen, Art: Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish

The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!

This is the series this week I’m most iffy about.  Keith Giffen is likely what will save it, but it reminds me of the numerous Kirby ideas that DC is grasping on to.

Key reads: Jack Kirby’s O.M.A.C., Checkmate Vol. 1: A King’s Game (DC Comics), Checkmate Vol. 2: Pawn Breaks (DC Comics), Checkmate Vol. 3: Fall of the Wall (DC Comics)

STATIC SHOCK #1Writer: Scott McDaniel and John Rozum, Art: Scott McDaniel and Jonathan Glapion and LeBeau Underwood

The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!

A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!

As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?

The most successful of Dwayne McDuffie’s Milestone comics, I’m cheering for the character and hope he does well.  This is a young character that has a following and has a good chance of being a new generation character that goes the distance and builds into something bigger.  I’m not holding my breath though.

Key reads: Static Shock Vol. 1: Rebirth of the Cool

STORMWATCH #1Writer: Paul Cornell, Art: Miguel Sepulveda

They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds…

This series is going to be one of the bigger ones in the long run, putting together a secret group that’ll eventually lock horns with the Justice League.  It’s been hinted that the next major event will come out of whatever happens in this book, which makes it that much more important.

Key reads: StormWatch, Vol. 1: Force of Nature, Stormwatch: Team Achilles, Vol. 2, StormWatch Vol. 3: Change or Die, StormWatch Vol. 4: A Finer World, StormWatch Vol. 5: Final Orbit, The Authority Vol. 1: Relentless, The Authority Book 2: Under New Management

SWAMP THING #1Writer: Scott Snyder, Art: Yanick Paquette

One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth!

Alec Holland has his life back…but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!

It’s clear Swamp Thing is going to be a big deal in the new DCU.  Scott Snyder can do horror and hopefully the series keeps up a gothic horror feel to it.  If Snyder keeps it up and brings his “A” game, there’s a good chance we’ll see a modern day classic run of the series, but it’s got Alan Moore’s classic run hovering over it for comparison.

Key reads: Saga of the Swamp Thing Book One, Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 2, Saga of the Swamp Thing Book Three, Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 4, Swamp Thing Vol. 5: Earth to Earth, Swamp Thing Vol. 6: Reunion