Tag Archives: race

Review: Killadelphia #4


Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s Killadelphia has been setting its sights high since the very first issue. It established conflicting racial politics and creates a history that dates back to early independent America. A time when the Founding Fathers still roamed the land. One of them turns out to be a vampire looking to start a revolution of his own in present times. A vampire revolution. Killadelphia #4 is where that revolution starts, where we hear the first shot of the vampire uprising. It’s loud enough to become the new ‘shot heard around the world.’

Father and son James and Jim Sangster along with chief medical examiner Jose Padilla have stumbled across several big pieces of the larger puzzle, namely that President John Adams is patient zero of the vampire virus and that some of Philadelphia’s poorer neighborhoods have become his personal vampiric breeding grounds. Our merry group of novice vampire hunters is worried about the conquest-level amounts of bloodsuckers that are awaiting their orders, but they still don’t know when it’s all going to go down. This fourth issue is when everything starts.

Barnes’ script and Shawn Alexander’s art never waste an opportunity to comment on the fact that most of Adams’ vampire army is composed of black people. This is interesting because Adams is widely regarded as one of the few Founding Father to have not owned slaves. The actual facts behind this are somewhat muddy as the President did hire white and free black servants but also rented out slaves from slave owners, paying a service fee for their employment.

On top of that, Adams tolerated slavery and was very much a man of his time, meaning he might not hold up in a court of public opinion in today’s political climate (or perhaps he would’ve, given the state of things). This might say something about the drive behind his vampire revolution, especially in terms of how traditional or nuanced his perceived villainy will end up being.

It doesn’t seem like Barnes and Shawn Alexander are looking to frame Adams as a mere ‘white bad guy’ type of character for Killadelphia. The next two issues should reveal a lot more about the agendas pushed forward by the second President of the United States. The race dynamic between the white leader and the black vampires speaks volumes, but just exactly what it’s truly meant to represent is still up for debate.

I will say, while I am completely invested in the series and have loved how dense each entry has been, I did feel the revolution started a bit early. I could’ve done with two more issues of world building and perhaps more exploration of the vampires themselves. Issue #4 takes a plunge into big story developments and, while exciting, it does feel a bit rushed.

Shawn Alexander’s art continues to impress. It really digs into the grittiness of the setting, but it also plays with realism in a way that keeps the more fantastical elements of the story grounded. It heightens the horror and continues to produce some nasty-looking vampires.

Luis NCT’s colors, on the other hand, do a fantastic job of helping the art maintain a balance between its fantasy and its realism. They have a way of accentuating the more visceral sequences while also setting the tone for the moments that need an additional dose of darkness to really be effective. Visually, this comic is a well-oiled machine. The script wraps itself around this beautifully.

Killadelphia #4 speeds things up quite a bit—perhaps a bit too quickly—but the quality of the storytelling hasn’t dipped not one bit. There are traces of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend here, and even a bit of Candyman in terms of ambiance. I’m eager to see what else gets thrown in the ring, because we got a vampire revolution firing up and it looks like it’s about to get real bloody.

Story: Rodney Barnes Art: Jason Shawn Alexander Colors: Luis NCT
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy, and then make sure it’s in your pull list

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Catch ‘Em If You Can: Accessibility in Pokémon Go

Pokemon GoPokémon Go has been everywhere this past week: whether you’ve been playing it or not, it’s everywhere. I loaded it up the day of its release. I played a lot of Pokémon back in 2000, but haven’t really kept up with the franchise or its successive iterations since, and I hadn’t heard about the game until a few of my friends who are die hard Pokémon fans started posting about it, but the technology and gameplay was interesting enough to pique my interest.  Since then, I’ve shown my parents, grandparents, cousins, coworkers, and even a few strangers, how to play the game. It’s impossible to escape discourse around it: it’s come up in two of my meetings at work.

And the more we play and talk, the more issues surrounding the game are emerging: there have been discussions of how the game may affect crime investigations or even be used to commit crimes, including reports that it’s been used as a tool to target victims of robberies and to target criminals themselves. I spoke with a professional crime pattern data analyst about these issues, and they informed me that, as police departments have access to the game itself and have excellent tools in place for eliminating red flags from their crime pattern systems, this should not have too much of an effect on their ability to do their jobs over time, but we are also seeing that the risks of the game may go beyond simply walking into traffic because you’re trying to catch a Jigglypuff.

There are also privacy concerns.  It appears that Pokémon Go has more access than it should to many users’ Google accounts, but Niantic, the Google-offshoot company that developed Pokémon Go, has already taken steps to correct this. Beyond the typical issues that come up around any software that can track location and potentially match it to other personal data (and there are many these days), Pokémon Go seems to have real-world privacy (and consent!) concerns as well.  Many of the featured locations in game were selected from data from Ingress, a previous, similar game built by Niantic, and these include places of worship, businesses, and even in at least one case, a private residence, all of which were highlighted as stops in the game without the permission of the owners or congregations involved. This has led to businesses, churches, and even the National Holocaust Museum having to ask players to stop catching Pokémon at their locations. Which begs the question: if Niantic has been irresponsible when it comes to issues of privacy and consent in the real world, how will this translate to their responsibility with handling virtual information, as well?

pokemon go pikachuBut beyond these issues, there are also social patterns beginning to form around the game, and important ones. We’re seeing, in a quantifiable way, how any individual person’s access to certain areas and communities can affect their ability to play the game and their success within the game.

Geography, AR mapping, and the crowdsourced nature of Pokémon Go have loaned themselves to creating a game in which not every player has the same opportunity within the game.

I’ve now played Pokémon Go in multiple different environments and communities over the course of the past week. More rural communities have far fewer Pokestops and gyms. Since there are fewer people, the smaller number of gyms means that they are equally competitive with the gyms in other locations. But people need to travel further to get to those gyms, which limits people’s ability to interact in competitive gameplay if they live in rural areas. And the lack of Pokestops means that rural-living people can access a far more limited number of resources each day to enhance their gameplay. Since a player has to stop at a Pokéstop to collect Pokéballs, which are required to play, a person who doesn’t have any Pokéstops in their immediate community can’t play as often as someone who lives in an urban setting, where Pokéstops are plentiful.  There are three Pokéstops accessible from the office where I work– that means I can fill up my stock of items easily on my lunch hour and after work.  But this weekend, I visited a suburban housing development, where the closest Pokéstop was a ten-minute walk away, along a highway with no sidewalks. That makes it difficult for kids (as well as adults who don’t have access to a car) to play the game safely in their own community. Rural communities are so often cut off from many real-world resources, and we’re seeing that reflected within the economy of Pokémon Go.

first-pokemon-go warningPokémon Go really seems to be attracting players of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. However, for people who do not present as white men, the enjoyment of the game can be more limited.  In some cases, the Pokéstops are located in areas where it’s unsafe for women and other female-presenting to walk alone at night, or uncomfortable to walk at all without company. I’ve spoken to several people who felt that they could not go to a Pokéstop or gym in their neighborhood without a group of friends, because of safety concerns. A woman having to decide whether she feels safe enough to play the game if she doesn’t have a friend to accompany her is not unlike a woman having to decide whether she feels safe enough to go to a local bar or event without a friend to accompany her.

And black players of all genders are facing similar issues: they likewise can’t participate in the same way white players can, because oftentimes, the Pokéstops, gyms, and even the random Pokémon they might want to hunt, are in areas where their presence will be deemed “suspicious” by white residents and local law enforcement. And some black players have already expressed concern that playing is a “death sentence.” It’s only natural that black players would want to avoid putting themselves in grave danger simply by walking down the wrong block to catch a specific Pokémon. Black players are even putting together safety tips to try to avoid danger while playing, that are the kinds of things white players would never have to think about. It begs the question of whether Niantic did.

And because descriptions of locations, also user-generated, do not appear to have been vetted editorially, the game includes some deeply troubling and even overtly racist descriptions, as in the case of this memorial to Trayvon Martin. These don’t go very far toward expressing that Niantic is taking particular concern for players from marginalized communities or the impact the game might have on them.

Players who use mobility devices are likewise cut off from many Pokéstops and gyms, and from following Pokémon in non-accessible areas. Other parts of the game, such as the “walking” required to hatch an egg, do not actually require walking, and rely on a measure of speed rather than footsteps, so those should be accessible to people using wheelchairs or scooters, but plenty of the actual locations in the game are not necessarily easy to get to, so people who rely on devices to get around are limited in gameplay in a way that’s all too similar to the limitations of inaccessible buildings and transit.

All of these things are pretty good examples of how living with certain inequities can create further inequity, even in something that is supposed to be a fun, simple activity.  People are, simply by the facts of their life, not all able to play the game in the same ways, and experience inequity in the way they can interact with the game.

I’m sure as gameplay continues, we’ll see more examples of how the mechanics of the game favor certain players over others, and it’s worth opening up discussions about game mechanics that would resolve this: for example, rather than giving Pokémon in the game a specific real-world GPS-driven location, why not make them appear as soon as someone has walked a certain distance, whatever direction that distance is in? (or even if the person moves in circles?)  How about an algorithm that makes Pokéstops in less-populous areas provide more resources to the people accessing them?  There are definitely ways to fix these inequities within the game, technologically, and I’d like to see some thought put into doing that. It may seem like a small thing, to create equity within the virtual world of a game, but doing these things within the microcosm of an online community also be an exercise for exposing and talking about real-world inequities, and coming up with ways to fix those.

Tea is a professional comic editor who cosplays, writes, and draws comics in her spare time.  She’s been in love with comics ever since she started sneaking them behind her parents’ back as a child, and she’s a vocal advocate for fanworks and fan creation. You can keep up with Tea at http://teaberryblue.tumblr.com

Deadpool Stays on Top

Deadpool-poster-2Deadpool remained on the top of the box office dropping 58.5% from its opening weekend. The film earned $55 million in its second weekend. That brings the film to a domestic total of $235.4 million and the film earned $256.5 million in foreign markets for a worldwide total of $491.9 million.

In second place was Kung Fu Panda 3 which earned $12.5 million in its fourth week.

Risen is a new film and earned $11.8 million to come in third and The Witch earned $8.7 million to come in fourth. How to Be Single rounded out the top five and earned $8.2 million.

In other new films, Race earned $7.3 million to come in sixth; The Mermaid earned $1.02 million for sixteenth; Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer earned $900,000 for eighteenth; Neerja earned $585,315 to come in 23rd; Embrace the Serpent earned $50,165; and City of Women earned $7,008 for 47th.

Back to Deadpool, the film has now returned the most compared to its budget for a R rated film based on a comic book. The film has earned 8.48 times its budget so far beating the previous record of of 300 which returned 7.02 on its budget.

Deadpool is now the top at the domestic box office when it comes to X-Men related films. It passed X-Men: The Last Stand this weekend. That film earned $234.3 million. But, the film isn’t top overall. When adjusted for ticket price, the film still sits in fifth with The Last Stand in first. Also, worldwide, the film sits in second sitting behind X-Men: Days of Future Past which earned $747.9 million in its 2014 run.

Race in Grayson #15

Grayson 15I’ve been enjoying Grayson overall but I need to call attention to this issue’s handling of race, especially in context of policing.

As the second part of DC Comic‘s “Robin War” storyline, the issue begins with a grid of the faces of 16 young Gothamites of various races, subcultures and levels of costuming all saying “I am Robin,” claiming a mantle and identity for themselves that empowers them to fight for justice. It is also a statement of solidarity between youth.

Cut to a page of three white dudes and one light brown kid (I think, it’s hard to tell and Damian shouldn’t be white but he’s usually drawn that way) telling the young Gothamites  “no you’re not”. Dick then modifies that statement to be “at least not yet”.

Then Grayson, Red Hood, Red Robin and Damian Wayne go to teach the kids what it means to be Robin.

What ensues should be a cool training sequence but each of Batman’s former sidekicks are written as the most cartoonish versions of themselves. Each of their personalities polished down to almost a catchphrase. I sympathize with the writer Tim Seeley here– he’s been tasked with showing the difference between the four former or current Batman-approved sidekicks and he ties each to a particular lesson. It’s a sensible approach and I don’t know what I’d suggest he do otherwise. But it just comes off as trope-y and cliche.

Dick takes Duke Thomas on a training run– I enjoy their interactions here a lot. But here’s where the record skips; In Dick’s attempt to protect the We are Robin army of self-appointed Robins,  Dick leads them all into a trap to be arrested. He explains “I control the arrests, make sure they’re safe….Make sure they’re all safe and all ready to break out, when I figure this out.” Excuse me, but you cannot ensure the safety of black or brown people while they are being arrested or incarcerated (or lgbtq people or, or, or).

Dick’s actions are disastrous and a massive display of the character’s privilege (I can’t tell if new 52 Dick is supposed to be Romani or not so I’m not going to say white privilege in this case because who knows…)

People of color are regularly hurt and even killed in the process of being arrested. Remember Sandra Bland? Eric Garner? Being arrested while brown is not at all the same as being arrested while white, especially given the long term consequences of having an arrest on your record. Even if Grayson breaks them out and wipes their records clean they have still been forced into trauma by his actions.

The image of Grayson and Duke (who’s black) perched on a gargoyle with their backs to the wall, a GCPD spotlight focused on them while the cops shout “Hands! Hands! Now!” is incredibly disturbing, especially in light of Michael Brown’s murder by the police while his hands were raised. Perhaps this disturbing image is on purpose? I hope so. It’s the most effective page in the issue.

Dick then gracefully dives off the side of the skyscraper, balletic and free while leaving Duke in the clutches of the police. Quite the metaphor for #CrimingWhileWhite.

While I’m sure that other characters in the story are going to debate over whether or not Dick was wrong to get the Robins arrested, it is crucial for the racial implications of Dick’s actions to be addressed in this specific series.

I’m going to keep reading this series in the hope that the racial implications in this issue are explicitly addressed. I hear that in other “Robin War” crossover comics the police are cruising around profiling kids on whether or not they might be a Robin and arresting them for it. That would certainly work as a metaphor for certain kinds of police profiling.

This isn’t the only time lately that Dick has behaved imperiously in ways that hurt others. The fact that the creative team introduced Helena Bertinelli as a biracial woman and that Damian looks like he’s MAYBE supposed to be a person of color gives me hope here. If the next steps in the story address the racial implications of Dick’s actions I’ll be ecstatic. It would be worthy of Snyder’s breakthrough work writing about structural racism in Batman #44. I’m waiting….

Marvel’s Black Panther Announcement Receives Mixed Reaction

Ta-Nehisi CoatesFor some time, Marvel has made it known that we should expect a Black Panther comic coming in the next year. With a solo movie as well as a key role in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, it only made sense we would. Rumors have swirled for some time as to who would take on creative duties, with hints from Marvel decision makers we would see a person of color in a role.

Yesterday, the comic book company announced that Ta-Nehisi Coates will take on writing duties along with Brian Stelfreeze on art. That’s two Black creators on a series featuring a Black character. That’s the third black artist, and first black writer announced as part of All-New, All-Different Marvel. It’s also the fifth Black character in a solo series. Interestingly characters are on par as a percentage of solo characters with that of African-Americans/Blacks in the United States, while they are woefully underrepresented as part of the creative team.

Marvel has said that the All-New, All-Different initiative would be made up of 55-60 series, and so far 57 of those have been announced. If every writer and artist for the possible last three series were Black, they’d still be underrepresented compared to the general US population.

For the year long story arc, the series is described as:

The indomitable will of Wakanda — the famed African nation known for its vast wealth, advanced technology and warrior traditions — has long been reflected in the will of its monarchs, the Black Panthers. But now, the current Black Panther, T’Challa, finds that will tested by a superhuman terrorist group called The People that has sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda.  T’Challa knows the country must change to survive — the question is, will the Black Panther survive the change?

The take by Coates does sound intriguing. In the press release of the announcement, he said:

Wakanda is really the light of the world, in the Marvel Universe. And yet it’s a system of governance that has not advanced beyond the idea of blood-rule. It’s always seemed to me that T’Challa was aware of this discrepancy. Among the monarchs of Marvel –Namor and Doctor Doom for instance– T’Challa has always been distinguished to me by his discomfort on the throne, and with the problems of one-man rule. I am very much looking forward to exploring that tension.

The announcement was rather mixed online with a sentiment score of 70 for #BlackPanther according to Topsy. That’s below #Marvel’s score of 88.

Coates is a talented writer, having mostly written as a journalist for a who’s who of news outlets as well as writing two books. He hasn’t written for comics, but is a long time fan. Being unproven in the comics realm has brought criticism of the choice by Marvel, with charges of the publisher overlooking the numerous talented persons of color that have proven themselves in the medium already.

Some pointed out that this decision sends the signal that for a person of color to be hired by Marvel they need to be extraordinary in their ability and talent.

Others felt this could be seen as tokenism as he is the lone Black writer, making up just 2.33% of writers hired for the All-New, All-Different initiative. Out of the 43 writers so far announced, just two are not White (not to mention this decision adds two more men to the staff. Men are greatly over represented in the hiring).

But, the chances are, Coates will do a good job bringing a Black Panther infused with a global view and political intrigue.

And if he doesn’t and the series doesn’t perform? We’ll see how much of the year plan actually happens.

Around the Tubes

The weekend has come and gone. We’re still not recovered from San Diego Comic-Con, and Otakon is coming up this weekend! While you start off the week, here’s some news and reviews from around the web you might have missed.

Around the Tubes

The Beat – SDCC ’15: About 60,000 people show up without badges – Always wondered what that number was.

Comics Alliance – Creating Responsibly: Comics Has A Race Problem – A good read.

The Beat – SDCC ’15: 15 panels and the Eisner Awards in Audio – In case you want to check out panels.

GamePolitics – UK High Court Kills ‘personal use’ ripping of copyrighted material – That’s not good.

Toledo News Now – $1,400 in comic books stolen from Sylvania Township store returned – If anyone has info to help catch the folks behind this.

Knoxville News – Dr. Phil Kronk: First comics, then video games? – Is history doomed to repeat itself?

Bleeding Cool – Scamwatch: OctoPDF And The Download Comics That Aren’t – A good warning folks.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Age of Apocalypse #1

CBR – Justice League #42

ICv2 – Orc Warfare TP

Talking Comics – Siege #1

Fear of a Black Kid Flash. Not so Much a Female One.

wally westAn interesting thing happened last week when in the Teen Titans version of Futures End that a new Kid Flash was introduced in the wake of the company-wide crossover.  Or more accurately another new Kid Flash was introduced. Earlier this year some fans were upset at the long-awaited return of Wally West to the DC universe, the problem that they were upset that the character was black. While this was not too much different from some other reactions – such as the reveal that the Earth 2 Alan Scott is gay – it is interesting especially after this new female Kid Flash was released to little fanfare or reaction. No one at all seemed to complain about this new character, seemingly also taking over the role of Wally West, though the incursion was potentially just as comprehensive. After all the character is never named and could have just as likely been named Walda or Wallis as any other name (thus allowing a nickname of Wally.)

Although they are based off of general consensus and are generally pretty silly, the so-called rules of the internet cover this topic to a degree, specifically rule 63 which states that for every male character that a female version of this character also exists.  While not absolutely true, it is often the case at least with the most popular characters. Some are direct rip-offs, though very rarely does a character assume the actual identity of the character, though the new female Thor is potentially going to change this. The female characters generally are presented in one of two ways. Either they are a female character that is modified into the costume of a male hero, as in the case of Stephanie Brown in the costume of Robin or May Parker in Spider-Man’s costume, or with separate characters in obviously feminine costumes as in the case with Supergirl and Batgirl.  In these cases though the character is separate and not taking over for the main role. While this in itself could be interpreted as a statement of gender, it is still worth noting that each character has their own self and their own past.

kflashThis being the case it would seem that the problem with the case of Wally West is not that directly of skin colour but that of identity. Wally West was an established character for many, and to change something as deep as skin color for many readers meant a fundamental change for the readers. Is this fair though?  If indeed the female character had been named either Wallis or Walda (I know these are more obscure names) would that have been so easily forgiven?

Before answering that it is maybe relevant to have a look at some of the major black characters from the history of comics. A lot of the major black characters came from a time when being black was a big part of their identity, especially with the introduction of these characters in the silver age.  In the case of Black Panther or Black Lightning, there was no question about their skin color as it was right in their names. While this did not hold true in every character (such as with Falcon or War Machine) it was still a notable part of their identity. In the comic book setting where the suffix “–man” is the expected commonality, it was necessary for a time to distinguish between skin color and gender. Black Lightning is perhaps one of the worst cases of this, as for a time his true identity as a black man is hidden behind his hero facade of being a jive-talking street character. He was not allowed to be educated as a hero, instead he was forced into racial stereotypes. Still those stereotypes existed, and they were even there with other characters. If Black Panther were called White Panther instead, the main association with the color to the character would not be skin color.  Instead, someone would expect that the character has some kind of powers related to the word “white.”

There exists a lot of other names in comics to distinguish one version from another. One major example is the previously mentioned example of –girl which is used almost exclusively for female versions of male characters (with the exception of the Legion of Super Heroes characters as well as Wonder Girl), but in terms of the Flash there was already a descriptor for this difference – “Kid”.

As the character gained more depth though, he was no longer associated with his own name and instead that of another, Wally. He became a real hero in the way that real heroes do, that by association by their non-hero names is almost as evident as with their superhero names. In this way it is not possible to have a character named Batman that is not Bruce or a Superman that is not Clark. The question is though, is whether skin color and gender are so tied to those identities. It would seem as though the answer in both cases is yes, except the more so for skin color. Not all fans, but some fans are willing to make fewer exceptions for a black version of a character than for a female version, and perhaps some of this is tied to identity but some is not.

A distinguishing factor here is the previously mentioned aspect of power. Even Supergirl, who is as much Kryptonian as Superman, is never said to be able to match him in power, despite their powers having nothing to do with their specific gender physiology. Equally Stephanie Brown, for the short time that she took over as Robin was never seen as his equal, even being regarded by Batman as an unnecessary risk to be allowed to act in the role. It is thus the case that female characters rarely break the gender role/stereotype of the female gender, but it is not the case with a black character. Black versions of the white characters are usually just as strong and able at superheroics, and this is likely also part of the outrage over the characters. That in some ways the girls will never compete truly for the title, but that the black men can, and this is the true danger with a black version of a favorite character. A black character makes the original white character replaceable, while a female character only makes a lesser powerful version of that main character. In the first case fans will often reject the change, but in the second case it is more acceptable.

In light of all the commentary about the medium in recent months, be it over the black Wally West or over the comments about the new direction for Wonder Woman, it is important to note that certain aspects of the medium and their fans are still stuck with some outdated thinking.

SDCC 2013: White People Fake Arrest for Fun!

Out of all of the things I saw at San Diego Comic-Con, this one stood out the most. Along the Gaslamp District, the San Diego Police Department was attempting some public relations. But, that was by showing off various techniques to subdue individuals, faking arrest and showing off their tasers.

At first I thought nothing about it, but it was pointed out to me to look at the crowd around these demonstrations, it was all rather pale when it came to skin color. It wasn’t just me, when it came to this one, later in the evening when I saw the same cops doing the same things, another passerby also made the same comment to his friend.

The fact that no one with skin color darker than white found this amusing enough to stop says everything.

Around the Tubes

It’s Friday and the best part is it’s the last day of work before vacation!  Yay!  What will I be doing?  Reading all of the articles below!

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – When Is A Black Character Not A Black Character?Some folks read way too much into things.

Bleeding Cool – Edgar’s Comics: How An Artist’s Comic Collection Changed Comics Culture, And Became Worth $50 Million In The Process (Kickstarter Film)Kind of want to check this out.

MTV Geek – Stan Lee Creates Indian Superhero For Liquid Comics – I wonder how this compares to his other recent launches?

The Mary Sue – Casting Call For A New Geek Reality Show…From The Creators Of The Jersey ShoreShould I apply?

Southwest Riverside News Network – Murrieta Public Library invites teens to explore comic booksSounds like a cool event and great thing for a library to put together.

Kotaku – Here’s a New Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Fight Stick to Kick Galactus’ Ass WithCool looking controller.

Kotaku – Batman Gets Retro and New-School Looks in Arkham City Lockdown iOS Update – Should I get this game?


Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Daredevil #7

MTV Geek – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1

CBR – Wonder Woman #4

IGN – Comic Book Reviews for 12/21/11

52 Reviews, Part 3

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

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