Flip Through

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pull List: Batman #1, Birds of Prey #1, Blue Beetle #1, Nightwing #1, Red Hood #1, Wonder Woman #1

Yeeeeaaaaah, it's a hefty-ish list this week, so let's get down to business to defeat the Huns.

Batman #1: My local comic shop was BUSY today and I'm pretty sure this #1 was the reason--everyone was dying to get a look at Scott Snyder's other DCnU book, Batman. A relatively new creator, Snyder made his name on an amazing run of Detective Comics, and I don't see that he's going to let Batfans down with this title. Capullo and Glapion's art is up to the task as well, dark and artfully messy, and oh yes, I had missed seeing Bruce and his boys all together (and the impending mystery involving a certain First Robin). I have a funny relationship with interior monologues in comics--sometimes I feel they work fine and sometimes I hate them. I disliked how they felt in Detective Comics a few weeks ago, but here in Batman they are put to pitch-perfect use. Batman is introspective, but never emo; not completely sane, but not the brand of crazy Gotham usually turns out: it's a fine line to walk, but Snyder manages it. If I can easily imagine Kevin Conroy speaking whatever lines Bat has on the page, the writer is doing it right. 5 out of 5 stars.

Birds of Prey #1: I'm a nutty BoP fangirl and there was no way I wasn't buying this title, though I already miss Gail Simone (and Helena, and Zinda, and Oracle...*sniff*). I enjoy Jesus Saiz's art, costuming concerns that are probably out of his control aside. The only combat members we meet in this issue are Canary and Starling--no sign of Katana or Ivy yet, the two ladies I was looking forward to the most. I am rather fretted about how...not-there the relationship between Dinah and Barbara Gordon is, since Dinah notes that she's putting together the team and wishes Barbara would reconsider. Apparently also Starling (Ev Crawford) has taken Babs' place as Dinah's bestie, and also Helena's place as resident religious person, and also Zinda's place as balls-out brawler? DC bigwigs, note my displeasure. Swierczynski's writing is pretty sharp, but all in all this #1 feels too similar to what came before it, in all the wrong ways, though I will pick up at least one more issue because dammit, I want to see Ivy in action! Honestly I have hopes for this title and I hope it all pans out. 3 out of 5 stars.

Blue Beetle #1: Yeah, it's Jaime back in action! Don't get me wrong, I love Ted Kord too, but I vastly enjoy Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle and was very happy to hear that he would retain that title in the relaunch. A couple of interviews with Tony Bedard indicated to me that he liked this character and would likely do a good job with the title, and the #1 proved me right. I like a book that isn't afraid to use its own heroes and villains, rather than trying to borrow other people's, and Jaime's fights are all his own. This is a solid origin story all around: a strange influx of space scarabs and what that means for Jaime, along with high school troubles and a mysterious, dangerous auntie, and Blue Beetle #1 sets us up for a fun ride. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Nightwing #1: This was actually the book I read first today (for obvious reasons), and I was not disappointed! Well, I really kind of hate Dick's new outfit (why red? WHY NO FINGERSTRIPES?), but the art from Barrows and Co. is sharp, plenty of flips'n'shit, and the action hums along nicely, with a good cliffhanger ending. I loved Dick as Batman, but I'm not entirely sad to see him back as Nightwing, and at least Scott Higgins was allowed to acknowledge that yes, Dick!Bats had happened, which bodes well for the Batverse's continuity, I hope. The conceit of Haly's Circus being back in town is kind of tired, but is as good an opening story as any. Now four Robins removed from Batman, Dick's a grown-up and his own man, and I found that Higgins did a good job of showing that (including a dig about how Bruce lets his past scare him). Dick has always been a self-aware character. He's more sentimental and more extroverted than Bruce is, he's kinder, he's different, and that is part of why I like Nightwing. Higgins seems to like Nightwing too and it shows. 4 out of 5 stars.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1: Let me confess right up front that I enjoy both Jason Todd and Roy Harper, and I think both of them have been treated badly by DC. I was somewhat leery about picking up this book--the interviews I'd seen with Scott Lobdell didn't leave me thinking he liked the characters very much--but I can't resist Arsenal and Red Hood (especially not with HO YAY a title like this is already delivering). The art's ok--Rocafort doesn't have Cliff Chiang's restraint or eye (see below) and I think everyone agrees that Starfire's new outfit is even dumber than her old one, but for a messy, bloody, shoot-em-up book, that's just what the doctor ordered. Something I heftily dislike: Jason's account of how Kory doesn't remember or care about her time with the Titans and Dick Grayson. Um, yeah ok. That plot point by itself (not to mention its followup of Kory throwing herself at Roy) is enough to make me very uninterested in getting the next issue. 1 out of 5 stars.

Wonder Woman #1: Well hello Diana, one of my favorite superheroines and not, sadly, my namesake! I was super excited for this #1--I LOVE Cliff Chiang's art--and both Chiang and Azzarello brought their A-game. As a Greek myth nerd, I really enjoyed the set-up of Greek gods and motherfucking centaurs right here on Earth, screwing with people's lives as the Greek deities of old were so wont to do. We don't even meet Diana for a good ten pages or so, but when we do, oh, it's glorious. I love that Zola (that's the lady in her jammies, if you saw the previews) knows exactly who Diana is; I love, as I have in the past, the conceit of the gods mucking about on Earth; I love that Chiang is capable of and willing to draw women without much on and not make it about their tits and ass; I love the mysticism and non-answers this book throws in our faces right off the bat. In short, I loved this issue. 5 out of 5 stars.

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