Friday, 30 September 2011

Wonder Woman #1

Series: Wonder Woman
Words: Brian Azzarello
Images: Cliff Chiang
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

I have been avoiding reading Wonder Woman out of fear of crushing disappointment. I adore Wonder Woman. At least most of the time and with most writers. She also sometimes fills me with huge amounts of rage. Since my reactions to the DC new 52 and women seems so far to be very hit and miss and very ... well love it or hate it I was a little scared of reading this one.

So I opened up a bottle of wine and I slowly worked my way through the pages. There was also emergency chocolate and olives near by just in case it was that bad.

Over all? I liked it.

What a huge weight off of my shoulders. It was not horrible!

Honestly? The story read like an episode of Xena (which isn't a bad thing in my book). It was cheesy and campy and fun. It is involving a lot more Olympians then a lot of what I was reading of her before. I like the return to the mythical roots. But then I've always had a weak spot for mythology and campy dark haired warrior women. Especially when they rescue cute blond women (See... totally an episode of Xena)! I'm actually looking forward to reading more.

The story itself features a new character. A mortal woman named Zola. Who in a great nod to myth is carrying the product of one of Zeus' marital indiscretions. Apparently Hera was not happy (again). And things are heating up with the Olympians and some of the other children. Honestly if it was not steeped in myth I was be a little put out by the story. But it does read like a modern update to Greek and Roman mythology. And well lets face it Zeus never did learn in the old myths.

I was pleased with the front cover of issue one. It seemed to be a blending of modern comic style with something more historic. Very iconic and very almost I want to say pop art. Though I'm sure my graphic design friends will correct me later.

The costume has switched back to a more traditional Wonder Woman costume. Which I was a little disappointed by. I was one of the few people who seemed to like the new Wonder Woman costume. While I understand it was less iconic it was certainly a little more realistic. I have no idea how she manages to keep that costume on. I swear in addition to a lasso of truth she has magic costume holding on tape.

Women in wonder woman is something I've always been interested in. She's been one of the most slowly developed characters in the D.C. universe in some ways. She's frequently regressed. In terms of Wonder Woman's actual character development? There isn't enough story yet for me to get a sense of where they are going to go with her development.

In terms of how women in general have been handled in the comic? Certainly the villain seems to view women as expendable. Though it was explained within a Greek/Roman context of tapping into the three fates.

I am amused that there was this minor comic blog explosion over the Batwoman change scene (not mentioned in my review because honestly it didn't register as anything untoward on my several readings). But in the week or so since Wonder Woman has come out I haven't seen people up in arms over the bed room sleeping scene.

One part of me did a little geek dance to find that the hot amazon slept nakedly and I got to see some drawn leg. The other part of me wondered about what that actually added to the plot?

I would not suggest running out and buying the first issue. I would however suggest adding it to a trade paper back list when it comes out that far.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Nightwing #1

Series: Nightwing
Words: Kyle Higgins
Images: Eddy Barrows, J.P. Mayer
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

After the crushing disappointment of Birds of Prey. I decided to opt out of reading Wonder Woman (one of my favourite female super heroes) to read Nightwing. I'm less invested in Nightwing and I'm less likely to freak out over issues of representation and regressions of female characters (hopefully). Now that I have said that I am going to curl up on the sofa with a tasty drink and devour Nightwing.

And oh my goodness my pallet has been cleansed.

Once again Gotham is all shaded details and harsh lines. It is a very good look on Gotham.

In the first issue of Nightwing we get to see Dick Grayson faced with his old troupe coming back to town. You find out enough back details about his family, his parent's death, his time in the circus and his later adoption by Bruce Wayne / Batman to discover enough of his back story that a new comer would not feel totally lost.

There are small details I noticed that were great. Grayson's apartment? Had weights in it. Like he magically wasn't cut the way he was. I liked that attention to detail and that practical reality put into the background of a comic.

Unlike Birds of Prey the nod to Babs made me smirk. For those of you new to the D.C. world it's a little in joke you may have missed. Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon have a huge history a mile wild. They are on again and off again as quickly as either one changes authors.

So when Dick Grayson makes the comment he's always had a weakness for red heads... I did have to giggle quite a bit.

Unlike most of the others I've read in the relaunch this issue was less action and more direct character development. And I loved it. If you like the Gotham universe or you like Batman or you like the thought of Batman's slightly more human son as a super hero well this is the comic for you.

If you aren't interested in Gotham or the Batman universe well then maybe check it out because it is fairly well drawn (nothing as heart stopping as Batwoman but still good work mister art person) and the writing so far is top notch. I have a sneaky feeling it would make a great gateway comic for people who have already been exposed to graphic novels and feel like testing the water.

There certainly is potential for the story line to get me up in arms. Especially in terms the main character's relationship with women. But I'm willing to at least give this one a shot.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Birds of Prey #1

Series: Birds of Prey
Words: Gail Simone Duan Swierczynski
Images: Jesus Saiz
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

Okay so Birds of Prey is one of the few Gotham settings influenced by the reboot. This arbitrary nature of the reboot is getting to me. Heck! Even Batgirl spent her time in a wheel chair!

Instead D.C. just totally erased all the lovely character development that Gail Simone did with some of these characters. And there really was some mind blowingly good stuff in her run or Bedard's run or McKeever's run.

So that you have a context for my sheer fanrage. Birds of Prey pre-relaunch was founded by Oracle. I understand that Babs is no longer free to be in charge of the Birds. What with her sudden move back to Gotham from Metropolis following her sudden ability to use her legs again. I'm not happy but I can live with it.

Essentially her next in command would have been Black Canary. Canary was the second member of Birds of Prey. Through the pre-relaunch version you watch her come to terms with a horrific assault that left her feeling completely powerless. Watch while during her drive to never be that powerless again she almost loses herself totally. See her rediscover her sense of connection to the world in the form of a child she shelters from being the next Lady Shiva. And have her come full circle and semi retire from the hero field in order to avoid making her mother's mistakes. Of course like all good super heros she eventually is drawn back into the Justice League.

So when I saw Black Canary on the cover with what I have seen from the rest of the Gotham based comics in the relaunch. I was expecting that Babs decided to step away from Birds of Prey (understandable given that she was attracting them a lot of negative attention and potential take overs). Handed over control to Black Canary and vola it can now grow and develop even more with out Oracle or Babs.

Imagine my surprise when I open up the only Gotham based comic that was actually rebooted.

“And as much as I would like to believe there's a some covert ops team run by a bunch of super criminal hotties... I still need this teeny little thing journalists call facts.” My hopes were dashed by page two when I read that line. Still I soldered ahead like only someone who was emotionally invested could.

And I got my “facts”.

There was no handing off of Birds of Prey. The new reboot totally ignores Babs' involvement. Instead in this version they are started by a criminal Black Canary. Who then recruits other criminals. And yes they are super hotties. Corsets and boob shots and all. There is a great little side story into the reporter trying to track down Canary and her team. Where you watch them at a bar acting like hottie little bar stars getting wasted.

So yes they devolved some of the best developed women in the D.C. universe.

There was an attempted nod to the old Birds of Prey series. There was an interaction where Black Canary tried to recruit Babs. into the team. There is some brilliantly painful and ableist interactions between the two:

Babs: Dinah lance as I live and breath.
Black Canary: Good to see you, Barbara living, breathing and walking.

The interaction is brief and to the point and totally awkward. Not what I would expect for two characters who were supposedly very, very, very close friends.

Over all it was a total disappointment.

In order to ease my fears that I was too invested in the creator and the original writer. I had my boyfriend read the comic. Thankfully he still loves me after I stopped cooking to follow him with kitchen stuff tapping him with them until he broke down and read the comic. I am a lucky lady that this man puts up with me, I know.

Of course he watches Survivor and has a Grease mashup in the car and I still love him.

So I figure we're pretty much even.

Anyways back to my point. Even he was disappointed with the Birds of Prey reboot.

My advice is maybe buy the first few issues. If you dislike those then don't bother with the trades at all. If you read and liked Suicide Squad this is probably right up your ally and by all means go crazy with it.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Batwoman #1

Series: Batwoman
Words: J.H. Williams & W. Haden Blackman
Images: J.H. Williams
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

One of the things that sets Batwoman ahead of the rest of the comics out there is the art. If this was a story just told via pictures I would still buy this comic every month and would still buy the trade paper back of it just to see the artwork inside it. J.H Williams is an amazing artist, I heavily suggest having a peek through his website especially the link to his flicker.

Of course the comic also does have words and a story. Luckily the artist is also one of the writers. The art and the story blend together so seamlessly. I loved how the artist makes style differences depending on if he's drawing Batwoman or her alter ego Kate Kane. It really stresses the personality shifts the character goes through when she puts on the mask and goes out.

One of the things that I like a lot about the modern Batwoman as a character is the blending of the supernatural with superheros. I was glad to see this trend continue with the relaunch. It makes for an interesting and refreshing twist on an old style superhero story for the supernatural to make up the primary focus of the villains of a very logical detective style hero with no actual powers. It ends up reading for me more like an urban fantasy that occasionally features Batman and company instead of a more hardcore super hero comic.

Issue one of Batwoman gives snippits of what happened in the pre-relaunch run Batwoman had with Detective Comics. I also adored that book so I am glad to see it still fits within the entire universe. I was sorta bemused that they just decided to ignore the relaunch and keep on going from where they were. But then again if it is not broken why fix it?

I first discovered the Batwoman character when friends of mine started demanding I read about the gay Batwoman who dates police officers. And that was their big hook for me to read the comic. Honestly it sorta worked. When Batwoman started appearing as a lesbian character there were mixed feelings about it some groups were worried it was less about diversity and more about hypersexualizing lesbians to fit into straight male fantasies (see here ). Of course it has also won some awards for having a lesbian character from

For the most part I like how the authors handle Batwoman's sexuality. It's there but it's not hyper sexualized for public consumption. I am hopeful with a little time she will shift from being the LESBIAN character into being a character who is lesbian. Yes there is a difference. As she develops and grows as a character (and she is showing potential signs that she will) then her sexuality will just become one part of who she is rather then how she is defined totally by the people consuming the comics.

I also like that Batwoman was the character chosen to have her back story slightly altered to make her LBTQ. For those of you who do not know Batwoman's history the character was introduced because people thought that Batman was gay. So way back in the day DC introduces Batwoman to act as a love interest and ease those fears.
Now she's the poster girl gay character.

And yes this amuses me endlessly. A character introduced out of homophobia is now the D.C. poster girl for queer inclusion.

I heavily suggest checking out issue one if you can still find a copy since they have already had to go into reprints of it. Otherwise wait for the reprint and have a gander at it if you can. Or if you have far more will power than I do well certainly buy this as a trade paperback.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Suicide Squad #1

Series: Suicide Squad
Words: Adam Glass
Images: Federico Dallocchio & Ransom Getty
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

I wanted to like Suicide Squad. I tried really hard to like it. Honest readers I did. I've recently started to really enjoy Deadshot as a character. I love to hate Amanda Waller. I don't have much emotional investment in the rest of the team but I do enjoy reading about teams (I have discovered) and that has sucked me into caring about some of the strangest minor characters in the past (I'm looking at you Catman).

Even with lowered expectations (I had advanced warning that other people were disappointed). Even with a desire to actually like the series. I was a fair bit disappointed with Suicide Squad. I am not going to be pulling issue two.

Now I will give them some credit they did do some things very well. The art work is sound even if I didn't like some of the actual physical character designs.

The comic is an effective prequel to the Suicide Squad that sets up the rest of the serise well. You don't need any prior knowledge of the team or of the Squad to be able to pick up this issue and follow it. The entire comic takes place hopping between a flashback back story of each individual member's arrest and their later incarceration in Belle Reve Penitentiary and their recruitment from there to the suicide squad. I found that set up for the team very, very, very well done.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough to salvage the comic for me.

I was left disappointed. I didn't like how Deadshot was characterized. Deadshot should not have a weakness that is easily exploited. Part of the fun of Deadshot is he is almost seems to have antisocial personality disorder at times and yet ends up almost always doing the right thing for one reason or another. He's a slightly more sane and slightly less abrasive Deadpool.

I was annoyed at the redesign of Harley Quinn's costume. I actually had a flash back to when a teenage ex of mine tried to get me to watch / read Heavy Metal with him.

I was very annoyed at how much weight Amanda Waller seems to have magically lost. It's an issue I've been having ever since I saw the Green Lantern movie. When she finally appears late in the Suicide Squad story you could fill the hollows in her cheeks with soup and eat a full meal. The woman is skin and bones (and tits). Amanda Waller should not look like she is in desperate need for a sandwich. She is a solidly built power house of a woman both physically, socially and politically. She was also one of the few women of colour in comics who didn't fit the “thin” ideal and yet was some how a huge force. And while I love to hate the character in general because of her approaches.

Ideal if you are a teenager. Ideal if you want to oggle some pretty comic boobs. Ideal if you want something fairly light to read.

But not the Suicide Squad I wanted to read.

So in the end. Issue two is not being purchased and I will cross my fingers for the return of Secret Six.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Justice League International v.s. Justice League International

On the weekend the most magical of things happened. A friend of mine phoned and he was having to pass his comic book collection on to loving new homes. We greatly relocated 100+ of his comics into our apartment. There was a large supply of old school Silver Age Wonder Woman for me (these will show up later), piles of strong female characters popping up through D.C. and since he'd been trying to sell me on it Justice League International  from the 1980s run. Thus thanks to my friends great generosity I bring you a battle of the ages. 1987 Justice League dukes it out against 2011 Justice League reboot.

Series: Justice League International Justice League International
Words: Dan Jurgens Keith Griffen and J.M DeMatteis
Images: Aaron Lopez Willingham
Issue Number: 1 1
Release Date: In reality September 2011 but the cover reads November 2011 1987
Format Comic Comic

The Art

I have no huge complaints about either versions art work. They are both very different but also enjoyable. To steal the wording of the friend who donated us the many comics the relaunch is very photoshop pretty. It is certainly sharper and clearer artwork. However, I don't think through the course of time the relaunch will hold up as anything exceptional.

1980s JLI's art is some what simplistic but holds up well. It would be passable artwork in a modern day comic. So when you consider that it is twenty four years old and can still hold a candle against modern comics? I have to admit I am impressed.

One of the most significant artwork differences I noticed was in how the female characters were drawn.

DC's 1980s Black Canary
Cover of JLI 2011
Putting aside how amazingly 1980's her costume is. Which is really difficult because holy my goodness that is quite the 1980s costume. I'm baffled by how much physical female character (and costume) design has changed.

The reboot female character's show much more skin, have skin tight costumes and some how their boob sizes seem to be growing exponentially. I will give the DC artists credit. Their female characters often still manage to have muscles and abs that would make most men I know stew with envy fitting of someone who is as physically active as they are. It does leave me wondering what that says about how comic books as a sub-group and society views women. If you are interested in BMI and body types in comics I suggest Comparative Sex-Specific Body Mass Index in the Marvel Universe and the "Real" World one day if I have enough free time I would love to do something similar for the DC world to see how the two hold up against each other.

Winner: 1987 JLI.

The Line Up
JLI 1987

JLI 2011

Character Country of Origin Character Country of Origin
Booster Gold American Booster Gold Future America
Batman American Tora Olafsdotter – Ice Norway
Martian Manhunter Martian Mari Jiwe McCabe – Vixen Zambesi (fictional African country)
Dr. Fate American Beatriz Bonilla Da Costa -- Fire Brazil
Black Canary American Gavril Ivanovich – Rocket Red Russian
Guy Gardner American Zhifu Fang – August General in Iron China
Mister Miracle New Genesis (alien planet) Guy Garner American

Winner:  Since it has actual international members outside of aliens? JLI 2011. Though it still has a heavy American bias (especially with the support cast of Batman) and I'm sad to see the lack of a Canadian hero! 

The Actual Story
I have some huge issues with JLI's 1987 story line. A part of those issues probably come out of reading it outside of the time frame it came in. Within the first few pages of the issue there are jokes cracked about low IQs, promptly followed by jokes about soliciting services of a Geisha in Japan, promptly followed by the sexual harassment of Black Canary by one of her team members, promptly followed by gay jokes. These not only age the comic but make it more difficult for modern readers to relate to it.

It also does have some strengths. Black Canary's dealing of the sexual harassment is great. She effectively and quickly shuts down Booster Gold in the span of one panel. It is nice to see a female character do that. The writer also gets huge bonus points for having mentions of StarTrek within the first few pages. My inner Trekkie squealed right away. When the dialogue wasn't pressing my buttons some of it was rather witty and the story line does overall evolve into one that could be taken as a story about other-ing.

Since this issue came out more then 20 years ago I'm not going worry too much about spoilers. But consider this your warning.

There is a very great but very tiny back and forth between the Martian Manhunter J'onn Jonzz and Dr. Fate. When J'onn calls Dr. Fate's disconnection from the awe of new experiences into question as a sign of a lack of humanity Dr. Fate dismisses J'onn as not being human enough. Of course then the othered J'onn ends up being the hero of the issue. As the rest of his team and the civilians around them are taken over by a mind controlling cell J'onn's martian anatomy leaves him resistant to it.

Later he is attacked for his difference and his resistance to the mind control. Over all it was a good story that mostly holds up but a lot of the subtle -ism's contained within the context give me pause.

JLI 2011 on the other hand was much less of a stand alone story. It is in no way self contained and that gives it some major negative points. There were fewer moments of me being horribly offended by it. On the whole it was a good show case of the characters that are joining JLI. It was a great introduction but it felt much more like a prequel then anything else. I also found myself having flash backs to Marvel's avengers. Especially since they are now a UN controlled team. There was some great starts to stories around loss of faith in government. Dissatisfaction with the appropriation of public spaces. And some mention of tensions between different group members but the issue was just too short to flesh anything out. 

Winner: JLI 1987 because it actually did have an entirely self contained story. I think with more relaunch issues they have the potential to go beyond what was done in 1987.

 Overall 1987 wins for now. With a few more issues of JLI 2011 I may revise my views on the story.

Considering I pretty much avoided the Justice League outside of their cartoon the fact that I am planning on now working my way through both quite actively does have to say something.  

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Batgirl #1

Series: Batgirl
Words: Gail Simone
Images: Adrian Syaf, Vincent Cifuentes
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September 7th but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

Seconds after finishing the Action Comic post my will power crumbled and I tore through Batgirl in moments. Ever since DC announced that Batgirl would be in the relaunch and they were relaunching Barbra Gordon I have had some huge reservations.

For those of you who have not been cornered by me in person or ranted at online let me give you some context to these reservations. Babs. is by far one of my favourite heroines in either universe for many reasons:

1. She starts out as a side kick and actually grows and develops into a hero in her own right. That is right a female character who starts out as a side kick turns into an actual developed character that goes through hardship and grows beyond her side kick role.  No refrigerator's for that girl!

2. She's disabled. I am rarely a fan of how most of the top two handle disability. It is usually portrayed as a temporary plot device that is quickly overcome either with new powers, magically overcome, end in retirement or just totally forgotten. Babs was the exception to that rule. As Batgirl she's shot in the spine and eventually becomes Oracle. From a wheel chair she kicks some serious ass both physically and mentally. Add to point one and my love of the character may start to make sense.

3. And a part of what Oracle does pre-reboot is she gathers together a group of female hero's who work under her. From side kick to hero to group founder and leader. Rebooting the character seemed like a regression that took away a large portion of her growth and development.

4. I did not want Gail Simone to stop writing Birds of Prey. While I will give the new writer and the new line up a chance I will always have a soft spot for that series under Simone. Oh dear, maybe I do really hate change.

If it had been handed to any other writer I would have been up in arms. But I trust Gail Simone. As a girl I grew up in a house with a comic book collector for a father. When I stumbled upon Women in Refrigerator's all of a sudden I had a way of framing some of my own issues with the comic industry. When I branched back into hero comics I devoured her works. I love her writing style and how she seamlessly manages to blend concepts of oppression and privilege into engaging story lines that I can relate to. It was a very smart move on D.C.'s part.

So going into it with a love of the character, a fangirl crush on the author and a huge pile of reservations / fears of able-ism?

First, the artwork is amazing. Of this entire pull (and I suspect the relaunch) Batgirl has the best cover art. It is something that if I had a print of I would frame and hang in my apartment quite proudly. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the detail on the cover was fairly consistent with the art in the comic. Far too often I see comics that have graphically stunning covers but bland or dull artwork inside with flat colours.

There was brilliant use of partial views of the main villain that taunted and teased and left me wanting to know far more about them.

Also, I was impressed with how well proportioned Babs was considering she was a comic heroine. The character design while still very slender was built. She had muscles and something of a realistic torso with the definition that someone as physically active as the character would require. My hat goes off to the entire team for those details.

Stepping aside from my fangirl self and my reservations it was a good story. It emulated everything D.C. seemed to want from a relaunch. You can pick up this issue with out any familiarity with the character or her previous history and start reading. By the end despite everything I was left wanting to know where the story goes. Anything that reaches back into pre-relaunch territory is covered by the end of the first issue.

It certainly ran smoother then Action Comics #1 and was far less choppy.

I liked that Babs wasn't magically cured. I like that they didn't totally ignore her spinal cord injury and that her van still has a wheel chair lift. I enjoyed a great deal that there were nods to that history of the character. And that there was some talk of able-ism expressed via interactions with other background characters.

I'm still not happy to have lost Oracle. I'm still not happy that boom Babs can walk.

I was very happy to see PTSD being addressed in comics. I was overjoyed to see a hero with nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety. I can see huge potential in this area especially with the stigma around mental illness. When I think of mental illness in the top two I think of a small handful of villains for the most part. Though writing female characters who actually overcome trauma and develop is a strength of Simone's (she did great work pre-relaunch with Black Canary).

It also made the character seem more human. More real. I hope we see more of that as the series goes on.

In the end I am looking forward to reading more. I am excited to read more but I still have a lot of my original reservations in terms of able-ism and retrogression of a developed female character. Hopefully in the hands of this team she will grow and develop again.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Batwing #1

Series: Batwing
Words: Judd Winick
Images: Ben Oliver
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September 7th but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

One of the things that leaves me excited about the Batwing series is it's author Judd Winick. I first stumbled upon this writer when best-ex (my favourite ex) insisted that I read Pedro and Me while we were dating.

I promise I will get to the comic in short time. But first you will need a little history behind the author to understand why this is potentially exciting. And potentially can be done well.

Pedro and Me is a graphic novel that I will probably review in it's own right in the not to distant future so I will try and keep it short. It documents Winick's time in the MTV Real World house where he shared a room with Pedro Pablo Zamora  . Pedro was an openly gay man who was actively working on educating people about HIV and AIDS. Through out the course of their time together Winick had to confront his prejudices around HIV/AIDS especially with gay men. By the end of the show they became very close friends. So much so that when Pedro passed away Winick began lecturing about AIDS/HIV.

Winick when he returned to comic book writing has been given applause for working in characters who are LGBTQ. For addressing issues of homophobia. And then again for the creation of a super heroine who was HIV+.

So when I find out that Winick is writing a comic based in the Democratic Republic of Congo I'm curious to see what he does in terms of sexuality and AIDS/HIV. I also trust him based on his history to do it in a respectful and informed way.

Some issues that I have with Batwing on a whole. I'm glad that DC is expanding their universe to include more then just the Western world. I think that is a very good step. I'm excited to see another superhero of colour. Especially one that so far seems to be a very strong character.

Now this is outside of the writer's hand. He was not Batwing's creator. But I am a little sad to see that he is a Batman protegee. It is similar to my dissatisfaction with the vast majority of female characters in the universe not having their own stand alone stories or often being side kicks or plot devices. With baited breath I am looking forward to some subtle commentary on colonialism from this series. 

Right away in the first issue there is mention of there being local Superheros at one time and then all of them disappearing into what appears to be retirement or civilian life. There was some very heavy handed foreshadowing of that being a part of the ongoing story line.

In terms of the actual story line. I found that it was reasonably interesting. There were enough subtle hints at something bigger going on to be explored later that I'm interested in reading more. Tentatively I am very excited to see where it goes. But a part of me still has some pretty huge reservations on how it will actually play out. Either way I will be happy to pull the next issue.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Action Comics # 1

Series: Action Comics
Words: Grant Morrison
Images: Rags Morales, Rick Bryant
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September 7th but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

I have to confess a little anxiety jumping straight in with Action Comics #1. I have never been a huge fan of Superman's. Traditionally I prefer my Man-o-Steel to be in a group setting so I can watch character's I like interact with him. However, I do happen to have a rather large soft spot for some of Mr. Morrison's other works so I some how resisted the urge to sprint through the pile of new comics that were lovingly delivered from "our" pull box by my live in other half.

Luckily he is something of a Superman nut and so will be getting credit for letting me pick his brain and fact check from his comic filled brain on a few details here and there.

With this issue one of the things that stood out right away was the cover art. Superman in jeans and with short sleeves on the cover well it just seemed a little off. Even for me with my limited investment in the character (though hopefully it is not a sign of a resistance to change, what with the 52 relaunch).

On the whole I found there was far more darker and witty banter between Superman and various other characters. Both Superman and his Clark Kent alter ego had a slightly tougher edge to them then what I was used to. I liked it. However, I'm not sure how a hardened Superman fan would react to it. It reminded me of a toned down Batman or a slightly more contained anti hero. Torturing small and big times villains and crooks. Throwing people out of windows for wrong doings. Taunting the police and almost playing cat and mouse with them. These were not behaviours I expected from THE Superman. However, it is writing that I have come to expect from Grant Morrison. On the whole I was pleased but suspect it may alienate some hardened Superman fans, especially if the character doesn't develop into the boy scout they know and love.

I found the Luther and Superman dynamic (yes it shows up right away in the first issue) to be a little bit well forced. Now that they've established themselves as rivals I am curious to see where the story takes it.

There was some element that I took to be of class commentary. Little snippets about justice not being equal and the law not being enforced the same along economic lines that I did enjoy.

Leading up to the relaunch I had heard tell of Morrison wanting to power down Superman some what. I loved seeing the character with injuries and bruises. I didn't find that it was consistent. So while the character could catch a speeding bullet in his hand with out sustaining damage he does end up with physical damage along his face from one fight.

On the whole I will likely pull issue two. Not because I have been sucked into the story a whole ton (though it does end on a decent cliff hanger) but because I am familiar with the writer and I want to see how he messes with one of the D.C. big names. Superman fond other half seems to have reservations but is so invested in the character he is curious to see where the rest of the story goes.