SUPERMAN #1: Elements of this are interesting, and George Perez both knows how to write dialogue and breakdown a page, and the plot of the book is quite good. But Jesus Merino isn’t George Perez; he’s not even close to being George Perez, and every page with its gorgeous and perfect Perez breakdowns just reinforces for me the fact that Perez isn’t actually drawing the book. Merino is at best competent, and that in turn brings down the book for me. That, plus the stupid Lois/Clark breakup and the stupid Superman de-aging and the stupid stupid stupid new Superman costume, make it hard for me to enjoy this comic: the Superman status quo got fucked up worse than just about every other comic in the nu52 and I find it hard to be enthusiastic.
AQUAMAN #1: This was really quite good – a strong example of what all the #1s should have been. Aquaman gets a dramatic entrance, gets a fight scene, gets some nice character moments, has his powers and backstory introduced efficiently, and the initial threat for the first story arc gets set up. Geoff Johns had to sell Aquaman here, and he managed it expertly. Other than Batman, probably the best of the “Justice League Member” comic #1s. But not the best nu52 of the week.
I, VAMPIRE #1: This is the best nu52 of the week, and I was extremely surprised by that. I wasn’t expecting much out of this, and the epic vampire war comic it in fact turns out to be is goddamn great. It’s moody and bloody and probably completely incapable of coexisting longterm with the DC Universe, what with the fact that the first issue has the evil vampires massacring thousands of people in Boston. But regardless: I enjoyed the hell out of this.
THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1: Completely incoherent. I mean, this isn’t just “okay we’re gonna step into the middle of the ongoing run” that some of the other nu52 “no really it’s a reboot” comics like Green Lantern are. This seems to be stepping into the middle of an ongoing comic that didn’t exist before this, and it’s not a good comic either. Hawkman’s new outfit is stupid and ugly. The story is both boring and hard to follow. The dialogue is retarded. The art is confusing. Hawkman is still Hawkman, so I’m not going to pretend that I was coming into this unbiased, because fuck Hawkman, Hawkman sucks. But – I mean, Catwoman and Red Hood may be staggeringly sexist stories, but at least you can sort of read them. The Savage Hawkman, on the other hand, is almost unreadably bad; it’s the Manos, The Hands of Fate of the nu52. It’s so bad, and bad in so many ways that are unexpected, that you just have to kind of stare at it.
VOODOO #1: Now this, on the other hand, is conventionally terrible in the ways we have come to expect from the nu52. Here, I will spoil it for you: ten pages of Voodoo doing sexy stripping, a token action sequence featuring the secret agent lady that isn’t really exciting, and then the other secret agent, for no apparent reason whatsoever, asks Voodoo for a private lapdance and then tells her he is a secret agent keeping an eye on her, so she kills him with alien-shapeshift-claws. There. You now have no reason to read this comic ever. (Wait until Sami Basri illustrates a comic that isn’t a shitburger, because the art shows talent – but still isn’t reason to read this comic.)
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1: Too early to tell. Peter Milligan is going full-bore weird with this book, and when Milligan does that you need to give him two or three issues to figure out what the hell he’s up to. But it’s a nice-looking and readable comic, even with all the weird, so tentative thumbs up.
THE FLASH #1: I remember back when Geoff Johns introduced that Patti character pre-Flashpoint someone complained that he was clearly going to set up a love triangle, and my response was “no, Barry’s married, they have to pull a One More Day to do that,” and then Barry Allen went back in time and annihilated Wally West (or possibly Bart Allen – the jury is still out) from existence so he could have warm fuzzy memories about his dead mother, more or less, and as a result now he and Iris are no longer married so there’s a love triangle. Kudos, guy who said that thing last year! I genuinely could not have called that! Anyway, if you can get past that, this is a perfectly decent superhero comic with gorgeous art from Francis Manapul, but this isn’t anything you’ll remember a year from now.
ALL-STAR WESTERN #1: It’s a Jonah Hex comic by Palmiotti and Gray. You know it’ll do what it says on the tin, and you know it’s gonna be good. Moritat’s art is nice, and a Jonah Hex story set in 1880s Gotham City is an interesting idea. It’s not very Western-y, but eh, whatever. It’s Jonah Hex beating people up and shooting them and stuff. What more do you want, anyway?
THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1: And Gail Simone goes 0-for-2 with the nu52 so far, which I genuinely could not have guessed would happen, because come on, it’s Gail Simone! But this comic is not very good. The villainous mercenaries (and man, can I just say that the nu52 has so many frigging villainous mercenaries?) are over-the-top, but that is a minor complaint: the problem is that the book goes sharply off the rails at about the two-thirds mark, because before that Ronnie and Jason are normal high school students, but then out of nowhere Jason is privy to the secrets of Firestorm in advance, and then Ronnie and Jason start fighting each other, and the dialogue just starts being not very good (and seriously saying this about a Gail Simone comic is so goddamn weird you guys), and… ugh. This one was a huge disappointment; I was expecting a very good comic and this is not that thing at all.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1: The cliffhanger of this book is Two-Face demanding that now he be called “One-Face.” (Also he is the Hulk, it looks like.) If you need anything more from me to understand that this is a really bad Batman comic, just ask.
BLACKHAWKS #1: This actually managed to entertain me despite some obvious and glaring problems. It doesn’t identify a lot of its characters clearly (or in some cases at all), and in a book with a large cast that’s important. The art is… not very good, frankly, and there are several points where it simply doesn’t mesh with the writing (like where one character complains that a baddie is biting her two panels before he bites her). And of course, the plot point that someone has managed to take a picture of the super-secret Blackhawks would probably make a lot more sense if the super-secret Blackhawks didn’t have Blackhawk insignias on all their planes. But, even with all of that, the comic has a lot of energy to it, and the idea of “G.I. Joe in the DCU” is a pretty good one, and the dialogue is fun and the story okay. I can’t call this a good comic, because it isn’t really good. But it’s fun in a trashy way, and the potential for it to be good is definitely there.
GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1: So the first half of this comic is… a retelling of Kyle Rayner’s origin? And then it flashes forward? I think? I’m genuinely not entirely sure; the comic doesn’t do anything crazy like label a flashback sequence as being a flashback sequence, or anything like that. Anyway, it then becomes a sort of rote “get the team together” story where they’re all gonna beat up Kyle, more or less. You can skip this, as Larfleeze does not show up anywhere, and what is the point of having the various spectrums of Lanterns if you’re not going to put Larfleeze in the damn comic, I ask you.