52 Pickup – What I’ll Be Buying During September’s DC #1 Reboot

Action Comics #1 (April, 1938)

Action Comics #1 (April, 1938)

The entire line of 52 DC #1 reboot titles have been announced, and the following is my pull list / recommendations for September.

A few notes up-front about this list.

  • These are my personal recommendations and should be treated as such.  If you don’t agree with my recommendations, that’s cool.  We’re still friends.  🙂 I encourage you to make your own decisions.
  • My methodology for purchasing comics is that I tend to follow writers.  Then artists.  Then characters.  I wrote about this in great detail in a previous post.  A good writer can steer me to buy a book about a character I don’t care about.  Example: Geoff Johns on Aquaman (sorry Katy!).  But as much as I love Adam Strange, if he’s in a book with a writer I don’t like, I’ll take a pass.
  • My attention span is limited to 20 pages before I loose interest in a reboot title (something covered in my other post under “The DC Challenge”).  Meaning, if they don’t wow me with the first issue, I’m not going to stick around for a full story-arc for it to “get better.”  Creative teams who are not conscious of the fact that they are fighting for my attention and need to grab me at the jump don’t deserve it.

Strong Buy Recommendations

New Justice

  • Justice League (Geoff Johns/Jim Lee): the first title out of the gate, and it’s sure to be a winner.  The creative team alone sells me on this book.  Two of the chief architects behind the reboot, working together on the heaviest hitters in the DCU.  You had me at, “JL.”
  • Aquaman (Geoff Johns/Ivan Reis): if Johns and Reis can make Aquaman cool again (and let’s face it, he hasn’t been cool since his days in Detroit), then this will be a book to remember.
  • Wonder Woman (Brian Azzarello / Cliff Chiang): Azzarello often gets left out of conversations about great super hero writers, but if you look at his body of work, he’s written some of the best Superman and Batman  stories in the past few years with the Luthor and Joker books.  Cliff Chiang is both no stranger to drawing Amazons (see Green Arrow/Black Canary) and a personal favorite artist of mine since his days illustrating Josie Mac.

Green Lantern

  • Green Lantern (Geoff Johns/Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy): while Johns didn’t create Hal Jordan, he has an understanding of how to write this character and that’s made for one of the most consistent books over the past few years.  I’m glad he’s staying on this title and look forward to the new run.

Batman

  • Batman (Scott Snyder / Greg Capullo): Snyder is coming off of an exceptional run on Detective Comics.  My first thought was that he might be misplaced on Batman (as opposed to Detective Comics) since it was his focus on the crime investigation and human elements that made the book such a great read.  That said, Snyder is a professional writer and I’m certain he can adapt to work on the flagship title.
  • Batgirl (Gail Simone/Ardian Syaf): while Gail Simone has logged a lot of time writing Barbara Gordon, she hasn’t actually written her as Batgirl.  Few have over the past 20 years.  So it will be interesting to see how she approaches Barbara back in the role of Batgirl (assuming it is Barbara behind the mask).
  • Batwing (Judd Winick/Ben Oliver): Batman is cool, but Batwing is going to be cooler.  This is what the reboot is all about.  Taking concepts to places they haven’t been before with characters who might have not been represented in the past.  This should be on everyone’s list (and, because I know Judd is gonna knock this out of the park).
  • Batwoman (J.H. Williams III/Haden Blackman/Amy Reeder): this was the most anticipated title of 2011 before the reboot and the fact that it’s still on track is excellent news.
  • Catwoman (Judd Winick/Guillem March): trust me when I tell you, this is gonna be the breakout book of the Bat titles.  I spoke to Judd about what he plans to do with this book, and it’s gonna be a page-turner.
  • …and though it’s not launching until 2012, Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham on Batman, Incorporated is also a must buy.

Dark Side

The key to these “Dark Side” books will be if they really let the creators push these books to the type of “Veritgo space” that the old DC Swamp Thing, Hellblazer and Doom Patrol tread in (before they got moved into their own imprint).  I’m waiting for the group editor here to say that the safeties are off…

  • Animal Man (Jeff Lemire/Travel Foreman): Lemire excels at telling stories with intimate family moments and I’m hoping that he’s allowed to go “dark” (see above note) with his storytelling here.  Read Sweet Tooth.  He can do it, it’s a question of will they let him go there.
  • Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE (Jeff Lemire/Alberto Ponticelli): Lemire is clearly one of the new writers that DC is betting heavily on.  I’ll be interested to see what he does on this team book and am enjoying his take on the character in Flashpoint.
  • I, Vampire (Josh Fialkov/Andrea Sorrentino): I almost skipped over this book, until I saw that it was Josh Fialkov writing it.  His series Echoes was quite good (thanks for the heads up on that, Dan).  Again, if he can really go “dark” on this book, that’ll be the difference between a lame vampire book and one that stays in the buy pile.
  • Justice League Dark (Peter Milligan/Mikel Janin): terrible title and while this book was sorta done already in Doom Patrol #53 with the Legion of the Strange (Comics Alliance), I’m hoping Peter Milligan makes this something to talk about like he did when he was writing X-Statix for Marvel.
  • Swamp Thing (Scott Snyder/Yannick Paquette): Snyder is one of their strongest writers right now, and he understands horror (see American Vampire), so it stands to reason they’d put him on the Swamp Thing relaunch.

The Next Generation of Justice

  • Legion of Super Heroes (Paul Levitz/Francis Portela): not only did Paul Levitz understand the Legion when he wrote the book the  first time around, but since he’s been back he’s shown that he’s still got it.

The Edge

The note that I made about the “Dark Side” books is the same note I’d make about these books.  Any line called “The Edge” better feel more like a Vertigo crime book and less like a middle-of-the-line DC book, or it might as well be just another title on the shelf.

  • Blackhawks (Mike Costa/Ken Lashley): Costa was part of the G.I. Joe: Cobra book from IDW.  That gets him a shot at trying to win me over.
  • Stormwatch (Paul Cornell/Miguel Sepulveda): Cornell won me over with his work on Action Comics.  I’m on board (even though Martian Manhunter can be a pretty boring character).

Superman

  • Action Comics (Grant Morrison/Rags Morales): Morrison is one of the most imaginative writers working in comics, and he writes stories that make your brain explode (in a good way).  It’s almost laughable to think that the man who was once the poster child for Vertigo and seen as being “too weird” is now writing the most iconic comic book character ever created.  And Morales is an artist who can do both action and emotion (re-read Identity Crisis and it’s all there).
  • Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow (George Perez/Jesus Merino): in February of 1987, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted the DC Universe, George Perez rebuilt Wonder Woman from the ashes.  Now he will be back to do the same for Superman.

Cautiously Optimistic

Justice League

  • DC Universe Presents  (Paul Jenkins / Bernard Chang): an anthology is going to be pretty important in filling in some of the “gaps” and quite frankly, I’ve always liked anthologies.  Paul Jenkins is a very underrated writer and I’m happy to see him back from working across the street at Marvel.  That said, anthologies are hit or miss, so I’ve moved it to this column.
  • The Flash (Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato): while I love Manpaul / Buccellato as artists, they are unproven as writers and that’s the only reason they’re not in the “strong buy” column.  I’m hoping that these two surprise me and push this title over the top.
  • Mister Terrific (Eric Wallace / Roger Robinson): while I have read a few comics from Eric Wallace, I do not have an opinion of him one way or the other.  Neither do I for Roger Robinson.  This is one of the rare instances where a character (Mister Terrific) is compelling me to try a title.

Batman

  • Birds of Prey (Duane Swierczynski/Jesus Saiz): I’ve tried a number of Swierczynski’s Marvel titles, and they never really resonated with me.  I’m hoping that the move to DC, the reboot and the fact that he’s on a team book are all enough variables that maybe get me on board with his writing.
  • Detective Comics (Tony Daniel): while I am not a huge fan of Daniel’s writing, the vote of confidence to keep him on Batman as a writer and shift him to this title is enough to make me give it a shot.  As a polite reminder to Daniel, I would point out that he has 20 pages to get me to stay on the title.
  • Red Hood And The Outlaws (Scott Lobdell/Kenneth Rocafort): pairing Jason Todd with Roy Harper is enough to get me to check this out.

Dark Side

  • Demon Knights (Paul Cornell/Diogenes Neves): I have very little interest in this book, but the idea of Paul Cornell writing it will at least get me in the door for a first issue.

The Next Generation of Justice

  • Hawk & Dove (Sterling Gates/Rob Liefeld): Hawk & Dove is what first brought most people to the attention of Rob Liefeld.  Say what you will about his art style, but he brings a level of enthusiasm to the page that few artists can match.  I should also mention that Sterling Gates is a very talented writer and did some great work on Supergirl (another youth-oriented book).
  • Legion Lost (Fabian Nicieza/Pete Woods): I have very little interest in the concept, but I know that some of Nicieza’s best work was on the New Warriors, so I’m going to give this a shot.

The Edge

  • Grifter (Nathan Edmondson/CAFU and BIT): Edmonson’s “Who Is Jake Ellis?” from Image is a neat series.  I’m a fan of Cafu and Bit, so this book is worth a try.
  • OMAC (Dan DiDio/Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish): the cover image looks more like the Hulk and less like the original OMAC.  DiDio is doing what Johns and Lee are doing; working on titles in the trenches with the rest of their creative teams.  So that gets him a spot on my list.
  • Sgt. Rock And The Men Of War (Ivan Brandon/Tom Derenick): see my comment about what I’m looking for from the Edge titles.  Brandon can write gritty war comics.  It’s going to be less about ability and more about if they let him take the title in that direction or keep him in the middle.

Superman

  • Supergirl (Michael Green and Mike Johnson/Mahmud Asrar): I’ve enjoyed Michael Green’s books (and TV work) in the past, so he gets a shot to show me what he’ll do for Supergirl.

Final Count:

  • Strong Buys: 19
  • Cautiously Optimistic: 13
  • Total: 32/52

Can’t wait for September…

Action Comics #1 (September, 2011)

Action Comics #1 (September, 2011)

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One Response to “52 Pickup – What I’ll Be Buying During September’s DC #1 Reboot”

  1. Week 0 And 1 Of DC: The New 52 « Noah Kuttler's Blog Says:

    […] previously mentioned, I am giving the DC “New 52″ titles one issue, 20 pages, to convince me to stick […]

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