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The State of the DC Reblaunch


dcnujla1Since the DC reboot – or reblaunch – I have only kept up with a few of the new books. I should confess that I didn’t pick up some of the ones I was most interested in, namely Action Comics and Wonder Woman. I did get The Flash, Deadman, Resurrection Man, Detective Comics, Aquaman, Blue Beetle, Nightwing, Teen Titans, The Savage Hawkman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Green Toaster. I think that’s it. Deadman and Green Lantern were interesting, but didn’t grab me. The Green Arrow was boring, predictable, and terrible. I was intrigued by, but ultimately disappointed in, Resurrection Man. I liked Nightwing and Teen Titans enough, but not enough to keep buying. Let us never mention the Green Toaster fiasco again. By my math, this leaves Blue Beetle, The Savage Hawkman, Detective Comics, Aquaman, and The Flash. I put all of these on my pull list.

I haven’t been too good about keeping up with my comics, so the last time I went in, I had two to three issues for the books on my list. I devoured them all very recently, and am ready to pass judgment.

The Savage Hawkman was interesting and dark and weird. After reading the first four issues, I think that the interesting bits are outmatched by the weird and dark bits. The dark and weird aspects of this book feel like something out of the nineties, when everything had to be gritty, brooding, and mysterious. The alter ego guy is a jerk, the mythology of the book is just odd, and the dark brooding whatever just oozes off the page. I don’t think it’s a bad book, but I don’t think it brings anything new to the party.

Detective Comics is a DARK, GRITTY, and DISTURBING Batman comic, and I am less and less impressed with those. Now, I like a dark, gritty, and disturbing comic – see Brian Azzarello’s excellent Joker – but Detective Comics felt like it was DG&C for its own sake, not because the story needed it. The big horror moment in this came when the Medium Bad stole Gordon’s kidney. This is horror for its own sake, and barely warranted a second mention in the book itself. The entire first plotline was Batman meets torture porn, and it was dumb. Ultimately, I don’t think the book is bad, but I don’t need to keep coming back for it.

Next is The Flash. I like The Flash, and I liked this book. I like the idea of a superhero with one really strong skillset, trying to solve problems that might not fit that skill perfectly. I enjoyed the book, but little things kept bugging me. The Flash can wave his arms around and shoot tornadoes or something, and can vibrate himself through solid walls. The first might be possible, even if it feels like a cheap deus ex machina, but the second is just dumb. The rest of the book is solid enough, but not enough to keep me coming back.

Aquaman had the strongest opening issue in the new 52, and continues to impress. After the hilarious and awesome #1, Aquaman introduced a truly scary villain, a race of insatiable humanoid anglerfish. After two issues that showed how ruthless and terrifying this new race was, Geoff Johns made me sympathetic as Aquaman reluctantly killed them. There were callouts to villains past and hints of what is coming, but told in a fresh manner. I will continue to follow this one.

Blue Beetle, the only book I picked up that was an actual reboot, is incredible. There are countless little touches that build to a wonderful comic. I loved the fact that the mysterious alien artifact defied all odds and failed to wind up in the hands of a middle-class white guy from a generic city that is a blatant New York stand-in, coupled with the sense that Tony Bedard seemed to draw more inspiration for high school from Veronica Mars than Spiderman. Blue Beetle is just great. The story is less about fighting the villain of the week than coping with superpowers in a Puerto Rican high school. Aquaman might be more exciting, but Blue Beetle is the one I am in love with. I just want to see how this kid copes.

So, there we are, after picking up eleven or so #1s, and following up with five of them, I have found two books that I will keep up with for a while. I just don’t know if that is a victory for DC or not. While it is true that I don’t care enough about the vast majority of what I saw to keep paying for it, I am reading two books more than I was before this started and that should mean something. Right?

Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor


Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python


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