Comic Hit List: The 52 List Pt. 03

Deathstroke #1

Written by Kyle Higgins (Batman: Gates of Gotham and Nightwing) with art by Joe Bennett (Birds of Prey and Justice League: Generation Lost) and Art Thibert (Outsiders and Trinity), Deathstroke was one of the titles I’ve been looking forward to checking out since I heard it was going to be part of the 52 line up. To those unfamiliar with Deathstroke here’s a short run down on the man also known as Slade Wilson. He possesses a healing factor which allows him to heal from physical injury faster than normal as well as enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, and reflexes. But what makes him such a dangerous man is his ability to use up to 90% of his brain at any given time which makes him a tactical genius on the battlefield who can almost anticipate his opponent’s next move.

In this premiere issue we see Higgins bringing Deathstroke back to his roots as the most bad ass mercenary on the planet, the best at what he does, and with a new more armored look (reminds me a bit of the Azrael’s Batman armor) complete with a meat cleaver like sword. In the first few pages we see Mr. Wilson here dispatching a squad of heavily armed Russian bodyguards and their boss easily as if he was just picking up some milk from a corner store. His next mission was a bit more interesting as he has to work with a team of three other mercenaries new to the game to retrieve a ‘package’ off a cargo plane going three hundred miles per hour in midflight.

Higgins delivers a fantastic first issue here with the story perfectly paced. Bennett and Thibert gives us some stunning art and action scenes which leaves this fanboy unable to put down the comic until he got to the end. Both the writer and the artists seem to be on the same page here with Deathstroke, he’s not a good guy, a hero, or even a merc with a heart. Slade Wilson is one stone mother f*#@%$ (pardon my french) who would take anyone out as long as his employers are able to meet his rate. I will be definitely be back for issue two of Deathstroke as soon as it hits the shelves.

Grade: A

Superboy #1

First of all this is not the Conner Kent Superboy we know prereboot. It looks like DCU has hit the reboot button hard when it comes to Superboy. In this retelling it looks like Superboy’s clone origins is still intact but that’s as far as it went. Surrounded by scientists who thinks this Superman clone is nothing but a brain dead hybrid of human and kryptonian DNA these scientists are ready to pull the plug on their little science experiment. That was a big mistake as he was taken off life support he finally ‘awoke’ and the shit really hit the fan there.

Artist R.B. Silva (Secret Six and Jimmy Olson) brings brings us some decent work here on Superboy issue one. Although I’m not sure he’s totally in sync with Scott Lobdell‘s (Wildcats and The Darkness) dialogue heavy writing style. But with Rob Lean (Birds of Prey and Superman) on colors and inking the trio brings us something that can hold the reader’s attention. Here’s hoping the problem will be solved in the second issue.

Grade: C+

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

From Grant Morrison’s ‘Seven Soldiers of Victory’ Frankenstein makes his way to the new DCU in his own title along with along with his teammates the Creature Commandos. Father Time the sinister leader of the origination S.H.A.D.E. is here as well and in a new body of a young school girl wearing a domino mask. I’m also reminded strongly of Mike Mignola’s work on B.P.R.D. here.

In this first issue by writer Jeff Lemire (Animal Man and Sweet Tooth) readers are dropped into the big shoes of Frankenstein who has just came in from vacationing on Mars. Apparently ol’ Frankie here works as some sort of ace-in-the-hole super agent for S.H.A.D.E. which is kind of DC’s version of Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Frank’s vacation was cut short on account of monsters having run amok in a small town and devoured pretty much the entire population.

The best way I can describe Alberto Ponticelli‘s (Unknown Solider and Sam and Twitch) work here is either you like it or you don’t. Personally I don’t mind it and in fact am a fan of his sketchy style but I can see that it can be a hard sale for other comic book fans. If you’re looking for a departure from the usual superhero comic then I say give this title a try. You never know, you just might get hooked.

Grade: C-

Grifter #1

Straight from the Flashpoint story arc and transplant from the Wildstorm Universe the former WildC.A.T. is now headlining his very own DC title. Yet another title which I’ve been looking forward to reviewing once I head it was going to be a part of the 52 round up. In this new chapter of the saga that is Grifter we see him starting out as a simple street level con artist and then add a little alien conspiracy and a trip to a costume shop we see Cole Cash beginning to transform into the Grifter we all know and love.

Nathan Edmondson (Who is Jake Ellis? and The Light) brings us a nice solid script with pacing that’ll keep the attention of the readers. With Edmondson in charge of Grifter’s story Mr. Cash looks to have quite an interesting future here in the DCU. CAFU (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Vixen) gives us some clean, crisp, engaging artwork here as well with action scenes which flow seamlessly into each other. I can’t wait to see how CAFU treats us when the bullets begin to fly. My fingers are crossed while I look forward to checking out issue number two.

Grade: B

Legion Lost #1

From the creative team of writer Fabian Nicieza (Action Comics and Nightwing) and artist Pete Woods (Robin and Harley Quinn) we’re treated to a team of heroes from the 31st century who time traveled (it was nice to see the Flashpoint arc mentioned in this issue) to present day to prevent a major catastrophe. But as usual things don’t exactly go according to plan and the seven heroes from the future are left stranded in the present and two of them don’t even make it to the end of the issue.

I gotta say though I’m not impressed with this title at all. The pace starts off pretty slow but picks up around midpoint but the story itself feels all over the place. While I’m not too familiar with Legion I have done my homework and have read a few titles here and there. The killing of two legion characters especially an established one like Gates right off the bat felt very hollow, especially the way they let him go. I don’t know it feels like Nicieza is trying too hard to give this first issue some shock value. And I gotta say I’m not too much of a fan of the art work contained in these pages. It was just too cartoonly for my tastes. This is one title I don’t think I’ll be adding to my pull list which is a shame since Nicieza and Woods both talented in their respective fields.

Grade: D

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