Comic Hit List: The 52 List Pt. 05

Batman #1

Batman fans you’re in for a treat if you picked up this 52 reboot title of Batman. We see Bruce Wayne here once again as the Batman of Gotham City. Much like the Green Lantern series there’s very little change done to the Batverse in the relaunch. Fans of writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire and Detective Comics) won’t be disappointed here as he gives us a more cerebral Batman in Wayne compared to Dick Grayson when he donned the cowl in prelaunch Detective Comics. We’re also introduced to a new toy in Batman’s arsenal in the form of contact lens which links him directly to the computers in the bat cave at all times. This is a brilliant piece of WayneTech gives us a look into how obsessed Batman is on his war on crime.

Artist Greg Capullo (Haunt and The Creech) brings some pretty wild stuff to the table here as well. Capullo gives us a refined look that’s both simple and detailed in the same time. While there’s there’s Liefeld inspired bodies types they’re not as exaggerated to the degree that it’s too ridiculous. I especially enjoyed his rendition of Two-Face which is both horrifying and fascinating. Snyder and Capullo’s work together here is absolutely top notch across the boards.

I don’t want to give away too much but Batman #1 will leave readers on a cliffhanger (which also spills over into the Nightwing title)  that’ll have them drooling for the next issue. There’s a truck load of Batman related titles in the 52 line up and this one ranks up there as one of the best.

Grade: A-

Catwoman #1

If you’re looking for several cheesecake shots of Selina Kyle in various states of undress then look no further than the first issue of Catwoman. I like a little T&A as much as the next guy (actually maybe even a little bit more) and understand that sex DOES sell but even I think this opening title of Gotham City’s premier cat burglar is a bit insulting. While writer Judd Winick (Green Lantern and Green Arrow) does write a decent script keeping in mind of Selina Kyle personality it’s largely overshadowed by the titillating art work of Guillem March (Gotham City Sirens and Azrael).

I’m also disappointed with how Winick depicted the relationship between Batman and Catwoman especially in the final pages of the issue. Yes, Batman and Catwoman always had a bit of sexual tension going on between them (which made it work) but Winick pretty much now has it boil down to a booty call. Gone are the subtleties and witty banter between Batman and Catwoman that was so enjoyable to read say hello to gratuitous scenes belonging more to a softcore skin magazine. If Winick and March can tone down the T&A this title can perhaps be salvaged. Winick shows here he can provide a decent script and voice for Selina Kyle, all he needs is a bit of fine tuning. Here’s to keeping your fingers crossed.

Grade: D

Green Lantern Corps #1

Seeing Peter Tomasi (Nightwing and Brightest Day) and Fernando Pasarin (Justice Society of America and The Outsiders) partnering up again after their fantastic run together on Emerald Warriors had me clapping my hands in joy. Pasarin does some awesome work here especially drawing the various aliens which inhabit the DC Universe. Tomasi here delivers a story which at it’s core reminds this reader of a cop drama with Guy Gardner and John Stewart as partners.

In this issue we see both Gardner and Stewart trying to establish a somewhat normal life while their identities as super heroes are already public knowledge. Gardner we see is trying to get a job as a football coach and Stewart has gone back to work as an architect. Both of them fail at their attempts as they realize they just don’t fit in on Earth anymore. Meanwhile the Lanterns in sector 3599 were murdered and an entire planet is wiped out. The guardians in their wisdom decide to send out both Gardner and Stewart along with a few others to investigate what happened. While there isn’t anything especially crazy happening within the pages of Green Lantern Corps #1 it still provides a good read and long time fans will enjoy this title.

Grade: C+

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

I can sort of see what DC is trying to do here by combining elements from Batman and the Outlaws and Teen Titans. Red Hood and the Outlaws teams up the characters Red Hood, Arsenal, and Starfire as a three person vigilante group who are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. What are their goals you may ask? Well that’s a very good question because frankly writer Scott Lobdell (Gen13 and Wildcats) never really quite explains it to the readers.

The issue opens up with Jason Todd aka the Red Hood busting Roy Harper aka Arsenal out of a Qurac prison with enough bullets to fund a small war. As the bodies count begins to pile up that’s when the prison forces decide to bring out the big guns in the form of tanks. That’s when Starfire the third member of the Outlaws shows up to blast away the before mentioned tanks into scrap. And if you thought her outfit was revealing before your jaw will hit the floor when you see what she’s wearing now. Artist Kenneth Rocafort (Hunter-Killer and Artifacts) brings us an extremely pretty first issue here. I especially enjoy his gritty almost sketchy art style.

Lobdell does a somewhat decent job with Red Hood here by distancing him from the revenge driven Batman villain/anti hero image he had going on prereboot (but with the big red bat on his chest it’s clear that he hasn’t forgotten about the Bat just quite yet) to more of a well rounded character with his own agendas. Arsenal on the other hand has now become a dim selfish and careless killer who pretty much only looks out for himself. Lobdell pretty much wiped the slate clean with him in this relaunch. And last but definitely not least is Starfire who is now pretty much a borderline sex kitten from outer space with no memory of her time with Nightwing or the rest of the Teen Titans. This is explained by Red Hood’s explaination, “Tamaraneans don’t see humans as much more than sites and smells.  And they have a terribly short attention span about all things Earth.” So it seems that Tamaraneans now have the memory of a goldfish and the sexual drive of rabbits. I call bulls*** on that. Much like Catwoman #1 they’re really pushing the cheesecake factor in this title as well.

If you’re looking for some guilty pleasure that comes with a truck load of bullets and arrows, plus some alien T&A I say check this title out. And hopefully in the second issue we’ll finally learn what brings this trio together.

Grade: D+

Deadman #1

To those unfamiliar with the character of Deadman he was created in the sixties and is a man who…well is now dead. Boston Brand aka Deadman is actually a restless ghost of a circus  aerialist who was murdered and now must redeem his life of selfishness and arrogance by possessing the bodies of people whose lives are in crisis.

Writer Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer and Witchblade) does quite a bit in the first issue of Deadman by aiding his current possession, recapping the origins of Brand, and setting up Deadman’s next big adventure. I’m definitely detecting a bit of the old Vertigo vibe here in this title. The script here is pretty heavy but thankfully not too overwhelming. Artist Bernard Chang (The Second Life of Doctor Mirage and Wonder Woman) provides some great work here as well. After reading through the first issue I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the next one.

Grade: C+

Captain Atom #1

It looks like DC has teamed up J.T. Krul (Fathom and Green Arrow) and Freddie Williams II (Robin and Aquaman) together on Captain Atom’s first solo series in twenty years. The two work wonderfully as a duo and produces what’s definitely going to be a sleeper hit of the 52 reboots. No doubt one of the first thing readers will notice when they go through the issue is that the good Captain is pretty much uninked which sets him apart from his environment. Williams gives us an awesome splash page towards the end that’s both slick and vivid, as well as giving him a sense of instability.

Krul provides us a story where Captain Atom’s powers are changing as he discovers the ability to manipulate the very molecules around him. The downside though is this very same ability could very well kill him in the end. I must say I’m rather interested in seeing where the nuclear powered solider will lead us.

Grade: B+

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