mackknopf: (Books)
[personal profile] mackknopf
For those who haven't heard, DC Comics recently rebooted most of its previous continuity to produce 52 new titles, each supposed to be an entry point to jump on to a new world, with many familiar heroes and a few new ones.  Superman, for instance, is just starting out as a hero and reporter in Metropolis, not yet married to Lois Lane.  He can't even fly yet, but the government and Lex Luther are trying to hunt him down!

The reboot includes some really good comics.  I'm greatly unsure that all 52 comics are going to make it a year, however, as there are some clunkers in there (no surprise, it's hard to find that much creative talent).  I'm also not sure if the setting as a whole will maintain continuity of history well.  I predict chaos in the near future, unless the editors keep an iron hand on the stories. But I could be wrong.  Also worthy of note, all comics will be available to digitally download online the same day they are released in stores.  Unfortunately, they still cost the same as the printed editions, so I'm not thrilled about that.  I'll always buy the printed edition over an electronic edition if they cost the same price!  However, it may help DC reach a wider audience.

I've already mentioned Action Comics #1, Superman's flagship title by Grant Morrison, and it starts out powerfully. I'm always interested in the theme of "What do you do with great power?"  and "How do you stay human, or what does that even mean?"  In the context of a brash young alien crusader, living as a not-so-meek reporter, we get to see how Clark takes on authority and is in turn feared by it.  The title surpasses my expectations and succeeds in part because Morrison does not engage (so far) in his favored post-modernist techniques, but sticks to a straighter, easier to read style of storytelling.

 It comes as a pleasant surprise, though, that a number of supernaturally-themed comics have appeared on the stands. Vertigo, DC Comics dark fantasy and horror imprint, is still around, but some characters have been integrated into the mainstream, which to be fair  had been done some before the reboot.  The new titles take the integration all the way, though, and showcase good entry points into the weirder elements of the DC Universe.  Yes, this does mean that John Constantine appears in two comics now: his own regular Vertigo title and in a recurring role (with different continuity) in the mainstream comics.  People should have no trouble telling them apart because in regular DC Comics, he's shown as a younger man, similar to the original Alan Moore era.

More comics worth spending money for

Search For Swamp Thing 1-3.  Features John Constantine's reintroduction into the wilds of the superhero universe.  Swamp Thing has started killing people, so Constantine manipulatively turns to Batman and Superman for help, with mixed results.

Flashpoint: Secret Seven
.  The breakdown of a secret society of supernatural heroes, betrayed from within and without.  It stars Shade the Changing Man in a quite psychedelic role.  There's only three issues, leading into...Justice League Dark!

Justice League Dar
k also appears quite promising, though I am not sure I like the name. Basically, a number of the supernatural-themed characters (John Constantine, Zatanna, Shade the Changing Man, etc) team up to keep the paranormal under control. The premise sounds intriguing, and the cover art looks good (though I have yet to see interior art, as the first issue isn't out yet). 

Swamp Thing
-- Haven't finished reading this yet, but it follows up on the current life of Alex Holland, who may or may not be Swamp Thing again.  I'm uncertain if the premise can sustain itself, but I'm going to give it a try.

Animal Man
: A sound sequel to the ground-breaking Grant Morrison run, we get to see Buddy Baker, master of animal powers, as an environmentalist who kids love, as a good family man, and is a magnet for sheer weirdness because of said powers.

Demon Knights
: Someone on the Internet called this a comic to read by heavy metal music, and they were right.  Set in the Dark Ages of the DC Universe (and stop me if you've heard this plot before), seven mystical heroes and villains (including Etrigan/Jason Blood, Madame Xanadu, and Vandal Savage!) show up at a small town looking for a good beer at the local pub.  Unfortunately, the evil magician Mordru (and we know he's evil because of what he does to a baby -- ick!) sends his rampaging horde to the same village to pillage it for supplies.  Yes, it's the plot from Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai," but sometimes you can't beat the classics. Guess what the seven thirsty people do when their beer is threatened?  That's right -- time for a major brawl to defend the place!  I laughed repeatedly throughout reading this comic.  It's definitely one of my favorites of the reboot.
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