Posts Tagged ‘DC new 52’

Well dammit. I actually really like Geoff Johns’ take on Aquaman. 

I don’t know why this annoys me. Maybe it’s because after banging through so many other New52 DC collections, I simply expected the book with Angry Aquaman stabbing at the reader to be as bad as one would assume. Aquaman isn’t a character DESIGNED to snarl and frown – he’s a blond swimmy guy who rides seahorses, talks to fish and wears bright orange! – and yet that’s been his default mode for basically the last 30 years. (Unless you go elsewhere.)

Then there’s Johns. I’m not a big Johns fan – the “Johnsian Literalism” theory put in play at Comics Alliance bugs me, and his weird insistence that every DC character have mother or father issues is disconcerting in its consistency. And here it is on display again: the opening arc focuses quite a bit on Aquaman’s relationship with his human father, as it guides the hero through his newfound, “Am I man or Atlantean?” issues.

This is probably a way of making them more “human,” but it usually feels like a hamfisted retcon that gives guys like Green Lantern and Flash something to brood over without feeling particularly intrinsic to their characters.

But damned if it doesn’t work with Aquaman. In fact, practically everything Johns comes up with for this not-quite-reboot* of the character is pretty spot-on.

Which, of course, makes That One Thing stand out even more as being a fucking terrible idea.

But we’ll save that for last, because I’m happy to actually write a positive DC review for a change, so let’s go down the list of things that go right in Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench(more…)

Like a lot of long-time comic readers, I tend to wax and wane on whether I’m a DC guy or a Marvel guy. As a kid in the 80’s, Spider-Man, X-Men and Captain America held my attention. But in the 90’s, during my formative comic buying years, it’s clear I was more in the DC camp – looking through my collection I see some long, uninterrupted runs on JLA, Flash, Impulse, Robin, Nightwing, (though not a lot of Batman runs, oddly enough) – and James Robinson’s Starman had a huge impact on me.

It was only in the 2000s that my buying habits returned to Marvel as they started employing all the writers I like and essentially let them do what they wanted (Bendis’s Daredevil, Morrison’s X-Men, Ennis on Punisher, Ellis and then Fraction on Iron Man, Brubaker’s Captain America, etc ).

And DC at this point had become so mired in death and grimness that around this time last year, I was actually (cautiously) looking forward to the upcoming reboot/New 52 rebranding, in hopes that maybe I could get back onboard with a few titles here and there.

Of course, I hadn’t counted on the fact that the DC editorial staff had no fucking clue what they were doing, resulting in rebranded properties that were even less appealing to me than before.

And with little rhyme or reason. Part of the reboot was to state that the DC universe was only 5 years old, not the 10-15 sliding timeline. Which actually ended up wreaking havoc on the previous continuity, as writers and editors had to attempt to explain which previous books “counted” now – and just how Batman had gone through five Robins and three Batgirls (one of whom was previously a Robin!) in five years.

The answer: arbitrary subtractions and reassignments.

Which is why in the current DC universe, Green Arrow’s old sidekick Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow is only about five years younger than him – and his biological son Connor has winked out of existence entirely; the Flash for a generation of readers, Wally West (who was in the costume for over 20 years) was also erased in favor of the previous generation’s Barry Allen; and now the latest news, that Tim Drake was never an “official” Robin, having gone by the moniker “Red Robin” this whole time.  (more…)

Man, I was hoping my only problem with Nightwing was that it just wasn’t as on the mark as Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel’s first issue of the former Robin’s solo adventures from back in 1996. But after a second read, I only WISH that was the problem.

There’s a lot of discussion about what makes a successful superhero first issue. I think there’s a lot of ways you can do it, but however you set about it, ultimately you need three elements: an action sequence (it is a superhero comic, after all) that ideally initiates or ties into a larger plot (preferred over 007 pre-credits action sequences), a concise mission statement (“This is who the hero is, this is what he wants to accomplish”), and an introduction to the forces aligned against him. (A nice fourth element is “A sequence clarifying what his secret identity and/or new setting is like,” but that’s really a secondary requirement that can get set up in issue 2.)

Kyle Higgins’ Nightwing script knows the words, but it’s getting the tune all wrong (or is that the other way around?).  (more…)