Super-Fly Fandimonium – WEEK TWO OF DC’S NEW 52: OVERVIEW

With DC Comics’ New 52 running strong in its second week with 13 new releases, I was ready to hit Super-Fly Comics & Games Tuesday evening, September 6th for my chance to get down with the new books early. It had been a crazy day for Super-Fly and store owner Tony Barry seemed stressed as I sat down to talk to him at the back of the store. It was getting close to closing time and Tony was readying the new comics for Wed. With Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 a week behind us, it’s now time for the second helping of the New 52, and it is an ample one!

Tony prepared my reading list and I got excited, as there were many things being pulled aside for me to read and review. My smile grew bigger as each subsequent title was put into my pile, each one more exciting than the last.

“Be careful with this one,” Tony joked pulling out one of the comics for my pile. “It’s worth a lot of money. See? Action Comics #1! I’ve heard it’s worth a million!” We shared a laugh as Tony continued to work and I rubbed my hands together in anticipation. I then joked with Tony that someone not familiar with comics will inevitably confuse the original Action Comics #1 with the new Action Comics #1 and will come looking to sell the Morrison penned issue for a million dollars. Stranger things have been known to happen at Super-Fly…

Despite Justice League coming out last week and laying the foundation, I felt that this week was the true first week of the New 52, as there are so many titles to choose from this time around. Batgirl was one of the ones I was most looking forward to. But I was also stoked for Action Comics, Animal Man, Justice League International and Swamp Thing. Heck, I’ve been definitely interested in reading every first issue of the new releases and as each one was pulled out of the box I was amazed at the variety. The first issues of DC’s flagship titles Action Comics with Superman and Detective Comics with Batman are there, but there’s horror stuff like Swamp Thing and Animal Man, a war book in Men of War as well as new comics for Static Shock, Hawk & Dove, Batgirl and Green Arrow, new characters in O.M.A.C. and Batwing with a couple team books in Stormwatch and Justice League International thrown in there too—and all of this is in one week!

Tony continued to work on the Wednesday comics, and store employees Atom Harley Lisi and Lawrence Harmon hung out; Atom doing the shipping list and Lawrence receiving skateboarding lessons from Tony in between bouts of work. Meanwhile, I was reading like mad, trying to get as much read as possible before Tony finished for the night. After a few hours of reading, ingesting a couple caffeinated sodas & a chocolate malt (Thanks Lawrence!) and hanging out with the Super-Fly crew, I had read all 13 comics and taken notes on all of them.

At the end, I was pooped, but overall pleased. Some of these first issues really hit the ground running making perfect use of the space allotted for a single first issue, though sadly not all of them did. On the whole though, the number of books I really didn’t like (two of them) was dwarfed by the number of books I liked, or at least thought were decent (the rest). Full detailed (but major spoiler free) reviews for every issue are underway and should be online soon, so stay tuned for that. I worked a great deal on them late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning on them, but I gotta say, reading 13 books and then writing about them some eighteen hours or so before they go on sale is hectic. Therefore, here’s a quick and dirty breakdown of my initial impressions on the books as a whole until the full reviews hit.

Not surprisingly, Grant Morrison’s and Rag Morales’ Action Comics #1 and Gail Simone’s and Ardian Syaf’s Batgirl were my top two favorites when it was all said and done. Tony S. Daniel’s Detective Comics was also quite excellent. There were a couple that I wasn’t expecting to be good, which were surprisingly great, namely Judd Winick’s and Ben Oliver’s Batwing and (believe it or not folks) Dan DiDio’s and Keith Giffen’s O.M.A.C.(!). The biggest disappointments were a bit surprising too: J.T. Krul’s and Dan Jurgens’ Green Arrow and Dan Jurgens’ and Aaron Lopresti’s Justice League International, the latter of which I was really looking forward to as I’ve always loved the JLI. The rest fell at various points in between the two extremes, most being quite good or at least alright. Both Animal Man and Swamp Thing were pretty good horror tales (albeit with both establishing more than scaring) and Men of War was a pretty good war book (albeit it with a dab of super heroics). In fact, depending on your tastes in characters and genres, 6-10 of the books are probably worth owning. I hope that’s at least somewhat helpful until the reviews are up.

I have to say that in the end I’m quite impressed with the quality of this output so far. I know art preference is subjective to taste, but I actually was pretty pleased with the art in all books, save for Animal Man—which I have mixed feelings about. The writing for the most part was also pretty good all around too, making for some great comics. If DC can pull this off week in and week out, then I am ready to believe there is reason to hope they (and hopefully all comics companies) can pull in some new readers and some new interest in the industry. With that said, I’ve got about 13 comic book reviews to finish, so I’m out!

I’ll see you at Super-Fly!