Friday, September 30, 2011

The "New 52": Week Four.....(Review)

After skipping "New 52": Week Three, I am posting my picks for Week Four.  This week actually had the most pulls on my list, so I was excited and eager to Dive in to Aquaman, Race through The Flash, read something New in New Guardians, & Savagely tear through Hawkman! (puns ALL intended).....they did NOT disappoint!

Due to time and financial restraints, I wanted to collect no more than 10 DC Titles, so I was a little worried when I decided to drop Superman & Batman, to make room for Red Lanterns, New Guardians, Hawkman, Aquaman,  & Mister Terrific (who was subsequently dropped for Deathstroke)....but All is Well, as all the new pulls have impressed......and now Week Four's reviews:

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

I've always liked Aquaman, but like a lot of people....have never put my money where my mouth is.  That has changed, with the all new #1, and the best writer on the planet (Geoff Johns) behind our beloved King of the Seas

The issue starts in Boston, where Aquaman intervenes to help Police stop criminals.  The Police & Criminals think it's funny that Aquaman is there....and even after showcasing his considerable powers, the police still offer him a glass of Water.  I liked that Johns shows A-Man's powers early on, and shows them in a way that impresses upon the reader that he is not to be trifled with. The Atlantean half of him; adapted to the intense pressures of the oceans, gives him incredible strength, quickness, and near-bulletproof skin. 

After his unappreciated heroism, he stops at a Seafood restaurant to order fish and chips. A blogger interviews him after making the mistake of telling him he talks to fish.  Aquaman answers, "I DON'T talk to fish."  The blogger continues on with not-so-subtle insults, finally asking, "How's it feel to be NOBODY'S favorite Super-Hero?" He leaves after leaving a tip.

The first issue ends with Mera & Aquaman discussing their future....meanwhile (on the first page and the last) a new menace has emerged from the depths that you know Aquaman will soon have to deal with....

I loved Geoff Johns' writing in this issue.....he doesn't hide the fact that Aquaman is the often maligned and made-fun-of Superhero of DC Comics.  He brilliantly works this into his "introduction" of Aquaman.  From the police & criminals alike making fun of him (despite his heroics), to the blogger jeering him to his face....Aquaman is set against the world of land-based humanity, and doesn't seem to want to be King of Atlantis either.  There is the heart of the character: Aquaman (and Mera) against the World!! (while doing good, of course).  Ivan Reis is his regular superb self on art, and Joe Prado's inks deserve mention as perfect for this issue's story tone & artwork.

I believe Aquaman could potentially be even better than Johns' reboot of The Flash......

Citizen's Grade: Impressive.

The Flash; in my opinion, is the most visually engaging character in comics. When The Flash streaks across the page, I am like a little child again following him with my eyes and making little "shoom, shoom" sounds....that was why when I heard that an established artist & inker would be co-writing The Flash I was screaming "AWESOME!!"  Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato deliver "lightning in a bottle" with issue #1....a great introduction to Barry Allen, some of his co-workers, a romantic interest, one pesky reporter, a great action scene of The Flash against a bunch of masked, armed, and not-so-witty vandals, one cool-ass way to unleash The Flash's costume, and a surprise ending leading into issue #2 later.....and you have an impressive #1 by an untested and unfairly criticized team of creators!!

I loved the cover, the interior art, the colors, and the way they are re-introducing Barry Allen to the world.  After reading the first issue, I feel that I actually know Barry a little better than I did after reading the first few issues of the previous Flash series.  That's good in my opinion.  I want to know Barry Allen, and get to know him as well as I did Wally West......and I think Manapul & Buccellato can accomplish this task! 

I hope Flash fans all breath a collective sigh of relief, and buy up The Flash in record numbers!!

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

This was probably the book I was most surprised to read and enjoy.  I didn't expect Tony Bedard to "bring it" like he did.  It starts off with wonderful OA lays in ruins, the Guardians and the Corps destroyed by a crazed and grief-stricken Hal Jordan...Ganthet; last of the Guardians, makes one final ring and delivers it to earth.  Meanwhile, Kyle Raynor needs to use the restroom....and the line in the club he's in is too long, so he makes for the back alley.  There he is met by Ganthet and given the ring.......

Years later, Kyle Raynor is an established and respected Green Lantern.....although everyone likes Hal Jordan better....and doing his Lantern thing, when rings start coming at him from nowhere.  Meanwhile, members of the various Corps lose their rings in bad situations.....and their fellow Corps Members are hunting down the thief, who is Kyle Raynor?  When they catch up to him, they aren't interested in hearing his explanation....only on vengeance, & punishment for the lost rings and the Green Lantern they think stole them!

Bedard does a good job with writing, and Tyler Kirkham's cover and interior art are very impressive.  This issue is in the finest tradition of the expanding Green Lantern Universe.

Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

Carter Hall doesn't want to be Hawkman....but Hawkman wants to be Carter Hall.  From the get go, we learn that Nth Metal has powers and properties even Carter Hall isn't aware of.....meanwhile, a discovery within the ocean's depths brings alien artifacts to the attention of Professor Ziegler, who needs his Cryptologist Carter Hall to decifer the alien writing.

As Carter awakens in his apartment, and tries to figure out what's happened to him and why he can't remember anything that's happened in the last few days, he is contacted and travels to see Professor Ziegler and the investigate the alien artifacts.  While there, the DNA of a life-form mumified within the artifact comes to life....the life-consuming MorphiciusHall transforms into Hawkman to battle the strange and dangerous life-form only to find himself outmatched and being drained of life-force.

Writer Tony Daniel does an outstanding job of introducing us to the new a way not done before (which is impressive given the number of incarnations Hawkman has had), but still true to the nature and history of this great character. It also defines the difference between the Cryptologist and the Savage Warrior.  The expansion of the Nth Metal's powers to possess, heal,  and transform Carter Hall into Hawkman is brilliant....and should add a lot to future stories.  Philip Tan's artwork is fantastic!! (especially the final page!)  It's so good it almost can tell the story without even reading, only admiring the art is needed.  Sunny Gho's coloring is perfect for this issue as well.

I admit to being super-hyped about this title, so was completely prepared to be let down.....but quite the opposite happened: I'm even more hyped for issue #2!!!

1 comment:

  1. Aquaman surprised the hell out of me. Maybe they leaned a little to heavy on the "Aquaman sucks" jokes, but I really liked it. Hawkman looked really cool in the previews, but something about the issue didn't hit me the right way. Maybe it was just the brew I was drinking at the time, I should give it another chance.

    either-way good reviews!