Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Not-So-New 52" Review: #2's & #3's (part two)

Continuing with our Reviews of Issues 2's & 3's, I've come to see that Issue #3 has been the "Litmus Test" for the books I'm collecting or dropping from my Pull List.

I read an interesting article on Newsarama recently, entitled "Why NEW Characters, Concepts struggle", in which the writer explains the theory that although we talk a lot about wanting new concepts, new characters, etc......what we really want is more of the same, because it's familiar.  I would throw myself right into that category, especially with I, Vampire.  Although not a bad book; with decent writing and artwork, when it came to dropping one last month....the vampire, horror comic book was dropped to make way for the "more-of-the-same" Green Lantern: New Guardians. Although I've added several books from the "New 52" that I probably wouldn't have in the "Old DC Universe"....even titles like O.M.A.C. & Deathstroke really fall under the "more-of-the-same" category. I don't apologize for this, it's just how it is, I suppose.

On to the reviews.......Aquaman & The Flash....

Aquaman.  I've really enjoyed the direction that writer Geoff Johns has take the King of the Seas in this relaunch.  It is arguable that Aquaman may receive the greatest "boost" from the New 52, considering all previous attempts to keep an ongoing title in the past failed.  Sales numbers are good, and this title keeps getting better with every issue.

Issue 2. The mysterious creatures of the Trench make their appearance on land, and begin feeding on anyone in their path.  We learn some of Mera's powers...her ability to control water.  Aquaman is asked to assist with the investigation of murder at the docks, which leads to a confrontation with the creatures of the Trench.

Issue 3. The battle rages against the mysterious creatures from the Trench, which Aquaman & Mera have never seen before and aren't sure what they want or where they came from.  They are very fast, very strong, and very deadly. After the creatures mysteriously leave back into the Atlantic,  Aquaman & Mera take one of the deceased Cannibals of the Deep to Marine Biologist Stephen Shin to be identified.  Shin can't identify it either, but does offer some interesting insight as to where it may have come from and why they attacked humans on shore. We learn that Aquaman & Shin have an unpleasant  "history", and the issue ends with Aquaman & Mera heading into The Trench to look for the creatures.

Johns continues his "magic" with the success of Aquaman (after similar "rebirths" of Justice Society, Green Lantern, & Flash), and Ivan Reis's artwork is very good (which is what we've come to expect from him as well).  Aquaman isn't my favorite title, but it's Impressive.

The Flash.  I can't rave enough about this title.  Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato; both in writing and artwork, have an ongoing masterpiece of work. I read some reviews that were "down" on Issue #3, but I loved it! Howard Porter's Flash is how I USED to envision the Scarlet it's Manapul's Flash!!

Issue 2. The Flash's first showdown with Mob Rule shows The Flash's ability to take out all of them by the count of three, but also shows Flash's weakness against them....He can't be everywhere at once. Learning that they've kidnapped reporter Iris West, The Flash is forced to let Mob Rule escape with his captured friend Manuel Lago so as to save Iris from harm.

The Flash seeks out Dr. Elias for help in becoming....faster? Dr. Elias points out that everything except Flash's brain seems to work at superspeed....could applying the Speed Force to his brain help The Flash to get even faster? While trying to "activate" the speed force in his mind, Barry's co-worker and friend Patty Spivot helps him uncover interesting information that may lead him to finding Manuel Lago. But it'll have to wait as an E.M.P. is detonated over the Gem Cities, Iris is kidnapped at Iron Heights Prison, and a passenger jet is on it's way to crashing into the city....

Issue 3. I dove into this issue with an open mind (although NOT processing at Super Speed...sigh), after reading some "bad" reviews.  Although I respect others' opinions, I disagree that the issue was not action-packed enough, with too much dialogue, and boring in it's background on Mob Rule.  In fact, I felt quite the opposite after reading the issue!  

After saving the plummeting jet, all it's passengers, the Gem Cities' connecting bridge, and all the commuters in their vibrating the entire plane to pass through the bridge and glide safely across the river to shore (very cool!!), The Flash saves several workers in a free-falling elevator, children from a fair-ride, and even tigers at the zoo! Meanwhile, the connection between Mob Rule and Manuel Lago becomes clearer, and we meet the re-imagined Rogue, Captain Cold....who was the one who grabbed Iris West at the end of Issue 2. After killing their previous Chief Scientist, Mob Rule is looking for a new one....and may have found him in the person of Dr. Elias.

Barry Allen & Patty track down Mob Rule's base of operations and find Manuel....but are discovered, and Barry is trapped as they try and escape. Just as he's ready to "transform" into The Flash and having figured how it will all go down using his speed-increased thinking.....he's shot in the head?!?

This one of the best titles going in DC right now! Lots of plot directions are opening up, and I'm especially looking forward to the Rogues being back in Barry's life! An Awesome book!

Stay tuned for part three's reviews......

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