Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The "New 52": Six Months Later (#6 Reviews: part one)

It's six months later....and time to grade the "New 52", and how it's going so far.....I started the "New 52" collecting 11 titles, but have dropped a few (BM: Dark Knight, Mister Terrific & I, Vampire), one is being cancelled (O.M.A.C.), and a few have been relegated to Graphic Novel collecting (Aquaman, Green Lantern, GL Corps, GL: New Guardians, & Justice League), to save $$$ or just have in book form.  Overall, that puts me at -1, but that number will probably go up as a few of the titles are on the fence for various reasons (possible cancellation, financial concerns, or just not interested in where the title is going).  The drop is largest for me in the monthly category (-4 when O.M.A.C. ends), with Image Comics quickly filling 3 spots & Conan The Barbarian (Dark Horse Comics) the other.

In Part One, I have #6 reviews and 6-months-later grades for Deathstroke, Green Arrow, O.M.A.C., & Red Lanterns.......I also have further thoughts about how DC Comics is doing so far at the very end of the post as well.


Six Months into the "New 52"Deathstroke is an Assassin/Villain with his own title, so you wouldn't expect sales to be on the level of Batman or even Green Arrow. He is holding his own though, and compared to other similar titles (Punisher, Deadpool, Wolverine: Best there Is, etc.) he is doing well.  However, with DC's new cancellation line (20k or under, based on recent cancellations).....I wonder if Deathstroke will make it past 15 issues? I hope so, I've really enjoyed the title so far...Kyle Higgins & Joe Bennett make a good team.  I hope to see them together in the future, since #8 will be their last together on this title.  Bennett heads off to draw The Savage Hawkman and Higgins keeps writing Nightwing.  Rob Liefeld takes over both writing and art on issue #9....which will either be a boon for Deathstroke, or the deathstroke (pun intended) for the title.  Since the character didn't have a title prior to the "New 52", I can't grade a comparison.....but will give him the Citizen's Grade of "Impressive" so far!

#6 Review (Spoiler Alert!)......unconscious from having a submarine splash down on him last issue, Slade Wilson dreams of earlier years with his son and wife....and the legacy of the Wilson family.  Legacy; however, brings Deathstroke back to the here-&-now and makes sure that the World's Best Assassin knows it! Deathstroke learns from Legacy that this vendetta isn't about his son; Ravager, but rather about a girl....specifically a girl named April, whom Deathstroke killed in issue #1.  She was part of the Harm Armory,  whom D.S. wasn't willing to "share" credit with.  Legacy is the funded vigilante of her presumably very rich parents, who have the help of a very unlikely figure from Slade Wilson's past! 

Having been stabbed-through with his own sword, and beaten down by this version of Legacy (D.S. has killed two previous versions), Deathstroke uses a make-shift E.M.P. to take Legacy out.  The mysterious figure from D.S.'s past is revealed, with April's Parents surprised by the connection........


Six Months into the "New 52": Well, on a positive note....The CW has ordered up a pilot of our favorite Archer, hoping to build off the popularity of the character in the now ended Smallville series.  I hope it does well, and I hope the CW is willing to see the mass appeal of this character:  A Robin Hood-esque character who fights for social justice, and the rights of the "little" man & woman.  Using nothing but his witty charm and a Bow with arrows to fight crime & social injustice......but where are those characteristics in the "New 52's" version of Green Arrow? They have been almost non-existent at this point.  

Not that the title so far hasn't been entertaining, it has. The problem; however, is that while giving hints of the "classsic" Ollie Queen character, the current writers haven't made any sort of leap to say to fans, "This is a younger version of the 'classic' Ollie you know and love"....sigh. JT Krul left after 3 issues, and Keith Giffen after 3 as well, with Ann Nocenti taking over as writer next month.  Their story arcs seemed rushed with much left to be desired.....hopefully Nocenti can begin an upswing in story-telling and sales.  She has a lot of pressure on her, but is tested and successful as a writer.  I will give her the secret to success with this title: Bring in classic traits of the classic Ollie Queen.  She doesn't have have him grow a goatee or become a beatnick-hippie....simply turn the character toward the personality of the classic Ollie. Do that and sales will begin to increase slowly as "old-school" G.A. fans begin to return.  Continue on with what the previous 6 issues have done.....and we'll be talking cancellation by issue 12.

Sales have been lower than pre-"New 52" numbers, so the re-launch hasn't really helped.  This title has tons of potential, it's only missing a couple key elements.  Ann Nocenti has talent, and the artwork will be good.
So far though, with bumming sales and no "classic" elements of Citizen's Grade is "Sigh..."

#6 Review (Spoiler Alert!).....This issue wraps up Keith Giffen's & Dan Jurgens' 3-Issue arc on our Emerald Archer.  They could have just made the title "I'm leaving to write Superman, and I'm taking my Villains with me!".  The issue does give a hint about a G.A./Aquaman team-up taking place in Justice League #8 though......the only thing that impressed me about this issue was Ignacio Calero's artwork....very impressive!  I hope he lands a steady job in DC soon, he deserves it from this issue.  Next month can't get here soon enough for this title!!!!


Six Months into the "New 52": The title was announced for cancellation after issue #5, with sales lagging at the bottom of the barrel.  That said, it has been a wonderful series so far....and I hope it ends strong  in a couple of issues. The basic idea of a sentient space satellite controlling a monster-like One Machine Attack Construct is simple yet beautiful.  Dan DiDio & Keith Giffen brought their A-Game for this title, and have been quite impressive.  Paying homage to Jack Kirby is always a good thing, and Giffen's artwork brought that point home!  O.M.A.C. is one of those characters/titles that I'd almost rather see every couple of years with an 6-8 issue mini-series rather than an ongoing monthly title....there are only so many story arcs you can do, so you don't want it to get old!  I give a standing ovation to the work of DiDio & Giffen on this title....Citizen's Grade: AWESOME!!!!

#6 Review (Spoiler Alert!).....Kevin Kho is trying to get control of his life, while Brother Eye is trying to find out about Zero Patient.  Kevin agrees to a double-date with his co-worker; Tony, and goes with his former-girlfriend Jody.  Tony brings Leilani, who has an interest in getting to know Kevin.  She is looking for the Mother Box, and Eye is not willing to give it up!  Leilani reveals she is no ordinary female....but rather a Female Fury! After a knock-down, drag-out fight including energy-siphoning blackbirds....Leilani "booms" away.  Eye attempts to have an assassin kill Maxwell Lord (unsuccessfully), and Max says Eye's destruction is now a personal vendetta.

The fight is great, the revelation of Apokolips' involvement wanting Eye's Mother Box is an awesome twist in the story (though it should have been expected...given the nature of this title in paying homage to Jack Kirby). Looking forward to the final two issues!!


Six Months into the "New 52": Spinning out the pages of Green Lantern and the imagination of Geoff Johns, Red Lanterns (along with the other spin-off titles: Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern: New Guardians) has been a tremendous success. Sales are good, Peter Milligan can write Ragefully, and Ed Benes' artwork is stellar as usual.  A Civil War is building within the pages of this title....and when they begin their outward movement to exact rage-filled vengeance across the universe, it will be more awesome than it already is!!  With several members, a plethora of possibilities centered around the characters, and a simple idea that doesn't get old.....The Lanterns of Rage should continue in their success.....Citizen's Grade: Awesome.

#6 Review (Spoiler Alert!).....Jack Moore is now Rankorr, the first human Red Lantern.  He wants vengeance and to understand what is happening to him.  He searches out Baxter, the one who murdered his Grandfather, and was ultimately responsible in the death of his brother.  Rage fuels his search, but his vengeance is cut short by a Green Lantern....Guy Gardner.

Meanwhile, Atrocitus and Bleez battle for control of the Red Lanterns on Ysmault....and Atrocitus senses that change is in the air.....will it be Civil War or a new era of intelligent Red Lanterns?

I know that DC Comics is trying, they had to.  Prior to the "New 52" re-launch they were lagging behind Marvel Comics in sales....and only Batman, Green Lantern, and the occasional "Event" kept them in the hunt. The "New 52" has put them dead-even with Marvel, and a few times ahead.  But numbers are beginning to slide, and outside of the Batman, Superman, & Green Lantern franchises, and the Justice League title...the only definite successes have been The Flash, Animal Man, & Swamp Thing.  While several titles are doing well, and others still ahead of their previous have to wonder if DC can ever be anything other than Batman, Superman, & Green Lantern? Overall though, the "New 52" is a huge success in my opinion, and has increased the number of titles I was collecting from DC.
Be back in couple weeks for part two.....

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