Letters of Mass Construction

The New DC Universe: Month 1 Thoughts

So this week starts the second round of issues for the new DC Universe reboot (click here for reviews). I plan to keep on reviewing this month and wonder what kind of movement I will get in my power rankings. I think on the whole the month was a success. There were a lot of new books I have never read before which I picked up and thoroughly enjoyed. A few of them I will now keep buying until they give me a reason not to. I loved the day and date digital release and haven’t felt this connected to the comic industry in a couple of decades. I am glad to see Marvel and Image are following DC’s lead.

There was, of course, the controversy over Catwoman (which I did not completely agree with), Starfire, and Voodoo (the last two which I did agree with and still hurt my head to think about). Many fans thought Catwoman lacked story and was bad fan fiction. Just an excuse to draw T & A. The thing is I have always felt Catwoman walked the fine line of objectifying women. I didn’t think it was a spectacular story but I didn’t feel like a sexist for enjoying it (which I was accused of). On the other hand they ruined Starfire in the Red Hood comic. While I don’t think you should be basing Starfire of the Teen Titans cartoon, making her an amnesic and a sex toy was offensive. Borderline ridiculous (although, not as ridiculous as her costume) and bad story telling. I don’t care if you plan on taking her through an arc where she comes out complete on the other end. Voodoo was just a reason to draw strippers for 22 pages. Ugh.

This fired quite a few people up. Many who said they would never buy a DC Comic. Certainly, one choice. Not one I agree with. I think that is like boycotting a network because one of their shows is crap. If I did that I would have missed out on the Big Bang Theory because of the piece of dung known as Two and a Half Men (I know some of my readers may not agree with my assessment of said piece of dung but you are welcome to call me names in the comments). I actually think a better way to send DC the message is to buy the comics that are done right (and there were many). I loved Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batwoman, and Batgirl. I have high hopes for all of those books. If they see strong female leads are outselling the drivel, you will get more strong female leads. Speaking with your wallet always gets heard, I love superhero books and want them to survive and thrive.

The biggest surprises for me this month were Justice League Dark (which I thought sounded like a train wreck waiting to happen), Red Lanterns (because, frankly, I have disliked all the lantern books over the last decade), and Aquaman (when the high point of your comic career is Superfriends and a running joke on Entourage low expectations are expected). Biggest disappointments were Fury of Firestorm (I thought the story was not good), Birds of Prey (one of my favorite comics before the reboot), and Batman and Robin (why did they keep Damien? Oh, the pain).

For DC to keep this ball rolling they need to keep the writing strong. They need to replace some artists (some of the books had terrible art. It was distracting and ruined some perfectly fine stories). They need to label the books which are happening early in the reboot history. It wasn’t always obvious and made it confusing for anyone who read a lot of the books. Speaking of confusing, the Batman time line is a mess. 3 Robins in 5 years. How does Damien even exist in this time line (I know I hate the kid. Color me guilty)? They also should start discounting the older books digitally. The more readers you bring in, the healthier the industry is. Round 2 should show which books are for real.

DC Power Rankings

1) Animal Man – I was hoping this book would be great in Lemire’s hands and it was. The art was creepy and gave power to the excellent story.

2) Wonder Woman – A complete winner for me. Took my love of mythology and mixed it right in perfectly. Plus, it really handled the story well for any new readers.

3) Action Comics – A complete shock to me. Even with Morrison on board I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did.

4) Justice League Dark – Way better than I had any right to expect. Peter Milligan can be all over the place as a writer but he delivered two of my favorite reboot books.

5) Batman – I really enjoyed this book. The art was fantastic and Snyder can flat-out write. I think this book is going to only get better.

6) Stormwatch – Exciting story and everything I had hoped the first Justice League would be. Left me wishing I had the second book.

7) Red Lanterns – Seriously, even if you don’t buy this book find a way to read the first few pages. I dare you not to laugh.

8 ) Aquaman –  A solid first effort with great art and a story any new reader can jump into. Plus, it was funny. A couple of classic lines in this one.

9) Batwoman – The art was gorgeous. I am hoping this book won’t be plagued with lateness though. I am going to assume they have quite a few issues ready to go since it was supposed to come out last year.

10) All Star Western – I liked the mood and atmosphere in this book. Not at all what I was expecting to get out of a Jonah Hex comic. I am very excited about this series potential.

11) I, Vampire – I was a little confused by this story but loved the art and writing. Will see where it fits in after a few issues.

12) Grifter – Not quite up to the start of Stormwatch but close. I was hooked pretty quickly into the story.

13) Resurrection Man – I was really hoping to like this book. I love the premise and can see a lot of potential. They delivered a very good first book.

14) Deathstroke – I refuse to say anything on the grounds I will ruin the story for you. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.

15) Supergirl – The super books keep up their great opening run. Not quite as good as Action for me but the long-term prospects of keeping me interested are good.

16) Swamp Thing – A great start to a character I once really loved. It reads well for new readers and I like how they poked the old readers who thought they knew what was happening.

17) Batgirl – An above average bat book. Didn’t blow me away but a solid superhero comic.

18) Green Lantern – Had a lot of elements I really liked. Nothing new or crazy for a comic but I look forward to seeing where the first story goes.

19) Teen Titans – Before the reboot I was looking forward to this comic. Then Red Hood happened and I grew nervous. First issue was good though. Will see what the future holds.

20) Men of War – I hope the second story picks up a little because I have a feeling the Sergeant Rock storyline is going to only get better.

21) Superboy – I liked the other world quality Superboy gives off. It has a solid science fiction story behind it too. This book has a lot of potential.

22) Legion of Super-Heroes – This book benefited by my long love and knowledge of Legion. Not at all sure how new readers will take to it.

23) Flash – It was an okay start. Slightly above average. I think my main complaint was the pacing. Seemed a little slow for a book about the fastest man alive.

24) Justice League – It wasn’t what I was hoping for right out of the gate but I think it will get better.

25) Superman – It was an okay hero book but I found it all a touch boring. This was one of the areas of the reboot I feared. I have seen the Clark – Lois dance many times before. I don’t really care to see it again.

26) Captain Atom – Better than I thought it would be but still not quite there. The potential to be more than a run of the mill hero book is there.

27) Demon Knights – This was a good solid almost for me but I have hope I am going to like it a lot more in future issues.

28) Catwoman – Easily my biggest guilty pleasure of the first round. I wonder if it will hold up though. Sometimes guilty pleasures lose their luster.

29) Detective Comics – I was underwhelmed with the story. It wasn’t terrible but it read like every other standard Joker-Batman book.

30) Frankenstien, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. – The art is going to put a lot of people off. I have faith in Jeff Lemire though, and expect this book to get steadily better.

31) Nightwing – Left me wanting more. Not a fan of the art style and the story was not there. A slow start but I am rooting for it.

32) The Savage Hawkman – The book really didn’t do anything for me. The best I can say is it was a competent superhero book. I think I would have rather had Hawkman in the JSA.

33) Batman: The Dark Knight – I have to be honest I don’t know what the point of this book is other than to get Batman fans to spend more money. Brought absolutely nothing new to the table.

34) Green Arrow – Not a blazing shot out of the cannon but there is hope. I like Green Arrow so I want this book to succeed.

35) Batwing – You could flip-flop this one with Green Arrow. They are about the same for me.

36) Justice League International – First thing this book needs to do is get rid of Batman. Then jump out of the box and try something new.

37) Mister Terrific – A very predictable book. The dialog saved it from being a total wash for me.

38) Suicide Squad – I actually saw some potential in this book but the story is going to have to get going in the next issue.

39) Green Lantern Corps – This book was a miss for me. Didn’t care about the story or the characters. I won’t give up hope on it because I liked the other two Lantern books so maybe the future will be better.

40) Green Lantern: New Guardians – I am sure Green Lantern fans will like this book way more than me. At least the Corps book had some humor in it.

41) Blue Beetle – The book felt like it was trying too hard and it made the dialog come off sounding a little hollow. Didn’t feel like it really got started until the end.

42) Blackhawks – I would have never bought this book without the reboot. Nothing in it really changed my mind.

43) Legion Lost– I might have been tempted to give it a higher rating if the story hadn’t felt so cliché. I guess there is hope it will pick up but just a glimmer.

44) Batman & Robin – They won’t cancel this book but for me it is going to have to get a whole lot better. I am a Batman fan and I just didn’t dig it.

45) O.M.A.C. – I liked the art but I have always been a fan of Giffen. The book barely held together on the story front.

46) DC Universe Presents – There were a few moments of brilliance surrounded by a whole lot of whatever.

47) Birds of Prey – Easily my biggest disappointment. I love the concept of an all female super group. It just didn’t cut it for me. Here’s hoping they figure it out.

48) The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men – Maybe I am just too old for these teenage angst driven books. Nope probably not because I loved what Ultimate Spider-Man did. DC is just not hitting the mark.

49) Hawk & Dove – Right now I see this book as an early possibility of getting voted off my DC island.

50) Static Shock – The art was okay but nothing else about this book caught my imagination. Could also easily be voted off my DC island.

51) Voodoo – This book seemed like an excuse to draw half-naked women on every page. There was an interesting story hiding somewhere under there.

52) Red Hood and the Outlaws – I mostly liked the art and I did get a few chuckles but this book has issues. Not sure why they went with this and not something like the Outsiders.

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