Scoring the Final Week of DC’s New 52 #1s

In the order I read them, here is this week’s DC Comics New 52 Scorecard, for what it’s worth —

Justice League Dark #1

Grade: A  Aarrgghh! What a great set-up. Peter Milligan delivers a terrific script. Mikel Janin’s artwork is sublime. If there’s a fault here, it’s in the way DC is approaching this relaunch. Just as in Justice League, Dark ends without the “team” assembled. It feels like you’re getting a preview to a larger work, which is fine if I’m reading a trade and the next chapter right there. As a monthly, this stratagem is misguided and far removed from yesteryear’s philosophies. That being said, I LOVE everything else about this book, except its length.

Batman: The Dark Knight #1

Grade: B  Overall, a pretty decent book, but maybe I’ve been away from comics for too long. All this decompression is aggravating. Again, there’s no story here, just the set-up to one. David Finch’s artwork is okay. A bit muddy and overwrought for my taste. Paul Jenkins’ dialogue is a bit too hipster, but it’s serviceable.

All-Star Western #1

Grade: A++  Now this is what I’m talking about. I’ve a new favorite title and it’s called All-Star Western. From Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti letter perfect narration and dialogue to the deliciously grim and gritty artwork by Moritat and Gabriel Bautista’s muted color palette, this is about as good as good gets. I was suspicious of drawing Hex into the world of Gotham, but I’ll be damned if this didn’t work and work well.

Teen Titans #1

Grade: B  Back to business as usual with these “team” books. Is there some kind of editorial fiat that demands that they end each first issue with no team in place? We’ve seen it pretty much across the board. It was a fun issue, however, with better than usual scripting from Scott Lobdell and solid pencil work from Brett Booth.

Voodoo #1

Grade: B+  And then we have Voodoo by Ron Marz and Sami Basri. Sure to fire up the same politically correct contingentthat went after Catwoman and Red Hood, Voodoo actually worked for me. Was there titillation? Sure, but it wasn’t superficial. Marz made it part of the story and honored the character’s roots. And Basri’s art was smashingly awesome.

The Savage Hawkman #1

Grade: C+  Meh. This one seemed off to me and Philip Tan’s artwork was all over the place. I may give it another issue to grow on me, but I don’t have high hopes for it.

Aquaman #1

Grade: B  Geoff Johns addresses the issue of Aquaman not being “cool” head on by showing that common folk in the DC Universe perceive him in the same way that most of us in the real world do — the punchline to a bad joke. I never got it, personally. Aquaman always seemed to be cool to me. Maybe not the best approach toward reinstating Aquaman’s cool card, but I’m more than willing to ride it out, especially with Ivan Reis drawing this.

Superman #1

Grade: B  George Perez and Jesus Merino delivered a solid, old-school Superman comic. Not great, but a good read.

The Flash #1

Grade: C  Um, no thanks. Nice try and all, but this didn’t work for me. Art was lackluster and the story rather dull.

Green Lantern – New Guardians #1

Grade: C  Um, no thanks. See my Flash critique above.

I, Vampire #1

Grade: A  Well, that was surprise. I had planned on skipping this one, my thought being that vampires have been overdone, but boy was I wrong. Fialkov and Sorrentino gave us a heartfelt and brutal comic that kept me glued to the pages. Definitely a killer title and one I’ll add to my monthly pull list with no reservations. Bloodsuckers are back, baby.

And thus ends the grand DC Comics New 52 premiere. It’s a mixed bag, but there are several titles that I’ll be back for. Now that I’ve sifted through the vast majority, here are the ones that I’ll make a point of keeping up with:  Batman, Detective Comics, Batgirl, Nightwing, Aquaman, Teen Titans, Men of War, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, Demon Knights, Grifter, Voodoo, Resurrection Man, All-Star Western, I Vampire, Animal Man, and Justice League Dark.

17 out of 52.

Not bad…

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