Hey, That's My Cape! - THE NEW 52, Week 1: Lessons Learned

Questions Raised by Week 1 of THE NEW 52

A lot of folks were asking my thoughts on the first week of new number one issues from DC. I’ve made a few random comments here and there but felt a little weird passing judgment on something still so new.

Newsarama staff took a stab at the issues in the form of "Top 10 Questions Raised by Week 1 of DC’s NEW 52". They spoke about what the first week of books didn’t answer and what they’d still like to know, so I thought I’d take a look at some things they did answer or at least a few of the things I found particularly interesting. I didn’t pick up every book that was released but I did get a good chunk.

Here they are in no particular order, including spoilers:

 

Action Comics
: First thing I noticed? Superman is a lot more like Batman. He plays with the villains and taunts them until they profess their guilt plus, since he’s new to the scene in this book the police are after him just as much as the criminals. This is probably why I liked the book so much when I’m usually just so-so on Superman. Also of note, Superman’s secret identity this time around is not Clark Kent but Harry Potter. Check out when he changes back into civvies, you’ll see what I mean. And what about his landlord? Who has a name like Mrs. Nyxly? Reminds me of Mr. Mxyzptlk. Maybe if he says her name backwards he gets free rent. Oddly enough though, she does share the last name of an old Superman villain Fernin Nyxly. Speaking of villains, Lex Luthor still doesn’t have hair. Poor guy, that was the one thing he was hoping would change in the relaunch.

 

Detective Comics
: Well, Tony Daniel is completely out of his mind. There. I said it. That’s a compliment, by the way — I enjoyed this issue thoroughly. How about that last page, huh? That’s pretty much all anyone is talking about. I have to say, it reminded me a lot of that scene in Batman RIP where the Joker cuts his tongue down the middle and it creeped me out just as much. How about redheaded Commissioner Gordon? He looks like he could use some sun. Maybe he can adapt the Bat signal into a tanning lamp. I was happy to see that Batman’s connection to Catwoman still appears to be romantic in some way, even if he is doing his usual playboy routine so, not much change there.

 

Batgirl
: Yeah, I know you were all waiting to hear from me on this particular issue. My first thought? It was a good issue. Bittersweet for me, of course, and not the immediate answers we all wanted regarded Barbara’s “cure” but I knew that wouldn’t be in the first issue. The new villain The Mirror intrigues me quite a bit. We knew that “The Kiliing Joke” was still going to count in the relaunch but I found it interesting Gail Simone specifically mentioned Barbara’s injury happened in the L1 vertebrae. To my knowledge, no one has ever specified that and I’m not a doctor so I have no idea if that location makes a difference in her “miracle” recovery. Something of note? Barbara hangs a poster of Batman in her bedroom like he’s a Backstreet Boy. Who does she think she is? Me?

 

Batwing
: In this book we learn that people the world over have an irrational fear of bats. Or, you know, crazy people flying toward you in the dark. Seemed obvious to me. Also, Batwing gets his own Alfred. One who wears really bright shirts. And that, is pretty much all I learned from this issue.

 

Justice League International
: In JLI we find out that one lesser-known female superhero is easily interchangeable with another lesser-known female superhero. We also confuse new readers a bit by suggesting the JLI is a response to the JLA… who we haven’t seen in action themselves yet. The personalities of the team members seem pretty much intact from where we left them pre-relaunch so nothing seems too out of place here which is comforting to the established fan base. Speaking of which, Dan Jurgens may have made a dig at the outspoken relaunch-haters, but we make fun of DC all the time, so perhaps turnabout is fair play?

 

Green Arrow
: In which the character from Smallville is transplanted into the comics. This Green Arrow is definitely much changed from where we left him before the relaunch. There was no mention of anything romantic which is definitely a change for Ollie, for good or for bad. He’s only the head of Q-Core, not Queen Industries as a whole and one of his top executives has a robot skeleton hand. Ollie also has a team working for him behind the scenes who seem new to the game as well, one of whom has a very Oracle-like role. Also, one of his new villains appearing on the final page is trying to steal Wonder Woman’s look.

 

Animal Man
: I didn’t originally have this title on my pull list. I like Jeff Lemire’s work but I didn’t really have must past experience with Animal Man and he didn’t interest me enough to warrant it but the buzz from people who got to read the book early was all good so I gave it a shot. And I’m glad I did. Remember when I said Detective Comics was creepy? This issue beat it. The big shocker of this book was Buddy’s daughter Maxine seemingly controlling dead animals or perhaps the cause of their deaths. Oddly enough, this is not the first time we’ve seen Animal Man in connection to something of that nature. In “Untold Tales of Blackest Night,” Buddy and his family find themselves being attacked by extinct/dead animals. When he attempts to tap into their morphogenetic field, it doesn’t work and in fact, caused him significant pain. Perhaps his daughter should have given it a try? Moral of this book? Buddy needs a better agent, his son needs a haircut and the family needs a good babysitter.

A few general notes; holy crap violence! There is so much carnage and creepy stuff going around in almost all of the new books. Definitely more blood and bodies than we’re used to and it was certainly shocking. I don’t really mind but I know a few people who might want to wait until they’ve had their lunch before reading a few of these.

Then we have that Hooded Woman from Flashpoint making the rounds in the background of every book. I have to say, while I had fun playing “Where’s Waldo?” it make me increasingly aggravated each time I saw her. A lot of folks are saying she’s DC’s “way out” if the relaunch doesn’t go as well as they’d like and I’d be pretty disappointed if that were the case. Especially since it conflicts with one particular theory I have. What if each book takes place in it’s own universe and this woman is linked between them? Sure we’ve seen characters overlap but who’s to say the Batman we saw in JLI is the same Batman from Detective? Probably a long shot but 52 is a familiar number to DC and it might make picking up a comic even more accessible to new readers. It would also lead perfectly into that Multiverse series Grant Morrison has been hinting at for years.

All in all, I wasn’t disappointed in the first full week of the DCnU, quite the contrary actually. I was very entertained. We’re only into the first issues so it’s hard to make any real judgment but as I mentioned earlier, nothing seemed so out of place in the first week of books that it made me tilt me head wondering what or who I was reading about. I look forward to seeing the rest and where most of these go for issue two.

For all of Jill Pantozzi's past columns, check out the Hey, That's My Cape! topics page! 

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