Comics Review: The DC New 52, Week 3 – Batman and Robin, Batwoman, Deathstroke, Demon Knights, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Green Lantern, Grifter, Legion Lost, Mister Terrific, Red Lanterns, Resurrection Man, Suicide Squad, Superboy

Reviewer: Saxon Bullock (aka @saxonb)

Batman and Robin 1 cover DC New 52 2011BATMAN AND ROBIN issue 1
Writer:
  Peter J. Tomasi ~ Artists: Patrick Gleason and Mick Grey ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=3/5]

The second of the main Bat-titles to shift back around to an all-Bruce-all-the-time approach, this opening issue from Peter J. Tomasi basically acts as a primer to set up the troubled Bruce/Damian relationship, being the first point where Batman’s ten-year-old son has officially teamed up with him as Robin (aside from the brief sequence back in Batman: The Return). There’s all the disagreement and the conflict you’d expect – for new readers, this is slick, efficient if not exactly incredible, with the added bizareness of a sequence where a public swimming pool seems to be conveniently mounted above a nuclear reactor. However, the Bruce/Damian dynamic doesn’t really generate anything but the most predictable of sparks – against Dick Grayson’s cheerier Batman, Damien was a brilliant, grumpy contrast, but here the result is two characters locked in an ever-increasing stoic grumpiness contest. Batman and Robin started out as a place for Grant Morrison’s wilder, cartoonier ideas – this is an okay start, but it could really do with establishing a slightly sharper identity.


Batwoman 1 cover JH Williams III DC New 52 coverBATWOMAN 
issue 1
Writer:
 J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman ~ Artists: J.H. Williams III ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Now, this is what you call a long wait. Delayed from launching early this year (and this after an acclaimed Detective Comics run that was held back time and time again), JH Williams III’s glorious interpretation of Batwoman is finally back in comic stores, and it’s been worth waiting for. No longer written by Greg Rucka, the script maybe lacks a little of the sharpness and edge, while Williams also sensibly doesn’t go too stylistically nuts in this issue, easing readers into the world of lesbian ex-marine turned vigilante Kathy Kane while also setting up some very intriguing questions. The story is well presented, and there’s some nice links to elsewhere in the DC Universe (especially in the appearence of Chase, one of the first characters Williams worked on at DC), but ultimately it’s the visuals that are the star, and the issue doesn’t disappoint. Quite a few of the DC relaunch titles don’t take enough chances visually, and Batwoman shows exactly what you can get away with when you’ve got an artist functioning at the top of his game.


Deathstroke 1 DC New 52 coverDEATHSTROKE 
issue 1
Writer:
  Kyle Higgins ~ Artists: Joe Bennett and Art Thiebert ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=2/5]

There’s plenty of titles in the DC New 52 that had me scratching my head as to why anyone would want them, and high on the list was this – a starring role for Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson, the grizzled, eye-patch wearing assassin and mercenary who’s happy to leave a massive bodycount in his wake if it means the job gets done. There’s no shortage of attitude here, and the action’s presented with plenty of visual energy – unfortunately, the black humour is in very short supply, while Higgins’ script barely gives us any reason to actually care whether Wilson lives or dies. Another example of DC’s bizarre 90s nostalgia kick, Deathstroke isn’t dreadful, but is certainly lacking in anything but the most basic “look, we’re being really Edgy!” action.


Demon Knights 1 DC New 52 CoverDEMON KNIGHTS 
issue 1
Writer:
  Paul Cornell ~ Artists: Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Just when I was feeling like the relaunch wasn’t really succeeding in going anywhere that felt truly new, Paul Cornell comes along and restores my faith. Demon Knights is a blast, an energetic medieval action romp that introduces all of its characters with a brisk amount of energy, while also showcasing some promising bad guys and a seriously intriguing world. Set in the medieval era of the DC Universe, this is sword-and-sorcery territory populated by some of the weirder, more immortal DC characters like Madam Xanadu, Vandal Savage and Jason Blood (along with his demonic alter-ego, Etrigan the Demon), and this first arc is basically aimed as a lively pastiche of the Magnificent Seven, throwing our heroes together in a quiet little village under threat. There’s some interesting choices – like the fact that, at least for now, Etrigan isn’t speaking in rhyming verse – and like Justice League, this is one comic where DC’s general decision to concentrate on the visuals means that this is more of an ‘opening five minutes’ than a self-contained chapter in it’s own right – but that’s partly because Cornell sets things up so nicely that you’re already up for the next chapter the minute this one ends. I had my issues with Stormwatch’s first issue, but Demon Knights is fresh, funny, and certainly one of the most engaging DC relaunch titles yet.


Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 1 DC New 52 CoverFRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. 
issue 1
Writer:
 Jeff Lemire ~ Artist:  Alberto Ponticelli ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=4/5]

Here, the DC Universe gets its own take on Hellboy – and following the appearence of the Shining Knight in Demon Knights, another character from Grant Morrison’s epic series of relaunches Seven Soldiers of Victory gets a starring role here. Setting up Victor Frankenstein’s tragic creation with his own team of ‘Creature Commandos’, this is lurid fun from Jeff Lemire that’s very different in tone from Animal Man. Alberto Ponticelli’s art gives the whole thing a very dark pulp feel, pulling of some excellent splash pages, and there’s enough lurid weirdness here to suggest that this dark adventure could head down some very promising roads.


Green Lantern 1 DC New 52 cover Sinestro Geoff JohnsGREEN LANTERN 
issue 1
Writer:
 Geoff Johns ~ Artist: Doug Mankhe and Christian Almy ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=3/5]

Out of all the DC relaunches, Green Lantern was always the one that was going to be touched the least – Geoff Johns is the current DC Comics golden boy, after all – and no surprises, Green Lantern 1 is the most perfunctory of all the first issues, making virtually no allowances for any readers jumping on. Admittedly, the setup is relatively intriguing – with Hal Jordan stuck on Earth and powerless, now that his Green Lantern ring has, for reasons unknown, chosen his arch-nemesis (and previous Yellow Lantern) Sinestro. Johns is always a reliable, no-nonsense writer and the art from Mankhe and Almy is as sharp and impressive as ever, but it would have been nice if this had felt a little more welcoming to new readers, and more of a genuine relaunch, rather than simply a pause in a story that’s been going a long time and won’t be stopping anytime soon.


Grifter 1 DC New 52 coverGRIFTER 
issue 1
Writer:
 Nathan Edmondson ~ Artist:  Cafu ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=2/5]

Weirdly enough, we’ve got two comics this week starring characters on the run pursued by mysterious (possibly demonic) forces that they barely comprehend, and this ongoing title starring a character previously from the Wildstorm team comic Wildcats is certainly the lesser of the two. As with Deathstroke, there’s an assumption that we’re just going to care about the lead character simply because he’s the lead character – Edmondson pulls off some good setpieces, and Cafu’s art is slickly executed without ever being remarkable, but the whole thing feels somewhat aimless. The central character at the moment is basically locked as a combination of Gambit from the X-Men and Sawyer from Lost, and this action adventure is going to have to have something major up its sleeve if it isn’t going to be the first of the New 52 to die a swift death.


Legion Lost 1 DC New 52 CoverLEGION LOST 
issue 1
Writer:
 Fabian Nicieza ~ Artist:  Pete Woods ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

There are plenty of people in the world who don’t have the faintest idea who the Legion of Super-Heroes are, and weirdly enough we get this spin-off title appearing before the main title itself. Here, a squad of characters from the 30th Century incarnation of the Legion get accidentally stranded in the present day, with plenty of problems to tackle- the biggest of which is the deadly virus that’s just been loosed onto the world. Nicieza does an efficient job in introducing the characters, while there are some entertaining setpieces and an enjoyably pulpy SF feel to the whole adventure. Along with some effective, well-executed art, this is one of the more promising middle-of-the-road DC titles.


Mister Terrific 1 DC New 52 CoverMISTER TERRIFIC 
issue 1
Writer:
 Eric Wallace ~ Artist: Gianluca Gugliotta ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=4/5]

Here’s an example of a DC Comic actually getting it right, and making me interested in a character I knew virtually nothing about. With an emphasis on science that’s creative and fun, this introduces celebrity scientist Michael Holt (aka Mr. Terrific) well, bringing us up to date on his history while also throwing some serious threats in his path. Visually it’s well executed, with some excellent splash pages, and it’s hard not to feel that this is what the very lacklustre Green Arrow should have felt like. Giving us an intriguing central character and setting up a number of conflicts, there’s also the welcome appearence of DC character Karen Starr – who longtime DC readers will know better as the cleavage-tastic heroine Power Girl – and a cliffhanger that certainly sets the stakes high for issue 2.


Red Lanterns 1 DC New 52 CoverRED LANTERNS 
issue 1
Writer:
 Peter Milligan ~ Artists: Ed Benes and Rob Hunter ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

The latest addition to the Green Lantern franchise is this somewhat inevitable ongoing starring the rage-fuelled Red Lanterns, and it benefits a lot from having ex-2000AD and longtime Vertigo writer Peter Milligan onboard. There’s a darkly grotesque feel to this, while Milligan sets up the character of Atrocitus in some effective ways, giving the audience a mix of well-written introspection and over-the-top violence (especially in the opening sequence, featuring the lethal Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr). It’s not without its moments of cheese, however, while the earthbound revenge plotline is (at least so far) a little bewildering, and the art goes for the cleavage-heavy cheesecake approach at every conceivable opportunity. Nevertheless, Milligan has at least set this up as a worthy addition to the already crowded GL franchise ranks, and looks to have plenty in store.


Resurrection Man 1 DC New 52 CoverRESURRECTION MAN 
issue 1
Writers:
 Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning ~ Artist:  Fernando Dagnino ~ Price: $2.99 ~

[xrr rating=4/5]

One of the most reliable writer teams out there, Abnett and Lanning always deliver well-crafted and entertaining comics – here, coming back to a character last seen in the Nineties, they’ve given us another entry in the darker and weirder edges of the DC Universe. Mitch Shelly, the man blessed/cursed to resurrect with a different superpower every time he dies makes for an interesting protagonist, and the whole atmosphere of dark brooding atmosphere pays off in spades. Dagnino’s art just amps up the darkness, pulling off a handful of nicely executed and inventive moments, Abnett and Lanning raise the tension and set up plenty of mysteries, and by the climax this is certainly looking like one of the more intriguing of DC’s ‘Dark’ family of titles.


Suicide Squad 1 DC New 52 Cover Harley QuinnSUICIDE SQUAD 
issue 1
Writer:
 Adam Glass ~ Artists: Marco Rudy ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Any fans of Secret Six should look away now. This isn’t anywhere near as good as Gail Simone’s magnum opus of morally grey supervillains, while Harley Quinn’s new look is shameless exploitation for its own sake (as well as a shameless bid for the Arkham Asylum/Arkham City computer game geek crowd). Ultimately, writer Adam Glass does get a certain amount of fun out of this very, very old set-up – death-row criminals sent on near-suicidal missions with the vaguest chance of redeeming themselves – and also pulls off an ending that’s certainly attention-grabbing. Unfortunately, this is also so deliberately, self-consciously edgy it’s almost painful to read at times, and does feel like a collection of most of superhero comics’s worst excesses wrapped up in one rather worrying parcel.


Superboy 1 DC New 52 CoverSUPERBOY 
issue 1
Writer:
 Scott Lobdell ~ Artists: R.B. Silva and Rob Lean ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=4/5]

A pleasant surprise, this, as we get a setup for this new iteration of the Superboy character that’s similar to the previous history (he’s still a clone with some of Superman’s DNA) but also adds in plenty of themes from Flashpoint’s Project Superman miniseries. A surprisingly dense and well-crafted script takes us through some engaging drama, contrasting Superboy’s gradual discoveries about the world via his ‘education’ with the corporate shenanigans and skullduggery going on around him. On top of this, there’s some excellent, clean-lined art from R.B. Silva (the recent Jimmy Olsen special) and Rob Lean, giving this a bright and colourful feel that’s pleasently different from some of the darker, murkier, more Jim Lee-influenced titles to be found elsewhere. A satisfying set-up, this only really runs into problems with an ending that links directly to Teen Titans – a comic with isn’t out yet, meaning the final page might be a bit confusing to those not in the know. However, this is an efficiently executed superhero comic that hints at some interesting stories to come.

Previous DC New 52 Reviews:

The DC New 52, Week 2: Action Comics, Animal Man, Batgirl, Batwing, Detective Comics, Green Arrow, Hawk and Dove, Justice League International, Men of War, O.M.A.C., Static Shock, Stormwatch, Swamp Thing

The DC New 52, Week 1: Justice League

 

 

Comics Review: The DC New 52, Week 2 – Action Comics, Animal Man, Batgirl, Batwing, Detective Comics, Green Arrow, Hawk and Dove, Justice League International, Men of War, O.M.A.C., Static Shock, Stormwatch, Swamp Thing

Reviewer: Saxon Bullock (aka @saxonb)

Action Comics 1 New 52 Rags Morales Grant MorrisonACTION COMICS issue 1
Writer:
 Grant Morrison ~ Artists: Rags Morales ~ Price: $3.99 ~

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

A manic, hyper-energised rush of a comic, this is Grant Morrison in full-on superhero blockbuster mode, and certainly one of the most outright entertaining comics of the New 52 so far. Action Comics is also a take on Superman that hasn’t really be seen since the early 1940s – the Man of Steel as a young bruiser and social crusader, standing up to the corrupt in Metropolis while also trying to figure out his gradually growing powers (this is a Superman who hasn’t mastered flight as yet). Simultaneously modern and retro, this is lively comic-book storytelling that throws in plenty of wit and some glorious in-jokes (like the Smallville-referencing “Somebody, SAVE ME!” dialogue on the first major splash page), while also being the best Superman comic in a very long time. Superman was the one piece of the DCU that needed an update more than anyone else, and so far it looks like this relatively radical take is absolutely going to pay off.

Animal Man 1 Jeff Lemire Travel Forman DC New 52ANIMAL MAN issue 1
Writer:
 Jeff Lemire ~ Artist: Travel Foreman ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Starting off with a pretty daring opening page (an interview with the character, presented as a wall of text), Animal Man is one of the more adventurous new DC titles, which perfectly fits with the title’s more adventurous and experimental history. This is much more in the realm of the Vertigo era of Animal Man than the self-referential Grant Morrison era, and while Buddy Baker may be a very grounded example of a superhero (especially since he’s one of the few allowed a proper family), this story’s obviously going to be pushing him in some seriously bizarre directions. Jeff Lemire’s script is atmospheric and well-executed – the art, on the other hand, will take some getting used to, feeling more at ease with the weirder elements than it does with the traditional dialogue (especially with the occasional distorted faces). Nevertheless, it does start off the weirder edges of the new DC Universe, as well as hinting at some deeply disturbing stuff to come…


Batgirl 1 cover Adam Hughes Gail Simone DC New 52BATGIRL 
issue 1
Writer:
 Gail Simone ~ Artist: Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=4/5]

This was the one real problem I had with the new DC setup – the fact that they were bringing the previously paralysed Barbara Gordon, who’d spent years as computer info-expert Oracle, back as Batgirl – but trust Gail Simone, one of the best and most consistent mainstream superhero writers, to dispel all my fears. Batgirl #1 is a really sharp, well-executed comic, and Simone gives Barbara a very distinctive voice that’s a mixture of cocky adventurousness and genuinely understandable fear. The previous history of Batgirl (and especially the attack from the Joker which caused her paralysis) is an integral part of  the story, and Simone packs this full of value, with good character moments and strong storytelling. It’s occasionally let down by a couple of moments of awkward visuals, but otherwise this is damn good fun and one of the highlights of the new DC Universe so far.


Batwing 1 DC New 52 cover art Judd Winick BatmanBATWING 
issue 1
Writer:
 Judd Winick ~ Artist: Ben Oliver ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=2/5]

A pretty new character briefly introduced in recent issues of Batman Incorporated, the idea of an African spin on Batman is certainly interesting, but Batwing doesn’t quite manage to make it all work. Judd Winick’s script does pull off a couple of well-played moments, and there’s fragments of a good story here (along with a promising central character), but the cliffhanger comes at a very odd moment, and there’s a slight overreliance on gory shock tactics. Plus, the art may have plenty of texture and atmosphere, but it also manages to completely leave out any backgrounds, meaning this is an African-set comic where we never actually get to see Africa. Combine that with massive panels populated by tiny word baloons, and Batwing ends up as a very threadbare, empty-feeling comic that’s over before it’s properly begun.


Detective Comics 1 DC New 52 Tony S. DanielDETECTIVE COMICS 
issue 1
Writer:
 Tony S. Daniel ~ Artist: Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=4/5]

I’d heard mixed things about Tony Daniel (or, as he now likes to call himself, Tony Salvador Daniel) and his previous run writing and drawing Batman, but this first issue of the relaunched Detective Comics (which, like Action Comics, renumbers a title that had previously been going uninterrupted for over 70 years) is surprisingly good stuff. There’s a lot here that’s traditional and expected – anyone wanting a gritty tale of Batman on the streets of Gotham battling a grotesquely violent Joker will find plenty to enjoy, while also setting up the new Gotham-based status quo in a brisk fashion. Daniel’s take on the Joker is good without being classic, but it’s all well-executed, muscular superhero comics – until we get to the ending, which is an absolute, out-of-nowhere “Did they seriously just do that?” moment. One of the most enjoyable things about monthly comics are when they get the cliffhangers right, with endings that simply demand that you read the next instalment, and Detective Comics – a title I wasn’t even expecting to be that good – has made me seriously keen to discover what happens next…


Green Arrow 1 DC New 52 cover artGREEN ARROW 
issue 1
Writer:
 J.T. Krul ~ Artist: Dan Jurgens and George Perez ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=1.5/5]

Oh dear. Remixing Green Arrow as a freewheeling corporate tycoon who moonlights as a Robin Hood-style vigilante is a fun idea, but did it have to feel quite so much like the pilot episode to a rather poor superhero TV series circa 1987? A combination of weak dialogue and the ultra-traditional art of Dan Jurgens and George Perez leaves this whole issue feeling rather lifeless, and propped up with the tired device of superheroes fighting supervillains simply for the sake of it. A couple of good moments and some funky trick arrows doesn’t make a decent comic, and Green Arrow feels locked in the past rather than something that should have been looking to the future.

Hawk and Dove 1 DC New 52 Cover art Rob LiefeldHAWK AND DOVE issue 1
Writer:
 Sterling Gates ~ Artist: Rob Liefeld ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Speaking of the past… we have the return of Rob Liefeld, the comic artist superstar with the ‘questionable’ attitude to anatomy, who bestrode the Nineties comics world like a colossus (or, at least, a colossus who really didn’t like to draw character’s feet). Hawk & Dove, following the adventures of (believe it or not) the Avatars of War and Peace, is a comic that’s so ridiculously Nineties it should come with a health warning. There’s plenty of energy here, alongside some absurdly overblown melodrama (and the expected moments of weird, impossible anatomy), but this is certainly one bit of the relaunch that isn’t aiming at anyone but longtime comics fanboys. I certainly can’t think of anyone else who’ll get anything out of such a ridiculous, over-the-top and dated concept – despite a couple of mildly exciting sequences, this one doesn’t really get out of first gear.


Justice League International 1 DC New 52 Cover Art Dan JurgensJUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL 
issue 1
Writer:
 Dan Jurgens ~ Artist: Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=4/5]

Another fanboy-aimed title, this DC adventure aims to recapture the spirit of the more comedy-oriented JLI, and goes about its business with an enjoyable sense of fun. Justice League International is the first of the mainstream ‘middle-of-the-road’ DC titles to actually feel like it’s working, bringing together a team of mismatched characters to tackle international threats to the globe (and doing it a lot more briskly and more enjoyably than Geoff Johns’ Justice League). Dan Jurgens is a very old-fashioned writer, but this gets the mix just about right, and the end result is a comic that’s in no way exceptional, but which delivers enough old school fun and entertainment that the reader doesn’t really mind.

Men of War 1 DC New 52 cover artMEN OF WAR issue 1
Writer:
 Ivan Brandon ~ Artist: Tom Derenick ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=2.5/5]

An interesting idea – the life of traditional soldiers in the DC Universe – gets an execution that doesn’t always live up to its potential. Essentially an update of the classic, long-running 1940s -set Sgt. Rock comics (here starring Rock’s grandson), Men of War pulls off some very strong moments, especially the way it captures superheroes as a dangerously lethal force-of-nature. Trouble is, the visual storytelling is sometimes a little stiff and the art doesn’t always have the life it needs. It also doesn’t help that the back-up strip (a completely non-genre war story, so far) is, despite being shorter, a lot stronger and more effective. It’s good to see DC trying a variety of styles and executions, but unless this improves drastically, I can’t see it living very long.


O.M.A.C. 1 DC New 52 cover art Keith GiffenO.M.A.C. 
issue 1
Writer:
 Dan Didio and Keith Giffen ~ Artist: Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=5/5]

Oh yes. Deliriously nutty, colourful and intensely visual, O.M.A.C. is the most deliberate pastiche to Jack Kirby that I’ve seen for a while, and is also a tremendous amount of fun. Perfectly capturing the Kirby mix of energy, fizz and out-of-nowhere strangeness, this updated, retooled version of the O.M.A.C. concept packs in a tremendous amount of action, while the art (by both Giffen and DiDio) pulls off ludicrous visuals with tremendous style. It’s hard to know what non Kirby-fans will think of this, but the mix of sheer comic book pizzazz is so giddy that hopefully others will be swept along by O.M.A.C.’s infectiously lurid insanity. One of the most deliberately loopy of the new DC titles, and also one of the most enjoyable, O.M.A.C. is a must-read for any lovers of comic-book strangeness.

Static Shock 1 DC New 52 cover artSTATIC SHOCK issue 1
Writer:
 Scott McDaniel and John Rozum ~ Artist: Scott McDaniel, Jonathan Glapion, LaBeau Underwood ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Originally part of the ‘Milestone’ universe created by the late Dwayne McDuffie, in Static Shock we basically have a fun, lively if not-exactly-revolutionary Spider-Man-style teen comic, with art that’s tremendously energetic but doesn’t always keep things coherent. The story throws in some fun setups, and once we get into the second half of the issue things start to pull together. However, the whole thing once again feels very Nineties in approach and execution, and while the central character does pull off some fun and charming moments, overall Static Shock doesn’t escape the feeling that we’ve seen all this before.

Stormwatch 1 DC New 52 Cover Art Paul Cornell Miguel Sepulveda Apollo MidnighterSTORMWATCH issue 1
Writer:
 Paul Cornell ~ Artist: Miguel Sepulveda ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

This was always going to be tricky – a relaunch of a long-running, well-known title that essentially launched Warren Ellis’ career, and which takes the controversial core team from Wildstorm comics (better known as the Authority) and drops them down in the DC Universe. Considering that two members of this team are, essentially, a gay version of both Superman and Batman (here known as Apollo and the Midnighter), this was certainly a risky and intriguing move by DC, and what we get is Stormwatch, a comic that’s big, bold and energetic, even if it (understandably) can’t live up to the title’s long, complicated and controversy-heavy history. For newcomers, Stormwatch are the people in the shadows, who’ve been looking after the DC Universe for much longer than these newly arrived cape-wearing wannabes, and Cornell pulls off some great cinematic moments here, while introducing a bizarre and intriguing threat. The character interplay is well-executed and often fun, but it’s also sometimes dragged down by Sepulveda’s art, which feels a little too stiff and doesn’t give the story the right level of visual impact (especially in the final splash page). There’s room for growth and improvement, but this is a promising beginning…

Swamp Thing 1 DC New 52 Cover Art Scott Snyder Yanick PaquetteSWAMP THING issue 1
Writer:
 Scott Snyder ~ Artist: Yanick Paquette ~ Price: $2.99

[xrr rating=5/5]

One of the most visually impressive of all the DC Universe titles, Swamp Thing also sees writer Scott Snyder taking on a difficult character who’s seen multiple versions and relaunches (most famously, in a classic run by Alan Moore that essentially redefined what mainstream comics can do), and finding a unique take that has its own sense of identity and purpose. Snyder’s execution here is pretty much faultless, giving us strong characterisation and some graphically nasty horror, while also placing this new version of Swamp Thing firmly down in the DC Universe, with the sequences featuring Superman being among the issue’s best. Matched brilliantly by Yanick Paquette’s gorgeous, textured artwork, this is atmospheric dark fantasy that’s stylishly mounted and brilliantly done, pointing in some very intriguing directions. It’s hard to say if Snyder’s run is going to live up to this character’s very weighty history, but he’s certainly off to an excellent start.

 

Previous Reviews:

The DC New 52, Week 1: Justice League