Teen Titans #1
So that's the long sordid history of my relationship with the book building up to its release. This being the first book I read this week, I'm starting to realize that #1 fatigue is finally setting in for me. I love team books, I love covert/conspiracy books, and I really like teen superheroes, and all of that still didn't save me from starting to realize that I'm actually starting to get sick of reading the very beginning of a story. I don't think I would have noticed this as much if TT wasn't just incredibly mediocre and quick to read, but it just wasn't that great.
I still haven't warmed up to Brett Booth's decidedly 90's Image-influenced style. Everyone's bulging with muscles and the style, rather than doing something interesting with Jim Lee's redesign of the costumes, seems to enhance all the bad parts of the redesigns. I will say this about the art though. There are moments where Booth really nails a character's facial expression that were refreshing. I also enjoyed his rendition of Superboy's costume almost as much as R.B. Silva's from Superboy #1. The black and red capeless design is really badass and menacing. I have no idea why the cover shows pretty much the worst Superboy design ever, because I don't think it's going to show up anywhere in the new version of the DC Universe.
The story felt slight in a way that wasn't still satisfying. What I mean is that with Supergirl #1 last week, it was an incredibly quick read, but it felt like a very tantalizing tease. I wanted to know more about the main character and how she would interact with the world. In TT #1, we get a faceless clandestine group messing with teen heroes named "N.O.W.H.E.R.E." that, in a post-Nextwave world feels like a parody of itself. I don't care about N.O.W.H.E.R.E. even A.L.I.T.T.L.E. The group is so generic, and I feel like Lobdell missed the boat on throwing us a bone or any hook at all that would make me care about this story line. Alas, we got nothing, and that's kind of how I feel about the book overall - just a whole lotta nothing.
Story - 2 out of 5 stars
Art - 2 out of 5 stars
Johns nailed Aquaman's character and in only a few pages made me care about the guy. I love the look of the new suit and Arthur's facial expressions throughout. Ivan Reis just killed on this book better than anything I've seen him do in Green Lantern. Arthur ranges from bemused to confused to irritated, and each time it combines with Johns' tight script and story to really bring out the pathos of Aquaman. That's right, I said Aquaman's got pathos, and how! I never knew Aquaman's real origin, but what we get here in #1 intrigues me, and I can't wait to see more of Arthur interacting with both the Atlanteans and surface world and never truly fitting in either.
I'm really excited to see where the story line goes. It's extremely simple and straight forward, but the story doesn't matter as much as seeing what Johns does with the character. One thing I've learned this month is how wildly different I can react to different works by the same writer. Justice League bored me and felt stiff and hokey. On the other hand, Aquaman feels like an extremely modern while also timeless version of the character. Sure we get references to blogging and youtube (there must be some kind of directive from DC editorial to mention at least one of these things - or Twitter - in each #1), but it's unobtrusive and at worst just a tiny bit distracting. Aquaman's a fantastic character piece that has me really excited to read Flash #1!
Story - 5 out of 5 stars
Art - 4 out of 5 stars
Green Lantern New Guardians #1
Yay! I love me some Kyle Rayner. He's my Green Lantern through and through. Being a kid of the 90's, I loved the crab-faced Lantern, and honestly he's what made GL my favorite superhero family of the DC universe. When I saw he was essentially getting his own book, I was really excited, and although I plan on buying Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. on a delayed basis to get the dollar-off digital deal, I wanted to try some GL right away, so New Guardians was a no brainer.
New Guardians #1 is definitely a team building book. I love the concept right from the get-go that there's going to be a Captain Planet-ish team in the DC universe made up of all the different colored lanterns. This is the first thing I've read from writer Tony Bedard, so I had no idea what to expect. I will say that the story isn't completely ground-breaking, but I do love the twist Bedard puts on the traditional team building issue. The final two pages, a double-page gorgeously-colored (by colorist Nei Ruffino) made me smile from ear to ear and really excited to see what will come with #2.
Granted, I don't know what New Guardians will actually be about. There is a central conflict to the book (revealed by that final two-page spread I mentioned), but beyond that, and the why beyond that are totally left out. I'm actually ok with this though. I'm eager to learn more about the six other lanterns-of-various-colors that make up the rest of the team to compliment Kyle. I'm just overall eager for this book because he's such a different Lantern from the other three Earthmen Lanterns (hey, how come there aren't any female earth-born Green Lanterns?), and it's about time he got the spotlight in his own book once again. (here's hoping all the covers are on white backgrounds - such a good look for this rainbowy team)
Story: 4 out of 4 stars
Art: 4 out of 4 stars
The Flash #1
The Flash is a great science fiction character. His powers and theme come right out of the time when sci-fi was all the rage in comics. There's so much room to play around with the mechanics of his powers and how it affects reality around him. It doesn't have to always make sense, but it does have to always be fun and something new. With this first issue, Manapul shows that he has what it takes to keep our hero firmly tied to his science fiction roots.
Much like with many of the books, I've really started to sit up and take notice of colorists for the relaunch. Sometimes they tell a crucial little part of the story like in Batwoman and sometimes they give a unique flavor to the story and art that just black and white or an average colorist would otherwise not have delivered, such as in Wonder Woman. With The Flash, colorist Brian Buccellato delivers with some incredibly rich crimsons and lightning yellows for the superhero action and offers a much more muted, quiet color pallet for the rest of Barry's civilian life. It's the contrast that makes Flash seem like he's almost too fast for the page as he runs between panels. The whole book feels like it's full of motion and action, and it all sings under Manapul's impressive writing debut.
Story: 4 out of 5 stars
Art: 5 out of 5 stars
Justice League Dark #1
JLD does a lot of things right, but the best part is how writer Peter Milligan sets the stakes right away and shows just how terrifying a Justice League - level mystic threat should be. This is the stuff of nightmares, and Superman's bright red and blue can't really do anything to stand up to it. It almost feels like a combination of Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman. How much more do I have to sell you on the book? This is a short review, but that's because I don't want to give anything away. I love horror, I love urban fantasy, and the combination just works so well together. Can't wait to get to the status quo of what this team is going to look like from month to month.
Story: 5 out of 5 stars
Art: 5 out of 5 stars