I was planning to start reviewing the first issue of each of the DCnU comic books coming out in September, and decided to start a bit early by doing some of the first issues of other titles as they come out. Here are some of the titles I picked up this week, and what I thought of them:
Overall: an action/adventure time travel story with definite potential. felt the Deluxe Edition was worth the extra price.
Bias: I like Rob Liefeld’s art, though at times it can be too stylized for my tastes. I’m a big fan of Robert Kirkman’s writing. I went into this expecting some good and some bad from the art, and to be blown away by the writing.
What I liked: There definitely seems to be a rich backstory to be explored, and I’m a sucker for time travel stories. I also like Rob Liefeld’s art, for the most part (there are a few panels where it looks…odd, but for the most part, it was excellent Rob Liefeld art.) I also loved that the “bad guy” doesn’t think of himself as a bad guy…
What I disliked: The dialogue. It didn’t flow naturally, and felt more like it was used to explain the plot than to be what the characters would actually say. It was also cheesy as hell. Kirkman can – and has – done a lot better in other comics, and I was disappointed with what I read.
Deluxe Edition Content: Mostly, it was a sketchbook of the development of the look of the characters. I wish the plot page was blown up to fill the page (as it was hard to read shrunk down like it was), and the script to pencils pages just seemed…lacking, for some reason. I’m not a fan of variant covers, not because I don’t like the extra artwork, but because I don’t want to fork over extra cash for a cover. As a result, I loved the cover gallery – for me, this was the part of the deluxe edition content that made it worth the extra two bucks. I usually have to wait for the trade paperback to get the full cover gallery, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Verdict: I’ll pick up the next issue to see if it improves…
Overall: a fun, young adult title.
Bias: It wasn’t my favorite CrossGen title from the previous CrossGen universe, and the previews didn’t especially excite me. I mostly picked it up to show my support of the CrossGen titles in general, and in hopes of getting a Negation or Sojourn title in the future… (Side Note: both of those titles are more long form stories, so I’m not sure either will be published, given that Marvel has focused on a single four issue mini-series for each of the titles they’ve published so far – but I can dream!)
What I liked: The characters were interesting and the story was fun – it pulled off both witty, dark comedy and youthful merriment. The art was great – I especially loved the facial expressions! There was also an attention to detail that I loved – the sign on the orphanage had the slogan “We feed hungry children” with graffiti next to it saying “to the dogs.” Several pages later, when you see the sign again in a small panel, the details were exactly the same.
What I disliked: It was decidedly not written with me as a target audience. While the quality of the story was impeccable, it was definitely written for a younger audience – and young women would probably enjoy it the most. It had a cinderella/fairy tale feel to it.
Verdict: I have a young niece who, in a few years, will absolutely love this comic book. So along with the aforementioned show of support in the hopes of getting a Negation and/or Sojourn title, I’ll pick up the rest of this series for her.
Overall: a violent, but not gory, tale with more questions than answers.
Bias: I like Greg Rucka’s writing, but I’m not a big Punisher fan. I wanted to give it a try to see what Mr. Rucka does with the title, but going into it, I don’t expect I’ll be picking up issue 2.
What I liked: The story was told from the perspective of two police detectives (who looked like Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt from Se7en – a detail I kinda liked), and this was both good and bad. (I’ll get to the bad below.) It kept the Punisher more mysterious. He should be the strong, silent type, and he was expertly portrayed that way. The artwork is also exceptional: detailed, beautiful, and dark. It was absolutely perfect for a Punisher title.
What I disliked: The perspective of the title left me wanting more Punisher – he felt more like a supporting character in his own title. It was good to not show it from his perspective, but I would’ve liked to’ve seen him in it more. Especially with the Punisher’s decision on the second to last page of the main story, it left too many questions as to what the heck was going on. I’m quite sure this will be addressed in future issues, but it left me feeling that the issue was incomplete. This is probably a title that will read better in larger chunks, rather than individual issues.
Verdict: I liked it, and though I’m going to skip the individual issues, I’ll be picking up the first trade paperback, at least.
Overall: a slow building story about the dark undercurrent of the early 1900’s America.
Bias: I’ve recently become acquainted with Scott Snyder’s writing (in “American Vampire” and “Detective Comics”), and absolutely love them. However, I wasn’t so impressed with his collaborative work on “Batman: Gates of Gotham,” so I wasn’t sure about this title. I went into this one with interest, but skepticism.
What I liked: The artwork was beautifully bleak, and definitely evocative of the early 1900’s – from the coloration (the muted colors and sepia tones were reminiscent of early silent movies), to the designs (especially on the title pages), to the details in the comic (clothing the characters wear, the furnishings and style of the houses, and the Model T Ford).
What I disliked: I felt it was too slow building. The writing was great, but it felt like it was done in the wrong medium; it would’ve been a better movie or TV show or especially a book.
Verdict: I’m tempted to give this one a pass, but I get the nagging sensation that if I do, I’ll miss something worthwhile. I’ll flip through the trade paperback when it comes out, and decide then…
Anyway, those are the titles I picked up the first issue this week. Feel free to let me know what you thought of them – or any other titles I may’ve missed. As a warning, though I won’t post spoilers in the posts themselves, the comments are completely fair game. Don’t read ’em unless you’ve already read the issues, or don’t mind having plot points revealed…