This week brings the third wave of DC’s New 52 debut titles, all aimed to be easy to pick up for new readers but still rewarding to longtime fans.
Week two’s raft of titles was definitely less impressive on the whole than week one, despite a big block of above-average books. Week three packs heavy hitters Batman and Wonder Woman, and an underbill of beloved second-stringers like Catwoman, Blue Beetle, and Supergirl. Will this be be the week to break the better-than-average barrier with a score that tops 3.0? Or, will it do worse than week two’s four-book crop of sub-average comics?
Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo & Jonathan Glapion
I’m a little gun-shy on this one. I thought a Snyder/Paquette Swamp Thing was a sure thing, but I wound up dissing it and drawing a personal comment from Snyder. Dare I get my hopes up here for Snyder on the more well-established Bats in his flagship, illustrated by killer artist Capullo? I daren’t identify this as my most-anticipated of the week, but let’s say I have a firm interest in the outcome.
What are the four other Bat-group titles out this week, and which of them is my most-anticipated book of the week? Keep reading to find out.
Birds of Prey
Written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Jesus Salz
While my interest in a fierce all-female division of Gotham’s superheroes runs high, my confidence in this book is middling. Swierczynski is still relatively fresh off a stoic, decompressed run on Cable where he didn’t write any women especially well. Will his hard-ass hero writing translate well to Black Canary? And, will I like artist Jesus Salz’s take on my favorite DC villain, Poison Ivy?
Written by Tony Bedard with art by Ig Guara & Ruy Jose
A high-school aged Beetle doesn’t ring a bell for me, which makes me think this is a character whose deck was super-reshuffled by Flashpoint. The solicit text doesn’t hint at much beyond that, so this will be a big surprise when I open it up later this week!
Written by J.T. Krul with art by Freddie Williams II
Captain Who? Atom was the Charlton Comics’ inspiration for Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan when Alan Moore found out he couldn’t lay waste to a real set of catalog heroes. I haven’t the slightest idea of what the Captain is about – is he as aloof as our blue-schlonged friend? I mildly enjoyed J.T. Krul’s dialog-heavy Green Arrow intro. Will he strike the same style here, or go for something more slick?
Most Anticipated: Catwoman
Written by Judd Winick with art by Guillem March
Winick is doing double Bat-duty with this book and newly minted Nightwing. Catwoman has actually boasted an outstanding run of solo titles, from her 90s cat-burglary to a white hot 2000s run that’s getting harder to track down in TPB. However, I’m not always totally sold on her character – I want an amoral wisecracker who is only interested in Batman when he’s not dispensing attention. Recent romantic entanglements between the two have complicated what should be a more capricious dynamic. Alfred hinted at a feline problem in Detective Comics, but here’s where we’ll get the true scoop. I think Winick was effective on Batwing, so I’m relishing the chance for him to cut loose here – and interested to see what elements of Catwoman could be up for minor alterations.
DC Universe Presents
Written by Paul Jenkins with art by Bernard Chang
DC has been going strong on anthology titles for the past few years, but I have my doubts on this one. A gorgeous cover by Ryan Sook has no bearing on the Bernard Chang pencils within, and Paul Jenkins is fresh off the utter failure-to-launch that was X-Men – Prelude to Schism. It takes a lot for me to call an X-Book a failure, which makes me think Jenkins is a totally incapable writer. We’ll see how I react to this DC debut from his hands. Even if it’s terrible, the team will rotate soon enough!
Green Lantern Corps
Written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin & Scott Hanna
This has the dubious distinction of featuring a number of elements from DC New 52 Week Two that I seriously disliked. Tomasi wrote the supremely annoying Batman & Robin, and I had mega problems with the execution of the entire Green Lantern concept (which says nothing for the overlap of a slew of Earth lanterns across multiple titles). A team book featuring an elite strike force of them? Nice guy lantern John Stewart is going to have to do some mega-heavy lifting as a character to keep it afloat for me, and I don’t think Tomasi is up to the task.
Legion of Superheroes
Written by Paul Levitz with art by Francis Portela
Last week I was a little overwhelmed by the wash of unfamiliar heroes in Legion Lost, and this is the motherload – DC’s main vein of future-bound heroes, as written by Paul Levitz, who in a Claremontian turn penned them for the entirety of the 80s (and again for the past year). Whew. Will Levitz make this re-intro accessible to total noobs like me, or is it going to pick up from the very second the most recent series left off?
Written by Kyle Higgins with art by Eddy Barrows & JP Mayer
Nightwing is a Bat-hero I know all about but have seriously never read. Dick Grayson is the oldest living Robin, having long-since graduated to his Nightwing identity. In recent years he even wore the mantle of the Bat while Bruce Wayne was trapped in time! How do you go from being The Batman back to being a second stringer? Or, will that aspect of his adventures be washed away by the reboot? Catapulting him into a circus of death that recalls his origins could be promising or painful, depending on how deft the inexperienced Kyle Higgins – perhaps the newest comic writer on the 52 slate – is with the script.
Red Hood & The Outlaws
Written by Scott Lobell with art by Kenneth Rocafort
It truly is the week of the Bat! DC is throwing every Gotham hero they can lay hands on at the reading public. Up in this book is Jason Todd, a Robin famous killed by Joker but recently given a long-delayed resurrection as Red Hood. I haven’t the slightest idea of his backstory, but Lobdell is more than capable of juggling a three-character book, especially when the female character is the fierce personality of alien blaster Starfire. This book is a blank slate for me, and I’m really hoping I’ll enjoy it.
Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson with art by Mahmud Asrar.
This week’s Kryptonian entry into the DC catalog is a reimagined Supergirl. Supergirl has always had an unsure place in the DC Parthenon – part of the point of the original Crisis was to kill her, then she came back as a weird Luther-created amoeba, later merged with a mortal teenager, and was discarded in favor of a standoffish Kryptonian cousin – not to mention the hugely popular Power Girl, whose sudden departure from the schedule has left fans up in arms. Who will this Supergirl be? The preview dispenses few hints, but I dig the DC Animated influence on art from Mahmud Asrar.
Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Cliff Chiang
She may be my favorite superhero, but boy is it hard to get Wonder Woman right on the page. Wonder Woman has had a rough history of mediocre stories, capped by a fan-derided run over the course of the last year. Can the Vertigo vet Brian Azzarello jump-start the Amazon with the proper mix of mythology and action? I’ll say that my faith isn’t high based on the preview images of Cliff Chiang’s artwork, which doesn’t connect with me at all.
There you have it – week three of DC’s relaunch from the perspective of an utter non-fan. What’s your most-anticipated book of the week? And, what titles are you dreading?