Week 2 of DC Comic’s New 52 & Thoughts on ComiXology

I’ve made it no secret that I have been excited about DC Comics’ relaunch with its New 52 titles. I grew up a Marvel kid, left comics for a bit and then returned to comics just as DC was doing another event, oddly enough titled 52. Seems like 52 is a good number for me and DC, so lets take a look at the comics that I picked up this week and some other fun things.

Action Comics #1 – I did a full review of it on Guerrilla Geek, but in case you don’t feel like reading the whole review here are a few thoughts on it. It’s amazing. It’s one of my favorite comics to come out of this relaunch, and honestly, one of my favorite comics to come out in awhile. Grant Morrison does an amazing job setting up a story about a young Superman coming to Metropolis and making a name for himself. The art is great too. I plan on getting this book monthly.

Animal Man – I haven’t read much of the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man from back in the day, but I enjoyed Buddy in what little I’ve seen of him in that run and in 52. I didn’t know quite what to expect from this new volume of Animal Man, but I was interested in exploring it. Overall, another great read. It’s a bit meta-physical spooky stuff and a little bit family drama. It’s got a lot of heart. In about 24 pages it actually had me connecting to multiple characters that I had little or no exposure to. I plan on getting this book monthly as well.

Batgirl – A lot of fuss over this title. First it was the whole Barbara being able to use her legs, then apparently physical comic shops we reacting to a shortage of the title for charging $10 or more for non-variant copies of this #1. I think all the trouble around the book will boost sales, but it will be on Gail and Adrian to keep the readers. So far, it’s an interesting story. The first issue had action and mystery, all while addressing the elephant in the room (why is Barbara walking!?!?1?!?one!???!!omg!) This story has the potential to get away from everyone really quickly, but I am going to give Gail the benefit of the doubt. I enjoyed her work on Birds of Prey and especially Villains Unite/Secret Six, so I think she can pull this one off as well. I will be picking this up at least through the current story arc, monthly if I enjoy it.

BatwingBatwing was completely off my radar. I wrote it off as “just another Bat book.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Batman, but he gets a little repetitive and all the spin-off Bat books get kind of samey. Then I saw a tweet by Fresh Ink’s Blair Butler (You should really follow her folks. In a world of comic book talking heads and professional know-nothings, she really knows her shit.) that Batwing was beautiful and disturbing. Those are two things I like in comics and boy was she right. It’s almost like a Batman story from the Vertigo imprint. It’s dark, it’s gritty and it’s taking risks. Also it’s fun to see a Batman inspired title taking place outside of Gotham, let alone the United States. It was a pleasant surprise and it will be a monthly title for me.

Detective Comics – Not sure how to feel about this one. It fell squarely into that “Batman can be kind of samey” trap until the last page of the book. It was a complete shocker and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about what is going on. I really hope that the twist isn’t a let down, especially since Batman seemed kind of… dense? Not sure. He just didn’t seem that clever for some reason. Anyways, this one is on the bubble. If the story can pay off the setup from the last page, I will keep reading. Otherwise I might start passing on this title.

Green Arrow – Kind of let down by this title. It wasn’t bad, but it really came across as business as usual. Maybe it will pick up next issue, but as it stands Green Arrow is on the bubble for me.

Justice League International – I have been vocally opinionated about Dan Jurgens in the past. I am perpetually on the fence about “Death of Superman” and the impact it had on DC Comics in the ’90s. However… his Booster Gold stuff really has started to grow on me lately. JLI seems to have a distinct ’90s DC Comics feel to it and I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing yet. Time will tell. It has my attention for now, but it could easily fall out of favor with me. On the bubble.

Men of War – Not usually a war comic guy. I usually prefer my comics to be a little more heady and escapist. Men of War is promising soldiers versus Super Villains at some point, but that concept is almost completely absent from the first issue. I do like the connection to the old Sgt. Rock comics though. I will give this one a couple more issues to brew and see where it’s heading. On the bubble.

Stormwatch – As much as Animal Man is a Vertigo title being published as a DC title, Stormwatch is a Wildstorm book. It has a strong feeling of Planetary and The Authority. I hope it can live up to such a pedigree. The first issue is interesting enough, but we’ll see where it goes. On the bubble.

Swamp Thing – I enjoyed this book despite the fact that it felt like I was missing out on a lot of backstory. I’m not sure if it’s from previous Swamp Thing titles or maybe Brightest Day, but I feel like I’ve missed the setup. It had one seriously creepy scene which I couldn’t help but feel screamed Hellblazer. I think this title has a lot of potential so I will be at least reading the first arc. After that, who knows. On the Bubble.

Some interesting things to note:

ComiXcology guided mode

I got all these comics via Comixology. This has led to a couple interesting developments. Firstly, my impulse buying of titles is through the roof. I ended up buying an initial bunch of five comics. When it was all said and done, I ended up getting ten comics this week. Between twitter recommendations and just general curiosity, I bought twice as many comics as I meant to. Being available digitally made it way too easy to pick up additional comics…

The other interesting thing happened while I was reading the comics. One of the problems with physical comics is that when you turn the page, the whole page is there for you to see. When you use Comixology’s guided mode, it will only show you a portion of the page as it goes through panel by panel. This means if there’s a shocking moment just around the corner, you can’t see it until it actually happens. There were two comics, Batwing and Detective Comics that completely caught me off guard with a shocking moment. The best part is I never saw it coming because I couldn’t sneak a peak at the next page.

So far I am really impressed with the quality of DC’s New 52 and love reading comics digitally. I think the only way I could like it more is if I had a tablet.

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