BEST WRITER: SCOTT SNYDER (BATMAN #1 and SWAMP THING #1)
Even with the big guns like Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, and Jeff Lemire amongst many others, I feel that Snyder really deserves the credit for this one. His work on Batman #1 and Swamp Thing #1 is not easily beaten. His seamless ability to grab readers both old and new on to a title, tell them the facts they need to know to get caught up to speed, AND still manage to tell a compelling and gripping story, all in the context of one single issue make him the easy win.
BEST ARTIST: JH WILLIAMS III (BATWOMAN #1)
This one may be a little obvious, but I don't mind saying it all the same. His work on Batwoman #1 (let alone pretty much everything he's done) was absolutely surreal. To have the talent to bring together elements of superhero action and ghostly atmosphere, and jump back into daily life as if they were two separate worlds leaves me begging to see more. Even if Batwoman turned out to be disappointing in the long run (which it certainly hasn't so far), I would still come back just to see what other kinds of marvelous visuals we would get treated to next.
BIGGEST SURPRISE (IN A GOOD WAY): WONDER WOMAN #1
As someone who has generally not read many Wonder Woman comics at all, this first issue absolutely grabbed me! While there is quite a bit to take in (and I admit, I had to re-read a few parts to understand everything without much knowledge of past WW stories), it is well worth your time. This is more than just your basic introduction issue. You are thrown into their world, and you are immediately right there with Diana, fighting for your life and never knowing what's around the corner. If you couldn't tell from my description, this is more of a horror story (ala Vertigo) than anything else. Take that as you will, but I sure as hell can't wait to see where the team is going with this series.
BIGGEST SURPRISE (IN A BAD WAY): CATWOMAN #1
It was like taking one step forward and then two steps back. Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke had a wonderful run on Catwoman prior to this, with excellent characterizations and writing. Now, we seem to have returned to more of a 90's feel once again, with T&A being the highlight of almost every page. I was almost embarrassed to even be looking through this issue in my comic store; it was that gratuitous (not in the same way as Voodoo, where at least the story was interesting). There is virtually no development or even much of a plot to discuss here. As a #1, let alone as a comic book in general, this one pretty much fails on all fronts.
MOST POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH: STATIC SHOCK #1
While the first issue for this series didn't really do anything to "wow" me per se, the premise is still strong enough that I will likely continue to read and check up on how things are going for Virgil and the rest. I enjoyed the cartoon quite a bit when it was on television, and am hoping this book can someday live up to and maybe even surpass its cartoon counterpart.
FAVORITE BADLY REVIEWED ISSUE: SUPERMAN #1
I’ve read the way that sites like IGN and others have criticized this issue for being “too wordy” and “not having any emotion,” and I have to seriously question if we were all reading the same book. I’d say the only thing I really didn’t like about the issue so much was the cover. For a #1 issue, especially for the Man of Steel himself, I would have expected much better. That said, I felt there was much to enjoy here. For one thing, the “wordiness” of the issue actually caused it to last much longer than most comics you read these days. I spent over 30-40 minutes reading this issue, when most can take me between 10 and 15 minutes usually. For another thing, I felt quite a bit of emotion coming from Superman staring down at the remains of what once was the original Daily Planet, and even more so, his reaction to Lois’s new boyfriend at the end. I also very much liked the writer’s use of establishing how different the things we read are, as opposed to how we see them; a point I think many reviewers may have not even realized the writer was trying to do. So this issue gets a lot of kudos from me while I know it won’t from many others, and that’s fine by me.
COMIC WITH THE SMALLEST AMOUNT CHANGED: GREEN LANTERN #1
While Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics can be considered more of a “true-to-the-original” character, due to Superman’s similarities to his 30’s counterpart, it’s hard to deny giving this to anything other than Green Lantern. While I wouldn’t recommend this issue to someone just starting to get into the character, any fans of the Geoff Johns’ run on the book up until this point will be happy to know that little to nothing was actually changed for this “reboot” of an issue. It’s pretty much a direct continuation of what happened in the previous “War of the Lanterns” story. If these reboots haven’t been for you, you’re pretty much still safe with this one.
COMIC WITH THE LARGEST AMOUNT CHANGED: BATGIRL #1
The Killing Joke changed Barbara Gordon’s life forever. She was shot in the back by the Joker and paralyzed permanently… or not so permanently! In this new series, Barbara has miraculously recovered from her injuries in the period of a few years. How this is exactly has not yet been revealed, but the point here is that after 20+ years of being handicapped, Barbara not only has the ability to walk once more, but even manages to dawn the Batgirl costume again. The absolute best thing about this whole story is that the writer does not try to pretend that The Killing Joke didn’t happen, or that Barbara doesn’t still have any inner-demons resulting from it all. Seeing this all come to form was like witnessing a dream, and I for one do not want to wake up from it.
COMIC HERO I’VE GAINED THE MOST RESPECT FOR: AQUAMAN
After reading Geoff John’s first issue of Aquaman, I don’t think I’ll ever be insulting the man ever again. In fact after reading this issue, Aquaman is officially a bad-ass in my eyes. I never thought I’d say it, but the man deserves some serious respect, as does the writing seen here. He’s strong, quick, and not any of the stereotypes you’ve likely created about him in your head. Give this one a read and I doubt many will disagree with me here.
MOST DECEIVING COVER: I, VAMPIRE #1
The cover of this issue would make you think it’s another “Twilight-esque” romance series, but fans of such things would likely turn straight away upon realizing how dark and bloody this story actually is. There is a romance in this issue, but there is nothing story-book-like about it. I won’t give away too many details, but understand that there is quite a battle both outside and within involving these two characters and their interesting chemistry and overall hate and disagreement with one another only makes things more engrossing. This one caught me off guard, but in a great way. I’m very glad I decided to pick it up.
MOST FASCINATING PREMISE: ANIMAL MAN #1
This is a book that deserves to be read by everyone, and I hope it will be. Animal Man has some of the most interesting and peculiar abilities, and that alone makes this something worthwhile. What adds to that even more is the family dynamic. It’s been a long time since I’ve witnessed a superhero book in which an entire family plays as much of a part as the main character itself. Combine this with elements of horror and trippy artwork to round it all together, and you’ve got a story and premise that’s just too interesting to miss.
MOST FUN I HAD WITH AN ISSUE: ACTION COMICS #1
Sometimes readers, especially ones that write reviews, tend to forget the fun of it all. Not all stories have to be “deep” in order to be fun, and not all stories have to lose their fun factor in order to still be “deep.” I feel Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics has already begun to fit both into the equation. This is a writer who is known for adding complex and trippy elements into his stories (that usually result in a “love it or hate it” reaction from the reader), yet still keeping true to Superman’s roots at the same time (ala All-Star Superman). Morrison is also known for having quite a knowledge of stories from past to present, as he represents here by showcasing a Superman not seen since his days in the 30’s. This is exactly the kind of thing I like in stories. I enjoy something that can be fun and lighthearted, but still have deeper meanings within, and get serious when it needs to get serious. Morrison has usually provided those types of stories, and while I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I can’t help but enjoy and very much look forward to what is coming from him.
OVERALL WORST FIRST ISSUE: HAWK & DOVE #1
WTF… Just… WTF… I don’t even have anything to say about this… I just… WTF!?
And without further ado…
WINNER OF THE BEST FIRST ISSUE: SWAMP THING #1
I would have never imagined myself getting into a book titled “Swamp Thing,” but here I am. Scott Snyder has taken us into a world, explained enough that’s going on so that we have a general idea of where to begin, and somehow manages to expand even on that world, all in the course of one first issue, only poised to get even better in the long run. This issue has everything you could possibly want, all the way down to the cryptic premise and haunting artwork to keep you from so much as blinking. Of all titles that came out last month, this one gets my highest form of recommendation, even more than Animal Man, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman, and must be read by all, regardless of what you may or may not know about the character and story already; it’s just that good!
And there you have it folks! Hope you have enjoyed all of my new 52 coverage. Tune in with me next week as I hopefully return to having a life, discovering the outside world, etc. As for tonight however, I’m kind of on this comic addict kick, so I think I’ll catch up on Usagi Yojimbo. Why? It’s there. Do I really need any other reason for Usagi Yojimbo? I think not!