Saturday, September 17, 2011

DCnU REVIEWS: Justice League, Justice League International, Stormwatch, Batgirl, Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE

The DCnU launched this month (well, technically, it launched at the end of LAST month, but with only 1 book - the Justice League flagship title; the balance of the books come out THIS month), and several of them made it onto my pull list. I had also wanted to add a few more titles to my pull list (Animal Man, Detective Comics, Swamp Thing, Demon Knights, Green Lantern), but they were unfortunately sold out by the time I made it to my FLCS. I may try and pick up the ones that I missed on digital, but I REALLY prefer print versions for my comics.

Without further ado, here are my quick-take reviews on the titles that I've read thus far:

Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

DC leads off the new 52 with the release of the latest, greatest version of their premier superteam - the Justice League. Replacing Martian Manhunter in the Big 7 line up is Cyborg, a change I'm not too thrilled about, but will give it an opportunity to grow on me. While the cover features all 7 characters, we're only treated to 3 of them in the story, and really, just two, with the third joining in at the very end. Still, you can't go wrong with kicking off the title with Batman and Green lantern meeting each other for the first time. The contrasting tropes of darkness and fear on the one hand, and bright light and courage on the other make for an interesting interplay between the two heroes. Distinct voices and keen characterizations make for a rich reading experience that hopefully sets the tone for the eventual introductions of the rest of the cast. Superman's arrival on the scene at the end certainly makes an impression on our two protagonists and the reader, literally and figuratively, and leaves us with the promise of a Bats vs. Supes throwdown next issue. The story felt a smidge decompressed, but not overly so, so I'll definitely be coming back for more next month!

REVIEW: 4 out of 5

Justice League International #1 by Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti

I picked up JLI due to my fond memories of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold BWA-HA-HA-ing it up, Batman one shot-ing Guy Gardner with a single punch, and the Martian Manhunter indulging his love of Oreo cookies. This is NOT that JLI. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Taking a tone more traditionally superheroic than the original JLI run, Jurgens crafts an undecompressed debut that in contrast to Justice League, introduces the reader to all of the ensemble cast in the very first issue. The characterizations are for the most part, spot on, and Jurgens does a great job of establishing interesting conflicting dynamics among the various team members that will generate no end of drama and entertainment as the title progresses - of particular note to watch will be the friction between Russia's Rocket Red and China's August General in Iron and the tension between Booster Gold and Guy Gardner. The fact that Batman is an unofficial member of the team is icing on the cake for me, and I enjoy his less grim-and-gritty mien in this outing which casts him in an interesting team role - not of the leader, but that of mentor/support. if this issue is any indication of things to come, JLI will be on my pull list for the duration.

REVIEW: 5 out of 5