Monday, October 03, 2011

Reviewing The New 52 - Part 2

Continuing my series on “The New 52” this time with the “Edge” titles:

The Edge

I’m a big supporter of non-superhero books becoming more mainstream. Now that comic books aren’t much of a kids medium anymore (they seem to like, you know, video games and stuff), I think it’s even more important that superheroes give way to some more varied fare. This is why I’m on board with the Edge and Dark titles, which do include some flashy costumes, but not quite as much four color leaping from tall buildings and saving the day from evildoers.

Voodoo – Ron Marz, Sami Basri

Since reading Voodoo, I’ve read some less than favorable reviews of the issue from a few sources. Frankly, I loved it. A big distinction between me and them may be that I knew nothing about the character going in, since she was transferred over from the WildStorm imprint which I never really read. We open with Voodoo, a (hot) stripper of indeterminate ethnic origin doing her thing on stage. We quickly learn that two (government?) agents, Tyler and Jess, have been tasked with following and observing Voodoo. Tyler seems to be observing a little too vigorously, and he and Jess fight, which results in Jess walking out. Tyler then takes it upon himself to break protocol and move in for a little one on one interview with Voodoo, using the tactic of buying a private dance. Well, there’s no sex in the Champagne room, but I think the twist regarding what does happen is too good to reveal here. I recommend you go buy it and find out. Recommendation: Keep Reading

Suicide Squad – Adam Glass, Federico Dallocchio, Ransom Getty

Glass finds a very clever way to introduce us to the Suicide Squad – They’re under a torture interrogation, having been captured by unknown assailants. While they resist efforts to get them to reveal who they’re working for and why, we do learn through flashback who they are and how they were captured, specifically, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Voltaic, King Shark, El Diablo and Black Spider, six very nasty villains who comprise the Suicide Squad, a Dirty Half Dozen who now perform Black Ops in the service of the government, specifically Amanda Waller’s Task Force X. There are a few twists in this one (the absolute least of which is the “new” Amanda Waller’s dramatic weight loss), which I won’t reveal, so if you want to know more, you guessed it…. Recommendation: Keep Reading 

OMAC- Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, Scott Koblish 

This is probably my least favorite of the New 52, in part because of the art, which is Keith Giffen channeling Jack Kirby. That might be great for some, but I prefer realism in my comic book art. OMAC, or One Man/Machine Army Corps, also reads a lot like a New Gods story, which was never really my thing. Essentially it’s one big monster beating up a lot of little monsters in order to get to a supercomputer called Cadmus. Not for me. Recommendation: Pass 

Grifter – Edmonson, Cafu, Gorder 

Grifter is one of those books where there’s not quite enough information yet, but it could be interesting. The Grifter is Cole Cash (a pseudonym, one would assume, but he’s got a brother, not a grifter, also named Cash), a con artist who is abducted by aliens while making his escape from his last con job. Cole wakes up 17 units of time into his capture (what those units are is unclear: Minutes? Hours? Days?) He escapes, but not before something has been implanted in him. He boards a plane only to find that the aliens seem to be everywhere, possessing the humans around him and trying to kill him. He escapes, only to earn a reputation as a terrorist, which causes the military to send Cole’s brother, a Special Ops officer, to get him. With aliens, the authorities and his own brother after him, how will The Grifter survive? I guess I’ll need to tune in to find out. 

Recommendation: Issue by Issue 

Deathstroke – Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett, Art Thibert

The first line of Deathstroke says it all: “Deathstroke, the Terminator—The scariest badass on the planet.” Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke, was invented about 30 years ago as a foil for the New Teen Titans, and has been one of DC’s most enduring villains ever since. He’s actually been more of an antihero, an assassin for hire with a heart, as evidenced in part by the family that he truly seems to care about. The problem is that Deathstroke is supposed to kill people—a lot, which in the past, did not fit in well with traditional comics behavior, especially from a protagonist. But this is “The Edge,” and the new Deathstroke doesn’t f—around. If you don’t believe me, just look at how he treats his new “team.” Recommendation: Issue by Issue

Stormwatch – Paul Cornell, Miguel Sepulveda

Stormwatch, and its literary progeny, The Authority, were among the few WildStorm titles I did read, owing largely to the skilled take on the super hero genre that Warren Ellis offered. Cornell here gamely takes up the mantle, with the existing Stormwatch members, including Jack Hawksmoor, who is specially designed for urban environments, The Engineer, whose blood is basically made of machines, the Projectionist, who possesses an alien language processing lobe in her brain, the Swordsman, whose abilities you can probably guess, Jenny Quantum, the “Spirit of the 21st Century,” Adam-One, who seems to be in charge, and the Martian Manhunter, who presumably got tired of being the sixth wheel in the Justice League for five decades, trying to recruit their potentially most powerful member, Apollo, who is pretty much Superman, but better. They ultimately capture Apollo, but he is rescued by the Mid-Nighter, who is basically Batman but better (I know, and now YOU know, that these two will eventually become lovers, but this is not yet hinted at in the book). My problem with Stormwatch is that they don’t really seem to fit in the DC Universe. This is a group that in their own book took over the world because they thought they could run it better. This new incarnation seems like it’s just going to be an edgier Justice League, but I’m willing to reserve judgment. Recommendation: Issue by Issue

Men of War – Ivan Brandon, Tom Derenick, Jonathan Vankin, Phil Winslade

A war book! Cool! Not that I’m any big fan of war, or even war movies, but any non super hero mainstream book is worth at least a look, in my estimation. In this one we are introduced to a soldier named Rock, a tough grunt who’s smarter and more skilled than those who outrank him. Old school comics readers will think we are being reintroduced to the famous Sgt. Rock of Easy Company, but in fact, this is Frank Rock’s grandson, and he is only a Corporal, at least for now. The twist seems to be that this book asks the question: “What is it like to be a soldier in a world where people can fly and shoot laser beams from their eyes?” I’m curious to find out. Recommendation: Keep Reading

Blackhawks – Mike Costa, Graham Nolan, Ken Lashley

Okay, I know I just said that any non super hero book is worth a look, but I’m going to backpedal a little. The Blackhawks, which were originally a team of WW2 Flying Aces, have been reimagined as a crack tactical assault team with code names and quirks. That’s right—they’re GI Joe. If you like GI Joe, you might like this book. It’s not for me. Recommendation: Pass

All Star Western – Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat

All Star Western picks up where their Jonah Hex book, which was quite good, left off. The twist is that the tides of fate have brought Hex to Gotham City, where he becomes embroiled in a murder mystery as the reluctant partner of Amadeus Arkham, who video game fans will recognize as the architect of Arkham Asylum, the home away from home for Batman’s sociopathic villains. I love the idea of putting Hex in this setting, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Recommendation: Keep Reading

Okay, that’s it for the “Edge” titles. Next up, Young Justice!


Tori said...

nice blog, lots of good reviews. will be keeping my eye on it.

Craig Berger said...

Thanks, Tori!

James S. said...

Interesting to see that Martian Manhunter is in Stormwatch. I enjoyed Ed Brubaker's Authority miniseries, but otherwise I don't know much them.