As some of you know, I fell off the DC comp list with The New 52, and decided that was a sign from Zeus to start trade-waiting. And with the April solicits, I see decision time has arrived.

That is to say: Which trades or HCs will I buy? I'm certainly not going to pop for all 52, so I have to pick and choose. So let me ask you, Legionnaires:

  • Which titles are so intrinsic to New 52 continuity that they are musts?
  • Which titles are just so flaming good that they are musts?
  • Which titles lend themselves to collections the best?
  • Which titles can be "safely" skipped?
  • Which titles are YOU buying?


And so forth. Sound off, folks! Which New 52 titles would you choose for the Captain Comics bookshelf?

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Figserello said:



ClarkKent_DC said:

I hit the Friends of the Library bookstore, which, wonderfully, has a large and extensive 50-cent bin, and acquired a bunch of The New 52 first issues -- all the ones that debuted on Sept. 14: Batman and Robin, Batwoman; Deathstroke; Demon KnightsFrankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.; Green Lantern, Grifter, Legion Lost; Mister TerrificRed LanternsResurrection ManSuicide SquadSuperboy.


I haven't read them all yet, but I'll offer my impressions after I have.


Looking forward to it Clark.

The thing about first issues though, is that the creators usually have about 6 months to work on them, whereas later issues are churned out within a month. So there is usually a quality differential between 1st issues and subsequent issues.

Well, I've read them all ...

"... and boy do I wish I hadn't! "

Nah, that's too easy and cheap. I'll offer observations about the individual titles later, but for now, I'll talk about reading them as a group.

This baker's dozen of titles gave me the sense that the DC Universe is a dangerous and sordid place. They were full of death and destruction, targeting protagonists (there were precious few heroes), villains and civilians alike. These stories were full of shootings, stabbings, decapitations, impalements, and several varieties of torture, including electrocution, acid baths, and critters gnawing on body parts. The question has frequently been raised, "Why does anybody stay in Gotham City?" what with all the crime, corruption and pervasive danger, and the answer I got from these books was, clearly, "Why not? It's no worse than anyplace else."

It was almost enough to make one share the fake outrage of that Fox 5 report on the first issue of Catwoman.

Most of these books were first issues but not origin stories. In fact, they tried very, very hard not to be origin stories; several tried the "begin the story in the middle and let the reader catch up" approach. It's noticeable when you read a dozen-plus stories that when every writer is trying to be "different," they all seem the same. I read two back to back -- Grifter and Resurrection Man -- that featured a dazed blonde man with long hair being attacked by a demon aboard an airplane. I know each writer needs to tell the story he wants to tell, but aren't editors supposed to prevent that kind of thing?

On the plus side, I also noticed a lot of new artistic talent I'd never seen before, some quite good.  

The thing about first issues though, is that the creators usually have about 6 months to work on them, whereas later issues are churned out within a month.

I'm not sure that's true, but I could be wrong. A lot of the creators were working on other books the previous month, so their writing time was accounted for. They may have known about the changes for awhile and had time to think about them as they finished up their on-going titles, but I don't get the impression this was in the planning stages for many months ahead of time.

It could be true if a lot of new talent was brought in, but I didn't follow the old DCU closely enough to know how much fresh blood the new assignments represent. I know the ones I sampled were all from long-time DCU writers, but to some extent that was self-selecting.

Plus, first issues are always hard to get a handle on, as they have to spend time introducing and explaining things, even if they don't tell the origin. I think that's why second movies in super-hero trilogies often are better, because they have more room to develop rather than spending time setting things up.

It happens on TV, too. The creators of Cougar Town constantly say they wish they could go back and rename the show, because it's not at all what they started with. Already, the intro to Person of Interest is inaccurate (or at least the implication that Det. Carter is hunting them is). Other shows (Parks & Recreation) start out with mediocre reviews and then suddenly start getting rave reviews. Getting things off the ground often takes some time.

-- MSA

Mr. Silver Age said:

 

It happens on TV, too. The creators of Cougar Town constantly say they wish they could go back and rename the show, because it's not at all what they started with. Already, the intro to Person of Interest is inaccurate (or at least the implication that Det. Carter is hunting them is). Other shows (Parks & Recreation) start out with mediocre reviews and then suddenly start getting rave reviews. Getting things off the ground often takes some time.

-- MSA

Now the Cougar Town creators are saying they wish they could change the name but they can't because their existing fans (all 12 of them) wouldn't be able to find it and they're not sure a new name would attract new fans.

The creators 'jumping horses in midstream' that you speak of does explain why so many series just fizzled out towards the end of the pre-Flashpoint DCU.

If you are saying they had even less than 6 months to prepare for this once in a lifetime opportunity to present DCs best face to the public, then that doesn't say good things about how they went about it.

But I wasn't thinking about the DCnU specifically when I said that about forst issues. I've just noticed it's a trend now that I've been able to read so many series where the excellent art of the first few issues tapers off to become quite sketchy even by the end of the first trades worth.

the publishing model, tied to the ongoing monthly schedule as it is, has a decline in quality built into it, unless its very well managed. By Steve Wacker. :-)

Figserello said:



ClarkKent_DC said:

I hit the Friends of the Library bookstore, which, wonderfully, has a large and extensive 50-cent bin, and acquired a bunch of The New 52 first issues -- all the ones that debuted on Sept. 14: Batman and Robin, Batwoman; Deathstroke; Demon KnightsFrankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.; Green Lantern, Grifter, Legion Lost; Mister TerrificRed LanternsResurrection ManSuicide SquadSuperboy.


I haven't read them all yet, but I'll offer my impressions after I have.


Looking forward to it Clark.

The thing about first issues though, is that the creators usually have about 6 months to work on them, whereas later issues are churned out within a month. So there is usually a quality differential between 1st issues and subsequent issues.

 

Okay, I'm ready. I lost my first stab at this when my screen froze, so I'll just do this in bits and pieces, mentioning each title I read, in order, starting with: Suicide Squad#1.

 

As noted above (and previously), when I saw it on the stands I thumbed through it and put it down after a few pages. How I wish I had stuck to that assessment. It was straight-up torture porn. Here's a far more extensive put down than I have the energy to muster: "How Dumb Is Suicide Squad #1? SO DUMB" 

 

And I didn't twig to the ending the way Cap did -- that is, the mastermind behind it all was Amanda Waller -- but the bigger "surprise" is that she no longer looks like The Wall we all know and love to hate. Now she looks like Angela Bassett, with a bigger bust and a penchant for lacy bras. Now, I love Angela Bassett as much as the next guy ... maybe twice as much ... but this is a misstep.

I learned recently that the "Suicide Squad" name was used pre-DC in a pulp series. This was by Emile C. Tepperman, and was about a trio of G-men rather than a military unit. It appeared in Ace G-Man.

Here's a cover with them.

I read Justice League #6 last night. Thus finishing the origin arc of the JL in the DCnU. I'll still stand by that this was a solid action story with good character moments. However the last chapter was a bit rushed, more than usual. The art is solid though. Also there was a back up story starting right after this story, about two guys talking and deciding to be supervillains to counteract the rise of superheroes. It takes place in the rain and it's dark so you don't know who they are other than one of them is wearing a skull button on his coat. The rest of the backup takes place in current day with the hooded lady (Pandora) and the Phantom Stranger. The art for the back up is excellent. I dont' know who the artist is off hand though.

about two guys talking and deciding to be supervillains to counteract the rise of superheroes

Wait, what? I haven't gotten my copy yet, so I'll have to see how this goes, but shouldn't that be the other way around? "There's a lot of super-powered crime, so we should use our new powers to combat it?" 

How do guys get together and say, "There are way to many people doing good things with extraordinary powers. We should use our powers to cause chaos, to counteract their goodness!"

I can see that evil guys with special powers are drawn to commit crimes in cities with super-heroes, to show them up and challenge themselves (although after getting caught a dozen times, I might move on anyway). So in that way, Batman could draw weirdness to Gotham. But it seems to be a pretty weak rationale for a character to be based on needed to "counteract" the goodness of Superman and the JLA.

-- MSA

I guess I should have put SPOILER before posting that. It was just one page so there's not a whole lot to take in. It's nicely drawn. I'm attempting to scan a page at post it. I was not entirely correct in my description. One guy talks about heroes popping up and says the public calls them "super heroes" the other says "I guess they'll call us super villains"

The scan didn't work. I'll try later. The page in question is part of the lead story. I was mistaken when i said it was part of the back up.

Next up: Grifter #1.

The cover shows our protagonist -- I can't call him a "hero" -- falling from a tall building, firing pistols back up toward whoever or whatever made him fall.

Crack open the cover, and we begin in confusion: A caption over a panel of running feet tells us we're in New Orleans, at Louis Armstrong International Airport, but the next panel shows us inside an airplane. A dazed blonde man pushes aside other passengers and takes a seat. There's more of that confusing colored caption stuff, but we see that our man is beset by a demon who jumps from body to body. One pulls a foot-long spike from under the skin of her forearm; our man kills her by jabbing it through her left eye, in extreme closeup.

Our man grabs a small bottle and pretends it's a detonator and orders a flight attendant to open the door so he can jump out, never mind that the plane is taking off. The flight attendant gets possessed by the demon and tackles our man and they both go hurtling through the open door.

There's a flashback, and we learn that our man -- Christopher Argent -- has been hired to procure some kind of item. After delivery, the buyer crows over the fact that he paid with counterfeit money ... but is angered to find Argent delivered several decks of cards instead of the actual McGuffin. We learn that Argent was captured for some reason, and escaped, bludgeoning a man to death on the way out. We learn he has a brother who is an Army officer -- an Army officer who has facial hair, which isn't allowed in this man's Army, not that we can expect documentary accuracy from comic books -- and that said Army officer's commanding officer doesn't want to be embarrassed by Argent's criminal history and trail of dead bodies. We learn that Argent has a partner in crime who is worried about him.

What we don't learn is why we should care about any of this.

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