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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Next up: Resurrection Man #1.

The story begins with our protagonist -- the jury's out on whether he can be called a "hero" -- reviving on a slab at a morgue one stormy night. Oddly, he has the ability to revive from death. He also gains a new superpower -- this time, magnetism -- and a sense that there's a mission he must fulfill.

So, after stealing some clothes and cash from the locker room at the morgue, he heads to the airport to take a flight to Portland. On board the plane, he is attacked by a demon, come to collect his wayward soul. During the fight, he tackles the demon and they both go hurtling through the open door. (S'funny, I could swear I just read something like that in another comic ... )

Unfortunately, the fight goes badly outside. Using his new magnetic powers attracts a bolt of lightning that kills the demon, but it also causes him to fall off the plane and get sucked into the engine, thus causing the plane to crash. A half-hour later, he revives at the crash site, remorseful about all those deaths -- but with a new power and a new mission. He still has those demons tracking him, however. 

I actually was somewhat intrigued by this one. We got more of a sense of why we should be on this guy's side, unlike Grifter, and the art was similar to Steve Bissette. 

Next up: Legion Lost #1.

This story begins at breakneck speed (although, fortunately, unlike most of the other comics in this batch, there aren't any broken necks). A Legion time bubble emerges in contemporary America, in Minnesota. The seven Legionnaires aboard -- including Tyroc, Timber Wolf, Dawnstar, Wildfire, Tellus, Gates and Yera, a Durlan -- are in pursuit of an angry terrorist named Alastor bearing a pathogen with which he intends to damage the past. 

However, their equipment is malfunctioning -- something about the way they jumped through time at the last minute because of helping people with an emergency on the ground damaged the time bubble. And their flight rings don't work. And the filters in their uniforms are on the fritz, with the result that the less-than-pristine Earth environment is making some of them ill. The Durlan can't hold her form, and Dawnstar says "accessing the sensory patterns of this time period without the transuit filter is like trying to see, hear and talk while inside a pool of mud."

Hothead Timber Wolf goes after their quarry while the others repair the time bubble, using parts cobbled from the time bubble used by the guy they were chasing in the first place. Said guy is on a rampage in a nearby small town, but stays his hand when a cute little girl pleads for her missing sister, and soon faints from exhaustion. The Legionnaires collect Alastor, restrain him, and head back through time, but the time bubble acts up again, and our terrorist tries to escape by building up pressure for a blast, and Tellus tries to contain the blast and Gates tries to teleport him away, and they crash land and --

... only five of the eight people aboard come out.

Yera is dead for sure. Gates and the terrorist may or may not have escaped through Gates' portal before the explosion; the rest don't know and can't tell.

This was kind of intriguing. I liked the notion that all their high-tech futuristic equipment, for once, wasn't working perfectly. And the art was pretty decent. And I liked the bit where Wildfire, while making repairs, asks an obvious question: Wouldn't it have been nice, since they're time traveling and all, to show up three days or so before the guy they're chasing so they can take their time about catching him?

However, I could follow the story only because I'm a longtime comics reader with a passing familiarity with The Legion of Super Heroes; I think it would be impossible to follow coming in totally cold. 

I've not read an issue of either, but this is the second Resurrection Man series. The first was also written by Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett, had art by Butch Guice, and lasted 28 issues. It appeared at the end of the 90s.

Next up: Batwoman #1.

Definitely not an origin issue. As noted above and elsewhere, they didn't really reboot the Batman family titles, so this is a continuation of what went on before ... a book I wasn't reading and am not about to start now. It's well done enough; J.H. Williams is a marvelous artist, and it's one of the rare books that presents a mood that is distinct and unique to the time and place being shown. It's just that I'm a -- how did Cap put it? -- Crochety Old Fart Fanboy, so the Kate Kane here isn't the Kathy Kane I grew up with, and so holds no interest for me.

Has anybody read Legion of Super-Heroes: Secret Origin by Paul Levitz? That's a New 52 miniseries, yes? Is it worth getting?

I have and have been enjoying it immensely, moreso than the two "current" Legion books. We see the Legionnaires as they are starting without the experience and still deciding what the Legion will really. This is how every DCnU title should have began, not with the readers wondering what did or did not happen.
 
Captain Comics said:

Has anybody read Legion of Super-Heroes: Secret Origin by Paul Levitz? That's a New 52 miniseries, yes? Is it worth getting?



Philip Portelli said:

I have and have been enjoying it immensely, moreso than the two "current" Legion books. We see the Legionnaires as they are starting without the experience and still deciding what the Legion will really. This is how every DCnU title should have began, not with the readers wondering what did or did not happen.

Captain Comics said:

Has anybody read Legion of Super-Heroes: Secret Origin by Paul Levitz? That's a New 52 miniseries, yes? Is it worth getting?

OK, you've sold me. It seems only proper that if I should later get LSH or Legion Lost, that I should have The New 52 origin under my belt. (Even if, as I assume, it's an awful lot like the pre-New 52 origin!)

How about the Penguin miniseries? Or the Shade miniseries? Anyone reading those?

Shade is terrific; Robinson is really on form with this one. Issue 4, with art by Darwyn Cooke, is my favorite so far, naturally. Although I haven't managed to read issue 5 yet, so who knows?

Shade 5 was terrific. The story stays at its consistent strength, and the art by Javier Pulido is gorgeous.

Others have recommended Shade, but I'll go ahead and toss my vote for it as well.

I read the Penguin mini. Good art hurt by too dark of coloring. I liked the story well enough. I wouldn't consider it a must read though.

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice: For the entire time that I've been reading comics, the various creators have been trying to reinvent the Bold Bird of Banditry with various success, from a silly man with an umbrella to a genteel crimeboss to the secret power behind a destroyed Gotham to Tim Burton's freak.

With this one, there's nothing quaint or harmless about him. He is a vengeful, murderous, bitter man with a cruelness forged from lonliness and torment. No one's laughing now!

Next up: Batman and Robin #1.

Most definitely NOT an origin issue. As noted above and elsewhere, they didn't reboot the Batman family of titles, I suppose figuring, if it ain't broke, don't fix it -- although, when you're doing an alleged line-wide reboot, you should really seriously question whether everything is or ain't broke. 

In any case, though, this book is merely a continuation of what came before, and is appealing to the extent that you want to continue to read about Batman as a former absentee father trying to connect with a disdainful, bratty, smartmouthed son. Fortunately, Alfred is as droll as ever; when Batman upbraids Robin for his disrepectful attitude about Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the boy says they're "just names and dusty frames on the walls to me," Alfred replies, "I take exception to that. There's not a speck of dust collecting on those portraits."

Mr. Silver Age notes above that "Jim Shooter famously says that each comic should be written as if it is someone's first issue." I don't know if that's a workable or even desirable goal. On the other hand, I don't think it's too much to ask that the first issue of a new series be written as if it is someone's first issue. On that score, Batman and Robin utterly fails. It is written, as Mr. Silver Age notes, "as if we have read every other comic and offshoot and epic event and minor mini-series written in the past five years, so there's no reason to explain anything."

There is a bit of overdue character development for Bruce; he takes the boy out on what he declares will be his last pilgrimage to Crime Alley on the anniversary of his parents' deaths: "It's not how they died that should be remembered, but how they lived." Henceforth, he's honoring their wedding anniversary, instead.

This (almost) makes up for the mention, on the prior page, that all the locks and passwords in the Batcave are set to 10:48, that being the time of night when the Wayne murders occurred. You would think if anybody would know not to use the same password for everything, it would be Batman! 

And, oh, yeah -- the book ends with the villain dunking two bound and gagged men into a bathtub full of acid. Count me out.

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