Daily Archives: September 11, 2011

A New 52 Review: Stormwatch #1

Stormwatch #1
“The Dark Side, Part One”
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist/Cover artist: Miguel Sepulveda
Colors: Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Pat McCallum
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

You never know what you’re going to find from one of these inaugural New 52 titles to the next. Some pick up where DC left off before the relaunch, and others feature complete reboots. Stormwatch falls into the latter category. Still, writer Paul Cornell keeps where the property came from in mind. He’s got an unenviable task, competing against the landmark Stormwatch v.1 run by Warren Ellis and Tom Raney, not to mention the heralded runs on The Authority by Ellis, Bryan Hitch, Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. Cornell certainly captures the spirit of those comics, but some of his efforts to offer an accessible introduction to the retooled concept are clunky. Still, the big ideas that serve as the foundation for the first story arc are worthy of those old Stormwatch/Authority comics, enough to satisfy old fans and more than enough to impress new readers. Miguel Sepulveda is an up-and-coming talent, and this represents the best work I’ve seen from him thus far. He’s not Hitch or Quitely, but he does capture the edgy tone necessary for to make the adventures of these extreme characters and concepts work.

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A New 52 Review: Detective Comics #1

Detective Comics #1
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Tony Salvador Daniel
Inks: Ryan Winn
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

This cog in DC’s New 52 machine has generated a lot of buzz and has a number of readers excited, apparently over the possible alteration of an iconic character’s status quo. It’s much ado about nothing, though, and those who dazzled by what Tony Daniel has done here have been drawn in by a Kewl factor. Everything about this comic book — from the script to the art — is about flash over substance. Daniel doesn’t take any time to delve into characterization. Instead, the writing focuses on gritty, stilted dialogue, and the art borrows liberally from some of the more popular interpretations of the Batman from the past three decades. I’ll give Daniel credit, though. The villain that’s introduced (off-panel) in this issue is intriguing, and I want to learn more about him. But the premise also allows him to indulge in some over-the-top, gratuitous gore that I found off-putting. Though judging from the reported sellouts of the issue in comic shops, I’m in the minority on that point.

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A New 52 Review: Men of War #1

Men of War #1
“Joseph Rock”
Writer: Ivan Brandon
Artist: Tom Derenick
Colors: Matt Wilson

“Navy SEALs: Human Shields, Part 1 of 3”
Writer: Jonathan Vankin
Artist: Phil Winslade
Colors: Thomas Chu

Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover artist: Viktor Kalvachev
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 US

Everyone likes to root for an underdog, and that’s why I had some interest in this title. I admit I’m not the biggest fan of war comics, but I do like the genre when it’s done well. But the reason this comic had my attention was that it’s something of a long shot for DC. While some of the creative teams on the New 52 are doing some unconventional and innovative things with certain DC characters, reviving and updating this war-comic title was a big gamble on the publisher’s part. This comic has a lot going for it: a striking cover image, an iconic name in the history of war comics and a connection to the more popular super-hero properties of the DC Universe. I think the problem with the book — and specifically with the main story — is that I really don’t know what it’s about yet.

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