Daily Archives: September 12, 2011

A New 52 Review: Batwing #1

Batwing #1
“The Cradle of Civilization”
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist/Cover artist: Ben Oliver
Colors: Brian Reber
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

One of DC’s stated goals with its New 52 relaunch initiative was to bring more diversity to its comics, to appeal to a wider audience. As such, a few titles featuring title characters of color were included in the New 52, and this is one of them. Batwing struck me as a surprising choice, unlike such characters as Mr. Terrific and Static Shock. Batwing has next to no history. He’s had maybe one or two previous appearances, as far as I know, as part of Grant Morrison’s “Batman Inc.” concept. I really didn’t know what to expect from this new book, but I did know it’s been some time since I was into Judd Winick’s super-hero writing. With this project, though, he delivers not only a solid introduction to an essentially new character but an intriguing mystery as well. Ben Oliver has had some exposure as of late on such projects as Alpha Flight and Flashpoint: Hal Jordan, but here, he demonstrates he’s developing as a comic artist quickly. This is the best work I’ve seen from him to date.

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A New 52 Review: O.M.A.C. #1

O.M.A.C. #1
“Office Management Amid Chaos”
Writers: Keith Giffen & Dan DiDio
Pencils: Giffen
Inks: Scott Koblish
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover artists: Giffen & Koblish
Editor: Harvey Richards
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

This entry in the New 52 has been the object of some scorn and derision as a result of co-publisher Dan DiDio’s involvement as the series’ co-writer. I have to be honest: until I decided to do my New 52 Review Project, covering all 52 first issues, I had planned on passing on this title. After reading it, I’m pleased I didn’t. DiDio and Keith Giffen have crafted a love letter to the legendary Jack Kirby, who created the O.M.A.C. concept in the 1970s. This marks an interesting updating of the property, with a likeable, grounded protagonist and supporting cast. The creators also provide a strong, overt link to another Kirby creation, the Fourth World/New Gods, which have been out of commission since an ill-advised “Death of the New Gods” storyline from a few years ago. Fans of Giffen’s art style and of Kirby’s will love the visuals they’ll find here, and the brilliant, energetic colors bring a modern appeal to the old-school style in the line art. This was a fun read, nothing too heavy, but intriguing enough to get me to check out another issue. I think O.M.A.C. will surprise a few people.

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A New 52 Review: Animal Man #1

Animal Man #1
“The Hunt, Part One: Warning From the Red”
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Pencils/Cover artist: Travel Foreman
Inks: Foreman & Dan Green
Colors: Lovern Kindzierski
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

I’m still making my way through the first wave of DC’s New 52 comics, but thus far, it’s Animal Man that’s emerged as my favorite of the bunch, as the best-crafted new title. Writer Jeff Lemire crafts a story that challenges the reader, that explores nature through unnatural ideas, but it’s all kept grounded by a convincing cast of characters, relatable people we should all easily be able to recognize in our own lives and in ourselves. Lemire’s story reads like something Alan Moore would’ve written during his tenure on Swamp Thing in the 1980s. Fans of the Vertigo incarnation of Animal Man will find something weird and wonderful here that reminds them of the property’s time as a surreal, mature-readers’ title, and those used to more conventional super-hero fare will discover something new yet familiar at the same time. Lemire’s offbeat yet down-to-earth story is matched perfectly by Travel Foreman’s artwork, which boasts an equally dichotomous tone, capturing the bizarre and grotesque elements as clearly and adeptly as the everyday ones. Animal Man is not to be missed and could like emerge as the critical darling of the entire New 52 line.

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