Daily Archives: September 14, 2011

A New 52 Review: Suicide Squad #1

Suicide Squad #1
“Kicked in the Teeth”
Writer: Adam Glass
Pencils: Federico Dallocchio & Ransom Getty
Inks: Dallocchio & Scott Hanna
Colors: Val Staples
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover artist: Ryan Benjamin
Editor: Pat McCallum
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

This issue opens with repeated depictions of torture, and not super-hero genre torture. Rats, torches, jumper cables, cattle prods… it’s an ugly scene. Sure, those being subjected to the torture are villains, but it’s an ugly, distasteful scene, and I wonder if it’ll turn off some readers who are giving DC a first or renewed look given the popularity of its New 52 initiative.

That being said, I liked this first issue. Even the torture stuff. Despite the rating of T+ on the cover, this is a comic book for adults, and it’s for adults with specific tastes. I enjoy dark storytelling from time to time. I think delving into the dark side of humanity through pop culture is just as important as heartening, bright and funny entertainment. The dirty deeds that unfold in this comic book are the sort of thing one might find on TV on such shows as Criminal Minds, 24, and some HBO or AMC dramas, so I don’t think it crosses the line. Furthermore, while the cover art is more cartoony than what one will find inside the comic, it doesn’t mislead the consumer as to what sort of story he or she can expect. But the torture isn’t what made this an interesting read for me. Instead, it was Glass’ initial examination of some broken characters, about bad people who are the way they are for a reason.

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A New 52 Review: Green Lantern #1

Variant coverGreen Lantern #1
“Sinestro, Part One”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy & Tom Nguyen
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover artists: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado (regular)/Greg Capullo (variant)
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

When the previous incarnation of this series wrapped up with the revelation that Sinestro would be filling the title role and not Hal Jordan, I was excited to see what came next. While I’m not so naive to think this is a permanent shake-up in the property’s status quo, casting the villain the role of the title hero is a novel idea. The story picks up where it left off a couple of months ago, so this isn’t the most accessible of the New 52 comics, but it’s not impenetrable for new readers either. What makes this first issue so interesting and compelling is its focus on characterization, and not just on Sinestro. Hal Jordan is still going strong, and his story arc helps to bring the cosmic action and conflict of the Green Lantern Corps down to earth. If that weren’t enough, this issue features some of the strongest, crispest art we’ve seen from Doug Mahnke is some time. Green Lantern is still clearly a labor of love for Geoff Johns, and given the strength of this issue, I have no doubt this title will remain one of the publisher’s top sellers.

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A New 52 Review: Static Shock #1

Static Shock #1
Writers: Scott McDaniel & John Rozum
Pencils/Cover artist: Scott McDaniel
Inks: Jonathan Glapion & Le Beau Underwood
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Harvey Richards
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

The other day, I got to thinking, and it occurred to me that in some ways, Static is a lot of Aquaman. Yes, Aquaman. (Stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this.)

Both characters have been featured prominently in cartoons and as such have penetrated the pop-culture consciousness beyond the world of comics. With Aquaman, it was in the various Super Friends cartoons. With Static, it was in his own well-received show, Static Shock (from which subsequent comic series derived their titles). That recognizability factor is fairly rare for comics characters, so it stands to reason these characters ought to be mainstays of the medium that spawned them. But titles featuring the two heroes have had limited success, and I’m there are critics out there who feel they can’t sustain an audience’s interest for all that long. DC’s New 52 initiative is giving both properties another shot, and given the popularity of the program among comic-shop customers (at least in an immediate sense), maybe this will be the time things click for Static. But honestly, after reading this first issue, I doubt it. It’s a solid super-hero book, but it treats its title character like any number of other similar characters. This was a fun read, but it didn’t feel special or particularly unique.

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