Daily Archives: September 22, 2011

A New 52 Review: Catwoman #1

Catwoman #1
“… And Most of the Costumes Stay On …”
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist/Cover artist: Guillem March
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Sal Cipirano
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

Boy, this comic book is covered all in kinds of wrong sauce, and by the end of the book, other kinds of “sauces” as well, it would seem. But then again, it’s exactly the kind of comic book the cover image suggests. No, scratch that — it’s far worse and dirtier than the cover would suggest.

This entry in the New 52 relaunch initiative and Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (also released this week) have been the focus of a great deal of criticism for their gratuitous visuals and oversexualization of their female protagonists, and the negative reaction is well deserved. It seems to me Winick started out trying to tell a story about an emotionally scarred woman who’s decided to maintain an illusion of control by refusing to allow anything to get to her, but the end result is something quite different. This book is about sex, nothing else, and not in a loving, healthy way or emotionally dramatic way. It’s about teasing and titillating an immature audience receptive to this sort of thing. Honestly, after reading this comic book, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a blurb on the cover indicating it was produced by the same “creative” minds that are churning porn parodies of super-hero fare and other genre fiction.

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A New 52 Review: Captain Atom #1

Captain Atom #1
“Evolution of the Species”
Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Freddie Williams II
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover artist: Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

Though created and published under the Charlton Comics banner in the 1960s, the Captain Atom property really came into its own in the 1980s with the launch of the Cary Bates-written and Pat Broderick-illustrated series of the same name from DC Comics. Bates was really ahead of his time, crafting a hero stuck in a world he doesn’t recognize and being manipulated by the military industrial complex, and the shiny, sleek redesign offered up by Broderick was quite eye-catching. With this relaunch writer J.T. Krul and artist Freddie Williams II have taken a number of cues from the Bates/Broderick interpretation of the character, but they’re also made it their own as well. This is definitely a new and different Captain Atom, but I don’t know it means it’s an improved interpretation of the character. DC really hasn’t known what to do with the title character since it did an about-face with its plan to turn him into the villain Monarch in 1991 (the secret slipped out, and DC quickly revised its “Armageddon 2001” story to make Hawk the surprise bad guy), and it still doesn’t seem as though the publisher has found any other label for Captain Atom other than “generic super-hero.”

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A New 52 Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
“I Fought the Law and Kicked Its Butt!”
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist/Cover artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Colors: Blond
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

I originally wasn’t looking forward to this comic book at all, but after reading another Scott Lobdell-penned New 52 title last week, I thought there might be a chance he’d do something worthwhile and unusual with these anti-hero characters as he did in Superboy. It turns out my first instinct was right. Lobdell delivers a low-brow, insulting and misogynist plot and script that continue to sink to lower and lower levels from page to page. There’s no logical reason provided for these characters to be connected to one another, and if that weren’t bad enough, Lobdell comes up with a new element for Red Hood’s history that isn’t at all in keeping with the tone, attitude and goals of the character. The art has its strong moments, but it’s marred by a gratuitous focus on the physical attributes of Starfire and a couple of confusing sequences later in the issue. Honestly, I have no idea why DC opted to make this comic book save for the fact it had to fill one of its 52 slots for its relaunch initiative. This comic ought to come polybagged with body wash and a loufa.

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