Daily Archives: September 23, 2011

A New 52 Review: Blue Beetle #1

Blue Beetle #1
“Metamorphosis, Part One”
Writer: Tony Bedard
Pencils: Ig Guara
Inks: Ruy Jose
Colors: Pete Pantazis
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover artists: Tyler Kirkham & Sal Regla
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

Writer Tony Bedard and DC provide an accessible jumping-on point with this property by starting things over, beginning the series with the title character’s origin and introducing his supporting cast. It’s a smart move given the goal of the New 52 line to reach new readers and to get existing ones excited about DC’s characters. There’s just one problem, at least as far as this particular reader is concerned: DC is telling the same story it told in the previous Blue Beetle series, and it didn’t hook me the first time around either. Sure, it’s dressed up the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle origin with a lot more action from the start, but the plot is essentially the same. And while Ig Guara’s art is effective, fun and clear, this story and these characters were brought to life by artist Cully Hamner, and Guara’s not quite up to that level of comic craft yet. Nevertheless, DC made the right move by including the Blue Beetle in its New 52 lineup, given the character’s prominence in mainstream media culture thanks to the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon. I hope it succeeds and draws in new readers, but this series just isn’t for me.

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A New 52 Review: DC Universe Presents #1

DC Universe Presents #1
“Twenty Questions, Part 1”
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colors: Blond
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover artist: Ryan Sook
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

I didn’t expect that.

When DC Comics announced the lineup of titles in its New 52 publishing initiative, there were a few standouts. I knew Batwoman by J.H. Williams III would be gorgeous. I knew Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang would impress with their work on Wonder Woman. And as for DC Universe Presents, well, I knew writer Paul Jenkins and artist Bernard Chang would deliver something good, something entertaining. Little did I know their Deadman would be great, a creative landmark in the property’s long history and perhaps the very best title in the entire New 52 line. Jenkins’ script achieves a wonderful balance between the blue-collar, everyman tone of the hero, and the philosophical and spiritual implications of the divine, mysterious mission with which he’s been tasked in his ghostly afterlife. Chang’s artwork achieves a balance as well, between the bright, colorful traditions of the super-hero genre to which Deadman has been linked for so long, and the haunting and diverse array of humanity that’s such an integral part of this story. It’s possible — given the generic nature of the title of this series, the plan for rotating creative teams and main characters, and Deadman’s status as a C-list character — this title will be overlooked by many. If you’re among them, I urge you to seek out this comic book. You won’t be disappointed.

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