Daily Archives: September 28, 2011

A New 52 Review: Teen Titans #1

Teen Titans #1
“Teen Spirit”
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Brett Booth
Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover artists: Booth & Rapmund
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

This first issue was one of a few in the New 52 lineup that was much maligned online in advance of its release, mainly because the iconic teen characters were altered not only visually but conceptually, according to early promotional material. It seems DC has opted to eradicate a lot of Titans history to allow for Lobdell’s vision of a team of young heroes defending itself and the world against a mysterious and malevolent government or corporate agency. I was put off by early indications as well, but after reading Lobdell’s story in Superboy #1, I decided I needed to be more open-minded about his Titans effort. Well, there’s definitely something interesting about his premise, but it’s just not one that works in the larger scheme of the DC Universe. Adding to the off-putting quality instilled by those continuity challenges is Brett Booth’s exaggerated artwork, which distracts the reader rather than dazzles with his bizarre distortions of human anatomy.

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A New 52 Review: Fury of the Firestorms: The Nuclear Men #1

Fury of the Firestorms: The Nuclear Men #1
“God Particle”
Writers: Gail Simone & Ethan Van Sciver
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover artist: Van Sciver
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

There are two main reasons this comic book is worth reading. The first, and the most obvious, is how DC and the creators on this book have shaken up the property. They’ve shown a willingness to alter Firestorm’s status quo considerably, and that’s just not something one sees in corporate super-hero comics much these days. Secondly, and more importantly, the conflict between the two main characters is compelling. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are opposites in almost every conceivable way, but both are well-realized, believable characters. It’s easy to see oneself not only in either one of them, but in both. There are a couple of awkward or unfortunate choices in the plotting, but overall, this is a fun super-hero concept that also feels new. And any kind of freshness of innovation in this decades-old genre is something to be excited about. While the story has something new to offer to readers, the art doesn’t. Mind you, that doesn’t mean it’s poor. Yildiray Cinar’s work tells the story clearly, but it never really comes off as much more than a standard super-hero art style.

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A Frank Discussion

Holy Terror original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Frank Miller
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: Legendary Comics
Price: $29.99 US

Frank Miller is one of those rare talents from the world of comics whose name has managed to pierce the invisible wall of awareness between those with an interest in the medium and the larger pop-culture consciousness of mainstream society. And it’s not just due to the faithful film adaptations of projects such as Sin City and 300. The Dark Knight Returns was a work of such importance in the 1980s and has had such a vibrant, healthy life in print in the years since its original publication that people who don’t read comics have actually read it. I’d guess more people know who Frank Miller is than, say, Jack Kirby or Will Eisner (don’t ask me for supporting evidence — it’s pure supposition on my part). Given his profile and his past penchant for crafting benchmark works in the medium, whenever Miller delivers a new project, people in the industry pay attention. Holy Terror‘s origins as a Batman-versus-al Qaeda story shines through here, but freeing the story from the corporately owned intellectual property has allowed Miller to explore more than the notion of terrorism in the 21st century. He’s also able to sound off on super-hero genre archetypes, and honestly, that’s the more interesting aspect of this book.

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