The New 52 #1

Of the 52 #1s DC released in September, including Justice League of America released in August, I purchased and read 16 of them.  Below, I’ve ranked them from favorite to least favorite, and some overall thoughts.  It should be noted that I did like each of the books I bought and plan on buying the second issue of each of them.  So, just because something is ranked at the bottom of this list, it does not mean that the book is bad.

  1. Batman – written by Scott Snyder, art by Greg Capullo.
  2. Batwoman – written by J. H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman, art by J. H. Williams III.
  3. Action Comics – written by Grant Morrison, art by Rags Morales.
  4. Detective Comics – written by Tony Daniel, art by Tony Daniel.
  5. Aquaman – written by Geoff Johns, art by Ivan Reis.
  6. Demon Knights – written by Paul Cornell, art by Diogenes Neves.
  7. Batman and Robin – written by Peter Tomasi, art by Patrick Gleason.
  8. Justice League Dark – written by Peter Miligan, art by Mikel Janin.
  9. The Fury of Firestorm:  The Nuclear Men – written by Gail Simone & Ethan Van Sciver, art by Yildiray Cinar.
  10. Wonder Woman – written by Brian Azzarello, art by Cliff Chiang.
  11. Green Lantern Corps – written by Peter Tomasi, art by Fernando Pasarin.
  12. Green Lantern – written by Geoff Johns, art by Doug Mahnke.
  13. Batgirl – written by Gail Simone, art by Adrian Syaf.
  14. Nightwing – written by Kyle Higgins, art by Eddy Barrows.
  15. Justice League  – written by Geoff Johns, art by Jim Lee.
  16. Superman – written by George Perez, art by Jesus Merino.

Favorite Book
Batman.  The issue opened with a nice action sequence, quickly established the dynamic between Bruce and his sons/ward, outlined Bruce Wayne’s plans for Gotham, and ended on an intriguing cliffhanger.  You can’t really ask for anything more in a relaunch book.  However, Batwoman, Action Comics, and Detective Comics were not far behind.

Least Favorite Book
Superman.  While I may have debated numbers 1-15, it was never a question about what would be last.  I’m not exactly certain what it was, but the book just wasn’t that entertaining to read.  And no, it has nothing to do with the new costume.  Get over it.  My issue may be how the story was told.  The narrative was told as if it was a newspaper article.  Which may be okay to do for a one-shot story in between larger story arcs, but here, it created a very lackluster way to tell the story.  This first issue should grab readers’ attention, and make them want to return.  However, this is one of the three titles that have already announced a new creative team.  Starting with issue #7, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens will be on the title.

Biggest Surprise
Demon Knights and Justice League Dark.  These were the two books that I picked up on a whim, and both ended up in the top half of the rankings.  Both books were similar, in that they each quickly set up a large cast of characters that I’m not entirely familiar with.  However, they quickly got the introductions out of the way, and are moving on to the story.  Unlike the biggest disappointment.

Biggest Disappointment
Justice League of America.  It’s not that the writing or art were bad, it’s just that I wish the book would get past the team building, and move on to some adventure.  We know who’s going to be on the team.  The team picture has been released for quite some time.  Get them all together and doing something, and we can learn how they all meet each other when it’s important for the story.

Best Self-Deprecating Humor
Aquaman.  This issue is full of people asking Aquaman why he’s doing stuff on land when he’s Aquaman, cops being embarrassed because Aquaman stopped the criminals they were chasing, and people questioning why Aquaman was eating at a seafood restaurant.  It was all pretty funny, and unrelated, Ivan Reis might currently be my favorite artist.

Best Book I Wasn’t Going To Buy
Green Lantern Corps.  When I e-mailed my local comics shop owner about what of the New 52 I was going to purchase, Green Lantern Corps wasn’t on the list.  However, it had been on my list previously, and I didn’t think to have it removed.  When I found it in my holds, I felt obligated to buy it and see how it was.  And I’m glad I did.  The story of Guy Gardner and John Stewart trying to have a normal life was nice to read.  It was a good exploration of why superheroes need secret identies.

Was This Really Necessary
Green Lantern.  There is nothing new going on in Green Lantern.  Not a thing.  Well, sure Sinestro is a Green Lantern now and Hal Jordan is not, but that’s not a relaunch thing.  That is a War of the Green Lanterns aftermath thing.  This issue is just what would have been in Green Lantern #68.  Not that that’s a bad thing, it just is an example that the relaunch is exactly all-encompassing.

Best Debut Of A Book Not Written For The Relaunch
Batwoman.  This was an amazing issue.  But this issue was also supposed to come out a very long time ago.  The first few pages of this title were previewed back in November.

Best Use Of The Relaunch
Action Comics.  This is essentially an origin story that doesn’t bother with stuff that hasn’t changed.  We all know that Kal-El was found and raised by the Kents.  It’s not important to go over all of that again.  Instead, Morrison gives us a young Superman that has a bit of a swagger to him, and as revealed by the ending is not up to full strength yet.  (Unable to fly and not more powerful than a locomotive, yet.)

Most Surprising Work For That Writer
Detective Comics.  This issue is unlike anything else I’ve ever read by Tony Daniel.  I’m not sure how his approach to writing this issue was different than his run on Batman, but he should keep doing it.

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