Alas! The moment I have finally been waiting for. After two weeks of staring out windows each day to see what the mailman had brought me, I finally get my comics that everyone else has been reading for the past two weeks. Apparently they don’t understand how little I like to wait for these things… I was born two weeks early after all. Oh well, what’s important is that they have finally arrived, so time to dive in!
This weeks round-up includes Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #1, Batgirl #1, and Green Arrow #1.
Everyone who claims to be a comic fan knows the iconic image of Superman on the original #1 issue of Action Comics from 1938. In a time of war, Superman was a bright light fighting for the people who could not fight for themselves, and the new Action Comics #1 pays homage to this historic Man of Steel.
As silly as the new costume may seem to many, me included, the jeans and brown work boots that Superman dons along with his red cape and symbol-emblazoned shirt do have a meaning of their own. You see, this Superman is still an idyllic believer in the goodness of the world and fights crime with a smile on his face, fighting for the little guy who cannot defend himself against the types of villains Superman stood up against in decades past: “…I used illegal cheap labor… no safety standards… I bribed city officials…” Tsk tsk tsk… The lines he spouts off himself are equally laughable in their dated feel, referring to himself as “someone who still believes the law works the same for rich and poor alike” and says: “You know the deal, Metropolis. Treat people right or expect a visit from me,” but this is to be expected from the most famous Boy Scout.
Seeing as Superman has only been around in Metropolis for 6 months in this incarnation, he still has a lot to learn. In concern to powers, he doesn’t seem to know how to fly yet, or land softly for that matter (poor street needs some potholes filled thanks to Supes). But more importantly, I think he is probably going to learn a lot about humanity soon enough. Sure those he saved during this issue stood between him and the police / military (the military being a group he would never fight when he was first written), but I am talking more on an ideology crushing level. He doesn’t have to go dark like Batman, and I would never expect him to lose hope in humanity, but we left the American Dream back in the 50s.
As for villains, besides the armed forced fighting against Superman, who they refer to as a creature, “it,” or even a monster, the one big name here is Lex Luthor. As the name that goes hand-in-hand with Superman, it is great to see Luthor (as well as Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane). Plus he is more than a mustache twirler, having beliefs that are understandable in his argument that Superman is like an alien creature being introduced into a foreign ecosystem, off-setting the balance in a irreparable sort of way. Though I don’t agree with him as a Superman lover, you can’t argue against his facts.
With Action Comics starting off with the well-known image of Superman in terms of character, I cannot wait to see where they choose to take him. Plus, the last image showing a superhero that isn’t the perfect, indestructible being we have come to know, and I cannot wait to see what issue 2 brings.
Where Action Comics #1 starts in a low-key manner, Tony S. Daniel (who gets 2 gold stars for writing and drawing) goes for gold with Detective Comics #1 by including their moneymaker, The Joker, who is as sick in the head as he ever was. With everyone always bringing up Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Night, it is safe to say this was a wise choice to bring new readers to this title of DC’s New 52.
Granted he isn’t the only villain. There is a man who could easily be featured in Silence of the Lambs for the mask he wears on his face, and the final panels introduces another name that I will keep a secret, along with what he does in the final panel. It is ridiculous, in a jaw-dropping sort of way.
Other staples are in the mix, from Commissioner Gordon to Dr. Arkham to Alfred, who mentions: “My better judgment calls for you to she a certain cat. But one problem at a time then, Master Bruce.” Only one cat I can think of who Alfred would be referring to, so I cannot wait for her to come to play.
But even without her and the complicated relationship she brings along with her, Wayne is doing his classic job-before-women thing pretty efficiently all on his own. A Miss Rivers is mentioned, and though she is important enough to get a name, it is simply a question as to how long she is willing to play second string to a cape and cowl nightlife. My guess is not long enough to be drawn into the pages of the comic.
Though Batman’s “I am Gotham” and “I am Batman” way of speaking/thinking is a little narcissistic in an “I am going to scrunch my nose up at you” sort of way, it’s hard not to get excited about these characters and what is ahead for them in issues to come.
The thing about Batgirl is that she has some big shoes to fill when she dons that symbol. The place she seemed to want to start was talking the talk. Let’s just get a little sample: “There you are, you rotten Monsters. Found you, didn’t I? Oh, yes, I did, babies. How sad for you.” Who talks like that!? When she is wearing the suit she sometimes talks like an idiot, saying things like this. However, I am going to choose to give writer Gail Simone a little more credit since I don’t really know her work that well and assume this is a character choice.
You see, for three years Barbara Gordon was confined to a chair after getting a bullet to the spinal column, so if this dialog was a character choice, then it speaks volumes. Simply put, she is giving herself a pep-talk of sorts, talking this big game to psych herself up into what she has to do. So yes, at times she might sound stupid, but the fact is she has some residual fears because of what she has gone through. She is only human, and when she talks more like one this dichotomy can be appreciated.
Another thing that can be appreciated is a kick-A villain. His name is The Mirror and he’s awesome! Ok, so he punched a woman in the face. That’s bad… And he is going around killing people who survived events when they should have died… And other people that get in his way, like cops… Ok, another thing that is bad. I am not explaining this well… Point is he is interesting; far more interesting than a common thug. Plus, with Barbara Gordon being a person who fits the list, it should be interesting when he comes for her.
Of these four, Green Arrow is definitely the one I know least about. All I know is what I learned by watching Smallville, and that doesn’t really count since Oliver Queen was just a part of Clark Kent’s world.
Unfortunately I have to say that for an intro into this title, Green Arrow #1 didn’t really draw me in. The action wasn’t all that exciting, and the characters and villains aren’t memorable, especially comparing it to the other 3 characters written above. I would say that it was because I have a history and knowledge base for Batman and Superman, but Batgirl was still able to create something exciting that I cannot wait to see what happens next, while Green Arrow just rested at a low simmer, if that.
Sad, but this is all I really have to say on this one. The cover art by Dave Wilkins is by far the best part of the issue, but unfortunately this is not enough for me to continue reading when there are so many other comics peaking my interest out there.