Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

DCnU – Pass or Pull (Part One)

I placed my order for September earlier today and as most of you know the DCU is being streamlined and relaunched with new # 1 issues and so I thought I’d put up this handy guide to what I think is worth getting and what I think you should stay away from at all costs. Keep in mind that some of the things I say you should pass on I may have actually bought because I’m an asshole like that.

Action Comics # 1
Grant Morrison & Rags Morales

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

I believe that renumbering Action Comics is just plain stupid. When you reach 900 issues and then decide to drop back to #1 for a sales gimmick, you do a disservice to the legacy of that brand. Action Comics is a major brand to pull this with. Some titles have been relaunched so many times the numbering means next to nothing. Marvel has proven this with enough Daredevil and Punisher volumes to choke a whale, but Action Comics is the progenitor. That alone would be enough to make me not want to continue with the title. But Grant Morrison, he of All Star Superman glory, is enough to make me overlook the cheap gimmick of the relaunch and hope that a good story can come out of it.

Final Verdict : PULL

All-Star Western # 1
Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti

Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!

I may be biased because I’ve been reading Jonah Hex for a damned long time and have championed it as one of the best books flying under the radar at DC for just as long, but this is one that I wouldn’t advise to pass up. Clearly they’re trying to push Jonah Hex with more of their readers by tying him to Gotham’s past, and the attempt on the part of the publisher to give Jonah more life on the monthly market is more than admirable. I’m not sure if I’ll care for the change in direction when compared to the current title, but Palmiotti and Gray rarely disappoint and I hope this one is one of the standouts in September.

Final Verdict : PULL

Animal Man # 1
Jeff Lemire & Travel Foreman

Buddy Baker has gone from ‘super’ man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).

Make no mistake about it, Jeff Lemire is one hell of a talent. Sweet Tooth is one of the most consistently  intriguing books in the Vertigo line and his work on Superboy was admirable as well. Here he takes the reigns of one of the most interesting heroes DC has to offer. Could his work live up to the legacy laid down by Grant Morrison all those years ago? If anybody could do it, Lemire would be one of them.

Final Verdict : PULL

Aquaman # 1
Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis

The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths! Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges? The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!

This one is worth watching. Johns usually does a great job re-introducing characters in a new series and only later does he get bogged down by his own Johnsiness. He did a great job with Green Lantern and Booster Gold, and a serviceable job with The Flash. Will Aquaman have that same flair? I hope so. Because I FUCKING love Aquaman. I hope this one is a hit. Not based off of anything other than my love for the character.

Final Verdict : PULL

Batgirl # 1
Gail Simone & Ardian Syaf

Yes, it’s really happening! Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!

Here’s where the controversy starts to hit. People have a strong reaction to Barbara Gordon. She’s seemingly become the rallying point for a good portion of the comic reading public as an example of how a character can evolve into something meaningful as a result of circumstance. A good number of people have lashed out at the idea of her becoming Batgirl once again because of how important she was as a role model for the disabled. I admit that I love the Oracle character and am not sure how well this one will stick the landing. The only reason I’m giving it hope is because Gail Simone writes Babs better than just about anyone, so she deserves the benefit of the doubt here.

Final Verdict : PULL

Batman # 1
Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.

This one immediately gets recommended based off of the strength of Snyder’s recent work on Detective, which is some of the best Bat-work DC has published in recent memory. Putting him on the main Batman title is an excellent idea and I would be fully behind it if they hadn’t pulled the reboot switch. I trust Snyder to do something interesting here but I can’t help but think it may have been more interesting if not tangled in the hype of DC’s relaunch stunt.

Final Verdict : PULL

Batman & Robin # 1
Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason

Battling evil with his son, Damian, at his side, Batman now realizes that the hardest part of the job may be trying to work together! As Batman and Robin try to adjust to their new partnership, a figure emerges from Bruce Wayne’s past: His name is NoBody, and he’s not happy that Batman Incorporated is shining a light on his own shadowy war against evil?

Tomasi can be hit or miss. Most of what he’s done recently has been bordering on the mundane and hasn’t spoken to me personally. Nothing in the solicit here gives me any indication that the book will be anything other than run of the mill, and while I like that it’s playing off of the Batman Inc. storyline the relaunch continuity may make the book a frustrating read.

Final Verdict : PASS

Batman : The Dark Knight # 1
David Finch & Richard Friend

The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly – yet strangely familiar – foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, ACTION COMICS)! As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!

The first volume was a failure plagued with delays and disappointments. This promises to be more of the same. People will buy it based off of Finch’s name like good little fanboys just to have something more to complain about but my gut tells me to stay away and I am going to stick to my convictions this time around.

Final Verdict : PASS

Batwing # 1
Judd Winick & Ben Olvier

Africa, a land of beauty – and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!

In the hands of a stronger writer, this could have been interesting. Morrison might have been able to make something out of this concept but I doubt that we’ll get anything so nuanced out of Winick. I expect this one to be heavy-handed and dull. The only time he feels in his element is when dealing with Jason Todd. Everything else seems to crumble under his direction.

Final Verdict : PASS

Batwoman # 1
JH Williams III & W. Haden

At last! Batwoman’s new series begins, from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman! In ‘Hydrology,’ part 1 of 5, Batwoman faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld – and new trials in her life as Kate Kane. Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her new sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane? And why is a certain government

We’ve been waiting for this one forever and our thoughts have not changed. Based off of the Detective Comics run, this one should not be missed. A definite pull.

Final Verdict : PULL

Birds of Prey # 1
Duane Swiercynski & Jesus Saiz

One is wanted for a murder she didn’t commit. The other is on the run because she knows too much. They are Dinah Laurel Lance and Ev Crawford – a.k.a. Black Canary and Starling – and together, as Gotham City’s covert ops team, they’re taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. But now they’ve attracted the attention of a grizzled newspaper reporter who wants to expose them, as well as a creepy, chameleon-like strike team that’s out to kill them. Don’t miss the start of this hard-hitting new series from mystery novelist/comics writer Duane Swierczynski (Expiration Date, Cable).

Sorry Duane, but this doesn’t sound like Birds of Prey to me and past experience has told me that only Dixon and Simone have ever been able to write the title and not have it fail on multiple levels so I’m going to have to pass on this one.

Final Verdict : PASS

Blackhawks # 1
Mike Costa & Ken Lashley

Welcome to a world waging a new kind of war that’s faster and more brutal than ever before. It’s fought by those who would make the innocent their targets, using computers, smart weapons and laser-guided missiles. The new enemy is hard to find – and closer to home than we think. Between us and them stand the Blackhawks, an elite force of military specialists equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us.

Uh…no. Just no.

Final Verdict : PASS

Blue Beetle # 1
Tony Bedard & IG Guera

It’s not easy being Jaime Reyes. He has to deal with high school, family and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. Also, he’s linked to a powerful scarab created by an alien race known as the Reach who seek to subjugate planets – or annihilate them. It’s up to one teen hero to turn this instrument of destruction into a force for good.

From the interviews I’ve read with Bedard he really seems to understand the character and the things he’s going to be doing with the title look to be like loads of fun. It would be stupid to pass this one up.

Final Verdict : PULL

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And that’s it for part one. Part two should be up sometime tomorrow. Feel free to let us know in the comments which titles you’re dying to read and which titles are making you die a little inside.


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