DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 1

… and a leader board, for those keeping score.

Time poor?  Hate long reviews?  Love lists?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then this one’s for you.  As a 35-year-old dad, with a baby on the way, and two jobs, there are some restrictions on my time.  This article series is for guys like me … and it’s all I got time to do anyway.

As the name suggests, I’ll be providing one sentence reviews of each of the New 52 titles.  Each will be scored out of five and at the end I’m going to have a cumulative leader board (averaging the scores of each title) to show which are consistently excellent, which are on the rise, and which are circling the drain.

Without further ado …

Justice League #1

No actual Justice League as yet, but Batman and Green Lantern team up in a great looking   comic (courtesy of Jim Lee) that has plenty of action, a couple of laughs and a final scene that leaves you wanting more – 3.5

Action Comics #1

Supes as you’ve never seen him before – a young, idealistic hero who is committed to social justice and growing into his powers, in a story that won’t be a slam dunk for all readers (thanks to some clumsy dialogue and a shake-up of the status quo), but at least it’s fresh and packs steady action – 3

Animal Man #1

A more mature offering, this has some intense and disturbing themes and images, with artwork that isn’t overly pretty but nails the tone perfectly, and is the perfect book for readers who are aged closer to 30 than 18 (particularly fathers) – 4.5

Batgirl #1

A fan favourite writer, a beloved character, great artwork and an intriguing villain are a little undermined by the fact that many fans are pissed at the direction this story is taking and that this issue raises a lot of questions – 3.5

Batwing #1

Surprisingly effective artwork and a setting that’s ripe with potential elevate this slightly above average, but it feels like an African “Batman” could tackle something more interesting than what’s on offer in this opening issue – 3

Detective Comics #1

Has all the fan-bait ingredients to hook readers – Batman, Joker, violence and a generous helping of creepiness (especially in the closing scene), but it feels like writer/artist Tony Daniel needs a co-writer to help mitigate his weaknesses as a scribe – 3.5

Green Arrow #1

A perfectly okay comic that just isn’t inspiring enough for a debut issue (it feels more like a mid-season episode of a generic action-themed television show), but notable for a radical restyling of the character that’s highly reminiscent of ‘Smallville’ – 2.5

Hawk and Dove #1

“Can’t all be winners” – so says Hawk and so it is with this issue, which is mostly dumb, fairly ugly (courtesy of Rob Liefeld) and raises a lot of ponderous continuity issues – 1


Justice League International #1

Typically a more playful take on a big team book, JLI is faithfully handled in this comic, which is mostly breezy and entertaining, with only a little bit of corny dialogue and an arguable story misstep (an angry mob and a nonsensical bombing) holding it back – 3

Men of War #1

Probably deserving of a higher score, this is an innovative story about normal soldiers operating in a world that includes superhumans … but I just don’t really dig military stories (so many editorial notes explaining abbreviations and acronyms bug me) and the back-up story was uninspiring – 3

O.M.A.C. #1

The comic I was probably least looking forward to reading was far from the worst published so far, with a fast-paced, action-packed story that sets up some interesting themes about being under someone (or something) else’s control – 3

Static Shock #1

Energetic artwork and a smart, young hero who uses science in combination with his powers (which are refreshingly not inexhaustible) make this a very enjoyable read – reminiscent of good Spider-Man stories – that left me hankering to see what would happen next at the end – 4

Stormwatch #1

With limited knowledge of the Wildstorm Universe, this debut issue confused me, failed to properly introduce me to the characters and what they were trying to do, and made me sad that Martian Manhunter is being made to slum it in this book – 2

Swamp Thing #1

A very strong first issue, with some chilling art and a permeating sense of dread, this comic pulsates with potential even though not that much actually happens in it … it just sets up the story of Alec Holland and his inner struggles very effectively and leaves you hankering for more – 4

LEADER BOARD                 

1.  Animal Man  –  4.5

=2.  Static Shock  –  4

=2.  Swamp Thing  –  4

=4.  Batgirl  –  3.5

=4.  Detective Comics  –  3.5

=4.  Justice League  –  3.5

=7.  Action Comics  3

=7.  Batwing  –  3

=7.  Justice League International  –  3

=7.  Men of War  –  3

=8.  O.M.A.C.  –  3

12.  Green Arrow  –  2.5

13.  Stormwatch  –  2

14.  Hawk and Dove  –  1

More on the New 52


About ikeebear

I'm a 30-something father, husband, writer, comic collector, general nerd (in order of significance). I'm a newspaper journalist/editor by profession and currently work in professional communications. I'm also a very ill-disciplined novel writer, having tinkered for too long to produce too little.

4 thoughts on “DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 1

  1. I had a very negative reaction to Stormwatch. I hope to reread it, though.

    I like to read my comics in full twice and then ‘read’ just the artwork the third time through … although I won’t be reading Hawk and Dove again – one and a half times (the half being for my review) was more than enough.

    • I’ve reread SW, making a fair effort to work out what was going on.

      I was talking to a friend about the Game of Thrones television show and was saying that you are thrust right in the middle of it all and you’re not really sure of who everyone is or their motivations … but that it’s rewarding to learn those things as you go. And by the end, you feel like you’ve really consumed something worthy.

      So, I’m trying to cut SW some slack, hoping for a GoT kind of pay-off.

      Reading SW, I identifed the following characters and assumed some things about them …
      Stormwatch itself is headquarted in hyperspace and apparently secretly protects the world from alien invasions, and has been around in one form or other for a long time.
      Shadow Cabinet – there’s a fleeting reference to SC, which seems to be SW’s bosses (I could have misread that).
      Angie, AKA “The Engineer” – may or may not be an android but regardless seems like the team’s systems coordinator.
      Adam One – he’s old and seemingly very intelligent, and appears to be the leader.
      Jack Hawksmoor – can control cities … whatever the heck that means.
      “The Projectionist” – can read and manipulate the media … whatever the heck that means.
      [I’m not sure how the last two would be that helpful in repelling secret alien invasions, but maybe I’m not open to the full possibilities at this stage.]
      Harry Tanner (who may also go by the name “Swordsman”) – wields energy swords.
      “Martian Manhunter” – who we all mostly know.
      “Apollo” – seems Superman-esuqe and is very powerful.
      Jennifer Quantam, AKA “Jenny Q” – has powers linked to 21st Century physics … whatever the heck that means.
      “Midnighter” – seems Batman-esuqe and somehow knows Martians’ pressure points.

      I thought the moon scenes were cool and the Apollo scenes were a little strange, but not too bad. The references to a “horn” though, completely confused me. I don’t get it … at least not yet.

      I’ll continue to read (I was going to anyway), but I wouldn’t revise my score for the first issue just yet.

  2. The wonderful subjectiveness of reviewing. : )

    I think Men of War was definitely high quality … I just didn’t enjoy it that much personally (especially the back up story).

    I’m hoping the averaged scores will even out some of the subjectivity, at a couple of months.

    I’d love to see a list of your scores.

    • That’s fair.

      I just give each issue what I think it deserves (passed through my own filter of how much I enjoyed it, which is why Men of War doesn’t rate more than Detective Comics even though it’s obviously better crafted) and the rankings are based purely on that.

      It’s all arbitrary, but I think readers appreciate that. It’s just a bit of fun … that said, I hope – over a longer timeline – it will reveal which titles are consistently decent.

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