DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 5

It’s time to take on the first round of #2 for the New 52, dishing up one sentence reviews of each ongoing title released this week.  They are scored out of five and at the end I 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.

I also review limited series, like the new Huntress and Penguin minis, but these are not included in the leader board.

Be warned, there could be spoilers ahead (although I try to avoid them).

Animal Man #2
This title, so far, has spoken to me personally … as a dad who wants to do the best for his family and as a professional who hasn’t quite worked out where he wants to go in the future, every page of Animal Man affects me and I don’t know what more I can say but, if any of what I’ve said sounds like you, BUY THIS BOOK – 4.5

.

Swamp Thing #2
A common complaint so far in month two has been “too much exposition” and this issue might have more exposition than any other #2 so far, but it’s really, really good exposition that’s truly compelling (it’s information you WANT to know … you NEED to know) and once it’s delivered the rest of the issue is all business with only a bare minimum of words – 4.5

.

Batwing #2
Hats off to Oliver because the artwork once again leaps off the page and can be rightly described as “cinematic”, complementing a fast-paced story that raises the stakes for Batwing, who bravely (or perhaps foolishly) ignores catastrophic injuries to take on the mass-murdering Massacre – 4

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Action Comics #2
When he is written well, Lex Luthor’s an excellent antagonist, and that’s what Morrison does here – showcasing Lex’s most interesting characteristics as the smug scientist tortures and experiments on Superman, who he thinks of as an “it”, however Morrison’s action is sometimes clunky and I’m not really sure why this comic costs $1 more than others – 4

.

Detective Comics #2
Once again writer/artist Daniel shows he’s adept at crafting a reasonably entertaining plot that hits its marks (especially the final pages) and the artwork is decent, but every so often bits of the story or dialogue become confusing and require re-reading … oh and we get some more sex in this issue which maybe indicates that the apparent trend in month one wasn’t accidental – 3.5

.

Stormwatch #2
With characters being a little more fleshed out and the story being a lot more cohesive and easier to follow, I enjoyed this issue and all the big, crazy ideas (and even the cute, little ones) considerably more this time around – 3.5

.

Static Shock #2
Nowhere near as zippy as #1, this issue dumps exposition in fairly big chunks (in which Virgil inexplicably talks to himself a lot) between two big action scenes, and isn’t as new reader-friendly, with what seems like pointless back story and some weird clone plotline for his sister, but despite all this it’s still an enjoyable read – 3

.

Red Lanterns #2
While I’m not sure if I really like this philosophical, introspective Atrocitus (I most enjoyed the character in Green Lantern v4 #61 and the characterisation in this title differs from that significantly), there is a lot to like in this issue, as the chief Red Lantern learns that some tragedies are more worthy of his rage than others – 3

.

Men of War #2
As with #1, I feel this is a good comic that I should have enjoyed more, but other than the cryptic beginning (which feeds into the big reveal of the issue) and some engaging flashbacks I still didn’t dig the subject matter that much … maybe if they ditched the back-up Navy SEALs story and had a few more pages to let the main story breathe, I would have liked it more – 3

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Penguin – Pain and Prejudice #1 (of 5)
As far as character studies go this is quite a well-written one, full of darkness and bitterness … the only problem is that Penguin isn’t a character I’m particularly interested in and keen to explore – 3

.

Justice League International #2
Everything was going swimmingly – art, plot and characterisation were all on par or superior to what #1 delivered – and then I reached the final page and my feelings towards this issue cooled drastically … I wonder if this villain will be called “Galactos” or “Thanactus”? – 2.5

.

Huntress #1 (of 6)
Unfortunately for Huntress, the existence of Kate Kane’s Batwoman (as well as Barbarba Gordon’s return as Batgirl and even Catwoman’s shift to a more heroic orientation) makes her seem a bit bland and redundant, and there’s nothing in this nice-looking but disappointingly generic issue that overcomes that, rather it makes me question why the character still exists in the New 52 when more significant characters, like Wally West, are currently M.I.A. – 2.5

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O.M.A.C. #2
With pacing not quite as bang-on as in the previous issue, #2 is slightly less capable of overcoming the issues I have with the title – namely that I don’t really care about the characters featured and generally prefer a different kind of comic book – which isn’t to say that it’s bad … just not particularly remarkable – 2.5

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Hawk and Dove #2
Much, much, much more enjoyable than the awful first issue, #2 plays more to the strengths of the creators (including Liefeld) by keeping things simple and introducing some interesting – albeit not very original – villains … but the scenes involving Deadman were extremely irritating – 2.5

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Green Arrow #2
So mediocre it hurts, this issue is not an improvement on the banal opener last month, rather is even worse, with cringe-worthy dialogue and a story I’d expect to see on a TV action series that was cancelled before the end of its first season – 1.5

.

If you haven’t already, check out previous weeks here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Please note, since a title is only as good as its last issue, the books are ranked firstly by their average score (shown in bold), then their most recent score (shown in brackets), and the number of issues is the final number.

LEADER BOARD
=1.  Animal Man  4.5
 (4.5)  2
=1.  Batwoman  4.5
3.  Swamp Thing  4.25  (4.5)  2
=4.  Aquaman  4
=4.  Batman and Robin  4
=4.  Birds of Prey  4
=4.  Green Lantern Corps  4
=4.  Green Lantern – New Guardians  4
=4.  Justice League Dark  4
=4.  Resurrection Man  4
=4.  Wonder Woman  4
=12.  Action Comics  3.5  (4)  2
=12.  Batwing  3.5  (4)  2
=14.  Batgirl  3.5
=14.  Batman  3.5
=14.  Blue Beetle  3.5
=14.  Demon Knights  3.5
=14.  Detective Comics  3.5  (3.5)  2
=14.  Green Lantern  3.5
=14.  I, Vampire  3.5
=14.  Justice League   3.5
=14.  Nightwing  3.5
=14.  Superboy  3.5
=14.  Supergirl  3.5
=14.  The Flash  3.5
26.  Static Shock  3.5  (3)  2
=27.  Blackhawks  3
=27.  Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.  3
=27.  Men of War  3  (3)  2
=27.  Mister Terrific  3
=27.  Suicide Squad  3
=27.  Superman  3
=27.  Teen Titans  3
34.  Stormwatch  2.75  (3.5)  2
=35.  Justice League International  2.75  (2.5)  2
=35.  O.M.A.C.  2.75  (2.5)  2
37.  Red Lanterns  2.5  (3)  2
=38.  All Star Western  2.5
=38.  Captain Atom  2.5
=38.  Deathstroke  2.5
=38.  Legion Lost  2.5
=38.  Voodoo  2.5
=43.  Batman – The Dark Knight  2
=43.  Catwoman  2
=43.  DC Universe Presents  2
=43.  Red Hood and the Outlaws  2
=43.  Savage Hawkman  2
=43.  The Fury of Firestorm  2
49.  Green Arrow  2  (1.5)  2
50.  Hawk and Dove  1.75  (2.5)  2
51.  Legion of Super Heroes  1.5
52.  Grifter   1

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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.

9 thoughts on “DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 5

  1. And here I thought GA #2 was slightly better than the first. I loved Men of War again and thought you should toss it up higher. Action Comics I think has slightly more pages and is why it costs more (at least the first issue hat 8 more pages than most). Huntress I didn’t think was great, but would have tossed up a bit higher (I was really hoping we’d see her actually kill some people too though to help set her apart of others).

    • I loathed GA #2 for its mediocrity. Having been a fan of the character, it hurts to see him squandered this way.

      I accept that Men of War is probably better than I give it credit for (I’ve said as much in both reviews for it), but it just doesn’t interest me enough to attract a higher score. I really think the back-up story is hurting the title for me.

      Huntress #1 didn’t feel like a comic that mattered to me. That’s something I’ve pondered on a lot lately, having gone through my old comics. So many books that I’d never bother to open the bags for and look at again because the stories weren’t particularly interesting and weren’t important – if those comics didn’t exist, it wouldn’t change the character in any way. So that’s why I judge this issue fairly harshly … I don’t think it brought anything new to the table. On that basis I agree that I was hoping for something to differentiate Helen from the other Batman-inspired female heroes.

      • Yeah, seems OMAC and then Men of War are DC’s lowest sellers from the first wave (w/ Static just above them). Personally, I’d think Men of War would do better if they cut it from 40 pages to 32 and decreasing the price to 2.99 by getting rid of that tag-along story in the back. As it is a three parter, well I hope they don’t toss on a new tag-along with the fourth issue. Still, I’d be sad to see Men of War go if it does, but admittedly wouldn’t be too shocked about it. I just hope it gets an actual ending and just doesn’t stop midway if it does hit the dust. I find DC’s response to that Bleeding Cool a bit funny though stating that OMAC is not on the chopping block for it had good numbers and what not a bit odd as it was the lowest of all the new 52s.

        Animal Man I’m a little shocked to see at 57 when it sounds people all around are raving about it.

      • Wow, I didn’t notice the price on Men of War. Yeah, I wouldn’t pay $1 for that back up story. It just doesn’t do anything for me.

        I might enjoy the title more without the back up just because reading the book cover to cover wouldn’t feel as laborious. The back up story feels like eating my vegetables (yeah, I ripped off your line).

      • Nothing’s really changed then, has it? Just six weeks into the New 52 I’m convinced that this was more about a sales spike than the rhetoric about revolutionising comics. As long as the comics are good, though, I dont’ really care if it was a stunt.

      • “This book and all of the New 52 are in no danger of cancellation any time soon. When we first established the New 52 we set a cancellation threshold that was higher than what we had in the past to insure that we did not get back into the habit of carrying a large amount of low selling books.” Dan Didio on if OMAC will be cancelled or not. So by the sounds of his words, all the new comics will go on at least longer than 6 issues… but then we also know that people in DC are not all on the same page. Part of Didio’s defense that things won’t be cancelled though was pointing out only 31 non-DC comics beat OMAC in sales. The question kind of remains too for all DC comics though if they can keep their sales up.

        And with Didio behind this among other things, I never really gave up the belief though that this was mostly a stunt to draw in more sales.

      • “… no danger of cancellation …”

        “… we set a cancellation threshold that was higher than what we had in the past to insure that we did not get back into the habit of carrying a large amount of low selling books.”

        Is it just me, or do those two statements directly contradict each other?

        I think a lot of the books will see a rapid decline in sales from issue #2 onwards. I bet a lot more than 31 non-DC books beat OMAC #2-whatever.

      • I took the threshold bit to just mean with this relaunch it will be a lot harder to get a book cancelled than it was before.

        I’d guess after the third wave though is when things will really drop for most.

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