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New 52 Pickup | Week 4

by  in Comic News Comment

We’re well past the halfway point for DC’s New 52, and it’s winding down to when final cuts will be getting made to the pull list. This was a smaller week with 12 books, but it had a number of highly anticipated titles, including Batman and Wonder Woman, with a healthy helping of wild cards like Captain Atom and DC Universe Presents: Deadman. There was definitely something out there for every type of reader, but only a few books made it back onto the pull for next month.

Warning! Spoilers ahead!


Batman
Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo

I’m a big fan of Scott Snyder’s work on American Vampire, so I had pretty high expectations for Batman, and I was not disappointed. Snyder’s storytelling style is fantastic, and he manages to set the stage for a great Batman story that draws from the existing status quo with a minimal confusion to new readers. Greg Capullo has great linework in this issue, but I was left wondering whether it’s the best fit for Snyder’s narrative. That said, I loved every moment of this issue; the cliffhanger is completely worth the price of admission for the next. As it stands, this is the Batman title to stick with and easily my pick of the week.

Status: IN

Birds of Prey
Written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Jesus Saiz

I enjoyed Duane Swiercynski’s run on Cable after X-Men: Messiah Complex finished up, and I’m a huge fan of the previous Birds of Prey series. Unfortunately, this title just doesn’t stack up to either one. As a fan, Birds will always be Black Canary and Oracle, and while Barbara Gordon does make a quick appearance, for better or worse, this is Canary and newcomer Starling’s show now. The plot just didn’t grab me, and Starling didn’t get nearly enough panel time to give me a better idea as to who she is. This might be a title that new readers find interesting, but the story and characters just didn’t work for me.

Status: OUT


Blue Beetle
Written by Tony Bedard with art by Ig Guara

This is a really fun read, a superhero origin story for the modern age. Jaime Reyes has a lot of potential to explore, and while Tony Bedard focuses more on the mythology of the Blue Beetle scarab in this issue, he still manages to do a great job introducing these characters and tying together greater elements of the DC Universe. Ig Guara’s pencils are a great fit for this book, bringing a whimsical feel to a teenage hero coming-of-age story. Lots of fun, I’ll be back for more.

Status: IN

Captain Atom
Written by J.T. Krul with art by Freddie Williams III

I’m not nearly as familiar with Captain Atom as I’d like, so I was excited about the opportunity to learn more about him in the big relaunch. In this iteration, Air Force pilot Nathaniel “Nate” Adam is much less the shiny silver guy and much more of a wispy incarnation a la Dr. Manhattan. It’s a cool take on the character, and J.T. Krul clearly has a longer story that he’s trying to tell. But as someone who wasn’t as familiar with the character, it wasn’t the best title I’ve read so far. The art by Freddie Williams III is absolutely gorgeous and fits very well with the tone of the book, but I didn’t find myself that attached to the character by issue’s end.

Status: OUT


Catwoman
Written by Judd Winick with art by Guillem March

Catwoman is a great spy book. Judd Winick has turned Selina Kyle into a female James Bond who only operates in Gotham City, and it works. Getting to see Selina in action and getting inside her head for a darker take on the character is entertaining, and Winick gives you enough story to become invested in how it’s going to go. Guillem March has had a lot of practice drawing Selina in Gotham City Sirens, and if you’re a fan of his Catwoman, you’ll really enjoy this book. After reading this, you’ll definitely want to see more of Selina on the long con, doing reconnaissance, speaking Russian and getting her apartment blown up.

Status: IN

DC Universe Presents: Deadman
Written by Paul Jenkins with art by Bernard Chang

Deadman had a huge role in Brightest Day, and this books seeks to re-introduce readers to the character. Boston Brand was a selfish jerk who died and now sits at the precipice of death, only able to take over the bodies of certain people. Paul Jenkins has an interesting take on the Deadman story, forcing the character to go through hosts in a certain order before actually being able to die. The formula works, although not as well as I would have liked. The last page was more confusing than revelatory, and I’m not quite sure whether I’ll be back for more. But Bernard Chang’s pencils are great and the story is well-written …

Status: ON THE FENCE


Green Lantern Corps
Written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin

If you’ve been a fan of Peter Tomasi’s run on Green Lantern Corps, you should check out this book. Much like Green Lantern last week, it’s very much a continuation of the previous GLC series, and new readers might find it a bit difficult to get into. Much like Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin’s got a great handle on these characters, making this book a strong contender in the New 52. I wish there had been some quick captioned introductions to Guy Gardner and John Stewart for newbies, but otherwise — great issue.

Status: IN

Legion of Super-Heroes
Written by Paul Levitz with art by Francis Portela

This book tells the story of the Legionnaires who aren’t gracing the pages of Legion Lost. It’s pretty clear that the Legion titles are going to be difficult to get into if you’re not a longtime reader. While I appreciate Paul Levitz’s helpful character explanations, the Legion is simply massive, and the number of characters introduced is staggering. Levitz’s writing is solid as always and Francis Portela’s pencils are fantastic, but this is very much for readers who are already huge fans of the Legion. As I haven’t been keeping up, it was pretty confusing, and I’m not sure it would get any less so for me with a second issue.

Status: OUT


Nightwing
Written by Kyle Higgins with art by Eddy Barrows

Nightwing has his own book again and it seems to suit him just fine. Dick Grayson was always a strong character, and it’s interesting to see him out in the world after being Batman for a year. Kyle Higgins is exploring Nightwing’s character, both in and out of uniform, in a way that will really appeal to fans. In fact, everything was pretty strong until the last few pages, which just didn’t hook me in the same way as the rest of the issue. This is a tough call to make, so it’s going to have to get pushed until the end of the month.

Status: ON THE FENCE

Red Hood and the Outlaws
Written by Scott Lobdell with art by Kenneth Rocafort

Scott Lobdell is definitely taking full advantage of the new DCU, but how readers feel about it depends greatly on their connection to these characters. Red Hood is fantastic in this issue, playing up the bad-boy-with-awesome-gadgets angle, and Roy Harper as a war criminal makes a decent amount of sense. But the biggest change here is Starfire’s alien perception keeping her from remembering any of her time with the Titans. It’s a huge gamble, but Lobdell smoothly goes with it and is helped by the absolutely gorgeous art of Kenneth Rocafort. It’s got a great set-up and this is most definitely a bold new direction for these characters. As a huge fan of The New Teen Titans, I’m just not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

Status: ON THE FENCE


Supergirl
Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson with art by Mahmud Asrar

This Supergirl origin is interesting. I like what Michael Green and Mike Johnson are trying to do by getting readers into the head of a confused and lost Supergirl, and Mahmud Asrar’s pencils are a fantastic fit for the tone that they’re trying to set. In fact, I really enjoyed everything about this book – it’ll appeal to new readers, and the creators have a good handle on what makes the character tick. I’m not crazy about the costume redesign, but the positives of this book make me a believer for at least another issue.

Status: IN

Wonder Woman
Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Cliff Chiang

This is easily one of the most anticipated books of the New 52, so expectations were pretty high. Brian Azzarello is going for a much more horror-oriented book than previous incarnations, and that works well with Cliff Chiang’s art. In fact, they’re probably one of the best paired teams for the New 52 so far. I’m just not quite sure whether this is something that I want to read in single issues. Azzarello sets up some excellent threads that draw from Greek mythology, and I’m looking forward to seeing where those go. However, it’s a decision I’ll have to make at the end of the month.

Status: ON THE FENCE

For the curious, here’s the status of this week’s books:

IN
Batman
Blue Beetle
Catwoman
Green Lantern Corps

ON THE FENCE
DC Universe Presents: Deadman
Nightwing
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Supergirl
Wonder Woman

OUT
Birds of Prey
Captain Atom
Legion of Super-Heroes

Agree? Disagree? Think something on the fence should get bumped up? Sound off in the comments!