She Has No Head! - Some Totally Dated Mini Reviews Of The DCU 52...

Even though I've devoted the last four weeks of this column to the "New DCU 52" via The Comics Project, I find myself itching to share some of my thoughts on the new 52 books that I read. 

Which brings us here, to one more totally unnecessary post on the New DCU 52.

Thanks to The Comics Project I ended up reading 34 of the New 52.  Left to my own devices and interest I only would have read about 17 books, but since I had to read every issue that my readers picked, that meant an additional 13 issues.  Add another 4 books that I read but did not buy, and you end up with 34 books of the 52 in total, which is more than I ever expected to read.

So below are some condensed mini-reviews for everything I read.

Enjoy, and thanks for letting me express my neurotic need to share thoughts that are likely supremely dated at this point, considering we are nearly through all of the new DCU 52 number 2's!



ANIMAL MAN #1. The Animal Man character intrigues me, and I love Travel Foreman's art, so this held early interest for me.  And I was pleasantly surprised by what I found inside.  Though Foreman's art was a bit inconsistent, it was sometimes mind-blowingly good and sometimes not quite there, in the end I found this very compelling both visually and from a story standpoint.  Like many I really enjoyed the normal family interactions.  I'm a bit confused by the creatures, but not enough for it to be off putting, and I was powerfully hooked by the cliffhanger.

RATING: 4.0 Stars


BATMAN #1. Given how much I loved Scott Snyder's run on Detective Comics this past year I was sad to see him leave Detective, but excited to pick this up.  Though Capullo's art is not really my cup of tea (except for his very square-jawed Bruce which is always fun) it works here better than I thought and as expected Scott Snyder is doing excellent work.  It's been a long time since I read the regular Batman title...it's nice to be able to again.

RATING:  4.5 Stars


BATMAN & ROBIN #1. Since I adored issue #1 of this title a mere two years ago, this book had a lot to live up to.  Unfortunately, I don't think it managed it.  Though there is obviously a lot to be mined in the relationship between Bruce and Damian, so far what we got in this #1 is not nearly as interesting as what Morrison and Quitely did in their #1 and the dynamic between Bruce and Damian pales in comparison to Dick and Damian.  This one feels like a real missed opportunity to be great, instead being just okay.  Some further thoughts on issue #1.

RATING:  3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Maybe [Update: I guess I should move this to "no" since I did not pick up the second issue]

BATWOMAN #1. A book I have been metaphorically waiting for pretty much my whole comics reading life...and more literally waiting for since it was announced in 2010.  But it has been worth the wait on both counts.  J.H. Williams III continues to push on form here while still turning in gorgeously well-conceived visuals and a good story.  So far the writing is holding up nicely as well. A  great book.  Some thoughts on the second issue.

RATING:  4.5 Stars


BLUE BEETLE #1. I want to support this character.  I want to like this book.  So far I'm having trouble doing both.  I wasn't able to connect to much in the first issue and it felt like a lot going on, but with not much pay off.  Additionally while the art inside is quite nice, the covers are a very big turnoff.

RATING:  3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Tentatively yes, but only because I like Jaime Reyes, I really hope it gets better, and fast.

DC COMICS PRESENTS #1. I find Deadman very intriguing and want to like this book but the first issue left me quite cold.  Too many cliches and too much narration really dragged it down. But I like Deadman and I like artist Bernard Chang, so I'm going to give it another shot I think.  The covers by Ryan Sook have also been absolutely gorgeous.

RATING: 3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Tentatively yes, but like Blue Beetle, mostly because I like Deadman.  I'll give it one more issue. [Update: I did read the second issue and liked it more than the first...so that bodes well]

DEMON KNIGHTS #1.  I like Paul Cornell and some of the characters in this and the fantasy elements intrigue me, but it didn't quite work for me.  There were a few moments that almost hooked me, but on the whole I was just not impressed.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Unsure. I really wanted to like this book, but I really did not like it.  [Update: I did not pick up issue #2, so I guess that's a no]

I,VAMPIRE #1. This book really surprised me.  There were some clarity problems here - some technical - like the narrative text boxes that alternated red and pink for two different characters and were very difficult to tell apart - and art choices - two of the female characters looked far too similar - but beneath those issues were some really great ideas and one of the more creative and interesting books of the new DCU 52.  Add to that some absolutely stunning artwork and I'm definitely on the hook for future issues.  Some more detailed thoughts on issue #1.

RATING:  3.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Yes, I, Vampire, despite some flaws, was one of the more original books I read in the re-launch, plus the art is beautiful.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1. I really wanted to like this as Justice League, in theory, is a title I'd like to be reading.  There was some fun stuff in here but nothing exceptional that made me want to return.  I also found it very confusing considering the continuity I seemed to be absorbing in other books.  It felt decidedly out of synch to me and ultimately I was disappointed.

RATING:  2.5 Stars


JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1. I had high hopes for this book and they weren't quite met, but it's still one of my favorite new books of the new 52.  I love the characters on the field and Peter Milligan well sets up those characters, plus the reason there's a need for them to come together as a different kind of Justice League.  I'm excited to keep reading this book.  More thoughts on issue #1.

RATING: 4.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Yes, definitely.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1. This was a huge disappointment to me.  I've always been intrigued by Legion of Super-Heroes, but they have always felt really intractably buried in continuity and confusion so I've stayed away.  I was excited that this relaunch might be a perfect jumping on point for me.  It was just as intractable as I feared.  This was a straight up mess.  It might have been a good comic book for a fan of the characters who knew what was going on, but for a new reader it was impossible to decipher or connect to.  More thoughts on issue #1.

RATING:  2.0 Stars


MISTER TERRIFIC #1. This is one of the books I was most excited to check out for the relaunch - like top three - even though I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  It is also the book I feel most let down by.  The writing was clunky and the art was terribly inconsistent. Mister Terrific comes off like a complete jackass for most of the book and Karen Starr has been reduced to a powerless friend with benefits.  The interaction between Terrific's assistant and Starr was particularly disgusting - playing on lazy unfortunate stereotypes.  All this book has going for it was that amazing J.G. Jones cover.  Huge miss.

RATING:  1.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Unfortunately, no. I really hated this book, there's no reason to come back for more.

NIGHTWING #1. This really disappointed me unfortunately.  It was a bit of an uphill battle to start with because I didn't want Dick back in the Nightwing costume, but I tried to go in with an open mind.  But not much happened and the book was very overwritten.  Add to that the conflicting evidence of Dick spending a good portion of the book talking about how being Batman has made his technique "flawless" and then a few pages later inadvertently getting two cops killed.  Doesn't seem flawless to me Dick.  Read more thoughts on issue #1.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Unsure. I really love Nightwing/Dick Grayson, but I intensely disliked this book [Update: I didn't buy the second issue, so I guess that's a no].

STATIC SHOCK #1. Another case of a book I really wanted to like and don't dislike, but am not wowed by.  Not knowing much about Static Shock I didn't find this book quite new reader friendly enough, but the interactions with Static and his family were great, and the writing in general had a nice energy.  Static comes off as a genius, without ever needing to tell us while as a comparison, Mister Terrific does feel the need to tell readers...repeatedly.  And who do you think I'm more inclined to believe?  The character that showed me his genius?  Or told it to me?  Yeah.  Read more thoughts on issue #1.

RATING:  3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Yes, but it's only got another issue or two to get significantly better before I drop it.

STORMWATCH #1. Another title I want to like for the sake of the characters, but this first issue was a bit of a muddled mess.  Art and writing were not working together as I would have liked.  The story is a bit confusing as it drops you rather in the middle while still trying to introduce you to the characters, none of it quite worked.  The characters hold a lot of appeal for me however and it looks to be the only book with some out gay male characters so I will at least come back for a few more issues to see if it improves.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Yes, but it's only got a few more issues before it gets cut from the team.

SWAMP THING #1. I've never really read Swamp Thing before so this was an exciting place for me to jump on.  Scott Snyder had a hard task in getting this up and running again and being both new reader friendly with all the convoluted history and also diving into the plot for long-time fans, but I think he juggled both nicely.  The first issue was a bit exposition heavy as a necessary evil, but his writing is good enough that it went down pretty easy, and he hooked in some great action, mystery, and horror to keep a reader coming back.  I'd say this was one of my big surprises of the relaunch but with Snyder and Paquette as the creative team I honestly expected nothing less than an excellent book.

RATING: 4.0 Stars


WONDER WOMAN #1. Wonder Woman was my most anticipated book of the relaunch since her title has been a disappointing nightmare for the last year.  It was also the title I was most worried about, despite my fanatic love for Cliff Chiang's art.  I was incredibly relieved when I found not only a superb comic book, but a superb Wonder Woman story that felt new and fresh and modern, but true to the Diana that I have so come to love.  More thoughts on issue #1.  Also, we interviewed Cliff Chiang on Episode #26 of 3 Chicks Review Comics!

RATING:  5.0

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Absolutely.  My favorite book of the relaunch.


ALL-STAR WESTERN #1. This didn't work for me. I've seen the "Jack The Ripper" type story too many times before to be excited by a similar tale unless there's a great hook.  And maybe there will eventually be one, but it wasn't evident yet and so there was little to entice me into a second issue.  Add to that the fact that there's a really painful textbook "women in refrigerators" aspect to the story and I just couldn't keep going.  The art was fantastic though.  Too bad.   

RATING: 2.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  No. There was some good stuff here but it couldn't overcome the stuff I really disliked.

AQUAMAN #1. As someone that doesn't really care a whit about Aquaman and doesn't really care a whit about Geoff  Johns I was supremely surprised to find I enjoyed this a little bit.  Though Johns went a bit overboard with the joke, in general his poking fun at Aquaman worked nicely, and I liked the way Aquaman himself was actually presented - i.e. a serious guy who just wants to do good work and live his life.  Additionally, the deep sea creatures set up as potential villains were pretty interesting.  I could have done without the jab at bloggers (does EVERYONE hate us?) as well as the sexy times on the rocks with Mera which was just weird. But I enjoyed this quite a bit and will maybe even buy the second issue.

RATING: 3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Against all odds, I'm considering it.

BIRDS OF PREY #1. This was the best surprise for me of the entire relaunch.  I was not expecting to like it at all and was pissed that Gail Simone wasn't doing it. In fact, I only picked it up because Jesus Saiz draws the best chicks around and I wanted to see what he could do on the title.  But proof that sometimes change IS good, is that Swierczynski does great things here and Saiz draws his ass off.  Know what's even more awesome?  Issue #2 was even better.  Further thoughts on issue #2.

RATING:  4.0 Stars


DEATHSTROKE #1. I didn't have much interest in this before or after reading it.  The pacing seemed a bit off to me and it ended abruptly, add to that the fact that Deathstroke spends most the issue trying to convince readers that he's a badass.  As I said with Mister Terrific, it's a lot more convincing if I can get there on my own, rather than be force fed the "truth."  I'm torn on the ending.  I appreciated that it was unexpected, but again, it all seemed designed to make him seem hardcore and all I ended up thinking was that he was kind of a dick. 

RATING: 2.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  No. There's nothing for me here.

FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1. The idea of this is great and the execution wasn't bad, but it didn't quite fire on all cylinders for me.  Worse, Frankenstein (which, shouldn't it be "the monster"?) seemed like the least interesting character of the bunch.  There are great ideas to be explored here, but I can't figure out if they're going to actually be explored or just sit there unused on the page.  I'll give it another couple issues before I decide. 

RATING:  3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING: Yes, I'll give it another couple issues.  [Update: I did in fact pick up the second issue, but I didn't like it as much as issue #1, so this title gets one more shot to improve before it's benched]

GREEN LANTERN #1. I could just say "ditto" to everything I wrote for Aquaman except add that I liked Aquaman quite a bit more, perhaps because he seemed like less of a douchebag than Hal to his "love interest."

RATING: 3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Probably not [Update: I did not pick up the second issue, so I guess that's a no]

GRIFTER #1. Man, I really wanted to like this.  I liked Grifter very much as a teenager and loved the push and pull of his complicated relationship with Zealot, but this was full of so much fail, including some straight up illogical plot points.  There's a whole thing where Grifter loses time - he thinks it's been 17 minutes and he's going to be late for a plane - but it turns out it's been 17 days - or 17 hours, it's not entirely clear - yet he sill gets on the plane...well, I don't know what kind of airport security Grifter is used to but that seems shockingly unlikely in this day and age.  Too much stuff like that overwhelmed a not that great book in the first place.

RATING:  2.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  No, definitely not.  Despite being interested in Grifter as a character, there's nothing I liked about this.

O.M.A.C. #1. Yeah, I just didn't get this at all.  There was nothing horribly offensive in it or anything and I like Giffen's art (other than the silly OMAC design) but I honestly just had trouble getting through it. It's not for me.

RATING: 2.0 Stars


RESURRECTION MAN #1. I like the concept of Resurrection Man and I thought it was well explained here, but something just didn't grab me about the execution on the whole. The art was fine and the writing wasn't bad, but it just didn't ring out as something I felt I had to keep reading.  Not being wowed by this plus having remembered from the cover solicits that I intensely disliked some of the imagery from future issues left me pretty uninterested in keeping on with the book.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Unsure.  [Update: I flipped through the second issue and found far more I disliked than liked, so I passed]

SUICIDE SQUAD #1. This cover told me instantly that I was unlikely to like what I found inside.  And in a nice bit of honesty, the cover didn't lie.  Inside was just torture porn and disappointment wrapped in unnecessarily sexy costumes and 'The Wall' being de-aged, prettied up, and slimmed down.  She also seems like more of a jerk. This was a terrible disappointment all around, especially considering the fact that this book is apparently "filling the need" that Secret Six, a far superior book, used to fill.  It is definitely not "filling the need" for this fan.

RATING:  0.5 Stars


THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1. So...I haven't read a lot of Hawkman...but why does he think that such powerful armor can just be taken to the forest and burned up?  Perhaps I missed something but that fact threw me off in the first few pages and I never was able to recover.  In addition the dialogue was pretty clunky and overwrought and the art sometimes was beautiful and sometimes felt rushed and messy. 

RATING: 2.0 Stars


THE FLASH #1. This was such a pleasant surprise.  It read easily, even for a fan less familiar with the intricacies of The Flash.  The art was fun and well-paced and the story was smart.  This is a definite addition to my reading that I hadn't expected.

RATING: 4.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Yes, definitely.

VOODOO #1. This didn't work for me on so many levels it's shocking.  Beyond the race issues, which are extremely problematic, I just don't see how presenting Pris this way, with no POV and agency of her own was a smart move, especially if you were going to start out with her as a stripper. She is objectified to the hilt here in a way that is painfully uncomfortable, which is to say not only visually but as a story device we see her through the eyes of everyone but Pris herself - the clients watch her and talk about her, the FBI agent watches her and talks about her (for a chunk of the book even about her TO her), hell, even the waitress talks about her. I also had a huge mental leap to make on the very first page, because the text does not match up with the visuals at all in a way that makes it clear from page one that they are going for maximum wank factor rather than telling the best and most accurate story they can tell.  Beyond the problems outlined above I found some of the dialogue really unbelievable.  There were some nice visual choices, and some very not nice visual choices. Separately, I don't understand the point of starting with Pris as a stripper if she's then going to quit...because who is your audience then?  If after issue #1 you're changing some fundamental things about the book (i.e. she's no longer a stripper) then people who loved this first issue are in for something different which maybe they will love and maybe they won't love...you'll have to see...but then people that didn't like this first issue (yours truly) are likely not coming back for issue #2 regardless.  So who is your audience? You grabbed one and lost the other, but now you're fundamentally changing some things that likely really turned a lot of people off?  What's the point?  More thoughts on issue #1.

RATING:  0.5 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  No, absolutely not.


CATWOMAN #1. My dislike of this book was not a surprise to me.  Given the creative team of Judd Winick and Guillem March I knew this was unlikely to be a good book for me.  Add to that all the promotional interviews and solicit text I read about this book in advance of its release and I knew to avoid it like the plague.  The first issue was unfortunately very much in line with what I expected based on what I knew about it before it came out.  It is endlessly disappointing to me that DC is putting out a Catwoman book that I can't read.  Very sad.

RATING: 1.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  No, absolutely not.

HAWK & DOVE #1. Like many people I felt compelled to check out the spectacle of Rob Liefeld drawing a monthly book again. Like many people I had a good laugh and don't need to come back. 

RATING:  0.5. Stars


RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1. A had a lot of problems with this, most of which were very well articulated by Laura Hudson on Comics Alliance, so I won't repeat them all.  Suffice to say that I'm not even a big Teen Titans reader and still Starfire did not read accurately to what I know of the character.  And if she's supposed to be new and improved for the relaunch...then I had trouble seeing that as well.  I get that not every single book has to be the kind of book I can personally get behind, but when you have a major relaunch that touts diversity and one would assume is trying to get things right, it's unfortunate to put out a book that feels like the equivalent of a girl being passed around while frat guys high five their awesome luck at finding a cipher sex doll with no memory.  Doesn't send a great message. 

RATING: 0.5 Stars


SUPERGIRL #1. This was incredibly decompressed, even for me, and I tend to like a little decompression.  However, the visuals by Mahmud Asrar were absolutely stunning. That alone is enough to keep me checking this out.  It's also nice that the book is one of the few I read that feels YA friendly and could be given to a younger audience.

RATING: 3.0 Stars

WILL I CONTINUE READING:  Undecided.  I LOVE the art in this book.  Not sure what else I love.  [Update - I did pick up issue #2, but I'm still unsure - though the art in Issue #2 continues to be excellent, the decompressed story is a huge problem.  Six bucks into this story literally almost nothing has happened. Not a good sign]



WHY DID I SKIP IT:  This is the sole title I wish I had picked up based on what I've heard since it released.  I didn't pick it up because I'm just not much of a Superman fan, one of the few exceptions being Morrison and Quitely's All-Star Superman which I liked very much but didn't love as much as everyone else seemed to.  In truth the t-shirt with the tiny baby cape SEWN INTO IT is a huge mental leap for me...much larger than believing an alien that looks like Clark might crash land on earth and become a superhero...so it's hard for me to move past something so ridiculous looking. Still, wish I had tried this.  And I'll be picking it up in trade if it continues to get good reviews.

The rest of the books I feel confident I made the right choice in skipping, usually because I have no interest in the creator on board, and occasionally just because the subject matter or characters aren't terribly interesting to me.  Did I miss the best book in the entire re-launch?  I'm sure you'll tell me.


First and foremost its impossible to ignore, whether you like the new DCU 52 or not, the press they've gotten as a result of this re-launch has been impressive. Even someone like me, not horribly excited by the idea, has devoted seven columns to the subject over the past five months in the form of The Comics Project, this post and two others last June.  Not only has their coverage been impressive, but they really have seemed to try their best to get the word out via other media and to readers that don't necessarily troll comics boards the way we do.  And that is a big deal.  I don't know if much will come of it, but the effort has been considerable and sometimes you need those baby steps.

Of course, I didn't see a lot of push in female focused markets - Jezebel would have been a great site to get some pieces on in order to tap into a bunch of smart ladies - but then again, DC admitted up front that they weren't interested in that market, so I suppose it's no surprise.  Disappointing though.  If you're going to go for new readers, I don't know why you'd ignore 50% of your potential field.  On the whole I'm pretty disappointed and frustrated by DC and the "New 52" given how many issues there continue to be regarding diversity and sexism, and I'm sorry to say, quality comics in general.  I suppose given a lot of the content it's no surprise that they didn't go after women readers...it would have been silly to try given that at least four of them with big female roles are quite offensive.

In the end, twelve of these books have rated picking up a second issue for me and I think all of those so far have rated a third issue...so almost a third of what I read worked enough for me to keep spending money on them.  More importantly, I would say that though my pull list has become smaller than it was pre-relaunch, with the exception of Scott Snyder's Detective Comics (which I was in love with) I am much more excited about some of these books than I have been about most of DC Comics in a long time.  And really, it's hard to put a price on how much it's worth to me to have a great Wonder Woman book every month.

My biggest disappointment of the relaunch is that a big percentage of the solo female titles that I would very much like to be reading - Catwoman, Voodoo, and Batgirl, as well as a team book I'd very much like to be reading - Suicide Squad - are among the most offensive to me in the bunch and thus ultimately are passes.  I don't expect every book to be just exactly my cup of tea, but it's disappointing nonetheless to have to sit on the sidelines for books I'd very much have liked to fall in love with.

My biggest happiness of the relaunch (other than the revelation that is Wonder Woman) is the marketing push that DC did outside of our small comics reading fan circles.  I wish they were interested in more readers that weren't 18 - 32 year old white males, but you have to start somewhere I suppose.

For quick reference, here's a rack up of the titles via rating:

Wonder Woman #1 – 5.0 Stars

Batman #1 – 4.5 Stars

Batwoman #1 – 4.5 Stars

Animal Man #1 – 4.0 Stars

Birds of Prey #1 – 4.0 Stars

Justice League Dark #1 – 4.0 Stars

Swamp Thing #1 – 4.0 Stars

The Flash # 1 – 4.0 Stars

I, Vampire #1 – 3.5 Stars

Aquaman #1 – 3.0 Stars

Batman & Robin #1 – 3.0 Stars

Blue Beetle #1 – 3.0 Stars

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 – 3.0 Stars

Green Lantern #1 – 3.0 Stars

Static Shock #1 – 3.0 Stars

Supergirl #1 – 3.0 Stars

All-Star Western #1 – 2.5 Stars

DC Comics Presents #1 – 2.5 Stars

Demon Knights #1 – 2.5 Stars

Justice League #1 – 2.5 Stars

Nightwing #1 – 2.5 Stars

Resurrection Man #1 – 2.5 Stars

Stormwatch #1 – 2.5 Stars

Deathstroke #1 – 2.0 Stars

Grifter #1 – 2.0 Stars

Legion of Super-Heroes #1 – 2.0 Stars

O.M.A.C. #1 – 2.0 Stars

The Savage Hawkman #1 – 2.0 Stars

Catwoman #1 – 1.0 Stars

Mister Terrific #1 – 1.0 Stars

Hawk & Dove #1 – 0.5 Stars

Red Hood & The Outlaws #1 – 0.5 Stars

Suicide Squad #1 – 0.5 Stars

Voodoo #1 - 0.5 Stars

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