Friday, September 16, 2011

The New DCU: Sept 14, 2011 A Simulblog

Week 2 of the new Number Ones...

While last week struck me as a great success, as none of the books that I read were out and out failures for me (and one that I didn't read last week but picked up this week on the recommendation of Justin Tiemeyer, more about him later, Swamp Thing, which by the way was actually really good).  While Hawk & Dove was clearly the worst of what I read last week, the mystery at least piked my interest enough for me to at least give it one more book.

I can't say the same this week.

As you probably recall, this is a Simulblog, which means that others are blogging about the same subject.

Justin Tiemeyer (see I told you there would be more on him) of Cavemen Go has his week 2 post here...

Optimistic Chad of Political Jesus has his week 2 post here...

And Arthur the Lesser joins in in some capacity with his post here...

For a look at the Simulblog up to this point you can check out

My thoughts on Justice League #1 and the beginning of the reboot here (with links to the other two simulblogs)


My thoughts on Week One of the new Number 1s here (also with links to the other two simulblogs)

Remember, there are some spoilers to follow...

For Week 2, I think I'll start with the books that I will leave behind without even making it to issue number 2...


I love the Green Lanterns, and their interactions with the other lantern corps are always fun, but giving the Red Lanterns their own book and making Atrocitus the main character just doesn't work for me.

I'm not a big vengeance is the main motivator for the hero person anyway (I don't like Punisher either) so having me root actively for a protagonist (cause I can't quite bring myself to call the Red Lanterns heroes) who so viciously kills right off the bat in a book, even when the ones dying are also decidedly evil, just doesn't work for me at all.

The book tries to give us a reason to care about Atrocitus, as he has lost the motivation for his rage, but since he continues to kill anyway (and in fact decides to wipe out all "who deserve retribution," styling himself as "an instrument of vengeance) I'm not that drawn towards him at all.

As a villain, I can buy him.  There's nothing better than a villain who thinks he (or she) is working for the side of good, but an entire line devoted to him strikes me as overkill.  Give me his perspective when the Justice League or the Green Lanterns or some other heroes are trying to stop him.  I don't need an entire run from his perspective, especially if he (and his insane group of followers) isn't (aren't) considered the villain(s) at all.


What was a major problem in some of the books I read this week (which I think was also present but handled much better last week) was the attempt to reconcile the past that hasn't been jettisoned with the reboot with the fact that these are number 1s and people are supposedly supposed to be able to come into these books fresh.

Batwoman as a book fails miserably at this.

The junky way that exposition was handled turned me completely off what was otherwise an okay book.

And since the main character is both female (rare in comics) and lesbian (almost unheard of in comics) I really wanted to read this one.

As it is, there just wasn't enough to draw me in and let me look past the clumsy way they handled the obvious need to tie the past of this character into the fact that the rest of the universe is rebooting.


I think there is something interesting hidden in this book.

However, the execution is, to put it bluntly, terrible.

Being a number one in a reboot is a difficult proposition as some of the issues released this week reveal.  You have to be true to the readers that are following from the past, you have to set up the changes from the previous universe, and you have to introduce the characters and stories for new readers.

Legion Lost fails miserably at this.

I have an idea about some of their powers and a little bit of an idea of what their mission is, but I feel like the only reason I was able to follow along at all was because of a slight knowledge of the Legion coming in.  Had that knowledge not been there to foreground the events in this book, it would have been an incomprehensible mess.

I feel pretty safe leaving this one on the "no" pile.


First off, really not sure what is up with this cover.  More than a little sensational, and not in a good way.  I'm no prude, it's just that no matter how insane Harley Quinn is, it seems like she could wear something a little more conductive to fighting, but I guess that's just me.

I like the character of Amanda Walling; I like the idea of her questionable ethics in a difficult world filled with meta-humans of great power, but I'd be completely fine with her showing up occasionally in other books and the same goes for the Suicide Squad.

Similar to my thoughts on Red Lanterns, a book turning those most easily understood as villains into heroes just isn't my favorite style.  Again, I think there is story potential here, but not enough of it is present for me to feel like I have to continue picking this book up.


To tell you the truth, the story kind of grabbed me.  The ability of Mitch (aka Resurrection Man) kind of grabbed me (despite the opening being ripped from the Doctor Who television movie in 1996).  But the clear heaven and hell motif happening here (with very clear and annoying upstairs downstairs language) turned me off.

Had it been more obscure, or not as clear cut heaven up hell down theology, I probably could have overlooked it.

As it was this aspect overshadowed the things I did like about the book.

I'm moving on, but would understand if others decided to keep reading.


The writing (much like the other book handled by Jeff Lemire, Animal Man - the stand out book of the new 52 thus far) was great.  The art was pretty good.  The problem is, I just don't care about Frankenstein the character or S.H.A.D.E. the organization.

Unlike Animal Man, which drew me in to a character that I knew little about and was prepared to quickly move on from, nothing much happens to give you a reason to really connect to Frankenstein and his team.

Overall, it felt like a cheap Hellboy rip off, down to the amphibian member of the team.

I mean, I get it.  We're looking at the classic monsters (beyond the amphibian one).  Joining Frankenstein are a Wolfman, a Vampire, and a Mummy.  Yeah, very 1930's universal, but I need more than that to care about the story, and I just didn't get it.


I'm probably going to surprise some people with my inclusion of this book in the books I won't be spending anymore money on pile, but I really didn't like the way this book went.

Since most of the Batman reality isn't going away with the reboot, it appears that Damian's past as Robin to Dick Grayson's Batman during the Batman RIP storyline still took place.

And yet, apparently, Damian didn't learn a damn thing while serving as Robin to Grayson's Batman.

I was prepared for a Damian/Robin that had a screwed up past but generally wanted to impress his father. But his lying to Bruce about killing the criminals (granted, it was their own mistake of shooting a gun in the close quarters of a vehicle filled with unstable nuclear material that killed them) seemed to be going a bit too far.

The fact that as Robin he continually refused to listen to Batman's orders and the disregarding of Batman's orders led to the death of three men (and that Bruce didn't figure out that they died) means that Bruce's blind-spot when it comes to his son is a little larger than I am willing to buy.

Yeah, I get that Damian is supposed to get on your nerves, but I have to buy that he could do the annoying things he does without Batman completely shutting him down as Robin.  And I can't buy that right now, especially since it seems that he did have the previous training as Robin while under Dick Grayson's tutelage.  It sort of felt like a step backwards for the character of Damian for me, and I don't really want to go there, reboot or no.

Since there are four Batman books, I'm probably okay not reading the one with Damian in it.

Moving on to the books that I didn't love, but at least warrant a further look...


Another potential problem with the DC Reboot is that when going back to the number ones, the beginnings of the stories, we might end up rehashing some tired ground.

Maybe Superboy isn't well known enough for the origin to be unnecessary, but it still felt rehashed and unnecessary to me.

That being said, it was still a pretty good take on the old clone of Superman and a human story, and it had enough in it to interest me to the point where I will at least give it a little more time.

I did love the image of the other young heroes at the end of the issue...

That alone might be enough to get me to pick up issue #2.


Demon Knights looks like it will be a fun book.  The reason that it didn't wow me completely (as it might have other people) is that I felt that it was a little rushed.

This issue tried to introduce a lot of moving parts, and I think it was a little rushed and convoluted because of that.

I kind of wish that they had gone a similar route to Justice League #1 with this book.  Introduce and focus on just a couple of the key characters and slowly introduce the rest of the team in subsequent issues.

Despite that misgiving, I was somewhat interested with the story and intrigued with the characters and what will ultimately turn them into a team.

I will be giving this book another look.

And now... the winners of the week....


What's not to love?  Sinestro, with the past of the Sinestro Corp and the betrayal of the Green Lanterns fully intact, has been chosen to once again wear the ring.

A villain who has reasons for the evil he does, evil he considers to be for the greater good, Sinestro has always been one of my favorite villains.

Meanwhile, Hal Jordan, long one of my favorite heroes, has been kicked out of the corps, lost his job as a pilot, and in this issue pisses off the one person who trusts him and loses his apartment (and also, in an instant classic of a scene, interrupts the filming of a movie trying to still do good despite having no ring).

Things have certainly changed in the Green Lantern story, and it appears that if status quo is going to be reachieved, mortal enemies Hal Jordan and Sinestro might just have to work together.

Let me just say...

This I have got to see.

Unquestionably in the buy pile and would have been the best of the week bar none if not the surprise of...


 I didn't really know anything about Mister Terrific coming in, and since it didn't get covered in the first issue (although some of his past was revealed) I don't even know how he got his powers.

I look forward to finding out.  I also look forward to this villain who increases your IQ but also apparently turns you into an intolerant, murderous asshole.

I also loved the reference to Doctor Who (and the subtle ad for series 5, now on BluRay and DVD starring Matt Smith as the Doctor, reminding me to remind you that after every Doctor Who episode in series 6 you can check here for my thoughts on said episode).

The small hints in the backstory and the intriguing current day storyline combined to make this a good read that (like Animal Man and unlike Frankenstein) made me care about a character that I previously had little to no interest in (or in this case, knowledge of).

The writing was great, causing me to laugh out loud at quite a few lines.  The themes were also interesting, as Michael Holt (Mister Terrific) espouses in the book the fact that he doesn't believe in God due to the untimely death of his wife followed closely by an experience that gives him hope and belief in a better future.

I dug it and look forward to continuing the story.

Until Next Week, I'm glad that Week 2 wasn't completely disappointing, but it also wasn't as satisfying for me as Week 1 was, here's hoping for a fantastic Week 3.  See you then for more Simulblog action, Same Simulblog Time, Same Simulblog Channels (old school Batman tv reference brought to you by the poles that Batman and Robin used in Batman and Robin #1 to get to the Batcave).


  1. You can't root for a killer who kills killers? I thought you liked Dexter though.

    So, Legion Lost refers to Flashpoint directly. I don't know a lot about their backstory, but does that make them the exact same people from the original universe sneaking into the new universe?

    Regarding the Robins, it's been said that Jason Todd was never Robin. Just thought I'd mention that. Not everything is the same about the Batman continuity.

    I agree with Demon Knights. They tried to put too much into the first issue. The art alone, however, is enough to keep me reading.

    Good post, brother.

  2. I like the show Dexter, but I wouldn't say that I root for Dexter. I completely abhor what Dexter does but love the show because I recognize that on some level Dexter abhors the monster inside of him as well.

    Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns (and particularly the story that they are in) seems to celebrate that violence. I don't like things that celebrate that violence. Probably another reason I'm not a big fan of Quentin Tarantino's work.

    If you are correct about Jason Todd never having been a Robin, then I am disappointed with that decision. Yes, the way he was brought back to life in the old DC Universe was stupid, but according to some comments I've read by Grant Morrison, the Superboy punch apparently still occurred in the new universe, so that wouldn't be the reason of erasing Jason Todd's association with Batman. What it would erase is Joker killing Robin, and that is one of the seminal moments of who Batman is in my opinion, and it would be a shame if that were erased.

  3. If Atrocitus took a similar turn as Dexter has, would you like the book more? I think there's a possibility that unmitigated violence transforming to revenge for injustice might be a first step. It would be cool if they slowly turned anger into a useful and positive emotion, which I think it can be when properly controlled. Of course, for that to happen we might need Johns writing the book.

    I agree with your comments in the Jason Todd paragraph. I mentioned the Hawk & Dove thing about a crisis to my friend Zac, and he said that they were referring to Crisis on Infinite Earths, which is apparently canon still. And now the Superboy punch being canon... I kind of thought the idea of this new universe was to get rid of weird crap like that. And then we could see what our heroes would be like without crises.

    As for Jason Todd, I agree. After the death of his parents and the first decision to take on a Robin, the death of Jason is so important. As a matter of fact, I think it lead almost flawlessly into Knightfall. I was kind of hoping that they would have more of a Ra's al Ghul resurrection storyline like in that badass animated film.

  4. Justin, where did you read about Jason not being Robin?

  5. My friend Zac told me about it. I may see him this evening, so I'll see what his source is. There is, of course, a chance that either he or I misunderstood our source. Like I said: I'll look into it.

  6. Chad: That link I posted on your blog earlier about the discussion with Lobdell ( suggests that most of Jason Todd's story is the same. Very little is retconned. The biggest change is the training he's gone through in order to become the Red Hood. I got some bad info earlier. My bad.