In the past month, I’ve been to three different comic book stores and have gone to Barnes and Nobles a few times looking for the new DC #1s. There’s only a handful I’ve managed to find. I’d assumed that DC would’ve printed wild amounts of copies, but I guess they’re striving to make these #1s collectibles. I’m sure next month there’ll be reprints hitting the stands. Until then, here’s my thoughts on the #1s so far.
Action Comics #1: This comic I’m definitely happy with. Grant Morrison takes Superman back to his Golden Age roots. Instead of fighting intergalactic menaces, Supes is dealing with swindlers and villains who seem right out of the headlines. Supes is no longer flying. If you remember the Golden Age comics or Max Fleischer cartoons, Supes is able to “leap tall buildings in a single bound.” If you don’t like old comics, it’s possible you won’t like this one. I loved it. Read a longer review.
Justice League International #1: This is another throwback comic, except it’s not an homage to the Golden Age, it’s an homage to lighthearted comics from the 80’s. Fans of classic J.M. DeMatteis’ Justice League Europe will likely enjoy this one. I don’t think everyone else will. A lot of people I think want a comic with more action or a comic that’s darker. DC’s putting out a lot of comics like that. I’m glad they’re also putting out this one. This particular issue isn’t necessarily amazing, but I think there’s a fun team-dynamic, and I’m betting it’ll be a good comic as the months go by.
Swamp Thing #1: Speaking of darker, Swamp Thing definitely has a dark take on our floral friend. This issue involves thousands of animals mysteriously dying (similar to how sometime in the last year hundreds of birds mysteriously died on the East Coast) and it suggests their death portends to the Swamp Thing, who is now Alec Holland again in the flesh. Fans of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing books are probably going to be miffed. Much of the mythos Moore created for the character has been undone. For example, in Moore’s Swamp Thing, Alec Holland really did die, and his memories passed into the Swamp Thing, making ST a sentient lump of plant life, and Alec Holland was simply dead. Brightest Day brought Holland back to life, and it looks like he has to choose to be ST again. To be honest, I was disappointed with this issue. In itself, the issue was okay, but it wasn’t as good as a #1 should’ve been. I do on the other hand greatly enjoy Yanick Paquette’s artwork. He’s an artist like Stuart Immonen who I can say is doing superhero comics right. I’ll probably follow this comic.
Static Shock #1: I highly enjoyed this comic, but I don’t think everyone will. As I said before, a lot of people are looking for dark or action packed comics. This one had action, but it also had character development and backstory. Part of the reason I liked it is because I used to watch the Static Shock cartoon (a great cartoon for younger audiences) and because it’s written and drawn by Scott McDaniel who, years ago, produced a bunch of quality Nightwing issues. Weird piece of news: this issue was co-written with John Rozum, who has already bowed out after one issue. Read a longer review.
Batgirl #1: My girlfriend loved this comic, and she barely reads comics. Often, what throws her off from reading superhero comics (she’s more of a Daniel Clowes/ The Unwritten indie fan) is their depiction of women. Batgirl #1 is written by Gail Simone, one of the few women who write mainstream comics, and Gail has always made female characters a priority, giving them as much attitude and strength as the male characters. Barbara Gordon is perhaps the most identifiable woman in the DCU aside from Lois Lane and Wonder Woman, but the poor girl has been confined to a wheelchair for the past two decades after she was crippled by the Joker. During that time she was Oracle, who worked behind the scenes with computers. A lot of people liked her as Oracle, but it was just too sad to see her out of the limelight. In #1, she can walk again. The chronology is pretty weird, as her 20+ years of being handicapped are condensed into 3 years of story, but then, chronology is always weird with superhero books (Batman’s been in his 30s for how long?)
Summary: Out of the #1s I managed to procure, Action Comics #1 and Batgirl #1 are the big wins, but I’m generally happy with every issue. I’m anxiously awaiting the return of the older characters like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott–the DCU’s not the same without its senior members.
Next week Justice League Dark comes out, which I’m excited about. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find Batwoman #1 or any of the Batman books. I’m wondering, has Alfred been updated? Does he look a decade younger and have a flashier butler outfit?
With all of the DC #1s out, it’s an enormous challenge to pick out a Marvel, Dark Horse, or Vertigo book instead.
If you’ve purchased any of the DC #1s, you can write your opinion in the comment box below (NO SPOILERS!)