Comics Load: Relaunch Party

The DC relaunch (aka The New 52 aka What the Hell Are They Doing?!) is now in full swing, and FBOTU‘s very own Brian Andersen shares his thoughts on some of the high-profile titles now available in stores. Or eBay. Hopefully, you’ve been able to find your #1s in stores or via digital download and haven’t resorted to auction sites or price gouging from some unscrupulous retailers. Ordinarily, I’d say something like, “That’s not very Superman.” But now that Superman is a punk kid with a chip on his shoulder and a bad attitude, maybe it is. Maybe Superman is on a street corner in Metropolis right now, selling Action Comics and Batgirl for $30 each. Why you gotta be like that, Supes? Luckily, Brian is filling the role as the Big Blue Boy Scout now, and we’re all eternally grateful. Bring on the Load!

image Brian’s Book of the Week

Title: Animal Man #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Travel Foreman

Inker: Travel Foreman, Dan Green
Wow! The one new 52 title that I was least interested in turns out to be the best read! From the very start with the phony Animal Man interview, writer Jeff Lemire weaves a terrific story. This first issue goes from being a traditional sitcom-y family scene to a horror-esque story, with the totally grody bleeding eyes, the scary/creepy dream in the middle of the comic and the shocking weird ending. Everything about this book was interesting, exciting, fresh and totally new! And wasn’t that the whole purpose behind DC’s new relaunch? Mission accomplished, DC higher-ups! Dare I say that I’m now an Animal Man fan? Also, while the art by Travel Foreman is deceptively simple, it’s able to pack a huge emotional wallop with its clean, crisp panels! Read this book for a truly odd, enjoyable, surprising superhero story!
image Title: Green Arrow #1

Writer: J.T. Krul

Artist: Dan Jurgens

Inker: George Perez
Blah. The problem I had with this Green Arrow reboot/relaunch/re-whatever it is you want to call it, is that it reads just like any other average, run-of-the-mill comic book. I thought the whole point of this new DC was to present familiar characters in an all new light, making them hip and exciting, giving the reader a fresh take on the old. Welp, Green Arrow, I’m sad to say, reads like any other Green Arrow comic I’ve read, nothing about it felt different, unique or the least bit exciting. About the only change I could determine here was that Green Arrow was about 20 years younger and ditched his Robin Hood look. Otherwise, from the dialogue, to the cheesy, we’ve-seen-them-before bad guys, color me unimpressed. Skip this book!
image Title: Batgirl #1

Writer: Gail Simone

Artist: Adrian Syaf

Inker: Vincente Cifuentes
Now this was an excellent reboot! It kept me guessing, it was densely written—in a good way—and presented a new twist on the familiar. The villain in the story seemed a little hum-drum—a bad guy who offs people who narrowly escaped death or may have killed someone and got away with it (watch out Casey Anthony, you’re next)—but knowing Simone, there is far more to this baddie than meets the eye. Also, the art was pretty amazing. Dynamic angles, interesting panel layouts, and he never gives Batgirl huge breasts or makes her swing around with her cootch in the readers face! And as much as I loved Oracle, it’s kinda nice to see Barbara Gordon back in tights, struggling some, but still standing on her own two feet. Bring on issue two!
image Title: Action Comics #1

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Rags Morales

Inker: Rick Bryant
I’ve read online about some protests over this all-new, all-different Superman and you know what I say? Good! Besides Death of Superman, this is probably the most exciting time for Supes in all his 60-plus year history. I rather enjoyed seeing a younger, brasher, jeans-sporting Superman. When writer Grant Morrison is at the helm, you just know you’re in for some drug-induced, whacked-out, insane stories! I’m looking forward to it!
image Title: Justice League International #1

Writer: Dan Jurgens

Penciller: Aaron Lopresti

Inker: Matt Ryan
Much like the new Green Arrow book out this week, this JLI was as flat and uninspired as any other comic over the last twenty years or so. Reading this issue was like reading the JLA book back in the 90s, when Dan Jurgens was writing and penciling it during the Death of Superman saga. I thought this was 2011! Aside from new costumes and back stories, nothing about this book came off like anything at all in the realm of the new or different. Blah.
image Title: Stormwatch #1

Writer: Paul Cornell

Artist/Inker: Michael Sepulveda
I never read the original Stormwatch, so I went into this reboot with little knowledge of what came before. I gotta say, I actually enjoyed it. The “heroes” in the story had the weirdest powers—like that dude who talks to and controls the cities of the world? Cray-cray! The best way to describe this book? It’s Lost, with a dose of the Bourne Supremacy and Alien thrown in for fun. I’m keeping my fingers, toes and nads crossed in the hopes that formerly gay married Midnighter and Apollo find romance again and scare all the conservatives by getting hitched anew! Bring on the boy-on-boy love!
image Title: The New Avengers Annual #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Gabriele Dell’Otto
What I loved most about this comic was how writer B.M. Bendis pulls from the Avengers back history and brings former loser characters front and center, and makes them cool. No total reboots needed here, in terms of fresh starts—but a wink at characters from the past and giving them fabulously (deadly) make-overs and motivations—this is how you do it. Also, who doesn’t like seeing a giant hero getting picked up by his nostril and tossed around like a ragdoll? Stupid giants, they always step on buildings and ruin things! They deserve all the nose grabbings they get, those jerks!
image Title: X-23 #14

Writer: Marjorie Liu

Artist: Phil Noto
Oh X-23, how I adore you. I love how direct and gruff you are, how your seriousness is so comical. I’m also really digging on seeing X-23 interact with the rest of the Marvel U. Last issue Spider-Man and this issue the Freedom Foundation. It seems like the new FF is on the promotional publicity tour that Vamp Jubilee was on a few months ago. Everything about this book, month in and month out, is smart, gripping stuff. My only suggestion for Ms. 23? Ditch the lame belly shirt crop-top outfit. That bare midriff look went out years ago. Seriously, does anyone see girls walking around with their stomachs hanging out anymore? Show some decorum, girl! Just because you used to be an assassin doesn’t mean you can’t have a pinch of fashion sense.
image Title: X-Men #17

Writer: Victor Gischiler

Artist: Jorge Molina

Inkers: Jorge Molina, Norman Lee
Hey everyone, it’s another appearance by the FF! Whoever booked them this promotional tour needs to become Lindsay Lohan’s agent STAT! Anyhoo, I’m grooving on this story. It’s fun to see the X-Men pal around with the FF. And I have to give props to the writer for bringing back a former, forgotten human girlfriend of both Cyclops and Magneto: Lee Forrester. Girl knows how to bag her some powerful mutant leaders! For not having appeared in a comic since the 80s, that girl sure looks amazing in a jungle girl two-piece! Yowza! Who IS her plastic surgeon? The entire cast of every season of The Real Housewives needs that surgeon’s number ASAP!
image Brian Andersen is the acclaimed author of So Super Duper and Friend of Dorothy. You can learn more about Brian at SoSuperDuper.com.
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