So, with our second full week of new #1s under our belt, its interesting to see how things are shaping up. To be honest, I probably felt last week’s books were stronger over all (thanks to the killer combo of Action Comics and Batgirl), but I still mostly enjoyed this week’s offerings that I picked up.
Batman and Robin relaunched this week with a team I’ve been curious to see for a while. Part of the fun of the previous series, was the role reversal by having a lighter hearted Batman, and the grim Damian Robin. So for the first time we have Bruce and Damian operating as Batman and Robin. I’ve always felt this was a teaming DC had skipped past for the sake of their larger story, and given its interesting father and son dynamic, its something I’ve been curious to see approached for a while now.
First off, I’ve read some complaints online about the characterisation, and I must admit I can see what they were talking about. Peter Tomasi’s Damian definitely felt a bit off. More in line with the character’s early appearances, almost ignoring the maturing we saw during his partnership with Dick. That said, I did like how Tomasi is trying to move Bruce on as a character, and play up the fact that this is a father and son team (Bruce trying to lay down the law to Damian in a way that’s clearly going to encourage rebellion struck me very much as a parenting trap). The idea that Bruce is trying to move beyond the death of his parents, tying in nicely with him now focusing on his own son, so I really liked what Peter Tomasi was doing there.
One book that was probably the first of my nice surprises this week was Paul Cornell’s Demon Knights. Despite finding myself a bit lukewarm to last week’s Stormwatch, I really enjoyed this much more fantasy based series. While featuring some familiar DC characters (notably for me Jason Blood and Etrigan), the setup is for a straight sword and sorcery tale rather than any superheroics. The way all the Arthurian stuff worked into the story appealed to the side of me that’s long been a fan of that legend, so this was a real win for me as something a bit different in my comics pile. Definitely onboard for the next issue.
The other surprise this week was the Mr Terrific book. Having liked the character in the JSA I thought I’d give this a try, and it’s really intrigued me with a bit of mystery surrounding the appearance of his unborn son, and the fantastical nature to Holt’s accomplishments (his lab stored in a pocket dimension, that kind of thing). The thing most likely to generate discussion though, was the appearance of Karen Starr of Starrware. No sign that she’s actually Power Girl (although the dress she wears to a reception seems like a clear nod to the character), but I wonder if they’ll keep it quiet, and then reveal her as being from Earth-2 or something later on, once JSA is established. All in all, for a book I hadn’t been sure about, I liked the take on the character, and the fact it wasn’t afraid to be a bit outlandish with some of his inventions, almost setting him up as a DCU equivalent to Reed Richards in some ways.
Superboy I found myself a little torn on. On one hand, I found it enjoyable and got into the story it was telling. That said, the character is a complete reboot, with little to tie him to the Conner/Kon-El I was a fan of before, which makes it a little trickier to get into for me. The fact his origin is kept familiar (minus its Death of Superman trappings), along with the Kryptonian/Human hybrid angle was reassuring though, despite the changes to the voice of the character who comes across much more alien. I was really happy to see his telekinesis used in the book (and I suspect he’s also telepathic, something new to his powerset). Conner’s tactile telekinesis was often ignored by later writers, so its nice to see it a key part of Superboy’s powers once again.
I did like the cute knowing wink when they were talking about his human donor. Assuming of course, Lex Luthor isn’t going to be a red herring with this version of the character (although the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor angle is probably too strong a concept to drop).
I’m definitely intrigued to stick with this for a bit and see where its going.
The one thing though, that’s beginning to irk me about this reboot more generally though, is that I wish DC hadn’t introduced this mysterious woman who’s appearing in all the issues either. While its a fun thing to have her popping up in all the books, and makes for a game, trying to find her, I wish this was more of a clean slate. It automatically ties events back to Flashpoint, and is clearly laying the seeds for the next big uber-crossover. DC has done nothing but Crisis after Crisis for years now. And after having finally pulled the trigger on the reboot, I’d really have hoped they’d have had the confidence to let all the books bed in without preparing another big crossover already. As I say, I’d have rather things were left as a clean slate, without risking event fatigue in the middle of possible the biggest thing DC have done since the original Crisis.