I`ll start off by saying that I`m not the biggest or oldest fan of comic books out there and aside from DC, Marvel and Vertigo I haven`t read much else. Even among these i`ve only kept track of the more iconic titles. Now a friend of mine is a huge Batman fan and after watching the Dark Knight Trilogy he got me to take up comics. For those of you who don`t know, last year was a huge milestone in the history of DC Comics. They cancelled all their on-going titles and decided to start fresh with 52 new comics, hence the name `New 52`. Now all those iconic stories are starting again from issue #1. This a great time to get into the DC universe and into comics in general.
So this summer I decided to start reading the more famous titles and over the last three months I’ve managed to read around a dozen series including Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Justice League, Nightwing, Batman and Robin… so yeah I’m a Batman fan! and I wasn’t disapointed! (ok maybe a little). Almost every series I’ve read so far has been thoroughly interesting and the artwork… just wow! Now that doesn’t mean that the “new 52” were all good but if you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know that I like to be well-informed before venturing into anything new. Apparently the best comic books sites (as far as I’ve been able to find) are IGN and comicbookresources. After going over their rankings and reading a multitude of reviews of the new 52 series (and ofcourse picking up some of my favorites like Nightwing) I was able to decide on which titles to select… I’ll start by reviewing the first three I read.
The first one I read, due mostly to nostalgia, was Superman. Now I think I’ll rate these comics in three man criteria: story/plot, artwork/ costumes and characters/personalities. Superman as an overall series was… average. And I mean average in every aspect. The new series sees Superman fight some ominous looking aliens one after another and going batsh*t crazy and brawling it out with Supergirl… I know, the plot of every episode of superman, ever! The second part sees him battle a new supervillain (or it might me an old one, I don’t really know too much sadly) who’s trying to recruit Superman for his army. Again nothing new. Now while the plot isn’t exactly bad, I just wish they would have thought of something more… original. The plot was probably the weakest point of this series for me. What I always feel is that writers never emphasize the emotional aspect enough. Superman is mistaken as being superhuman and this gives him a sort of one-dimensional quality. The artwork was one of the better ones among the “new 52”. Superman looks much more modernized and the new suit is apparently kryptonian biotech… also the new costume creator seems to have a mandarin collar fetish for some reason. The disappointing thing is that the artwork isn’t nearly as consistent as I would have hoped (or maybe i’m just used to reading mangas). Lastly the characters themselves. Like I mentioned, Superman seems too one- dimensional to me. The best part of the series so far are not the fighting scenes surprisingly but the ones that deal with Clark and the alienation he feels among the humans. Lois is pretty much the same, so is Jimmy. Clark’s parents are dead in this one so can’t really say too much on that and the most interesting character by far appears to be the latest villian, Hellspot.
Next on my list was Nightwing. A personal favorite of mine (Him and Gambit). Starting from the plot… It was up and down to be honest. The new 52 universe reveals some great details about his past but sadly the plot never quiet manages to reach it’s full potential. We start off by encountering a psude-ninja (who turns out to be his long lost friend) and we see Dick Greyson go back to his roots by returning to the circus. After this follows some bizarre revelations about his parents and his past and an all out war with the Court of Owls (respect to Snyder for creating such a badass foe). The artwork… umm it’s also up and down. The artist does a great job of conveying movement and acrobatics but for some reason can’t seem to draw facial expressions. This problem keeps getting worse and in the last couple of chapters the characters look almost comical. Hell sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were happy or senile! But overall they were pretty good and same goes for the coloring…. and lastly we have the characters themselves. I was disappointing with Nightwing’s appearance to be honest. The long hair and light blue bird i’d come to love had been replaced with short hair and… red! So yes Nightwing has a red insignia this time around. His alter-ego, Dick Greyson, was also a bit of a disappointment. At times he acts like an emo teenager (especially with Bruce) and at other times he seems to adjust so fast to dramatic changes that you wonder about the rationality of his decision making. All the other characters come and go and no one really leaves behind a strong impression. The charcters are easily the weakest point of the series.
Lastly, and surprisingly my favourite, Aquaman! Even after reading the rankings and consistently finding it in the top 5 I was still apprehensive of starting… well Aquaman! but man i’m glad I did. Every aspect of this series easily outshines the other titles. The plot keeps getting more and more intriguing , we start with an attack from some foreign creatures from the trench, from there we move on to the secret of Aquaman’s trident and his surprisingly badass past. Apparently he was part of a group called “The Others” who were looking to find the ancient artifacts of Atlantis and fighting with some dude called Black Manta.
The comic is at it’s climax right now and I don’t want to reveal anything else! Now as far as the artwork goes, it’s easily the best (alongside Justice League) in my opinion. Everything from the composition to the battles to the intricate details on his trident, is impeccable. It takes me two minutes to read one page and another five to absorb the awesomeness of the artwork. To top it off Aquaman has the most well rounded characters as well. I love Mera! ( Aquaman’s wife). Aquaman is a bit of a laughing stock in the new 52 and is ridiculed quite openly. Despite this he seems more patient and determined than before (we come to understand why as more of his past is revealed). Everyone of the characters seems driven by something more here, so much so that it’s hard to define any single person as being the “villain”… Man i’m having a hard time finding faults here! Aquaman is the pick of the lot for me and probably the best starting point for anyone wanting to start getting into comics.