Stu and the New 52...
The New 52 (when will it stop being called that!) has been a mixed bag. Many folks have panned it and will not go back to DC. I am the opposite. I started reading comics when the New 52 began. I just felt it was a way in to comics for those that do not have an extensive comic book background. I have enjoyed the ride and have read and loved many of the titles, but sadly I have dropped a good amount of titles as well. So I will now try and open up and let everyone know what I am reading, what I am not, and why.
I will start with Superman. I am reading Action Comics but I cannot say I'm really enjoying it. Starting with the New 52 stuff, I quit reading probably around issue sixteen. Grant Morrison was on the book and it just started to get a bit strange for me. Sometimes his work relies on the reader knowing the source material very well, and I do not. The artwork was pretty strong, Morales is quite good. I did pick the series back up around issue 25 because Greg Pak was coming aboard. I enjoyed his work on World War Hulk so I thought I would give it a chance. I am enjoying it more than Morrison's run, but when the new issues come out, I am not clamoring to read it. I also read the Superman series that was started by George Perez. This is one that I sadly did not enjoy and quit around issue seventeen (I quit many series around issue seventeen, I had to cut the fat out!) This series just simply was all over the place and none of those places were interesting. Keeping with the Superman theme,
I also picked up Superman Unchained. Now this series seemed like a no brainer to go down as one of the greats. Written by my favorite writer Scott Snyder and penciled by one of my favorite artists Jim lee, this book had all the potential in the world. Then I read it. The first few issues were pretty good but then all of the sudden delays started hitting the book, the story started to become extremely complicated with seemingly eight plots and ten subplots going on at once, the art started to suffer. I started hearing some criticism of the art and I couldn't believe there were people out there that didn't like Jim Lee! I started listening to what they were saying, that all his characters look the same, that every pose is with clinched teeth and clinched fists. I started noticing that he does indeed do that, and it began to bother me a bit. But still, he is a legend, Snyder is on the way to becoming a legend, and even though this series is coming to an end I still have high hopes that these talented men will end the series on a strong note.
This brings us to Batman/Superman. This is a series I will read no matter who is on the book. Their dynamic is something that always brings a smile to my face. When I was a kid, I thought these guys always got along. Why wouldn't they? Now I understand why. This series has had ups and downs for me. Greg Pak again was on the book, and this was my first introduction to Jae Lee. The early stories were wonderful, I cannot say I am a fan of the art. I enjoy details like cities in the background, background characters, things that pop out at you. Jae Lee draws the characters often as if they are statues on a base, and the backgrounds are just fog. It just does not work for me. The later issues have an arc with Toyman that isn't so wonderful, but I am still enjoying this book.
And now for Batman. I am reading and have read a ton of New 52 Batman stories: Batman, Batman: Black and White, Batman Eternal, Batman Inc, Batman and Robin, Detective Comics and Batman '66. What can I say, I love Batman! I have talked way too much about Snyder and Capullo in my posts and on the podcast, but they are easily my favorite team and they are on my favorite book. Many folks really dislike the New 52. For those folks I always recommend this book. It is leaps and bounds above anything else DC is putting out. We will be getting many more Batman stories from these two and that makes this fella quite happy! Batman Eternal has been really good. It is a weekly book and is written by a host of writers, but Snyder is the big one here. I'm not sure I am a fan of weekly books because I don't make a ton of money and these books are full price, but I like the idea that there is always a Batman book coming out every week should I choose to jump on. Batman '66 has been amazing! Who would have guessed? I love how they are finally embracing the past and writing stories that seemingly jump off the tv screens of the 60's and into our hands! And those Alex Ross covers? Wow. Batman: Black and White was pretty cool. It is a collection of mini stories in each issue, usually about four or five and they are, you guessed it, all in black and white. Some great artists and writers are represented here and I would highly recommend it to anyone! I cannot really recommend Detective Comics. That is another book I jumped off pretty early on. Batman Inc. by Grant Morrison has been completed. It was a mixed bag for me. I'm not a big fan of the art, and again, Morrison can be quite complicated. I would recommend this title to those who have read comics for thirty years, not necessarily for those who have read comics for three years. Batman and Robin started off very strong but has struggled to find it's voice after the events that happened in Batman Inc. I loved the dynamic with Damian and Bruce. I know many folks do not care for Damian but I think he is a wonderful character and brings so much to the table. Pete Tomasi is the writer on this series is really great. I just wish he had been given a better hand.
Aquaman was a title that I very much enjoyed. This one is written by Geoff Johns and is incredibly drawn by Ivan Reis. I think this is a title that would take some convincing to get others to read because, well, Aquaman. I had the same feeling, but this series is fantastic. Speaking of Johns, I am also reading Justice League and Justice League of America. Jim Lee pencils the former and Finch on the latter. Both of these teams work well. The early stories were the best. When they started to go into the events, that is where they lost me a bit. The Trinity Wars was pretty good, but then Forever Evil started and it just wasn't for me. I like how the JLA is set up to be a team that can put the Justice League in check. I do wish some of these characters were in the regular Justice League title, most notably Martian Manhunter. I love how Johns has put Wonder Woman and Superman together as a couple. I look forward to seeing how this will play out!
The final two titles that I read in the New 52 were Nightwing and Talon. Nightwing is written by Kyle Higgins who is another writer that I really enjoy. The early issues involved Grayson going back to the circus and dealing with his demons a bit and reconnecting with old friends. It was fantastic. I looked forward to every issue. They then tried to tie in Nightwing with Death of the Family and that is when I stopped reading. It just didn't grab me. Now the series has been cancelled and they are changing up Grayson and not for the better, in my humble opinion. The last title I read was Talon. I didn't stick with this one very long, and it has also been cancelled. It was written by Snyder and had an intriguing man character. He was an assassin that escape the from the Court of Owls. It started out pretty strongly but then after about issue five, I dropped it.
So there you go folks, a look inside the mind of Stuart! As you can see, I'm big on the caped superheroes. I may one day venture into the lesser known titles one day, but for now, this is what I am into. I am always looking for new books to read. If you have any suggestions for other DC titles that I need to be reading, let me know! I will be writing about my Marvel pull list on my next post and I hope you guys enjoy it!