Friday, March 30, 2012

DC Firsts - The New 52 part 10

Welcome to the tenth installment of my look* at (most of) the first issues of DC's new 52 relaunch.

[* Reminder - I am looking at these comics with three things in mind. First, as an established reader, how do I feel about the direction and any significant changes that have been made to the characters or title in general. Second, is it new reader friendly. Third, and perhaps most importantly, is the comic good.]

Mister Terrific no .1
Eric Wallace/Gianluca Gugliotta/Wayne Faucher
Mister Terrific wasn’t on my original list of new titles that I was planning to check out. But after reading a few positive reviews on the first issue, I decided to take a look. Unfortunately, I can’t say that this issue had the same effect on me as it did the individuals who wrote those reviews.

This issue is more successful than a number of the other new 52 debut issues in that it does provide plenty of background for a new reader. We learn why Michael Holt became the super hero he is today and are given enough examples of his genius to make it clear the guy is, as he claims, the third smartest man on the planet. We are also introduced to his friend-with-benefits Karen Starr, as well as one of his business associates, Aleeka, who is definitely jealous of Karen.

I didn’t really find a whole lot in this issue to interest me (other than the fact Karen Starr was in it, though if she isn’t Power Girl, then even that interest would amount to nothing). I haven’t been a regular reader of the JSA so I’ve never really had any particular affinity for Mister Terrific, though I certainly don’t have any dislike of the character either. The story was fairly decent, though I do think perhaps Wallace tried a little too hard to impress upon the reader just how ridiculously brilliant Michael Holt is. The art was pretty good as well, but I think Gugliotta needs to work a little more on his faces. Overall, I don’t have anything negative to say about this issue. While it didn’t personally appeal to me, there isn’t any reason other readers won’t find it entertaining.

Red Hood and the Outlaws no. 1
Scott Lobdell/Kenneth Rockafort
The main reason I wanted to check out this title is Kenneth Rockafort. I’ve enjoyed his work on a couple of other series, so the fact he was tabbed as the artist on this book put it on my radar screen. I don’t really care one way or the other for Jason Todd and Roy Harper, but I do have some familiarity with Starfire from when I read the Teen Titans back in the 90s and also via her participation in the Countdown to Adventure mini-series a few years ago. Starfire alone wouldn’t have been enough to get me into this book, but Kenneth Rockafort art combined with Starfire was enough to convince me to give it a look.

Unfortunately, this isn’t really a comic book. It is more akin to the perverted fantasies of a mediocre writer who doesn’t appear to have ever grown up. If anyone at DC thought this comic was a prime opportunity to bring new readers into the fold, they were sadly mistaken. This ‘comic’ would certainly not be appropriate for any young readers who may know Starfire from the recent Teen Titans Go cartoon. And it doesn’t have any appeal for any self-respecting adult reader either. Basically the only person this comic is going to appeal to would be the real-life equivalents of Beavis and Butthead. Congratulations Scott Lobdell, you’ve created something for the lowest common denominator.

The editor on this series and everyone with any editorial responsibility up the chain should be ashamed this was considered acceptable material. It is poorly conceived and even more poorly written from beginning to end, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that a quality artist like Kenneth Rocafort was a part of it. Honestly, there is no excuse for this book ever being published. It is deplorable. The only recommendation I can give on this one is that if you were one of the unfortunate souls who purchased it, then you should roll it up and slap Scott Lobdell in the back of the head with it when you see him. In addition, you should rip the ‘comic’ up and burn it such that you never have to set eyes on it again.

Suicide Squad no. 1
Adam Glass/Federico Dallocchio/Ransom Getty/Scott Hanna
This book wasn’t on my initial list to purchase, but as with several others, I decided to go ahead and check out the first issue. I haven’t previously been a reader of Suicide Squad, though I’m familiar with the concept of the series and am aware of the various incarnations of the team. I don’t really have any favorites among past and present team members, so you could say I’m mostly indifferent to the group as a whole.

I think there is a possibility a new reader might be somewhat intrigued with this book. I say that mostly based on the cliffhanger ending. The last page of this comic is enough to potentially bring a reader back to see what happens next. Without that final page however, I think it would have been a lot harder sell to convince a new reader that this is a comic worth coming back for.

I didn’t really find a whole lot compelling about any of the characters. Certainly the changes to some of these characters (Harley Quinn in particular) were not really improvements to what we’ve known before. All in all, I just wasn’t really impressed with this issue. I didn’t think the story was especially good and the art was mostly average. Not being a Suicide Squad fan to begin with, I didn’t see anything here to change my thinking on the series as a whole. Even though the last page piqued my interest a little bit, I won’t be returning for subsequent issues.

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