A year in review: Metal 2014

ust a small list of records that I bought during 2014 and my thoughts on each, in no particular order:

Mastodon; Once more 'round the sun

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Thoughts: Mastodon, to me, is a band that is more interesting to me to listen to based on how they play rather than the feeling I get from most of the other stuff; I want to pay attention when it's on rather than jump around. And Once is certainly worthy of all the praise it gets for the techincal achievement, because it's brilliant and diverse and certainly worth listning to.

Standout tracks: Tread Lightly, Feast Your Eyes


Judas Priest; Redeemer of Souls

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Thoughts:A return to form as some will call it after what some considered a disappointment in Nostradamus (not me, Nostradamus was what got me hooked on Priest), Redeemer of Souls is straight up classic heavy metal with all the guitar soloes, sword waving, mythological creatures and strange saviours you'd expect to find on a Priest record. And despite most of the guys having now been playing since the 70'ties and replaced a legendary guitarist, the record bears no real marks of age, perhaps to do with new man Ritchie Faulkner whom Halford likes to credit for keeping them going now. Redeemer is a great record in all respects save that it's hardly a reinvention... but hey, it's worked for them for so long, why change?

Standout tracks: Battle Cry, Sword of Damocles, Halls of Valhalla


Motörhead; Aftershock

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Thoughts: From a band that hasn't changed much, to one that hasn't changed at all for nearly as long we have had Motörhead, as ever with Lemmy at the helm despite a close encounter with death during the past year. And as always the trio delivers on the front of heavy rhythms coupled with lyrics about death, guns and evil women. There is no change to the formula here, but thats pretty much Lemmy in a nutshell. And the recent Grammy nomination for Heartbreaker just proves again to them that their formula works (not that they really care about winning, it's about proving a point).

Standout tracks: Heartbreaker, Death Machine, Queen of the Damned


Triptykon: Melana Chasmata

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Thoughts: Now this was something new for me, as frontman Tom G. Warrior is a bit of a legend within extreme metal, but a guy I never heard of or had any experience with any of the bands he's been in. Which is why I was genuinely delighted in my dark heart that this offering from Triptykon is fuking awesome, as dark and creepy as patron H. R. Geiger's paintings on the cover really while married with thunder and force that will crush your head under the weight. This is another great record for me and I will be looking for these guys (and gal).

Standout tracks: Aurorae, Tree of Suffocating Souls, Boleskine House


Note: H. R. Geiger passed away in 2014 some months after the release of the record. Rest in peace, father of the Xenomorphs and countless nightmares on canvas.

Iron Maiden; Powerslave

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Thoughts: Iron Maiden is to me a bit of a mystery, it has all the same things that make stuff like Judas Priest appealing to me, but Maiden has never really caught my ear. Only other record I own prior to this one is Final Frontier, which had some appeal but not much as individual tracks were a bit too long and 'light' for me. So I tried going retro when I heard more seasoned listeners had found Frontier a bit of a misfire. And this is where I am going to get into trouble with Maiden fans... because I sadly couldn't hear much of a difference between the two and there is just something about Bruce's voice that bores me. His voice soars, granted, as every track is meant to grab 100.000 people in a stadium (which he aims to do), but it might be that it soars that kinda makes me feel he speaks over me rather than at me that does it, or it might be that I can't detect any edge or brute force in that soaring. So at the end of it, I can't see myself getting any deeper into this mastodon of metal.

Standout tracks: 2 Minutes to Midnight, Aces High

Dark Fortress; Venereal Dawn

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Thoughts: Dark Fortress is the enduring legacy of me having played the game Brütal Legend, and damn happy I am that the game included a track from a previous album, because this 2014 offering is effing brutal and effing awesome on most tracks. Unlike Mastodon, Fortress is a band I listen to for the feeling the record evokes, since the lyrics are nearly incomprehensible and dealing with subject matter that deals mostly in apocalyptic themes before ascension to some higher form of being. Compared to their other records it's sorta in the middle for me, the last track ruins much of the pondus the rest of the record carries, but overall I consider it well worth the money.

Standout tracks: Lloigor, Luciform


Disturbed: Ten Thosand Fists

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Thoughts: Like Iron Maiden, this was purchased primarily to sate my own curiosity since quite a few people had mentioned the band around me, so in I went and left with Tryptikon. Despite this, I have found Fists to be a quite enjoyable record worthy of a few singalongs when I trundle around in my car. It's not epic, not super dark or anything like that, it's the appeal of imagining seeing this played live during the summer and everyone else (as drunk as they will be) will be singing along if they aren't trying to trample each other. I used to think Disturbed was just some less successful cousin to Slipknot that primarily appealed to easily distracted teenagers, but I am happy to say this is not the case, and thank fuck for that, because I can't stand Slipknot :)

Standout tracks: Ten Thousand Fists, Sons of Plunder, Deify


Behemoth; The Satanist

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Thoughts: This was the second happy first in my year, while it initially slipped me by, as Behemoth wasn't a name that compelled me to give it a go, the numerous 'best of year' appearances the Poles made at the end of the year however did (and because I was looking for something new). And what I found was a delightfully satanic gem that marries heavy sound with rhythm and lyrics that would make parents toes curl because the praising of satan is often done with vocals clear enough to hear it properly. I imagine Behemoth is actually the band faith-strong parents think acts like Slayer and Marilyn Manson are, which I think is hilarious.

Standout tracks: The Satanist, O Father O Satan O Sun, Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer


Finally: Things I am still wondering if I'll ever buy:

In Flames; Siren Charms (purely a result of their records becoming less and less 'metal' as time as passed on with the last one being a massive disappointment)

Lacuna Coil; Broken Crown Halo (a consequence of the tracks I do have from them are frequently skipped over in search of heavier stuff on my playlist)


The Stars of the New 52

So last night a man i respect pointed out how negative I had turned a conversation with him regarding the state of DC and the New 52, to try and correct that a bit I will try and make a list of the stuff books and ideas that I think has been good in the New 52, here two weeks after its two year anniversary. Just to make it a bit special I will be comparing entries with music references that may not be entirely accurate :)

In reverse order:

The Billboard Charts: (Things that I hear good things about, but isn't into myself)

Batman-mythos: Despite my own feeling of the franchise being stretched too wide and is perhaps a little too influential on the rest of the DCU. I can't deny that Batman is an entity that's still going strong in the world of comics. It has a great primary architect in Scott Snyder who continues to build on the elaborate world of the Dark Knight and get everyone excited for his work. Also, it is hard not to notice that so far, the Batman-family of books is the only one that's not cancelled a single book which has to count for something.

Events: One of the things I dreaded would follow in the wake of Flashpoint was a Marvel-esque tendency to go from earthshaking event to earthshaking event with little downtime between them, things didn't look well when Night of Owls, the Culling and Rotworld started loom on the horizon. But I was happy to notice that all of those books were limited in how far they spread in the DCU and the first really big event has now arrived in the shape of Forever Evil, which I hope will serve as a way to tie many of the fractured elements of the DCU together a little.

Equality: Probably much higher on other similar lists, but doesn't really apply to me personally; the DCU seems like a much more diverse place than before. More characters have been changed from being white to people of color and quite a few others have come out of the closet, which I feel is for the best. Comic's like the rest of pop culture should reflect the society that surrounds it. It's not perfect yet, but it's a step on the way.

Fading Stars: (Stuff I liked, but have started to fade)

Animal Man/Swamp Thing: At the start of the New 52 I really adored these two, they had great and very unusual art and the story was rock solid and I was really looking forwards to the meeting between Animal Man and Swamp Thing. My trouble with them however began when the two books were about halfway through Rotworld, where I realized I just wanted them to hurry up and get to Arcane instead of having to stop and see how everyone else had been turned into a zombie. Currently I am hoping Soule can save my interest in Swamp Thing with his curious ideas, which remain with the introduction of the Whiskey Tree-story and the upcoming Burgher Thing. Animal Man is currently digging a little too much into the grieving thing for me and I am waiting for Buddy to move on from that.

Creative experimentation: One of the greatest strengths of the New 52 at launch was its diversity in titles, you had your standard fare superheroics in Justice League, you had medieval fantasy with Demon Knights, you had weird as hell horror in Milligans Justice League Dark, kids with capes in Young Justice and even an alien stripper in Voodoo. DC has to their credit tried to continue the experimentations, with some books doing better than others, but I feel that this willingness is slowly drying out, mostly because many of the most recent new books have been 'safe bets', like Superman/Wonder Woman, Batman/Superman and the Snyder/Lee Superman Unchained and most of the experiments have since been cancelled. I hope I am wrong, but I think the next experiments will only arrive after Forever Evil have run its course.

Creative teams: Like with the books themselves, the New 52 had a huge amount of diverse creators coming on board, ensuring that there was nearly a guarantee that there was something for everyone. Today, things are a little more uniform, many creators have departed for various reasons and currently most of what's left are sorta in the same vein, which is a shame. But if hiring the likes of China Mieville for assignments are still in the plans, I am looking forwards to it.

Rock on!: (Things that were good, and have stayed that way)

Same day as print: As a man who lives in a country where superhero comics have mostly faded into obscurity to the general public, I can't tell you how much of a difference it has been for me that I can have comics to read on the same day as they are released. See, if I didn't have this access, I would have to travel 200km to get to a store and back again at a gas price at roughly 2$ a liter. And this has generally meant that I don't have to wait 4-6 months for a digital release (as it used to be), I don't have to trade wait or wait a month and a half for DC's subscription service that might get lost on the way :S I am not even bothered by the fact that the price of a digital is the same as that of a physical copy, we are paying for the story and not the paper it's been printed on anyway. And due to my current situation and Comixology's release schedule, it means that I can now read my comics before most Americans have gotten out of bed :D

Unusual visuals: This is a personal view of mine, that the visuals of comics doesn't need to be set in stone, which means I tend to gravitate towards books that feature artists that have a unique way to portray the story. Artists like the stylistic Cliff Chiang, hyper-stylistic Jay Lee, the unusual layouts of Yanick Paquette and W. Haden Blackman, along with the sheer beauty done by Mikel Janin and Nicola Scott can get me interested in whatever stories they are doing from now on and I hope DC can keep finding artist like them in the future. This is not to say that I find other DC artists bad, it is just that they give me what I expect to find in a comic book, and I like to be surprised.

The Dark: For me, the Dark family of books has been the greatest success of the New 52, having given me more great books to read than all of the other families combined. Sure, quite a few of them have been cancelled due to low sales, but I am talking about great stories and not sales. The likes of Dial H, Frankenstein and Demon Knights may no longer be with us, but none can take away that have have been amongst the greatest stories of the New 52 and the rest of the line appears to remain strong and Dark.

Rising Stars: (Things on it's way up for me)

Ray Fawkes: It's dawned on me that Fawkes is a man to keep an eye on as he is currently crafting the tales of both Constantine and Pandora, both of which I am nurturing a growing interest in.

J. M. DeMatteis: I may be a latecomer to this comic-veterans work, and possibly missed out on his best offerings, but so far he has been doing all the right things to keep my interest. He's given the Phantom Stranger a proper direction, where the book was interesting but meandering under Didio, time will have to tell how long it lasts after Trinity War/Forever Evil. Also he is taking over on JLD from Jeff Lemire later this year, which I hope will mean the books regains a bit of the dark weirdness of Milligan that faded a bit under Lemire.

Robert Venditti: When the change from Paul Cornell to Robert Venditti came to Demon Knights, I was concerned, I had never heard of Robert before, and Cornell had launched Demon Knights as one of the most entertaining books being put out by DC and I worried that it would change. It didn't, it actually just got much better and the book just became stronger under his pen. I may not care about Green Lantern, but I am keeping my eye on Robert from now on.

Superstars: (Stuff that's still riding high)

Batwoman: While not a book I have been following since it launched, or re-launched for that matter, I can't deny that this is one of the greatest books DC is currently producing and the Bat-family book thats been the closest to get my to invest in it. It has a strong story direction, the artwork is phenomenal and the characters are believable and I appreciate that it has so far almost stubbornly refused to take part in whatever major troubles the rest of the Bat-wearers have been involved in during the past two years.

Wonder Woman: Before Flashpoint, I wasn't terribly interested in Wonder Woman, I knew her backstory, I'd read a few of her tales, but to me she was a character that was getting dragged down by the inability of DC to keep her in a straight line. Every time a new writer came on, the supporting cast was changed, the tone was changed, Diana would be moving to a new city and at least one pre-COIE's trinket would get dragged back into mainstream continuity. Many of those trends haven't changed with Azzarello and Chiang taking over the book. But this is by far the most interesting Wonder Woman tale I have ever read, everyone in it is a character with their own personality and mannerisms, the visuals are stunning and the story has real gravitas. Also like with Batwoman, I appreciate that this book isn't letting itself be influenced by the presence of the rest of the DCU, it's out there and everyone in the book knows it, but this is Diana's tale and she is the one best equipped to handle it. Azzarello's take with Morrisons Wonder Woman Earth One tale, I am convinced the 2010's is going to be the decade of Wonder Woman and I am looking forwards to what the future brings the current Goddess of War.



The New 52, whats good and whats not. Month 3.

So, the #3 issue of everything monthly under the New 52 header has been released with this latest batch and i though it might be good to share my thoughts, rancid and saintly alike, on the stuff I've been looking into.

Week 1 releases:

Action Comics: So far our favorite Kansas farmboy continues to intrigue me in this 5 Years Ago tale about how Superman became the symbol he is in today's DC landscape; the story about the struggling superhero is solid and the art is beautiful and I am still waiting eagerly for the next issue.

Animal Man: I'll admit I didn't know what to expect when I first picked this one up, other than it had gotten the A+ stamp from a dozen people, and honestly, I was blown away by it as well. And it continues to do so with the tale of a man who is a pawn in a bigger game and has just learned his youngest child is more than she seems. Added it superb art that invokes probably the weirdest feeling out of any book I've ever read.

Detective Comics: While it is true that 'Tec is more or less the Batman story we expect, it still does it so well that we really couldn't ask for more since Batman usually soars over most other books.

Red Lanterns: Where Millgan succeeds in one book, he fails in another, this sadly is the fate of Red Lanterns. A book that could so easilly be DC's version of the Hulk where we open it and expect anger, stuff getting broken and plasma vomit in huge amounts and what do we get? Atrocitus sulking away while talking to his dead guardian buddy about his role in the universe. While I don't mind relatively base characters getting depth added to them, I'd rather have it weaved in between action scenes, like if Atrocitus was fighting to not let his rage consume him but quite often loosing that struggle. Also I'm not that much in favor of how the Red Lanterns are handled, they a mindless because Atrocitus wants them to be, rather than them simply being insane with rage and he having reached a rage singularity where he is so hyper angry that he can think (like the Joker and his insanity).

Week 2 releases:

Deathstroke: At the moment I am only picking this up in hopes of finding out how much of NTT remains, which seems to be revealed later on according to whats been released. But reading this books isn't a highlight for me, violence is cranked up to 11, plot is...well its about Slade proving a point by hacking people apart by the dozens, most of which appears to be nowhere near him in terms of skill. And that nothing seems to be even a remotely credible threat to him, even the named bad guys are dismembered in short order, which leaves this title mostly a forgettable affair for me.

Demon Knights: Now this is a fun title for me to read, because I admit I do like me some swords and sorcery over bullet and plasma showers. So far the characters are fun to read, altered as some of them are (I am not joking when I say Vandal Savage is comedy relief). First two were blazing action that might blast past one at first pass before you knew it was there, but #3 slows down for some more detailing of the people involved.

Superboy: First of the YJ-Trinity of books...not impressed. Partially this is due to the changes in personality from the Superboy I used to know and like to something I can best describe as a controller thats woken up in a Superboy body and is only gradually figuring out how it actually works, leading to some situations were I really wished that a moderator would wake the guy up and give him an instruction manual...or Superboy would get his rear kicked. Also, as a fan of X-23, I see a particular disturbing pattern in the entire setting; Superboy stands in for Laura, NOWHERE stands in for the Facility, Rose Wilson stands in for Kimura (just less brutal) and Fairchild is what we get if take Laura's mother and gives her She-Hulks powers. So all in all, this title read to me as "Imagine Superboy growing up as X-23." Only a few names swapped out and a few tweaks in personalities.

Week 3 releases:

Catwoman: I really like this title, both visually (which has its fair share of humor if you look closely) and so far about the story regarding the care-free cat-burglar thats suddenly faced with the prospect that stealing from people might make them a little angry and be prepared to do something about it.

Justice League: A slow burner, thats for sure, teams not even fully assembled yet. But besides that, this 'first meeting' story isn't really appealing to me. It's fine to see them at an earlier stage in their careers, but seeing them like this makes me want to roll up a newspaper and slap a few of them over the head with it. Hal and Barry in particular because of their constant ability to be totally surprised about anything, one is a space cop, the other moves at hyper speed, the both know theres a Superman in Metropolis and yet they are knocked off their feet that there is in fact a Batman, and not a vampire. Moving on Bat's and Supes act with their usual senses intact, mostly, though Batman isn't Morrison-level of cool. And then theres Wonder Woman, who's appeared in #3...from her appearance so far, I wonder if Johns/Lee got their scripts mixed up with someone else's, because she really reminds me of the animated Starfire in her level of nativity...and thats not what I care to see in WW. Finally theres Cyborg, saved by his fathers hard work...not any more, Silas now takes a random chance and stuffs Victor into a suit of armor STAR Labs had lying around and hope for the best.

Speaking frankly, this isn't the great introduction story you want, even as a complete DC virgin, none of the character act like they do in JL when you look at their solo titles, not even Morrisons Superman from Action Comics (who seems to be even further back in time than JL). Now, a good example of how to introduce a new audience to your characters, is Bruce Timm's Justice League. There we had a bunch of characters coming together to fight off an alien invasion, we knew who and how Batman and Superman were supposed to be, but all of the others were pretty much blank slates. And as an audience, we really only needed 2min of them to know what they were about and when the series ended, they hadn't really changed. Not to mention, Timm's WW was naive but she didnt come across as stupid, which Johns succeeds in.

Red Hood & the Outlaws: 2nd book of the YJ-Trinity. While I really hate whats been done to Starfire, I still have stuck my nose into all 3 issues so far in hopes Lobdell would actually and...so far its purely a Todd-tastic story, Roy and Kory are just background filler that throw jokes at each other. #1 received its fair share of hatred from me because of the ham-handed handling of Starfire, yeah, there may have been 3 weeks passing between rescuing Roy till she decided he was good bumping material to ease her boredom (or whatever), but it would have been a better sell if Lobdell had waited till after the first mission at least before they got busy, since we could at least say it was because she enjoyed being on an adventure with Roy. Its like a movie to me really, usually sex between main characters happen at the middle to the latter half of the movie where the audience has had a chance to understand why these two characters will do so. What RH&O has done is putting the sex around 20min into the movie, where no one has really has a clue why 2 strangers would start jumping around on each other. #3 comes in second as the worst of this, since it tells us how much these people need to be in therapy more than anything else by having us see their most 'cherished' memories. Todd throws his away given the chance (which is really odd since his is the only nice one), Roy's tells us how pathetic he was at one point (so sad that even a normally ruthless killer wouldn't kill him) and finally Starfire's tells us how little of the old Starfire actually remains, see the old one was all about emotions, friendship and loyalty, her most cherished memory would have been of her youth with her parents or her time with the Titans, this new one however is about blowing the head of a Citadellian that actually seemed interested in showing her kindness. Though it seems this book has it's fans, this is one of the titles i really hope fails, gets rewritten and made into something where I can recognize the characters.

Wonder Woman; And in contrast to John's 5 years ago WW, we have Azzarello/Chiang WW, that so far kicks the ass of most titles out there. We first meet Diana as she is surprised to find a stranger in her bedroom. Turns out the girl had some nightly fun with old man Zeus and is now carrying his latest offspring, earning her the dubious joy of being put on top of Hera's, Zeus' wife, personal hit list. And Diana wishes to help this person after taking one look at a key Zola was given by Hermes. Now as they have returned to Paradise Island, Diana is in for a few surprised of her own, which you may have heard about by now. Overall the story is solid, Zola is understandably completely out of her habitat when surrounded by centaurs, bird-men and warrior women. Diana really does come across as a real person rather than an ideal no one can live up to, she's got wit, she's got a dry sense of humor and a temper, while she genuinely has a good heart and now we know it is the good heart that drives her heroics rather than a divine commandment. As for the changes in her origins I will only say this; good stuff. Basically it changes nothing in the past as no one was the wiser back then, while giving Azzarello a whole new thing to play around with; Diana's relatives. The Amazons themselves also seem to have fallen off the marble pedestal they had been sitting on since creation, there seems to be no mix of ancient greek and super-science anymore and really, thats a bonus since it takes away the question why you'd use a bow when you could have a plasma rifle. Whats left is a scruffier version of the Amazons, now living in a Themyscira more suited to remain hidden than the old one and appearance they are less 'roman-epic' than they are King Arthur. The gods themselves have also received an overhaul, making them less human and so far more interesting, Hermes has a face that would scare the dung out of you if you found him leaning over you at night. Hera is more in the way she acts, as the deity of marriages she's setting clear and bloody examples of why a marriage is to be respected, especially if its her husband thats involved.Strife, as Eris, is now known is actually both fun and malicious in a way, clearly demonstrating the difference between gods and mortals. She shows up, has the Amazons kill a dozen of each other, then practically dances around on the graves for her own amusement while the Amazons are pretty much left to shake their fists at her and hopes she gets bored eventually and goes away. All in all, its a title thats well worth reading, unless you are so stuck up on the clay birth that you can do nothing but scream at his.

Week 4 releases:

Green Lantern: New Guardians; I picked this up mostly out of curiosity to see how Kyle was doing in this world were John now decided on his origins. And thankfully, he is doing well for the 5min he has before he gets sought out by a multitude of rings from other Corps and then swamped by angry members from these Corps that are under the impression that he stole them (generally resulting in the deaths of the former wielders). And now the hunt is on for Rayner, who think his usual best Guardian buddy Ganthet can help him sort it all out...but no, the other Guardians seemed to finally had enough of his free spirit and lobotomized him before falling back on their own logic and deducting that Rayner must be a new form of evil. (You know, for some of the oldest sentient beings around, the Guardians are incredibly flawed). And here is to hoping that the little blue munchkins get a sound whopping by the New Guardians...if they don't kill each other before that.

Justice League Dark: While I know some people aren't too happy about Zatanna being turned into a borderline basket case, I really like this title, so far there isn't much of a team as opposed to a collection of damaged people who have to deal with an even more damaged person. And to think this is the same person who gave us the mostly forgettable Secret Seven :)

Teen Titans: Last of the YJ-Trinity of books, under Krul it was the high note of my comic month, now it just one disappointment after another. Mostly this is because, like Starfire and Superboy, I cant see the characters I used to like in this version. Cassandra is pretty much pre-boot Rose Wilson with a thing for stealing old stuff. Tim is...not Tim, guy is overly reckless about keeping his secret ID a secret since his unmasked face is pretty much everywhere while insisting on being called Red Robin at the same time by his fellow teenagers, and this is the guy who used to be closest to Bruce in terms of prep and caution out of all the Robins. Bart is, well he's Bart, but its a Bart from a time I'd hoped was forgotten where he comes across as an idiot with superspeed and a good heart. Soltice really was too young a character to warrant the visual overhaul she's received, and it was unneeded to begin with really since she didn't look like anyone else (unlike Tim who went from looking like Dr. Mid-Night to Falcon). Bunker and Skitter (or Skittels as i prefer) really haven't had enough face time for me to decide on them...other than Bunker from the start falls into a category I don't have any fondness for, since I find them annoying. But other than the character butchering of the older ones, this book could have been fun and enjoyable. But I am hurled out of the enjoyment when I end up thinking "Wth, Cassandra is going to bat-interrogate someone?!" Or "Why is Tim so damn reckless, didn't Batman teach him anything?!" And finally; "Where's Deathstroke to shoot off Barts knee when you want him?" So in short, it would have been a good book, if it only featured completely new characters.

What books do I recommend out of this pile?

Week 1 is a tie between Action Comics and Animal Man

Week 2 has Demon Knights as the clear winner, as the other two have serious things going against them

Week 3 Wonder Woman by a large margin

Week 4 is Justice League Dark week as I mentioned I like sorcery and the tone, while GL:NG is in close pursuit.

Dunce position: Can really only be given to Lobdell for rewriting the personalities of just about every single character he holds sway over, which is not what this fan wants...not to mention the ripping off Marvel's X-Men and other characters is by now nothing short of shameless.

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The New 52, what was good and what was not.

Not used to blog so bear with me if you are reading this and think it will come off unlike other bloggers.
At the time of writing the New 52 released the last batch of #1 comics and one other point of noteworthiness and I have invested in a bunch of books via' ComiXology because I still think its atrocious that subscribers are being punished for paying in advance for a product we may not like...anywho.
Week 1: Like a 'few' others, I got hold of a copy of Justice League #1 and Flashpoint #5 as they were the cop-out replies from DC whenever they were asked about the reboot at Cons and in interviews. 
First up, Flashpoint #5 suffered in advance of the New 52, as its story would be mostly written out of continuity when the last page was turned, however it suffered on the inside as well for partially being just a big slug fest and for its ending that means we can point at Barry for any changes we don't like in the New 52; because he fouled up. And the end with Batman, some hailed it as sweet/awsome, I thought it was needless and a little out of character for Bruce to just buy it all like that (this is Mr. Paranoid after all).
Justice League #1; Let me just say from the start that I am not buying stuff just because Johns put his name on it as he can make a mess as easily as he can strike gold and the who reboot just sounds like the 'Geoff-conning' that's become his unintentional hallmark. Anyways, there are better ways to introduce a reader (and a rebooted universe) to a team book than Justice League #1, that is mostly Batman and Green Lantern arguing with each other, two of the other members appear briefly. I get why Batman is there, but after the mauling GL got in the summer theatres...lets just say I'd have preferred him showing up later as a 'Bat-picked' potential. Finally this issue does not quell the nervous little voice in my head complaining about how the coming JL membership of Cyborg (possibly a founder) will potentially ruin the origins of NTT. Overall however it wasnt a bad read, but it wasnt the WOW one could have hoped for.
Week 2: During this week marked something of a landmark for me as I read an interview with Grant Morrison and immediately felt intrigued enough to get his Action Comics along with 'Tec as the two primary titles of interest while taking some peeks into other titles that seemed interesting. 
Action Comic; Let me say I've forgiven Morrison for giving us a little twerp with a chip on his shoulder when I read Action Comics #1, because I found that Superman was alot more interesting here than he used to be where nothing short of plot devices were really a threat to him (the amount of Kryptonite on Earth in the past was down right silly, planet explodes millions of lightyears away and Earth has hundreds of tons of the green space rock). Also I found it nice to see him as a rougher hero who's not a superstar that people rely on, yet. 
Detective Comics; It is a bit like Action, but to a lesser degree as Batman is still Batman, even here while he still seems to think he can work out the Joker's pattern. Also that last image was quite simply wicked.
JLI; Picked it up to see if it was anything like Winick's Brightest Day JLI, positive thing is that it mostly is as most of the team returns and that Booster is back in Glory-Hound/Idiot mode which is what I think is the better suit for him rather than the 'secret time-cop who plays dumb' that's been built over the last years (just seemed like a strange fit for him). Negative thing is that the BD:JLI is again getting played by 'higher powers' without them knowing it...but as Batman is around I'm sure it will dawn on them soon enough...along with Guy Gardner's moon.
Men of War: I'll be quite honest I bought this title for the symbol on the cover, as it shares imagery with my favourite character, as I have no prior understanding or interest in Rock or any US Marines. Unfortunately neither goals were fulfilled here as the symbol had nothing on it and the book only really left me wondering why I should care about Rock.
Batgirl: Read it to see why this version of Barbara should be so vastly superior to her wheelchair-bound past self that some people just couldnt shut up about her being in the chair was grossly offensive to just about anyone with a working brain (search through the DC Batgirl forums to see what I mean). The result...disappointment really, why she is walking is explained in one box as a 'miracle' and now she freezes at the sight of a gun pointed at her. I can understand if her Batgirl fans might not think this was the epic comeback they wished for her, I certainly didn't get why it was so imperative for her to walk again to be likeable or capable. But then again my sight might be colored by my like for her Oracle days where her brains and not her brawn was the 'superpower' and that I preferred Cain as Batgirl more than the other two.
Stormwatch; Read it to see why J'onn was sent here and not remain on the JL...but that wasn't answered, along with a lot of other stuff really. (Like how Midnighter could KO J'onn with a touch or why Apollo would want to talk to him anymore than them.)
Swamp Thing; Heard alot about how epic it was when Moore wrote it, but it was mostly a Brightest Day aftermath issue, but it might be interesting later on.
Week 2:  Primary titles included Red Lanterns, Superboy and Demon Knights.
Red Lanterns, as most will know, is what you get when Hulk is granted a Lantern ring so going into this title you will expect smashing, rage, blood-puke and more rage. And what did we get...Atrocitus sulking about the meaning of his rage now that Krona is dead...and when was the last time you'd read a Hulk comic where all he does is sulk? (Thats Banners job). Disappointing first shot, but I hope for better.
Superboy; Curiosity drove me here as Lobdell had accumulated a fair bit of scepticism from me with his rather juvenile way of answering questions (never seen as many LOL's! since I stopped playing WoW). Good thing is that the book is interesting as Superboy's past in the Cadmus labs used to be a completely blacked out area. bad thing is that I am uncomfortably reminded about X-23's origin series. Secret organisation crating clones of heroes they want to control (albeit with different purposes in mind) and have their eyes set on more, both have one female handler that's not a nice person (though I doubt Rose will be beating Conner into the ground whenever he gets home), are both measured against their moulds by computer simulations. And both have only one person in their vicinity that considers them more than 'it's'.
Demon Knight; I'm hooked on Etrigan whenever he shows his ugly mug, so this title was a must. While it did come close to the same flaw as Johns and Lee's JL by not properly introducing the team, we do get most of their names and we were also treated to seeing a baby getting blown up and no one cared and dragons crashing an Inn containing a 'Jolly Giant' Vandal Savage.
Batman & Robin/Green Lantern: Peeked into these just to confirm that nothing has changed for these titles, as they read like nothing happened between #1 and the issue before. And while I dont have a huge spot in my heart for Hal, seeing him as an ass was sort of pleasing, since it confirmed my own view of him :)
Deathstroke; Took a look at this because I wanted to see why Mr. Badass needed a solo-title to make the overhyping of it even worse. And, I didn't get why this confirmed anything...other than Slade having a broom stick for a spine. Art did nicely to make him look imposing when out of costume tho.
Week 3: Primaries; Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Batman, Catwoman and New Teen Titans: Games.
Wonder Woman, most risky title of the Trinity as her fans quickly turn rancid when its not to their liking, while being unable to say what the 'definitive WW' is and some were uneasy with the 'horro book' mention. However, I was extremely happy that I got this as my version of WW remains intact and the visuals are good, reminding me mostly of Hellboy, which i always thought was visually interesting.
Nightwing, picked this to see if any mention of his past friends were to be found as I knew most of his bat-back story would remain intact. And the title delivers, but not the past of friends I was hoping for. And it was nice to see him as himself again and not pretending to be Bruce.
Batman, for the novelty mainly...however it, like the other Bat-books, were just business-as-usual with nothing that seemed different, other than the wierd differences in height and builds of the 3 Robins (especially in Dicks case).
Catwoman; because I like Selina and because I have faith in Judd not being as bad as some people claim he is. What I got was a fun book I am looking forwards to seeing again.
New Teen Titans: Games; not a New 52 title and actually an Elseworlds title at best, however that does not mean that this whammer of a book was by far the best thing I've read in years. Take the New Teen Titans, add their superstar writer and artist from the 80's, give them enough space and you will have a book that kicks anything Johns has ever made right out of the pool. Nostalgia ofc has a heavy hand in my praise, but dont let that fool you, the story has a good rapid pace as we follow our heroes in their attempts to stop a terrorist before the bomb goes off while at the same time leaving us as hungry as Nightwing to discover who the real bandit is and what his plan is. Heck, this even made me temporaily made me forget how much I hated Danny Chase. Also this was book offered a strange contrast to what I had yet to read this month...  
Red Hood & the Outlaws; Initially I picked this up to see how the new version of Starfire and Roy would hold up in this new world. And in the start I was a bit surprised to see the red headed runt that was supposed to be Roy appear held in a prison for trying to overthrow the government. But not to worry, Deadpo...of sorry, Jason Todd appears and the two of them pretty much kills every one of the guards despite their tactically poor position. Out they go, share a few buddy jokes before a platoon of tanks appear to spoil their fun, fortunately for the pair of man-children, Jason has something else thats fun, she's called; Starfire. Fun regarding Starfire here should be taken as sarcasm as the new Koriand'r, warrior princess from Tamaran, has nothing other than the visuals that should appeal to her fans that can see past them. First thing was to give her goldfish memory regarding humans, meaning she doesn't remember (or want to remember) her time with the Titans (which happened), robbing the old character of the incredible levels of loyalty she had regarding her friends. Secondly, her visuals have been played up and merged with a fan-boy's wet dream to have her swing from one guy's bed to another while being stone cold the entire time. After that midpoint, the rest of the issue was downed in my disgust and my worry for Lobdells last title.
Week 4: Primaries; Teen Titans, Justice League Dark, Superman and Green Lantern: New Guardians.
Teen Titans, the one I was worried about after the Starfire-incident last week...thankfully though, it's more like Superboy and the two titles are destine to mash later on. While the issue was decent, I am again having that thought that I am reading and X-Men book disguised as Teen Titans...or should I say Young Justice, because there is only background appearances of past Titans that were not a part of YJ. My problems begin with the setting as I think X-Men deserves to keep the 'hunted and hated' setting that's the curse of being a mutant in Marvel. TT were always popular in the DC world, cities gladly let them plop down their massive missile target in their rivers and such, but now TT is riding the mutant line of facing a public and a media who's demanding them to stop or be stopped. Then there's the changes to characters; some mourned its loss, but I thought it was a plus that Bart had his kneecap blown off forcing him grow up, that progress however is now lost as Bart is once again worthy of hitting with a rolled up newspaper. Tim has changed the least, but he is a Bat, but he is more reckless (how many people do you think were lost in the penthouse explosion?). Cassandra has also been changed, back to how I saw her being written by Felicia Henderson, where she could bite Superboy's head off in one panel before coming apart in worry over him the next, now it just Tim getting his head bitten off by her, when she is not hiding behind a car door at the sight of him or a cop or when she's ripping a helicopter apart with her bare hands. I have to give Booth some credit for the art however as I again like his work better than the writers...but then I am reminded how the guy acts. 
Superman; Perez' Superman has to follow up on Morrison's 'Early Days Superman' which is a daunting perspective...mainly due to St. Morrison, but this is St. Perez and I am happy to say it was a good read, slightly nostalgic as Perez still uses a 3rd person text boxes to speak while no one else is while throwing old school description methods around "Flying faster than a speeding bullet!" And I do like that the Daily Planet has come into the modern day, though it threatens its print with the digital media, much to Clarks annoyance...which is actually another thing I like; Superman/Clark Kent is angry and upset about a very common thing; changes to his world, in the shape of a 'Rupert Murdoc' acquiring the Planet, print is slowly dying and that Lois doesn't understand him...and that she's seeing someone else. I like this, because I find it hard to relate to his previously dominating issues about being the last of his kind and all that. Perez isn't Morrison, and both books are great, but both for the same and different reasons.
Green Lantern:NG; Picked this up to see how Kyle was doing as I do like the guy better than any of the other GL's, what I got however was some back story, one kid I cant help to think of as a Geoff John's impersonation and a hilarious ending where everyone of the cast is pointing an accusing fiver at him for something he has no obvious hand in.
JLD: I'm drawn to supernatual titles like a ghoul to a graveyard, so I had to read this, despite the disappointed taste in my mouth Milligan left with Secret Seven, where every character was either insane, an imbecile, a jerk or eventually dead. And in a way JLD reminds me a lot of SS, as weird shite is happening, so weird in fact that the League pulls out and several damaged people are sent in to handle it. And I am interested to see where this goes as all of the members of the JLD are obviously damaged goods (SPOILERS) Shade is so lonely he makes up a women to break it, starting to talk with her about a future between them before being called away. Zatanna is dealing with something that apparently means Batman wont let her out of his sights, he did mention she was still not stable. Constantine has problems with his rent, but i am sure there are other things weighting down on the trench-coat wearing brit than that. Madam Xanadu is doing some kind of drug to shut down her future sight, Shade is concerned about her. Oh and reality has unravelled around the Enchatress along with control of her powers.    
Overall I think DC is off to a good start with the rehoot, there are ofc a stain or two, but it was bound to have some, as something as big as this cant be 100% with all fans, but I am looking forwards to the All New #2's!