There were some really pleasant surprises this week, all things considered. Plenty of titles beat my expectations, although now that the universe is starting to settle I'm having a bit more of a solid feeling of which titles will be taking up the bottom of the stack. Hopefully a few of those will find their stride soon, we are still really in the first day after all. In addition, I spent a lot of time flipping on which title would take my favorite of the week spot... initially I went with Frankenstein... switched it to Demon Knights... considered Green Lantern... and then settled on Batwoman. It looks like week 2 is having the most solid across the board presentation for me thusfar. Week 3, while still amazing, was easier to settle on the top tier title...
Batman: Favorite of the Week. Zero doubt. This thing was phenomenal, which is about the best thing you could ask for given the number of eggs placed in this particular basket. What made this book so solid was the brilliantly defined characters, the simple accessibility without compromising the higher level potential of the book. The script was the place where my expectations were the highest, and Snyder reaffirmed for the second time this month that he is a power to be reckoned with in the DC universe. He has me on board and I'll follow him high or low. The art was my place of hesitation, but I'm glad to see that my doubts were easily subverted, as it works perfectly with the tone of the book and manages to elevate the book to a new level of greatness.
Birds of Prey: Certainly a good book. It wasn't mindblowing or limit pushing, but it was definitely worthy of the first issue expectations. I'm already digging Starling, which would probably be the hardest sell of the book, given the exclusion of the classic team in exchange for new faces. I don't feel like we're yet into the status quo of the series, which may be the source of my slight hesitancy, and given that fact I'm more than willing to ride on board for a while longer. For now it sits in my middle ground, although there are enough fragments of greatness that I think this will be one of the ones to make the jump upwards in the following months.
Blue Beetle: This was probably a great first issue series for anyone unfamiliar character. However, that isn't me, and for once that seemed like a major drawback. Bedard is certainly a strong writer, but I think no matter how strong the effort, I would've been tired by this book. It isn't that I'm not going to like it. I just feel like we haven't started yet. How will this Beetle be different? What corner of the universe will we be filling? Is this going to be a retelling or a rewriting? I'm just very unsure right now. Again, this is one that should improve in months to come. What has me completely on board however is the art. Ig Guara is one hell of an artist and is jumping up my list with every new page I'm exposed to. Especially once we get into the more sci-fi elements of this book, that art is going to shine like crazy. I look forward to more.
Captain Atom: I was confounded when I saw another review give this a rating of 9 out of 10. I thought maybe I had missed something. And it seems I might have. This is, perhaps, a very highbrow story. Most of my qualms with it are reminiscent of those days where I became frustrated with literature that was 'above' me, or in comic book terms, when Morrison decides to play with my brain. Initially that meant I wasn't in love with this book, which is a shame because Krul and Williams are a team I like. The character has never ranked highly for me, so maybe that is another piece of it. But thinking back, there were a lot of elements that I may have misperceived and perhaps a rereading will enhance my opinion. Call me cautiously optimistic, just give me some time to roll with this one.
Catwoman: Oh yay. This is perhaps my most dreaded commentary, the reason I delayed so long in writing up this week's titles. Really no matter which way you go on this one you're bound to stir up trouble and I'm going to have to plant myself firmly in the place of the undefendable minority. Why? Because I liked it. I actually liked it alot. Yeah, you might say that the sexuality is over the top. There might be a lot of cheescake fanservice. To me, this is Selina. She doesn't care one lousy little bit, has no social boundaries and isn't going to consider whether or not jumping her window with her bra exposed is acceptable. She jumped out a window, with a crate of cats, while getting dressed. Clearly this is not a woman who has decency or reason at the top of her to do list. And we need women like that, just as much as we need strong positive role models. In her encounter with Bruce, she performs a perfect role reversal, dominating and initiating as feminist advocates have long aspired to do, although for some reason that now appears to be a bad thing. None of this really matters to me, because at the end of the day it informs the one important thing about Selina that rings throughout this comic: she doesn't care, she is reckless and irresponsible, and it is going to get her into trouble. Speaking in meta-textual terms, we're all actually fulfilling that little prophecy, aren't we? Anyways, I thought it was a well-drawn, well-scripted push the limits title, and I'll be back for more.
DC Universe Presents: I've wanted this title for a long time. Not for Deadman himself or for the story that is within it, but for the option of a rotating title character, so they've already got me hooked before page 1. The beauty of this is that the first set of stories could be rubbish with an easy rebound to an amazing arc. Luckily, this was a solid one with which to begin. A bit of origin, a bit of character and an interesting lead in to the arc, I'll mark myself as rather intrigued by this story. As the final page did with her worship, this one got my attention. Now let us see what happens next.
Green Lantern Corps: I'm a huge GL fan, but even as the story has unfolded in a pleasing fashion recently, I've found myself a tad more disconnected with Guy and John as characters. This issue does away with all of that disconnection and has strongly affirmed that these are two of my favorite characters. Yes, we're just getting started on the actual plot, but the moment to revisit who these people, rather than ringbearers, are in the world is poignant and illustrative concept. We're not smack in the middle of event territory, we're not flooded with the doom and gloom that has become rather a hallmark of Lantern titles of late, but regardless of these facts I'm already there on the last page, thirsty for more story. They're back and in rather strong form.
Legion of Super-Heroes: A big shift in tone now, away from hesitancy or positive consideration. This one... disappointed me. Gosh, to even say it kinda hurts. I'm sorry creative team! I don't like being a negative reviewer. It sucks to be negative. But I also promised myself I'd be honest, so when I gush over the top with fanboyishness there is some validity in my positive. Okay, so, with that said: what went wrong? As others have said, this isn't really a first issue. I've run with the Legion for a long time now, including the most recent arcs of LOSH and Adventure, and even with that said I have to admit I was slightly lost in this issue. I don't know what direction we're heading, I can't firmly recall what happened in this issue and I spent most of my time wondering who the cast of this book actually was. A positive spin, since I can't just be negative either, if this had been a midseason Legion title I would've shrugged it off as not being a big deal. At this point, I'm going to stay on board out of loyalty, I just hope to find some clarity and purpose in the coming issues.
Nightwing: I spent most of this issue swooning over how cool Dick Grayson is, so I guess the creative team got the work done. It follows a little bit of traditional formula, but with enough spice and in the appropriate manner so it isn't at all tedious. It seems a little bit easier to see where this one is going, and thus is a little bit less of a mystery, but the writing is on par with the upper tier, the artistic element is well facilitated and the hook of the book (heh) has me reeled in for more. I'm particularly excited to see where Higgins can take us in the future, because he exhibits a comfort with the tools of the trade and seems on the precipice of breaking into his next creative level. If you're looking for a creative team about to raise the bar to the next level, I couldn't ask for a more symbolically appropriate title than Nightwing.
Red Hood and the Outlaws: I like Jason Todd because he is divisive. He makes people uncomfortable, he challenges norms and problems follow him wherever he goes, in universe or out. So I walked into this title expecting crude jokes, behavior easily misinterpretable as sexist and a couple of boys who are lost little souls pretending to be more macho than they are in order to cover the fact that they are in fact damaged goods, failed products of a society that misshaped them through an excess of the masculine imagery and the depletion of emotional expression. So that is basically what I have. Starfire, I get it, it looks like she is the polar opposite of what we want a modern feminist woman to be, because she is basically naked and discusses casual sex. But first: she is an alien. Yes, I know she has a published history and all that: reboot, remember? Star has a new status quo. Also, she is a grown woman. The excessive criticism of her choices also reads as: this woman is an incapable amoral role model and makes bad choices and should be deprived of her rights to do so to conform to societal expectations. That right there is sexism in a bottle to me. Anyways, if you'd rather not indulge in that, I'd offer that instead of being offended by her existence, just don't read it. There are plenty of people in the world who behave just like this, like all 3 of the team members. You don't spend your time publicly berating them, you just avoid the sleazy nightclub and 'that part of town' and let it go. I guess the biggest problem with this title is that all of this debate was so distracting that I feel like we didn't get a comic book, but rather a new platform for social debate, which for me is not for what I had hoped.
Supergirl: This was a book with low expectations for me. Slowly but surely, her title had drifted down the charts for me, which is a disappointment considering how valued this character was at the beginning of her Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle run. Issue #34 was their first issue, and the fact that the number is so well engrained in my head is for me quite indicative of how high my hype and love used to be for this character. What has happened to her hasn't been bad, it has just been drifting, in a steady downward direction. Cue this issue, where I expected the plummet down to begin. And boy was I wrong. This might have actually been one of my favorites of the week. In action I love the new look (didn't do it for me when it was revealed) and the character is already super enjoyable. The perspective elements, her discovery of powers... it is all handled in a perfect realistic cacophony that leaves the maiden of might disoriented and confused. There is something incredibly believable about this title. Hopefully the story can develop with the same quality that this initial encounter was presented with. This might end up being a top tier for me once more.
Wonder Woman: Undeniably the biggest surprise of the week. Like Supergirl, I wanted this to be good but expected it to be bad. Like Supergirl, I've invested a lot in the character over the years, and despite high talent and excellent storylines is still managed to migrate towards the bottom of my excitement charts. This was not the Wonder Woman I was expecting; in point of fact it isn't really the Wonder Woman I want. These new iterations of the Gods are not how I see her world, her place in this world is not the one I would write. Normally that would be the end of my review of it all. But this was still so amazing, despite all of that. It may not be the one I wanted, but I am still on board with absolute conviction. We needed something new with this character and we got it in diamonds, with a well scripted, well depicted powerful epic. Despite the fact that I still hold a reserve image of 'my Diana' in my brain, along with 'my stories' I would tell with that character... I'm now hoping that this creative team will be at the reins for as long as possible and that this is just the first stepping stone in, oh, lets say a five year plan. Please keep up this amazing work. If it wasn't for the perfection of Batman, this would've been top spot of the week, no doubts.