Friday, February 3, 2012

My Love Affair With (some of) the New DCU

We are 5 months or so into the DC reboot (aka the DCnU) and so far, it's 50/50. I've seen a lot of angst over the complete overhaul and, to be honest, I understand why. DC has rebooted character before, but this is the first time they did it across the board and some things just feel sloppy. Specifically, the concept that it's only been 5 years since "Supers" appeared and yet now we have legacy icons (the Big Three) as well as thousands of "Second Tier" heroes.

And don't get me started on Booster*.

BUT, as much as I may cry about the treatment of my favorite hero or the question the "history" of the reboot, there are four amazing products that not only prove it was a smart move, but keep me coming back for more:

1) Batwoman: 


**

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the gold standard for comics. The artistry of J.H. Williams III crosses the line between story and..uh..art. Even the boarders of each panel tell a story. Whenever we see Batwoman, we get the crazy, psychedelic boarders, but when it's just Kate Kane being Kate Kane, the boarders are angular and plain. The separation of the character and her worlds using this kind of attention to detail makes the comic emote a story and not just tell it. Plus, the re-readability of each issue is top-notch. Batwoman, alone, is worth diving into the DCnU.


2) Aquaman:

***

This is the opening page of Aquaman #5 and is, without a doubt, one of the best examples of a "Batman Cold Opener" (as my buddy Scipio over at The Absorbascon likes to say). I was hooked with Issue #1 and have been hanging on ever since. Part of that is because of sequences like the one above, but the other part is because the comic is one of, if not the only, one that is "self-aware". Case in point: the "diner scene" from Issue #1:

****

By the way, this scene happens immediately after Aquaman orders the Fish and Chips (seriously). Geoff Johns and Company know they are dealing with "the least popular superhero" and yet they are rebuilding an icon while maintaining a decent level of tongue-in-cheek. The storylines are excellent and the artwork is above par. The level of effort put into this comic has quickly made Aquaman my absolute favorite character of the DCnU.

3) The Flash:


*****
I put this one as a close second to Batwoman in terms of artistry. I love the sequence above from Issue #1 because it shows a story rather than telling it. We see The Flash dealing with a burglary situation while at the same time, getting all the intro/credits/background stuff out of the way. The circular nature of the panel is fantastic because it's all happening at the same instant. I wish we had more items like this in each issue, but when they do happen, they are worth the wait.

4) Wonder Woman:


******

The team behind Wonder Woman has done an outstanding job of re-spinning her tale. Specifically, we see Diana dealing with the Greek Gods and all their selfish/crazy machinations. Storyline-wise, this is one of the best and while the artistry isn't up my alley per se, it is still very well done. Plus, the plot and character development far outweighs any feelings of "meh" I may get from the presentation (when compared to Batwoman). It's an example of a strong story wrapped in a pretty package (the comic, people. Not WW herself. Sheesh). I love a good tale of Greek mythology and Team Wonder Woman has hit a grand slam with the spin they're putting on it.

So, there you go.

But the question remains, has the DCnU been a success? I'd say most likely and use myself as an example. Whereas I used to read only a couple DC comics (a round of applause for Booster Gold and Red Robin, please), I've now more than doubled that number since the reboot. And while there are certainly some massive holes and major stinkers, we are extremely lucky to have at least four outstanding titles.

If you're new to the DCnU or are one of those readers who have refused to come back after the reboot, I recommend giving at least the comics above a try. If nothing else, you'll be treated to some stunning artwork and impressive storytelling.

And really, isn't that the point of comics to begin with?



*'Cause really, DC? The guy lives outside the Time Stream which should have made him impervious to Flashpoint. If you wanted to really drive a point home, why not leave him as the only one that isn't affected by the reboot? You'd have a lot of room to work with as he tries to adjust to a "different" past. Okay, okay. Rant over.

**image courtesy of http://comicbookjesus.com/2011/02/03/extra-sequential-podcast-26-action/j-h-williams-iii-batwoman/

***image courtesy of http://ifanboy.com/articles/the-best-of-the-week-in-panels-01-25-2012/

****image courtesy of http://www.google.com/imgres?q=aquaman+1+fish+and+chips&hl=en&safe=active&gbv=2&biw=1211&bih=536&tbm=isch&tbnid=DwBlqjkNuZPrNM:&imgrefurl=http://happynerdjohn.blogspot.com/2011/10/aquaman-1-review.html&docid=EJygaQDqgkIzXM&imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-q-WAO1s-YSM/TppVHdzxJ2I/AAAAAAAAAfM/IV8sv9DCTUc/s1600/Aquaman2.jpg&w=955&h=961&ei=Y_srT-XZBYrGtgfoxfHOAw&zoom=1

*****image courtesy of http://www.google.com/imgres?q=the+FLash+%231&hl=en&safe=active&gbv=2&biw=1211&bih=536&tbm=isch&tbnid=nf733FZ7cFJNCM:&imgrefurl=http://comicsalliance.tumblr.com/post/10814258316&docid=RTkKec9iSbXIlM&imgurl=http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lsap285kWW1qcw9rdo1_500.jpg&w=500&h=383&ei=CQAsT9mxBsWCtgflgen-Dw&zoom=1

******image courtesty of http://panelsonpages.com/?p=43711

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