Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DCnU Special #5 - What we thought of (WEEK 5) FINALE

Well, here are the final thoughts of the relaunch from various people. Take a look what people are saying.


Cassie Chan of San Francisco, CA

This was kinda weird. I don't read comics often (more into manga) but I was asked to. Out of all the titles I picked up, I only picked this up thinking I would be worse than the hairstyles on Jersey Shore. I was REALLY wrong about that. I thought for sure that this would be the ubersuck. It was soooo not. Jonah Hex is the man I want to protect me from big bads on a regular basis. Why? Cause he's just so freakin' tough. I loved the fact that we are looking at Gotham City in the past and we had this bad*** there before Batman ran around in is cape. The writers did a great job and the art was okay. Not what I'm used to but seriously enjoyed it and I want more.


Gerald Williams of Hempstead, NY

Great story. In the hands of Geoff Johns, this will be a good book, if anyone bothers to buy it. As much as DC tries, Aquaman has never been a list. With Johns writing him, it may happen.

CBC's Frankie Rodriguez of  Vineland, NJ

I am gonna say this. This is one of the strongest and best number 1's I have EVER read. Seriously. Johns and Reis do it again with Aquaman. Addressing all the mocking and jokes at the heroes expense while going over his connections to Atlantis and to the Surface world while we see him be a hero and human at the same time. Slow set up for the Trench plus the characterizations of every person this issue were real and awesome. This book is both exquisite in its art & story. Not a single flaw to this book. Johns and Reis are going to make this character an A-lister and this is YOUR chance to jump on. SERIOUSLY, DO IT NOW!!!


CBC's Hector Ramirez of Philadelphia, PA

They really show batman as the bad*** that he is he was practically running the GCPD

D'Sean Reynolds of Bronx, NY

Yo, seriously. This book's writing SUCKED! Fo' real! Imma say this though . . . David Finch was killin' it with his art. Seriously, some of the best pages I seen him do yet but the story was Retarded. Replace this book with somethin' else and have Finch draw JLI or somethin'.


CBC's Frankie Rodriguez of Vineland, NJ

Blackhawks really surprised me. It just seemed so much more fun than Men of War book. The characters were reintroduced well and were very interesting. The plot made me want to read more and I felt the characters were fun, interesting and multi-dimensional enough that I want to know more. Kudos to Mike Costa for his writing on this book with Ken Lashley's superb writing. Honestly, this book is definitely a sleep hit with me and look forward to the next issue.


CBC's Hector Ramirez of Philadelphia, PA

It was a good introduction to the character interesting story really shows him as a person and not just a superhero

Gerald Williams of Hempstead, NY

How many number 1’s are we going to see of this title? After Wally West disappeared during Infinite Crisis, Bart Allen became the Flash. The storyline sucked and DC gave it a quick death, thankfully. Then Wally was brought back but this time with his kids, which also sucked. Then after Barry Allen’s return, another number 1, which this time was worth reading and it lead into Flashpoint, the reason for the reboot. I like this number 1 so far and look forward to what they have in store, but I am skeptical. 


Eric McLeod of FL

Firestorm is probably the most disappointing book I've picked up so far this month. I had high expectations because Gail Simone was writing, but this doesn't feel like her strongest work. It is by no means a bad book, but it falls to some cliches that I wish weren't used. The villains of the book are some terrorists who are after
something called "the god particle", which is integral to the Firestorm powers. The set-up of the Firestorm powers is actually pretty good, and there's a particular scene in the book that hints at seeing more Firestorms. The main problem I have with the book is Jason and Ronnie's relationship. These two are supposed to be the heroes of the book, right? I don't want to see my heroes spend most of the book bickering over petty things like their school status or bring race up almost immediately after meeting each other. Yes, one is white and one is black, one is a jock and one is a nerd. But there doesn't seem to be much motivation beyond those differences causing them to dislike each other as much as they do.  And Ronnie's "why don't we have any black friends?" question is bull because we see him hanging out with a black guy in several panels. The slaughter of the family at the beginning was also unnecessarily violent, but that seems to be par for the course in most DC books nowadays. I'm hesitant about picking up the next issue of this, and it's a shame that for once I'm not excited about a book written by Gail Simone.

Gerald Williams of Hempstead, NY

I like Gail Simone, so I’m willing to give her some leeway on this. During one of the conventions, she did say that Firestorm was no longer going to be fused so I am interested to see how this plays out.


Louis Laughton of Chicago, IL

  This was actually very good. It establishes Kyle with a quick origin then jumps right into action, plot and story. Tony Bedard was really captures DC's space, introducing characters slowly and work in a mystery. Kirkham was great with his art, really diving into aliens and powers which mad things so well. I am definitely looking forward to it. We got an origin, a conflict set up, a look at each member of the cast and a good ending which begs the readers to pick up the next issue. Well done, Bedard & Kirkham. I want more.


Cassie Chan of San Francisco, CA

   Wow. This was GOOD. It was one of the titles that I wanted to get . . . being a fan of True Blood, Twilight and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day. This was very interesting how the two man characters have this really steamy romance yet such a deep hatred at the same time. Seriously, it is a great fix while waiting for True Blood to come back. The writer really got me hooked. The art was kinda dark for me but seriously fight. I bet Andrew is a hottie. I want more.


CBC's Hector Ramirez of Philadelphia, PA

Justice League Dark was confusing. Kind of creepy. I'm not sure if I'll be following this one

Eric McLeod of FL

I feel that the first issue of Justice League Dark suffers from the fact that not all of the characters are brought together. Don't get me wrong, we get a good look at a few characters such as Madame Xanadu,
Zatanna, and Shade the Changing Man, but Deadman and John Constantine get one page each. The Justice League of America gets more screen-time than the two of them combined, which doesn't feel right when the JLA is not supposed to be the focus here. I understand that the book is setting up JLD as a team that handles mystical threats that the JLA cannot handle, but I feel they could have kept the JLA appearance briefer and did a better job of introducing the main characters to help readers unfamiliar with the characters get a basic feel for them. The presentation of the villain Enchantress was great, however. She never spoke a word but the art alone did a fantastic job of presenting her as a threat, and I feel that alone should help draw readers in. I also loved Xanadu's ominous narration over desperate scenes. It really sets the mood. If JLD can get all of the characters teamed up by the next issue and in the spotlight, then most of the problems should be fixed and the book will be a solid read for fans of mystic heroes.

Dante Franklin of Baltimore, MD 

I've always been a fan of DC's magic characters and they all got a chance to shine here as they prepare to deal with the threat of the Enchantress. Peter Milligan crafts a tale that reads as the perfect blending of DC super heroics and Vertigo creepiness. Definitely recommended.


Gerald Williams of Hempstead, NY

Hated it. I hope this book ends quickly. 

CBC's Frankie Rodriguez of Vineland, NJ

Oddly enough, as slightly confused I was with the start of the book, this was actually good. Not GREAT. But good. It made me wonder what is up with Carter Hall, know who he is and the deal with his suit. Yet, I still think that it was a bit of a rough start yet I guess the beginning of the book was to grab readers. Daniel does a good job after the weird beginning. Unfortunately, I have seen better art from Philip Tan. I don't know if it's the inker or Tan himself but this doesn't seem like his usual work which has been better in the past (such as with The Outsiders). Still, it is a good start but I hope Daniel & Tan do better next issue. 


CBC's Hector Ramirez of Philadelphia, PA

Clark is whining about the Daily Planet expanding and being part of a larger corporation. I dont really like that. The fight was good but the ending kind of hurt. I felt sorry for Clark

CBC's Frankie Rodriguez of Vineland, NJ

You know, this book was just so solid and good. Perez's writing style was a bit of a throw back with some modern day sensibilities thrown in. The characters felt read. You felt for Clark. You got suspicious of other characters. You felt a bit betrayed by Lois. And the art by Jesus Merino was so damn GOOD. It is a perfect companion for Action Comics. Honestly, the two Superman titles are stronger than the majority of the Batman books (with the exception of Batman). This first issue was a great starting point and makes you want to read it again and again and wait for the next issue. 


CBC's Hector Ramirez of Philadelphia, PA

They really made Kid Flash seem real irresponsible and childish; even more so than before. Red Robin is a really dynamic character. You see, Tim has really come into his own and those wings were bad***. The criminal Wonder Girl with the 90s Superboy complex (not liking her media given name) was a bit iffy and the Superboy ending would have fit better if it came out before Superboy#1.

Gerald Williams of Hempstead, NY

It will take time to get used to this concept. The Titans have always been the protégés of established heroes. With the exception of Red Robin, all the Titans have not met the heroes they are based on. It is also a reflection of the anti-hero sentiment of the new DC. 


Dante Franklin of Baltimore, MD 

When Voodoo was announced, I had a feeling it would be a sleeper. I had complete faith in Ron Marz as he's been killing it on Witchblade, a comic that I read regularly. So, I knew to look forward to good stuff. And he didn't disappoint. It's a cool premise with a shocker ending that leaves you eager for issue #2. And the art by Sami Basri is excellent. Very highly recommended. 

CBC's Frankie Rodriguez of Vineland, NJ
  Voodoo was intriguing and masterful. Basri and Marz brought us a great mystery in Voodoo as she is introduced into the DCnU. And while she is stripping, readers understand why she is doing it. The characters seem 3 dimension and not too cliche. The dialogue was good and the art was great. Voodoo's reintroduction we handled extremely well and gives way to a mystery that I look forward to seeing more of. Solid first issue and look forward to issue 2.


By CBC Special Correspondent, Joey Lester (SpacemanHardy of ScrewAttack fame) of Memphis, TN

Let me first admit offhand, I am not your typical comic book fan.  Whereas most avid readers can contribute their first steps into fandom by way of superheroes sporting brightly colored costumes and fighting similary dressed high-powered villians, I had a bit of a different first impression.  Instead of Superman or Batman comics, I have always been drawn to the lesser known, more avant-garde works.  Instead of DC and Marvel, I chose the independant comics of Red 5, Dark Horse, and post-90's Image.  To me, those stories were more unique, relied less heavily on fanfare and hype, and mostly stayed within their own individual continuities, without having the need to constantly bring in guest stars from other comic series just to get someone's attention.  Nothing burns me up more than having a story based around one character and then suddenly having another main character from a completely different story jump into their universe.  And don't EVEN get me started on having to buy another character's comic just to finish the plot arc of the comic I was reading through...

Because of this, I've generally been avoiding DC comics up to this point.  So when my good friend Seraph (aka CBC's chief Frankie Rodriguez) asked me to pick out three of the brand new comic series being created for DC's "New 52" reboot, I was more than just a little sceptical.  Nevertheless, I thought the matter over, and came to the conclusion that because this was basically a brand new beginning for DC, then perhaps it would be easier to "jump on in" than have to worry about existing history and continuity and such.

And so, I have selected the first issues of three of the brand new series that DC has created for it's re-launch: Animal Man #1, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1, and finally, Blue Beetle #1.  Please note that I am going into all three of these series COMPLETELY BLIND, as I have absolutely no knowledge regarding the backstories or histories of the original series nor the characters within them.

Before I begin, there is one complaint I have with all three of these issues: THERE ARE TOO MANY ADS!!  Out of the 36 pages of the comic, not including the questions and fanart sections at the end, a total of 12 pages were entirely devoted to advertisements.  That's an entire THIRD of the book!!  And most of those were ads for other DC series that were getting a reboot as well.  Not only that, but the positioning of the ads was extremely problematic, as there were several sections of the comic that were cut into or interrupted by entire sheets of ads.  I can understand why DC would want to get the word out about all their new series, but when it disrupts my enjoyment of the story, there's gotta be a place to draw the line.  I paid 3 bucks for this comic, and only got 2 bucks worth of story.  I know other comics have ads in them as well, but the way DC handles theirs is just ridiculous.

Anyways, let's get on to my first impressions:


The first in the new series of Animal Man introduces us to our titular character, better known by his actual name Buddy Baker.  A full-page editorial on the first page is an interview between Buddy and a magazine reporter, which lets us in on a little of Buddy's backstory.  A former stuntman-turned-superhero, we find that Buddy has largely left his costume behind in order to take on a career in acting full-time.  While the article doesn't tell us exactly how Buddy got his powers or how they work (even after reading the entire comic, I STILL don't fully understand how they work), it does give us a decent amount of depth to his character and humanizes him enough as we learn about his everyday struggles of balancing his budding actring career and taking care of his wife and two kids.  

The story in this opener is rather simple: Buddy learns of a hostage situation at a local children's hospital and, wanting to experience the thrills of being a superhero one more time, decides to don his Animal Man costume and save the day for old time's sake.  The resulting plot plays out pretty much how you'd expect standard superhero fare to go, but there's a slight twist at the end that foreshadows darker things to come.  However this point is quickly overlooked and ignored by Buddy for the next two pages, as he returns to his home and turns in for the night.

I then turned the page.... and all hell broke lose.

I can't really even begin to describe the twist that happens next.  In fact, I don't think you'd want me to.  It's such a complete 180 that in all honesty I wouldn't want to deprive you of witnessing it for yourself.  All I will say is that what happens next, I did NOT see coming, and it ends the book on a very satisfying cliffhanger that pretty much requires you to check the next issue out if for nothing else but to just find out what the hell is going on.

As far as the artwork goes, Animal Man's is... strange, and yet not.  All of the lines are clean, yet the colors are rather washed out and pastel, and shading is used to a bard minimum.  If I had to describe it, I'd say that it almost resembles the pulp comics of the 40's and 50's, albeit with a more modern character design.

FINAL VERDICT: Animal Man #1 definitely made an impression.  It starts out slow and predictable, but ends with a "WTF?" scenario like no other.  I'll be checking out the next few issues of this for sure.


Following a prologue regarding a boy and his grandfather coming across a horde of monsters, the first issue of Frankenstein wastes no time in introducing us to it's main character, a large, grotesque, blade and gun-wielding representation of Mary Shelley's iconic beast.  Introductions are sparse, however, as we are instantly greeted by Frankenstein's creator Father Time (who apparently has take the form of a little girl), who fills the big guy in on the situation.  It seems as if a small rustic town in Washington state has been completely overrun by monsters, and Frank's as-of-yet unnamed "Wife" - who just so happens to be a green-skinned, gun-toting, six-armed hottie - has recently disappeared after having infiltrated the town square.  From their the comic takes us straight into the action, as Frank is quickly transported to the town and introduced to his new team, which naturally consists of several other famous monster types, including a vampire, werewolf, mummy, and yes... even a merfolk.  The rest of the comic is nothing more than standard scenes of watching this motley crew of monsterous heroes slaughtering wave after wave of Lovecraftian abominations all the while trying to hunt down and rescue any surviving citizens left in the town.

Sure, on the surface it seems like a rollicking good time.  But in my opinion, this comic suffers from two major flaws.  First off, we are given virtually NO backstory to Frankenstein, Father Time, or Frank's Wife.  All we know is that Frank is a legendary soldier and is widely respected for his work.  We can also surmise - although it is never actually stated - that he seems to have a computerized brain which relates info to him Terminator-style regarding any questions that he, and by extension, the reader, might have.  Other than that, though, it's anyone's guess.  Why does Father Time switch bodies every few years?  Why did he choose the body of a little girl?  What is Frank's wife's name?  Why does she have six arms?  There are just SO many questions left unanswered it leaves me frustrated.  Anyone who isn't already familiar with the character of Frankenstein from his previous series is going to be left in the dark.  I ask, isn't the purpose of a reboot to start over from the beginning?  Why aren't we getting an origin story?  Or at the very least, a backstory page.

Secondly, even though the concept of a giant movie monster teaming up with other movie monsters and fighting even scarier monsters may seem like an original idea, the truth is... this has all been done before.  Stories like Hellboy, Darkstalkers, and most recently Proof have all already taken this idea, and in my opinion, did it better.

Speaking of Hellboy, as far as the artwork is concerned, it looks like the artist here has been reading WAY too many Mike Mignola books as of late.  The art takes a more "gritty", "grimey" approach, with lots of jagged pencils, dark pastels, and overall dirty colorization.  This sort of dirty artwork has been used before in other books to great effect (seriously, if you haven't already, check out Proof, it's astounding), but here it just seems... overdone and unnessesary.

FINAL VERDICT: Even though I usually go for these types of stories, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. just came across as derivative and unoriginal.  It failed to impress me, and I doubt I'll be checking out the following issues.


The final series from DC's New 52 that I checked out was Blue Beetle.  Normally, because I'm not typically a fan of your average superhero tale, this would usually be the type of story that I'd avoid.  But because so many fans across the internet have been speaking wonderful things about the Blue Beetle, I decided to go ahead and check it out anyways.  And BOY, am I glad I did.

The best thing I like about this first issue is exactly that: IT'S A FIRST ISSUE.  It actually has a prologue before going into the Beetle's origin story.  Considering I went into this series completely blind to the character's origin, this is exactly what I was looking for.

The issue starts out with a brief prologue showing the origins of the scarab medallion and how it came to earth.  It then shifts it's emphasis to our main character Jaime (pronounced "High-May", not "Jay-Me"), as he endures the typical high-school troubles of bullies and awkwardness around the girl he has a crush on.  The next few pages are less action-oriented and more focused on Jaime, setting up his backstory and introducing the reader to his family and friends.  Afterwards, the scene shifts to three masked super-villains raiding a warehouse in pursuit of a certain artifact, only to be stopped by three MORE masked super-villains out to steal the same artifact from them.  This all leads to a fight between the two teams, with Jaime and his friend Paco unknowingly landing right smack into the middle.  After being threatened by the villains, Jaime grabs the artifact and runs, leading to him being attacked in the back, the scarab emblem affixing itself to his spine, and our book ending with our very first shot of the eponymous Blue Beetle.

Even though this first issue is low on action and high on backstory, it is well-paced and never gets boring.  I was genuinely interested in Jaime as a character and the challenges he faced, as well as the sidestory regarding the villains, which set up some nice foreshadowing for some potential sinister future events.  One thing of particular note here is that, because Jaime is Latin-American, much of the dialog is written in a form of "Spanglish", with several Spanish phrases being interjected into the English phrases.  Even though I took a year of Spanish in high school, I definitely cannot say that I can speak the language with any sort of skill, and yet while reading the comic I never once felt out of place or lost because of the language barrier. The artwork in particular is especially good.  Even though there are a few instances of "derpy" facial expressions, the characters are all well-drawn with realistic proportions, and the colors are deep and expressive, all with masterful shading.

FINAL VERDICT: I definitely have to say this was the best of the three comics from DC's reboot that I personally have read.  I'll definitely be following the rest of this series.

So there you have it.  Three opinions of DC comics from a person who doesn't read DC comics.  Please note that these are only my personal opinions, and as always, your mileage may vary.

Until next time, this is Spaceman Hardy, telling you all to be good to yourselves, good to each other, and above all else...




by Frankie Rodriguez.

    52 number ones. 52 new #1s from DC Comics. It has been a long and expensive road to get here. Fall has now started and the DCnU finally has begun. Is it for everyone? No. At least not  yet but DC Comics is  really doing their best. And while not all the books have been great (I bought 38 of the new #1s myself when originally I was only going to get 25), this has ushered in a new age for comics. They are available online the same day. Print is finally getting some sales. And all 52 titles have sold out with the 2nd & 3rd issues having strong sales.
  People are finally excited about comics again and actually buying them. That is the most important thing. DC, you got people coming back to comics. Now you have to keep these readers here. And while we know a bunch of books are gonna get cancelled along the way, they have been planning more books down the road.
  Marvel and Image have also stepped up their game since this announcement with a slew of number 1s coming within the next 18 months. It is actually an exciting time to be collecting comics again. DC, even with your controversy, you have made people curious. Now show us that the #1s were just the beginning and the best is yet to come. You too Image. Same goes for you Marvel. That goes for the rest of you IDW, Avatar, Dynamite, Dark Horse, etc.
   Take this opportunity and don't waste it. DC, you have done well. Now, give us the best books that have ever existed and keep these readers here.
   You have all seen the views. And I am definitely picking up:

Wonder Woman
 Blue Beetle
Action Comics
Justice League
Justice League Dark
Justice League International
Mr. Terrific
Static Shock
Demon Knights
Animal Man

But these are just the ones I am going to get. How long will I stay with them. And this list are just the definites. We aren't even discussing the maybes. Still, this is a good start for anyone. And don't limit yourselves folks. Just cause DC just launched books, doesn't mean there aren't other great books out there to look at (like X-FACTOR or INVINCIBLE or GIJOE) The time to get back into comics is now. Heck, we've got specials on the new X-Men Regenesis and Top Cow's 2011 pilot season planned. So let's see what you got.

And DC, Marvel, Image, IDW and the rest:


Frankie Rodriguez (aka Seraph)
CBC Chief.

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