For those of you who've been reading the new DC number one issues, which ones have you liked so far? Which ones are you most looking forward to? Two weeks into the relaunch, we have half of the new offerings already, and I know a lot of you have had a chance to check things out.
For the first 2 weeks, my top 5 would be:
1. Animal Man
- This was an excellent start to a new super-hero horror comic, with an ending that will certainly suck you into buying the next issue. The art and colors are not standard superhero fare, but they fit the tone of this story perfectly. If you have any doubts, wait until you get to the dream sequence. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
- If you skipped Greg Rucka's Batwoman run on Detective Comics, or if you passed on Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, or if you missed out on Alan Moore's Promethea, you might be excused for thinking that J.H. Williams III is just another comic artist. You will hear many people claiming that this guy or that guy is one of the best working today. That kind of statement gets thrown around a lot. I'd be willing to bet that most of those guys couldn't hold a candle to Williams. It turns out, after reading issue #1, that he's a pretty decent writer, too. The "Hydrology" story arc pits Batwoman against La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, a ghost of urban myth that does more than scare children these days.
3. Action Comics
- No, this is not traditional Superman, or to be more accurate, this is not the Superman most of us would recognize as traditional. It turns out, that in the oldest Superman stories, he wasn't yet the true-blue defender of establishment values that he later came to be. Grant Morrison wondered if it were possible to reimagine Superman's origins in a way that was more in line with the character's earliest stories. This is the story of a naive, cornfed, denim-clad young man raised on a farm that comes to the big city with the power to right the wrongs he sees in the world. It's familiar in some ways, but shockingly different in others, a strange combination that turned out to be a great first issue.
- Who? Well, not all good superhero comics have to be about household names. If you ONLY want to read comics that all have the same modern sensibility and pacing, this one might not be for you. As far as I am concerned, though, this was gold. Keith Giffen, co-writer and artist, gives you all of one page of introductions before jumping right into the gunfire and the mad kind of explosive, quasi-sci-fi combat that can only be done in comics. We get a glimmer of who OMAC is and what he can do in his initial adventure, but there's enough crazy fighting and hints in this old-school style comic to make my mouth water for the next issue.
5. Swamp Thing
- What can I say? I'm a sucker for the old Vertigo-style horror comics. The author, Scott Snyder, definitely know the formula. Like those old stories, he builds his slowly, but with creepy recollections to set the tone and scenes that hint at the horror to come. Lest you forget that this is part of the new DCU, the introduction shows us scenes set in the Batcave, outside the Daily Planet offices, and in the ocean's depths with Aquaman. Yes, this is the same world as those superheroes, but it is not the kind of story they normally are part of. This is most definitely a Swamp Thing story.
Those are the ones I've loved the most, from amongst a LOT of good #1 issues. The next two weeks look pretty great as well. Here are the top 5 I'm most excited about getting (crossing my fingers, hoping they are as good as I expect them to be):
1. Wonder Woman (out Sept. 21)
- When I hear Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are working together on a comic, it is like hearing the line-up for an all-star game. Even more intriguing: Azzarello says that this Wonder Woman is more a horror comic than a superhero comic.
2. Blue Beetle (out Sept. 21)
- Jaime Reyes gets a new, slightly adjusted origin in his #1 issue, but as a fan of his last series, I am excited that all the old elements are still there: He will be fighting crime in El Paso, TX, he'll run around with Brenda and Paco, juggle high school and family pressures, deal with the mystical crime-boss La Dama, and try to control the alien scarab that gives him super-powers, which wants to destroy the world on behalf of the Reach. Good times.
3. All-Star Western (out Sept. 28)
- Jonah Hex comes to 1880's Gotham City to work with young psychologist Amadeus Arkham to track down a serial killer. How does one NOT buy that comic?
4. Aquaman (out Sept. 28)
- Geoff Johns, the guy who turned Green Lantern into one of DC's most popular title, is here to do his magic on Aquaman, and if you read the Aquaman story arc he wrote in the Brightest Day series, you already know that Johns is more than capable of hitting a home-run with this one. Get ready to change the way you think about Aquaman, I kid you not.
5. Justice League Dark (out Sept. 28)
- Characters more accustomed to the shadows decide to pool their talents to fight off the menaces that the traditional heroes are unequipped to face. Zatanna, Deadman, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, and Shade the Changing Man are enough to make me want to read this. Peter Milligan writing it makes it even better.
That's the stuff I liked and am looking forward to. What about you guys?