Last month saw the end of six of the New 52 starting series: Men of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., Hawk and Dove, Blackhawks and Static Shock. Of these it is only Blackhawks that I was still reviewing, so I’ve not really felt the loss. In their stead the New 52 gets six new titles; Earth 2, World’s Finest, The Ravagers, G.I. Combat, Batman Incorporated, and Dial H. Of these new series four hit the shelves this week, replacing their fallen counterparts in the week 1 line up.
This week also sees the first Annual within the New 52, with the release of the Teen Titans Annual, to tie into “The Culling” Event. The next few moths sees quite a few Annual editions hitting the shelves.
Justice League International
Teen Titans Annual
Mind The Gap
Animal Man #9
Written by Jeff Lemire
Pencilled by Steve Pugh
Inked by Steve Pugh
Cover Colour by Loverne Kindzierski
Lettered by Jared K Fletcher
Coloured by Loverne Kindzierski & Travel ForemanBuddy’s disembodies spirit wanders the Red, after his death at the jaws of the Rot’s minions last month. His body is being to put to use by his enemies as they make plans to use his possessed corpse as a lure for Maxine.
As the above summary may suggest, Animal Man isn’t turning out to be a light hearted series. The art keeps on living up to the demands of the script, evoking the nature of the Red (blood, bones, and flesh bits) without falling into being ridiculous.
The issue finish on a high with a unexpected character appearing. He’s someone you’d expect to see in Animal Man’s sister title.
Justice League International #9
Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencilled by Aaron Lopresti
Inked by Matthew Ryan
Cover Colour by Jeromy N. Cox
Lettered by Travis Lanham
Coloured by Richard Friend & Hi-FiO.M.A.C.’s own series may be finished, but his story continues to play out in the pages of JLI. I’m feeling increasingly ambivalent towards crossovers, as this issues finishs up with a tie in to Firestorm #9 as well, which seems to be stretching things a little too far. I like that the universe is being made as solidly as it is, with characters crossing over, and a sense of everything being part of a wider world, but there’s a point where it slips into feeling like a sales technique rather than good story telling.
Written by Peter Milligan
Pencilled by Miguel A Sepulveda
Inked by Miguel A Sepulveda
Cover Colour by Alex Sinclair
Lettered by Rob Leigh
Coloured by Alex Sinclair & Miguel A SepulvedaPaul Jenkins hands over to Peter Milligan this week, and the baton hands over well, with Stormwatch is beset by threats encountering a past member of the organisation from the, and running up against the Red Lantern Skallox.
The fighting continues to be balanced against strong character development event in the middle of the action, and I think that’s what is making the book so good. The series pulls off doing everything you’d want at once, without resorting to caption boxes to carry the story, which would give it a different tone. Given that we’re now on writer number three the lack of any noticeable transition is impressive.
Swamp Thing #9
Written by Scott Snyder
Pencilled by Yanick Paquette
Inked by Yanick Paquette
Cover Colour by Nathan Fairbairn
Lettered by John Hill
Coloured by Yanick Paquette & Nathan FairbairnThe battle between Swamp Thing and Sethe is being fought on a number of levels, and over many things. This month sees Swamp Thing really up the ante in the action stakes as he defeats Sethe’s army, and derails his plans for Abby.
The series continues to impress month on month, and the interlinking with Animal Man is serving both series well. I can’t wait for the two to truly crossover.
Teen Titan Annual #1
Written by Tom DeFalco & Scott Lobdell
Pencilled by Brett Booth
Inked by Norm Rapmund, Sal Regla, Mario Alquiza & John Livesay
Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse
Letters by Rob Leigh
Cover by Brett Booth, Rob Hunter and Andrew DalhouseI’ve mentioned crossovers above, and this annual sits at the centre of a web of Suberboy, Teen Titans, and Legion Lost as the teenage superheroes of the New 52 are forced into battle by the mysterious Harvest. The story continues strongly, although at the expense of characters over story, which seems fair enough given the sheer amount included in the issue. There’s a very old school feel to the series, that I’m finding hard to pin down to any individual element, but it’s there. Given the sprawling nature of this event (Night of the Owls being more compartmentalised into the characters individual stories) with characters carried from book to book it’s going to interesting to see how it plays out.
Dial H #1
Written by China Mieville
Art by Mateus Santolouco
Coloured by Tanya & Richard Horie
Lettered by: Steve Wands
Cover by Brian BollandWell, China Mieville doesn’t disappoint. The most interesting of the new titles Dial H does a lot of fantastic set up in this first issue. A superhero book with a tinting of supernatural and horror the series looks set to be very good.
Earth 2 #1
Written by James Robinson
Pencilled by Nicola Scott
Inked by Trevor Scott
Coloured by Alex Sinclair, Joe Prado & Rod ReisDisaster has struck Earth 2, and the big three Superheroes have gone down fighting. Their sacrifice turns the tide, but leaves a very different world behind. A parallel universe to the already significantly altered New 52, there’s no predicting which way things will go in this series, but it gets off to a good start at least.
G.I. Combat #1
Written by J.T. Krul
Art by Ariel Olivetti
Letters by Rob Leigh
Cover by Brett Booth
Cover Coloured by Andrew DalhouseSoldiers vs dinosaurs, is going to need more than just good art to draw me in. Running at only 13 pages there very little room the characters in amidst the dino action, which I fear may be the tone as things go on. The second feature, Unknown Soldier is a far darker affair, that feels too closely tied into real world events.
World’s Finest #1
Written by Paul Levitz
Pencils by George Pérez
Inked by Scott Koblish
Coloured by Hi-Fi & Rosemary Cheetham
Letters by Carlos M Mangual
Cover by George Pérez & Hi-FiThe strange offspring of Earth 2 this series introduces Power Girl and Huntress properly to the New 52. A departure in many ways from the former characters this issue serves as introduction to new status quo. It’s lacking the light hearted touch the Power Girl series formerly had, but it also changes the ridiculous costume so you win some you lose some.
Mind The Gap
Written by Jim McCann
Art and Cover by Rodin Esquejo and Sonia Oback
Letters by Dave LamlhearA very strong start to a series that continues the increasingly popular crossover of crime and supernatural genres, as Elle Peterssen is assaulted on a subway platform, and left comatose. The story sets up a huge number of possible suspects in the real world, while within Elle Peterssen mind, and slightly beyond she runs into so very unusual characters.
With good writing, references to Pink Floyd’s “Money” and good art the series looks set to impress.
Dial H, Mind the Gap, Animal Man, Swamp Thing and Stormwatch come out tops this week, all with impressive showings. I’d put Dial H slightly ahead of the others, simply for being something noticeably different, but Mind the Gap also fulfils those criteria.