Another sparse week, with another set of DC’s New 52 hitting their 12th issue.
DC – New 52 #12 Part 1
The cross over with Batwoman is handled with fantastic style, as Batwoman’s unique panel layout follows her across books, providing a gorgeous double page splash. The fight between the two Bats clashes their two styles nicely, but you’ll have to read it to see who comes out on top.
The main storyline moves forward nicely, with a few threads coming together at last, as Batgirl takes the fight to Knightfall’s organisation. There she finds both a tough fight, and some real horrors, all of which culminates in a fantastic final page.
The writing remains as good as ever, but the art stutters a little this month, never really living up to the Batowman splash, with some odd layouts and duff panels.
Written by Scott Snyder, Co-Written by James Tynion IV (Pages 22-28)
Art by Becky Cloonan (Pages 1-21) and Andy Clarke (Pages 22-28)
Inks by Sandu Florea (Pages 8-11, 19-20)
Coloured by FCO Plascencia
Lettering by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Cover by Greg Capullo and FCO Plascencia
A bit of an odd issue this month, as pointed to by the credits.
Feeling like either a stand alone story, or a prologue to something new. Set during the Court Of Owls, in part, it tells the story of Harper Row, one of Gotham’s electrical engineers, who finds herself invited to the launch of Bruce Wayne’s Rejuvenation project. She also, separately mind, is saved by Batman. This leads to things, and to a second, and third encounter.
The writing is good, with a set up based around seven words, which drags the reader in. The story engages, and it’s interesting to see things from the perspective of a Gotham citizen, as they’re only privy to part of the story, and we’re locked into the same thing, only really knowing as much as Harper knows.
I’m unsure about the opening art, which fits the story, but is manga in feel for other uses (the closest comparison I can come up with is Scott Pilgrim). This gives the change in style towards the end more weight by contrast, being more detailed in its linework.
This issue feels like filler. It’s good filler, but filler none the less, and might have worked better as a back up story split over two months.
The Knights enter the Mystious Tower, the insides of which, in a Whovian twist, are bigger than the outside, and contains all of Camelot, and some nasty surprises, from wall art to monstrous creatures.
Morgaine has a plan for Merlin’s body, and being magic it requires sacrifice, namely the lives of the Demon Knights. Morgine indulges in a foolish explanatory monologue, summarising her plan for her captives. And it was all going so well. The ending will blow you away.
Everything remains on form this issue, with the art handling the complex interior and some impressive action scenes very well. The book does seem to be focusing on Madam Xanadu and Etrigan to the expense of the other characters however. While no one in a team book is going to get a lot of page time each issue, it could be spread a little more.
Free of NOWHERE Superboy, both as a character and a series seems to be on a downwards slope. There’s a hell of a lot of recapping (or it feels like it) and much filler. The art fails to engage as well, feeling generic, inconsistent and at times dated. The cover is irrelevant, the villain meh (Kiva), the dialogue doesn’t do much, and there’s an anti drink message amid it all. Overall it’s a very disappointing issue next to its forebears.
Demon Knights and Batgirl come off best this month, with no title being perfect. Batman comes after them, with Superboy running in last place. I get the feeling that the #0 issues coming next month have thrown a few storylines off the story line they’d been hoping to run with. While some look to simply be ignoring the interruption others seem to be delaying things. Hopefully the #0 issues will be worth this (if indeed they’re the cause).