Monday, November 28, 2011
The New 52: The Second Issues
That's Entertainment in Worcester, Massachusetts had a Black Friday sale featuring, among other bargains, a buy-two-get-one-free deal for New 52 titles. The time had arrived for checking out the second issues of my favorite #1s. I also picked up a recent Wolverine book for comparison. My thoughts on each...
Green Lantern #2
Image via COMIC BOOK FAN AND LOVER
My ultimate question for each title was essentially the same as it had been for the first issues: am I sufficiently curious about what happens in the next issue? For GL #2, the answer is a definite yes. I absolutely love the dynamic between Sinestro and Hal Jordan. Can a former arch-villain actually be a better superhero than the supposed good guy? The broader question posed by Sinestro, why superheroes haven't used their powers to fix Earth's larger problems, is a poignant one. Mock recently gave me a Squadron Supreme series from the mid-'80s which confronts that matter directly.
Green Lantern Corps #2
Image via Team Hellions
I was less impressed by this one. The initial draw for me was the dynamic between the various Corps members and issue #2 didn't do enough to encourage further interest. The current storyline - a barren world rebuilding by stealing natural resources from other planets - is a good one. But I need something more than brawling action to hold my interest long-term. Verdict: did not pass.
Green Lantern New Guardians #2
Image via Kaskus
I am powerfully curious about the various Lantern Corps beyond the Green. I'm very interested to see what will happen with the unification via Kyle Rayner. I like the floating Oompa-Loompas (aka Guardians) a lot but Rayner's new threads with all of the various insignias are very impressive. It will be easy to pull for him in the inevitable conflict. Verdict: passed.
Red Lanterns #2
Image via Kaskus
This book is really strong. The story is good. Just as with the first book, the art work is outstanding. I'm still very impressed by Atrocitus and his avenging-the-worthy philosophy is very appealing (more on that later). And yet, I have to say that my interest in following the story further is lacking. Next up is Atrocitus's selection of a lieutenant from his entourage, an intriguing narrative direction. But I don't see that the Red Lantern Corps's development is any more compelling than that of the Green Lantern Corps. What is most interesting to me is the interaction between the various colors, thus my curiosity in the Sinestro and New Guardians story lines. Verdict: did not pass, but it was close.
Teen Titans #2
Image via originalcomics.ru
By the end of the issue, my interest in the characters had run out. Red Robin's crush on Wonder Girl offers potential but not enough for me to keep following this particular band of heroes. The introduction of characters should be exciting. In this case, it is disappointingly tedious. Verdict: did not pass.
Justice League #2
Image via Comic Reviews from the Life-Impaired
In contrast to the Teen Titans, the superheroes in the Justice League feel like old friends to me. Such is the power of television on the childhood mind. Even though I didn't read many comic books in my youth, the Super Friends had a TV cartoon in the '70s and early '80s when I was firmly entrenched in their target demographic. The Teen Titans didn't get their show until I was an adult. As such, the introduction of The Flash in this issue and the promise of Wonder Woman in the next are both very exciting. JL #2 also ends with an excellent cliffhanger in the Cyborg story. Verdict: passed.
That said, why is it that superheroes must fight one another when they first meet? Does this speak to subconscious insecurities despite possessing super powers (or not, in Batman's case)? I can't help rooting against Superman in these tussles. To me, pulling for Superman seems a bit like pulling for the Yankees - too predictable to offer real satisfaction.
Image via Jazma Online Forum
As I noted in my wrap-up post for the New 52 #1s, I am a Marvel man at heart. I have a great fondness for Wolverine in particular and I thought I would check in with his story to see if I still prefer it to the current DC saga. Just as I suspected, it was no contest.
There are so many things I like about Wolverine. I love that the line between Logan and Wolverine is very blurry indeed. I love his back story. I love his connections to Japan. I love his conflicted, tormented persona and his vigilante sense of justice - basically everything I like about Atrocitus but with stronger development behind him. I find his super powers very appealing, too, especially given the fact that the Adamantium fused to his bones was essentially imposed upon him - enhancing his strength but also his resentment.
At present, Wolverine is the central character of the Marvel universe and this book clearly demonstrates that. Marvel loves the group shots and the picture of the combined forces of the Avengers and the X-Men is a keeper. I don't know the Marvel characters as well as I know the DC ones - again the power of television. DC had a much stronger TV presence than Marvel did during my childhood. While it can be brutal sifting through Marvel's cast of thousands, everything I've read so far suggests that the heroes of that universe are more complex individuals than their DC counterparts. They're worth the effort.
Three of the six New 52 #2s I read passed my curiosity test. Three did not. I would rank all six books as follows:
1. Green Lantern
2. Green Lantern New Guardians
3. Justice League
4. Red Lanterns
5. Green Lantern Corps
6. Teen Titans
But I would still put Wolverine above them all.