Comics You Should Be Reading: Green Wake

Whether you're looking for a comic with psychological or supernatural themes, or just feel like something other than a superhero book, you should be reading Green Wake. Kurtis Wiebe and Riley Rossmo's title has grown to be one of my favorite titles on the market. Here's why.

Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #1

He's the best at what he does. And what he run the Jean Grey Academy? Professor Wolverine is kind of a catchy name, but I at least hope that his professoring isn't very nice. Check out our take on the latest adventures of Sniktbub and his crazy crew of X-Men here. Bub.

10 Comics That Would Make Great Cartoons

Comics and cartoons go together like a Batman and his current Robin. Cartoons adapted from comic books have a long history of being great, and we here at the 52 Review welcome more of them. Here are 10 comic books we think deserve their own animated series.

Review: Spaceman #1

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso team up again for the 9 issue Vertigo miniseries Spaceman. 100 Bullets is a tough act to follow. Does Spaceman measure up? Find out what we thought of the first issue here, or take advantage of the $1 pricetag and try it for yourself.

Review: The Flash #2

The first issue of The Flash blew us away. Does the second one measure up to the early promise of the series? Or is Barry Allen already starting to slow down? Find out what we thought of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato's second issue here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Justice League #1

The first issue of the Justice League was in a tough position. Being the flagship title of the relaunch and being released before all the other books made into the symbol of the relaunch, and all the fears and expectations that come along with it. To avoid heavy criticism, it needed to be an absolutely fantastic comic.

And instead, we got a pretty good comic. Nothing particularly new, nothing special, but a fun enough read with lots of potential for the future. It won't convert anyone who isn't a fan of Johns, and it definitely won't quell the rage of fanboys still furious about the relaunch, but it's an accessible book that many readers will be entertained by.

There are spoilers beyond this point, so read ahead at your own risk.

The opening chase scene was, for me, the dullest part of the book. Maybe it's because these pages had already been previewed, but there wasn't much tension or much reason behind why the characters were on the run, and I would've preferred that fewer pages were spent on it. The one thing I did appreciate was the amount of variety and creativity Hal showed in his constructs. It effectively showcased Green Lantern powers for new readers, and showed older readers what we can expect from Hal in this new universe.

In fact, Hal Jordan in general is largely improved. Hal's frequently criticized for being being bland, but I don't think anyone can say he lacks a personality in this issue. He may not be the most likable guy in the world, but it's a great setup for Hal losing his ring, and for character development in the future.

The back and forth between Batman and Hal was fun, and is where the issue really picked up for me. Some elements may be a bit of a retread for older readers- the above panel made me think of ASBAR- but it's still entertaining and flows well. It was a good way to work in the set-up for this arc's villain without things feeling clunky.

The absolute highlight of the issue for me, and, probably many other readers, is the introduction of Cyborg. This is the one scene where Johns may have proved some naysayers wrong. His Vic is instantly likable and sympathetic, and I have a feeling his transformation into Cyborg will be absolutely heart wrenching. I think he's going to bring a lot to the Justice League, and I'm excited to see him develop as a hero.

Hal being absolutely blindsided by Superman after describing his constructs as indestructible earlier in the issue worked well for me. However, the ending of the issue fell a little flat for me. I'm sure the promise of a Batman/Superman throwdown will attract many readers, but I was hoping for something a little more intriguing to look forward to in the next issue. I'll still keep reading the title, but it's a bit of a disappointment.

I will say that the closing image of Superman was a nice one. I'm not sold on his new costume yet, but Lee's rendition of it here is probably the best it's looked. A little yellow on the belt would be a huge improvement, but Lee seems to get how to make the costume as is work. Here's hoping the other artists drawing Superman do too.

I've seen several complaints about the characters missing from this issue, but that's actually something I'm okay with. I think showing the formation of the League rather than dropping readers into the middle of the story was the right choice, and will make it easier to introduce the more obscure characters in the league's line-up once the story jumps back to the present. I'm really interested to see who Hal is replaced by and how that plays in the story. And, while Darkseid may seem like too formidable a foe for an introductory Justice League villain, my hope is that Johns is merely sowing the seed for more epic tales later down the line.

I'd recommend Justice League to fans of Johns and Lee, new readers looking to get into the DCU, and those looking for a mainline, basic superhero team book. If you're on the fence about this title, I'd recommend sticking to the relaunch books that have captured your interest and waiting until the first arc's conclusion to check this title out.

By Marceline with 2 comments

10 Creators DC Should Hire for Wave Two

We may be at the dawn of Wave One of the DC Relaunch, but that doesn't mean it's too soon to discuss Wave Two! For those who don't obsessively follow comics news, here's what we know:

1. Wave Two is happening
2. The Marvel Family will be a part of it
3. The powers that be have requested submissions for "fun books"

In other words, almost anything could happen! So, I went all out, picking artists, writers and titles that I'd like to see in my fantasy universe. I didn't include several creators I love, including Amanda Conner and Dustin Nguyen, who are working on unspecified projects for DC. And, while some of these picks are reaching, I also tried to avoid people who probably wouldn't be willing or able to work on a new DC title. This list may be a fantasy, but it's a believable fantasy, dammit! So, without further ado, here are 10 creators I'd like DC to hire for wave two.

Who: Sean Murphy

What: The Books of Magic

Why: Joe the Barbarian made me fall in love with Murphy's detailed and sketchy style. It's been great seeing his art in Vertigo miniseries, but I'd really love to have a book of his to look forward every month. Murphy is pretty open about not being into superheroes, so I'd love to see him take on a magic based series instead. I loved both Gaiman's original mini and the Books of Magic ongoing series, but the art was often too static for my tastes, and seeing someone like Murphy bring the amazing world around Tim Hunter to life would be fantastic.

Who: Kelley Puckett

What: Spoiler and Blackbat

Why: I am a huge fan of Puckett's run on Batgirl, and I recommend it to anybody in spite of its badly organized trades. Cass is the sort of character who is easy to screw up- make her too angsty, too dark, too violet- but Puckett consistently managed to make her a fun, believable character. Now that Cass has a superhero identity again and Steph's back in the role of Spoiler, I'd love to see him write these two together. Two friends kicking butt and having fun is something I'd love to read every month, and getting to see Puckett work with new, awesome artist (my pick would be Marcus To) would be even better.

Who: Greg Rucka

What: The Question

Why: Greg Rucka leaving to work on different projects was a tremendous loss for DC. From his work on GCPD to his development of Renee Montoya to Batwoman, he consistently wrote well-written, worthwhile comics with beautifully crafted characters. While I'd love to see him back on Batwoman, my top pick for him would be a Question ongoing, where he'd be free to tell the sort of stories with Renee he never had a chance to tell in the old universe and to develop a new, interesting supporting cast for the character. Woo him back, DC! Whatever it takes.

Who: Matt Sturges

What: Power Girl

Why: The worst thing about losing Power Girl was that Sturges was finally making her fun again. He figured out how to make her funny, engaging, and showcase how powerful she is, and was telling great stories with her in single issues. Sturges has consistently done great work in the Vertigo universe, and it's a shame that, now that they've found the perfect fit for him in the mainline DC universe, they're not giving him anything to do. Wave Two seems like the perfect time to correct this oversight.

Who: Frazer Irving

What: Titans Dark

Why: Including Irving on this list is a little bit of a cheat, since he's working on a couple issues of the Shade miniseries, but since he's one of my favorite artists and there are no long term plans for him in the DCnU, I figured I'd bend the rules a bit. Those of you who listen to me a lot know that one of my dream books is a teen magic users team book, and I think Frazer Irving is the perfect person to bring it to life. The dark, creepy vibe will really give the book some atmosphere, but the characters will still have plenty of personality and, most importantly, actually look like teens. Now that Xombi's done, I need a new way to enjoy Irving's art every month, and this would be the ideal way to do it.

Who: Renae De Liz

What: Amethyst

Why: Renae De Liz had already won my heart with her beautiful work on the Last Unicorn comic, but her love for Amethyst made me a lifelong fan. Putting creators on passion projects like this is exactly what the big two should be doing, and her style seems absolutely perfect for the character. DC's also shown a fondness for writer-artists with their relaunch, and with all De Liz's interest in the project, it seems very likely that she'd be willing to try her hand at writing the title as well. Whatever happens, an Amethyst project would be a treat for fans and a great way to attract new readers, and De Liz is the number one person I'd like to see working on it.

Who: Bryan Q. Miller

What: Robin

Why: Like Irving, the inclusion of Miller on this list is a bit of a cheat- he's confirmed he's working on something for DC. However, he's also specified that his project isn't something for the mainline DC universe, which frees him up for this list! The issues of Batgirl that featured Damian were the absolute highlight of Miller's run for me, and I'd love to see him spend more time with the character. For me, Miller is on par with Morrison for how well he writes the characters. As an added bonus, this would give him a chance to continue several of the plotlines he was building prior to the relaunch.

Who: Joe Hill

What: Sandman Mystery Theatre

Why: Hill might be the biggest stretch on this list, since I don't think he's ever expressed interest in working on something other than his own original projects. However, Locke & Key is probably my favorite comic on the market now, and I'd love to see him bring elements of that into the DC universe. Something like Sandman Mystery Theatre, that's full of the creepy and mysterious and strange, would show off so much of what he's great at, and I'm confident he'd use his strong characterization skills here too. In a perfect world, I'd like to see him work on this with...

Who: Jock

What: Sandman Mystery Theatre

Why: Jock's recent work on Detective Comics elevated an already great story to new heights. His art establishes a dark, noir like setting that would suit Sandman beautifully, and his inventiveness with panel layout might be able to reach JH Williams III levels with the right story to go along with it. Best yet, Jock's style is distinctively different from the artists Hill has worked with in the past, meaning that both parts of this creative team would bring new things out of each other. Pick up the phone and make it happen, DC!

Who: Frank Quitely

What: The Manhattan Guardian

Why: Quitely is my favorite artist in comics, bar none. I frequently criticize comic art for feeling too static, but Quitely's pages almost feel animated. His panel layouts are designed to create a feeling of motion and his ability to make images look three-dimensional just takes things one step further. The Manhattan Guardian is a project that would showcase everything that makes Quitely great. It's also a title that could use two artists, much like Batwoman has, in order to help Quitely hit deadlines. Frank Quitely on an ongoing is always a dream come true, and putting a character like The Manhattan Guardian in his very capable hands is pretty much guaranteed to be magic.

By Marceline with 1 comment

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

5 Characters the DC Relaunch Should Bring Out of Obscurity

DC has a treasure trove of characters who have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. Some of them need an update, some of them are saddled down by certain stories, but all of them have one thing in common: the ability to be rejuvenated by a relaunch. Here are a few favorites of mine that I'd like to see get a fresh start.


It only takes one glance to tell you Amethyst was a product from the 80's. From her name to her costume to her title, the Princess of Gemworld, the character is woefully dated. But the premise of her character- a young girl who discovers she is from another world and has incredible powers- is a sound one, and a fantasy adventure series aimed at young girls could be exactly what DC needs right now. The relaunch is the perfect time to revamp the character and introduce her to a new, younger audience.

For a peek at what an updated Amethyst might look like, check out these penciled pages from Last Unicorn artist Renae De Liz.


When Empress was introduced in Young Justice, she had all the makings of a character who'd stick around. Her combination of Vodou and melee fighting gave writers a lot to work with, and her secret agent dad added an extra degree of intrigue to the character. However, near the end of Young Justice's run, she was left raising her magically de-aged parents, a stumbling block most writers couldn't get past. To their credit, several writers tried to use her, but she'd show up only in a single story and then disappear back to obscurity.

Now that the DCU is relaunched, Empress can get a fresh start- one that doesn't involve changing her parent's diapers. She'd fit in great with the current cast of the Teen Titans, or on a new team made up of magic using teens. Here's hoping some writers still remember she's around.

Doctor Thirteen

Doctor Thirteen, a paranormal investigator who denies the existence the supernatural, has always been a lot of fun. Seeing him come up with "reasonable" explanations for his frequent partner The Phantom Stranger, his former flame Zatanna, or even his own daughter's magic powers was wonderfully entertaining. However, the more stories that were told with Doctor Thirteen, the less plausible his skepticism became. Most writers lost interest in coming up with new ways for him to deny what was right in front of him, and the character's last notable appearance was in a comic where he was fighting the DC architects for his continued existence.

Giving Doctor Thirteen a cleaner slate makes it easier for writers to use him effectively, and makes his skepticism easier for readers to buy in the process. As long as writers can resist the urge to put him in fantastical situations over and over again, he should be able to entertain readers for years to come.

Iron Butterfly

There are many interesting Milestone characters DC isn't using, and Iron Butterfly is one of them. A Palestinian woman with the power to control metal, Iron Butterfly has potential that wasn't fully explored even in the Milestone universe. A good writer could handle her largely as if she was a new character while exploring all the interesting elements that her creator, Dwayne McDuffie, introduced. And her kick-ass and unique costume doesn't hurt. She'd be perfect for an international team like the JLI, or for a relaunched version of Shadow Cabinet. In the hands of someone like John Rozum, she could even carry her own solo title.

The Manhattan Guardian

Grant Morrison's take on the classic Kirby character The Guardian was probably my favorite part of Seven Soldiers. From the Newsboy Army to the Subway Pirates to killer animatronics, The Manhattan Guardian's world was wonderfully weird, in spite of its NYC setting. The idea of a newspaper spokeshero is a terrific one with an enormous amount of potential, and it was saddening to see that the character was largely forgotten after Seven Soldiers concluded.

The greatest thing about The Manhattan Guardian is that in spite of the strange and fantastic world around him, he's a relatable, everyman character with a simple background. He has the beginnings of a strong supporting cast, and both his home life and the newspaper setting leave plenty of room for writers to expand it. In a perfect world, The Manhattan Guardian would get his own solo title, but I'd settle for seeing him show up on the pages of Static.

By Marceline with 3 comments

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 10 Best Covers of the DCnU (So Far)

We may not have any comics to review just yet, but we've got covers. Three months worth of covers. Some of them are not so great, but some of them are awesome, and they're the ones I'm here to talk about today.

First up, an honorable mention, because my favorite cover of the DCnU is not actually a cover.

superman new costume

For whatever reason, DC decided not to use Rags Morales' update of the classic Action Comics #1 cover for the series' second first issue. In spite of that, it's become a symbol of the reboot, and I really hope it's released as a variant. This image will someday hang on my bedroom wall. Now, onto the list!

10. Batman #3, by Greg Capullo 
batman greg capullo

I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of the first two solicited Batman covers. Greg Capullo's a talented artist, to be sure, but the covers didn't seem to fit Snyder's style and made me miss the beautiful covers that Jock had created for Snyder's run on Detective Comics. Seeing this cover, however, put all my fears to rest. It's eyecatching and manages to showcase an action-packed pose while still remaining pretty minimalistic. When I look from Batman cover to Batman cover, I can see Capullo's Batman been drawn deeper and deeper into a strange and different world, and I really like the idea in that. This is a Batman comic and shouldn't have any trouble drawing in new readers, but a great cover like this shouldn't hurt.

9. Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, by Kenneth Rocafort
red hood and the outlaws

I'm a huge fan of Rocafort's art, and I've really enjoyed all the covers we've seen from him so far, even the fanservice laden cover for issue number 2. What really pushed this one to the top for me was how well it sold the overall feel of the book. Anyone looking at this cover and the book's title should be able to get a general feel for what this comic is supposed to be. That's something that any number one issue should be trying to pull off, and I hope it garners this series some readers. I also really like the use of color and the way it showcases Rocafort's sketchy style. The cover for issue number 3 of the series, which showcases the main cast fighting their past selves against a surreal backdrop, was a very close second.

8. Deathstroke #3, by Simon Bisley

deathstroke 03

I'm not a huge fan of Deathstroke's redesign, or even Deathstroke himself, but Simon Bisley has been killing it on these covers. They're all great, but the bright colors and the awesome, dynamic pose on this one pushes it to the head of the pack. It's the sort of cover I can easily see drawing in a new reader and getting them to give the book a chance. Going by the solicits, this seems like it might even be the start of a new storyline, making this cover even more perfectly placed. Sadly, Bisley's not doing Deathstroke's interiors, but the preview pages from Joe Bennett and Art Thibert look solid, and shouldn't disappoint those who do pick up this comic on the cover alone. I'm not very familiar with the book's writer, Kyle Higgins, but here's hoping he can sell me on Deathstroke as much as this cover is.

7. Batwoman #2, by JH Williams III

batwoman 2 cover

Batwoman's spent most of her superhero career being drawn by JH Williams III, which means almost every piece of art associated with her is stunning. Making a Batwoman cover that stands out among many so other beautiful Batwoman covers is a feat in itself, and it's one this cover pulls off flawlessly. A lot of her Detective Comics covers used this same split effect, and it's always effective. I especially love the bleeding colors of the bat symbol and the little details of the fish swimming around the skeleton. The water motif also fits perfectly with the preview pages I've seen, which involve a waterlogged ghost known "The Weeping Woman". Because Batwoman was held back for the relaunch, I actually saw this cover for the first time more than half a year ago. It's still just as stunning, and I can't wait to see it in person.

6. The Shade #1, by Tony Harris

shade mini
James Robinson's The Shade mini was one of the biggest surprises of the relaunch, or at least it was for me. The announcement of series beyond the original 52 was a bit of a game changer, and the incredibly line-up of artists this boasted (Cully Hamner, Darwyn Cooke, and Frazer Irving, just to name a few) didn't hurt. This issue will come out in October, and I can't imagine a more perfect cover for the month of Halloween. This cover is simple enough at first glance, but there's so much detail that I keep coming back to look at it over again. Sometimes I see a great cover solicited and then wince a little, knowing that some of the detail that makes it great will be obscured once the logo is added, but this seems specifically designed to counteract that. Here's hoping that the finished product remains every bit as wonderful to look at. I'm really looking forward at seeing this series' future covers.

5. Wonder Woman #3, by Cliff Chiang 

wonder woman 03
I'm a huge fan of Cliff Chiang's art, but I hadn't really been sold by the covers that preceded this one. They looked great, in spite of the pants/no pants shenanigans, but nothing was sucking me in and telling me that this was a comic I wanted to read until this cover. It perfectly backs up Azzarello's claims that his Wonder Woman will be a "horror comic", and it's just a stunning image all on its own. I'm not a fan of the Wonder Woman logo, and it's a shame that the visual impact of this cover will be dampened a little bit by having that atop it. Still, I think that this is a strong enough cover to overcome a tacky looking logo, and I hope it gets some readers to give Wonder Woman a chance. If nothing else, a cover in which Wonder Woman's costume isn't up for discussion is a welcome break.

4. Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #3, by J.G. Jones

I love Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, think Lemire's Flashpoint Frankenstein tie-in is pretty great, and was generally looking forward to reading this. Seeing this cover, however, pushed this series from "should be awesome" to "OH MY GOD I MUST READ THIS NOW" in my mind. It sells Frankenstein as the DC universe's answer to Hellboy and B.R.P.D., and it sells it pretty darn well. J.G. Jones has been doing a lot of great covers for the DC relaunch, but I think this is his best work hands down. There's just so much going on in this cover without it feeling cluttered or over the top, and I think the blue is really going to look nice when the issue's on comic shop shelves. Thanks to Sweet Tooth and his run on Superboy, Lemire's mostly proven himself to me, and I have faith he can live up to all the awesomeness that this cover promises.

3. Animal Man #1, by Travel Foreman

For whatever reason, covers that are predominately yellow are considered to be a poor choice in the publishing business. Marketing research says that they tend to sell poorly when compared to covers of other colors, and as thus, you don't see a lot of bright yellow in comic book covers. Maybe it's because of that that a cover with as much yellow as this one has pops so much. The insane detail levels of Travel Foreman's art don't hurt. I really like how much about Animal Man you can get just by looking at the cover. You get The Red and his connection to it. You get a feeling for his powers, and you get the feeling that this book is maybe a little creepy and not your standard superhero book. The only thing it's really missing is his family. I hope this cover defies the commonly accepted wisdom about yellow covers and sells a lot of readers on Animal Man, because I really think they're in for a treat if they give it a chance.

2. The Flash #3, by Francis Manapul
flash 3 cover

Francis Manapul's beautiful Flash interiors had me completely sold on this comic from the moment I saw them, but I was disappointed that his covers weren't really showing off what he could do. Then this was solicited. This actually isn't the issue's final cover, but it's so striking and seems so destined to become an iconic Flash image that I couldn't help but put it on this list. Not only does it completely sell the concept of a speed-powered superhero to new readers, but it showcases everything wonderful about Manapul's art. Even the use of negative space on this cover is perfect, and I really hope it doesn't go through too many changes before it hits stands. This issue is actually going to feature two different variant covers, but I can't imagine anyone wanting to buy them when the real deal looks this good.

1. Men of War #2, by Viktor Kalvachev

I frequently struggle with the top rankings of lists like these, but this was effortless. For me, this is hands down the best cover of the new 52. With one image, Men of War went from being "Call of Duty: The Comic" to being a modern day version of The Odyssey. Taken by itself, this cover is absolutely gorgeous, but in context, it's a complete game changer. Military versus metahumans is the kind of concept I've been wanting to see in comics for a long time, and this cover put Men of War on the map for me. Viktor Kalvachev's work here is the reason this is one of my most anticipated comics. I can easily see this image catching the eye of someone who'd never even consider reading DC or Marvel normally, and that's incredibly exciting to me. All of Men of War's covers have been wonderful, but this one is truly something special.

By Marceline with 2 comments

    • Popular
    • Categories
    • Archives