DC Comics New 52: Action Comics, Detective Comics and Green Lantern Review

By Meredith Placko
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

It’s been the talk of the comic book world for months, DC Comics relaunch of their universe. Over the month of September they will release 52 new issues that will reboot certain characters origins and introduce us to some new and exciting super humans. There’s a lot a person could get angry about, but from what I’ve read (and it’s been everything published so far!) there’s a lot to be excited about. Here’s the breakdown and my review of three of the most anticipated titles in the new DC universe.

DC Comcis New 52 (images courtsey DC Comics)

Superman: Action Comics #1
Superman is an icon. Superman is a boyscout. Superman is someone we all know and love to uphold the values of Truth, Justice and The American (or international diplomacy) way. Superman is also a raging 20-something who has some anger issues and kind of looks like Harry Potter now.

How Did We Get Here: An alien child with super strength and flight crash landed into a rural farm community, was raised by kindly parents and moves to the big city of Metropolis where he begins his career as a journalist. He also has a lot of issues.

The New 52: Action Comics takes place during Clark Kent’s early years in Metropolis. He isn’t sporting his full super suit yet, but has a blue tee, jeans and what may be a pillow case tied around his neck. He also has no qualms sticking it to the bad guys and using terrible one liners to get his point across.

There’s a reason the cops don’t like Superman and Lex Luthor is out to get him. This Superman is a jerk. The wonton devastation he causes the city while trying to save its citizens and the way he treats Metropolis’ finest gives me every reason to want to see him locked up!

I just don’t know how I feel about this. To me, Superman has always been kind, in control, and does what is right. It makes more sense that a super-powered alien would have some adjustment issues fitting into society, but this doesn’t come across as natural or right for the Boy in Blue. Also, as Clark Kent, he looks a little like Harry Potter, but no complaints here that Luthor is drawn like his Smallville counterpart. As a whole, I just don’t like the story or characterization of Supe’s in this book.

Batman: Detective Comics #1
The Detective Comics line has always been my favorite of the Batman franchises. It focuses more on crime and mystery than some of the more ridiculous story lines the caped crusader has gone up against. It also tends to be a little bit darker, sinister, and deals with things that are best kept under the bed. The reboot of Detective Comics does not disappoint in what may be the creepiest story line featuring Batman, the Joker and a new villain called The Doll Maker we’ve yet to see.

How Did We Get Here: Two years ago Batman died. Last year he came back (in a bizarre series of events that led me to believe he was his own ancestor). Toss all that out the window and sit back and enjoy the ride.

The New 52: In Detective Comics #1 we see a younger Batman, a ginger Commissioner Gordon, and the Joker immersed in baby doll heads. The story sets up the Joker as a crazed and unpredictable serial killer except now there are a series of patterns that Batman can trace to the Joker’s next scene. It’s a gruesome book with lots of violence and a few topics that make this hardened journalist cringe. But honestly, I’m not sure if this IS the Clown Prince of Crime we all know and love. There’s something about this new villain, the Doll Maker, that makes me wonder if there is more going on under the surface (other than a few face transplants) than we’d like to believe.

Green Lantern #17
If you’re a long time Lantern fan or just got into the franchise post Ryan Reynold’s film, this is a must-read book! Though the story picks up after the events in War of the Green Lanterns, folks who saw the movie wont be at a total loss seeing our favorite pink-hued alien baddie back in the colors of the Green Lantern Corps.

How Did We Get Here: At the end of War of the Green Lanterns, Sinestro pledges to help Hal Jordan fight The Big Bad of that arc, in doing so a green power ring attaches itself to Sienstro and he regains the powers of Willpower. After the fight is done and The Big Bad is put into a cosmic coma, Sinestro heads to the home world of the Green Lanterns where he is met by a few thousand Corps who are not very happy at his return. The Guardians (aka the blue boys of OA) do everything they can to pry the ring off Sinestro’s finger. It doesn’t budge, and Sinestro, begrudgingly, takes back the mantle of a Green Lantern. Oh, and in all of this, Hal Jordan is stripped of his powers and kicked out of the Green Lantern Corps. Apparently you can’t just do whatever you want and expect to have no repercussions.

The New 52: In full control of his former powers of Will, Sinestro is out to patrol his space sector, where he spies his former Yellow Lanterns enslaving the people of his planet. This does not sit well with the former dictator, and he takes off to Earth to find an unlikely ally.

But wait! This issue isn’t all about Sinestro. We finally get to see what exactly Hal Jordan’s been up to. There’s been a lot of speculation on the internet about what de-powered Hal will do now that he has been banned from the Corps and dismissed from the Airforce. There are some great scenes between him and former love Carol Ferris, and the last panel sets up what may be the best Green Lantern story since Rebirth.

One of the most frequent questions I get is, “I haven’t read comics in years, where should I start?” Often times I point people to specific trade paperbacks of great story arcs. What DC has done is given people a place to begin. The longtime readers may not like some of the changes, but they are being consistent and giving us a world to start with. There are certainly going to be some bumps along the road (Batgirl #1, anyone?) for the most part, I’m enjoying what I’ve been reading and excited to re-immerse myself back into the world of DC comics!

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5 Responses to DC Comics New 52: Action Comics, Detective Comics and Green Lantern Review

  1. Although these might be the three most anticipated comics of the new 52 (minus Justice League #1), these are not the three best books that have been released thus far.

    While I sympathize with your Superman woes, you have to remember that Action Comics #1 takes place 5 years ago. I know this is still VERY different than Smallville versions of Clark, but if you look at Superman's cameo in Swamp Thing, he totally seemed like the Superman we know and love. I think this first "5 years ago" story arc will be about his transition from this gritty version to the current day version. Keep in mind we have Superman #1 in 2 weeks! He may be very different there.

    I'm curious to see what your thoughts are on Detective Comics. Your write up was very factual, but what did you think of the book?

    As for Green Lantern, I've read every GL/GLC/GLEW book since Rebirth. I was totally unimpressed with Green Lantern #1. I thought the new 52 was all about creating a new universe that was easy for new readers to come into. This book referenced so much stuff from Sinestro Corps war, Blackest Night, and War of the Green Lanterns. I don't know how a newbie would jump into this book.

    As for Batgirl #1, I went into it wanting to hate it. I am a huge Oracle fan. The moment she shot in through the window with those kids, I was hooked. I loved it!

    Thanks for the write up! Well worth the read. Like you mentioned, these were highly anticipated. Do you plan on reviewing the best of the new 52? You should try to introduce new readers to Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batwoman, or even Frankenstein Agent of SHADE. All of those books were absolutely wonderful!

    • I couldn't disagree more. It was nice to see Supes get a revamp to make him more modern. He was vulnerable, he had emotion, and he wasn't the boy scout that we are so used to seeing. I thought Grant Morrison did a great job with the writing (as usual) and Rags Morales made this book absolutely beautiful! Was this the best book released so far? No, but it was pretty damn good imo.

      I'm not really into spiderman so I can't really comment on that aspect, but Grant Morrison isn't a copycat type writer. His storylines are notorious for being really far out there and pretty unexpected.

      • Morrison isn't a copycat writer, but his ideas are not new. They're reworkings/tributes to 50s Batman stories. The "Prof Nichols' Time Machine" stories had Batmen in other time periods, and there were several "Batman Inc" type stories, notably "The League of Heroes" in WORLD'S FINEST where Superman and Batman met international Batmen like Knight and Squire, as well as one-offs like the one where he went out west and met Chief Man-of-the-Bats.

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