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I’ve Changed My Mind, I Take It Back: Diana Looks At Some Not-So-Fresh Starts, 1/10

Brian Hibbs

So… does anyone remember Ye Olde Days when Issue #1 meant a start, rather than a restart?

Yeah, me neither.

TERROR TITANS #1: As is usually the way with DCU titles, I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here, so strictly in terms of the grade I’ll go with NO RATING. What I can tell, based on the content, is that we’re looking at more evidence of Embiggened Bloodening – teenage superheroes are abducted by teenage supervillains (who seem to be descendants of previous villains, which I’ll admit is a nice twist on the original Titans), drugged and thrown into an arena where they fight to the death. Why? Damned if I know, though it’s connected to FINAL CRISIS (I know, what a shock, right?). But more to the point, the thing that really got me about this issue is something I’ve seen pop up more and more often in DC books: the sense of brutality for its own sake. TERROR TITANS #1 isn’t as bloody as, say, a Geoff Johns comic, but it’s not much fun to read either. And what’s more, it feels tacked-on somehow, like there’s a sign over Dan DiDio’s office door that says “Your Body Count Must Be This High To Write This Comic.”

TOP 10: SEASON TWO #1: Okay, so BEYOND THE FARTHEST PRECINCT didn’t happen? I can live with that. Even though the original TOP 10 was one of my favorite miniseries, it’s been a while since I read it, and I had to go back and refresh my memory because Zander and Kevin Cannon pick up pretty much exactly where Alan Moore left off almost eight years ago – the mess with Commissioner Ultima is referred to as “recent trouble”, Irma is still grieving for her dead partner Sung Li, Smax and Toybox are still on Smax’s homeworld. I had my doubts about this one – conventional knowledge says it’s never a good idea to follow Alan Moore on anything unless you’re Neil Gaiman or possibly Jamie Delano. But I’m very pleased to see that the Cannons have captured the spirit of TOP 10 perfectly: at its core, it’s a series that takes human problems and pokes fun at them by applying superpowers, so you get “crossover-dressing” where superhero Top Flight secretly dresses up in a different (very, very scary) costume and calls himself Green Bolt; an old man is selling Shazam-esque Magic Words to kids; and, of course, we have the Big Picture murder mystery, much like the Sentinels case in Moore’s run. Now, based on all the comparisons I’ve made, it’s easy to see how SEASON TWO could be considered derivative, but changing the basic formula isn’t necessary here: it’s enough that the Cannons come up with new concepts (like the aforementioned Magic Word peddler) that run along the same lines as the Galactapuss/Cosmouse Secret Crisis War of times past – that’s the sort of clever game that makes this issue a VERY GOOD sequel.

NO HERO #1: You might think this doesn’t belong in a post about #1’s that aren’t really First Issues, but so help me, if I have to play another round of Spot That Ellisism, I’m going to scream and vent my rage like the guy on the cover. Look, a bunch of “superheroes” wearing gas masks! And they fight crime! Violently! And they got their powers through DRUGS! And there’s a bunch of historical quotes so it all looks So Very Relevant and Important! And our protagonist is So Damn Mad about the State of the World that he punches out his litterbox! That’s how mad he is! And there’s a Super-Suicide Girl who prefers texting to talking! AWFUL, because I’ve seen Ellis do this routine so many times it’s not even funny anymore. It’s like perpetual deja vu by now.

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