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nu52: Above and Below (and side to side)

Brian Hibbs

Watching over the rest is STORMWATCH, down in the streets is STATIC, with OMAC and MEN OF WAR lurking around the sides…

STORMWATCH #1: I probably had the highest hopes of all the DCnu books for this one — oh, I was anticipating ACTION more, but this was the one that I was hoping might be the best: wide-screen action like THE AUTHORITY, but firmly in the DCU. It also makes it, perhaps, the most problematic of the books, because that kind of world-changing action really doesn’t work with a shared universe in a lot of ways (witness how no WS book every dealt with the notion that a corporate controlled version of The Authority took over the world for a period. as one of many examples) — you really can’t do “The Moon is a Hatching Egg!” and not have it impact a jillion other books.

There’s also the notion that as appealing I find The Engineer, and Jack and Jenny and Midnighter and Apollo… well, they can’t be The Authority is a world with a JL, because the JL is better… they have to be.

I’m not sure if I’m reading too much into it, or not, but STORMWATCH also appeared to be adding in Milestone concepts in the mix, with the mention of a “Shadow Cabinet” that runs it all? And which “Big Bang” are they referencing at the end of the issue? (Nah, that one is probably reaching)

I had a problem with STORMWATCH #1’s dialogue — yikes, pretty overly “comic-booky” with everyone reciting their names and powers and off-screen plot points left and right. I’m not sure there was a “normal” line of dialogue in the entire book — I’m hoping this is purely an artifact of being a character/location/conflict-rich first issue, and this will settle down tout-suite.

Overall, I liked the character concepts and the setups and what appeared to be the remit, but I thought the dialogue was far too “old school” to enjoy it. I’d stick through the first arc, but it’s pretty iffy if I’d want to go past that. A mild OK.


STATIC SHOCK #1: This may be the one book that would have most benefited from a “traditional first issue” — that is an origin story. Starting in the middle for a character that much of the audience doesn’t really know that well seemed a little weak to me. I didn’t know how to root for the character! Like: is Hardware the old Hardware from Dakota, or is he like a hologram butler or something? Either way, what’s he doing working with Static (or is his name now Static SHOCK like the cover says)?

The art was nice, and there was a density to the book that I liked, but I’m not feeling that crucial sympathy I need. I’d probably not bother to pick up the next issue (though the final page cliffhanger was slightly intriguing) — overall, I thought it was pretty EH.


MEN OF WAR #1: The one book I had no expectations of of any kind going in, and it’s a solid little war book (albeit one with superhumans involved). Well-written, fairly gripping, and well-illustrated. But, also one that I really didn’t care too much for. I’m not very interested in war stories, and while the superhuman involvement could bring me back to flip through #2, this isn’t something I would like to spend my personal money on. Ditto for the backup tale. Very solidly OK, just not my cuppa at all.


OMAC #1: Big, frenetic, dumb, fun destruction.  It’s probably the speediest read of week 1, but I liked it a lot! In fact, I only have one criticism about it whatsoever, and that is that there is not “Omac created by Jack Kirby” credit. Even STATIC SHOCK had *that*. Anyway, I’d call OMAC #1 a solid (if lower) GOOD.


What did YOU think?




11 Responses to “ nu52: Above and Below (and side to side) ”

  1. I have fond memories of pretty much the entire original Milestone books. Those and the early Valiant books are some of my favorite comics. Should I look into Static Shock?

    I bought Animal Man and Swamp Thing on my iPad (sorry, Brian, but I don’t have any good comic shops where I am). I thought both were worth the money and I’ll probably continue, but I had no nostalgic investment in either, so there was no let down based on memories. I know no one will ever be McDuffie, but is the voice true to the original?

  2. O.M.A.C. was a major surprise. I like Giffen and have followed some of his more “cult” mainstream work, such as the recent Doom Patrol and his take on the Suicide Squad from about seven years or so ago. But Didio’s name made me nervous. No offense to the guy, but haven’t heard great things about his writing.
    But yeah, it was just a lot of crazy fun. Didio and Giffen appear to have this great working relationship, which is funny because I gather a lot of fans who respect Giffen think Didio is the worst thing to happen in comics.
    So yeah, I’m thinking I’m on board with this until Giffen leaves. And I agree, let’s get the Kirby credit in there.

    Flipped through Men of War. Didn’t impress me. What’s interesting about the book is that while DC wants to claim it is a different genre, it’s still firmly entrenched in the world of superheroes.
    I’m 37 and I’d rather read a Kubert-drawn or Heath-drawn WW II Sgt. Rock story any day than something trying to portray the experiences/lives of modern soldiers while shoe-horning those stories into the DCU.

  3. I’m a total newbie to Stormwatch, never having read it in its WS incarnation, so I’ll bring a bit different perspective, though with more or less the same ‘OK’ bottom line.

    The ‘we have to explain stuff for new readers’ dialog didn’t bother me at all since, well, I AM a new reader! On the contrary, I thought the concepts of the characters, which may be old hat to you, were intriguing. Intriguing enough, in fact, to bring me back for #2 even though the ‘plot’ of the comic, such as it was, consisted of little more than 1st-scene set-ups for a variety of upcoming story arcs. The art wasn’t bad, though too dark for my tastes, but didn’t help much either. So yeah, OK it is.

    OMAC, on the other hand, was everything I want out of a comic. My only criticism would be that it was too short. I want more already. I’ll give that one a VERY GOOD.

  4. I think we need to add some more grades to the Savage Critic scale. Low Good, High OK, that sort of thing

  5. They seem to have been de facto added, Jeremy! I’m still having trouble with the difference between crap and awful, and between eh and ok. Those pairs seem interchangeable to me…

  6. Chris Brown, it freaks me out when you post, because I’m also named Chris Brown, and I think I’m your age and have the same tastes in comics and everything. It feels like you’re a reboot of me, replacing me in the universe.

  7. I had never been interested in Static, but I loved the hell out of Static Shock #1, my favorite #1 so far (eat it, Action). It was just what I wanted– minimal exposition, with explanations happening through action! Science-hero-y stuff in the style of the silver age but with 21st century leanings. Also, Pac-Man ghosts on Tron cycles.

    More please.

  8. Adding the Authority/Stormwatch characters to the DCU sounded like a terrible idea to me from the start, simply because far too many of the characters are comments on or inversions of DC versions. What’s the point of having Stormwatch/Authority and the Justice League? Apollo and Superman? Batman and Midnighter?

  9. I really liked MEN OF WAR, both the lead feature that dealt with soliders in a world of super-heroes and the back-up that was straight forward military action.

    Is STORMWATCH actually supposed to be serious or a parody? I ask because how can anyone take it seriously after the Midnighter takes out the “shape-shifting” Martian Manhunter put touching two fingers to the side of his neck? Is “I’m Jack Hawksmoor. I communicate and control cities” really meant to be less silly than “I’m Green Lantern. I have a magic power ring”?


  10. Well, CBrown, I don’t have a goatee, so you must be the evil one. Judging by your blog, you’re at least the version that got all the artistic ability…

  11. I never said I wasn’t the evil one, “Chris Brown.”

    And thanks for the kind comment about my sketchblog.

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