nu52: Meat & Wood

Brian Hibbs

Shouldn’t be any surprise we’re still organizing in the store, so trying to dance amongst the raindrops to review books while I also do that (AND writing a Tilting this week, sheesh!)

Here’s your next two books: ANIMAL MAN and SWAMP THING

ANIMAL MAN #1: I’m of the opinion that no one other than Grant Morrison ever “got” Animal Man, and that was more of the fourth wall-breaking action than anything else. Buddy is just (sorry!) not that compelling of a character in the first place. The real value he has is of being one of the rare family men in comics, or of being the “everyman” who is probably a lot like you and me — he isn’t perfect like a Superman, he feels vaguely uncomfortable in his costume, he’s not really all that very good at “stopping crime”, but his heart is utterly in the right place.

Jeff Lemire seems to embrace all of that here, and also does a few things to shake up expectations (opening with a magazine-style interview piece, for example, or the hallucinatory dream sequence), and while I liked it, I didn’t really love it. Travel Foreman’s art is excellent in places, but also pretty awful in a few others (Ew, some of those faces, yikes!). I’d certainly give it an arc to see where it might be going, but my overall reaction was really not much more than a very very low GOOD.

ANIMAL MAN is the one and only book of the 14 released so far that I have sold out of so far — and that’s on a fairly solid number of copies.

 

SWAMP THING #1: If AM covers “the red”, this one here is “the green”, but apart from some REALLY lovely art by Yanick Paquette, I’m not really feeling this one yet.

That may be because “Swampy” really doesn’t appear in the issue until the last page, or maybe that I have no (NONE!) affinity for “Alec Holland”, a character who, over the last 40-ish years had maybe 10 words of dialogue? (Among them: “Oh, look… a bom-” or something to that effect) — so, I kind of don’t care if he has his sad little Doctor David Banner moments.

Throw in a ugly cameo from Superman (how is THAT guy the one in JL or Action?), where he seems to reference the Death of Superman (Again: how did that story happen… especially without a married Lois?), and something that looks a bit like a rip on the invunche, and I found myself missing Moore’s prose (there’s monologue, but not a single descriptive caption on display), and, I don’t know — I don’t “get” this book, I think.

I’m willing to give it another issue, but I thought it was merely OK.

 

 

That’s me: What did YOU think?

 

-B

 

15 Responses to “ nu52: Meat & Wood ”

  1. I have to agree with you on Swamp Thing. It fell flat for me. I will give it another issue but I might love the Alan Moore Swamp Thing too much to enjoy this…

    I really enjoyed Animal Man, probably more than anything else from week 1 other than Action 1. I was surprised that I enjoyed the writing as I could not make it through the first volume of Sweet Tooth. I really liked the art as well. It felt right for Animal Man. The bleeding eyes page was pretty disturbing as were the dream pages.

  2. Lois & Clark were not married during the whole Death of Supes saga. Just pretend she didn’t know Clark and Super was one and the same.

    or

    Apply Spiderman’s “One More Day” to it all and just know that things are now different.

    OR (best yet)

    Apply JJ Abram’s Star Trek to every New 52 DC book and know that some things changed, somethings didn’t, everything happened and now this is the way things are going to go forward; in the moment.
    Make is fun and satisfying, not pissing about in the minute details.

  3. I really enjoyed Animal Man. One of my favourites of the past week. I thought that Lemire nailed the “family man” vibe that I was hoping would be there. And I *loved* Travel Foreman’s artwork! I thought he totally nailed the “sticking around the home or hospital” scenes (those expressions that you thought were yuck, I thought were amazing. I’ve seen my kid make those exact same expressions made by Maxine). I loved how open those scenes were. Lots was going on, but at the same time, he really played around with the space on the page. Then you contrast that with the super detailed nightmares! Wow! Really amazing from where I’m sitting.

  4. That Scott Snyder hype was getting a bit on my nerves, recently.

    That’s the first review of Swamp Thing #1 I agree with.
    (low) OK it was. Nothing more.

  5. I can’t understand a ‘very very low’ Good for Animal Man… if that doesn’t count as Very Good, then I don’t know what does!
    I got an overview of who the character is, saw and enjoyed how he interacts with his family, got to see him take on a case, and got set-up for a larger story involving his family getting mixed up in the super-stuff.
    So the story was solid and quite entertaining, and the art… I’m just not understanding the criticism! He does nice quite/surburban, and then straight into cool super-heroics, and then look at those pages with the animal powers!
    I loved it.

    Swamp Thing probably was only Ok, but the art lifted it for me.
    (Also, both JL and Action are set over five years in the past… if Superman’s in his early twenties in them, then I think it works out that he’d be older/wiser than he was there.)

  6. I missed The Meat because my LCS sold out of the 10-15 copies they (under)ordered before I got there, but I did get The Wood and enjoyed it much more than you did. I somewhat agree with your ambivalence with Alec Holland. He comes back from the dead, confused by his memories of being a swamp monster, goes back to work at the lab, but then he’s not feeling it and becomes a construction worker? But I really enjoyed the art and the horror aspects of the story worked for me. So, SWAMP THING, one of my picks for Week 1, along with ACTION COMICS and, surprisingly, Tony Daniel’s DETECTIVE COMICS (and yes, I know this is technically Week 2, but Week 1 seemed more like a crappy one-book prologue).

  7. Buddy´s marriage survived? Wow. Seems there are different rules for the lower ranks :-)

  8. I’m sure you’re ready to kick me in the neck, but didn’t you sell out of JL and Action?
    (Me thinks the multiple printings and the Windmills might cover this?)
    But, I asked once and will try one more time. In a perfect world of never having to reorder, not needing multiple printings and having a temporary regeneration comic machine of each of the new issues, when would you say is the ideal time to be “sold out” of each of these #1 issues of the DCnU? (hope the theoretical model makes sense)

    And, DC and the triumvirate of Big Shots really didn’t plan the print run on this well did they? The armchair and the backseat are not that important in your response.

    Glad your new fixtures are swanky and your shop is making moolah and more moolah. Hope the near term bump is plentiful into the holidays and next year.

  9. “My DCU is done. I’m ready to approach the new one with a completely open mind.”—Hibbs

    “and I found myself missing Moore’s prose”—Hibbs

    THAT didn’t take long…

  10. I join you Mr Hibbs in preferring Animal Man to Swampy, ranking the former as a low EXCELLENT and the latter as a solid GOOD. I guess because the Meat gave me what I want from a first issue (essentially four things: intros, set up, character and BANG tune in NEXT TIME!) whereas the Wood did not.

    I also thought that was an invunche (albeit without the arms twist) and truly had a WAIT…WHAT? moment. I really, truly could care less about Alec Holland, and can’t imagine anyone other than Mike Serling has spend ten consecutive seconds wondering about him and his tragic back story and What Could Have Been. Having Superman(-ish) talk to him hardly makes him more interesting.

    nuDC was a chance to start over; Swampy needed to seize that and didn’t.

  11. “I’m sure you’re ready to kick me in the neck, but didn’t you sell out of JL and Action?”

    No… at least not as I am writing this. I’ll be out of JL #1 in a day or three.

    -B

  12. I’ll give both books another issue to hook me because I’m a fan of both writers. Snyder tends to flood the narrative with anecdotes (“My father once cut flowers…etc”) which gets tiresome for me, but the last page had me intrigued.

  13. I thought ANIMAL MAN (much like STORMWATCH) felt fairly dated as a throwback to the era of “super-hero comics for creators and readers who think they’re too hip for super-hero comics” and SWAMP THING is what you get when a second or third tier character gets elevated so high in fanboys’ minds that it’s hard to do anything with them.

    Mike

  14. I liked the writing in ANIMAL MAN. The art didn’t do it for me. It seemed inconsistent from page to page and panel to panel. SWAMP THING was just the opposite. The art was gorgeous but the story seemed flat. I’ll give both of these books their first arc before I decide if I’m sticking around, but I’m pretty ambivalent at this point.

  15. Animal Man’s appeal has always been that he’s the everyman, ordinary guy who never seemed to fit in with the heavies. Even the “metafictional” stuff in Morrison’s run was more about an ordinary schmuck feeling overwhelmed by powers beyond his control than it was about actual metafiction (a lesson I wish Morrison himself would learn, since he keeps going back to that well with increasingly diminishing returns).

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