Posted by: Brian Hibbs on September 18, 2011
All the super-power-less characters — two Bats, a grifter, and the terrific.
BATMAN & ROBIN #1: Much like the Lantern books, this really read to me like “the next issue of B&R”. I did like the impatient Damien scenes while Bruce explains how his message should be about life and not death, but other than that, this was a pretty standard-form bat-comic. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I have very little to say, other than… OK.
BATWOMAN #1: I had a real shudder of pure joy upon reading this. Man, is it agonizingly beautiful! It also felt to me just packed fulla content, but maybe that’s because I was lingering so long with so many of the pages. J. H. Williams is an incredibly exceptional artist, and his writing is perfectly fine as well. Either way, this is the second of the nu52 which I loved loved loved — this was purely EXCELLENT win, all the way, through and through, and we hope for a long long life for this title.
GRIFTER #1: “It’s THEY LIVE starring ‘Sawyer’ from LOST!” was probably the pitch? Though, actually, when I heard the premise the first time, MY flash was to ROM, SPACE-KNIGHT, because what are these mark-2 Daemonites except for effectively being Dire Wraiths? Not to keep harping on the continuity thing, but I have a pretty hard time understanding how a “timeline merge” transforms the very fundamental nature of an entire species? Annnnnnyway, as a way of preserving a trademark, when you can’t keep any of the individual bits of that trademark other than (I guess) the mask and the name, I thought this did a perfectly adequate job. But, this doesn’t feel like a “comic” to me — it feels like a pitch for a weekly TV show that just happens to be in comic form. None of that is bad, per se, nor is the comic bad, but I’m not so sure this one can or will sustain itself past twelve issues or so? All in all, I thought it was perfectly EH.
MISTER TERRIFIC #1: I am, for the life of me, wondering just what the hell this was all about. The meta stuff, I mean. Did someone already have a MT pitch in hand that the serial numbers could be filled off of easily? Was it 4 am in the last days before they had to announce the books, and they were at book #51, and no one could come up with any better, so they just said “sure, sounds great!” Was it that someone argued there had to be a JSA-connection somewhere, even though there couldn’t be an actual JSA?
MT *is* certainly an unique character — a smart, technologically-competent black man who is also an atheist — that’s cool, not something you really see in media anywhere is it? But once you remove the legacy aspects of the JSA connection, I think the seams really start to show. Seriously, what grown man (seriously, especially a black man) is going to call himself “Mister Terrific”, without it being a legacy name? Same thing with the “Fair Play” : I liked that on a Golden Age character, just the same way I liked Ma Hunkle with the souppot on her head becoming “the Red Tornado”, but that’s seriously NOT a c21 name.
Even putting that all aside, I really didn’t like this comic very much — I thought “The third smartest man” (who, um, is actually Amadeus Cho) was written pretty dumb — in a way that a lack of specificity there wouldn’t have bothered me; and a non-visual power for your antagonist like the mind or emotion control here is largely anti-superhero comics. Lots and lots of set-up, no real payoffs, I was pretty disapointed.
What’s… well not funny, but not really ironic either, dunno the right term really… is that I was opining to several customers, in the weeks before any of these books coming out, that I was holding out the most hope for the “odd” books like GRIFTER or MISTER TERRIFIC because, historically, the best comics DC publishes tend to come from the fringes where you didn’t expect anything whatsoever. Things like Morrison’s ANIMAL MAN, or Ostrander’s SUICIDE SQUAD, or the Cary Bates CAPTAIN ATOM (seriously? Those first three years? What a great run!), or even why-do-people-forget-it-started-firmly-in-the-DCU Gaiman’s SANDMAN were all more vital, and transformative to the greater-DCU, then any monthly-ongoing run of Superman or Batman comics. So, yeah, all the more disappointing that this comic didn’t elevate itself out above the pack.
Of what I have read so far, I am thinking this will be the first one cancelled. I may have hated HAWK & DOVE, but there are a contingent of people who like Rob Liefeld to pieces, enough to maybe get that title past year 1. MT, on the other hand, has to solely last on its own merits, of which I find few. It was an AWFUL comic.
As always: what do YOU think?