nu52: wk 4: The Finaleing!

Brian Hibbs

Running low on time, and I didn’t have “clever” subcategories to go with it this week, so, here’s the final 13 books in a single post.

 

ALL-STAR WESTERN #1: What a terrific comic! I thought there was a lot of thought and density in this book, and the art was scrumptious. VERY GOOD.

 

 

AQUAMAN #1: A solid debut, though it’s really hard to judge what the series will actually be like — this was mostly a bunch of “Aquaman is lame” jokes, and, clearly THAT’s not a sustainable direction, month-after-month. I’ll go, for the moment, with a solid GOOD, because the monsters seemed interesting.

 

 

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1: Hey, look, ANOTHER breakout from Arkham! Hey, look, we end with a wrongly named character! This just seems like “the unnecessary Batman comic” to me. It wasn’t terrible, or anything, but I don’t see the reason for this to exist other than “showcase for Finch”… and does anyone expect him to be monthly on this book for 2-3 years? I don’t. So: OK.

 

 

BLACKHAWKS #1: I mean, for what it is, it is absolutely competently done, but I don’t really like GI Joe in the first place, and a DCU version doesn’t fill my black heart with joy. I think, after reading all 52 now, this is probably the first one that will be cancelled because there’s just nothing to draw me in (though, honestly, it might work fine as a TV show) when compared to “proper” superhero comics in the same universe. EH.

 

 

THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1: Oh, god, ow. Wow, that was miserable. First, Jason and Ronnie as contemporaries kind of sucks. Second, having “Firestorm” without a disembodied co-pilot kind of misses the entire point of the premise. Third, the “Fury” idea is kinda sorta amusing, but way way too much of being Firestorm in the first place was just skipped over to get to that last page beat. Fourth, scientists in the DCU are now just handing out “superpower bombs” to high school students now? Fifth, really? THAT’S the origin? “he presses a button” Really? Sixth, um what’s with the other girl who was there, why didn’t she get powers too? I thought this was pretty lousy overall — AWFUL.

 

By the way, I guess this means that the whole “Firestorm is, like, a bomb that’s going to explode” or whatever that plotline was… that will never been resolved, eh? I’m super curious to what the intended resolution of that one was. If you knew it, drop me a line, eh? I KNOW someone from DC is reading these….

 

 

THE FLASH #1: Nice art, nice page layout, solid enough story — more enjoyable than the Flash has been in a long while — GOOD.

 

 

GREEN LANTERNS: NEW GUARDIANS #1: Interesting choice to start with the origin of Kyle, which made this easy enough to follow, but then it leads into the Rainbow Corps stuff, and I’m all meh about that — no real plot here yet, or notion of what the book is ABOUT. So… OK?

 

 

I, VAMPIRE #1: Beautiful moody expressive art… but I had a really hard time following the who and the what and the when of it all. That’s probably because I read thirteen comics in one sitting!  OK

 

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1: Going in with extremely low expectations helps, yes it does — I thought this was solid, if unspectacular. A low GOOD?

 

 

SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1: Textbook of how NOT to do a reboot — it’s predicated on (at least I think) wanting to break the curse of Hawkman (which I take to mean the through-the-years romance dealie?), but you have to KNOW that to understand the who and what at all. And then when he tries to burn the suit, it somehow bonds to him or something equally incomprehensible. The art was vaguely nice, but there’s nothing sympathetic on display, and I felt like I walked into the middle of someone else’s D&D campaign where they has a bunch of poorly explained house rules. Pretty AWFUL.

 

 

SUPERMAN #1: It MIGHT be in relationship to ACTION, but I sort of think this was a bad comic all on its own. You know what it felt like to me? A comics by and for old people, but who were really really trying to be “hip” or modern, but not at all seeing what and why and how they were entirely missing was IS modern. Also, a special double-ugh to Clark’s new hairstyle, which almost sorta worked in ACTION, but looks beyond shitty here. This book smells covered with group-think, and I thought it was sadly AWFUL. (Yet, it was ironically the best-seller this week of the 13)

 

 

TEEN TITANS #1: Not enough happened for me to judge the tone or direction of this series, but it sorta worked for me anyway… at least as long as I tell myself “this is the only Titans, ever” OK, I thought.

 

 

VOODOO #1: Late night cable in comics form. It started off like some sort of cheesy Skinamax soft-core, then, boom! rubber monster at the end of it. I don’t think you can do a book that’s nothing but antagonists, and find an audience, but I guess we’ll see? At least it was pretty, but oh so very EH.

 

 

Sheesh, finished! I never want to do that ever again!!

 

I have a notion for a “what did I learn?” piece, but it might be better suited after we’ve got most (or all) of a month of #2s behind us.

 

Still, as always, what did YOU think?

 

 

-B

20 Responses to “ nu52: wk 4: The Finaleing! ”

  1. Brian Clevinger posted what his plans for the first six issues were back when the Brightest Day stuff would’ve been used. He would’ve brought in Solaris the Tyrant Sun and had him merge with the matrix to “repair the flaw”. It’s all on his site. http://www.atomic-robo.com/2011/08/29/brainstorm-on-firestorm/

  2. I read the Firestorm stuff because I remember liking Gail Simone from some book years ago, but I also thought it was awful. The dialogue was a mess. And yes, the plot made no sense.

  3. i would consider buying All Star Western, IF someone would cut that ridicoulus string of flesh going right over HEXs mouth. Damn that’s annoying to look at – and it must be really practical for anything else than soup.

  4. If you don’t mind sharing, what’s the reorder plan at CE like for the new 52?

  5. “You know what it felt like to me? A comics by and for old people, but who were really really trying to be “hip” or modern, but not at all seeing what and why and how they were entirely missing was IS modern.

    SNIP

    (Yet, it was ironically the best-seller this week of the 13)”

    I can’t really argue with the whole “written for old people” thing because it was structured and designed more like a book from the 1980s than anything you find on the stands today. I would throw some cold water on the deification of modern storytelling.

    MAD MEN gets its ass stomped in the ratings by shows like THE CLOSER, BURN NOTICE and THE WALKING DEAD. It’s not even close. Seriously. The number of people who watch MAD MEN isn’t just bad compared to network TV, it’s nothing to write home about among cable shows. MAD MEN is nearer to being a failure than a success commercially. Yet the TV industry slobbers all over the show.

    Likewise, I’ve seen some folks turn up their nose at SUPERMAN while falling all over themselves to praise stuff like BATWOMAN or other New 52 books more in tune with “modern” storytelling. Well, a lot of creators and fans may not like it but if you want to make a comic that regularly sells more than 50,000 copies a month, you’ve got to write more like Roger Stern than Grant Morrison. You’ve got to draw more like George Perez and Jesus Merino than J.H. Williams III. You’ve got to be more like Denny O’Neil than Brian Michael Bendis.

    I’m not saying every comic needs to be by Gerry Conway and John Byrne, but one of the biggest challenges confronting this DC reboot and the whole industry is that entertaining a mass audience is quite a bit different than making a comic for a self-segregated niche.

    Mike

  6. ….aaaand here we go again.

    @Mbunge: “MAD MEN gets its ass stomped in the ratings…” Once again, pure ratings don’t tell the story. Of MAD MEN’s lesser ratings, about half come from $100,000+ earners in the 18-49 demographic. In an ad-supported medium, it’s not always about HOW MANY you reach, it’s about WHO you’re reaching. And who you’re TRYING to reach. Speaking of which…

    “You know what it felt like to me? A comics by and for old people.. (Yet, it was ironically the best-seller this week of the 13)”

    That’s not surprising when you considering the aging, graying audience at your typical comic shop, a significant percentage of which had their buying habits ossified in the ’80s. If DC wants to win over younger audiences, this approach to SUPERMAN ain’t it.

    Appealing to the EXISTING mass audience isn’t necessarily the best way to position oneself for larger or long-term success.

    For proof of that, all you have to do is surf comichron.com’s sales charts for the mid-90s and see how the Top 20 is top-heavy with dreck like ANGELA, WETWORKS, LADY DEATH, etc., etc. — while stuff that has penetrated mainstream consciousness and remains in print after all these years (PREACHER, INVISIBLES, SIN CITY) lie wayyyy down the list.

  7. “Once again, pure ratings don’t tell the story. Of MAD MEN’s lesser ratings, about half come from $100,000+ earners in the 18-49 demographic. In an ad-supported medium, it’s not always about HOW MANY you reach, it’s about WHO you’re reaching. And who you’re TRYING to reach.”

    You can find no better example than the comics biz of what chasing after that sort of niche audience ultimately and inevitably leads to. And if you think MAD MEN is making AMC that much money, why has the network recently cut the budgets of both WALKING DEAD and BREAKING BAD and stopped the production of any new series after forking it over for two more seasons of MAD MEN?

    And as for making money, Krya Sedgwick gets paid $350,000 a episode for THE CLOSER while Jon Hamm gets $100,000 for MAD MEN. Hamm also gets paid less than Jeffrey Donovan of BURN NOTICE, Mark Feuerstein of ROYAL PAINS and Jason Lee of MEMPHIS BEAT.

    Mike

  8. bad wolf:

    My plan is to try and have copies of all 52 books in stock through at least #4s are released — though some of that depends on DC (both in RO availability, and when they want the returnables back)

    -B

  9. MBunge:

    “I’m not saying every comic needs to be by Gerry Conway and John Byrne, but one of the biggest challenges confronting this DC reboot and the whole industry is that entertaining a mass audience is quite a bit different than making a comic for a self-segregated niche.”

    Sure, OK — but SUPERMAN #1 was still a Poochie comic.

    -B

  10. “And as for making money, Krya Sedgwick gets paid $350,000 a episode for THE CLOSER while Jon Hamm gets $100,000 for MAD MEN. Hamm also gets paid less than Jeffrey Donovan of BURN NOTICE, Mark Feuerstein of ROYAL PAINS and Jason Lee of MEMPHIS BEAT.”

    Because actor’s salaries are surely the way to judge artistic success. By that measure, Al Pacino’s performance in “Scent of a Woman” topped his work in “The Godfather.”

  11. I think this relaunch could be stronger by having more titles like Superman – it wasn’t the best written or drawn of the books, not everything it tried work, and the faux-Busiek news report narration made me wish Busiek was writing it, but damn that book was chock full of stuff happening. It took me ages to get through!
    I know that sounds like I’m arguing for quantity over quality, which I’m not meaning to, but I enjoyed the story, and enjoyed how long I was diverted by it. Supergirl was rated higher in these reviews, but that book had things happen but no story, and took four minutes to read – so I feel the need to applaud this book for doing what it does.
    I also thought it had an enjoyably old school vibe throughout – not sure where the idea they were going for write hip came from at all.
    (The replacement team is apparently Jurgens and Giffen, to take over from Perez – I’m not sure hip or modern has been discussed by the people making this book!)

    Also, New Guardians caught me off guard by being quite enjoyable, I’m not sure how you can give The Dark Knight the same score as Batman #1, ‘I, Vampire’ beat out Blackhawks for my ‘worst of week’ (I don’t think I understand what happened in that issue of Vampire at all, yet was so bored that I don’t want to go back), Voodoo might not be a book I stick with but I didn’t think it was THAT bad – strip clubs are a fine setting for a b-movie horror, I’d have switched the scores on Firestorm and Blackhawks, and Aquaman was kind of cooler than I was expecting – if only it had replaced the restaurant scene with some action or Atlantis scenes it would have been much better received.

    So, was Blue Beetle the only of the 52 that Brian gave an Excellent to?

  12. “it but if you want to make a comic that regularly sells more than 50,000 copies a month, you’ve got to write more like Roger Stern than Grant Morrison. You’ve got to draw more like George Perez and Jesus Merino than J.H. Williams III.”

    And if you want to make a comic that sells any copies at all three months from now–let alone three years or three decades–you’d better do the exact opposite.

    Pandering to the audience of thirty years ago in the hopes that they’ll come back is pretty much the exact definition of “self-segregating niche.”

  13. Thanks Brian! I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the sales move for the next couple of months too. If at least they don’t taper off as fast (-40% a month i think you’ve said is standard?) it would be a success. If they plateau quickly, or heaven forfend rise over time, it would be unbelievable success.

  14. @BenLipman: “…damn that book was chock full of stuff happening. It took me ages to get through!”

    There’s definitely something to be said for narrative density and story-chunkage-for-money. One of the reasons I’ve been loving WITCH DOCTOR is that each issue feels like a coherent, semi-self-contained unit of story packed with details in a meaty read that takes more than the usual 4 minutes. With a tight little intro story clearly setting up the concept, the world, the character and motives — the #1 did everything a “Nu” #1 should do, but which many of the 52 didn’t.

  15. “And if you want to make a comic that sells any copies at all three months from now–let alone three years or three decades–you’d better do the exact opposite.”

    And where, exactly, is there any evidence that writing comics the way they are today by Morrison, Bendis and such will sell better than doing it like Perez and Merino? That’s the way comics have been written as sales have collapsed. That’s the way comics have been written since the speculator boom/bust and sales have never returned to pre-boom levels. And the way Morrison, Bendis and such write super-hero comics (which is what we’re talking about) is sure as hell NOT the way such action-adventure stories are written in more widely consumed media.

    Mike

  16. Well, I liked Superman #1. Sure it has problems, but it’s far from a “Poochie” comic. (That would be a more accurate description of something like Red Hood And The Outlaws, which tries so hard to be kewl.)

    The dialog and exposition are overdone and in places pretty clunky, like the “tower of Babylon of incomprehensibility” line, but there’s a complete STORY there, which makes it far more interesting to me. Ben Lipman’s comparison with Supergirl #1 is pretty apt. Supergirl has good writing and decent art, but it’s over too quickly and didn’t really leave me wanting more. Superman was far more satisfying.

  17. Demanding evidence: not a good move when your only data point is one week’s worth of sales at one store.

    Really, there’s so much wrong with your statement (conflating Morrison’s and Bendis’s styles of writing; conflating either one of them with the speculator boom and bust, which was centered around Image-style comics in the nineties; asserting that their styles somehow have something do with the nineties sales crash because… they became dominant after it?; ignoring the direct connection between modern comics storytelling and the most successful superhero movies; confusing correlation and causation; confusing sales and quality) that any response veers dangerously close to never-wrestle-with-a-pig territory.

    But here’s some evidence for you, in the terms you seem to favor. Morrison has over sixty books to his name that are still in print, selling copies of stories that were written, in some cases, more than twenty years ago.

    How’s Roger Stern doing?

    You’ve come up with a novel way to dress it up, but this is just the same “make it like it was when I was a kid” thinking that’s limited comics to the niche you claim you don’t want to be a part of.

  18. Or I guess I could have just pointed out the hilarity of saying “if you want to make a comic that regularly sells more than 50,000 copies a month, you’ve got to write more like Roger Stern than Grant Morrison. You’ve got to draw more like George Perez and Jesus Merino than J.H. Williams III” when, you know, both Morrison and Williams routinely move more than 50,000 copies of their titles every month.

    But why let facts get in the way? I’m sure the world will stop turning if you tell it to loudly enough.

  19. Steve D – I’ve been loving Witch Doctor because it’s awesome! Even if it took 30 seconds to read, I’d line up for more of what it delivers!

    Marc – I think you might be focusing too much on the specific names MBunge is using in his examples.
    I don’t think he’s saying that every book should be written by Roger Stern, or aping his exact style, just that creators should look at the style/techniques of the past – complete stories in an issue, spelling everything out – if they want the books to catch on.
    There’s definitely some merit to that line of thought, and y’know, it does make sense to ape/mine the style of comics that sold hundreds of thousands, rather than when they sold fifty thousand.

  20. I think every comic *should* be by Gerry Conway and John Byrne, with back-ups by Dan Brown and Thomas Kinkade. DC — call me and let’s make it happen.

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