Saturday, 10 September 2011

52 New Beginnings - The Edge/Young Justice

Hawk and Dove
reviewed by Kate Townshend

I realise I run the risk of losing all credibility here, but up until a few weeks ago I thought hawks and doves were nothing more than birds, perhaps one with a vested interest in munching on the other. For this reason, I came into the reading of issue #1 of the new Hawk and Dove almost blind, with few preconceptions beyond the information yielded up by a little bit of internet digging.

But perhaps this heady blend of innocence and ignorance is no bad thing, since it means that I can attempt some kind of impartial comment here, and I’ll be honest, my feelings are best described as ambivalent on this one.

On the plus side, war and peace, in balance, fighting against evil is an interesting idea and this new comic throws us straight into the action, with some banter, some simmering tension and a healthy dose of peril thrown in for good measure. The two protagonists are given clearly defined personalities and some effort is made to flesh them out beyond the stereotypes. The frat boy-esque Hawk, it is revealed, has insecurities about his intellect, despite his tendency to act first and think later. His predilection for referring to people as "Jerkwads", and some fairly classic father/son angst, position him as the emotional child of the series, especially when juxtaposed against Dove’s mysterious and adult ambiguity.

All of which is good. Where it falls down for me perhaps is that it’s almost all either set up for some future excitement, or exposition of relevant past events. Beyond the opening scene it never really gets off the ground in its own right, which is a shame. There’s time for the writers to put this right of course, but I think it will take a longer term fan than me to hang on in there until it happens.

Men Of War
reviewed by D Kai Wilson-Viola

I wasn’t sure what to expect when picking this one up - the first few pages of the comic basically sets up that the ‘Corporal’ has been an insubordinate piece of work and "has only made Corporal". But he’s recruited for this ‘special’ mission – the main part of the comic. I really didn’t enjoy the first part at all – it felt prolonged and dragged out; very much a story dump. I appreciate that some comics will need to do this, but compared to the rest, the beginning felt clumsy.

It all kinda goes downhill from there.

The first part, where the Sergeant, Commander, and Corporal are all talking is in sepia and brown. It’s well drawn, with lots of use of light and shadow - it’s got a very nice noir feel and the detail level is pretty good on the close-ups of the faces. Shading and colouring throughout is very good.

The middle of the comic is a riot of explosion of colour – again good artwork with nice detail - and I thought the fire was well drawn. The end is more normal – with the standard range of colours expected, maybe slightly brighter – the white background is a bit distracting, though I thought some of the techniques, such as the characters jumping over an extended frame edge was very good. I think, overall, the artist is very good in this one.

I wasn’t very impressed with Men of War – but it did look like it would appeal to anyone interested in the military genre – if you like things like Call of Duty, or other products like that, you’ll probably enjoy this – having shown my teenage son some of the panels, he was very excited about it.

Would I collect it? – Probably not, but I think there are some people that I would recommend it to.

reviewed by Ben Fardon

When DC announced this reboot and the 52 new titles I looked over the list and found myself immediately excited by about a third of them. Another third were titles that I didn't feel were for me, but would certainly find an audience. And then we had the final third - titles that seemed ill-advised at best. Any of these titles would really need to impress me with its first issue and O.M.A.C. was one of such comic.

The various incarnations of O.M.A.C. has never interested me as a character concept and the writer Dan Didio is one of the few personalities working at DC that I truly dislike based on my impressions of him. He's made some frankly appalling decisions since DC hired him. Now he's taking a step away from that and moving back into writing. His credits include daytime soaps, CGI cartoon Reboot and comics such as Superboy and Weird Western Tales. Nothing that gives me any faith in his talent.

DiDio is also one of the major architects of this new 52 reboot. It's an idea that I greeted with mixed feelings, but in the end I was left hoping DC would reinvent itself for the modern world, moving away form some of the more eccentric and outdated concepts that had driven me towards Marvel in my early years. Green Lantern had shown me that zany DC ideas could still be accessible and enjoyable rather than simply outlandish. Identity Crisis showcased a story that took superheroes that were unknown to me, but grounded them all in a believable modern plot.

I need the new 52 to walk in these great footsteps and Action Comics, Animal Man, Batgirl, Justice League and Stormwatch are all doing just that.

Unfortunately O.M.A.C. does nothing to follow suit. Instead we essentially get a cybernetic version of Savage Dragon storming through a secret lab like a computer-driven Hulk, with little to inspire or excite. The artwork is some of Keith Giffen's most uninspired work ever and his recent flare for bold new ideas such as FrankenCastle is not remotely present in the story he has apparently co-written.

The antagonists remind me of every silly DC concept that used to annoy me as a younger man and the protaganists simply don't get enough screen time to interest me at all. It really is just an issue-long rampage. Even the redesign of the Brother Eye satellite is simply dull.

Please avoid this title and let's allow it to simply disappear into cancellation. There are so many, much better books on the shelves right now.

Static Shock
reviewed by Robert Barton-Ancliffe

Like the name implies, Static Shock is looking to spark your interest. Interestingly, having offered a choice to three friends who aren’t regular comic readers, two of the three picked this issue out of a line-up including Batwing and flagship DC title, Action Comics. As a long time DC reader, I had naturally devoured Action Comics before moving on to Batwing but on reading this new title from Scott McDaniel, John Rosum, Jonathan Clapton and LeBeau Underwood, I’ll admit it does have an frenetic and colourful appeal.

So does Static Shock manage to win over new readers? The interior artwork is as colourful and energetic as the cover promises, and while very detailed and filled with quick-fire action it is difficult to get lost, a definite plus. As a friend pointed out to me however, the downside is that for a book so visually busy, there is far too much dialogue weighing down the opening act, causing problems with pace.

I have to admit, I like the character of Virgil Hawkins aka Static. He is cocksure and a little irresponsible, but it is hard not to chuckle as he gets berated by the people he protects for the destruction his unwieldy powers unleash.

Overall, Static Shock is not a bad book at all, and out of the three titles I have reviewed this week, I think it is the one that will appeal most to the teenage demographic, or the Ben 10 generation who will help assure the future of the industry. Not an essential addition to the pull list for established readers, but definitely one to pick up on a slow week when you just want to sit back and enjoy a carefree new hero.

No comments:

Post a Comment