May 14, 2006

Should You Believe the Hype?

First, a happy Mother's Day to all of those mothers who are parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, or even pet owners.

In all fairness, it's probably not a wise idea to write any reviews of DC's 52 series with just the first issue - a weekly book is a pretty ambitious idea, and this probably needs a few issues to breathe, to unfold it's extremely decompressed story. (Of course, it helps to have a corporate-driven web site, and a blog dedicated to analysis - thank you, Beaucoup Kevin!) However, in laying the foundation of rebuilding an entire universe, it shows promise - enough promise to follow for the next few months.

In this first issue, we meet the six people who will be the focus of our series, and all of them share some misalignment/alienation with the "superhero mainstream". Ralph Dibny, now all grim and gritty due to his wife's death, preferring to isolate himself out of grief. John Henry Irons, helping rebuild in the aftermath, tersely (and possibly hypocritically) telling his niece to "forge her own armor" as a hero. Renee Montoya, human cop, drowning her sorrows after seeing her partner gunned down and another leave. Black Adam, superhuman ruler of an entire nation, declaring himself a "role model". Booster Gold, seeking the glory of heroism, taking advantage of foreknowledge to build his career. And the Question, whose motives and actions seem...well, murky.

Admittedly, there are some really well-written moments: Booster's use of future history (and complete shock when the Big Three don't show up on a historic occasion), the Question sequence in Gotham (is he seeking to take Batman's place? Does he see potential in Montoya?)...but it somehow doesn't quite fit together. (The other sequences all read a little too...cliche, and too familiar). However, this series is reminiscent of Legends, DC's first crossover after Crisis on Infinite Earths that established the "rules" of the new universe...and the main rule of New Earth is that nothing - not even the future - should be taken for granted.

In many ways, this issue serves as a coda to the end of Infinite Crisis (in itself, as many a comics blogger has stated, a riff on this graphic novel's ending). In taking some of the emphasis off of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, it attempts to sort through and suggest the vast tapestry that the DC Universe offers.

Hopefully, this won't result in another DC Implosion...but until then, it's worth checking out.

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