DC Comics Relaunch: The New 52 #1 Issues
This September, DC Comics relaunches its entire catalog of books with 52 premiere issues. Every week next month, approximately thirteen new #1’s will hit store shelves, giving readers new and old a chance to get in on the ground level, with fresh stories told for today’s audience. Although most of the iconic DC characters and teams will be entirely recognizable to casual or long-time fans, the publisher’s writers and artists have been freed to reimagine character appearance, origin, and age for The New 52. Eschewing the term “reboot,” Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne instead refers to the initiative as the “launch of the New DCU.” Character and story continuity will, in many instances, be retained, however, the complicated plot lines, character arches and relationships built from decades of comics written by a disparate range of contributors will no longer hinder the new creative teams from telling good stories.
On August 31, this new era of DC will be marked by the release of Justice League #1. Written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Jim Lee, this marquee DC title will explore the “human aspect behind all these costumes.” But don’t expect a boring soap opera. DC previewed issue #1 this past month, and it promises to be an action packed, exciting new take on some favorite characters. The preview also demonstrated DC’s flexible approach to their relaunch by featuring familiar characters in a new context. In a world where super-heroes are neither widely known nor accepted, the preview opens with an elite police force chasing down Batman as he trails some unknown adversary across dark city roof-tops. Briefly distracting the approaching helicopters with smoke bombs fired from high-tech wrist launchers, Batman tuns and hooks his target–a powerfully built, snaggle-toothed creature in a hood and bandages–with a grappling hook shot through the calf. Wasting no time, he jumps on him, demanding information. But the words are hardly out of his mouth when the creature slams him back with a forceful explosion. Batman struggles to his knees but is punished with a sickening punch from the creature’s inhuman fist. Suddenly, the two are bathed in a blinding emerald light. It’s the Green Lantern, who constructs an immense fire truck from the light of his ring, and smashes the creature back with incredible force. The dust settles before he sees Batman clinging from the edge of the rooftop. “Batman? You’re real?”
What I’ll be reading:
Largely responsible for the creative direction of DC Comics over the last few years, Geoff Johns’ excellent work on Green Lantern–in particular, the critically acclaimed “Sinestro Corps War” storyline–made me a fan. Teaming him up with industry icon Jim Lee is just icing on the cake. Jim Lee gained fame in the nineties with his dynamic, energetic style, eventually teaming up with Todd McFarlane and others to launch Image Comics.
Grant Morrison is promising “a take on Superman that’s so different that no one can expect what might happen next.” Though many know Morrison for his recent stint on the Batman family of comic books, he’s not new to Superman–check out All-Star Superman for a wonderful read. Illustrating the book will be Rags Morales (Identity Crisis).
Tony Daniel proved his chops by following up Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. A talented writer and illustrator, Daniel will be sharing art duties with Ryan Winn (Spawn, Brightest Day), as Bruce Wayne returns as the Dark Knight in DC Comics’ flagship title.
J.H. Williams III is far and away my favorite comic artist. His gorgeous illustrations don’t just depict a story, they tell it, in lush, incredible detail. I lost my mind reading and re-reading his amazing work in Detective Comics: Batwoman, then sought out previous projects, becoming equally enamored with Promethea (written by Alan Moore). Williams will be writing Batwoman alongside W. Haden Blackman, known for his many contributions to the Star Wars expanded universe, including The Force Unleashed video game.