Friday, September 9, 2011

More DCnU Quick Reviews

Was anyone even trying with Batgirl #1? Wasn't the whole point of making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again to return to her classic, smiling stories? Instead, despite the bright, smiling Batgirl on the cover, what we get inside is a dark Batgirl struggling with personal demons and fighting vicious murders. None of which is done in any unique way whatsoever. It's not bad but... it's not Barbara Gordon. I mean, there's zero reason why any of this had to involve Barbara Gordon at all, except that DC apparently wanted to list that under "alter ego" on a Batgirl information sheet.

Well, that's not entirely true. There's a flashback to The Killing Joke, which we knew would be kept in continuity. What we didn't know is how Barbara's legs would be restored. And guess what? We get no answer here. Instead, we get vague talk about it being a miracle, as if the characters don't even know.

Barbara does have a second flashback to her trauma, which plays into the plot. But if she spent three years in a wheelchair, as we're told she did in this continuity, why would that trauma be so fresh? Because she's adventuring again? It feels forced.

There's nothing bad here. Just shockingly, shockingly lackluster. Especially given the controversy DC engendered with its decision to restore Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. And given writer Gail Simone's promises to do Barbara Gordon justice. The internet is surely going to explode with every disability advocate and every Oracle fan screaming, "I told you so!"

See, when a company announces such a controversial move, it implicitly asks you, the consumer, to trust that company's wisdom. It assures you, its audience, that it has something in mind. Something worth the controversy. That's why it's so dangerous to publish lackluster material such as this. It's not just a lackluster issue of Batgirl. It's a loss for DC's credibility.

No one seems to have thought of this. No one seems to have noticed the controversy and thought, Gee, we'd better make sure that's a good issue. No one seems to have thought, Well, if we're bringing back Batgirl, we'd better tell a fun story that honors her past as Batgirl. You know, a story that you'd want to tell with Barbara Gordon, rather than a story that revolves around the same kind of dark murderers any super-hero could fight.


Justice League International #1 is a by-the-books first issue. If it were written in the late 1980s or early 1990s. And even then, it wouldn't be good.

There's some awful dialogue. Especially squabbling about nations, on this international team. There are characters who know the word "yes" but then inexplicably add, "Da!" As if to remind readers, "Yo, I'm stumbling through English, but don't forget I'm Russian!"

There's a totally inexplicable scene in which Batman accosts Guy Gardner to advocate for Booster Gold.

There are two kids who blow up the Hall of Justice using a water cooler. Okay, there are explosives in that water cooler. But I'd be surprised if they could do more than blow a hole in the wall, even if they were military grade. And these are kid protesters. The scene has the atmosphere of a prank. And it blows up the Hall of Justice. This is probably the stupidest thing I've seen since Ghost Rider beat Galactus.

Oh, and the big climax? A giant robot erupts from under the earth.


No, that's not a joke.

It's unbelievable that this could be deemed fit for publication in 2011.

OMAC #1 is certainly an offbeat title in the DCnU. It's essentially a retro title, a riff on classic Kirby comics. Think Godland. If you like that sort of stuff, this is for you. Otherwise, you'll be quickly lost. Points for being different.

I really wanted to like Hawk and Dove #1. I've confessed that I'm a fan of the original Liefeld mini-series. But this issue is a nightmare of stupid super-hero stuff. Sterling Gates wrote it, and it seems like he tried to write a 1990s Image Comic, knowing Liefeld would draw it. He should have instead looked further back to that original mini-series, which had normal, intelligible writing.

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