Thursday, September 29, 2011

DC Reboot Review: The Dark Knight #1, Superman #1, Aquaman #1, The Flash #1, Savage Hawkman #1

Today marks the final batch of new #1's for September's much hyped DC reboot. I bought 10 out of 13 books this time, so I'll be reviewing in two parts. This part will cover Batman The Dark Knight #1, Superman #1, Aquaman #1, The Flash #1, and Savage Hawkman #1, and boy do we have plenty to talk about!

Remember how last week's releases got the timid, wholesome fanboys all in a prudish tizzy because of the overt sexuality of both Catwoman and Starfire? Well, we can all relax! This week DC makes amends for its depiction of women by giving Batman a new strong female villain, The White Rabbit...

See?! Nothing to get upset about! Join me after the jump where I'll make with the sexy talk and tell you everything that went down. There will be spoilers, but we're going to have a lot of fun!

Batman: The Dark Knight #1:

I promised to make with the sexy, so let's start with a quick debrief of the infamous Batman/Catwoman tryst shown in Catwoman #1. I've kept myself amused by reading outraged "OMG THIS RUINS EVERYTHING, I WAS PHYSICALLY SICK YOU GUYS! SEX IN A COMIC? UNBELIEVABLE!" comments all over the Internet, but what I really want to address here is the so-called "sex" itself. Take a deep breath everyone...

They did not have sex. Catwoman is wearing a skin-tight rubber jumpsuit with a zipper that ends about an inch below her navel. And she was still wearing it all the way through the scene. Trust me, it is impossible to have sex with someone wearing such a garment as described. Female anatomy just does not work that way. It's almost like some of you guys have circled around the building but never found the entrance. So, continue with your prude-cries, but please stick to the facts as your stomach churns. Catwoman was giving Batman what we, in the business, call "a hand shandy". And her suit was actually very practical in this regard because rubber is totally easy to wipe clean.

Okay, so I'm talking about all that in my "review" for The Dark Knight #1 because not much of interest happens in it. This the fourth (?) solo Batman title of the month and is clearly the one where Batman treads water through no discernible story. It lacks the brazen audacity of Detective Comics, the character of Batman and Robin, or the coherence of Batman.

Bruce Wayne gets all yap-yap-yap while making grandiose speeches about Gotham that I feel like we already saw in an earlier book. He is surrounded by doting escorts who hang off his arms, is then propositioned by a sexy stranger who is there to raise funds for charity but seems more keen to bang him, and then he suits up for an Arkham breakout and finds himself looking up the "very important date" of the White Rabbit. Then it wraps up with some EXTREEEEME silliness with a hulked-out version of a well-known bad guy.

You have far better options for Batman. I was just about to say that I'm going to drop this one - but who am I kidding - we're going to have too much once the White Rabbit is fully in the spotlight. I'm dying to know what threat a tiny, near-naked, waif-like Playboy bunny can pose to a muscular, teched-out, psychotic Batman. I'm hoping she hypnotises people with her ass!

Superman #1:

This one wasn't over quickly, but only because the characters won't stop talking! There are pages where panels upon panels of tiny talking heads, crushed under the weight of their own engorged speech bubbles, vie desperately for your attention. As the cover suggests, this is the fully-suited established Superman as opposed to the jeans and T-shirt super-dickish Superman of Action #1. And he does get to have a bit of an extra-terrestrial punch-up here, but the bulk of the issue is riveting soap-boxing about the newspaper industry. Print is dead. Here's why!

Writer George Perez kinda' tries to make this Superman a dick, but is not nearly as successful. In fact, for me, the writing is really kind of weak in this issue as a whole. Clark writes an article about the whole incident - which is integrated into the action via a series of captions - and all he really does is prove that he's a shitty journalist. His article reads like a cross between a child's storybook and a turgid fan fic, with some truly terrible thesaurus-molesting sentences. "The firefighters continued to battle the Astrodome fire, but as hard as they tried, the conflagration continued to rage unabated". And the crazy: "The fire creature pointed at the Man of Steel, its language still a Tower of Babel of indecipherability."

Apparently in the old DCU Superman and Lois were married, but in this one Clark turns up at her apartment and she is about to get hot and heavy with a shirtless mean-looking blonde prick who totally emasculates Clark and sends him packing. If you enjoyed the arrogant dick Superman of Action, you really won't enjoy the totally limp-dicked mopey Clark Kent of Superman #1. Although I did find it pretty funny.

Superman #1 is a Tower of Babel of indecipherability.

Aquaman #1:

I know what you're thinking. "Aquaman is a stupid character who talks to the fishes and is completely useless against any threat that doesn't involve an octopus. And he probably rides a seahorse." Well, guess what, that's exactly what writer Geoff Johns knows you're thinking too, and he decides to put all that mockery to the forefront and have Aquaman address it in this issue.

An increasingly grim Aquaman has an adventure in the city while facing all sorts of cruel jibes from gawking passers-by  culminating in one brash asshole (designed to represent you and I) who writes for a blog and asks A-Man all sorts of sarcastic questions about what a useless shit he is. It's all diffused when Aquaman essentially threatens him with his trident, evoking the time-honoured American tradition of:  "I am completely vindicated of all criticism if I am in a position to beat you up."

I admit, I bought Aquaman purely for snarky laffos, and Johns should be commended for turning it all around on me with his own snarky laffos. It's a solid, coherent first issue which does a great job of setting things up for a clueless noob like me. There's origin flashbacks, we meet Aquaman's Little Mermaid wife and there's some romantic soap-opera style kissing in front of a lighthouse (by a married couple let's not forget) which should hopefully warm hearts and ease any residual angst left by Catwoman's hasty five knuckle shuffle.

Well played, Johns. Gonna' give you this one. I liked that you made all the jokes before we could!

The Flash #1:

This is also a very serviceable first issue with a tight story, stylish art, and a likeable lead. It's not especially memorable, and might not pack the punch of other books, but it's a good beginning, and actually pretty all-ages friendly. Up against a slew of torture porn, torn out throats, blood vomiting, and dry-humping, The Flash really is a bright spot amid a flood of dark releases. By the end of it, a solid mystery is building and I'm not sure whether I'll stick with it or not, but it has relatively piqued my interest.

But I have very little more to say about it!

Savage Hawkman #1:

And here is my least favourite book of the week so far. I've already made it clear that the New DCU is largely populated by dickish heroes, and Savage Hawkman might just be the biggest dick of the bunch. He might even be a bigger dick than Hawk from Hawk and Dove, and by god, he grimaces just as much! If he clenched his teeth any harder he would shit his spine.

As the story opens, the cliche-spouting Carter Hall is SO SICK of being Hawkman that he not only sets his costume on fire, but he SHOOTS IT WITH A GUN. This causes the costume to lash out and consume him, and now - whenever trouble brews - the freshly parasitic costume envelopes him and turns him into a raging asshole. He honestly says these exact things: (in a full page shot while posing and grimacing) "You want a piece of this?! Come and get it!" and "Born and bred in the U.S. of A!" and "And I'll show it my gratitude by whoopin' some tail!"

I don't know what I find harder to believe. That a grown-man would say things like "whoopin' some tail!" or that a grown man would write it in a comic and think that it was badass. There's not a single thing to like about this character. Comically, at the end of the issue, as a grimacing alien grasps a grimacing Hawkman we get the caption "Next: Hawkman succumbs to Morphicus?" earnestly raising the question as though people will genuinely give a shit.

Definitely not for me.

But it's not over yet! Soon I will be reviewing: The Fury of Firestorm #1, Green Lantern: New Guardians #1, I, Vampire #1, Justice League Dark #1, and Teen Titans #1! (I say earnestly as though people will genuinely give a shit). IRONY!


  1. Thank you for reading these so I don't have to!

  2. Just wait until round two! I think we might have a new contender for worst of the worst!

  3. The last stupid dumb line of Dark Knight gave me actual laughs! I find it a little unbelievable it actually happened.

  4. Ha! I know right? I nearly quoted it because it was the silliest thing in the book, but I thought it might be too much of a spoiler. But it also made ZERO sense, right? Because... he still had two?