Dec 1, 2011

Back Issue Ben: My Review of the New DC 52... So Far

Back Issue Ben is a column written by Ben Smith for the Comics Cube! See his archives here.

My Review of the New DC 52... So Far
by Ben Smith

First off, I want to assure you, my faithful imaginary audience, that I have done as little research and preparation for this series of reviews as possible. I’ve made no efforts to be fully informed, and will have absolutely no journalistic integrity, that’s my iron-clad promise to you.

JUSTICE LEAGUE, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee



Let me start off by saying this up front, and I want to be very clear here, this comic did not meet or exceed my expectations. Is it too much to ask for DC to put out a decent product? I’m not an unreasonable person, I had a very short and simple list of things I look for in a Justice League comic, and not a single one of them were met. For example:
  • Less Superman. Even mentioning Superman is way too much. Get off it DC, we get it.
  • 100% more yellow covered Batman yelling “I am the goddamn Batman!” This should have been Batman’s general status quo after the reboot. I really don’t want to read another book where this isn’t happened on every page. It doesn’t even have to be a Batman book, it could be Booster Gold, and just have yellow Batman in the background, on the street corner, yelling incoherently like my great Aunt Mabel after her third margarita.
  • Martian sex tapes. I also don’t want to read another new comic that doesn’t have naked martians getting it on while being filmed. It has to old-school, grainy-looking videotape quality too, none of that new-fangled HD crap.
  • One of the characters must contract the swine flu. Preferably Aquaman.
  • More monkeys dressed like Stalin…or Lady Gaga. either way
Seriously though, if they all just met, why would they all have matching high collars? And why does Cyborg look like Trap-Jaw from He-Man? Chin-straps, chin-straps for everyone!


JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, written by Dan Jurgens and drawn by Aaron Lopresti



Do superheroes have passports? Isn’t Superman violating all kinds of laws just flying around wherever he wishes, without registering with the proper authorities. Don’t even get me started on Batman, just traveling wherever he pleases, leaving dead sidekicks in whatever country they happen to get beaten to death and blown up in. Has anyone addressed this in comic book continuity? If I ever get the chance to write for DC I’m doing my 8-part story of Green Arrow stuck at customs because they found green arrows in his suitcase. What did they expect? His name is Green Arrow! That doesn’t explain the lock of Roy Harper’s hair with a bow on it in his travel kit though.

Looking at the cover to this first issue:
  • Why is there a crustacean man in the Justice League now? You know what would have made this comic book a must-buy? Spongebob Squarepants. Tell me you wouldn’t buy a JL comic with him. Go on tell me, so I can not believe you.
  • Booster looks like he’s flying…awkward. Like either he just got savaged by the Hawkman, or he had some burritos for lunch and he’s regretting it now.
  • Rocket Red is either running through the air, or he’s growing out of Booster’s head, which would be much more amazing. Do that and add in some Spongebob, and you’ve got my money.
  • Is Guy Gardner doing jazz hands with one hand? Or is he throwing up a subtle signal? Maybe it’s a “Hey, please get me out of this comic” hand signal?
  • Ice: safe!!!

CAPTAIN ATOM, written by J.T. Krul and drawn by Freddie Williams II



I don’t know who this is or what this is about. I can only assume from the title that Ray Palmer, the one and only true Atom, has been inducted as a Captain into an Avian Army controlled by the insidious Dr. Archaic, and he must rise through the ranks to discover the evil plot before foiling it and saving the girl.

Or…maybe it’s an actual atom, that has been put in command of a sea-faring vessel, and he must struggle to learn the ropes, earn the respect of the crew, and save the shipment of Pistachios from unnecessary delays.
Looking at the cover, I see that it’s a blue and/or gray man staring at a plastic guinea pig ball, while his water wave hair flows in the…wind? Maybe he’s underwater? Sigh, I like my ideas better.


WONDER WOMAN, written by Brian Azarello and drawn by Cliff Chiang


 I always thought Wonder Woman should do less fighting and do more wondering. She could wonder about the weather, or the economic crisis, or why she never wears pants. It’s all right there in the name of the character people. She needs to wonder more, and she needs to be a woman more. More of a woman, more often, to the extreme!


AQUAMAN, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado



I’ve been thinking about this good idea, where Aquaman loses his hand and he grows a beard. Then he gets all surly, and it distracts people from how silly he is. Just when you think they have them, you reveal he’s still Aquaman, no matter how bearded and handless he may be. It’s just an idea, but the best things ever invented have all started as just an idea. Granted, so have the worst things, but let’s try to stay positive.


THE FLASH, written and drawn by Francis Manapul



The Flash should have a cape and be naked. Where would he attach the cape? He could attach it to his unnecessary chinstrap. Maybe then it will have a purpose for existing. Also, he should fight the number eleven. The Flash should be naked in a cape and fighting abstract things like numbers and capital letters. The big crossover could be his epic battle against cursive writing.

Looking at the cover just makes me want to punch Jim Lee in his soul. I still love you, Francis Manapul, but you were delivered a rusty, moldy, hamburger here and you make it as edible as possible. As edible as dumpster food can be when you’re not a homeless vagrant, or Jim Lee’s style designer. Also, this cover makes me want to give the Flash some dryer sheets. Wouldn’t static shocks still sting, despite how fast you’re running? Unless that’s lightning, which, no wonder he’s wearing a chin strap. Of course, he did get his powers by getting hit by the lightning…through a window. (I know, kids, pay no attention to facts or logic). I’m worried about this, this chinstrap might be a sign of a psychological condition. A subconscious cry for help.


THE FURY OF FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MEN, written by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver and drawn by Yildiray Cinar


 I’m tired just from typing that heading. I don’t know what any of this is, but it sounds like pornography. Dirty, dirty pornography. Bat-ear-tweaking levels of depravity. Let’s see what you get if you google “Firestorm”. Hmm, well, if you mistype it you get Firestone, which is a full-service auto maintenance and repair chain offering affordable prices on tires. I think we need more tire-based heroes in comics. This is something I can support, I’m on-board for this one.

(I still love your LEGION run, Yildiray!)

As I look at the cover though, it really looks like they tag-team punched the big guy’s junk and now he’s screaming in pain-rage. Is that what the Fury is? Even better than tire heroes would be a 20-page comic of these two guys punching the big guy in his balls and him screaming about it. There was a lot of effort spent on the guy’s buttocks too. Very sculpted. I’m uncomfortable with the amount of scrotal shading happening on the left-hand side there as well. Gah, I’m glad this isn’t porn!


GREEN ARROW, written by J.T. Krul and drawn by Dan Jurgens


I like a hero that just names himself after the things he carries in his backpack. Why waste time being clever with something like Firestorm, unless you carry a storm of fire around with you. There are so many options I could name myself. “The Latex Glove” or “The Hunting Knife”, or even “The Spool of Rope”. Oh wait, that’s not me, that’s Robert.

Looking at this cover as well, and…holy crap this is Smallville! Did I accidentally pull up a Smallville tie-in comic? It’s Smallville combined with bearded Aquaman to make…the worst comic ever?! That’s an awful beard though. He looks like the Wolfman after he just got his hair cut and styled at the mall. His arrow looks a little…limp, shall I say. Like his hand slipped or maybe it was just too much effort and it’s just falling over the edge of the bow there. Falling in impotent shame and regret. Green Arrow looks at (insert a Green Arrow villain here, because I don’t know any) and says, “I swear this never happens”. And then he goes to see a doctor and cries. Also, way too much scrotal shading.


THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN, written by Tony Daniel and drawn by Philip Tan



Is he savage like caveman, savage, or is it like rabies-monkey killing your dog savage? Or is it like Vietnam veteran running out on his lawn in the middle of the night and stabbing your dog, savage? Or is it like me just kicking your damn dog because I don’t like it, savage? Maybe he was a perfectly nice little hawk-type man until he was tied in a corner and forced to watch zombies make-out, with Nickleback music playing in the background, and a little headless Thundercats action figure poking him in the side with a stick. Unless he did all that willingly, which you never know. Maybe he just had a big breakup with Birdgirl, and he was in a really dark place at the time.


MISTER TERRIFIC, written by Eric Wallace and drawn by Roger Robinson



I hope this is all grim and gritty, because nothing says dark and twisted like a guy named Mister Terrific. He sounds like he should be hosting a preschool-aged kid’s program. He could come out and teach them shapes and colors, then fight parademons or something, and then he could end with a nice musical number and tell kids not to drink bleach. Such a wholesome idea for a comic, I hope this gets the support it needs. The kids are our future.

Perusing the cover now though, and I can’t tell if he’s breakdancing or disco-dancing. There is definitely dancing going on of some kind, because nobody would fight crime in a tank-top and gloves. Not with that much silver happening. Poor guy doesn’t even realize someone drew a T on his face while he was sleeping. Wouldn’t it be awesome if some smartass street tough came up and said, “so whats the T stand for?” and he said, “T is for TERRIFIC!” and then he throws little silver orbs at you. Orbs with T’s on them, just so you don’t forget. And then he breakdances.


DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS, written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Bernard Chang


 DC presents what…a travesty of comic book history played out in 52 titles?



Continued…to be…says I…to you!

1 comment:

r. j. paré said...

Hilarious commentary, thx..:)

PS - I hate the new 52 with such a fierceness I've contemplated making a Dan Didio voodoo-doll - just so I can stick pins in it!

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