DC 52 Review: The first Bat-centric issues. THIS is where to begin reading comics.

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Detective Comics #1 –

Detective Comics #1 is an intelligent, well-written read. So far, this is the issue of the New 52 that I would send budding readers to check out in order to instantly engage them. This is what I think new readers will be looking for when they open the pages of their first, or at least one of their first, comics. Batman, probably more than any other super hero, has f’ed up down to a science. This first issue is fantastically, intriguingly f’ed up.

Thus far the collective issues have been a little unclear as to what series are happening in the past (five years ago) and what series are present – but I think this is present. Superheroes seem to be recognized, though not yet accepted into society. The Joker is the primary villain in this issue, and he is classic Joker at his best. He sickly quippy and intelligent enough to give Batman a run for his money on a case that is worth the trouble of solving. Tony Salvador Daniel – well done, Sir.

I can’t mention Tony Salvador Daniel without also mentioning his and Ryan Winn’s amazing artwork. The detail was perfect and minute when it needed to be, and brushed over and sketchy when that was more appropriate. Their collective artistic eye seemed spot-on to draw attention and focus exactly where they wanted, leading the reader through the story by the images in a most unobtrusive way.

I don’t have much Batman reading experience under my belt to compare this issue to, but as a new reader of DC comics, so far Detective Comics #1 has the lead in the DC 52 race that’s currently going on inside my head.

 

Batgirl #1 –

Any lady Lytherians looking for a relatable @$$-kicking superheroine to live vicariously through? Well, I have a recommendation for YOU. (Though, gentlemen, you might actually find this title an exciting read as well. Don’t just dismiss because you see the word ‘girl’ in the title.) Batgirl was one series I was loosely giving a chance without having much in the way of expectations. But Barbara Gordon won my heart in this character-centric title. Not a whole lot of action happens here, but I love a comic book that really gets inside the head of its characters. Many are so intent with the themes of blowing things up and killing people dead, that they forget to tell us what the characters are feeling during all this. Gail Simone draws out the inner Batgirl as she recovers from a debilitating gunshot wound and takes her first steps back out onto the field of superheroing and into her real life.

As for the art, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes do a solid job, though I wasn’t as blown away as I was when reading Detective Comics #1, but still – no complaints. Honestly, I don’t know how well Batgirl was presented in the past because I’ve never read Batgirl before this issue, though I’ve done a little research on her history since this title seemed to have a controversial character adjustment in this particular series of the new reality. Barbara Gordon is getting a major re-vamp, so I suppose this is a great time to become a fan.

On another note, I’m digging the new uniform. I always liked that Batgirl was actually all covered up. This series seems like it will be about the hero and about the woman. Not about a sex-object who happens to have a nice right hook.

Awesome. I like it already.

Oh, and there’s a nicely done cliffhanger. Guess I’ll be buying #2.

 

Batwing #1 –

I wasn’t planning on buying Batwing  #1. But when you get to the comic shop on a Friday morning after a giant release, you take what you can get. Apparently this one had less of a hot-cakes off the shelf effect than the others, because there were still several waiting for a home.

That’s a shame, because this was a quality comic book. I’d rate this issue number 3 of the five that I’ve read so far. (Order goes Detective, Batgirl, Batwing, Justice League, Action, just in case you were wondering.) Once again, the Batman family masters the f’ed-up potential of a comic.

Ok, so who the #(*$ is Batwing. (I certainly had to ask that question as a DC newb.) He is a “Batman-approved” crime-fighter in Tinasha, which is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a citizen he is David Zavimbe, a Tinasha Police Officer who uses his inside information on the force to help tip himself off to important crime-based information. While a small amount of character development takes place in this issue, it is mostly the exact opposite of Batgirl in that it is pretty much all action. But good action. F’ed-up action.

Batwing’s enemy goes by the name Massacre – because that’s what he does. Gruesomely. Keep that in mind for when you run head-first into the last page of this issue and hit that “oh damn!” wall. The plot, though, is still rather tightly wound in mystery. We know that a former superhero is dead (as well as a lot of other people) but that’s about it. As a door opening issue, though, it was well done.

The art accompanies the tone of the writing well. It is rough and chalky, but done in a deliberate, skillful manner. Ben Oliver and Brian Reber work well with author Judd Winick Together they set a nice pace and a solid story base.

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