Friday, September 23, 2011

Batman #1

Well, the DC reboots are coming out, and I told myself I wouldn't buy anything. But then... I saw Batman. I mean, how can I resist Batman? Plus, I heard they were keeping old continuity, so how could I go wrong?! Well, this. This is how.

Comic Review: Batman #1

Now the comic starts in probably the most cliched way Batman can, and that is in the middle of a breakout in Arkham Asylum that Batman is beating down. Of course, there's some villains I don't really recognize.

So they throw Batman through a wall, and a weird team-up occurs.

As you can see from that panel, some villains have gone through the usual redesign that follows a reboot like this. Joker is much more Heath Ledger-y, they made Two-Face look like half his face melted off, and the Riddler has a stupid question mark mohawk. Artists must have a penchant for making the Riddler look entirely dumb.

So we cut to the Gotham PD rooftop where Batman explains to Gordon the source of the attempted breakout, a guard getting a cut, all done before. I guess they just want to give a sense of what normalcy is for Batman, but to me this is just coming off as overdone.

Back at the Batcave, Bruce broods a bit, before the Joker pops up! Psych, it was just Dick the whole time with a mask on.

So Batman and his old Robins all head to some presentation thing Bruce is setting up. You know, the ones that happen every time where he says how he's going to fix Gotham with some building project, or charity, or something. What's it this time?

Okay, a building project. Anyway, after his little show, a man named Lincoln March, a mayoral candidate starts talking to Bruce. Then we see the talent this artist has for designing characters.

What I'm saying is, there's very little that differentiates him from Bruce, but maybe that's the point. No doubt he'll become evil by the end of this storyline, and end up as some sort of dark mirror for Bruce. You know, like Hush.

Bruce spies Gordon talking on the phone, catching a phrase or two like, "How many stab wounds? God." So Bruce excuses himself from the party.

Batman shows up behind Harvey Bullock at the crime scene, who leads him to the murder victim, who's been stabbed a shit ton of times with throwing knives in everywhere but major arteries. Harvey lets Batman take one because, hell, why not? Batman also takes a skin sample from underneath the victims fingernails. You know, now that I mention it, shouldn't the police be doing that kind of work? Why is nobody else there?

"Hey, someone just reported a murder downtown. Should I go grab CSI or...?"

"Nah, let Batman take care of it."

Anyway, Batman smells something, so he uses Harvey's cigar to light up a message put on the wall, that says, "Bruce Wayne will DIE tomorrow." Harvey starts talking about Bruce, and at the same time, the DNA results come back. (Which, in real life, would not be nearly that quick, but who's counting?"

So that was the new Batman #1. Personally, I didn't really like it. It felt bland and overdone. Of course, I'm hardly unbiased here. You all know my thoughts about the Reboot, so you probably know I was out to dislike this comic. I mean, there's nothing really wrong with it, it just didn't do anything crazy. Is that really so bad? I mean, this is the first comic, the one you're supposed to start with. Maybe I think it's overdone because it's supposed to give a sense of the norm to new readers. I just hope this doesn't lead to all the writers retreading what's already been done to make up for what was erased. I'll have to see what the next issues are like before I make a final judgment on this series. Still a bit apprehensive, this is the W Defender.

Friday, September 16, 2011

All-New Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Hey everybody! Now, I'm sure you all remember the whole Death Of Spider-Man thing right? Yeah. So he died. After that we got Ultimate Fallout, which was everyone being sad because he died, but one issue, #4, showed what press releases revealed as the new Ultimate Spider-Man. All you saw was his face in that issue, but newspapers and the like covered it like crazy, all talking about Miles Morales, the African American/Hispanic Spider-Man. Finally his debut issue's come out, so it's time for:

Comic Review: All-New Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Our comic begins, apparently, eleven months ago, in what seems to be Norman Osborn's lab. Not the explody one, I mean a new functioning one. Somehow. I'm not really sure when this is set. Anyway, he's talking to his new scientist, Dr. Markus, about the myth of Arachne, and blah blah first spider. And so he explains that it was he who created Spider-Man, but they didn't keep adequate logs so they can't reproduce it. Wait, so Norman knows who Spider-Man is, but he's not on the run from the law because he killed people as a giant green fire guy? When did he set up another lab? Nobody wants to answer these questions. Norman lets Markus know what happens if you break the NDA.

While Dr. Markus is distracted, one of the test spiders escapes. I WONDER WHAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN. Next they show a front page of the Daily Bugle, likely as a recap, which says that Norman Osborn has been revealed as a giant monster who is now in SHEILD custody. So I guess we're to assume this is before he went all crazy and died killing Peter Parker? That'll probably never be adequately explained.

We cut to a shot of an old, decrepit Osborn Industries building, and then someone scaling the wall. So, I guess they jumped ahead a bit? No idea when this takes place in relation to the last Ultimate Spider-Man title. But yeah, the burgler is revealed to be blue-Deadpool.

As he's stealing stuff, the escaped spider climbs up his leg and into the bag. No biting, apparently. He just wanted a ride. The guy leaves.

We then cut to Brooklyn, and some random people I don't care abo-- Wait, these are the protagonists? Awww.

So they go to the lottery and, of course, Miles is picked. Who expected anything else.

Anyway, Miles decides to go visit his Uncle Aaron. Uh oh. I don't expect good things for his future. Anyway, the uncle decides to go get popsicles, leaving Miles with his suspiciously familiar bag. (THE UNCLE IS BLUE DEADPOOL.) A spider crawls out of said bag, and shows all of us that Miles is not the brightest kid.

The spider bites him, which affects him a bit faster than it did Peter.

When Miles wakes up, his dad gets there, thinking that his uncle did something. As they argue, Miles flees. After his dad passes right by him, Miles notices something weird.

Now, I didn't like the fact Peter had to die in the first place, so anything that comes after wouldn't really sit well with me. I don't really have any idea when this is set in the Ultimate Universe, where before everything was pretty coherent as to time. Then they felt the need to shoehorn the same origin story for this new guy, even though it's incredibly unlikely and is completely unnecessary. Plus, he's like, 13. If I wanted a hero that young I'd be reading Power Pack. Oh, and apparently his Spider-powers include a camouflage that also somehow affects his clothes. No doubt they'll be giving him organic webs, because they can't come up with a reason to give him mechanical ones. I don't have high hopes for the series, in storyline or in popularity. Everyone's going to get it because it's got the new Spider-Man(!) but once people actually read the damn thing and the quality doesn't match up at all to the old Ultimate Spider-Man, they'll stop buying and Marvel won't know what to do.

I feel a bit betrayed by Bendis, but honestly I'd wager he was forced to write this by the higher ups, namely Quesada, my nemesis. I really hope the whole thing wasn't his idea, because I don't know if I can believe Bendis would do that to me. The art's... not bad, but they kept using the weird newsprint dots for the background when, really, in comics these day, you can just use a solid color and it's fine. That might just be the style of the colorist, and not the penciler, but I'm not sure.

Also: note, this and the rest of the Ultimate comics are coming out with new #1's at the same time all the new DC reboots are coming out. I would say, "Well played, Marvel." except it's really not all that well played. Just kinda copycat. At any rate, that was your new #1, and this is the W Defender.