Saturday, December 24, 2011

Justice League, the Dark and Dangerous Birds...

I was very doubtful about the whole New 52 thing from DC Comics when I heard about it. Over the past few years, since Dan Dido took over as editor in chief, there were so many different events going on that redefined the DCU and all the continuity, it seemed like DC just was trying too hard to stay relevant.
I think it's safe to say that this particular change, though it retcons everything again, will actually stick and make the DCU better as a whole.
The New 52 is basically taking DC back to a more simplified universe. All the characters are younger and are starting from scratch. All of the convoluted continuity and weight of the past has been jettisoned and the DCU is starting from Year One. They're able to compete with Marvel's regular universe and their Ultimate universe. It's refreshing and cool and we get to meet all the characters again for the first time.Which brings me to The Justice League.
The flagship title of the DCU is back with a vengance. Geoff Johns, who recently wrapped up "Blackest Night" and "Brightest Day" and Jim Lee, who's doing his best work since "Hush" and "All-Star Batman", are currently introducing the heavy hitters of the DCU to a new audience.
Batman and Green Lantern are on the trail of some mysterious creatures that are plauging Gotham and Coast City, respectively. As the story progresses, Superman joins the fray. The series is up to issue 4 and The Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg have all shown up as well as a new iteration of a familiar DCU villan.
I've heard that it's the best-selling title for DC right now. With Mr. Messers Johns and Lee doing great work like this, it's no surprise.
Then there's Justice League Dark. This title focuses on the Supernatural aspects of the DCU with Zatanna, Shade, John Constantine, Deadman, Mindwarp and Madame Xanadu taking on the Enchantress who has been separated from June Moone and has propmptly gone a little mad.  Peter Milligan and Mike Janin are the creative team and they're both doing some top-notch work. The writing is solid and the artwork is dark, atmospheric and easy to follow. I also like the way the characters are being being brought together and the cool little twist is the darkness that they're facing is not only in the personage of the Enchantress, there's plenty of darkness and dysfunction inside of each of the characters for them to overcome.
Finally, we have the Birds of Prey. Just read the first issue, and it's a great read. Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz are doing some great work. Two of the main characters, Black Canary and Starling, are partners in a covert ops team based in Gotham City. They've been operating for some time, when the book first opens and have attracted the attention of an investigative reporter bent on uncovering their identities. This in turn have drawn out strange men in chameleon suits who are after the girls and the reporter. Action and general mayhem ensues. The series is up to number four, so I have a little bit of catching up to do, but I like the looks of it. And the first issue ends with a bang. Literally.
A Group Shot of the New Justice League

The cover for Issue 4

Justice League Dark Issue 1

Dangerous, and possibly angry, Birds

If you haven't checked out any of these titles, give 'em a try. You won't be sorry.

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