October 3, 2011

Crisis of Infinite Reviews: The New 52 week 4 pt. 1

Batman: The Dark Knight #1
Writers: David Finch and Paul Jenkins
Artists: David Finch and Richard Friend
Cover Artists: David Finch and Richard Friend
Publisher: DC

If it feels like only yesterday you were reading the review for Batman: The Dark Knight #1 book, you’re pretty much spot on. Less than a year ago, and five issues later, David Finch and DC have restarted the series, again. The issue mainly takes place on two fronts, at a fundraising event and at Arkham. (If you’re thinking you’ve read this plot before, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy, it is quite similar to the plot in Batman #1.) That being said, there are differences. The most interesting of these changes is the introduction to a new Internal Affairs agent who has arrived in order to investigate Gotham P.D.’s role in Batman Incorporated. It is an interesting plot thread, but more importantly it is also an opportunity for creators to delve into the repercussions of Bruce going public with Batman Incorporated.
Overall, I found this issue to be good, but nothing particularly impressed me. The story itself was fairly simple, if not outright repetitive at times. It is hard not to compare this issue to the Batman: The Dark Knight #1 issue from a couple months back and leave feeling let down. The art is as expected, absolutely gorgeous to look at. David Finch pulling double duties is a blessing for the issue, because the art definitely makes up for a relatively unsatisfying plot. 4/5

The Flash #1
Writers: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Artists: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Cover Artists: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Publisher: DC

Yet another book begins at number 1 again, after just a little more than a year after the last number 1. If one year of Barry Allen centered Flash stories wasn’t enough for you, you’ve lucked out as once again Barry Allen takes center stage. From the get go, this is a superior first issue in comparison to the one from 2010. Barry and Patty start us off with a look at one of the strangest first dates ever written. From that date, however, the plot splits into two directions. One involving DNA altering and a friend from Barry’s past, and the second being Iris.
Usually I’d talk story first, but in this case I feel it would be better to start with the art. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato knock this one out of the park, hell, the state even. The line work is sharp, the washes and colors look absolutely amazing, and the overall stylistic and graphic experimentation and incorporation makes this book one of the most beautiful books to come out of the new 52. With regards to the story, we get what has been promised to us, a younger, more energized Flash. If the previous Flash series could be summed up by one word, it would be “brooding,” and not in a good way. Luckily for us, this book is the complete opposite. It is a much lighter, freer Barry Allen, and as a result a more interesting Barry Allen. 4/5

The Fury of Firestorm #1
Writers: Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver
Artist: Vildiray Cinar
Cover Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC

I’ve always thought that Firestorm had the potential to be a really cool hero, and with this fantastic re-imagining of the character he might just get that chance. The issue starts off with the interrogation (torture) of a boy and his family for information directly linked to the Firestorm protocol. As it goes with murderers, they kill the boy and his family. We jump to a high school that Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch attend. From the very beginning you see that Jason does not like Ronnie and Ronnie barely registers Jason’s existence. They fight, bicker, and later Jason writes an article implying Ronnie is racist. The two nearly get into a fight, when the evil baddies from earlier arrive and try to kill them. Here’s when Ronnie reveals his big secret and unleashes the power of Firestorm.
I haven’t been a huge fan of Firestorm, and by that I mean I never actively sought out any books with the character in it. However, what I did read I always enjoyed. This book is no different. The characters are written great, the story is interesting enough, and the idea that there are two Firestorms now is also quite fascinating. The one thing I never understood of the Firestorm of late is why the two main protagonists hate each other. Although, to be fair, until Jason writes that article about Ronnie he doesn’t actually seem to hate Jason. Regardless, from what I read in Brightest Day, Ronnie always gets the short end of the stick. He’s stuck fighting crime with an insufferable know it all that spends his time insulting him. It will be interesting to see how Jason deals with Ronnie having all of this unstable power because of him. 4/5

Green Lantern: The New Guardians #1
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Tyler Kirkham and Batt
Cover Artists: Tyler Kirkham and Batt
Publisher: DC

This series has the unfortunate luck of being filled with an array of ideas and characters that need to be explained for new readers, while still being interesting for continuing readers. For the most part, the creative team did a commendable job at accomplishing this. The issue is split into two stories, the origin of Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern, and the present day Kyle Rayner and his new problem. The flashback story is done well enough for new readers to have no problems following. The second half of the book is where things start to get interesting as Lanterns of all of the spectrums begin losing their rings one by one. The rings all teleport to an unsuspecting Kyle. Unfortunately, the rings also lead a handful of angry ex-Lanterns to Kyle, as well.
Overall, this was a decent start. Nothing too flashy or too intricate, just a solid introduction issue. For new readers, I imagine this book was a dream, because it was clearly written with new readers in mind. Continuing readers may not get as much forward progression as far as the story goes, but what is there is interesting. The art is strong and fairly consistent, albeit nothing amazing. 3.5/5

Teen Titans #1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
Cover Artists: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
Publisher: DC

Teenaged metahumans are popping up all around the planet, and not all of them are being all that helpful. Enter Red Robin. Trained by the best there is, Red Robin has decided to bring together a team of metahumans in order to do good and save face with the public. After a visit from a company called N.O.W.H.E.R.E., which is out to rid the world of teenaged heroes, Red Robin starts building his team, starting with Wonder Girl.
This issue, for the most part, mirrors its adult counterpart, the Justice League. In both cases a member of the Bat-family joins up with another hero (Green Lantern and Wonder Girl) only to have a member of the Super-family appear towards the end. True, Superboy doesn’t actually join up with them, but the underlying doom is there. As a result, this book ended up being good, with some moments of tedium. The issue starts off absolutely great with Red Robin standing up against this new threat. The rest of the issue maintains a consistent level of action and drama. The art for this book is really just great to look at. The line work is wonderful, there is a nice sense of fluid action in the poses, and the colors pop. The only problem I have with this book is that it makes no sense at all, with regards to continuity. For new readers, that’s not a problem at all, and picking up this book will be a fun read, especially if they are reading Superboy, as well. However, for us veteran readers, it hardly makes sense that all of Red Robin’s history remains intact, but the Teen Titans’ history to have changed. 4/5

Be sure to check out previous editions of Crisis of Infinite Reviews by clicking here!

Arnab Pradhan



  1. I picked up Firestorm and thought it was a decent read but the thing that annoyed me the most is that DC is getting ridiculously predictable with their books that have a black character in it. It reminded me of why I didn’t like the Mister Terriffic comic: The forced racial tension that was put there only because you’ve got black and white characters. Not only that, the characters situations were sooooo cliche that I found myself rolling my eyes more than once. It didn’t show up in Static Shock because that would be following the exact same formula that McDuffie and his crew did back in the 90s and quite frankly greatness like that can’t be repeated. Plus Rozum was a Milestone alum so I don’t think he would have gone there anyway and told the same stories again.Though now that he’s quit as co-writer of the book who knows what will happen.

    I like the Firestorm and will still give this title a couple more issues to turn it around but if this is how things are going to be then I don’t see the point in continuing.

    • I very much agree with you that the racial tension felt forced. Not so much during the dinner scenes at home, which I felt was handled better than the scenes that took place at school, which felt like they came out of nowhere.

  2. I only read Flash #1 (my LCS was sold out of Batman TDK and Teen Titans) but I thought Flash was good even though I like Wally as Flash better. You are so right about the art being amazing.

  3. Anthony

    Ugh. This reboot is such a disgrace in so man ways, it’s not even funny.
    At this point….. I actually miss the real DCU!

    • What is a disgrace about it? The Bat-books, which is where my main interest lays, have been solid (except of B&R.) And the couple of books I decided to try out have been just as great (Swamp Thing, I Vampire, Aquaman, Flash, Firestorm)

      The main problem I have with it is that half the DC Universe has changed while the other half hasn’t (Batman, GL, others.) There is no real logic to it. Plus, there’s no map or legend declaring what has changed in which character, so it’s all pretty much a guessing game.

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