Another week, another batch of issue #1s from DC. I’m skipping the ones I think are duds (Supergirl? Kinda blahh. Captain Atom? Irritating) and zooming in on the books that were striking for various reasons.
Batman #1 Writer Scott Snyder (American Vampire) really knows how to launch a new chapter in Batman‘s history. He pulls from the oldest aspects of the Batman myth, combines it with sinister-comic elements from the series’ best period (that would be the same Dick Sprang-drawn, ’50s era that Grant Morrison also enjoys), and gives the whole thing terrific forward-spin by setting up an honest-to-gosh mystery for Batman to solve. Throughout, the art by Greg Capullo leads with jutting jaws and faces creased with rage, exertion, fear, and grim determination. Batman’s mask covers the very tip of his beaky nose — a nice, distinctive touch. Snyder’s script, much of it about the depressed, disspirited city — talk about “investing in Gotham’s future,” its “fears, frustrations… demons” — works as a metaphor for the economy and general mood of America. Really, the only thing I didn’t care for here is the new, stiff, metallic-looking Batman cover logo. A-
Catwoman #1 Comic books come under fire so regularly for their objectification of women that this Catwoman amounts to a nose-thumbing manifesto: It’s all about the gradual yet partial undressing of Selina Kyle, culminating in a Cat-on-Batman sex scene. Literally. That’s Judd Winick’s story. What hell: go for it; Selina certainly seems to be enjoying herself. The art by Guillem March backs up everything Winick’s drives toward throughout. A low-down gas. B
Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 Roy Harper (Arsenal), Jason Todd (Red Hood), and Starfire (um, Koriand’r, “born a princess, raised a slave,” says Scott Lobdell’s script) team up to be all scarlet-hued together and to pull of a mission of… well, there’s a reason this book ends with a “To Be Explained” tag. The issue is all set-up, but that doesn’t mean it’s tossed-off, thanks to Kenneth Rocafort’s art work. His fractured panels can’t contain the energy of guns and blood thrust beyond their frames. Red Hood’s mask is an expressive collection of cross-hatched vehemence. B
More reviews to come in this space — soon, I hope. Please check back; thanks.