• Superman #1 George Perez writes and supplies the breakdowns for Jesus Merino’s art in this Metropolis-centric issue. About half the issue is spent establishing that The Daily Planet is a dashed-to-smithereens victim of the internet and new media — the newspaper is now merely the “print arm” of a “multimedia news super station” called The Planet Global Network, or P.G.N. The other half of the book depicts Superman battling a mysteriously out-of-control fire — I know it’s laying ground for future developments, but this is not the most thrilling of adventures. The dialogue is stiff (“At what price, Lois? Our integrity? Our souls?”), but then, Superman has long been the stiff we love to love, right? Oh, and Lois has a boyfriend, Jonathan Carroll. (Not the novelist. Alas.) At this point, I much prefer the Grant Morrison Superman of Action Comics #1.
• Batman: The Dark Knight #1 Artist David Finch gives us a fine musculature anatomy lesson while writer Paul Jenkins musters up something about a bunch of Bat-villains escaping from (’scuse me while I yawn) Arkham Asylum. Mid-way through, Finch gives us a half-page pin-up of Jai Hudson, a slinky bit of wealth to pair off with Bruce Wayne, while Jenkins does something to Two-Face in the final panel that would seem to actually undercut that bad guy’s appeal by half — I hope I’m wrong. At this point, I much prefer the Scott Snyder Batman of Batman #1.
• Aquaman #1 Writer Geoff Johns hews to the re-numbering goal: To set up an origin story and starting point for new readers. Thus we get a fresh Aquaman who chooses to fight crime on land, not deep under the sea. The story nods to the meta-notion that Aquaman has never been at the top tier of comic-book idols (“How does it feel to be nobody’s favorite superhero?” asks a fan; and he’s a fan). Johns’ character mentions ridicule from Saturday Night Live, but why no Entourage? Vince Chase did a lot to lower Aquaman’s cred… Anyway, the art by Ivan Reiss is grandly heroic to contrast to the anti-heroism Aquaman himself is peddling (we know his pledge to Mera to stay on solid ground will come to naught given that the villain we meet here is a sea-weeded monster). Reiss does the upward-tilted camera-angle drawing, to connote power, well.