Wednesday the 29th saw the last of the comics for the first year of DC's New 52. And early Friday morning, I had finally read them all. I began reading The New 52 the last week of last year. So I was instantly 208 comics behind. I kept thinking I would catch up months ago and just never could quite get over the hump with 13 new comics coming out each week. But now that I've read them all, I'm ready to offer up some brief thoughts on each of the titles with some general thoughts at the end about the whole shebang. Is that a sexist term? Shebang?
Justice League: The first story arc of Justice League had them up against Darkseid. It was obviously an over the top attempt to start The New 52 off with a gigantic,
intergalactic bang. But the story was long, not exciting, and filled with the Heroes compare dick sizes and fighting amongst themselves as they learned to fight as a team. The story went far too
long for what it was. Once the series moved on from that, it greatly improved spurred on by a guest spot by Green Arrow who sucked colostomy bags in his own comic. Justice League is
at its best when the heroes are dealing with other things than villains. And then they got their asses kicked by a an old, wheelchair bound author dying from cancer. It's actually been more
betterer than not better. And Geoff Johns has, so far, avoided a major galactic crisis crossover.
Rebooted? Cyborg got the biggest reboot of the group. His technology is intimately tied into Apokolips technology which I don't believe it was before. Unless that was changed in the Naughts.
My Favorite Character? Batman. I'm pretty sure he's the only one taking this thing seriously.
Justice League International: I was so excited about this comic! For some stupid ass 1980's reason, I expected this to be fun and jokey and entertaining. But what
it really ended up being was depressing and sad. Nearly every one of the 13 issues (including the Annual) ended with Justice League International getting their asses handed to them.
Most of the members ended up hospitalized. Guy Gardner was completely ineffective as a Green Lantern. Batman disappeared for no reason. Mostly it was Dan Jurgens just allowing the team
to be incapacitated at the drop of the hat to create tension and drama. Sad. Depressing. Not a surprise it was cancelled even though it apparently was selling better than quite a few
Rebooted? I think Skeets has disappeared. Although he was shown in a panel of Stormwatch. But I think that was an artist's mistake. The biggest change of this comic is that it stopped being funny and just turned pathetic. Unless the International group was always pathetic! I forget.
Favorite Character? Guy Gardner, usually. But he was really underused here. It's as if his power level was turned down to one or two and he had no defense against any attacks. Maybe Godiva was my favorite in this because with her hair power, she should have been getting her ass kicked by the major threats they faced.
Aquaman: Being a cynical bastard, I almost approached this comic from the standpoint that now even the writers of Aquaman were making fun of Aquaman. But I avoided
that pitfall and sat back and enjoyed what was going on. Aquaman was finally interesting by approaching him from the viewpoint that the people in the DC Universe also felt like
Aquaman was a joke. The general plot of the initial story arc was not that exciting. But I enjoyed the characterization and the dialogue and the art. It's been high quality the entire year with
some fairly surprising emotional moments. And since most of The New 52 have no emotion and makes it hard to care about any of the characters, it's a nice, refreshing take on the biggest
loser in DC Comics. Yeah, I'm still not a fan of the underwater super hero. Although my alter ego Grunion Guy wouldn't want to hear me say so.
Rebooted? Not really. Except he doesn't have a fake hand!
Favorite Character? Mera. She's really far more interesting than stoic Aquaman and she can really lay a beat down on the local cops. And anyone else she wants as well. Also, she wishes Aquaman could just stop wanting to fit in. Fuck the land mammals!
Wonder Woman: This comic is exactly what you would think a comic based on Xena and Neil Gaiman's Sandman would be. If you think that sucks, then this isn't the
comic book for you. But I think it's incredibly awesome. What's interesting about this comic is that Diana has yet to be a factor. This is entirely about Wonder Woman. If you want to know
about her non-super hero, not dealing with Gods normal life, you'll get more of that in Justice League. If you like Xena, you'll either like this or you'll bitch the entire time that
Brian Azzarello has stolen the plot of the television show. Or you could just calm down and enjoy the ride. Cliff Chiang's art is fantastic.
Rebooted? I don't know. I never read Wonder Woman. Her origin story is definitely different though. Turns out her being formed out of clay was just the cabbage patch lie of the Amazons to cover for her mother being impregnated by Zeus.
Favorite Character? This comic is filled with great characters. Possibly a toss up between Lennox and Strife. But since I have no idea who Lennox is, I'll have to go with Strife and her inability to let a snide, mischievous comment pass.
The Flash: Beautiful artwork and standard comic book fare. If you like The Flash, you should enjoy this version of him (unless you only like him as Wally West). The only thing I've really hated about
this comic is the Quantum Thinking power that they've given The Flash which basically gives him precognitive powers. It's really a super duper stupid idea since The Flash needs to be able
to think fast just to use his super powers. His fast thinking is part of being fast! Fast thinking does not let you see the fucking future! Uh oh. I'm starting to get mad and I have Captain
Atom to write about next!
Rebooted?Well, yeah, since Barry Allen is back from the dead to take the role back from Wally West. But that's just superficial stuff. He's still the same guy who runs fast. Except now he's running to keep the universe intact!
Favorite Character? Captain Cold! I enjoy his chaotic, middle of the road tendencies. He does things for himself even if occasionally he looks like a goody two shoes doing it. Super villains are so quick to judge!
Captain Atom: J.T. Krul fucked this comic up. He based Captain Atom on Doctor Manhattan who was based on Captain Atom. Captain Atom spent most of the time whining
and pouting and Narration Boxing (that's what I call the weird meshing of thought bubbles with omniscient narrating). He was super powerful and then he basically castrates himself by believing
he shouldn't do the things he can do. And then he notices that humans usually fail at their dreams because they believe they should. So then he does the same thing and moves to the moon.
The end. Moral of the story: J.T. Krul is a fucking hack and he pissed all over Captain Atom by making him a mediocre Doctor Manhattan. I'm not surprised this comic book was cancelled.
From the beginning, it was at the bottom of the New 52 for me.
Rebooted? He was a lot more human in the old universe, I believe. This take on him really just made him into Doctor Manhattan. J.T. Krul tried to give him the same angst and loneliness but it never really worked because all the reader got was Narration Box after Narration Box of Captain Atom explaining why he feels disconnected instead of actually showing him being disconnected.
Favorite Character? Scott Alexander. At least his motivations throughout were clear and consistent. He was a jealous prick at the beginning and he remained a jealous prick right through to the end. Kudos!
The Fury of Firestorm: This comic was a complete mess. I'm not interested in super heroics dealing with world politics and terrorism. But from the beginning, I noticed
a strange homoerotic undertone in the book. At first I believed it was just my cynical, strange way of looking at things. But by issue 12, I've embraced it and I fully believe that this
comic book is a romance between Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. And viewed in that light, I'm loving this fucking mess.
Rebooted? As far as I know, yeah! I remember when Firestorm was simply Ronnie Raymond with a ghostly Professor Stein head speaking with him and guiding him. Now Firestorm is two kids in one who can merge with each other without anyone judging them.
Favorite Character? Ronnie's mom! Although she's really become way too normal, vanilla suburban mom in her few appearances in the later issues. I enjoyed her when it was really possible she was a racist douchebag. Complex normal characters are too few in comic books. Hers could have been an interesting journey. And it still might when she realizes her quarterback son is in love with a black, male nerd!
Green Arrow: This comic began as a complete train wreck. It then warped into a small plane nose-diving into the train wreck and finally built up to a full nuclear meltdown. Across the
entire run of this comic, I have had almost nothing good to say about it. Keith Giffen improved the dialogue and the motivations of Green Arrow when he took over for a couple of
issues but it felt so old fashioned during that two issue run that it was less than interesting. And then Ann Nocenti came on board. I thought maybe it would become interesting having a woman writing a man since that's fairly
rare in comicdom. The first issue of her run had me hoping although unsure since Harvey Talibao's art is awful. By the end of her second issue, I looked her up on Wikipedia because her
writing seemed so amateurish. I was very surprised to see how much comic writing experience she had. Nearly every one of her issues sounds like she just did research on the jargon of
a specific field or hobby and shoves all of it she can into the dialogue. There has been nothing at all to recommend Green Arrow. Green Arrow fans cannot be happy with what's going
on with this comic. When I saw that DC was putting out a trade paperback for Green Arrow, I was angry that they would dare resell this shit to poor, unsuspecting Green Arrow fans.
Rebooted? I don't think there was really any change at all. Except he's alive. And I suppose he isn't involved with Black Canary?
Favorite Character? Who am I kidding? I couldn't stand anyone in this farce. If I were forced to pick, it would be the Polar Bear.
The Savage Hawkman: This comic lost its way right out of the gate. Tony Daniel was writing it and I've been informed by multiple sources that he sucks at writing. Not
that I needed someone to tell me after reading this and his Detective Comics. Perhaps if you loved Hawkman, you could put up with the confusing layouts and the crappy writing. But I wouldn't
recommend this title because it completely changes after Rob Liefeld takes over. At that point, the comic just descends into a miserable run of elementary school oral reports based on Wikipedia web searches and Hawkman thanking the Nth Metal for saving his life each issue even though it's the Nth Metal that put him in the near death situation to begin with. Even my 12 year old self would have had a hard time finding anything good to say about Hawkman.
Rebooted? I know so little about so many of these characters that I'm not even sure why I included this Rebooted question! I guess because you would think DC had changed a lot of stuff with this project. Well, they really haven't. Nearly any event from the Pre-52 you can think of has happened. It's just happened in a five year span of time since Super Heroes made themselves known to the general public. Superman was killed and came back. Bruce Wayne has trained four Robins and disappeared for a year where Dick Grayson took over. Swamp Thing had his entire experience with Abby and the Parliament of Trees and whatever weird mysteries he dealt with. Shade the Changing Man had his relationship with Kathy George. The OMACs did whatever they had done. Maxwell Lord is back but in a weird neck brace contraption so all of that shit went down with Wonder Woman and Ted Kord. Blackest Day happened. Extant happened. Brightest Night happened. Kyle Raynor's girlfriend in the fridge happened. Even fucking Mister Bones had his leg bit off which really doesn't make any sense because that comic was already fucked over by Crisis and now it's still something that happened in the New 52? See? The Reboot never really happened! So I'm dropping this section as of now!
Favorite Character? Tic Tac Foe! A character I made up was the best character in this book.
Mister Terrific: This comic was cancelled after eight issues and I was actually sorry to see that happen. The tone in a lot of The New 52 comics was too serious. But this comic never portrayed itself as anything but a fun romp. Sure, it had a lot of problems. But it was one of the few reads where I wasn't being a completely cynical bastard while reading it. It was a time of great innocence when I believed reading The New 52 was going to be a gaily skipped romp through a field of daisies. When compared to the other titles I'd just read (the first four issues of all of the above titles), it stood out among the best. Not that Mister Terrific was written well as the third smartest man in the world. He solved all of his problems with technobabble sprinkled heavily with quantum physics terms. But that was part of its old school charm. It didn't care about basing this thing in reality and I thanked it for that. I also liked the silliness of his declaring he's the third smartest man in the world. Right off, that gives you some seeds for stories about who the other two are (My guesses: Lex Luthor and Niles Caulder!). A lot of it was written tongue-in-cheek which I'm sure turned a lot of comic book readers off. This was campy. But fuck, we can all use some good camp in our lives. Comic fans who read, snorted, and jeered at this probably cheer their heads off at screenings of Army of Darkness.
Favorite Character? Shock of all motherfucking shocks: Mister Terrific! He was a super smart atheist and he was fucking Power Girl! Although being an atheist in the fictional world of Super Heroes really takes some balls. "Hi, my name's Mister Terrific! Who are you?" "I'm Deadman!" or "I"m the Phantom Stranger!" or "I'm Lucifer!" This was actually one story arc I was really looking forward to: Mister Terrific battling one of DC's magic super villains. I'm sure he would just explain how any sufficiently advanced technology would seem like magic to a less technologically advanced race. Or something logical like that!
DC Universe Presents: I've always had a soft spot for the rotating cast comics and the comics that spotlight different characters from month to month. Even though I never really cared much for Superman, I collected the majority of the DC Presents starring Superman and whatever character Superman palled around with that month. Also Ambush Bug got his start there! And in a freshly Rebooted universe, this comic should have some really great stories to tell which could really highlight the changes of different characters. It did not disappoint me with its first three offerings: Deadman, The Challengers of the Unknown (I was surprised I liked this!), and Vandal Savage. And then it dropped its pants and shit right on my face with its Kid Flash one shot. I was not surprised by that!
Favorite Character? Deadman. A lot of interesting stories can be told using Boston Brand's power. He's yet to be used to his full potential.
Action Comics: Much of the success of this comic has to do with Grant Morrison being the writer. Obviously. Part of that is because Grant Morrison is one of those big name writers that seems to get a free pass from editorial interference. He's kind of allowed to make up the rules as he goes along. He can be trusted to put out a good story even if he occasionally fucks up some continuity along the way. But I have a what if scenario. What if all of DC's writers were treated this way? What if they were all free to tell the stories they wanted to tell instead of having to write toward cross overs and stick to traditional versions of things? Come on, DC! It's a fucking Reboot! Stop caring about "world building" and "continuity" more than telling really good comic book stories! See Grant Morrison write? Write, Mr. Morrsion, write! See Editorial try to make a change? Scowl, Mr. Morrison, scowl! See Morrison hint by pointing at Liefeld's empty desk when editorial makes him change a Superman story? Threaten, Mr. Morrison, threaten! Seriously though, super good book!
Favorite Character: Anguished Fat Man! I sure wish he'd show up in more story arcs! I have a feeling he's going to show up in every single Zero issue in September! Anguished Fat Man goes on tour, y'all!
Superman: The first story arc was written by George Perez and it fucking fell apart pretty quickly. Reread that last entry about Morrison and editors being hands off. Well guess what that led to? Editors all over George Perez's back trying to make sure none of his stories conflicted with Morrison's vision in Action Comics. I really liked the old school feel of this comic when it began. Lots of panels. Lots of dialogue. It was telling a story. And before I knew the problems Perez was having, I just kept wondering, "What the fuck happened? How did George let this story get so out of control?" I have to wonder why DC is putting out two Superman books when one of them is hogtied to whatever is being told in the other one. Batman doesn't seem to have the same problem? He's just in twenty different places at once doing fuck all and not giving a shit about continuity. Hell, he even walked off Justice League International between issues one time in the most inexplicable way. But this title has just been legitimately ass raped by editorial. At this point, it just needs to tell stories that don't involve any Superman history, no Clark Kent relationships, no mention of anything that actually matters! Just have Superman fight a bad guy each issue and then have Clark Kent go to work and not speak with anyone. And even that might end up conflicting with something Morrison writes!
Favorite Character? Clark Kent. Maybe this title should just be Clark Kent. I'd read a comic book just about Clark Kent minus all of the Superman distractions.
Superboy: I had no idea who Scott Lobdell was when I began reading this comic. But I quickly learned he's not a writer. I don't know what he is but he's not a writer. He's definitely not an entertainer. Perhaps he's an ancient witch's curse finally manifesting in this plane of existence. What if I'm the only reading Scott Lobdell's horrible stories? Perhaps everyone else is reading Superboy written by Peter David or Ed Brubaker. I sometimes get the feeling while reading Superboy that Lobdell just takes half-finished ideas and drags them out across twenty pages. And then in the next month's issue, he just sort of half-remembers what he wrote before and begins a new script that doesn't totally follow from the last one. I will say this for him: he's a workhorse! And by that, I mean he puts in plenty of work and produces a ton of manure. Do I really need to say anything about Superboy?
Favorite Character? Probably the scientist who gets splattered into jelly against the bullet proof glass of the lab which Superboy escapes from. Ah! To have the pain of this comic end so early. Such a lucky man.
Supergirl: Fucking damn how I want to like this comic book! From the beginning, there's been thin thread of the possibility of an idea running along behind all of the fight scenes. There's just been so much action piled upon violence surrounded by conflict that Supergirl hasn't had a moment to shine. Issue #12 finally gave her some moments to interact with Superman and to calm down. It was the best issue so far! If she would just stop punching everyone in the face for a few issues, this comic book could begin working on a story.
Favorite Character? Supergirl's bum.
Batman: This is simply the best comic book of The New 52. It's been ranked as #1 on my New 52 list since I read Issue #1 and it's never lost that top spot. And it isn't because I'm a Batman fanboy. Well, a little bit! But Snyder is writing big ass fancy calligraphic circles around most of the writers at DC. Everyone I know reading comics would keep buying this title if they were only to read one book in The New 52. If you don't like it, try again. Gotham has always been a central character in the Batman books but Snyder has turned it into Batman's mistress and it's driving him wild with jealousy when he realizes The Court of Owls is real. And the scenes where he interacts with Dick Grayson are wonderful. Alfred is marvelous. The Batmobile is genius! The Gotham Skyline is beautiful! The villains are cuddly and huggable and cute and...and...and, well, it's a good book.
Favorite Character?: Alfred Pennyworth. Any character that can put Batman in his place without the slightest fear or hesitation has the biggest balls in the DC Universe. And he's so goddamned entertaining.
Detective Comics: Just to show you that I'm not a total Bat-fanboy, this title is awful. I think it'll be getting a new creative team for its second year, so it has to improve. The last twelve issues by Tony Daniel have been confusing at best. Not that the stories are hard to follow. But he can't storyboard. When he's writing and doing the art, the action scenes are nearly impossible to follow. If you want to defend it, you can probably find a way to explain how the M.C. Escher-like scenes fit together. But mostly he can't quite get the story out of his head and clearly down on paper. I also expect to see more of Batman's detective side in Detective Comics but nothing clever is going on with that either. And the back-up stories have been shoddy and incomprehensible.
Favorite Character: I don't even like Batman in this comic. Pass!
Batwoman: This comic looks fantastic when J.H. Williams III is doing the art. And when he's not doing the art, all I know is it doesn't look as good. One of the few books with a big cast of interesting characters. Most of the characters aren't just relegated to the sidelines with bit parts. They're intimately involved in Batwoman's world. As a Vonnegut fan, I really appreciate when each character is given respect and given their due. The story lost a little control around the middle of the second Medusa arc, sometimes repeating things that didn't seem to need repeating. But that was part of the concentric circles story line as the tale was told in a roundabout way getting closer and closer to the center of things. I liked the idea. I just don't think Williams and Blackman had very tight control on their process. But they pulled it out like champs and the final issue (or two? I forget!) of the arc really came together nicely with some emotionally charged character moments. This is another really solid book.
Favorite Character? Mister Bones! It'll always be Mister Bones! Give him his own book! And I don't mean a book that follows his exploits as the director of the DEO! I mean a book that follows him around on the weekends and his off hours. What the fuck does this guy do in civilian life? Does he go bowling? If someone uses his ball after he's been using it, will they die of cyanide poisoning? How did he lose his leg now that he couldn't have lost it in Infinity Inc since that comic series is so far out of continuity it's come back around again. No, wait. That doesn't make any sense.
Batman: The Dark Knight: Another filthy, rotten, stinking Batman book! The first story arc with the White Rabbit and everyone shot up on Venom has so many WTF moments that it could possibly my favorite nonsensical DC story of all time. Riot at Arkham and Batman arrives on the scene asking about Two Face for no reason at all? But that's the guy causing it all! Master Detective! Deathstroke on Venom dropping out of the sky and onto the Batwing? HOLY WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?! Superman beating the shit out of Batman? The Flash being poisoned and told to run around continuously or he'll die but then, oh, wait, pardon me, I was wrong that will actually kill you hope you haven't died in the meantime. The White Rabbit flashing her ass every chance she got. Clayface masquerading as the Joker on Venom?! I can't even remember who the main villain was in this story? I think it was Bane working with The White Rabbit. If this comic could pull itself together and concentrate on the villain's perspective in the confrontations with Batman, I think it will have found an identity and a reason to exist. Gregg Hurwitz may be on the right track although with a really cliche Scarecrow story right now.
Favorite Character? The White Rabbit! Her secret identity is a hot brown woman!
Batman and Robin: Getting back into the New 52, I had no idea who Damian Wayne was. So jumping into a Batman and Robin comic, I was surprised to find it was the most violent comic in The New 52. It has more decapitations per page than Al Queda's Archie and Jugallalalahead. I just hope dozens of kids were allowed to buy this comic by their parents. "Oh look, honey! Here's one with Robin in the title. That should be fun." POW BANG DEATH DECAPITATION BLOOD GORE VIOLENCE! That being said, this is one of the best comics of The New 52. Best Robin ever. I like Dick Grayson better than Damian Wayne. But Damian Wayne is a way better Robin than Dick ever was.
Favorite Character? Robin! Did I just say that? Am I getting senile? ROBIN?!
Batgirl: Batgirl is a fun character with some interesting villains marred by a few odd devices that Gail Simone has chosen to use while telling Batgirl's story. She constantly uses Narration Boxes to tell the story from Batgirl's point of view. Batgirl does way too much casual thinking during life and death situations. My enjoyment of this comic is inversely proportional to the amount of narration boxes Gail Simone uses. That being said, I'm enjoying reading it and writing my commentary as if it were Batgirl's diary. I'm always excited about the next issue when it's in the stack.
Favorite Character? Alysia, Babs Gordon's roommate. I like Babs being close to a normal person. And even though Alysia has begun dating James Gordon, Jr, psycho, she's safe from being killed! Gail Simone can't kill Barbara's female roommate when she's the one who created the term "women in refrigerators." I'd be the first to send her 10,000 emails calling her a hypocrite for killing my favorite character in the entire DCnU!
Batwing: One thing about Batwing is you never actually know where in time a scene is taking place. Now. Six weeks ago. Two weeks before seven days prior to three weeks after tomorrow. Some future point in the future that falls somewhere between Tuesday and half past five. Judd Winick loves him some exploded narratives. No linear story telling from Judd! Again! I think if you like the character of Batwing, you'll enjoy this comic. It's had at least one moment of real heart that caused me to change my view of Judd from Judd Winick, house guest on Real World to Judd Winick, actual comic book writer. That's a lot of ignorant, uninformed, prejudiced bias to overcome. Good job, Judd!
Favorite Character? Massacre. You really got to be confident in your specialty as a super villain to go with that name. "We need a mercenary to help out in the bank robbery." "How about Massacre?" "Eeee...no. Maybe we should go with Sticky Fingers?"
Catwoman: While Batwing I like well enough, I probably wouldn't be reading it if not for my New 52 Project. That's this blog! Pay attention! But Catwoman I would continue to pick up. I like her somewhat damaged persona and her inability to control her emotional impulses. There have been some criticisms about the overly sexy way March has drawn Catwoman and the way Winick began with Batman and Catwoman having sex. But I say, good for them! Get that whole sexy fucking elephant out of the room in the first issue. Show that Bruce Wayne isn't completely a different person from Batman. They've got a little bit of each other. Some might read this as Batman taking advantage of Catwoman. But I think Catwoman is taking advantage of Batman. He's trying to rescue her somehow and she's showing him in every way possible that she can't be rescued. She's a feral stray through and through. When she's in heat, she'll accept Batman's mounting. But at other times? She's all claws and fangs. I like this version of Catwoman and since I wasn't invested in the Pre-52 Catwomens, I don't hate her for simply being different.
Favorite Character? Catwoman! Look at that! Another comic where my favorite character is also the title character. That's some rare goddamned rarity! Rarer even!
Nightwing: I read the Teen Titans back during the Marv Wolfman era and I was never a very big fan of Nightwing. He was just Robin in an even worse outfit. But I think Dick Grayson maybe the best developed character of the 2000s. He's just grown into a really likable character that has even footing with Batman. While the other Robins still see Batman as a father figure, Dick Grayson has become Batman's peer. And Batman respects him as such. Along with Alfred, he's one of the few people that can really tell Bruce the way things are and Bruce will listen. The interaction between Bruce and Dick in this comic as well as the other Bat Titles are some of the best character interactions so far in The New 52. But I also like the way Dick gets along with the past Robins. He's a mentor to Damian since they were Batman and Robin together for awhile (although I'm not sure how much of that is true in The New 52. It feels like it happened while Batman was gone. But I don't know that Damian was there while Dick was Grayson. I'm speaking about The New 52! I know they were Batman and Robin in the Pre-52!). And he and Jason Todd have the kind of rivalry you'd expect from the first two Robins as well as because Jason Todd tried to kill everything when he came back. And I like how much of the comic concentrates on Dick Grayson things and not just Nightwing stuff. It's a good balance.
Favorite Character? Dick Grayson. Yeah, I like the non-super hero bits of this comic a bit more than the super hero bits. Besides, so far in this comic almost all of the villains have a beef with Dick and not Nightwing!
Birds of Prey: This comic may be beginning to find its identity but it was just a horrible steaming mess during the first story arc about Choke. The Birds of Prey went from one scenario to another without connecting anything. Loss of time? Oh, no big deal. Attacked in an alley by unknown thugs? Beat them up and just shrug. Happens all the time in Gotham! The writer whose name I won't attempt to spell without looking at it never seems to remember who knows what. Does Starling know about Katana's blade holding her husband's soul? Why yes, in this panel. But no in the next panel! And then yes. And then no. What about Dinah having killed her husband? Oh, Starling knows all about it. Then she doesn't. Then she uses it against Dinah. Then she forgets. Maybe it's just a problem with Starling's memory? And what about the characters killing? Black Canary freaks out at people for killing. But then she doesn't give a shit as Katana chops Choke's minions to bits. And nobody cares when Katana causes a luxury hotel to collapse in a gigantic explosion. A hotel that should not have been empty for any reason except that the writer wanted to blow it up. So she's a mass murderer. But no big deal! Move on to the next plot point!
Favorite Character? Katana. She's from the original Outsiders so I'm big time biased here. I'm also obsessed with swords that suck people's souls. Like Black Razor!
Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rocafort's art is the only positive on this book. I really think Scott Lobdell suffers from some sort of long term memory issues. The characters in his books always seem to be running in a hamster wheel. Their motivations change simply to propel the plot along to something new. Lobdell obviously wanted to make Starfire into a sex kitten with severe amnesia but when the internet exploded over the characterization, he defended himself with the old, "Just wait and see! You're judging me too early!" and then he completely changed her character without any story elements to justify the change. He had one fine moment between Jason Todd and Tim Drake that dropped the stupid narration boxes (one thing all the bad comics have in common? Over reliance of narration boxes) and consisted solely of dialogue between the two characters. It worked. It was heartfelt and lovely. Why can't he do that? Why can't the editors point to that page and say, "Do that! Do more of that!" This is a comic that could be fun (violent but fun!) but has locked its potential away into a sealed vault hundreds of feet beneath the ground and guarded by fierce transvestite chimeras.
Favorite Character: I guess it would have to be one of the young characters with a rough and tumble attitude. You know, any character Scott Lobdell writes.
Green Lantern: What the fuck is going on in Green Lantern? Geoff Johns got the memo for the Reboot and then crumpled it up and threw it at Dan Didio's head. He then renumbered Green Lantern and ignored everyone talking about The Reboot and The New 52. Green Lantern's story has just continued unbroken so that any new readers (like me!) are left to wonder what the fuck just happened each issue. And because the New 52 needs to maintain the illusion of a complete Reboot, there are never any editorial notes explaining things that happened in the Pre-52. Need to know why Hal doesn't have a ring? Fuck you. Need to know why Sinestro is a Green Lantern? Fuck you. Want to know about Black Hand? Fuck you. What about his Book of the Black? Let me see. Hmmm. Fuck you! Not that I really mind. It's actually kind of fun knowing that so much history is crammed into these pages but new readers are completely clueless. This comic really should be titled, "I'm Geoff Johns. Who the Fuck are You?" Also, Hal Jordan is such a whiny pathetic self-centered bitch. No wonder they're going to kill him off again. They are, right? I think they are! And don't tell me to "read the solicits sometime", Anonymous! I like speculating and I like finding out the answers while reading the fucking comic. What is wrong with people and their need to know every little thing before it happens? Is it a kind of weapon to bring their fellow nerdlings to their knees? Ha ha! I had all of the latest news on the Trinity War first! Ha ha! Shut up! Or at least don't tell me any of that shit! Past shit? Sure, inform me. Future shit? Hold your fucking peace!
Favorite Character? I guess I'd have to pick Sinestro. He's a giant dick but I guess that's why he goes so well with that major pussy, Hal Jordan.
Green Lantern Corps: This comic has seen Guy Gardner at his best. He's a major chump in Justice League International but his usual character shines through here. I like the portrayal of his friendship with John Stewart. They share a lot in common simply because they both chose to forgo having a secret identity. So they're both kind of lost and stuck as Green Lanterns. This causes them to hang around Oa a lot even though they're supposed to be protecting their Space Sector. I guess since Earth has four Green Lanterns (technically three since Hal lost his ring for some reason not explained because that would break the Pre-52/New 52 barrie), they can futz around doing whatever they want. Although Kyle isn't exactly protecting Earth's sector either! While the plot of this comic has been up and down (more down recently), it's average comic book fun. I'd probably buy it simply because it features my two favorite Green Lanterns.
Favorite Character? Guy Gardner. I like John Stewart as well but he just hasn't been shining in this series. Mostly he's getting screwed. But Gardner has had some good moments, especially when he stands up to the Guardians. Who else does that? Well, who else does that and succeeds?
Green Lantern: New Guardians: Even though I didn't read any of the Rainbow Corps stories in the Pre-52, I'm enjoying this comic. And even though it's been twelve issues of "Are the Rainbow Lanterns a team or not?", it's been fun and light. I think I have to read it as whimsical and silly because the main idea behind the creation of all these colored Lantern Corps is ridiculous. A Galactic Police force ruled by Anger? Or Greed? Or Fear? Oh, well, I get fear. That's the standard weapon for most police forces around the world.
Favorite Character? Glomulous. He's just kind of a mascot. They should keep him around.
Red Lanterns: Who thought this comic book was a good idea? How do you structure a plot revolving around a bunch of creatures that vomit hot lava and can barely speak? Well, Milligan somehow managed. Just barely. The plot is scattered and chaotic and moves around based on the paranoia and whims of Atrocitus. But what better way to have plot movement when your main character is an angry asshole that's beginning to soften around the edges while developing a penchant for pouty philosophy? I don't know how long this comic can keep up whatever it's fucking doing, but I've actually found it works. If you squint a bit. And punch yourself in the vagina.
Favorite Character? Dex Starr. This is why someone picking up this book and taking it seriously and then hating it for what it's doing is wrong. This comic is absurd. It begins with Dex Starr attacking Space Pain Pirates. An angry cat full of hatred and rage attacks Sadistic Space Pirates in the opening pages. This comic is absurd. Judge it accordingly. I like Dex Starr because I once met the angriest kitten in the world and it was the cutest fucking thing I've ever seen. It wanted to be pet and scratched and kept bumping against my leg but that little fucker hissed every time I touched it or it touched me or something moved or you looked at it lovingly. That's why I can believe in Dex Starr. Kittens can have rage problems.
Justice League Dark: I really liked this comic because it had Peter Milligan writing Shade the Changing Man. If I had to pick my top comic book of all time, it would be Shade the Changing Man. But there was something missing in this book. Why was it called Justice League Dark? Why were these loner magic types working together (well, technically, they weren't. They were just being manipulated by that cunt Madame Xanadu)? So while I wanted to love it because of Shade, it just wasn't going anywhere terrific. But then Jeff Lemire hopped on board and using what Milligan put out previously, he tied it all together and made it work. He explained where Justice League Dark came from. He created a plot point that will force the characters to work together whenever John Constantine needs them for one of his selfish reasons. He's brought it all together and I truly love this book now.
Favorite Character? John Constantine, of course! That bastard has charmed every creature in existence even when they fucking know better than to trust him. Truly a legendary character if DC every created one.
Swamp Thing: I recently reread the entire run of Swamp Thing because it felt like something was lacking and I thought maybe it worked better all read in one sitting. And it does! I just wish it had a lot more horror and creepy tension thrown in. If they could get more of the old horror comics feel mashed into this sucker, it would be one of my favorites. Oh, believe me, it has horror. But I like my horror extra spicy! Turn it up, fuckers! It was this comic that first made me realize the New 52 changed next to nothing with DC's history when Superman visited Alec Holland to sympathize with him about what it's like to come back from the dead. I just sort of shook my head quizzically and thought, "So Superman has been killed by Doomsday? What the fuck? A lot of ripples fanned out from that event and if that happened, tons of shit from the Pre-52 happened! What a rip off!"
Favorite Character? Tefe Holland. Come on! She must exist somewhere in The New 52! When Alec came back to life, he retained all of his memories of his previous time as Swamp Thing. Which are all of the Pre-52 stories, probably. Which means Tefe Holland is out there somewhere elementalling it up!
Animal Man: This is another book that reads much better in one sitting. Month to month, it just doesn't feel like much happens. A bit of family drama and a bit of horror with a little sibling bickering thrown in and some surreal humor. Not as good as Grant Morrison's run on the title but that statement probably didn't even need to be made.
Favorite Character? Socks! It's a cat named Socks but it doesn't even have sock markings! That silly Little Wing!
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: I'm not sure about the direction the comic has recently taken, but while Jeff Lemire was on it, the story and art went hand in hand for a really fun experience. I'm just barely halfway through this Year End Review and I'm running out of steam! Fuck I'm reading a lot of comic books. Back to Frankenstein, I wouldn't mind if this comic book threw in a lot more humor. It's kind of campy and fun in that Frankenstein is always so serious. But every one else should be funnier than they are! Vampire and Werewolf guy? Not as funny as they think they are! The mummy? Prudish and stodgy! Nina from the Black Lagoon? Sexy in a fishy way. I guess that's kind of funny.
Favorite Character? Ray Palmer. See? He's been Rebooted pretty well. He's not using his power to be a super hero. He's using it to shrink down the secret hideout of SHADE. I think he's even been rebooted enough that his ex-wife wouldn't have access to his shrinking power and thus she never could have killed Sue Dibny! So Ralph and Sue should still be alive and living happily ever after as the one good, normal, loving married couple in the entire world!
I, Vampire: A little over one year ago, I vowed would never ever consume any media about vampires ever again! And then a week later, I was at Concrete Blonde's 20th Anniversary of the release of their album, Bloodletting. I think I failed pretty spectacularly in my vow. And now I'm reading this comic book. But these vampires aren't very good at being vampires. They don't even explode into dust when they go to the beach. This comic was intriguing with its battle between two lovers. But it quickly became the two lovers working together. And then the two lovers were sort of on the outs while working together because Andrew wanted Mary to act nice and Mary wanted Andrew to act evil and wacky antics ensued because neither would compromise! So they drew a big white line down the center of Utah and threw a giant zombie rave and then other stuff happened and now Andrew wants Mary to act evil and Mary wants Andrew to act nice! What wacky kids!
Favorite Character? Tig, the scrappy vampire hunter orphan trying to avenge the undeath of her father.
Resurrection Man: This title has been cancelled because it never explained how Mitch Shelley, Resurrection Man, ended up in an ambulance on the way to Arkham after having been disintegrated by an Angel in Portland, Oregon. Maybe there were other reasons why it was canceled. But I never got over that bullshit plot point. I have nothing else to say about this travesty! Actually, it wasn't so bad. If given time to find a plot it wanted to stick to, it could have been interesting. But the whole dying thing and coming back to life with a new power once or twice an issue wasn't enough to hold all the various threads together.
Favorite Character? The Transhuman! See, he's this kid who built a super techno suit that could do almost anything. Except the suit caused him to age sixty years prematurely. He was also a super villain and the most interesting character in the comic book. Except for maybe the second Body Double's left boob.
Demon Knights: Arguably the most beautifully rendered comic in The New 52. Neves really paints some intricate scenes without cluttering up the page. You won't see any panels with merely characters' heads in front of a swatch of color in this comic. As for the story, it's fun and rollicking and adventurous and full of great dialogue and humor. It's dealing with a large cast of characters but they all seem to shine in every issue. Plus it's tied in to Stormwatch because these characters may possibly be the first ever members of Stormwatch set up by Merlin. That's my guess, anyway.
Favorite Character? Etrigan the Demon. Once again, I'm biased. I grew to love the character during Alan Grant and Val Semeiks run on The Demon back in the late eighties (early nineties?). I still find him cuddly and loveable.
Stormwatch: Stormwatch has gone through three writers so far and it hasn't really affected the title much. Peter Milligan has been writing on the most recent issues and he's done a good job of incorporating plot points dropped by Paul Cornell from the beginning. He also might be setting up Planetary as Stormwatch's Shadow Council which would just be awesome. I was hoping Martian Manhunter would be a good fit for this team but he was severely under utilized throughout. He finally moved on to head up Justice League of America next year which is fine by me. Stormwatch is back to a group of their core members. I know, it's not Warren Ellis on Authority good but it works for me.
Favorite Character? Midnighter. The tension between Midnighter and Jenny Quantum steals the show. It's got a little bit of that Batman never quite trusting Superman vibe. But between the best killer in the universe versus a teenage girl of unknowable power.
Grifter: I don't like Grifter as a character. I don't like the way Nathan Edmondson wrote Grifter. I don't like the way Rob Liefeld wrote Grifter. I hate how Grifter spouts profound nonsense constantly in his narration boxes. I hate his stupid handkerchief mask. I hate how this guy is the most powerful threat against the Daemonites. I don't buy that he's a bad ass. None of that comes across at all. DC has a lot invested in making Grifter work, so no matter how bad it's written, I imagine they're going to try their hardest to make it sell. One word to describe this comic: inane. No, I did not typo "insane." INANE.
Favorite Character? The girl on the motorcycle that died in the plane crash when Grifter's story needed to change completely. I forget her name. I also might have chosen Grifter's girlfriend but I don't remember what happened to her. Did she die? Did he leave her with the Daemonites to be sacrificed by the Black Curate? I don't know. I don't care.
Voodoo: Voodoo was a mediocre comic book that just wasn't selling well. So DC found a new writer with a new take on Voodoo and completely blew the book up by killing all of the old cast (like what happened in Grifter!) and changing Voodoo's agenda. They introduced a second Voodoo character as a rival. The new direction was not good enough to have completely destroyed the first half of the series (I'll revisit this crap when I get to Legion Lost). This series could have been two different miniseries about two different characters. The change in writers was handled piss poorly and it fucked up the entire flow of the comic book. When DC gets desperate to save a title, it's apparent that they don't give any consideration to the readers.
Favorite Character? Mol Stone, the Daemonite Orc on Europa. He had a nice working class mentality that I could respect! Everyone else in the comic was deranged.
Deathstroke: Kyle Higgins Deathstroke was completely and utterly amoral. I really liked this version of him. Don't try to make him a hero. Just let him be the best mercenary out there. The only problem was that he was taking Deathstroke too seriously. When a comic book is about a guy with no real ethical boundaries who kills for a living, I think you need to plant your tongue a little bit loosely in your cheek. This comic could have used some over the top humor. Maybe something akin to Alan Grant's Lobo series but not quite as crazy. Humor can go a long way when your main character is indiscriminately killing normal men hired as guards for the man Deathstroke is being paid to kill. And then Liefeld took over, changed Deathstroke's motivations which were established in the comic published just prior to Liefeld taking over, and brought in Lobo. He also did the art which was awful. Now that Liefeld has quit, I have no idea what direction this comic is headed. It's a fucking toss of the die at this point.
Favorite Character? Sheba, the female Czarnian! She hasn't really had any scenes except the one panel showing she exists. But I bet she's a crazy fun loving super gal!
Suicide Squad: Of course Suicide Squad will always be compared to John Ostrander's fantastic run on the series. This doesn't come close. But it's getting better. This comic also features Harley Quinn in a fan-disapproved outfit which has caused a lot of criticism. I've noticed a lot of Harley fans refuse to read this comic based on her costume. Others refuse to read it because of that and because she was so poorly written in the early issues (seriously? Fucking Deadshot and referring to her vagina as a clown car? Really?). Others complain that she is supposed to love Joker and isn't portrayed that way in this comic. I think that complaint is because those fans were already done with this book before Harley skeedaddled out to Gotham to look for Mr. J. I don't buy the hatred for Harley because of her new look. That's just sour grapes. But I do buy the hatred for the way Adam Glass is writing her and the rest of the Squad. It's the Suicide Squad so I'm enjoying it for what it is. And Glass is getting better at it. The story and the Squad are getting tighter. I'm a fan even though this isn't Ostrander's Suicide Squad! Also, I'd like to point out that Adam Glass really fucked up when he killed Lime of the girl duo Light and Lime. Having a single hero named Light seems fine. But the fucking awesome absurdity of it all if he'd kept Lime alive! Here comes Deadshot, King Shark, Harley Quinn, Iceberg, and Lime. Yeah.
Favorite Character? Even though she isn't the Amanda Waller of the Pre-52, I still have to go with Amanda. She's the master manipulator of the DCU and one of the few people I'd place my bets on to go toe to toe with Batman and come out on top.
OMAC: This comic was a bit of crazy fun. Giffen did an amazing job with the art basically doing Giffen doing Kirby doing Giffen. The art was stylized to the point that another artist took over for Giffen in one issue and I didn't even realize it. This was a throwback to another time and modern comic book readers might not go for the tone. It wasn't one of my favorites but it was heads and tails above some of the other comics that weren't canceled.
Favorite Character? Maxwell Lord. Oh, this guy may have been the master manipulator in the DCU! He and Amanda Waller once ruled the DC Universe back in the eighties. They were the most powerful people in DC for quite some time. But having Lord back in The New 52 with a neck brace sure raises a lot of questions. It definitely lets Wonder Woman off the hook for being a murderer.
All Star Western: A comic book that I never knew I wanted. Jonah Hex teamed up with Amadeus Arkham. The interactions between these two characters makes this comic book worth the time. The back-up stories aren't really worth the extra dollar but since it's the book to showcase all of DC's western characters, it's not going to change any time soon.
Favorite Character? Amadeus Arkham. He smokes opium. He wanders the poor sections of Gotham looking for children with birth defects and disfigurements to experiment on. Psychoanalyzing the mentally ill and depraved. Drinking absinthe. He just has so many good points!
Blackhawks: If you like G.I. Joe type books, you'd probably like this one. It tried to throw a wrench in a lot of the conventions of that type of story and worked fairly well. It held my interest right up until the end. But I've never read a comic book where less than half the covers matched the stories inside. Sometimes the characters on the cover were just the wrong characters. And then at the end of the series, I'm pretty sure they just used the covers for the stories that were supposed to be told before the book was cancelled. None of them made any sense at all.
Favorite Character? I can't really remember any of their names. So I'll say Canada who was from Atlanta. Unless his name was Atlanta because he was from Canada? Or was it Irish who was from Russia?
Men of War: This was a war comic about Sgt. Rock's grandson. It was insipid and poorly done. At times it almost wanted to be something special and then it would decide that might be too hard and went the normal war route. I don't remember most of my problems with it but almost none of it was worth reading. I did like the idea of the gang of military men who had somehow become immortal and were all from various times and places. But, of course, the comic didn't do much to explore this.
Favorite Character? In one of the back-up stories, there was a female assassin chasing after a male spy. They both had narration boxes of the events as they happened in real time. I liked those two characters for the six total pages they existed.
Teen Titans: I've read a lot of Teen Titans books over the years and this one is the worst of the lot. Scott Lobdell writing it poorly. Just like Superboy, it often feels like he's going from month to month without any direction at all. And I wouldn't be surprised if that really was the case. He's simply inspired to write a script one month and then just do whatever he wants the next month when he needs to meet his new deadline. If you're a fan of the Teen Titans, you probably won't like this book. If you hate the Teen Titans, why would you be reading this book?
Favorite Character? Danny the Street. Morrison created him/her/it so what's not to love? An anthropomorphic transvestite street that can appear anywhere? The best!
Static Shock: This comic was average and confusing for the first six issues. And then it hit its stride and was getting interesting during its final two issues! It may have gotten a new writer. I forget. Mostly this was forgettable.
Favorite Character? Static's sister(s). I forget every name in this comic! But I liked his doppelganger sisters and the mystery they represented.
Hawk and Dove: Oh boy was the art in this comic bad! Not like anyone expects anything else out of Liefeld though. But as bad as the art was, the writing was even worse! Sterling Gates was the writer and his scripts were so bad that I often found myself making fun of the writing when Rob Liefeld's art was right there in front of me waiting to be mocked. I just looked up Gates on Wikipedia and guess what? He got the job writing for DC after running into Geoff Johns at a bar, ending up sitting next to him at a restaurant, and then paying for Johns meal as an apology for Gates' friend's behavior! And that, kids, is how you get a job writing comic books in the comic book industry! Quality? Fuck it! Experience? Who needs it? Pay for Geoff Johns' meal? You're hired! Um, anyway, this comic ate crocodile balls.
Favorite Character? It was probably some type of bird.
Blue Beetle: When I began reading this comic, I was pretty tepid about it. It just seemed like another typical high school, fish out of water kid accidentally becoming a super hero. But I grew to like Jaime across the dozen issues out. And the writing has been fun and lighthearted. It's one of the few really fun comics that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Favorite Character? Brenda, Jaime's cute freckled rich friend. I can think she's hot even though she's a juvenile because she's fictional!
Legion Lost: This comic was meant to be like Legion of Super-heroes crossed with the television show Lost. Several members crash landed in their time bubble in the past where they had to figure out what to do to stop a virus being unleashed that would turn everyone into human-alien hybrids. Maybe it was part X-Files too! Each issue was from the point of view of one main character much in the same way Lost was. But then Tom DeFalco took over for Fabian Nicieza and he changed the entire comic. The bad guy was no longer the bad guy. Everyone had a secret reason for being in the past. The virus no longer mattered. It was a completely different comic book and DeFalco just didn't give a fuck about what was going on before. The good news is that neither half of the series is any better than the other half. So it barely mattered. Maybe if you like Legion characters, you might like this book. But I don't care about them at all and the writing doesn't give me any reason to change my mind.
Favorite Character? The TSA Avengers! Yes, a group of super heroes in the style of the Avengers but financed by Homeland Security. I forget what their real group name is but they might as well be the TSA Avengers. Except they should all be fatter.
Legion of Super-heroes: This comic does nothing for me in any way at all. Legion fans might love it. I have no idea since I don't know anyone that likes the Legion of Super-heroes. I think this one also didn't bother with the Reboot. Why should they? They're in the 31st Century! Although their time travel mechanisms are all broken due to Flashpoint which they reference by name. Except the Time Travel worked the one time with Legion Lost. But that's it! No more time travel! Except in JLI Annual #1 where Booster Gold comes back in time to talk to Booster Gold and try to get Superman to not kiss Wonder Woman. Oh! Also, apparently it was okay for Booster Gold to end up in the past after Flashpoint. Except he's now faded out of existence too so maybe that was fixed in JLI Annual #1! See how much I don't care about Legion? I'd rather talk about Justice League International!
Favorite Character? Hmm! So many to choose from! I'd have to say my favorite character is Damsel Lad.
Dial H: Another fun comic book with a nice Lovecraftian plot and feel. It's a bit of whimsical horror and I'm enjoying the heck out of it.
Favorite Character? Shamanticore!
G.I. Combat: Men of War was cancelled so DC replaced it with this. Come on, DC! You're not even trying!
Favorite Character? Korean friend! Alas, you were gone too soon!
Worlds' Finest: I love Huntress and Power Girl together. This comic is simply a giggly fun buddy fest. It makes me smile when I read it and that's about the best compliment I can give any of these books.
Favorite Character? Oh hells no! I'm not picking between these two women! I love them both!
Earth 2: I'm excited for the future stories in this comic. So far it's been a lot of setup and Solomon Grundy. That's enough to keep me happy for now.
Favorite Character? Sam, Alan Scott's dead gay fiance!
The Ravagers: The worst edited, most poorly written, horribly plotted excuse for a comic book in this whole New 52. Vomit. Dreck. Barf. Shit. Medical waste. And surprisingly not written by J.T. Krul! Ha ha! Oh, Howard Mackie, you vile wordsmith.
Favorite Character? Well, Niles Caulder just made an appearance and he hasn't been ruined yet. So I'll pick him!
Batman, Incorporated: I've only read two issues of this because they delayed Issue #3 and then my comic book store never put Issue #3 in my pull box when it was released. So now I have to find Issue #3 somewhere. But I know I'll love it since I really, really liked the first two issues! This comic book is the bestest and it has the Outsiders in it!
Favorite Character? Who else? Bat-cow!
Overall, the New 52 has been a mixed bag. Since I hadn't been reading comics since 2003, I was excited to get back in with DC as they started everything over. Of course they didn't. But that's okay because I had such a long history reading DC before 2003 that I can follow along with most of what's going on. I may actually be the perfect fan for this Reboot! The main problem I have with the Reboot is it didn't go far enough. This was a good chance to really experiment with new things and change up some old heroes. But they've really only done superficial changes and left most of the characters saddled with their same old histories. I wish they would have been ballsier.
I also wish they would hire some stronger writers. They seem to have picked up all of the writers that Marvel no longer wanted. So a good portion of the New 52 are being written by Marvel's crappiest writers of the last decade or two. Ugh.
If I hadn't decided to blog the entirety of The New 52, I definitely wouldn't be buying most of these titles. I'd still read Batman, Action Comics, Worlds' Finest, Batman Incorporated, Aquaman and Wonder Woman for the writing. I'd probably pick up Justice League Dark and Suicide Squad for the characters. Demon Knights and Batwoman for story and art. Blue Beetle, Dial H, Earth 2, Stormwatch, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Frankenstein for various other reasons. And I wouldn't hesitate to drop any of these titles if they began having a really bad run or brought on a crappy writer. Contrariwise, I'd pick up any title if a writer I liked was brought on board.