Jun 25 2015

Graphic Bits Reviews: Green Lantern: Lost Army #1, Justice League 3001 #1 and We Are Robin #1 (New DC Universe/DC You Week 4)

New DC Universe (2015) - Week Four

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So at last we’ve come to the end of the month and well over twenty titles later, the majority of the New DC Universe has been released into the wild. Rounding out affairs this week is the GREEN LANTERN: LOST ARMY debut, a shot into the future with JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001, and a fresh spin on the familiar with WE ARE ROBIN.

Green Lantern: Lost Army #1

DC Comics, Cullen Bunn (writer), Jesus Saiz (artists)
Rating: 8/10

Green Lantern: Lost Army #1 (DC Comics)The idea of a group of Green Lantern corpsmen cut off from not only their power battery, but the rest of the GL Corps as well, is a fascinating premise. Kind of like the Star Trek: Voyager of the DCU. The core corps is John Stewart, Two-Six, Kilowog and Arisia, who have woken up to find themselves in an unfamiliar part of space, battling beings that seem custom designed to do harm to Lanterns. Their unlikely companion is Krona, the Oan scientist who became obsessed with viewing the origins of the universe. Bunn’s familiarity with the darker side of the Lantern world comes from his work with Sinestro, but here he is carving out a deeper character portrait of his chosen corps-people. The thick of battle gives us time with Stewart’s pre-ring wartime experiences, while Krona’s history may differ again from that seen earlier in the New 52. A surprise addition to their little crew promises to take things in a new direction next month, and makes us genuinely excited for the direction of this book. Saiz’s art is a fairly straightforward affair, primarily confined to close-ups of the primaries with a few splash reveals. While set predominantly in space, the colouring seems a little flat at times, especially during the revelation of the aforementioned surprise character.

Bottom Line: A promising new direction for Green Lantern. For a primary series that often gets caught up in the epic grandness of longer story arcs, it’s nice to have a discreet Lantern-based story that doesn’t require a tome of set-up to slip into.

Justice League 3001 #1

DC Comics, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis (writers), Howard Porter, Hi-Fi (artists)
Rating: 8.5/10

Justice League 3001 #1So much can change in a year. Breaking out a new calendar year for the Justice League of the future, Giffen and DeMatteis provide a great jumping-on point for new readers as well as a continuation of the story they set-up in Justice League 3000. A great deal has changed in the line-up for the dysfunctional team as well, with the resurrected Lois Lane (Queen of the Universe) now inhabiting Ariel’s body, while Guy Gardner has been brought back to life in the body of a woman. Giffen and DeMatteis’ humour has always been one of the major selling points of this book, something that has served them from their Justice League International days (neatly referenced in this and the previous arc). A boorish Superman, Guy Gardener waiting in a bureaucratic nightmare to take down Starro using paperwork, or even Fire and Ice discussing the size of the demon Etrigan’s penis (“You’ve never seen anything like it!”). In this sense, it’s also got a bit of Giffen’s Annihilation: Conquest – Starlord in it as well, by combining this misshapen futuristic crew in an utterly convincing world they have built with artist Howard Porter, a master of controlled chaos. A double-page spread of countless Starro controlled slaves as the heroes overlook the city is a perfect example of this.

Bottom Line: For what is partly a continuation of an existing story, JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 can almost stand alone as its own book. There are enough new elements to pull existing readers in, while giving new audiences enough information to hit the ground running. For that is the real joy of this book, in always trying to catch up with the action. If you aren’t reading this already, and you like a decent chuckle, it may be one of the funniest books on the market at the moment.

We Are Robin #1

DC Comics, Lee Bermejo (writer), Jorge Corona, Rob Haynes and Trish Mulvhill (artists)
Rating: 7.5/10

We Are Robin #1Lee Bermejo has earned acclaim for his spectacular artistic collaborations with Brian Azzarello on Joker, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel and Before Watchmen: Rorschach. More recently, he’s added a few notches to his writers belt, with highlight including scripting his own art on Batman: Noël and more recently Vertigo’s Suiciders. With WE ARE ROBIN, he takes on writing duties alone, and brings a novel twist to a familiar superhero tale. The young Duke Thomas is caught in the system following a minor societal collapse as a result of the Endgame fallout, with his parents missing as he is shunted from one foster home to the next. Targeted for recruitment by a mysterious group we learn to be “Robin”, WE ARE ROBIN is perhaps the best successor to the Harper Row character created by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV in the pages of Batman. Snyder has slowly introduced a young Duke into the DCU via Zero Year and Endgame. Here Bermejo strikes a win by showing us the consequences of his association with the Bat, or at least living in the same city as one. While it would have been terrific to see Bermejo tackle art duties as well, Jorge Corona and the art team convey the same youthful vibe we see in Batgirl and Black Canary.

Bottom Line: Undoubtedly one of the most promising additions to the New DC Universe, it’s also a little slow to get going as well. The real crux of the issue doesn’t get going until the third act, by which stage you’ve either invested in the character or you haven’t. We suspect this is going to be a slow burner, and definitely one to keep checking back on as the months go by.

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