Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 9/20/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.  This was a light reading week for me, so I’m going to keep it brief and focus my efforts on some of the surprise (at least to me) hits of DC’s new 52.

THE HITS

Animal Man #1 | DC | Jeff Lemire (w), Travel Foreman (a)

I really can’t get enough of the New 52.  Make no mistake, they haven’t all been great but they’re all NEW and when you’ve read superhero comics for as long as Josh and I have, finding something new can be hard to come by.  Of the books I’ve read so far, Animal Man has done the best job of embracing the newness while still establishing a sense of history.  That’s a lot to accomplish in 22 pages but Jeff Lemire does it masterfully.  I’ll take some heat for liking this on account of my constant New Avengers-bashing, but within the first few pages (which yes, do take place around a kitchen table)  it’s obvious that Buddy Baker/Animal Man is an established character with some history but it’s a fresh start for both the characters and the reader and I found myself slipping effortlessly into the story.

O.M.A.C. #1 | DC | Dan DiDio (w), Keith Giffen (a)

Like Animal Man, this wasn’t one of the books I had originally planned to pick up but, hearing some good reviews I decided to give it a try.  Boy, am I glad I did.  I have zero history with O.M.A.C. and very little knowledge of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters (blasphemy, I know) but It didn’t hut my enjoyment of this a bit.  All I needed to know was there was an awesome-looking blue alien with a radio-wave-emitting Mohawk, rampaging through a crazy secret science lab, fightin’ mutant henchmen and chicks with machine guns in their mouths, topped off with a crazy-cool reveal on the last page.  I case you can’t do the math, that all adds up to totally awesome and the art by Keith Giffen is a bright, beautiful, electric love letter to Jack Kirby.

Rocketeer Adventures #4 (of 4) | IDW | various (w/a)

This isn’t one of the New 52 but I couldn’t let the last issue of this series pass by without singing it’s praises.  Since republishing Dave Stevens’ original Rocketeer series in a beautifully remastered hardcover edition last year, IDW has spearheaded a renaissance for the high-flying pulp hero.  I’ve really enjoyed the reintroduction to character, who I only previously knew from the 1991 film.  This year, IDW kept the Rocketeer buzz going strong with the 4 issue anthology series, Rocketeer Adventures. Each issue features 3-4 stories and a handful of pinups, done by an all-star cast of artists and writers.  It’s been an absolute treat, and a fitting tribute to creator Dave Stevens – a tremendous talent, sadly taken from us before his time. BUY IT

THE MISSES

Batman and Robin #1 | DC | Peter J. Tomasi (w), Patrick Gleason (a)

Let me start by saying that I actually enjoyed this issue quite a bit.  It opens with a bang and introduces a pretty badass new villain.  The father-son/Batman-Robin dynamic is, as I predicted, a little awkward but Damien is still the loveable little shit we’ve come to love over the past couple years.  Another plus is the art of Patrick Gleason, which shows shades of Tony Harris (a personal fav).  The reason this makes the Miss List is that A) something had to and B) it seemed to carry a lot of unnecessary baggage.  I understand that there will be some elements of past storylines folded into this new continuity and I’m all for that if it can be done well. But having Damien reference all the prior Robins and even elude to having worked alongside Dick Grayson as Batman (all in one breath, no less) seemed like too much information, at least for this first issue.  In all the ways that Animal Man seemed welcoming as a new reader, this one seemed to awkwardly cling to old continuity and ride the fence between pleasing old and new fans.  With at least 4 Batman titles in the new lineup, there will be a time and place to dig up the past, but this first issue should have focused on showing how cool Batman and Robin are and left it at that.

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One thought on “Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 9/20/2011”

  1. Animal Man really blew me away. I didn’t read the other two DC books you highlighted, but I can say that I’m most excited to see Snyder’s work on Batman this week.

    I can’t say enough about the Rocketeer. When I do my “Year End” list at the end of the year I have no idea how I’ll choose between Ruse and the Rocketeer for best mini.

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