A full year has gone by since DC Comics The New 52 launched onto an eager world. To celebrate, they released all Zero Issues for September, with tales taking place before the number ones. So this seemed as good a time as any to do another check-up, but only after I finished The Casual Vacancy. Priorities must be maintained after all.
All these wonderful comics were procured at my local comics shop, Excalibur Comics. They be great.
We start with the granddaddy of all heroes, the last son of Krypton, Superman. Yet another new creative team takes over with this issue, bringing us a tale of how Jor-El first realized that Krypton was soon to be no more. And it is the same day Lara announces she is pregnant. Cue terrorist attacks, subterfuge, and playful interplay between Kal’s parents. This is only marginally better than the last few months. Taking a wait and see attitude and hope that they finally get Supes right.
Moving onto a truly wonderful story is Action Comics. Grant Morrison gets back to his A game with this tale of Superman losing his cape. And the tale of who finds it. This is simply amazing. One of my absolute favourites of the month. Read it and weep. That is all.
Finishing off the Supes related books is World’s Finest. This is the series about an alternative Earth version of a Supergirl and Robin (who is Batman’s daughter here) and how they are trapped in an Earth not their own. Here we are given the climatic story of how they first met, all filled with heartbreak, chaos, and the forming of an unbreakable friendship. This series expertly combines character work and action set pieces with great skill and talent. Love this book.
Being a lifelong Legion of Superheroes fan, I get both books. Now I still have not read the last two years or so worth, but I am sure the main Legion series is great. Legion Lost, which has been cancelled, just looks like a mad miserable mess. Soon I plan to catch up with all of them, and hope my optimism for the main book is justified.
Jeff Lemire is still carving an area of greatness inside the DC Universe. Animal Man is a monthly dose of horror superheroics, but still features the family prominently. This issue has the retelling of the origin with some new twits, but all still feeling so much like what Grant Morrison did all those years ago. Jeff took over the Justice League Dark awhile back, bringing a new focus to this team of magic based characters. This zero issue has a story I nicknamed “When Constantine Met Zatanna”, a love story filled with treachery, betrayal, murder and British accents. Dark humour fills this dark series.
Justice League decided to bore us yet again this month with the further adventures of the brat now called Shazam. I can understand updating a character and appreciate the problems plaguing good old Captain Marvel, but this jerk version is so not the way to go. Please stop and we can all pretend this was an imaginary story. Thanks.
One series leaving my pull list soon in Demon Knights. Writer Paul Cornell is off the book next year and the last time they did this it made Stormwatch an unreadable mess right away. When last we left off, our favourite team of medieval adventures were in the thick of things with Merlin’s corpse. We put that narrative on hold to show how Etrigan the sometimes rhyming Demon kinda sorta almost took over Hell. And in this foreboding flashback, Merlin is not dead yet.
My other absolute favourite of the month is All Star Western. This full issue tale encapsulates all the major beats and emotions in the life of the legendary old west gunslinging bounty hunter Jonah Hex. This dude has led a tough life and has the scars to prove it. And the set-up for the next group of stories at the end is priceless.
One new title entered my life this month.
Sword of Sorcery has the long awaited return of the classic eighties heroine Amethyst. The basics of this reboot are the same, a magical princess from another dimension is stuck here on earth, but the changes are striking. The age difference concept played with in the original series is gone here, and in human form she is much tougher. I am interested to see where this will be going, so I will be hanging around for awhile at least. The backup is an ultra violent futuristic redoing of Beowulf, which is intense and dark.
Zero Month struck me as a success in many ways. The majority of the books kept the stories and tone of the regular series intact, while simultaneously advancing the characters along. Only Superman and Justice League really require surgery to get over their creative humps. The new Justice League of America and Threshold series are on my future radar. Can’t wait to check back in a few more months.
And DC, can you get Lois and Clark back together? Pretty please??
P.S. All images are copyright 2012 to DC Entertainment.