Comics Recommendations for September 21

Marvel published a few more books that I subscribe to this week, but only one bubbled up to the top. I picked up three new DC titles and two were excellent. The other, Green Lantern Corps., had more characterization than I expected. It’s a solid Green Lantern book if you like the characters and mythos enough to want two of them a month, but nothing I’d recommend to the general populace. I do recommend:

  1. Batman vol. 2 no. 1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Before praising it, I’d like to judge this book by its cover. One: someone recolored the cover from when it was first announced. You can see the first version on DC’s Source blog entry announcing the issue and the more muted final version on DC’s entry for the issue. Just thought I’d mention it. Two: I agree with Rich Johnston that DC missed an opportunity to do a Silver Age style cover with Batman fighting alongside The Joker. 50s and 60s comics frequently depicted some unlikely event on the cover (here’s the oft-mocked Detective Comics 241 “featuring ‘The Rainbow Batman!’”) that would then be explained in the issue (Batman dresses garishly to divert attention from Robin, whose broken arm would be easily linked to alter ego Dick Grayson’s broken arm, naturally). Three: I don’t like the new logo. Letterer Todd Klein did a five-part logo study of Batman’s logos over years. I think DC got it just right with the Hush-era design, which tweaked previous versions but kept it appropriately classic. The new version looks suspiciously like it was designed to match the logo for popular video games Arkham Asylum/City. Here are all of Klein’s logo studies going back to Batman’s first appearance in 1939. But on to the good stuff. I’ve already spent a lot of words criticizing the cover. Inside, it’s all roses. Wonderful opening, nice characterization of Bruce Wayne that’s in keeping with how he was depicted in Batman and Robin last week. Good use of the current and former Robins. Good mystery and cliffhanger hook. Snyder sprinkles in newer villains from Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin run along with classic ones like Two-Face and Killer Croc. This is the Batman book to read.
  2. Wonder Woman vol. 4 no. 1 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Wonder Woman is one of the most famous characters never to have a truly memorable story told about her. Thus, Azzarello and Chiang are free to do just about anything they want. Wisely, they aren’t bothering to go back to basics and rethink the character. We’re not seeing her mother craft her from clay or some re-imagining of her winning a feat of strength for the right to enter Man’s World. Instead, they’re just telling a Wonder Woman story. She’s Wonder Woman. She’s strong. She wears a tiara. She fights centaurs. The story they’re telling here links into Greek myth, and it gives the Gods depicted a very other-worldly nature. They’re not just men in ornate armor. They’re Gods. They have sex with humans and they lord over our cities. It’s going to be a great run.
  3. Daredevil, again. Yes, no. 3 came out last week. This week we get no. 4, this time drawn by Marcos Martin. I guess he and Paolo Rivera are going to be rotating art duties, and I love what both of them have done. Chris Sims pretty much lays out why this book is so good in his “Why You Should Be Reading Daredevil” piece.

Honorable Mentions

Captain America 3 is a really solid book. I think the length of writer Ed Brubaker’s run on the title has gotten everyone used to it. See also Geoff Johns on Green Lantern. Both have been doing memorable, steady work with these characters for years. Avengers 17 is similarly as consistent as it’s been all along. I don’t think the thing depicted on the cover happened, though. Did it? Was I just sleepy and missed Hawkeye and Spider-Woman hooking up during a robot Nazi invasion?

Next week brings the last batch of new issues from DC’s “New 52” relaunch. I’ll sum up the good ones of those I’ve read and then provide a recommended reading list of all comics on the market at present that I’ve been reading.