So this is it. The New 52 is upon us.
Angel & Faith 1 - Love the fact that so much of this book is concerned with Giles. That seems right, somehow. The book starts off in an arresting manner, and this seems right for what they're going to do with this book - or, at least, what I think they're going to do with this book. I hope it doesn't turn into Angel the show, because, to be honest, I really couldn't stand that show after a certain point. But I will say that I liked this book and I loved how I anticipate it's going to have a different tone than Buffy Season 9. If it's going to be a saga of Faith trying to stop other ex-Slayers from killing Angel, though, I think that'll get tired really quickly. Here's to hoping they get that thread out of the way sooner rather than later. There's tons of room for great drama between Faith, Angel, Buffy and the whole United Kingdom. Let's leave it at that for now.
Flashpoint 5 (of 5) - If the New 52 wasn't here, there were actually a lot of cool things that ran through my head that they could have done with this if they'd chosen something different. As it is, this is (perhaps by far?) Geoff Johns' most poorly-written mini-series ever. The Kubert pencils didn't help. The drama between Barry Allen and Zoom was the best part of the issue and the worst was the double page spread with Barry getting his mystical instructions that make the New 52 seem even more likely that it's just a gimmick. It's just a short-term publicity stunt. If they're still rocking the New 52 three years from now, I'm more than willing to eat my words. But this story doesn't really set it up that way. That being said, the real best part of the issue was the last three pages where any lover of comics got a little teary-eyed.
Invincible 82 - This issue honestly made me feel like I had missed an issue. Or, like, an entire arc. I had to look up where Robot had been and when he'd left. (No solving that mystery? It's just left hanging out there?) However, that was the only complaint in an otherwise solid issue. Kirkman is back to what he does best, which is writing believable characters and putting them in tough situations. The maturity of Mark as he continues to grow is obviously something they're looking to showcase here and they do a good job of it. The continuing manipulation by Cecil is worrisome, but I think that's always just going to be sitting on the back burner. And, of course, Eve's dinner out was a bummer to read. It's a drag to think that girls really do have friends like that.
JLA 1 - This is the big one. What everyone has been waiting for. It's gotten its share of positive reviews but you won't find more of that here. I found the dialogue to be cliched at best and stilted at times, to the point of laughing at it. Setting things up so obviously for new readers with lines like, "Batman, you don't have any powers? Really? Really? Really?" is just a little too over the top for me. The pandering of making Hal his arrogant movie self was also a little brusque for those of us who have been really comics for more than two decades. And, of course, the ending was so trite that it warranted nothing more than a scoff. That being said, I know that I'm not who the issue was written for. They want to bring in new readers and I hope they succeed in doing so, for the good of the comic business. My friend Dave Jordan is fond of saying they sold more than 200,000 copies of this book, and I'm glad about that, but I'm doubtful that it'll stay that high. I showed this issue to a couple comic virgins and the best they could say about it was, "It was pretty." That's not gonna do it.
Locke & Key: Clockworks 2 (of 6) - Put simply: This is the best comic book that is coming out right now. If you are not buying this book and you call yourself a comic book fan, you have got to do something about that ASAP. Seriously, this book is insanely well-done. It's pencilled beautifully and the writing is tight. The stories have all been phenomenal and now we're truly reaching the conclusion. Some gnarly stuff is about to go down. With Dodge in Bode's body, we knew things were going to go from bad to worse, but this has now occurred way more quickly than I anticipated. Kinsey puts back her fear and sorrow, which is a good thing that I figured had to happen, but it comes with a terrible price. It certainly seems, at this point, that Dodge has the Omega Key! The worst thing about buying this book month to month is now the wait for next issue. Great news, though, when these hardcovers come up on Thwipster, they have a guaranteed purchase.
Book of the week goes to Locke & Key which I've gushed over enough already. If you're not buying it and you claim to like comic books, we can't be (and probably aren't) friends. Simple as that.