Thursday, September 15, 2011

Have read all the DC New titles so far.

I've read all 26 of the new DC titles that have been released so far...

Which means the whole enterprise is either doomed or a wild success. Because I'm not the normal audience. I usually read really offbeat material, and it usually gets canceled. These are mainstream titles, and I liked them. Not sure if that bodes well.

Then again, I think the normal audience will like this, and I liked quite a bit of it.

Turns out, fresh continuity starts maybe what are needed after all.

I'm not a big superhero fan. My taste tend toward independents, or even more toward Vertigo titles and Icon titles; that is, non-superhero adventure, horror, fantasy, and S.F., with a mix of western and thrillers and so on.

But I found these 26 titles easy to read.

I have to say, if you had told me in advance that I would read all 26 titles without quitting any of them, I would have thought that was impossible. I have a low tolerance for superhero fights that seem senseless, but they had very little of that here.

Some of the stories, like Superman in Action, and Batman in Detective, and Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, pulled off the neat trick of being fresh starts, but not having to explain the well-known origins of the characters.

I'll give you the order in which I read them; which shows my interest in them, and then the order in which I liked them after I read them. But the 'like' rankings are kind of arbitrary, and I could probably easily switch the middle around without much difference.

1. Animal Man. (#9)
2. Batwoman. (#16)
3. Frankenstein, Agent of Shade. (#6)
4. Swamp Thing. (#11)
5. Red Lanterns. (#10)
6. Action Comics (#15)
7. Detective Comics. (#22)
8. Batgirl. (#4)
9. Men of War. #23)
10.Grifter. (#17)
11.Deathstroke. (#1)
12.Green Lantern. (#7)
13.Justice League. (#5)
14.Stormwatch. (#21)
15.Resurrection Man. (#2)
16.Batman and Robin. (#19)
17.Suicide Squad. (#20)
18.Demon Knights. (#3)
19.Superboy. (#24)
20.Green Arrow. (#18)
21.Mister Terrific. (#12)
22.Static Shock. #13)
23.Batwing. (14)
24.Justice League International. (#8)
25.OMAC. (#26)
26.Hawk and Dove. (#25)
27.Legion Lost. (#27)

I think I was disappointed in Men of War, Detective Comics (nice art, not so great storytelling), and, despite their relatively high rankings, Swamp Thing and Frankenstein. Some of these were good, but I was hoping for great.

I was impressed with Static Shock, Mister Terrific, Justice League International and Resurrection Man, which I didn't expect much from. And despite their relatively low rankings, Batwing and Red Lanterns.

I expected much and they pretty much delivered on Green Lantern, Action Comics, and Justice League.

The middle titles were pretty arbitrary in ranking -- pretty much everything from 10 to 25 were pretty good.

I liked a lot of the titles in the middle that would seem kind of low ranked; for instance, I thought Batman and Robin was good, but I've ranked it #19. Same with Batwoman, Grifter, Stormwatch, Grifter, Suicide Squad and so on. All pretty solid B grades.

Didn't care for Omac, Hawk and Dove, and Legion Lost -- the last of which had too many unknown characters for me -- but even it, managed to do a better job of doing explaining the Legion characters to me than usual.

The top five? Well, my usual taste for horror and science fiction seem to enter here -- I like the straight ahead action story telling of Deathstroke for some reason, but to be #1? I just enjoyed it the most, though quality wise, there were probably some better titles. Resurrection Man was an interesting concept well executed; Demon Knights had fantasy and magic; Batgirl, good old-fashioned storytelling; Justice League, great art and good story.

I can see myself continuing to read all of the titles, actually, at least for another chapter or two.

Sleeping on it, I realize that the "like" rankings are terribly arbitrary. Swamp Thing and Men of War and Detective were pretty good -- I just hoped for more. I could easily switch most of these titles around.

What happens is, I'm ranking them one by one, and suddenly I find myself ranking the second half and thinking, "This title was actually better than being ranked 19th, but I picked 18 titles before it. So be it."

I'll leave the ranking in, for the blink first impression, but advise you to make up your own minds.

Again, I was impressed by the overall quantity of the whole effort.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the Chinese will buy comics?

Andy Z said...

First, Duncan, you gotta disable anonymous comments. This "China are bad" guy really brings down the quality of discourse on your blog.

Second, the first thing that struck me about the new 52 are the ads! Have they always been this bad? Jeeze. Here's a breakdown of what I bought today:

Detective Comics #1 - $2.99 - DC
36 pages total
10 house ads (I include their shitty lettercol/interviews)
4 paid ads
22 pages of story (including cover)
$0.14 per page of story

Swamp Thing #1 - $2.99 - DC
36 pages total
9 house ads
4 paid ads
23 pages of story (including cover)
$0.13 per page of story

Death Stroke #1 - $2.99 - DC
36 pages total
10 house ads
4 paid ads
22 pages of story (including cover)
$0.14 per page of story

Severed #1 (second printing)- $2.99 - Image
32 pages total
2 house ads
30 pages of story/colophon
$0.10 per page of story

Baltimore: Curse Bells #2 - $3.50 - Dark Horse
32 pages total
6 ads
2 lettercol
22 pages of story
$0.14 per page of story

Criminal: TLOTI #4 - $3.50 - Icon (Marvel)
32 pages total
1 house ad
3 pages of lettercol/essay
29 pages of story
$0.12 per page of story

I know that a book's value probably isn't best measured in cents per page of story. That I'm paying more on average for the big company's stuff doesn't bother me as much as the interruption that heavy ad placement creates. I know the New 52 are 36 pages, but they interrupt me 14 times while I'm reading! It's worse than a prime time sitcom!

How much of the cost of printing a book is offset by paid ad placement?

Duncan McGeary said...

To be honest, I'm 'ad' blind.

Yeah, we lost 2 pages when the price dropped one dollar.

Matthew Funk said...

Wow Dunc! I didn't realize our tastes were so different. The only thing we agreed on is that Demon Knights was good and Mister Terrific is #12. I haven't read Superboy, Hawk and Dove or Green Arrow yet, but here is how I ranked the rest:

Action Comics
Demon Knights
Animal Man
Men of War
Swamp Thing
Resurrection Man
Justice League
Mister Terrific
Batman and Robin
Static Shock
Green Lantern
Suicide Squad
Legion Lost
Red Lanterns
Justice League international
Detective Comics

Duncan McGeary said...

Like I said, I don't think I'm a representative reader. You are more so, Matt.

Matthew Funk said...

Haha I know. I just thought our tastes were more similar. Though really, the opinions that matter most in this initiative aren't represented well by eiither of us, because new readers are the target.