Of all the New 52 titles so far Green Lantern is one that remains relatively unchanged and simultaneously majorly overhauled. After spending considerable time returning Hal Jordan to his rightful place during Rebirth, DC tossed him right back out the door again with the New 52 reboot. Sinestro, with all his crimes, is back in as GL (through Gardner, Raynor, and Stewart still bear rings as well) while Hal has been thrown back to Earth sans ring. It is quite the change and the Hal of New 52 is kind of an ass despite his experience (not quite the man-child glimpsed in the New 52 JLA reboot) and a far cry from the somewhat more mature Hal of the original continuity. All these changes might be somewhat more tolerable except that they also seemed to have kept much of the original GL continuity in tact. There are still multiple corps of different colors, Kyle still bore all of the GL power at one point, and Sinestro was still the leader of the Yellow ringbearers. As a result GL sort of feels like a half a reboot and the changes that have been made just sort of feel like they were made for changes’ sake. To make matters somewhat more frustrating we’re still hammering on the “Guardians are emotionless bastards” angle that has seemingly been a staple for the longest time ever. I’m definitely glad I waited for the trade and I don’t think GL will be making it back into the monthly rotation. Despite solid writing from GL veteran Geoff Johns and fantastic art by GL veteran Doug Mahnke I found Volume 1 of Green Lantern to be a major disappointment.
Meanwhile the reboot of Ultimate Comics X-Menwas a bit more up my alley which is strange because this series is relying quite heavily on the “world that hates and fears them” angle that X-titles have been using since the sixties. Nick Spencer (whose work on Morning Glories is awesome) has taken a neat twist on the nature of mutants, that the U.S. Government created the X-Gene, and totally run with it. Spencer follows the
revelation and its repercussions on the lives of mutants throughout the book and it really does a wonderful on exploring the nature of identity and perception. Paco Medina’s art definitely works well here and his huge splash pages detailing the situations mutants now find themselves in are particularly fantastic in capturing the tone of the story. Ultimate Comics X-Men also tosses Johnny Storm into the mix who, despite lacking an X-gene, constantly refers to himself as a mutant (much to the annoyance of many characters). The Johnny Storm/Bobby Drake pairing is a natural one and given Reed Richards’ history in the Ultimate ‘verse it’s nice to see the Human Torch getting some play elsewhere. I’m already an avowed Nick Spencer fan so I’ll definitely be on board with while he as the helm.
One thing the New 52 definitely got right were the Batman titles. I’ve already professed my love for Scott Snyder’s Batman and the same definitely goes for Peter J. Tomasi’s’ Batman and Robin. I’ve always been a fan of Tim Drake as Robin but the more I read of Damien as Robin the more I come to enjoy Bruce Wayne’s biological son. Brash, arrogant, and yet strangely naive the League of Assassins trained Damien Wayne is one of most interesting additions to the Bat universe in years. As the title suggests Batman and Robin is as much a book about the relationship between the two characters and in this instance father and son. I’m definitely enjoying how each of the Batman titles (or at least the two I’ve read) manage to take the same character and shift the tone just ever so slightly to produce a book the feels distinctly different. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
were a great duo on Green Lantern Corps and they continue that trend here. Gleason has a real talent for kinetic action and he brings a degree of physicality to the art really makes the action scenes pop. Gleason is aided by some vibrant color work, a bit atypical for modern Batman title, subtly balanced by the inks of Mick Gray. With Batman and Robin DC has nailed yet another Bat-reboot and I look forward to seeing how this title and the haughty Robin, Damien Wayne evolves.