07 September 2011

DCnU: Justice League #1

In an attempt to attract new readers, create more diversity, and streamline continuity, DC Comics decided to close the chapter on the universe thus far and re-launch titles new and old with new premiere issues. Some characters remain practically the same (Batman) while others are changed drastically (Superman). It’s not very groundbreaking as far as comic books go, especially DC, but it sure has gotten a lot of readers’ panties in an uproar. Originally solicited for the third week of September, Justice League was bumped to the last week of August, a week prior to the DC new Universe (or DCnU) re-launch coinciding with the finale to the comic whose storyline created this very mess (Flashpoint).

For the past week the internet has been aflutter with glowing reviews. Even those that pointed out the missteps, of which there are many, managed to give JL a rating of B or higher. I was damn near ready to abandon my review of JL #1 until I read an early review of the 13 titles dropping today. Reading about the excitement of the new titles reminded me that, Hey, Justice League really sucked, didn’t it?

 Being primarily a graphic design blog, let’s focus on the art. Jim Lee’s pencils are, well, they’re good, given his usual sketchy style. He must have put in some long nights ensuring every available space is filled with lines, lines! We need more lines! What’s worse is the lines have risen from the shading and found placement upon the characters themselves. Who can tell what’s muscle and what’s piping on Batman anymore? He’s like a Barcalounger on steroids. The costumes don’t look as bad in action as in teasers these past months, but JL does nothing to sell me on the weird gills bookending Batman’s chest emblem or the fey belt (Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!) Superman appears to be strutting.

Based upon the DCnU Green Lantern one would never guess writer Geoff Johns redefined DC’s heretofore golden boy. Hal Jordan comes off as an ass of the utmost character, even speaking in third person. Sure, the events occur five years into the past at the dawn of the superhero and he’s sure to have matured, but even the apprentice protector of our “space sector” should show more humility than this. Batman is perhaps a little underwritten, but he’s short-tempered and takes every opportunity to one-up the superhuman, so he’s good enough for me. Bats also provides most of the action: leaping rooftops, firing improbable gadgets, and riding the crest of one explosion after another. Green Lantern hovers.

The dialogue reads at a fifth grade level, and that’s coming from a fan of the children’s animated series. The notion of the inheritor of a magic ring powered by a cosmic lantern being astounded by the existence of a grown ass man in a bat costume fighting crime displays some sleepy writing. And the dialogue fares no better, let’s hope they’ve filled their quota of you-show-me-yours, I’ll-show-you-mine powers flexing. “So, what can you do?”

Meanwhile, the events of the issue itself seem to span all of five minutes, from the meeting of our two heroes, a high school football game, and the road trip to go beat up Superman because he’s an alien and aliens are bad, even though Green Lantern’s powers are -- oh, nevermind. Meanwhile  the tone of the DCnU universe is jocking X-Men’s “fear and hatred” of superheroes so hard, a Wolverine cameo seems inevitable. Hell, the variant cover to Action Comics #2 even features Sentinels.

Maybe it’s just all in the timing, but the forerunner of the DC stimulus plan shouldn’t look so tired and clumsy. If JL had arrived as scheduled and DC’s first impression was the increasingly solid sounding Batgirl or the offbeat and creative Animal Man and Swamp Thing, this issue might have seemed fun and whimsical, but as it stands it is definitely not DC’s best foot forward.

01 September 2011

Schedule Schmedule

 Sorry for the recent lack of content, gang. I know, I've only been up and posting for a little over a month now and I've already lulled.

I've been spending every ounce of free time designing invitations, favors, and other such items for my quickly approaching wedding. It's been pretty stressful but exciting to have a practical reason to utilize Photoshop and Illustrator. I'm also designing a logo for a friend's youth activities group as well as a local start-up business, and I'm still tweaking the logo and page design for this very blog. I've been learning a lot and once finished I'm going to have a variety of work to add to my portfolio, which is exciting. Next up, business cards!

I've also settled on a new weekly schedule for Almost Colossus to create some consistency and daily (or near daily) content. This way I can spread my interests out in a practical way rather than a mire of random content from day-to-day. It should look something like this:

Music Monday
Album and concert reviews, industry news, whatever strikes my fancy

Tuesday - TBA

Wednesday Sketch
In high school, my art teacher required a complete sketch to presented and critiqued by the class each Wednesday. At the time, it was totally fascist; structure in the face of an otherwise lax period of artistic freedom, man! But now I understand the benefit of repetition and visualizing one's style develop. You require discipline!

Thursday - Comic News/Opinions/Reviews (Heading TBA)
'Cause new comics arrive on Wednesday. I like comics.

Food Friday
Recipes, restaurant/food critiques. Like Monday, just with food.

Saturday/Sunday - SHOMER SHABBOS!

So that's it, kiddos. I'm going to be breaking routine later this week (hopefully as early as tomorrow) by posting a review of the DC Comics debut relaunch title, Justice League #1, which was just released today. There is obviously an abundance of reviews already floating around the net, some posted as early as midnight last night. I've read quite a few, before and after reading the issue myself, and I've yet to find my opinions accurately reflected so I'm proud to be bringing a unique view to a critique of this flagship title.

Until then,

- J