Justice Leaguers of every shape and size… Here is part five of Word of the Nerd‘s six month review of the New 52 from DC Comics. In this fifth installment, we cover Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, The Fury of Firestorm and The Savage Hawkman.
Wonder Woman – review by Geek Faerie
Written by: Brian Azzarello
Wonder Woman gets another fresh new costume in her series reboot. Thankfully the most upsetting 90s look of the 600 series was set aside and a costume that lends a lovely head nod to her traditional and most iconic costume was created. Double thumbs up DC. I’ve been reading the full series and I have to say the change is not only refreshing, but treading on some very new territory for the amazing Amazon.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers but let us just say that the origin story is fantastic. The immersion of the Greek Pantheon into the pages gives the entire piece a new depth that begs the question: is blood really thicker than water? Wonder Woman is challenged to rethink her entire upbringing as an Amazon while dodging blow after blow thrown at her by the Greek Goddess Hera.
Brian Azzarello’s writing is gripping, making every turn of the page a delicious surprise. When he writes, I can hear Diana in my head, hear her voice in the words, hear every emotion and feeling. This same attention is translated across every character introduced; the font may be the same, but you know who is talking.
Artist Cliff Chiang gives an edgy feel to the piece, keeping the pages simple and understated but still full of life and drama. Wonder Woman is stunning and exotic, towering over everyone around her yet still somehow blending in. Truly a triumph. So much is said with so little and makes a beautiful marriage with the writing by Azzarello. If you are not reading Wonder Woman you need to. Buy it for yourself and buy it for your girlfriend or friend that is also a girl.
Aquaman - review by Nateal Erickson
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Ivan Reis
Aquaman has been the butt of Superhero jokes since his introduction to the DC Universe in More Fun Comics #73 in September of 1941. A hero with the ability to talk to fish and swim really fast with ties to the ruined city of Atlantis, he was never as impressive or beloved as Superman or Batman. And even so, or perhaps because of that, I’ve always had a crush on Aquaman. Perhaps I have a thing for the downtrodden, the underdog.
DC’s new Aquaman series has only made my love for the orange and green costumed hero stronger.
The Modern Age saw some unusual takes on Aquaman, including a “camouflage” costume from the 1980s that changed Aquaman’s iconic orange and green color scheme to one of deep blues, purples, and blacks. In 1994, the longest-running Aquaman series (running to 75 issues) began by giving the super-hero an entirely new look. Creator Peter David scrapped Aquaman’s clean-cut look and gave him sort of a wild-man appearance with long hair, a full beard, and a harpoon on his arm.
Flash - review by Chris Tresson
Penciled by: Francis Manapul
The Fastest Man Alive returned in September looking fresh and exciting. The book has been done so far by the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, and has seen Barry Allen realize the extent of this super powers, as well as pitting him against an old friend by the name of Manuel Lago. Well, not pitting him against his friend exactly, but a collective of clones known as Mob Rule. This story arc lasted five issues and the latest issue of The Flash has seen the return of an old school Flash enemy, Captain Cold. The stories thus far have been amazing with some incredible art from the team. I would go as far as to say it is one of the best drawn books of the new 52, and the team of Manapul and Buccellato seems to be one of those partnership that was just meant to be. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the coming months; I’m sure it will continue to be an amazing book for a very long time.
I was really surprised by the way Manapul and Booch tackled the scarlet speedster, and I actually enjoyed it. Before the relaunch I mainly read bat family titles and thought characters like The Flash were a complete waste of time, but it’s been quite good so far, one of my favourites of the new 52 in fact. The series can only get stronger and I told Francis Manapul a while ago on twitter that the series would remain awesome and I hoped he and Buccellato weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. He replied to me and told me he wasn’t going anywhere and that he had a good amount of stories and ideas that should see him stick with the title for quite a long time. Here’s to hoping! Go buy it if you aren’t reading it already, and if you are reading it, continue to do so. It can only get better!
Nerd Verdict: Good
Fury of Firestorm - review by The Nerd
Penciled by: Yildiray Cinar
The Fury of Firestorm had all the makings of a mega-title hit for DC Comics. With the legendary Gail Simone writing for the title, along with art by Yildiray Cinar, this was one book I was looking forward to reading. Unfortunately even with great potential, this title fell flat for me and I lost interest after three issues.
Ever a Simone fan, I was saddened by this series and the lack of any cohesive plot. The duality of the Firestorm character is what makes him so appealing for me. I was disappointed that it wasn’t used to its fullest potential. The introduction of other Firestorms really ruined the overall feel of the series for me. Rather than having a single, unique character, the decision to introduce several of them was a poor one.
Much like Batman Inc., this was a bad direction to take this series and I feel that it would have been better served by taking a more simple approach. I am all for grand scales, especially in comics but some stories are better off kept smaller at least within the first six issues.
The one thing that I felt this series had going for it was the fantastic artwork by Yildiray Cinar, along with Norm Rapmund. Particularly in the first few issues, the art was some of the best I’ve seen in any of the New 52 books. I only wish the artwork could have saved this title for me. With Gail Simone’s departure from the series after issue six, I am fearful that Firestorm may not make it through another round of cuts by DC.
The Grade: Sadly this is my least favorite of the New 52 books. Although I am unaccustomed to giving bad reviews of anything and my love for Gail Simone withstanding, I have very little praise for Fury of Firestorm. Yildiray Cinar’s artwork is top-notch but it clearly could not save this series. Perhaps with a fresh writing team, it might be salvaged.
The Savage Hawkman - review by Geek Fairie
Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Art: Philip Tan
New 52’s The Savage Hawkman finds Carter Hall weary of his mantle as Hawkman and setting out to put the mantle aside. However, like all things in life, foes will not allow such things and Hawkman must face a mysterious new foe who seems to gain strength from the Nth Metal in Hawkman’s armor. Written by Tony Daniel and Jimmy Bonny (issues 1-5) and artwork by Philip Tan, The Savage Hawkman has been getting some really good reviews. Critics have received the changes to his mace well and the introduction of the Nth Metal into the story appears to be providing a good deal of plot to work with. Readers are enjoying Hall’s more down to earth life, making him more normal and relatable. The artwork has been hailed for its edgy and stunning quality. All in all fans seem to be very pleased with the results thus far.