Despite some well-documented flubs, one of the nice things about the relaunch is that it has given readers an opportunity to see some characters with fresh eyes. Aquaman and the Flash (Barry Allen) have long occupied that list of characters I don’t care about, but the buzz around their books was too loud to ignore. Lo and behold, the kudos are well-deserved.
After establishing that Aquaman is a badass in spite of everyone’s fish jokes, Geoff Johns dives (sorry) right into a thrilling story involving some disgusting sea creatures who who are chowing down at the Unsuspecting Human Buffet. I love a good husband-wife team, so the idea of Arthur and Mera making a new life among the landlubbers works for me. And these two have so much swag, putting to rest any notions of them being useless out of water. Ivan Reis’ art (gloriously colored by Rod Reis) as bold and gorgeous as ever, so this is pretty much a slam-dunk.
As for the Flash, I can’t go so far as to say that I’m suddenly fascinated by Barry (Team Wally!). However, co-writer /artist Francis Manapul is doing some rock-star visual storytelling here. The illustrations sizzle with the kind of energy befitting the Fastest Man Alive, and the composition of certain pages/panels really grabs your attention. The narrative isn’t the most memorable, but issue #1 was so much fun overall that I’m definitely along for the ride.
The Comeback Kids
I was so sure I was dropping Justice League after that uneventful and frankly disappointing first issue. Then I would up reading #2 and, well, it turned out to be a hoot. The buddy-movie dialogue between Green Lantern and the Flash was quite amusing, as was their needling of Batman (“A tool,” according to Hal). After establishing that all the heroes gathered so far have superpowers, Flash asks Batman flat-out, “What can you do?” “I can keep us on point,” Batman growls. Snap! It’s probably not a good sign that I’d forgotten Vic Stone’s presence entirely until I re-read the book. However, Wonder Woman is making her JL debut in issue #3, so I’m in for at least one more round.
If not for the presence of Tim Drake, I’d have dropped Teen Titans with no remorse based on that tired first issue. Issue #2 fares much better because the story now feels like it’s headed somewhere. The premise of metahuman teens being recruited for either execution or corruption is pretty interesting, and there’s some snappy dialogue. I appreciate Scott Lobdell’s efforts to give Cassie Sandsmark a distinctive personality, but I feel like she’s just a watered down version of my beloved bad girl Ravager, who is nowhere to be found. Oh, well. TT is still on the pull list for now.