DC Comics’ Zero Month has finally come to an end, an end that I welcome with open arms. The whole Zero Month idea was a little unnecessary (much like The New 52 itself), putting an abrupt halt to many stories who were just beginning a new storyline. There were definitely quality stories such as Batwoman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, but the whole thing boiled down to another superfluous PR tactic. Let’s polish off the last of them, shall we?
Aquaman #0 – Writer: Geoff Johns Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado
Aquaman has been one of the surprise heavy hitters of The New 52, but takes an unfortunate pause before reaching the Black Manta conclusion next month. Little new information is provided in this issue that highlights a young Arthur searching for his place in the world after his father’s death. Ivan Reis and Joe Prado continue to perform well on art duties, though I have minor complaints with Arthur’s depiction as well as an absurdly large shark…but I digress. Aquaman #0 shows the true flaw in the Zero Month philosophy: truly great back stories can’t be shoved into one 22-page book. Which is why Johns keeps most of his cards close to the chest and reveals little. For now.
Final Grade: ★★★½ 3.5/5 Stars
Batman Inc. #0 – Writer: Grant Morrison, Artist: Frazer Irving
Batman Inc. is a book that I turn to for comfort of days past, before the terror of the reboot began. This month’s zero issue provides much of that comfort with characters and references to elements from Morrison’s year-spanning Batman epic. It feels unfair to make this book lose steam and stop to tell an origin story at this point, but it doesn’t make the issue any less enjoyable. I’m glad this issue was put out for no other reason than Frazer Irving’s pencils, which always evoke a creepy and mysterious feeling. Scott Snyder is amazing on the main title, but I have grown to love Morrison’s Bruce Wayne, a Dark Knight who shows a humility and grim optimism that is addictive.
Final Grade: ★★★★½ 4.5/5 Stars
The Flash #0 – Writer: Francis Manupal, Brian Buccellato Artist: Francis Manupal
The Flash is always a fun book to look at, no doubt about that. Francis Manupal really thrives drawing a hero who moves so fast that he perceives real-time in slow motion. The script however, feels a little slow. The story focuses on Barry Allen’s origin and his struggle with the mystery of his mother’s murder, apparently at the hands of his father. The “dad killed mom” angle is a curious addition to the Flash origin, since it was originally introduced in Geoff Johns’ Flash Rebirth, which lead to Flashpoint, which of course lead us to The New 52. Any connection? Perhaps.
Final Grade: ★★★ 3/5 Stars
Superman #0 Writer: Scott Lobdell, Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Scott Lobdell is easily my least favorite part of the reboot, and now that he has control of the Man of Steel its even more frustrating. Superman #0 is an explosion of word vomit exposition about Superman’s father Jor-El and the impending destruction of Krypton. The issue deals with Jor-El making his discovery about Krypton and fighting some Doomsday (not the character) cult with his wife Lara (who apparently is the Kryptonian Wonder Woman. And it seems Lobdell has brought his Red Hood buddy Kenneth Rocafort on board, with his unfortunate would-be anime style. I weep.
Final Grade: ★ 1/5 Stars
Talon #0 Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV Artist: Guillem March
Scott Snyder is one of The New 52’s saving graces, so it should be no surprise that there should be a spin-off from one of his successful ideas (in this case the Court of Owls and their assassin the Talon.) Though Snyder is credited as writer, it is Snyder’s protégé and Batman back-up writer James Tynion IV that is behind the helm. Tynion IV crafts a tale of ex-Talon Calvin Rose, who is on the run from his former masters, the Court of Owls. The attention to history and metaphor that the story has definitely has Snyder’s influence however. The more I think about this series, the greater potential I see for it. The only snag is Guillem March’s pencils, which I have always found to be a little messy.
Final Grade: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars
Teen Titans #0 Writer: Scott Lobdell, Artist: Tyler Kirkham
Alright Scott Lobdell is here to ruin another Robin origin, let’s dive right in! A lot of the essential Tim Drake elements are still here: he’s a smart whiz kid, he is trying to figure out Batman’s identity and he volunteers to be (Red) Robin. Lobdell has Tim make some questionably stupid choices however, and puts his family in danger, leading to his turn as sidekick. There is some semantic argument that the “Drake” in Tim Drake may not actually be his real last name. I have no doubt that this plot point will be explored in Lobdell’s next awful retcon. The guy also has no idea how to write Batman’s dialogue, which is stiff and at times adolescent. Green Lantern: New Guardians artist Tyler Kirkham fills in with some steadily improving art, but it can’t save this story. Or everyone’s favorite Robin, who is doomed to horrible stories for the foreseeable future.
Final Grade: ★★ 2/5 Stars
P.S. – Stay tuned for a new weekly format for my comic reviews. I have a week to think about exactly what that will be…