Friday, October 28, 2011

my comic book subscriptions and borderlines

Two months of DC Comics New 52. If you haven't noticed, I'm getting into this reboot in a big way. At this rate, other than trade paperbacks and manga volumes (which I've binged on recently, but am slowing down with), I'll be spending just under $40 a month on comic books. That's okay right now, but I'll probably have to defer some of these subscriptions or do some overtime if I want to afford it down the road after I've moved out. Eesh. Anyhow, that's a lot, and now that I'll be doing very, very few impulse buys if any in the upcoming weeks, and you (my hypothetical readers) might as well know what comics I'll be reading and reviewing every week.

This list is long, so I'll keep descriptions short and not include pictures. These are all organized by debut week, by the way. First half is my ten current subscriptions, which I'm excited for every week and will read every week until they start going bad (Starters). Then is my borderline list, which I'll continue to buy tentatively until issue #3 or #4, after which I'll either subscribe to them or drop them (Prospects). I don't want to add more than one or two borderlines to my subscriptions; I'm spending enough on comics recently as-is.


Action Comics

I'm drinking Grant Morrison's Kool-Aid. This is a new Superman origin for the modern age, before he has his full spectrum of powers and before he's the benevolent near-god that we're used to seeing. Was sold from issue #1.

Animal Man

I hadn't heard of Animal Man before this reboot, but I wish I had. Grant Morrison was part of DC's "British Invasion" and made a name for himself by adapting / rebooting Animal Man in the late 80s. New writer Jeff Lemire sets this new story after Morrison's, and it's already exciting, creepy, and full of life (and un-life) throughout.

Swamp Thing

I wasn't on board with Swamp Thing until I read issue #2, when shit got real. Scott Snyder is setting this tale after the events of Blackest Night (a story I haven't read, never really understood 100%, and didn't realize was included in the rebooted timeline) and Swamp Thing is up against an elemental creature similar to himself capable of some scary shit. I decided to go for it once the story started rolling in issue #2, but it helps that Scott Snyder is a hell of a comic book writer.


I liked Batwoman well enough from the get-go, but now I'm a superfan. Thought #1 was pretty good, and every review I checked mentioned its predecessor, Batwoman: Elegy. I bought and read Elegy and was blown away. Batwoman #2 and #0 only increased my level of fandom. Before the New 52, I didn't know Batwoman existed outside the old DCAU TV movie; now Kate Kane is one of my all-time favorite superheroines. Also, to quote miki_sei: DAT ART.

Demon Knights

What a fun comic! Seven heroes, a few of them DC mystical standbys and B-listers, battling a horde of barbarians and dragons in a medieval setting. I bought #1 on a whim because of Etrigan on the cover, and subscribed because of its action, setting, and humor. Vandal Savage is now not only one of my favorite DC villains, but my favorite DC crazy barbarian.


Batman is the best of the bunch after two months. This might be the coolest I've ever seen Bruce Wayne, and this story has Gotham City as important a part of this story as Batman himself. Part of why Week 3 is my favorite comics week. Scott Snyder is a top-tier comic book writer, and I'll be picking up trades of his older work very soon.

Justice League

This is the one subscription that I'm "drafting on potential." It's been slow-moving thus far, but I really like the ensemble they're setting up and the dialogue, action choreography, humor, and art are consistently above-average. The Geoff Johns / Jim Lee team is also the second-most famous creative team in the New 52 (behind Grant Morrison), so I'm sure this one will be a big deal down the road.

Wonder Woman

I swear, the whole Wonder Woman universe seems written for me. It has a bad-ass, beautiful, independent female lead; it's loaded with characters from and references to Greek myth; and it blends mystical themes with traditional superhero action. I've always liked Wonder Woman (to the point of being a bit of an apologist for her post-bondage days), and this is a worthy comic for her. It's very myth-centric where the Greek gods possess dangerous impulses, unfathomable powers, and little regard for the lives of mortals. I like.


Aquaman #1 was one of my favorite #1 issues of the New 52 - it made Aquaman cool, introduced some scary undersea monsters to be villains, and brought fans' under-appreciation of him to the forefront. Aquaman #2 moved the story forward in a necessary manner, while keeping the strong dialogue and rolling the Aquaman hatewagon along. The art is consistently excellent over both books. I'm very interested to see how Arthur and Mera fare in this upcoming story. It also helps that I think I have a cartoon-crush on Mera.

Wolverine and the X-Men

I know, I know, this is probably premature. But I want to collect a Marvel comic in addition to my mini-library of DC, and this seems like the perfect title. The X-Men have always been my favorite Marvel superheroes, and an X-Men title with Wolverine, Shadowcat, and Beast sounds a lot better than one starring Cyclops, Colossus, and Emma Frost. The school setting will introduce me to a ton of new-generation characters, and the writing in the first issue had solid dialogue and a hell of a premise. Already want more.



Two issues in, I really like David Zavimbe, his dealings with Batman, and the details about the African superhero team The Kingdom. The villain of this arc, Massacre, seems a little unremarkable, but I want to keep reading this one for more action out of David and his Batwing armor and for more members of The Kingdom. Also: BATMAN of AFRICA.

Detective Comics

I am technically subscribed to this comic at present, but considering dropping it. This arc centers on Dollmaker, a serial killer who rips the faces off of his victims and uses them as masks for himself and his associates; Jim Gordon appears to be his newest victim (!?). Don't know if want. Also don't know if want Bruce Wayne's suspicious industrialist friend, his reporter girlfriend who more than resembles Lois Lane, or the total lack of traditional supporting cast other than Jim and Alfred. I'll keep picking this up to #3, but I'll drop it if it doesn't get better.

Resurrection Man

I was intrigued by the concept of this comic, and it has excellent art and cool character designs. I'm not in love with the action or pacing thus far, but they get the job done. I'm really at a loss as to what's going on; Mitch's soul is especially valuable from having been resurrected over and over (?) so both heaven and hell are trying to collect it ('k), in addition to scantily-clad lady bounty hunters trying to capture his body (!?). Or at least I think so. If I can get a clearer picture of this series' direction and like where it's going, I might subscribe. Need a few more issues to tell.


My biggest beef: the red outfit. Why? There are WAY too many black-on-red characters as it is! Whew, okay, I like almost everything about this comic, so why am I not sold on it? For one, I don't like it as much as my subscriptions or even as much as some of my borderlines, and for two, Nightwing's story is confirmed to eventually cross over with three other series: Batman, Batgirl, and Deathstroke. I'm not that interested in those last two at all. C'est dommage.


I thought #1 had great action but was only okay overall, and #2 had better exposition while keeping that superior combat. I've always liked the character of Supergirl thanks to her appearances in Superman: TAS and Justice League: U; this version of Kara seems cool and consistent, and this series could be a good window into letting traditional Superman villains enter the fray of the New 52 outside of Superman's two series. Issue #2 name-drops General Zod and one of the previews for a future issue mentions Supergirl fighting Maxima. I'd pay to read that. We'll see if shell out in the long run.

All-Star Western

Jonah Hex has apparently had a good comic series for awhile now, and that comic's writers are back and going all in on a new Western series. I absolutely love Westerns, and All-Star Western is a fair emulator of the best Western films of the 60s and 70s with some superhero conspiracy and pomp. #2 wasn't quite as strong as #1, but I will definitely buy a third issue to see how the Religion of Crime storyline develops.

The Flash

I wasn't a huge fan of #1, but I thought that Mob Rule had potential as a villain and decided to get #2 because it's a major flagship character. Holy hell Flash #2 was good. Flash is exploring the limits of his powers, and the writer is handling them stylishly (predicting crimes before they happen and resolving them before they occur, without anyone seeing him move a muscle) instead of clumsily, like in Captain Atom (mostly worrying about godlike powers destroying the good Captain and turning lava into snow). I'm not a huge fan of Barry's flashbacks (hyuck hyuck) of his friendship to Manuel, who's connected to Mob Rule, but this is a very good comic and the art looks great. Hell, I should praise the art just for not making all the speed blurs too confusing.

So that's all. Ten definite subscriptions and seven possibilities. I don't want to subscribe to more than eleven or twelve, but I might increase that number if I really, really can't decide. We'll see.


Final note: HA, I didn't capitalize the title to this one. Sometimes I love incongruity. See you guys next week with some #3 issues. In the meantime I'm going to try and wrap up Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. End transmission.

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