Thirteen Thoughts About Thirteen DC New 52 #3 Comics – Action Comics, Animal Man, Stormwatch, Detective Comics, Green Arrow, OMAC, Men Of War, Batwing, Red Lanterns, Hawk And Dove, Static Shock, Swamp Thing and Justice League International

Detective Comics #3. Shock values aside, one of the biggest surprises for me has been Tony Daniel on Detective Comics. I’ve usually found his work in the past to be mediocre at best, both writing and art. Both have stepped up considerably for this comic and that hasn’t changed for issue 3, especially the writing, creating a dense, twisting turning narrative in twenty pages that’s worthy of Alan Grant’s best. It remains my most pleasant surprise of the 52.

Hawk And Dove #2. I’ve had a lot less time for this title, it’s not quite batshit crazy enough to justify and work with Rob Liefeld’s art. But issue 3 does it’s best as Boston Brand, Deadman (currently appearing in three New 52 titles) possesses Barack Obama, or whatever stand in for the President Of The United States DC has this week. That in itself is worthy of extra stars.

Animal Man #3 enters pure Clive Barker territory. Lumbering semi-humanoid monsters filling the book as flesh is twisted and distorted throughout. Yaaah! But it’s all just rather clever.

Stormwatch #3. Jack Hawksmoor always talked to cities. Now he does so in a rather anthropomorphic fashion. And they are all women. Stormwatch has really come on since that horrible halfway house of a first issue. The second and the third seem to fit far more with the potential of a super powered team, cynical and set aside from the superheroes, rather than the Wildstorm version of Justice League which opened the series. And its touches like Gotham as a battish gargoyle set on skulls that defines this book as an askew look at the DC Universe.

Red Lanterns #3 has *that* cover of a young lady showering in blood rubbing a breast. You know what you’re getting into with this one. DC’s torture porn book, where the greatest dichotomy within is whether it is better to torture and enact revenge with instant bloody death or or one postponed to an indefinite but certain date. All while prancing around in costumes that show maximum boobage – male or female.

Batwing #3. This book also portrays death and plenty of it, as a soul destroying exercise. However Batwing swing young, with child gang members, massacring towns in Northern Africa. As superhero origins go, it’s a novel one. But everything has consequences, the super hero teams have deep dark secrets and reflect complex politics and expectations. This is a harsh book, but a rewarding one, once you look past the superfights.

OMAC #3. Just what this comic needed. Another weird looking head. This is not just an inspired-by-Kirby comic, but it also seems to be taking a lead from Steve Gerber’s work, especially in the dialogue and captions. And hes, the people with improbably heads and head gear.

Swamp Thing #3. Yeah, okay, this is fucked up right here. A small boy in a bubble, William who finds that dead fish speak to him. And one very specific comic book sequence that breaks a number of rules, switches art style and tone suddenly and suggests something even darker, stranger and mysterious within the new Alex Holland than has even previously been touched upon. And the return of the Arcanes with death, destruction and a new field of power to join the Red and the Green, the Black. All without any power rings. A freak of a comic this one.

Action Comics #3. If Grant is showing a world in which Superman can operate as a socialist superhero.Here, he portrays the other side of the equation, the Krypton upper class, building their fortress and exiling themselves after being set upon by protesters. Mind you, a 20 page comic for $3.99, who do they think they are. Marvel?


Static Shock #3. Forget Starfire, Virule is a very horny alien who is just desperate to give it up. As well as the facts of life alien style, this book also gives us planning, plotting, clever kid who knows who he is, and what he’s about – and what everyone else is about too. Apart from the big picture, he’s never wise to that. This is gang warfare with super powers, back to the Big Bang basics.

Men Of War #3

There’ a line in Damage Control where one of the workers picks up a glove, abandoned in a superhero battle wreckage, and finds himself transformed into a being oif cosmic intelligence, before flying away. The foreman mutter to himself “we lose more workers that way…” As with much of Men Of War, they’re taking that kind of scene, and not just playing it straight – but playing it tragic. It does not end well. But at least it has 28 pages for its $3.99.

Green Arrow #3. In a brave departure for the norm, a comic book that admits that torrent sites exist for illegal downloading. And has Oliver Queen slowly growing a beard. The stubble actually lengthens through the issue.

Justice League International #3. There’s so much potential wasted in this comic, great setups for comedy that just don’t play through as they could. Such as the “badger” scene below. In a previous JLI life, this could have descended into a debate over which creature would win in a fight, a baboon or a badger. Here however it just… stops.

Book of the week? Tie between Animal Man and Swamp Thing.

Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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