Batman/Superman #1 published by DC Comics
Batman and Superman are two of the most iconic characters in comics. They’re both orphans who fight to help the people of their city and world. Just because one is an alien demigod and the other a billionaire ninja doesn’t mean they can’t have one of the most talked about bromances in comics. The new Batman/Superman hopes to put that great friendship into the New 52.
The issue opens with Clark Kent coming to Gotham. He muses on how different it is from Smallville, how it can break even the strongest person. On the opposing side, Bruce Wayne knows that in Gotham, you have to stand up for yourself. You have to be strong. As Bruce watches a young kid caught in a fight, Clark steps in to stop it. Clark doesn’t want the violence, but Bruce knows that the child needs to prove himself. As the two discuss this, Clark asks Bruce about some Wayne Enterprises murders. Bruce plays dumb, but Batman is soon on the case, with Superman close behind him. The two eventually come to blows, but not before catching the attention of a possessive evil and being transported to who knows where or when.
Greg Pak writes this new chapter in the friendship between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. There is a wonderful sense of pacing and great back and forth between the two heroes who seem very different, but are really more alike than they know. The art from Jae Lee and Ben Oliver gives the duo and Gotham a very slick and clean look. Gotham had a life of its own in the issue, as well as the two protagonists.
Everyone is familiar with Batman and Superman. Everyone. Everyone knows who they are. This story makes an effort to set up this issue as a way for new readers to jump into the mythos, and it works.
Parental Concern: Minimal. A bit of violence.
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth #1 published by IDW Publishing
Godzilla is one of the best known giant monsters. With movies, television shows, games, and more based on his story and those of his fellow monsters, he’s a big part of monster movie culture. Now, in comics, the world is recovering from epic battles between Godzilla and the other monsters, and it seems that things are about to get started again.
After a battle between the Earth’s monsters, and those from outer space, humans have become very interested in Godzilla and his brethren. They’ve gathered to not just fight them, but study them as well. It’s as they gather for a Megazoology conference to discuss these monsters, that a new one attacks. As soldiers attempt to stop this new monster, a familiar face shows up to join the fight.
Chris Mowry has the duty of writing about everyone’s favorite giant, irradiated lizard as he stomps into Hawaii. He devotes several pages of the issue to laying the groundwork for new readers, giving time to multiple monsters and mentioning them in the story. It works in a way that doesn’t make it feel forced. Matt Frank continues drawing Godzilla and his kin like only he can. His monsters are drawn like no others, giving them each a great look and feel. The human characters also aren’t too shabby.
New readers can get into this. While, most already know of Godzilla in some form, even those that don’t shouldn’t have any problem picking up this story and joining the megazoologists as they seek to understand these gargantuan animals.
Parental Concern: Minimal. Good old fashion monster fighting.
Wolverine #5 published by Marvel Comics
Wolverine is the best he is at what he does, and what he does isn’t nice. Even so, he doesn’t seem to enjoy it. This new solo Wolverine title seems to be more about the “headmaster Wolverine”, the one who has lived for over a century, traveled the world, saved it once or twice, and found some measure of peace and family in his current state. It’s for this home that he fights for and shoulders the sin of killing, as he describes it in this issue.
After nanobots began to enslave people in New York, Wolverine had to stop it. Now, it seems that the nanobots have infected all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including Nick Fury, Jr. It’s up to Wolverine once again to make sure these things don’t get out. As the helicarrier he’s trapped on dives to the bottom of the ocean, it’s put to the test just how good Wolverine’s healing factor really is.
Writer Paul Cornell opens the book with a great thought about samurais and the movies based on them. As someone who met a few samurais, Wolverine has a few thoughts on them. The “sin of killing” line is a good one to sum up the type of man Wolverine has become. Mirco Pierfederici and Karl Kesel give Wolverine a look that seems to portray more as a “regular guy” who just happens to have claws in his hands. He has the look of a haggard fighter in several panels, which fits with man weary of violence persona that has been developing.
New readers might find things a bit dense in this first issue. A basic knowledge of the Marvel Universe would probably help immensely, but it could be enjoyed without it.
Parental Concern: Mild. A bit of blood and violence.
Atomic Robo: Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur #1 published by Red 5 Comics
Atomic Robo is a robot made in the early 20th century by the eccentric genius Nikola Tesla. Over the next century or so, Robo goes on to not only be a scientist, but an action scientist, fighting monsters and supernatural phenomenon worldwide, and somehow making sense of it all with the aid of math and science. Over his years and adventures, he’s made many an enemy, but none as insane or unique as Dr. Dinosaur, who’s back in the eight volume of the “World’s Greatest Science Adventure Magazine”!
After the events of “8/11″, Robo is a bit in the dumps. He’s been branded a terrorist by the common people, instead of the monster-punching hero he’s often been seen as. When he gets a report of strange cryptid sightings in Venezuela, Robo assembles a team of his Action Scientists and heads down to investigate. What they find, is none other than the dastardly Dr. Dinosaur, and it seems he has a few friends. While Robo is away, acting-CEO Jenkins must deal with a surprising package that shows up on the doorstep of headquarters.
Brian Clevinger always makes Atomic Robo a smart, funny read. It’s full of laughs, action, and genuinely good dialogue. Even with all the humor, the serious parts, such as a couple in this issue, are handled well. It’s a throwback to when comics were truly fun, and that’s something we desperately need more of. Scott Wegener and his style are the perfect fit for Robo. The character designs are all diverse, leaving every character extremely recognizable. And the amount of expression Robo and the various character have is wonderful, especially when you consider Robo doesn’t have mouth or eyebrows.
The beauty of each volume of Atomic Robo is that it’s completely independent of every other volume. Most don’t follow any real chronological order, but rather are random events in Robo’s life. Each new volume is as new reader friendly as it gets.
Parental Concern: Minimal. A small bit of violence.