Friday, August 17, 2012

Comic Book Reviews: Nightwing #12 and Red Hood & The Outlaws #12

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The first year of the New 52 concludes next week, and since this past Wednesday's Red Hood and Nightwing releases are the final two same-week reviews I'll be doing before the #0 issues come out, I figured I'd share my thoughts on the reboot.

So far, I have been a fan of the reboot, at least in terms of the storytelling. Jason Todd has finally got compelling, post-"Under the Hood" stoires; Scott Snyder has forged incredible additions to the Bat-verse with Harper Row and the Court of Owls; Nightwing is getting a chance to revisit his origin and truly grow directly from it; Barbara Gordon's Batgirl is gaining a modern audience through a decent title; Superman's early years are being developed well with Action Comics; Wonder Woman and Aquaman have received great books (that I unfortunately have been unable to purchase, but I'll be sure to grab the TPB versions and give my thoughts); and Dial H is back.

All of that said, there have been plenty of issues with it. Batman's timeline is cramped, but I'll hold judgment until the #0s are out.

Batman Inc. was a cool idea before the reboot, but now it feels added on and unnecessary.

I'm not sure if Cassandra Cain existed and am almost certain Steph Brown hasn't, so I'm a little angry about that.

Cyborg is in the Justice League but almost certainly not the Titans, and that deeply upsets me.

Beast Boy is red, which just pisses me off.

Restoring the multiverse adds the annoying complexity that I thought the reboot was supposed to help eliminate (though that world's Lantern and Flash are good characters). And the Teen Titans and Ravagers have been completely pathetic.

Taking it as a whole, I'd say the money-making characters have fared pretty well and I hope Scott Lobdell is able to put a strong run together with Superman. And low-tier heroes are now getting space

The reboot hasn't been as kind to second-level heroes or most of Batman's classic rogues, but to this point, as a Batman fan, nothing has been done that can't be made to work, so I will say that the reboot was a good call.

Now PLEASE do not have a status-quo shifting crossover for a while. A. LONG. While.

Anyway, to the reviews!

Nightwing #12

Nightwing's arc with the Tomorrow cult comes to an end here, and all the stuff that didn't make sense when Dick had his revelations in #11 are seen here.

I do love how Dick Grayson has been seen as an amazing detective in his own right in this book. Obviously, it's been in place before and he does make mistakes at times, but it really feels prominent in this book. Good stuff.

Some complexities are added to his relationship with Zucco's daughter, and it turns out he really did understand what was going through her head... but not all of what she was thinking. I have a feeling this thing between them will end terribly, but until then I shall enjoy it.

I will acknowledge that the art is weaker than before and the layout of word bubbles is just horrible. If you take a little extra time, you won't be confused by them, but it is a pain.

Art/layout issues aside, it's a good story and I'm interested for what origin changes have been made next month.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #12

Scott Lobdell seems to me like a writer who has good ideas but who needs time to put them together. The problem with "The Culling" during his Teen Titans run was that the whole thing felt hurried and should have been given more think-through time so that it didn't turn into an utter mess.

RHATO is an example of how, given enough time, he'll make a plot amazing. In one year, Lobdell went from spitting on the 80s Starfire and only intelligently working one character at a time, to providing a fresh take on Kori's world and persona and making all three members of the group likable badasses.

Roy Harper's narrations and humor have made him just a fun character to read, and Jason managed to play a tough guy with Isabel while still appearing naturally warm and funny. I don't even know how that's possible.

Jason has gotten less space in these last few issues than the others, andI still feel like stuff is being accomplished with his character.

But Kori is the star of this one, and I am liking this take on the character. In the New 52 world, she came to Earth expecting to be as lonely there as when she was a slave, and although her history with Nightwing is REALLY being glossed over, it's a natural way to react to being sold out by her own race.

Additionally, Blackfire is acting with remorse for enslaving her sister, and it made for a compelling scene in this story. Granted, it may all be a load of crap, but Lobdell has made it so that I'll be happy with whichever route they choose to go with. There are stories to be had in either situation.

The art wasn't as strong with a back-up artist, but it's not a huge drop and definitely nowhere near distracting.

I am absolutely looking forward to Robin No. 2's origin and seeing Lobdell's take on the now legendary story of Jason Todd.

See ya'll for the origins!

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