Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Morning folks! The DC Relaunch keeps on relaunching. This is technically the last week of November's relaunch titles, next week looks rather barren – more on that later. So let's have a look at the last of the issue 3s, an issue 2 and a preview to boot.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Voodoo #3 gives us the obvious crossover with Green Lantern smashing his way into the story of Priscilla, sleeper alien spy on the run and meeting up with her fellow conspirators. Beautiful Sami Basra linework, although a misplaced speech balloon tail really throws things at one point. It'll get fixed for the trade. But there's another crossover under the surface that is trending towards Stormwatch and Grifter...

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Without a doubt, Shade #2 is the most stylish of all the current DCU books. It reeks of class, a detailed 100 Bullets dropped onto Gotham and Metropolis, with a variety of individuals with their own agendas working with or against each other. Artist Cully Hamner manages to reach somewhere half way between Howard Chaykin and Dave Johnson with just a touch of Rick Geary and it's a rich, beautiful, absorbing world, that never becomes a mess. There are bullets, there are kisses, there are rooftops, there is a European feel to everything – with just the right amount of American sparkle dust to keep everything pretty.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Justice League Dark #3 is… starting to bore me. Sorry, very pretty I know and there's a spectacular scene where Boston Brand jumps into a woman halfway through a suicide attempt, but in general there is sound and fury and little else. John Constantine seems so out of place in this world that it's not even amusing – in fact the whole thing seems so po-faced, which considering its ridiculousness is I suppose some kind of achievement.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Green Lanterns: New Guardians #3 goes a bit Ghostbusters (above) with the introduction of new Orange Lantern, Glomulus, who has a little of the Smiler and a little of the Doop about him. Odds are he could be the character find of the year, and I confess to already wanting a toy…

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Finally with #3, I Vampyr seems to be getting somewhere. It's still a lot of "Ooh vampires are bad, except for me, or not anymore anyway, they keep feasting on humans, I must stop them, I haven't stopped them" without the humour or occasional inventiveness that Angel brought to the trope. Here however we get two things of note. First an understanding of the wider scope of the DC Universe and the focus of future issues, and a philosophical aspect of self sacrifice at the end which could, if it's lucky, underpin this entire series and give every action added resonance. Hope, at last.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

As we have previously established in Teen Titans #3, those are some tight trousers in the bottom/crotch/upper thigh area… I think this may need some further exploration. I must channel my inner Comics Alliance…

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

It's one thing to have a big fuck-off bad guy. It's another to give him a personal story that's heartbreaking. The story behind Helix in Firestorm #3 is just that. It reminds me a little of the homeless man infected by The Fury in Captain Britain, trying to come to terms with what he is, with a little of Lenny from Of Mice And Men. Simplistic, sad, tragic, all wrapped around a superhero story that started out with black and white and now is getting all sorts of blurriness, a bit like the young men who have become Firestorms…

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Along with Batwoman, The Flash is offering some of the more innovative storytelling in the New 52, and here in issue 3, Francis Manapul seems to be channeling Frank Quitely a little in this transformation sequence.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

We've established that Aquaman is basically Samuel Jackson in an skinsuit here.But he still can't get any respect. Seriously, you're facing a horde of human piranhas, get off his case officer!

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Seriously Batman, put it away! Another issue of The Dark Knight from Paul Jenkins and David Finch, another costumed lady throwing herself over the man and trying to get into his.. hood. I'm starting to think he must have some kind of Bat pheromone in his utility belt. Unless he's just pleased to see me.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Some people, including me, have suggested that DC is using aspects of Spider-Man's story in retelling the early days of Superman, from his complicated love life, his problematic living conditions, his problematic being on time… well in George Perez and Nicola Scott's Superman #3 we get something a lot closer to the classic J Jonah Jameson Hero Or Menace headline, here with a little religious fervour behind it, reflecting his Action Comics #1 origins.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Blackhawks #3 continues its most entertaining mix of black ops kicking and 'sploding, mixed with nanotech-created new humanity, virtual cities and.. the dogs out of Pixar's Up. This is the closest you'll get to a Warren Ellis comic in the DCU these days. One of the lower selling New DCU books, it's really worth checking out.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

If I was pitching a series to DC, it would totally be The League Of Evil Super Geniuses Or Should That Be Genii? Seriously there's loads of them, working for the governments or as independent businessmen. I'm not sure whether this is an indictment of Big Government or of the Capitalist System. Anyway, in Hawkman #3 by Tony Daniel and Philip Tan there's another one of them here and he's got the big bad under his control. Go on, how long do you reckon it stays under his control? Exactly.

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

Aw, this is the bee's knees. With last issue's cliffhanger disposed of, and the Butcher arc seemingly wrapped up, suddenly we get a whole new complication in All Star Western #3. Jonah Hex's desire to leave Gotham looks like it may be coming thematic, this could be the city he never leaves. And could that be some foreshadowing of The Joker from the Church Of Crime here? I think it very well might be…

Fourteen-And-A-Half Thoughts About Fourteen-And-A-Half DC Comic Books Today – Voodoo, Shade, Black Hawks, Green Lantern: New Guardians, All Star Western, I Vampire, The Flash, Firestorm, Hawkman, Aquaman, Teen Titans, The Dark Knight, Superman And The Ray

The Ray #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Jamal Igle gets previewed in the backs of most of the new 52 books this week. Jimmy specifically has form here, while Jamal has been trying to find a home for his work at DC since the unfortunate events of Birds Of Prey. And it starts off as a self-aware superhero, with a knowledge of the form, fictional and "real", and his possible place in it. I want to read more. Mind you I've read this preview fourteen times today… I need another page!

Next week… Thunder Agents #1. And Legion Secret Origin #2. And that's it…

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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