When the new DC 52 first began last year, I thought I'd try both Superman and Action Comics for my monthly fix of The Man of Steel. After 2 issues of Grant Morrison's Action Comics I felt that his series wasn't really for me. George Perez's run however, although never setting my world alight and being slightly old-school in it's story telling, became my Superman book of choice. Am I regretting that decision now? Maybe. It's not that Perez's story arc is necessarily bad, it's just lacking that little something that makes it stand out. In all 5 issues of Superman, not once have I sat back and gone "Wow, that was good" (or words to that effect). At times it feels like Perez's dialogue can get a bit lost and somewhat bogged down in the details. I don't need everything spelled out for me George, and this old fashioned way of storytelling can get a little frustrating on occasion.
Despite this, I was glad to see Nicola Scott back on art duties this month, after her impressive work on issue 3. I'm not saying Jesus Merino (the regular artist) is bad, in fact Scott's style is somewhat similar, but it's clear to me that Scott's pencils are just that little bit more refined, more polished. Unfortunately Scott's beautiful art couldn't save this issue from it's mediocrity. As I turned the pages I felt a lot of the story going over my head and I was struggling to get through it; the incessant need to narrate the story through a TV reporter started to grate on me and this issue felt very reminiscent of the overly-wordy debut issue that wasn't as awful as some made it out to be, but took forever to get through. To summarise, I feel that this issue finally made me realise that George Perez doesn't do it for me as a writer. I'll be there for issue 6 to finish off this arc but the arrival of Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens can't come soon enough. A breath of fresh air is desperately needed for what really ought to be one of DC's priority books.
Just before DC relaunched all their books last year, I picked up a free mini guide to the new 52 in my local store and for some strange reason the piece on Aquaman inside interested me. I decided to give it a try and I haven't looked back since. I never thought I'd be buying an Aquaman comic every month but after the fantastic first issue I was hooked. I knew next to nothing about the character apart from the obvious - protects the sea, talks underwater to fish etc. But the team of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis have kept me on board and I've really enjoyed the series so far, especially Reis' gorgeous art. Issue 5 marks the beginning of a new arc, where we find Aquaman in the one place where he's most unsuited for: the middle of a desert.
So, what's to love about issue 5? Well Ivan Reis never disappoints and this issue included some of his very best work. I'm a big fan of Reis since his tremendous work on Green Lantern and Blackest Night and he reached similar levels of excellence here. Let's not forget there's a story going on too, as Geoff Johns' script doesn't let us down either. I think part of the reason I'm finding Aquaman so enjoyable every month is because this is all completely new territory for me; I've never read any Aquaman before aside from his small role in Blackest Night. So Johns is doing a great job at keeping me guessing and I can't wait to see what he has in store now it looks like Atlantis is going to be playing a big role in the near future. Overall this was another enjoyable issue of Aquaman and I'll be buying this as long as Johns and Reis are performing at the peak of their powers.
Justice League #5
After 5 issues of DC's flagship title, things are finally beginning to kick off in Justice League. The last four issues were used to introduce each character and that often involved a fight or two. Now that the team has finally been established, this book can get on with the story and the Justice League can face off against their first major villain, Darkseid. This issue came a week late and although the reason why hasn't been released, you can see throughout the book that it probably has something to do with Jim Lee's art. Known in the industry as one of the premier artists in comics history, Lee has a history of missing deadlines. To be fair, with the amount of detail he puts into his work, we have to expect some delays because it must take the bloke bloody ages to finish some of those pages. In issue 5 we can see there are certain panels and pages where Lee's artwork looks slightly rougher around the edges than what we're used to. Don't get me wrong though, this actually turns out to be a nice touch as the action on the page probably warrants a more unrefined look. Paired with Scott Williams' signature inking style and Alex Sinclair's vibrant colours, there were moment in Justice League #5 where Jim Lee's characters have never looked so good. Particular praise must go to Lee's rendition of Green Lantern, who takes centre stage in this issue. If Jim Lee ever decides to sign up for a run on the main Green Lantern book, I'll be there to buy it.
Overall, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are hitting all the right notes with Justice League. It's non-stop action combined with witty dialogue that makes for a fun and entertaining comic, and on a team-up book like this that's all I can really ask for. My only gripe is it always feels like it finishes too soon but that's undoubtedly a sign of my impatience rather than the quality of the book. I just hating waiting another six weeks between issues.
Rating: 4/5 Pick of the Week
Thanks for reading.