Talon #0

Plot by James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder
Script by James Tynion IV
Art by Guillem March
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Talon is, at its heart, a slightly odd book at a glance. It’s a book that has obliquely spun out of the last year’s worth of Batman issues and its Court of Owls storyline, but the main character didn’t actually appear in any of those issues. But at its heart? Talon #0 reminded me of not one but two different past DC Comics series, and has merged them into a title that I think can end up working quite well.

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Batman: Earth One

Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Gary Frank
Inks by Jonathan Sibal
144 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

It’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re supposed to laugh at a comic or not, and that’s the uneasy feeling I got when reading Batman: Earth One. DC’s "Earth One" series of graphic novels recasts their characters into the modern day, tweaking and changing the origins as necessary. (Not to be confused, of course, with Marvel since unveiling their "Season One" line that does the exact same thing.) Of course, with DC since re-launching their entire main line of comics, I couldn’t help but wonder if Batman: Earth One was even necessary. Reading this graphic novel, with its uneven tone and wholesale changes to the character, I’m still not sure.

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Legends of the Dark Knight #1

Written by Damon Lindelof
Art by Jeff Lemire
20 screens, color
Published by DC Comics

DC Comics has been entering the digital comics realm more and more over the past year; with the arrival of their new digital series Legends of the Dark Knight, there’s now a new original digital comic available each weekday from the company. It’s been a nice surprise to see that these aren’t comics getting tossed out for the sake of having something in the digital realm, though. With this new Legends of the Dark Knight comic, the first installment is by Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire, two talents hardly worth sneezing at. And at 99 cents a comic, it feels like a steal.

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Superman Family Adventures #1

Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Art by Art Baltazar
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

After a 50-issue run on the all-ages series Tiny Titans, I was a little sad to hear that Art Baltazar and Franco were wrapping up the title. Fortunately, they’ve promptly moved over to a brand new comic, Superman Family Adventures. And like Tiny Titans, it’s a book that I think really does appeal to all ages; little kids will like the fun adventures, while more comic-savvy readers will get a good chuckle over some of the inside jokes aimed at them.

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Fairest #1

Written by Bill Willingham
Pencilled by Phil Jimenez
Inked by Andy Lanning
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo

The idea behind Fairest, the new spin-off from Fables, seemed simple enough. The back cover declares it to be about "the fairest flowers in the land" and in interviews creator Bill Willingham has talked about it being a place to tell stories about characters like Snow White, Rose Red, Cinderella, Rapunzel… in other words, the female characters of Fables. So why is it, then, that Fairest #1 is starring Ali Baba?

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Ray #1-2

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Penciled by Jamal Igle
Inked by Rich Perrotta
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

I still remember when DC published the revamp of The Ray back in the early ’90s, with Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada taking the core concept and creating Ray Terrill, a new character with the power to transform into and manipulate light. With this new The Ray mini-series 20 years later, I’m getting a similar vibe from Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Jamal Igle. And that’s a very good thing indeed.

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Justice League Dark #1

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Mikel Janin
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Justice League Dark is simultaneously one of the stranger and more logical books from DC Comics’ re-launch. With characters like John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, and Shade the Changing Man now back in the main DC Universe (while in the case of Constantine, still continuing his mature-readers Hellblazer comic), it was just a matter of time until they all teamed up. Having them in their own Justice League comic, and written by Vertigo mainstay Peter Milligan? It’s so strange it could just possibly work.

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Wonder Woman #1

Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chiang
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Poor Wonder Woman. A lot of high-profile creators have taken stabs at the character over the past decade or two (J. Michael Straczynski, Gail Simone, Jodi Picoult, Allan Heinberg, Greg Rucka, Phil Jimenez, John Byrne, to name just a few), but none have managed to create a definitive, high-excitement run that kept its momentum going. Next up are Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, who both have the benefit and hindrance of getting the opportunity to start as much or as little from scratch as they wish. The end result? If I didn’t know better I’d think this was a hot new Vertigo series debut.

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Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Alberto Ponticelli
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. is one of the odder choices from DC Comics to be part of the big re-launch of their line. A comic about a group of classic monsters working for a secret organization to stop strange things is hardly the sort of book that feels commercial, after all. But for readers who aren’t scared off by analogues of the Wolfman or the Creature from the Black Lagoon, there’s enough in Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 to make this title feel like it fits in with the larger DC Universe.

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Batwing #1

Writen by Judd Winick
Art by Ben Oliver
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

There’s something odd and initially off-putting about a book that is pitched as, "The Batman of Africa." Why Africa seems to get repeatedly lumped into a single region while similarly diverse continents don’t is beyond me (there’s much more respect for the different areas of Europe or Asia, for instance), but at the same time there’s so little in American comics set on this continent that my curiosity got the better of me. As it turned out, I’m glad it did; it’s a book that I suspect won’t be long for this world, but was definitely worthy of some attention.

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