The New DC
October 7th, 2011

After all of my railing against the DC re-launch, I still picked up a bunch of the issues. Because I love comics. Because I love the characters. And because, above all else, I’m a sucker.  And like all suckers, I want to be had.

And there are two of the new books that I kind of liked. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman is interesting. It treats WW more like Solomon Kane than a member of the DC trinity; that’s a neat choice. The art is really confident. It’s the only one of the DC books I bought which draws females in anything approaching semi-realistic proportions. (Every other woman in every other book looks like a Vivid girl.) One small side note: Azzarello and Chiang have decided to make WW into an actual Amazon. There’s a panel where she’s standing side-by-side with a normal woman and it’s clear that Princess Diana probably goes 6’8″. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her drawn that way.

Batman, which is one of the three or four Batman books is okay. Intriguing enough to warrant a look at the next issue, anyway.

The rest of the stuff I picked up is, frankly, embarrassing. Not just because the stories are non-existent. Or the characters are bastardized to the point of making them unintelligible. But because even on these all-important first issues, the art–the easiest part of the equation to control–is often incoherent.

For Exhibit A, I’d like to introduce the final splash-page of Catwoman #1. This is a pretty important page, from DC’s stand-point, because it shows Catwoman mounting Batman in the culmination of their penthouse tryst. Because it’s sensational, and it shows on-screen sex between two franchise characters, DC knew that people would talk about this page. Here it is:

Leave aside the character implications of this choice. (Though I’d argue that they’re significant: Combined with the foreplay in the preceding pages, it turns Batman from a secular monk into a needy, emo player. I don’t mind sex in comics. But the Batman does not have time for sex. That’s not who he is.) Look at the picture. Now look at Batman’s exposed midsection. What muscle group is that rippling across his abdomen?

That’s a trick question, of course. It’s not a realistically drawn muscle group. It’s just a bunch of lazy line strokes. Might as well be Killer Croc’s belly. Now, look down a bit at Catwoman’s bare foot. And tell me this: How in the world is her right foot, which is wrapped around Batman’s back, in the position it’s in, with its sole facing the viewer? This is anatomically impossible.

Look, these are absolutely nits that I’m picking. But my point is that this is one of the five or ten most important pages in DC’s entire new launch, a project on which they’ve bet the company. And on a page with that much importance, they couldn’t even be bothered to make sure the art was coherent. They just slapped it on. You can practically hear DiDio thinking, Eh. Who cares? They’re totally doing it!

The sales have been great for DC so far. But I’ll be shocked if, 12 months from now, at least half of these books aren’t facing cancellation. This experiment has the look of disaster about it.

Update: If you care at all about any of this, please, I beg you, go read this Insanely Awesome essay about the Batman-Catwoman sex scene. Sample awesome:

Question One.  When Catwoman says “Still… it doesn’t take long…“, what does that line mean exactly?  Is she… Is she implying that The Batman orgasms really fast, like right away, like maybe even in his bat-underwear?

I don’t know– on the one hand, I’d like to think that The Batman would have more control than that because … because he’s super-aware of his body or he has super-discipline over his body, after being trained by ninjas and Liam Neeson.

On the other hand, The Batman’s a regular guy and maybe we should all accept that, you know, that’s a thing that happens to regular guys, especially if they’ve had a couple Zima’s, and they’re young and they’re not really sure what’s going on, and they don’t really like the Daves Matthews Band but one of their songs is playing and why am I crying?

There is more. So much more. I will leave the best line below, in Invisotext. Just in case you feel compelled to cheat:

Is it that fans want The Batman to, like, punish crime with his cock?

  1. Galley Wife October 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Oh my.

  2. REPLY
  3. Brass October 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Just got back into collecting comics for the first time in fifteen years. What better time than the beginning of a new DC era. Bought about 80% of the titles and will only be purchasing the second issue of 50% of those. The biggest disappointment for me, the new Blue Beetle was absolutely horrible. Story, drawing, and dialogue were such a mess that I’m giving that one a pass for maybe the next 15 years.

  4. REPLY
  5. Kathy October 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    The invisiotext was the best laugh I’ve had all week.

  6. REPLY
  7. mrmandias May 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Really bad artwork. I wasn’t even sure what was going on until I’d puzzled over the picture for a bit.

  8. REPLY
  9. Transgender Bat-Roomie — Jonathan Last Online April 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

    […] it feels like I’m always talking about how craven and awful and truly, truly stupid the New DC is, well, that’s because I […]