The New 52 #1 -or- Justice League Free Comic Book Day

6 May

By Ayo

DC Comics’ Free Comic Book Day book is less confident than Marvel’s. While Marvel used their Avengers 0.1 to push forth their upcoming Ultron storyline, DC used half of their story to promote the upcoming “Trinity War,” and the second half to tease random newly premiering series.

The lack of focus doesn’t end there. In the flagship story of this issue (note: not going to talk about the random teasers) we read one story with four art teams. Four art teams in a sixteen page story.

Team 1 is Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis. Pages 1-4.

Team 2 is Kenneth Rocafort and “Blond.” Pages 5-6.

Team 3 is Gene Ha and Art Lyon. Pages 7-11.

Team 4 is DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee with one page of comics followed by a massive gatefold centerfold splash panel. It is four pages, pages 12-16. It is a very nice four page gate fold. Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair. A good team.

For brevity’s sake I am going to refer to each team as a unit defined by its penciller. The penciller is the captain of a comics art team so let’s do it that way.

Fresh on the heels of Action Comics #9, Gene Ha delivers the art for a sequence in which Pandora, the protagonist throughout these short scenes, steals her famous box. I’m very disappointed with this scene but it isn’t Ha’s fault. He is a complete tonal shift from the aesthetic sense of the other three artists. Gene Ha doesn’t belong here.

He may be my favorite of these artists but just doesn’t gel with the graphic sense that the story is pushing for.

Ivan Reis and his team are what I most want from this story. Reis employs a thin line style that leaves a lot of room open for color special effects. That seems to be Reis’ stock in trade, particularly with his Green Lantern work. Reis doesn’t ever grab me with beautifully rendered forms but always serves his purpose when he is depicting a character electrified with cosmic rays or glowing with magic.

Ivan Reis has struck a precarious balance between fine detail and readability which I find very worthy of note and praise.

Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics, is the master of the style that Reis is working in. As funny as I find the notion of the publisher of a major media company rolling up his sleeve and acting as his own employee, the work that Lee puts into his pages is no joke.

More than Jim Lee’s neurotically-precise detail lines, I’m really fascinated by the glowing figure-lines on the Green Lantern, provided by color artist Alex Sinclair. This is not a new idea in comic book coloring but since this is the particular book in front of me, it’s as good a time as any to say that I like the effect. The effect is depicted twice on the cover to this magazine: Wonder Woman’s lasso and Pandora’s glowing, cracked gun. I stare into the colors.

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