Being a mixed bag of results thus far, Before Watchmen brings the origins of the most evil Watchman this week with a pretty comprehensive childhood flashback and the history of Ozymandias’ supreme martial arts skills. Len Wein does an apt job navigating the life of Ozy, but the actual dialogue tends to sound stiff and flat. On top of that, Wein shoves a lot of plot into this one issue, which seems a bit overkill considering he’s got six issues to flesh out the character. Overall, Ozymandias #1 isn’t a bad read – in fact it’s pretty engaging – there’s just a feeling that there isn’t much emotion in these characters, and that may prove to be a problem if Wein plans on attempting to make us connect with Ozy on a deeper level.
Tony S. Daniel has really been letting Detective Comics slip since he ended the “Penguin” storyline and was somewhat pushed into making his title a part of “Night of the Owls”. It seems as if Daniel is floundering, unsure of what direction to take the Dark Knight, resulting in a bunch of issues that feel disjointed, fractured, and (most of all) uninteresting. Mr. Toxic’s introduction into the ‘New 52’ seemed like it would promise some fun panels, but instead we get an issue’s worth of rhetoric pertaining to cloning and the way Mr. Toxic could be taking advantage of that technology. By the end of the issue, there are more questions than answers, which is just frustrating.
To describe Dial H as confusing would be to only scratch the surface of China Mieville and Mateus Santolouco’s thrilling mystery surrounding the enigmatic nature of the dials that turn people into super-powered beings. While the narrative-proper might be dodging and weaving a bit too much for the casual reader, the adventures of Nelson as he delves deeper into the conspiracy surrounding these weird dials just keeps you hooked – even when Nelson is at his most pathetic, I found myself strangely rooting for him. This is a testament to Mieville’s use of specific diction and syntax to convey certain ideas, a hard feat for any type of writer. In the end, Dial H is still one of the best books you can pick up each month, not only for it’s exciting narrative, but also for the distinct artwork and it’s space in DC’s ‘New 52’ universe.
This month, Peter Milligan takes us down the path to the end of the Red Lanterns, an endgame he’s been working toward since the beginning of the series last September. Atrocitus’ power is severely weakened, mutiny threatens his Corps from multiple directions, and now he’s got a rather strong Abysmus to deal with before he can even begin to start making the Red Lanterns a forced to be reckoned with once again. It’s hard to keep focused on this particular story when DC’s already announced that October’s issue 13 will be a crossover with the other Green Lantern-related titles for “Rise of the Third Army”, signaling that the Rage Team isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While Red Lanterns isn’t one of the best titles DC currently offers, it also isn’t one of the worst.
Keeping with the theme of the first two issues in “Rebirth”, Paul Levitz and George Perez bring readers another issue of World’s Finest that not only reveals more about Karen and Helena’s working relationship, but also gives more insight into their years since arriving from Earth 2. While the stalker-ish Hakkou is obviously a parademon from Earth 2 forced to become more intelligent to survive on Earth Prime, Power Girl and Huntress still have no idea who they’re fighting, which is kind of annoying, especially seeing as Huntress is the daughter of Earth 2’s Batman. The past sequence pages start making connections between the girls’ operations and their effects on the DCnU, like Karen’s relationship with Michael Holt. While enjoyable, World’s Finest suffers from a lesser version of Earth 2‘s problem, which stems from having a large chunk of history to squeeze in between the current-day narrative.