Comic Review: DC Nation #0

DC Nation #0 has been touted for months, so enough with the buildup, let’s get right into it, eh?

 

First up is the insanely creepy/wonderful Joker story by our pal Tom King and artists Clay Mann and Jordie Bellaire!

In it we see the Joker terrorize an innocent man.

That’s it.

That’s all this tale is comprised of, and it’s tense and nerve-wracking and funny and how the hell did they get so much stories into this few pages? Mann dazzles with his version of the Joker, a manic maniac whose quiet psychosis is bubbling just below the surface, prowling the poor man’s house. Bellaire gives him a pallid expression, her palate rendering him a sick wart in this otherwise austere suburbia. The Joker here is fucking scary.

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And King, of course, gives Joker this free-form way of processing thoughts that seems so apropos it’s scary: his Clown Prince states his views so matter of factly, regards the man with such informality, delivers humorous wordplays so deftly…shit, is Tom King secretly a sociopath?

Anyway, this story was the Truth.

 

Next up is a Superman story by Brian Michael Bendis and Guy Responsible for How DC Characters Looked in the 1980s Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.

First up, poor Perry White – it looks like he’s not just been de-aged, but also given the vocabulary of a parent trying WAY too hard to sound hip.

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Garcia-Lopez has a timeless quality to his art, much like how Neal Adams does, but that sort of romanticized notion feels almost out of place in a book like this, a book that’s ushering in a new era of DC stories. It’s not ugly or anything remotely close: this is quality work from a legendary DC artist. However, it just doesn’t feel quite right here, especially in regards to Bendis’ fast-paced, dialogue-riddled super-story.

It felt too wordy, and it didn’t feel like it went anywhere. It introduced a potentially new threat to the Daily Planet (or more), and it showed that Superman hasn’t been himself (nothing that a good pair of trunks won’t solve!). Compared to the Joker story and the Justice League story that follows it, this seemed like a bland story that I didn’t really enjoy.

 

Lastly, there’s a No Justice: Prelude story that sets the table for this epic upcoming Justice League arc. It’s written by our buddy Scott Snyder, with James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, but the real star of this piece is absolutely artists Jorge Jimenez & Alejandro Sanchez.

Why Jimenez isn’t recognized as one of the best, if not THE best artist at DC is something I can’t comprehend: his work is dynamic, from the character design to the frenetic action to simply how physics work in a panel. This guy is one of the most talented pencillers in the game, and he flexes some quality muscle here. There’s a sense of urgency he nails with these characters as they race to their objectives, and even though the action is palpable he also still manages to convey emotion with clarity in nearly every character face.

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Sanchez is the perfect compliment here – this is a condensed story with cosmic insanity, and he manages to inject that hyperactivity into the artwork. He never drops the ball with the costumes, which is bananas seeing as how all characters suits are slightly altered from their traditional colors due to team alliances. Each team roster splash could be a jumbled mess, but Sanchez keeps everything unique to the readers’ extreme benefit.

Probably my favorite part of this snippet was the simple interaction between Beast Boy and Batman. In just a few panels these gentlemen conveyed a tension within Gar, a quiet concern that Batman addresses with candor. It’s a nice moment between a veteran and a youngster, and it’s touches like that that make so many folks excited for what’s to come in No Justice.

This is a fantastic deal for just a quarter, unless you’re hemming and hawing for some of those incredible variants. DC pulled out all the stops in this book, a big ol’ dangly hunk of worm that will hook an obscene amount of fish. It’s a great value for a great book, and a great jumping on point for new and old readers alike.

 

8 out of 10 Distinguished Competitors