DC Zero Month, Week One Reviews: ‘Action Comics,’ ‘Animal Man’, and ‘Batwing’

This September, DC Comics is turning it all the way back to zero, taking a look at what went on in the DCU before the New 52. Like we did a year ago with the first month of DC’s new universe, we’re going to give you some looks at all the “Zero Month” titles coming out over the next few weeks.

So here we go:

SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS #0

Written by Grant Morrison, Art By Ben Oliver

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Clark Kent makes his New 52 debut as Superman… And loses his cape the first time out. Two kids beaten by their father pick it up, use it to become invincible and strong, and then Superman saves ‘em from a train. In the back-up, we learn the secret origin of two villains.

BEST BIT: Lois Lane thinking the Superman symbol is a picture of goldfish, Jimmy pointing out she’s looking at the negative space.

WORST BIT: Writer Grant Morrison already nailed a lot of this content, and better, in All-Star Superman.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Not really… This is mainly the first issue we never got a year ago; instead, Morrison through us right into the mix with Action Comics #1, so this is more about filling in the blanks.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? I guess? Maybe we’ll give it another chance? It just feels like Morrison’s heart isn’t in this series, despite our high hopes for the book.

ANIMAL MAN #0

Written by Jeff Lemire, Art By Steve Pugh

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The origin of Buddy Baker – revealed! Basically, this issue is writer Jeff Lemire rather deftly reconciling the compressed timeline of the New 52, his current run on Animal Man, and pretty much every other run on the book into one neat little package.

BEST BIT: The opening page is a rather huge surprise. And artist Steve Pugh does a great job of channeling Travel Foreman, creating a neat link to the first few issues of the series. Also: Cliff has no mullet! Hooray!

WORST BIT: The last page is somewhat typical villain talk, a bit of a disappointment after an otherwise great issue.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? I won’t spoil ‘em here, but that first page, and pretty much the whole content of the book is pretty illuminating for regular readers.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? Heck yeah.

BATWING #0

Written by Judd Winick, Art By Marcus To

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? David Zavimbi fights against injustice in the Republic of Congo, eventually gaining the notice of Batman – and taking on the mantle of “Batwing.”

BEST BIT: Within hours of putting on a costume for the first time, Zavimbi takes down an unstoppable bad guy in under a page.

WORST BIT: There’s some obvious dialogue between our hero and his mother in the first half, but that goes away pretty quickly.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Honestly? I haven’t been reading this series, but if what’s covered here HASN’T been touched on in the regular book, there’s probably enough material for a whole “Before Batwing” spin-off.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? It’s a bummer that Judd Winick won’t be around DC for much longer, as his script here is a model of efficiency. There’s not much that makes our brains explode, but this is also a very solid superhero comic, and a great introductory issue. I haven’t read this since issue two, but I may stick out the next two as long as Winick and To are on board.

Action Comics #0, Animal Man #0, and Batwing #0 all hit comic book stores on September 5th from DC Comics!