DC Zero Month, Week One Reviews: 'Detective Comics', 'Dial H,' 'Earth 2,' and 'G.I. Combat'

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:

DETECTIVE COMICS #0

Written by Greg Hurwitz, Art By Tony Daniel

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Bruce Wayne heads to the Himalayas to train his body and mind in order to become Batman… But learns some lessons about trust and love along the way.

BEST BIT: Daniel’s art, as always, is very strong. More than anyone else, the New 52 has caused an already solid artist to really kick up his game. Check the three panel sequence featuring a kiss, shadows, and lightning for an example.

WORST BIT: This isn’t a bad thing, but this story is basically every Kung Fu movie ever; and the moral of the tale – or at least what Bruce really learns – is a little murky.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Not exactly, though there’s a character in the back-up that might play into future issues. And I’m mostly curious how this plays with Scott Snyder’s similarly themed Batman #0 in a few weeks.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #13? This title is always on the cusp of our pull list anyway, so perhaps we’ll head back to see if its rejuvenated in year two.

DIAL H #0

Written by China Meiville, Art By Riccardo Burchielli

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Way before you could Dial H for Hero, you could Sundial H for Hero. This is the story of one woman many, many centuries ago, who used that dial… And how it had deadly repercussions all around.

BEST BIT: The first half of the story is a corker, with a neat visual twist powered by Mieville’s tricky narration.

WORST BIT: …On the other hand, the second half is a bit of a confused mess. It eventually ties back, but I almost would have rather read two short tales from the history of the dial, than 50% of a good one.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Well, the dial takes many forms, and we find out a lot about where those heroes it calls up come from. That’s pretty big.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #5? I really want to love this series, but there’s a distance to the writing style that isn’t grabbing me. It’s unfortunate, because the hero ideas are mostly great, and as mentioned, there’s usually some neat twists.

EARTH 2 #0

Written by James Robinson, Art By Tomas Giorello

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Terry Sloan was Mr. 8, one of the greatest superheroes on Earth 2… Up until he went bad and took out half the world. This is the story of how that happened.

BEST BIT: Robinson writes the narration from Sloan’s perspective. Given he’s an unreliable narrator at best, it constantly makes you question his motivations, and wonder if maybe he’s right to do what he does.

WORST BIT: His ultimate plan falls just short of clever. For the smartest man alive, we expect more.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Well, we find out a lot more about the history of Earth 2, as well as a bit more about how the New 52 multiverse works. We also continue the teases for something even worse than Darkseid that’s coming… Maybe in 2013?

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #5? Actually, yes. I had dropped this after issue two (it just wasn’t grabbing me), but this is a compelling villain, and now that the team is mostly together, I’m curious to see more about how they clash with Sloan. Sold!

G.I. COMBAT #0

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and J.T. Krul, Art By Staz Johnson and Ariel Olivetti

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Two stories from weird wars: the first, a history of the Unknown Soldier; the second, a soldier fighting dinosaurs in the War That Time Forgot.

BEST BIT: Olivetti sure does draw some pretty dinos.

WORST BIT: The first story just jumps right into the middle with no explanation; the second just not that exciting given the soldiers vs. dinosaurs set-up.

ANY BIG REVELATIONS/TEASES? Unknown Soldier, absolutely. If you’ve been following the series, there’s some big looks back at where he came from. I’d pay good money for more about the medieval Unknown Soldier.

ARE WE BACK FOR ISSUE #5? Probably not… I love the idea of a war comic anthology, but it feels like a throwback, rather than anything exciting or new. And don't get me wrong: I love quaint throwbacks, but this gets left feeling bland, rather than pushing any great nostalgia buttons.

Detective Comics #0, Dial H #0, Earth 2 #0, and G.I. Combat #0 all hit comic book stores on September 5th from DC Comics!