By: Too many to list—check out the review.

The Story: The Return of the Canned.

The Review: For a showcase title, a #0 issue presents an interesting question, doesn’t it?  How does one choose an origin story for a series open to all origin stories?  I suppose not choosing is one answer.  As annuals and the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful Weird Worlds prove, comics don’t handle multiple features well, at least not if you want to get some substantial, serious reading out of them.  DC’s definitely pushing it with five pieces stuffed in one issue.

I’ve always had a bit of prejudice against Dan Didio as a writer, and Keith Giffen I only knew more as a humorist than serious storyteller, so I had pretty much zero desire to read O.M.A.C. when it first came out.  By the time good word-of-mouth convinced me to check the series out, it was too late.  I’ve heard the appeal of O.M.A.C. is its rollicking enthusiasm and constant action, so this issue may not be the best choice to first expose you to the concept or character.  It consists entirely of talking heads and exposition, most of which goes in one ear, out the other with little settling in between.  And frankly, I’ve never been fond of Giffen’s art (Scott Koblish on inks, Hi-Fi on colors), which strives to be Jack Kirby, only less sophisticated.

I picked up Mr. Terrific somewhat out of a sense of duty.  As a member of an ethnic minority, I felt it appropriate to support titles feature characters and creators of ethnic minorities when possible.  Unfortunately, what appeared at first a solid title eventually revealed itself as strangely uninspired and simplistic for a series featuring the (third) smartest man on Earth.  While James Robinson delivers a more readable narration in this issue than original writer Eric Wallace, he doesn’t fare any better in making Michael Holt an intriguing star in his own right, though he hints at better times to come.  Tom Derenick offers art (with Mike Atiyeh on colors) a slight better than the misshapen figures you got from Gianluca Gugliotta, but nothing praiseworthy.

Hawk and Dove, written and drawn by Rob Liefield, had the distinction of almost universal disgust on all levels.  For one thing, it made almost no sense allowing a person responsible for some of the hackiest, most ridiculous periods of comic book art ever to have writing duties.  For another, no one has ever really succeeded in making Hawk and Dove good for anything other than guest appearances.  And so it goes here.  Liefield takes few risks in writing the duo’s origins, playing mostly by stone-written tradition.  While Marat Mychaels’ art (Matt Yackey on colors) avoids the impossible proportions associated with Liefield, he proves just as simplistic in his emotional work as the writer.

Now, Blackhawks was a title I actually regretted letting go, particularly when the talented Mike Costa and irreproachable Cafu had the writing and artistic reins.  Having Tony Bedard as writer makes less of a case for the team, though rewinding to the Blackhawks’ role in the Apokolips invasion is a good idea.  Bedard simply doesn’t strike me as a writer with the chops to make each ‘hawk stand out in ten pages, and he doesn’t.  If Bedard is no Costa, then Carlos Rodriguez is definitely no Cafu, even with Bit on inks and Guy Major on colors.  His is the very exemplar of fill-in work, only barely serviceable, with no power to instill tension whatsoever.  When a Parademon rips out Lady Blackhawk’s eye, it lacks credibility and suspense entirely.

And then we have Bedard again on a feature starring Deadman, which seems a mistake on every level.  Since Boston still has a regular spot on Justice League Dark, it’s not as if he was wanting in appearances, unlike the other characters in this issue.  Besides, we got to see most of his origin story in the first arc of this very title, so this just seems unnecessary, especially since it doesn’t tell us anything new.  Add on the fact that I was never particularly enamored by Scott McDaniel’s art (colors by Guy Major) when he worked on the shortlived Static Shock, and this piece ties with Hawk and Dove for least interesting feature in a mostly uninteresting issue.

Conclusion: DC essentially takes half the characters canned within the last year, many of whom failed to generate any popular appreciation whatsoever, and delivers using a hodgepodge of writers and artists of varying quality, many of whom never worked on the original properties.  The fact this project made it out of editorial tells you they have quite a bit of tolerance for risk over there.

Grade: D+

– Minhquan Nguyen