If I had a quarter for every customer that reminisced about the good old days of ‘quarter’ or ‘dime’ comics, I’d probably be rich beyond my wildest dreams (I mean, not by that much, but I’m relatively poor, so I set my standards low). Well I’m here to tell those people and YOU that there are still some comics you can buy for twenty-five cents! That’s right, a quarter!
Aside from the obligatory mention of Image’s quarter comics initiative for new series and story arcs, this week DC released ‘DC Nation #0’, citing an inclusion of “3 all-new stories for only $0.25!” Not only that, but the book boasts quite a selection of modern-legend talent, like Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Jorge Jimenez, Clay Mann and tons of names further. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s a quarter. You’re probably going to buy it to try it anyway, right?
Still, even snippet comics like these can be held to a certain degree of effectiveness and reader intrigue. DC Nation #0 is essentially a big set up for DC’s summer line, starting with Batman’s wedding to Catwoman, followed by Bendis’ take on Superman, and then finally the Justice League mini-series, ‘No Justice’.
My hype for comics has been recently more relaxed after subscribing to and subsequently dumping quite a few series from multiple publishers. First issues grab on strong, but there’s no lasting satisfaction. So while I’m not entirely happy about another Marvel reboot following Legacy only six or seven months ago, or another ‘forever-world-changing’ cosmic event from DC that really has no consequence, I’m still at least a little cautiously optimistic about some of the new titles coming our way, and this DC Nation book does a decent job of helping that along.
First, let’s talk about ‘Your Big Day’, the King story paired with Clay Mann’s art that follows a breaking-and-entering by the Joker as he impatiently awaits an invitation to Batman’s wedding in a bystander’s home. Eight pages long, and yet it says quite a bit about the Joker and his emotional investment in Batsy’s upcoming wedding. There’s an incredible tension present here in the simplest visual tones, and the casual banter the clown prince shares with his newest victim. You don’t know, nor do you feel the need to know who this guy is, and you still feel for him to the very last moment of the strip. It’s a dark series of jokes that make you afraid as often as they make you laugh, and all of this is tied together in a final punchline that leaves you with answers, but many, many more questions. This story is the best of the three, but the others can’t be discounted entirely.
Next is Bendis’ ‘Office Space’, a graphic peek into the hustle and bustle of the Daily Planet, a second home to Clark Kent, but one that appears to have lost its best reporter: Lois Lane. We’re still figuring it all out as Bendis may be too, but one thing he DOES have a solid hold on is the world of Superman. Perry White and Clark Kent’s back and forth could have easily been one of the most boring interactions to suffer through, and yet there’s a pleasant flow of information discussing a recent article and Superman’s sudden involvement. The end of the comic is left on a bit of a strange, sort of uninteresting cliff-hanger involving a new reporter Robinson Goode, but again, it seems we’re just getting the barest taste of what Bendis can do with the Superman mold while keeping to the spirit of the character’s legacy.
And finally, there’s the ‘No Justice: Prelude’, which will become a weekly four issue mini-series beginning next week and finishing out the end of the month of May. Now, I hope most of my bias can be set aside here, because I truly love Jorge Jimenez’s art, but this series does seem pretty interesting at least in concept. The Joker short was my favorite of the entirety of DC Nation #0, but this is a close second. There’s some cool visual pathways made to lead you from page to page and team to team, because yeah, the Justice League is all over the place, consisting of members from the Teen Titans, and big solo’s like Harley Quinn or Etrigan. It’s a ton of lovely action, but possibly, slightly spoiled for me by reading the first issue of Marvel’s Fresh Start Avengers (both of these books seem to involve ginormous cosmic god-like figures). It may end up going over my head like Dark Nights: Metal, but it does benefit from being a weekly series that will start and end in over a positive timeline.
As a whole, DC Nation isn’t a show-stealer like some prelude comics can be; some of these shorts stand on their own while simultaneously setting up interest in the comic they precede, and others are just ‘okay’. Not bad, not great, just there for you to flip through. And hey, maybe for a quarter, that’s okay! After all, this book topped the advanced order list for comic retailers at a little over a million copies. It’s not industry changing like that number might suggest, but trust me, it’s well worth the twenty five cents you’ve got under your car seat.
Too long, didn’t read? I rate DC Nation #0 at 7/10 stars!
Honorable Mentions: Coda #1, Avengers #1, and Death or Glory #1.