Superman and Batman lead the charge of the "new" DC Comics

The first week of DC Comics relaunch highlights the diversity of the new line.

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Last week we saw the beginning with Justice League #1. This week, the official Week 1 of DC Comics – "The New 52" – starts in full swing today with the release of 13 titles: "Action Comics," "Animal Man," "Batgirl," "Batwing," "Detective Comics," "Green Arrow," "Hawk And Dove," "Justice League International," "Men Of War," "O.M.A.C.," "Static Shock," "Stormwatch," and "Swamp Thing."

DC’s bold initiative to restart their whole universe – that is, to start all their most popular series over again at issue #1 – is part of a larger plan aimed at reinvigorating the characters for old and new readers alike. The current batch of titles include war, horror, and of course plenty of superheroics with female and minority characters starring in several books.

A couple of this week’s highlights:

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– Superman gets a major overhaul in "Action Comics #1" written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Rags Morales. This action-packed start shows the beginnings of the Man of Steel’s career as he fights for truth and justice even as he must fend off the authorities who feel duty-bound to capture the alien vigilante. My only quibble with this book is that it’s unclear when the story takes place. I know only from reading about it online that this is a prequel of sorts but less well-informed readers may be confused seeing Superman in jeans and workboots in this title – even as he's garbed in a more familiar version of his costume in last week’s "Justice League" and again in his cameo in this week’s "Swamp Thing."

– A more familiar version of Batman appears in "Detective Comics #1" written and drawn by Tony S. Daniel. The Caped Crusader battles his arch foe the Joker, while outrunning the authorities that are also after him. It's another exciting, intriguing start but because of its similarity to "Silence of the Lambs," this one’s for teens and up and not appropriate for younger readers.

But with so many new choices, there will be something for everyone. Just visit your local comic shop or download a digital copy and get reacquainted with the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. Speaking for me, as a long-time reader, I can’t wait to dig in to the new universe.

Rich Clabaugh is a Monitor staff artist.

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