DC Nation #0 is a promotional book for Free Comics Book Day. There are three stories in this volume, each intended to whet the reader’s interest for upcoming storylines, in Batman, Superman, and Justice League.
So in a way, this is sort of a giant advertisement. And if the stories were done poorly, that is exactly what it would feel like. It’s not too easy to pull off teasers that are, in and of themselves enjoyable, and each of the three faces its own challenges.
Tom King and Clay Mann open the issue with a Joker story, which sees Batman’s arch-nemesis hoping to receive and invitation to his upcoming wedding. It’s a fine little story unto itself. It reads much like any other well told Joker solo story, with the villian’s preposterous goals, and unstable reactions. It’s fun, but to be honest I expected something a little more from King, as his run on Batman has been so very creative. Still, does it really take much to build a reader’s interest in the wedding of Batman and Catwoman? Not really. So it’s probably a good thing that this is the tightest, clearest, of the three stories.
Brian Michael Bendis and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez do the Superman tale. I love seeing Garcia-Lopez on Superman again. He illustrated a lot of the Superman stories I most enjoyed as a child. I’m a total DC geek, so I know of Bendis more from reputation than from actual familiarity, but the tale does include one interesting point for me, the absence of Lois Lane from the Daily Planet. Aside from that, the most notable feature of the story is the introduction of a new staff member for the Planet, Robinson Goode. She is a black woman. And this kind of plays as if it is a significant development. As if this were the first important black employee of the Planet.
But she’s not, you know. Ron Troupe had a long career at the Planet in Superman tales from the decade before the New 52. Whatever happened to him? For that matter, whatever happened to Melba Manton, Dave Stevens, and Tina Ames, all black staffers for the Daily Planet, introduced back in the early 70s? Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way against having POC on the Planet staff. There ought to be quite a few. I’m just dismayed at the way they get introduced with such fanfare, and then neglected and forgotten about.
Anyway, let’s move on the last story in the issue, a teaser for the No Justice series, which begins next week. Of the three, this tale, by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson and Jorge Jimenez is the least like a story, and the most like an ad. There are a number of very fast scenes, introducing a variety of heroes assembled into different teams. Rather than provide us a sense of what No Justice will be like to read, it overwhelms with the line-up of characters that are going to be in play.
I’m enough of a fanboy to be thrilled just by the vast line-up, so I am really hoping No Justice turns out to be as exciting as they are making it look.
While it is true that only the Batman story reads well on its own, DC Nation is definitely more than just an ad for things coming up. And geez, it’s free, so it’s not like you are losing anything by reading it.