John Doe: Keeper

John Doe, KEEPER (Yep Roc Records)
The legendary X co-frontperson continues his rock-solid solo career with another indie-star-studded collection of country and roots rock that never forgets its punk rock pedigree. Mixing melancholic introspection, righteous indignation, wistful longing and soulful celebration, the well-seasoned KEEPER more than lives up to its name.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

“The quiet Beatle” comes off as, well, pretty darn dull in Martin Scorsese’s overlong documentary that fails to turn tales of Harrison’s Hinduism obsession, often forgettable post-Beatles projects and sometimes-testy personality into enough meat for a meal (although Monty Python share some nice anecdotes about George’s film production).


Catwoman #1

CATWOMAN #1 by Judd Winick and Guillem March
Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke’s 2002 CATWOMAN relaunch was a mainstream comics anomaly, a Caniff-inspired stylish noir. “The New 52” births this lingerie-spattered reboot that reveals Catwoman and Batman engaged in a violent hate-fuck. Sure, we always knew, but, aside from juvenile prurience, there’s no reason for us to see.

New Girl

Following some awful musical dalliances, the undeniably adorable Zooey Deschanel somewhat redeems herself in this mostly worthy sitcom. Sure, the setup is tired and her dude-mates are fairly bland archetypes, but the nicely-timed, genuinely quirky humor keeps me tuned in (as long as the singing’s kept to a minimum!).

Supergirl #1

SUPERGIRL #1 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, Mamud Asrar and Dan Green
The new Supergirl lands on Earth and punches out an armored security team for thirteen pages before her (presumed) cousin shows to stop the carnage. It’s nicely drawn (and, unlike Superman’s, Kara’s new outfit is actually pretty good), but the non-stop slugfest isn’t exactly a compelling story.


Batman: The Dark Knight #1

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1 by David Finch, Paul Jenkins and Richard Friend
Okay, DC, listen up. The problem with your universe wasn’t that it was dated, it’s that it was incomprehensible. The new DCU still has way too many Batman comics, and I vote that this pointless exercise in grit be granted a quick and merciful execution. Have Zsasz do it.

Game of Thrones

It took about four episodes before I began to care about anyone on this show, but then I had to suffer the endless tragedies and indignities heaped upon the few heroes. There’s a vindictive, bitter undertone to this show that’s discomfiting, but not quite enough to keep me away.

Swamp Thing #1

SWAMP THING #1 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
As the DC reboot is not across the board, some new #1s are continuing old storylines, and in this case, I am beyond confused. Who’s this Alec Holland? This is supposed to earn new readers? Also, I hope artist Paquette is sharing his paycheck with his “inspiration,” Kevin Nowlan.


Superman #1

SUPERMAN #1 by George PĂ©rez and Jesus Marino
Okay, the Man of Steel’s reintroduction isn’t all bad, mixing classic elements (no marriage!) with a potentially interesting take on the digital-age Daily Planet and its staff. Marino’s sleek finishes gild Perez’s breakdowns, but the overall tone is a bit too dark and I still hate that ridiculous costume.

Batgirl #1

BATGIRL #1 by Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes
One major Bat-alteration to the DCnU is Barbara Gordon’s regaining the usage of her legs and retaking the mantle of Batgirl. Simone’s tale of a death-dealer named the Mirror is big on characterization, action and suspense, with spectacular art (even her tweaked costume looks nice). This one’s a winner.

NOTE: For a side piece about this issue's lettering, see here.

Jersey Shore Season 4

Italy, Schmitaly. By disingenuously avoiding any reference to our anti-heroes’ wealth and fame, an already-risible show gets even MORE annoying, missing an opportunity to mine potentially interesting territory (The Shituation is getting laid by gold-digging starfuckers, duh). Let’s see these douchebag/ettes openly acknowledge their (hopefully almost expired) 15 minutes.

The Flash #1

THE FLASH #1 by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
The Flash has often been (sorry, fans) a pretty dull character. Pre-reboot, Flash mythology had become an overpopulated, conflicting morass. This mostly uneventful new debut doesn’t answer the question of how many other speedsters remain in the new universe, but frankly, I don’t really care.


Batman #1

BATMAN #1 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion
Behind the hideous logo lies one of the more stylized and subdued entrants in the new DCU. But why not take advantage of the reboot and reduce the extended Batman Family to a more manageable size? Two Robins, a Nightwing plus Batwing, Batgirl, Batwoman… Still? The proverbial Batcave is overcrowded.

Detective Comics #1

DETECTIVE COMICS #1 by Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn
Aside from Batman’s pointlessly tweaked costume (and another bad logo), there’s not much new in the reboot of DC’s namesake title. Unless you count the Joker having his face surgically removed. I guess that’s a new one. The verdict’s still out, but so far, the renumbering seems pointless.


Are we really still being subjected to laugh-tracked sitcoms with rat-a-tat gags in the place of actual dialogue and believable relationships? Hasn’t this tired format been euthanized by comedies like CURB and LOUIE? Cardboard characters bantering in an anachronistic form of entertainment is just embarrassing—and painfully unfunny.


Action Comics #1

ACTION COMICS #1 by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales and Rick Bryant
I don’t mind the working-class Kal-El as a callback to the 1930s champ o’ the oppressed (nor even the jeans and work boots), but the usually dramatic Morrison’s introduction to the “new” Superman surprisingly lacks any emotional or theatrical impact. Morales’ art is fine, but where are Jimmy Olsen’s freckles?

Justice League #1

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams
The flagship title of the new DC Universe portends an ugly future, with bickering, gritty, armored heroes in video game settings. Jim Lee’s eyestrain-inducing, overly detailed artwork (Green Lantern’s constructs are ridiculous) is rendered even more illegible by coloring that likewise lacks any subtlety or restraint. A sad mess.

Black Swan

Despite Matthew Libatique’s nice 70s-evoking cinematography, Darren Aronofsky’s patented sledgehammer style overwhelms an unavoidably predictable tale (with insulting exposition). Natalie Portman is quite good (and I’m no fan), but it feels like Black Swan’s critical status owes more to the haughty pedigree of its milieu than the film itself.

Sloan, The Double Cross

Sloan celebrates its 20th anniversary with another solid slab of power pop, melding 60s British Invasion, 70s melodies and harmonizing and a post-new wave sensibility in a way that isn’t a mere retro pastiche. Not as awesome as BETWEEN or PRETTY, but a worthy addition to the library.