DC Universe Presents kicks off its next storyline with new featured heroes Black Lightning and Blue Devil!
DC Universe Presents #13
(Mark Andreyko, Robson Rocha, Oclair Albert)
DC Universe Presents gives us stories featuring characters outside the main New 52 universe. This issue focuses on Black Lightning and Blue Devil, who make their New 52 debut. Set in Los Angeles, our heroes are on the trail of a drug lord corrupting the streets. However, they don’t trust each other...at the moment. After a brief battle, they head back to their respective “corners” and consult their mentors. Black Lightning turns to his father, while Blue Devil seeks advice from his grandfather. We are also given a quick introduction as to how Blue Devil gets his powers through his suit, but this point is addressed very briefly.
This story, quite honestly, wasn’t very good. It felt very generic and forced. Very little is revealed about the characters, and there were very low stakes and reasons to be invested in them. Yes, Blue Devil’s grandfather is killed, but it’s a death that we’re told to care about as opposed to a death that authentically affects the reader (i.e. Superman’s first “death” or Barbara Gordon’s crippling in Killing Joke). The characters are cookie-cutter and rather stereotypical. Blue Devil is the brash, dive-head-first hero; Black Lightning is the straight-laced, by the book hero who trusts no one. “Will these two ever put aside their differences and fight their common enemy?” Yes. Inevitably yes. The reader can almost predict the ending of the story arc from this first issue.
The artwork is also fairly standard. The color scheme naturally is based on the starring characters, using shades of blues and blacks. The action scenes are very simple, the character designs are basic, and there isn’t very much to say in the art’s favor. Blue Devil has been redesigned, and sadly I’m not a big fan of the new look. It feels like the artist was trying to make him more “badass” or “edgy”. I prefer the old black tee shirt and jeans look, but that’s just me.
Honestly, I wish I had liked this book more. It’s not to say that I set fairly high expectations before reading this issue, but the series has delivered some fairly good material so far, but given the nature of the series itself, each story is effectively a miniseries. I was curious about Blue Devil, since I’ve heard he’s one of the more magical heroes of the DC Universe, and Black Lightning was virtually unknown to me. Sadly, this book was just plain. It didn’t grab me at all. That said, I’m sure there are some people who would like this story and where it’s going. And for all I know, the story will probably pick up nicely next issue. It just didn’t do very much for me. I give DC Universe Presents #13 5.5 devil horns out of 10.