New 52 Review – “Men of War #1”

One of the titles billed as a diversification of the line, this extra large issue kicks off a war anthology title.

General Information

Title: Men of War #1

Author: Ivan Brandon (Joseph Rock lead story), Jonathan Vankin (Navy Seals backup)

Illustrator(s): Tom Derenick (art on Joseph Rock), Matt Wilson (colours on Joseph Rock), Phil Winslade (art on Navy Seals backup) and Thomas Chu (colours on Navy Seals backup)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $3.99

Buy the digital edition.


In the lead story, Joseph Rock is introduced as a corporal in the infantry whose grandfather was highly decorated and well respected. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, no matter how much Joseph wants to be his own man. In the backup, a group of U.S. soldiers are under fire in a country they’re not supposed to be in, and their situation is highly compromised.

High Point

The backup story gives an excellent and frantic feel to it. It reminds me in tone of Saving Private Ryan, in fact.

Low Point

The lead story involves superhumans. Yes, it is about a military unit trying to do their job in a world of superhumans, but if the goal is to diversify the line, perhaps the superhumans could be omitted from the war anthology title, at least for a while. Dialogue can establish a shared universe, but superhuman involvement could be held off as long as possible.

The Scores

This feels less original than I expected. A modern war comic could be a great way to extend the line, but I find the superhuman element in the first story blows that all to hell. The backup, however, captures the tone perfectly. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is excellent from both teams. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story with Joseph Rock has a bit of a stereotypical opening, and then picks up. Once the soldiers are in the field, the superhuman shows up and the tone and seeming intent of the title collapses. It’s not that it isn’t well written, but it’s an element I wouldn’t have chosen to include. The backup is far more in line with what I was expected, and was equally well written. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization in the first story is what I would have guessed from a generational hero. The second story establishes more of a unit, starting with two of its members. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response to the first story was weak. The first few pages are highly predictable given the topic of conversation, and then the superhuman element just spoils the anticipated diversification of the line. However, if you are looking for a war comic, don’t be completely discouraged: the backup delivers in every way, including the use of a cast of characters that is icon free, so you really don’t know who will and will not survive any given story. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow through the first story is marred by that one disruptive element. The backup story completely delivers. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a well made comic that simply doesn’t feel like what I thought it was going to be. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Men of War #1 receives 30 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman