"DC Universe Presents" #13 continues its path of reintroducing characters into DC Comics' New 52, with Marc Andreyko, Robson Rocha and Oclair Albert tackling Black Lightning and Blue Devil. While there are some changes between the old and new incarnations of the characters, this first issue has me interested in seeing where this goes next.
When "DC Universe Presents" #13 opens, both Blue Devil and Black Lightning are already active heroes, although both are rather new. Andreyko uses the standard meet-and-fight first encounter between the two, although I like the slight contrast in how Blue Devil is the more laid back of the pair who would just as soon talk through the misunderstanding. In many ways "DC Universe Presents" #13 is a study in contrasts; uptight versus laid back, internally powered versus using a suit, good versus bad relationship with parent figure. With both having a similar goal, though, there's no doubt that they'll easily find common ground in the issues ahead.
Andreyko has moved Black Lightning to Los Angeles (instead of Metropolis or Brick City) but also brought Tobias Whale along for the ride. He's a bit of a mix between the Kingpin and the Penguin here, but for now he works as a reasonable nemesis for the duo. He's a visual stand out from a generic guy in a suit, and his inclusion in the New 52 feels like it could work.
Robson Rocha's pencils are nice. They're easy to follow, and I love the expressions on Blue Devil's face. Black Lightning comes across (perhaps deliberately) a bit stiff here, but Blue Devil gets a huge range of emotion through Rocha's art. There are little elements in the visuals that grabbed my attention the most, though, like the entryway to Graveyard Pictures or the graffiti-covered bridge where the opening scene is set. It's stuff like that which balances out Black Lightning's so-trim-you-can-see-his-ribs physique, and makes me pleased with Rocha as the main artist.
"DC Universe Presents" #13 is definitely one of the better issues of this anthology title; getting to launch characters this way certainly plays to its strength. I'm enjoying what I'm seeing, and after the demise of "Manhunter" it's certainly a pleasure to get new comics by Andreyko. Bring on the next chapter, I'll be back.