Now that were well past the first six months of DC Comics New 52 it seemed like the right time for another roundtable; when I asked all the authors, “So…hows the New 52 going so far?” I ended up getting one of our meatiest roundtables yet.
I’m overall happy with most of what I’ve read. I originally wanted to stay around the 8 series mark, but found myself drawn into things like Batman (which doesn’t happen much for me), and just about the entirety of the “Dark” line. Overall, it’s the first time in a while I’ve been excited to read new DC stuff. Some books are much easier to digest as a “just pick it up and go” while others still have me asking questions that are both good and bad. If there is just one thing I’d like to see more would be the actual time lines. Seems an awful lot has gone on in such a short period of time for the Batman section and the Green Lantern area. Just some sort of clue about what years things happen in, if certain stories are actually on different Earths (that would be awesome) or what. Overall, I still get excited to read a lot of the books that I’ve picked up and am having a real hard time finding jumping off points to ease the load on my wallet!
The New 52 has a lot of issues (lots of ‘trying to be edgy, I’m still dumfounded by Justice League, and the collected editions coming out so late is embarrassing) but overall I have to give the DC offices a lot of credit, they are pulling off one of the ballsiest moves in modern comics history and are setting themselves up for the future - and it’s not like DC post-relaunch didn’t have it’s issues. But for me personally I’m having a blast with the books I’m committed to, in my entire comic book reading career I’ve never bought one single Wonder Woman comic and now it’s one of my first reads the week it comes out.
I’ve got my complaints with it like everyone else but the truth is I’m buying more comics than I was, I’m enjoying the majority of them, and I’ve even started buying digital comics. I think that’s exactly what DC planned on right?
And hey, if it took a whole relaunch to get a Captain Atom book than it was worth it.
Overall, I haven’t been a big fan of the New 52. There are some gems, to be sure, like Action Comics or The Flash. But overall, the tone has just not been something I’m into, whether it’s Detective‘s overcooked splatter-porn or Aquaman‘s watered-down banality. The books that attempt to be edgy have come off more exploitative, and the whole thing has just felt rushed and forced, as are most attempts by middle-aged guys to be “hip” and “cool.” There is a sense of desperation to DC’s constant shifting, from cancelling books to shutting down their message boards to resurrecting Watchmen. I know they’re aiming for the excitement of “Anything can happen” but it’s coming off more like “We’ll try anything!”
But that said, I’m still hopeful they’ll iron out the kinks. I’m excited for EARTH 2 and Scott Snyder’s “Owls” Batman crossover. And if all else fails, I’ve still got the Animated DVD’s and Young Justice to get my DC fix.
Generally speaking the new 52 has been a success. It would seem that a lot more people outside the comics community are talking about DC’s heroes. The books are selling well and for the most part there seems to be an enthusiasm and excitement around the industry. Although some of the least popular books have been cancelled, there is still a sense of momentum and the new books on the horizon have great potential. Personally it has been the first time I have collected so many DC books. As a Marvel boy it has been hard to admit that DC has two of the best books on the stands right now. Both Animal Man and Batwoman have completely taken me by surprise. Both full off character, solid narratives and fantastic art. But they aren’t the only surprise as Snyder’s Batman is really as good as people are saying. Batman is a character that I have never kept with on a month by month basis, but with the New 52 this is one (out of the many Bat titles) that I’d like to read and keep up with. That leads onto one of the great aspects of the relaunch, there is seemingly a book for everyone. Be it bombastic action, supernatural hijinks or solid character pieces, the 52 has it all. Some may not work but there is a great level of choice. There have been real duds and missteps though. The obvious choices are the re-imagined Starfire, Sucide Squad and Grifter. Each one as shallow, boring and pointless as the last. However some of the other titles have glaring problems with them. Green Arrow’s opening issues saw Oliver Queen hit women, whilst another character spouted outdated ideas of how the internet causes violence. Batgirl’s Barbara Gordon became dull and uninteresting as her constant navel gazing became unbearable. But the biggest offender for me has been Geoff Johns’ multiple projects. Green Lantern is bloated and bogged down with Johns apparent obsession with whiny Hal Jordan. Justice League seems to be all over the place, in characterisation and pace. Although I would say it might be good for younger and new readers, but I’d assume most people want more (just look at our review by a 13 year old). Aquaman however gets the most flack from me. Hate is a strong word, but the way the book has been going it’s easily the worst thing on the shelves. A hollow spectacle, devoid of genuinely interesting plots and characters. But even with these blips in quality the New 52 has been consistently solid on the whole. A real injection of freshness into the industry.
After six months of the New 52, I must say that if I was a new reader, I’d be done with DC altogether. The offerings that I’ve read have not lived up to the hype, or even the modicum of quality that one would expect from a reboot. I had and still have many issues with John Byrne’s reboot of Superman, but Byrne knew how to craft a story, and knew how to deliver a story on time. Many of the characters of the New 52 are unrecognizable. Yes, with a reboot there will be some change, but the core of the character should be there. For instance, who is Wonder Woman in the New 52? She acts one way in her own title, and is a totally different person in Justice League. Superman is a different character in every book he appears in. I enjoy Nightwing, but that’s only because it’s reverted to what the title was before he became Batman. Nothing new or fresh there (and Nightwing is mediocre at best.
The only hope that I’ve been given is the appearance of Pandora, who is responsible for the cluster of scat that is the New 52, which means that there’s every chance that this will all be a bad dream for the DC heroes, and a loss of only a year of my comic reading life.
DC’s ‘New 52′ was, for me, the perfect time to get out of a situation I was no longer comfortable with: the 10 plus Batman titles, the disastrous Green Arrow story arc that wouldn’t move forward for nearly a year and the end of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl were just a few of my pre-reboot gripes. I dropped all of my DC titles and once things restarted, I picked up Justice League as I thought that a new beginning of a book that featured DC’s biggest stars would be impossible to screw up, but if this book is indicative of the rest of the New 52, I made the right decision to keep my book count at one. I just don’t understand why it took four or five issues to put the team together during a story arc that moves like molasses and does little to develop the characters or their relationships. Once this arc is over, I’ll officially be finished with DC for the foreseeable future. Good luck, DC – if Justice League is the best you can do, you’re going to need it.
6 months in and I think the New 52 has been a success. Back in September I tried a crap ton of new titles and here are the ones that I am still following: Action Comics, Animal Man, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batwoman, Green Lantern, Justice League, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman. Batman and Robin, Detective, and Justice League are by far the weakest links but I am still going to give them a few more issues. I work at a comic store and this relaunch has been a success for us. A big chunk of titles like Green Arrow and Superman are actually selling less than before the reboot but titles like Action, Justice League, Batman, and Detective sell much better than before that it more than makes up for it. I personally have never followed an Aquaman title regularly and have never even read a Wonder Woman title but this reboot has me doing jut that. They also managed to get me interested in Superman who is a character I normally just don’t care for. I hope they keep the creative teams on these books strong as that is what will keep the sales up and crossovers like the Court of Owls will need a level of quality through each of the parts to keep readers from giving up. All and all I’m happy with the New 52 and am reading more DC books at one time than I probably ever have and as long as the good work keeps up and the universe isn’t broken into 52 parts for the 100th time, I’ll be back for more each month.
As far as I’m concerned, I have mixed feeling about the reboot. On the whole, I think it was great. It allowed lots of new fans to get in on the ground floor as was evident in the huge increase in overall sales of DC titles. It gave creators a fresh slate to re-imagining some golden and silver age classics. It infused excitement and mystery back into comics as a whole. However, where it failed was in the execution. Unfortunately for DC, in my god’s honest opinion, the thing that they are usually renowned for was sorely lacking in this reboot and that is writing. I feel their stories were not reboot quality. Some were great, but most were not. The trade paperback mentality of writing that has really plagued Marvel recently has infected DC and it caused a lot of their first story arcs to drag. On top of that, the lack of origins and initial back story made many of the characters very tough to get assimilated with. In addition, the radical change in personalities on some of the main characters themselves made it hard for old time fans to accept these heroes as the ones they grew up with and loved. As a person who collects only 2 DC hero titles, but have collected every major DC event since Crisis, I found these remakes completely strange and very much in the Marvel style of character development. Still, for the sole increase in interest, I feel that this change is a success, but I can’t wait until its over and the historic characters of yore are returned in all of their glory.
The “New 52″ is exactly what I thought it would be: part legendary, part junk, some of it standard, and a lot of it mediocre. There were some things we knew we wouldn’t get, but asked for anyway (acontinuity that made sense). There were some things we didn’t ask for, but got anyway (another Supergirl origin story). Personally, my biggest disappointments were The Savage Hawkman and Firestorm, two characters that were ready to carry their own books, but which fell flat on their faces, the latter worse than the former. But hey, we finally got that Batwoman book.
Comparatively speaking, for the most part, outside of Justice League and the Batman titles, DC Comics are selling roughly the same as they were at this time last year (Feb’11 to Feb’12)… sure some, like Green Lantern, are also still a bit up (though GL is not outside the realm of its pre-reboot reach), but to aknowledge that you also have to aknowledge that others, like Green Arrow, are significanly down in comparrison. I said that month seven would be the real indicator, when we’d start to see what the reboot really did to DC Comics, so we’ll all need to keep a look out at the end of this month for those sales figures, but by the looks of things… yeah… we’re gonna see a massive dip in the next couple of months, and I’m holding to my theory that the reboot will have effectively done more harm than good in the long run. By year’s end, I’m sure we’ll start seeing interviews with some people admitting that it was all a big mistake, and we might even see some movement to “correct it” through another big event story… another Crisis, as it were. Just watch.
Now it’s your turn, “So…hows the New 52 going so far?”
More New 52 @ acomicbookblog.com/tag/new-dcu