We’ve discussed the The New 52 quite a bit already but now that the 1-year mark has come and gone the temptation to get together and ramble was too great. Similar to our 6-months in conversation I asked all the authors, “So…now that it’s been a year how’s the New 52 going so far?” And again, the response were pretty polarizing…
Now that the first year’s come and gone, I’ve settled into knowing what I want to continue reading and what I’ve decided to move on from. Overall, I still say this was pretty ballsy move for DC but as more and more time passes from Justice League #1, the more this becomes the norm for DC. So really at this point I kinda feel like they did what they did and that was exciting but, for me, I’ve settled back and decided to keep reading the handful of books I want to continue and drop a handful more. Especially as a Marvel guy, I spent six months or so actually very excited for DC’s New 52, but now I’ve cut back a bit to get back to my normal budget and tastes.
I think it’s only fair to gauge DC’s success with The New 52 from two perspectives; subjectively and objectively. It’s a fact, The New 52 breathed new life not just into it’s own universe but into the entire comics industry. Previous to the relaunch sales were hitting all time lows and the concern was starting to reach beyond just those who paid close attention. And no, DC can’t be given all the credit (Marvel had their big event and Image has had more than a few successful launches), but it’s more than fair to point towards the relaunch and see the numbers being to not just climb, but skyrocket even. The bottom line is that more people are reading and buying comics and DC’s ballsy move (I agree with you Geoff) deserves a large portion of that credit.
Personally, I’ve mostly enjoyed it. I’m reading and enjoying books I hadn’t picked up before, such as Wonder Woman, every freaking issue has been tremendous (and what a perfect way to bring in the FREAKING NEW GODS!). That being said, I was pretty passionate about fans needing to let go of their old continuity love and trying to embrace something new, and now I find myself annoyed at the same thing. Some of the changes seem either unnecessary, ill conceived, or without much consideration for what came before. I didn’t think it would, but some of it is starting to rub me the wrong way. I can’t escape juxtaposing this and Marvel’s Ultimate universe/line of books and wondering if I wish DC had done that.
The important thing though is that I’m enjoying the books I buy (which is more than I was before) and DC can’t take away the continuity in our own heads (you can write whatever you want in the books but in my brain Alfred will always have raised little Bruce, hahaha).
A year into the New 52, and the thing I find most lacking is a sense of fun, excitement and history, especially when compared with DC’s Animated movies and the Young Justice cartoon series. In contrast, DC’s comics are dry, overwrought or just downright uninteresting. DC was in such a hurry to start fresh, they threw out their history and character relationships, and forgot to replace them with anything new or modern, leaving most of their world feeling hollow and empty. Batman has survived because (1) he’s Batman and (2) his comics haven’t changed all that much and (3) he’s got good creative teams. On the other hand, the constant string of writers and artists on books like Superman and Green Arrow indicate that DC is pretty directionless when it comes to characters that they weren’t already getting right before the reboot. Books like Earth 2 and Flash, which feature steady creative teams with both passion and clear visions for their characters are still great. But if DC is going to keep going, they need to remember that comics are supposed to be fun to read, not a chore, and that while I love DC’s characters, thanks to TV and the internet, I don’t need their comics to enjoy them.
It has been nearly a year since DC comics launched its New 52 initiative and although it was met with excitement and sales figures, it still had its doubters. Could they sustain the quality that seemed to be in a large portion of the titles on offer for a whole year? Well to be honest they couldn’t. That isn’t to say that some of the titles aren’t still excellent, with Batman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman still on top form. But most of the others titles I have experienced have fallen to the wayside due in part to creative team shifts. The “second wave” hasn’t really set alight the line as DC hoped, even if Earth 2 is a solid read. Constant inconsistencies in the actual continuity of DC’s New 52 has seemingly lead to the zero issues, which will attempt to explain some of the back story. Also as another batch of titles gets cancelled we are on course to receive another “wave” which boasts more action packed comics. The biggest flaw in the whole of the 52 has been DC’s focus on the dark and gritty action that makes the lacklustre titles so dull. A year in and the New 52 is looking more and more like a 90s revival than a step forward.
In my opinion, the best thing about the New 52 after 1 year is that it is still drawing in the amount of readers that it does. I love the fact that comics are selling higher number of copies monthly. It shows me that there is still some interest in the industry. The bad part is the complete destruction of all DC continuity as we know it. It’s a shame that so much history has to be completely wiped out just for the sake of selling a few books. (And getting around a lawsuit) There are some gems in this reboot like Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Demon Knights, and the Suicide Squad. The GL and Bat books are all very strong and heavily story oriented which is great. However, the complete crap that is Justice League and the Superman family of books are truly sad considering those were the cornerstones of the relaunch. Still, overall, the relaunch was a whopping success that is sure to be retconned in some future “event” in a quest for more money.
One year later and I find myself in a position of toleration with a backhanded hatred for the reboot. Basically, I loath the New 52, and it has done nothing to change my mind in a full year. That said, my fanboyism has managed to prevail in keeping me attached to Green Arrow (though not Arsenal, as odd as it may seem, as he was my actual favorite character before the reboot hit), but I find myself not caring about DC Comics except for where Oliver Queen is concerned (I even bought the GA Justice League issue against my better judgement, violating my long standing Geoff Johns boycott). This doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, but looking at my hold list before the reboot, you’d see that DC has lost my business quite significantly. I had six monthly titles back then, all DC, and even extended for multiple minis and crossovers… but now? Its Green Arrow… that’s it… well, Green Arrow and Hawkeye, but Hawkeye is Marvel. Its really sad. What’s worse is that my love for DC Comics still stands, its just not extended to the New 52, and I’m not sure I’ll ever come to a point of true acceptance and love for the reboot. I still hold out a likely vain hope that it will relapse at some point and we’ll get our real heroes back, but for now, at least I’ve come to a point where I can tolerate it… and that’s an accomplishment given the emotional fanboy roller coaster I’ve been on this year.
Now it’s your turn, “So…hows the New 52 more than a year later?”
More New 52 @ acomicbookblog.com/tag/new-dcu