It has been among us now for four months.
This past September, DC Comics The New 52 was unleashed upon an awaiting world. A huge, unrelenting relaunch of multiple characters and concepts, across a wide spectrum of genres and styles, all daringly landing in eager geeks hands around the planet.
Excitement. That is my middle name.
So after reading the first three months of The New 52 (all acquired at my Local Comics Shop, Excalibur Comics, another plug) and participating in many rigourous debates both online and not, I am now giving my verdict on which titles will survive and thrive in my ample collection, and which I am switching out for others, deemed more worthwhile.
Superman is still on my list, even with my disgust and dismay over the marriage vanishing into the mists. In this new universe, Clark is a distant loner and kinda annoying, while Lois nags him a lot. Not helping is the slightly lame villain with no real purpose. Only the George Perez layouts give these stories any kind of life or dynamics. I still don’t think DC knows what to do with these characters. While as Action Comics, written by the memorable Grant Morrison, is hitting all the right notes with great stories and a Clark Kent you can get into. Hard hitting in and out of costume, this Kal-El backs up his words with, well, action.
Following up these flagship titles is Superboy and Supergirl, both are only still existing for me because of the Super connection. But just barely. Both books are retreads of what has come before, and done better. The fact that Supergirl fought Superman in issue two of her series, all because of some childish temper tantrum, bored me senseless. Put Jeff Lemire and Sterling Gates back on these titles and all will be forgiven.
One franchise moving forward in this relaunch is my other beloved, the Legion of Super Heroes. Being a Legion fan since the Reflecto Saga (I can hear the other Legion fans weeping from here) this title is carrying on and still telling great stories. And despite my misgivings, the spinoff book Legion Lost is actually half good. But now a new writer is coming aboard, one who is a talentless hack of epic proportions, so my resolve will be sorely tested. I am an anal-retentive completist, so I will continue with Legion Lost, but this will cause me mental anguish.
I made a prediction in my previous post that Jeff Lemire writing Animal Man would be a match made in heaven. My prophecy proved absolutely true. One of Canada’s greatest writers has picked up the challenge of matching Grant Morrison’s stellar tenure on the character. Virtually all the wasted stories that followed Morrison have been made obsolete by Lemire, which makes this geek very very happy. Yippee!
Justice League is a massive improvement over what came before, and the first story arc has been impressive with character and scope. The only quibble is the new inclusion of Cyborg into the origin, which comes across as somewhat forced. What comes across as very forced, and just plain awful, is Justice League International. This book is about 90 per cent whatever, with very few redeeming qualities. Henceforth it has been deleted from my pull list. Good riddance.
This bring up another casualty. Wonder Woman was a title I knew I would hate, given the writers terrible track record, but I gave it a shot. No more. A one issue story has been stretched to what seems to be a five parter, and I couldn’t give a darn. The change to the origin I can fully understand, but this long to tell it? DC, call Greg Rucka, thanks.
Another downer is Batgirl. It has not been explained yet how she is no longer paralyzed, but that part does not bother me as much. It is the fact they devolved Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) into this inexperienced, naive, bumbling 1970’s version that no one cared about even in that decade. I also found it somewhat insulting. Any female fan picking up this comic, then picking up a Barbara Gordon story from say a decade ago, would wonder why she was now a shmuck. An enabled character is now highly ineffective. What a waste.
A bright note is the inclusion of Stormwatch to my reading. Having almost no previous knowledge of this team, I am thoroughly enjoying this amazing series. If you like your heroes to have unique and strange powers used in very different ways, try Stormwatch. The British writer Paul Cornell was formerly a scribe on Dr. Who and now plies his trade here. Unfortunately he is leaving in a few issues, which gives me a sad face.
So at this point, the death toll on my pull list are Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Justice League International. I will not lose sleep over these dismissals. The replacement titles now populating my pull list are Demon Knights, Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, and All-Star Western. These three books were heavily recommended and favourably reviewed, but what really sold me on them was the writers. Paul Cornell pens Demon Knights while Jeff Lemire is the author of Frankenstein and All-Star Western was favoured by @girlsreadcomics on twitter.
DC has seen much increased sales and publicity with this bold, daring move with many books becoming breakout hits. This aspect of The New 52 makes me very happy and provides hope for the future of this wondrous literary form. Thank you DC for this.
For four months it has infiltrated our existence, becoming our new reality.
The New 52 by DC Comics is here to entice and enthrall us with it’s amazing stories about these incredible characters. Epic tales being told for our 21st century world. All just waiting for you to reconnect with a past favourite or discover a new beloved.
I am so giddy. And that is my other middle name.
P.S. All images are copyright 2012 DC Entertainment.
A Bonus Extra Special Must Have List!!
Top 10 Things I Miss About The Old DC Universe:
10 Superman’s marriage. Yes, still pining over this one.
9 Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) being a kick butt, tough as nails character.
8 The Teen Titans by Wolfman and Perez. Great great series that has vanished in the new continuity.
7 Batman and Catwoman being a real couple. Yes, I am an old fashioned romantic.
6 Lian Harper ceases to exist. Green Arrow’s “granddaughter” is gone because DC copied the Smallville version of the character.
5 Superman’s marriage. I have to save this again.
4 Wonder Woman having a half decent series. The book has been coasting for years. Two words: Greg Rucka.
3 Quislet. Some of you will have to google this, but I miss this Legion character.
2 The Justice Society of America. I loved them being on the same planet as Superman. So sad.
1 Superman’s marriage. I know none of you are surprised. I loved Lois and Clark as a married couple. Cross fingers they will fix this.