The New 52: One Year Later

A brief detour into comics.

I’m a big fan of the DC universe. I had been mostly a Marvel fan as a kid — reading Thor and Iron Man — but I knew the DCU. Who doesn’t, right? Most people could tell you the basics of the iconic characters. But sometime around when Tim Drake took over as Robin, I discovered how amazing the DCU is. I pretty much became a devoted DC fan, and never looked back.

And last year, DC took a radical step and relaunched a lot of titles, The New 52. As we roll into the 12th issue of some of these new titles – some have been great, some not so much, and the “history” of the new universe has started to take shape. I thought I’d take a minute and acknowledge what – for me – have been some of the high points and low points of the new 52.

Bright Spots

Catwoman
I’ve never been a Catwoman reader, but with the new storylines and Judd Winick as the writer, I decided to give it a try. And it’s a really cool book. Judd Winick may be my favorite writer working in comics – I’ve been a huge fan of pretty much everything he’s written. I’d love to see him doing more of the 52 but, I’ll take what I can get.

Nightwing
It’s hard not to love Nightwing. The Bat-boys are some great characters — and taking Dick back to the circus was a story I was happy to see. Add in a little bit of mystery with the Court of Owls storyline (which was excellent overall, btw) and so far, the new book has been one of my favorites of the new 52.

Superman
Writing Superman is not a job I’d envy. He’s such a hard character to get anywhere with. And then to consider a relaunch – changing a lot of what we already know and tinkering with the rest? Rough assignment. But the new book is excellent. I don’t really know Dan Jurgens’ work all that well but I think his new book strikes an excellent mix between “monster of the issue” battles and making us care about and like Clark and Superman. This is a book I’m glad I took a chance on and I’m sticking with it.

Teen Titans
It’s hit or miss. I’ll admit it. I loved the team they put together in the last incarnation, with Young Justice turning into the Teen Titans, it was a great book. Now, I’m a fan of the new characters, I like Wonder Girl, Bunker, and Red Robin — but the book is odd and doesn’t seem to be gelling like it should. It’s keeping me in – mainly because there are characters I want to keep reading – but at some point that might not be enough. The bright spot though is that for the moment, those characters are enough, which says something important.

The Not So Bright Spots

Red Hood and the Outlaws
Can we please just end this horrible travesty of a comic. I’m not even going to review it. It’s so painful… just make it stop DC. Please?

Superboy
Another Scott Lobdell title. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my love for the Titans I’d just be begging DC to drop this guy and hire a five-year old to replace him. This comic is disjointed, poorly paced, poorly plotted, just all over the place. I… well, I wanted more from a Superboy story.

Earth 2 & Worlds’ Finest
The “Earth 2” characters — the JSA of old — are some of the most important and amazing characters in comics. The JSA series written over the last few years was (right up until near the end) one of the most consistently excellent titles DC published. And when I heard that DC was going to give a full on Earth 2 title and a title that was “the adventures of Power Girl and Huntress” I was excited. Power Girl is a wonderful character, the Huntress is an amazing member of the Bat family and I’ve never read an Alan Scott or Jay Garrick story that I didn’t love. But so far, these two books are terrible. I’m giving them six issues – but there has been very little to recommend them so far. I hope DC does something to save these two books. I want to love them. Right now, I don’t.

I know that’s only a smattering of what’s out there – and I didn’t mention Justice League (which is also a serious bright spot. Really, if you only read one DC New 52 book, read Justice League). I also didn’t mention Wonder Woman – my biggest disappointment of the relaunch… It just hurts too much to talk about (sniff…). All kidding aside though, there’s a lot more I could say – and maybe I’ll do a companion post to hit some of the other titles (like Batgirl — which should be titled “Batgirl WTF?!?”). For now, I suppose my conclusion is, it’s a mixed bag. I’m trying to like the new 52. Some books make it easy — others make it nigh impossible.

So, other DC fans, what do you think?

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2 responses

  1. I find myself agreeing with many of your points. I was a little leery at first with the reboot but have enjoyed many of the titles and suprisingly more than what Marvel is currently offering.

    I think the Bat books have been very strong (nightwing included). I have found it interesting and somehwat refreshing take on superman seeing him at the begining of his career and with his power level still growing. I have also been pleasently suprised by Aquaman and think Jones has done a great job with him.

    I was also turned off with Superboy.

  2. I’m glad I’m not alone with the Superboy thing… I thought maybe it was just me. The Bat books are really strong – I didn’t mention it but I really enjoy the Batman title and thought the Court of Owls storyline was excellent.

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