The New 52 – One Reader’s Assessment
With this past Wednesday’s release, the last of DC Comics’ New 52 books have been released. For the most part, this incredibly daring plan has paid off, revitalizing a number of titles. With all the number 1s out, it seems like the right time to sum up the New 52.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW
In an endeavour like this, it is difficult to pin down just one book as the hit of the New 52. There were a number of good books out there that really stand out. For me, the biggest standouts were Swamp Thing, Green Lantern, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
For me, there were really only two absolute duds of the run. Legion of Super-Heroes failed for me because it seemed to try and encompass the extremely complex history of the Legion, the comprehension of which is difficult even for avid readers of the book, let alone the newbies that a number 1 tends to draw in. The other fail was Hawk and Dove, mostly because the book was sub-par in both story and art (disclaimer: I am not a big Rob Liefeld’s artwork). With the shear numbers of books DC was relaunching, this book needed to be a step above the competition and, sadly, it was not.
I have to say that when I saw the initial lists of the titles coming out as part of the new 52, I was the most skeptical about Batwing. I was familiar with the character from his appearance in Batman Incorporated, but left that appearance a bit unimpressed. However, Judd Winnick and Ben Oliver created a book that was not just another title in the Bat-family of titles, but a book that was a cut above the rest for that week (a week that already included the above mentioned Swamp Thing, among other great titles)
Likewise, Aquaman managed to set itself apart from the rest of the September 28th releases. For as long as I can remember, Aquaman has never had much respect, no matter who was writing him. Even Big Bang Theory rips on Aquaman, as Raj laments that he is forced to be Aquaman for the comic shop New Year’s Eve costume party. Writer Geoff Johns works in a lot of this lack of respect into his Aquaman story, turning the king of the seven seas into the DC Universe’s version of Rodney Dangerfield to great effect.
The Book that Worked For Me On Another Level
Superman was in the last of the new 52 weeks. Admittedly, though thrilling, the main story (Superman’s battle with an alien fire creature) is pretty mundane for comics. But, it is the secondary story revolving around the Daily Planet and its place in Morgan Edge’s communications empire that I found most interesting. George Perez does a great job telling the story of the print media and its struggle to keep its place in the new age of information. This story spoke more to me than others because it is one I see on a daily basis.
The Book That Laid My Doubts To Rest
Like a lot of people, I had reservations about Barbara Gordon’s return to the cowl in Batgirl. I have known her for quite some time as Oracle, and admired her strength, even in light of her injuries. Batgirl showed me that even though Barbara can walk once more, she still bears the scars of the Joker’s attack in Killing Joke.
Best Two Page Splash Page
Easily, Ed Benes depiction of Dex-Starr in Red Lanterns is the best splash page of the new 52.
The Maybe Too Retro Book
OMAC had a creative team that managed to closely match the same art style of comics legend Jack Kirby. Sadly, it was a bit too much style and not a lot of substance for me.
Did You Find them All?
Speculation abounds as to who the veiled woman, first seen in Flashpoint #5 (that I remember), is, and why she has appeared in every new 52 book, even period books like Legion of Super-Heroes, Demon Knights, and All Star Western. Personally, I only managed to find 51 of her appearances.
The WTF Moment of the New 52
Easily, the last panel of Animal Man, depicting Buddy Baker’s daughter, Maxine, surrounded by the animated skeletal remains of various animals, was quite the shocking ending.
The Andy Sedaris Book of the New 52
For those not in the know, Andy Sedaris is a Hollywood director know for directing a number of “b-movies” with titles like Savage Beach and Fit To Kill. These films usually follow a basic theme: hot women (usually former Playboy Playmates) run around, get undressed, shoot some guns, get undressed again, blow something up with a remote control toy, get undressed yet again, defeat the bad guy, then have champagne to celebrate a mission accomplished. Sadly, Catwoman was the book that reminded me the most of these movies.
The Not For Young Readers Book of the New 52
Anyone familiar with the Wildstorm character Voodoo should be aware of her former career before she fell in with the WildCATS. Anyone who was not aware she was a stripper before is now well aware of it after reading her comic.
The Most Controversial Book of the New 52
The anti-hero team book Red Hood and the Outlaws easily takes this title, especially after all the uproar that arose from the depiction of Starfire in the book.
The Spider-Man of the New 52
Having moved from Dakota to Harlem,the scene in Static Shock on the bridge where Static seems to have fried everyone’s electronic devices reminded me of a lot of the “can’t catch a break” moments in Marvel’s Spider-Man.
The Guilty Pleasure Title of the New 52
I have to admit, I was a big fan of Resurrection Man, and was thrilled to see him back in his own book.
The Action Book of the New 52
Grifter was a thrill ride that felt like a Hollywood summer blockbuster. Throwing in Cole Cash’s lost time experience was just gravy on the issue’s roller coaster ride.
Best Bad Guy Book of the New 52
You would think that this would have gone to Deathstroke or Catwoman, but this honor goes to Suicide Squad, which brutally brings the title back to its 1990s DC Comics version of The Dirty Dozen book.
The New 52 Title With Bite
Another of the “I don’t know about this” titles, I, Vampire brings the creatures of the night front and center and into the DC Universe. highly stylized artwork and a muted color scheme adds a new level of eerieness to this vampire title.
The Ones To Call When Magic’s Involved Book
Justice League represents the heavy hitters. Yet, in Justice League Dark, DC’s heavy hitters are thrashed by one woman. It falls to Madame Xanadu’s assembled team of fringe heroes (Shade the Changing Man, Zatanna, John Constantine, Deadman) to stop the Enchantress.
The WTF Moment of the New 52 – Part 2
Watching Shade the Changing Man’s girlfriend, Kathy melt into a giant puddle of goo because she was only a construct of Shade’s M-Vest in Justice League Dark.
The Wait… Wha??? Book of the New 52
Superboy gets a completely new origin as his title leaves you wondering what is real and what is virtual.
It Goes Back THAT Far Book of the New 52
All Star Western brings Jonah Hex to 1880s Gotham City to investigate a violent murder only to discover the crime and corruption that permeates the Gotham of the present day Batman titles has been twisting Gotham for quite some time.
The WTF Moment of the New 52 – Part 3
The Joker getting his face skinned off at the end of Batman Detective Comics.
- Every DC ‘New 52′ sold out! (mycomicbookreviews.wordpress.com)
- All 52 first issues of DC Comics-The New 52 sell out and receive second printings! (graphicpolicy.com)
- Rating the Relaunch (skoce.wordpress.com)
- Voice Your Opinion on DC (geeksaresexy.net)