Friday, October 7, 2011

The “New 52"

It has been a month since DC launched their titles under the “New 52” logo. As a marketing tool, the “New 52” is a clear success but are the titles worth the hype? It’s still early days but read on and find out my views on the “New 52”. (Now there’s no way I am going to write 52 reviews on all the #1 so I am splitting the titles under the different lines they are under.)

Justice League- DC has openly said that Justice League will be the new flagship of the DCU. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee say they have a plan for JL but it may be a standalone plan because thus far there has been little to connect the various JL titles. I know it’s just #1 but I really can’t see any connection whatsoever between Justice League, Justice League International and Justice League Dark. All 3 titles seem more interested in showing how the different teams came together which I think is a waste. DC should get its gears in order and show why all 3 teams have the Justice League name on them.

Batman- Last I checked, Bruce Wayne was globetrotting around the world putting his Batman Inc. together but under the “New 52”, he is back as Batman and struck in Gotham. Frankly I prefer him going around the world, leaving Gotham to Dick Grayson. Of all the lines, I find the Bat titles having suffered the most under the revamp. Before the revamp, the various titles have ongoing stories that were both intense and interesting. Although not much have changed under the revamp, the writers are going to have to waste a few issues to state the new status quo instead of pushing on with the stories.

Superman- Unlike the Bat titles which underwent minor changes, the Superman titles underwent massive changes in an effort to spruce things up. Sadly I found that most of the changes missed the mark. Splitting the titles to show Clark Kent as a young Superboy and as Superman is in my view a bad move. The revamp is supposed to make things easier for readers and having 2 titles showing Clark Kent in 2 different ages is just confusing. Worse, there is a separate Superboy title showing Conner Kent! Good luck trying to keep the timeline in order as the titles goes on!

Green Lantern- Unlike the changes that the rest of the DCU have undergone, the GL titles have came through the revamp untouched. It is a smart move by DC as there’s no reason to fix something that’s not broken. I’m a little worried about the new “The Red Lanterns” series as the first 2 issues have not been impressive but I feel good for the overall health of the various GL titles. No need to change a good thing.

History- Yes, I know there’s no such thing as the “History Line” in DC but there should be! I have always enjoyed history and I love the fact that DC is trying to fresh out the history of the “New 52”. Between I,Vampire, All-Star Western, Stormwatch & Demon Knights, DC is showing that although superheroes are new to the public of the DCU, there always had been beings with superpowers throughout its history. This is something DC should continue with because the potential is incredible. They could have series set in the 1930s (Justice Society), Victorian England (Batman by Gaslight) or anytime in the past and it would make perfect sense. The writers are also having a blast as they are having fun filling in the background of the new DCU. I,Vampire & Demon Knights are 2 of the better series in the revamp and we need more!

The “New 52” had been sold out but overall I feel that they were more due to a marketing success than a creative one. Creatively there has been some success on certain titles but if the reason for the revamp was to streamline the DCU to make it more accessible to new readers, I don’t think I can call the revamp a success. Personally, I don’t think new readers will find the “New 52” any more accessible than the old DCU. I mean the “Huntress” series isn’t even set in the “New 52” DCU.
However what the “New 52” did managed to do was to get readers to pick up the books due to all the hype. On that front, on the commercial and marketing side of the business, the “New 52” can be called, yes, a success.

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