The New 52 - Opinions

So we’re fast approaching the second anniversary of the relaunch of DC with The New 52 back in September 2011.

Continuity was altered, characters were added or removed and origins were changed.

I’ve read all of Action Comics and Superman (along with the Superboy and Supergirl H’El on Earth tie-ins) and have found it quite enjoyable. Nice to alternate between a cocky, young, but somewhat out of his depth Superman in AC and the confident, leader of the Justice League Superman in his own title.

Slightly annoying that they’ve released a third Superman title in Unchained and a fourth prequel title with Batman/Superman. I’ll give them a chance, but will probably stick with the main two for now.

How do you feel about The New 52?

Aside from Batman and Batman Inc. I pretty much hate all of it. It’s a huge slap in the face to long time readers in favor of… long time readers who were not reading DC because lol there are no new readers.

Geoff Johns’ Justice League is terrible. It’s not that all of us would commit suicide if Superman and Wonder Woman started dating, but how about building up to it? It’s like they just decided to hook up OUT OF NOWHERE.

Superman suffered the worst and Action Comics was definitely Morrison neutered and not being allowed to do most of things he wanted to, like he did in All-Star Superman. It’s no surprise that after he left the following writer claimed that editorial was too strict on the book and he left too.

Aquaman actually wasn’t bad. They did improve his image. It’s just that Johns wrote a mind numbingly boring book IMHO.

And poor Nightwing went back to sucking 24/7. He was just FREAKING BATMAN! I guess the powers-that-be won’t let him do anything cool unless he’s wearing Batman’s clothes.

My favorite part about all of this is the continuity glitches because lord knows it’s next to impossible to keep the continuity of TWO YEARS straight! How old was Damian? Was Tim Drake a Robin or wasn’t he? Was Dick Grayson on Teen Titans or wasn’t he? L-O-L.

Marvel’s not off the hook either, a lot the Marvel Now! stuff is pretty insulting too. While they didn’t throw away continuity, there were a lot of pointless creative team shifts and… So Iron Man is smart because someone manipulated his DNA when he was a baby or some junk? OH REALLY???

On the plus side I’m saving a lot of money on DC and Marvel books nowadays. IDW’s nostalgia wave is pretty awesome and the 12 year old inside of me loves the Mega Man / Sonic crossover.

So to be a bit positive, so far I’m enjoying Superman Unchained. It feels like Jim Lee is phoning some of it in but I like Snyder on Batman. I’m looking forward to the big DC / Masters of the Universe crossover too. The whole villain’s month seems interesting. So yeah DC might win me back, but right now I’m really not feeling DC.

The New 52 has been piss poor awful. Granted, I haven’t read all 52 (or however many series there are), but does anyone really need to read Hawk and Dove or Deathstroke by Rob Liefeld to know they’re bad comics? Or, like, Voodoo by Ron Marz, Detective Comics by Tony Daniel, or Teen Titans by Scott Lobdell? Hell, Judd Winick’s Batwing? Not to mention all the series that have already been canceled and I forgot about. The vast majority of the New 52 comics are churned out by a committee of lower tier talents, the likes of whom I can hardly believe still get work in the industry. (Tom DeFalco, really?)

The one New 52 book that I can say I have genuine love for is Wonder Woman. Azzarello, Chiang, and Akins are crafting what looks to be the defining Wonder Woman story of all time. (Of course, it’s not like there’s any competition beyond Greg Rucka’s run.) Out of all the New 52 comics, it’s the only one that’s consistently well-written and well-illustrated, and it actually uses the revamped continuity/universe to its advantage in telling a new Wonder Woman story that we haven’t seen before. It’s the best New 52 comic and it’s up in the top tier of current superhero series with any of Marvel’s finest offerings.

Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man is very good, too, if a bit inconsistent in terms of art. It also feels a little bit derivative of Jamie Delano’s run on Animal Man, but it’s still worth reading. Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing was pretty good; Yanick Paquette’s art in that is spectacular. I enjoyed the first Justice League Dark storyarc, but even as an unhinged and unabashed Peter Milligan fan, I have to admit it’s not Milligan’s finest work. (I have a small stack of his Red Lanterns issues, which I haven’t gathered the willpower to read yet because the art’s just horrible and I kinda don’t expect it to be anything special. Same with his Stormwatch.)

Some of the other series ranged from really middle of the road to below average. They weren’t offensively bad, but after I sampled them (read the first TPB from the library, or just an issue here and there), they don’t make me want to continue reading them, either. I’m thinking of stuff like Birds of Prey, Demon Knights, Batwoman, Mister Terrific, Batgirl, and maybe some others.

A lot of the higher profile books have ranged from disappointing to flat out bad (maybe due to the amount of hype or importance placed upon them). Johns’ Justice League is terrible. I don’t know how anyone can defend it. Anyone who enjoys it probably hasn’t read a whole lot of comics. At this point, I don’t care for any of Geoff Johns’ comics. Justice League of America, Vibe, Aquaman - whatever.

Action Comics isn’t bad or anything, but it’s definitely disappointing considering it’s from Morrison and it’s Superman. The best issue I’ve read of that series was probably that one Gene Ha issue with the black Superman. As a whole, though, it does feel neutered from Morrison’s usual Superman. You see hints of Morrison’s mad genius in little lines of dialogue here and there, or in an idea that’s glossed over far too quickly - but for the most part it feels like a generic superhero story where Superman is wearing a really ugly version of his normal costume. A lot of the art is middle of the road, too - like, just a barely a level above like a Mark Bagley.

Snyder and Capullo’s Batman is all right, but I still think Snyder has a lot to prove to me. He hasn’t earned my trust yet. I’ve read the first Court of Owls HC and I have the City of Owls HC in my possession (from the library, of course). I think he does a good job with coming up with concepts or plots, but there’s just something about his execution that sticks in my craw sometimes. I’d have to do a more critical review to be more specific, but there are definitely moments in his comics that I think are just corny, or cheap escapes out of danger by the protagonist. Capullo’s art kinda sucks, though, so that’s not good.

David Finch’s The Dark Knight is garbage, a vanity project by an artist who can’t write and tell a story.

I mostly agree, besides Snyder’s Batman. I really enjoy it. It’s the only DC book I read actually, though I did think about reading Superman/Batman. Mostly for Jae Lee, love his work.

Yeah, the new Batman/Superman comic looks nice. Jae Lee is still one of my favorite artists. And I always root for Greg Pak to succeed because he’s Asian. The thing I don’t get is how they already have a fill-in artist IN THE FIRST ISSUE. Nothing against Ben Oliver - that dude is pretty good - but it doesn’t bode well for the artistic consistency of the work.

It’s been a major problem for DC lately. A decade ago, superhero comics as a whole were, for the most part, writer-driven. Now the emphasis on the creators has faded quite a bit, especially at DC. Look at the credits of all the DC comics on the rack. Most of the writers are either lower tier talents or people I’ve never even heard of. I want to believe that DC is recruiting hot new talents but the sad fact, based on what I’ve seen, is that they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel and finding the cheapest guys they can, people who just want to break in to the industry. It’s like they’ll hire anyone to churn out any given title.

Essentially, DC has moved away from being writer-driven to being editorially driven. And it’s the same with the artists. They treat artists like interchangeable cogs who can churn out as much product as fast as possible. It’s obviously helped them publish a massive amount of comics without too many noticeable delays, but it hasn’t helped them publish many GOOD comics.

Well, I finished reading City of Owls (the second Snyder/Capullo Batman HC) and I have to say that was garbage. So many corny tropes that were poorly executed. Snyder has a habit of writing his hero into a corner only to come up with a convenient and stupid way to save him. I was hoping Snyder would outgrow that, but maybe it’s just a part of who he is as a writer now. He throws exposition into the worst moment, structurally speaking, of a story.

The other thing that I thought was weak was how the plot hinged on one of the corniest, most soap opera ideas around: the long lost, evil brother. COME ON, MAN.

But the thing that blows my mind is that I still have to admit that this is one of the best New 52 comics I’ve read!