Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | Used universes

Scott Lobdell, are you listening?

We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the New 52, and I anticipate doing the usual examinations of what worked and what didn’t. Until then, however, this preliminary post will try to organize my general impressions.

I have tried to keep an open mind about the various changes, but apparently I keep coming back to the New 52-niverse’s lack of meaningful fictional history. Much of this comes from the five-year timeline, but a good bit of it is due to storytelling styles. While origin stories can generate a nominal setting, including a regular supporting cast, many of the New-52 books held off for various reasons — like readers pretty much knowing the origins at the outset — and with today’s practical concerns, many books spent their first 12 issues on extended arcs.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about this as a function of “idea generation,” but I think it is a more elemental concept. Specifically, it seems like I have been conditioned to expect a certain amount of continuity in a modern shared universe. Furthermore (and more troubling), I suspect the simple acknowledgment of preexisting continuity helps mitigate whatever weaknesses may exist in the stories themselves.

Before getting too negative generally, though, let’s talk about particular titles. I am reading exactly half of the original New 52 books:  Action Comics, All-Star Western, Animal Man, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Batman & Robin, Batwing, Batwoman, Catwoman, DC Universe Presents, Demon Knights, Detective Comics, Firestorm, Flash, Frankenstein, Green Lantern, GL Corps, I, Vampire, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Stormwatch, Supergirl, Superman, Swamp Thing and Wonder Woman.

Of that original group, I read six titles which have since been canceled: Blackhawks, JLI, Men of War, OMAC, Resurrection Man and Static Shock. However, I’ve since been getting Batman Incorporated, Earth 2, Worlds’ Finest and Dial H; and I expect to try Sword of Sorcery as well.

That’s 32 out of 52, which seems like a decent amount, if a little on the high side. Generally, I like the books with which I have stuck. Today’s question, though, is whether I like a book more if it creates an engaging environment.

Naturally, this requires divulging another Ancient Memory. This week we go back some 24 years, to the spring of 1988, when I was a college freshman. While taking a break from studying for finals, I decided to pop over to the convenience store across the street from my dorm. There, on impulse, I bought a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #300. I wasn’t a Marvel Zombie by any means, but I remembered writer David Michelinie from Iron Man and of course I’d heard of Todd McFarlane. I liked the issue well enough to stick with ASM for the next couple of years, until McFarlane left and I decided I’d rather get Walt Simonson’s Fantastic Four.

Now, besides the book’s own merits, what I liked about ASM was that sense of jumping into a moving stream. I hadn’t read ASM since #202 or so, and a lot had happened, including the Wedding and the black costume. Issue 300 (the conclusion of Venom’s introductory arc) had Spidey go back to the red-and-blues, but he was still married, he’d had a slight change in employment (including publishing a book of photos), and there were various other tweaks to his status quo and that of the Marvel Universe as a whole. For example, I hadn’t seen Four Freedoms Plaza or the Thing’s more-pointy look until the FF’s ASM #300 cameo — and by the time I started reading Fantastic Four in early 1990, Ben would be completely human and his girlfriend would be all orange and rocky.

Since this is nominally a DC column, how are those changes different from the New-52′s mélange of relaunches? Well, for one thing, at the time they seemed relatively organic, at least in the sense that they tended to come out of extended storylines. (Bear with me, because my Marvel knowledge is not that great.) Maybe the symbiote-costume started off as a Secret Wars stunt (I really have no idea), but by the time I got to the books, these changes had been around for a while. Furthermore — and I know this may make the case for Marvel NOW! (!!) — the notion that these were the same characters helped sell the updates. To me it was like ‘70s DC, with Anchorman Clark, the Batcave under the Wayne Foundation, and the Teen Titans as high-school graduates. New opportunities to learn some secret knowledge, and especially to build on one’s existing secret-knowledge base, can be very alluring.

By contrast, the opportunity to get in on the ground floor has its own appeal, which is not necessarily identical. I’ve written before about how the 1986-87 DC relaunches pretty much shaped what I’ve bought ever since, but there’s no escaping it: That’s when I started buying the Superman books, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Flash regularly. That sort of habit can easily become self-reinforcing — I buy Flash because I have gotten comfortable with buying Flash — but again, for the most part I’ve never been disappointed/upset/bored enough to drop any of them. Indeed, the New 52 revamps of Wonder Woman and Flash have been fairly successful, such that (except for the one thing) I’m not sure I’d trade them for more traditional versions.

Not so, however, with Superman and Justice League. We’ve read about George Pérez’s frustrations working on Superman Vol. 3, but it may be more illustrative to see what sorts of stories Byrne told in his first 11 months on the Vol. 2 relaunch. Note that I’m not counting his six issues of Man of Steel, which basically reintroduced significant characters and situations, because the New 52 book has pretty much just jumped into present-day stories. Anyway, Pérez’s first six issues had Superman fight (and then escape the influence of) an elemental-type extraterrestrial who turned into an evil Man of Steel. After that, Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen and Jésus Merino did two issues with WildStorm villain Helspont, Jurgens and Merino did two issues with new villain Anguish, and Issue 11 continued that arc’s Russian-sub subplot (sorry). In 1986-87, though, Byrne’s No. 1 featured Metallo (picking up from a cameo in Man of Steel); No. 2 was the famous “Luthor scoffs at The Secret” issue; No. 3 was the start of an inter-title Apokolips crossover; Nos. 4-7 introduced new villains (Nos. 5-6 was a two-parter); No. 8 was a Legion of Super-Heroes crossover regarding the “Superboy question”; No. 9 featured the Joker; No. 10 was a one-off “powers gone wild” story; and No. 11 reintroduced Mr. Mxyzptlk.

The point is not exactly that Byrne was doing a lot of world-rebuilding. Rather, it’s that he was telling a lot of one- and two-issue stories (crossovers notwithstanding) and playing with the book’s focus accordingly. Byrne’s Issue 4 featured Jimmy Olsen, Nos. 5-6 had a pulpish, ancient-astronaut feel, and No. 2 and No. 10 were Luthor-driven (although No. 2 had a lot of Lana Lang as well). Those different kinds of stories allowed readers to see Superman in a range of situations, and from there to get a good sense of both Superman’s versatility and the book’s scope. (To be honest, I’m not sure there was all that much to Byrne’s Superman characterization, but for that there was always Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway’s Adventures of Superman.) I got the sense that George Pérez wanted the Superman of 2011-12 to have a certain depth and complexity, but it sounds like that got lost in a muddle of editorial interference and action-heavy plotting. Similarly, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen are no slouches when it comes to writing the Man of Steel, but Giffen’s gone already and Jurgens is headed out the door to make room for Scott Lobdell. In short, after a year I don’t have a real handle on the Superman in Superman. Things are a bit better in Action Comics under writer Grant Morrison, but only now is that book settling into a comfortable month-to-month groove. Ironically, its focus may have jumped around a little too quickly — from the first “Springsteen Supes” arc to the issues with the Legion and now with Clark’s “death” and the Captain Comet/Susie Tompkins material — like Morrison is throwing the high heat right past the reader. Still, I have a better sense of where Morrison wants to take Superman, even if he benefits from being in the driver’s seat.

But I begin to digress. Most of the A-list books are like Action in that they have established their new status quos pretty definitely. I mentioned Flash and Wonder Woman already, and Scott Snyder on Batman has done a good job making the Court of Owls feel like it’s been a credible behind-the-scenes menace. Similarly, with Green Lantern and Aquaman, Geoff Johns is working the characters’ mythologies at appropriate stages. On GL, he’s trying to distill eight years’ worth of stories into something which will inform a relatively-simple rebellion against the Guardians, and on Aquaman, he’s in the early stages of something which could conceivably last several years itself.

I think that’s what frustrates me about his Justice League. Not to rehash last week’s post unnecessarily, but it just feels like Johns isn’t taking full advantage either of the characters’ own backgrounds or of the DC Universe as a whole. Clearly part of that is the need to make the book accessible, part of it is the “newness” of the Leaguers’ revised backgrounds, and part of it is the desire to create something new (as opposed to another Starro or Despero story). Nevertheless, of all the books in DC’s lineup, Justice League is the one best-suited for a global perspective on the entire shared universe, and now it feels hobbled by self-imposed restrictions.

Thankfully, a number of New 52 books are filling that void, particularly the period pieces All Star Western and Demon Knights, the Vertigo-esque JL Dark and Frankenstein, the alternate-history Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest, and the eco-centric Animal Man and Swamp Thing. Because each of these treats the DC Universe (or some part of it) appropriately as an unreal setting, each therefore adds to the DCU’s overall complexity. For example, the main Justice League’s brief appearance (and quick defeat) in the first issue of JL Dark gave readers a quick and dirty justification for the book’s existence, and showed dramatically there are some things the regular League just can’t handle. The same goes for cameos from the likes of Superman and the Flash in Animal Man and Swamp Thing. I like how the New 52 has a handful of different environments, from medieval times to the Old West and into parallel Earths and the 31st Century, but I wish each book did its part to build up its own particular atmosphere.

In that respect, I suppose it’s not so much that I appreciate a nominal amount of continuity, but that the book feels like it takes place somewhere vibrant. Again, I think a lot of New-52 books do fairly well in that department — but as a whole, the New 52 shared universe doesn’t yet seem cohesive. To be clear, this is a minor complaint, and I’d rather have 52 well-written and well-drawn books, with robust creative viewpoints and energetic storytelling, than 52 parts of a cohesive whole. Still, in light of the end of the pre-Flashpoint DCU, a little more coordination would make the New 52 go down easier.

Maybe it’s just me, but without the sense that they’re all working together — even if it’s just the acknowledgment that they mostly share the same planet — the New-52 books don’t feel as sustainable as their predecessors did. I can see a number of New 52 books working just as well under the pre-Flashpoint continuity: certainly the Green Lantern and Bat-books, most of the “Vertigo-ized” titles, and perhaps the ex-WildStorm titles. However, when it’s something explicitly different, like Superman, what I’ve read of Teen Titans, or Justice League, that difference not only stands out, it seems to highlight the book’s lack of grounding. I don’t have a good sense of Superman’s Superman, or the New-52 League or Titans, because I know they’re supposed to be all-new versions and they haven’t convincingly stepped into their predecessors’ boots.

Accordingly, as we gear up for the year in review, that will probably be in the back of my mind. It’s a criticism which no doubt comes from decades’ worth of habits and expectations, and it may not be entirely fair, but there it is.

Now I just have to find time to get caught up on the books I do read.

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Comments

57 Comments

Great article.

In my opinion, DC has a lot of problems right now.
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We’ve had enough of the “Mafia” (Harras/Lee/Johns/DiDio)

I think you’ve nailed the issue squarely in the last paragraph. New 52 hasn’t sold itself very well, at least so far. The pre-Flashpoint DCU was cohesive and every book was like a corner of it. Now the books are all like varying impressions of what it’s *supposed* to be, or used to be, or is about to be, or something. It isn’t nearly as satsifying. (That said, the pre-Flashpoint DCU had problems too, mostly a lack of focus and too many team books.)

I appreciate DC’s efforts and do not begrudge the company for trying to lure new readers. But I’ve discovered the New 52 isn’t for me because of that lack of history.
After sampling I’d say about half of the titles the books I’ve stuck with are Demon Knights and All Star Western – the titles that conceivably could be published in the old DCU because they take place in the past.
There’s a way to engage new readers and hook them on the richness of a shared universe and a shared history. James Robinson does it quite well. I’d say Morrison and Waid and Busiek do, too.
I was too young to pay attention to editorial decisions/market decisions back in the mid-1980s but I’ve read many post-Crisis DCs. And some – like Hawkworld – were so well done that I was able to get over the changes in continuity/history.
But others I could never enjoy, such as Superman, BECAUSE so much of what I loved about that character had been jettisoned during Crisis.
And that’s what’s happened with much of the New 52. I know longer feel any attachment to these characters because in many cases I just don’t know them anymore. And when they’re reintroduced I don’t like what I see or don’t see why the changes make them any more interesting/marketable (I’m looking at you, Challengers of the Unknown).
And I know that makes me sound like an old fogey (I’m 37). But at the same time writers have proven time and time again that fresh stories for new AND old readers are possible. You can introduce the newbies to characters and concepts and still throw some Easter eggs and bits of continuity to longtime fans.
I actually think Marvel has learned from DC one year later, which is why Marvel NOW is being touted as a fresh start with new creative teams BUT NOT A REBOOT.
Again, I don’t begrudge DC. And I greatly appreciate the variety of titles on the shelves, even if I’m not buying most of them. It’s great to have war and western and fantasy and horror books alongside DC’s superhero fare.
But I feel DC could have enjoyed the same success by shaking up creative teams, introducing new titles/concepts and making a major marketing push BUT not jettisoning its history.

Also the upcoming DC projects I’m most looking forward to are New 52-free – Simonson’s “Judas Coin” and Kubert’s anthology series which will include some new Hawkman stories.

Agree with you that one thing Byrne successfully did was a lot of single- or two-part stories. I’ll say this for the man: that was one thing he used to do really well, was to write a single issue story that would occasionally drop a plot thread which would be followed upon in a later issue. Overall, you had the contentment of a “done in one” comic, but still some plot elements driving you onto the next issue.

Case in point: I remember that Joker issue of Superman really being a two-story comic: the main portion being Superman vs. the Joker, but also the short backup of “Metropolis: 900 Miles.” The short was a great story about Lex Luthor being a jerk who messed with random people just for fun, but also ending with him saying “And now back to Metropolis to proceed with Project Overload!” The latter portion being continued with the aforementioned “Superman’s out of control” story in the following issue. You don’t need to read the next issue after, but Byrne dropped an incentive to do so in one comment from Lex.

Contrast that with today’s books with their multi-part storylines. I’m reading the new WORLD’s FINEST and finding it not necessarily reader-friendly: it’s four straight issues of Huntress and Power Girl fighting the same villain in what really should have been one or two issues. It’s fine for me, as I bought all four issues at the same time. A new reader off the street could either be frustrated that he has to get the next issue to complete the story, or else be annoyed if he came in too late.

I’m a DC guy, and as much as I hate saying it, the New 52 leaves me feeling like I’m at a party I wasn’t invited to. The story’s just aren’t clicking for me, and I can’t seem to get a handle on who these people are. Flash started out strong, but after the fourth issue it feels like the continuing narrative has stalled. Green Lantern felt like it started out at issue 68 instead of 1, and Justice League has just been blah. Batman has been the strongest book in the line, I think.
Marvel has my attention for bringing in these strong creative teams, so I’m ready to jump ship.

It’s a bit odd that GOF is taking issue with how DC’s presenting its current sets of stories while Marvel is doing the EXACT SAME THING. And when Marvel finally rolls out its “Now” books, look for the exact crap–more multi-issue storylines (Bendis excels in this–why did his first run on Ultimate Spider-Man need six damn issues to cover what Lee and Ditko did in a single issue of Amazing Fantasy?; oh, but we must never criticize how Marvel lets Bendis get away with everything he wants regardless of how many issues he takes to get to the point for that will upset the Marvel Zombies). Oh, and speaking of “Now,” I’d like for someone to please explain how the whole idea is NOT the product of “editorial decisions.” We just got a whole brand-new “X-Men” number #1 a little over a year ago that was the result of that stupid Schism storyline, only for it to be completely undone with the results of the editorial-driven “Avengers vs X-Men” directing a “need” for a whole new #1 issue. I don’t see why Marvel’s cancelling “New Mutants” (one of the three mainstream Marvel books I’m still actually buying and enjoying despite its having to suffer through EDITORIAL-driven crossover storylines like Necrosha and Schism and Fear Itself and the recent Exiled) but that just allows me the opportunity to try some other non-Marvel work.

Marvel Now won’t do a damned new thing that Marvel hasn’t done in the past decade except play round-robin with creators and books. Let’s cancel Fraction’s Defenders but put him on FF books (with shiny brand-new #1 issues) while current FF books writer Jonathan Hickman gets promoted to an Avengers book (with another shiny brand-new #1 issue). THIS is what we’re supposed to consider revolutionary? (Of course, when DC cancelled some of its 52 books or had changes with its creative teams, folks were all “we need to get rid of DiDio” or “stop the editorial interference DC.)”

Back to you, GOF. Maybe you should take a few minutes and compare to those old Marvel books you were praising and compare them to how the same characters are being handled in the new Marvel titles. Marvel’s top books were pulling crossovers (Inferno, Secret Wars II, Acts of Vengeance, Operation: Galactic Storm)–some were linewide crossovers, others were “familywide” (ie, all the X-books or all the Spider-books or all the Avengers-related titles). Maybe you should read some of Peter David’s complaints of the “editorial” interference when he was on X-Factor in the early 90s; he’d get started on a plot and, then, within a few issues, suddenly he had to plot X-Factor into X-Cutioner’s Song or Fatal Attractions. (He was somewhat more successful in keeping the Incredible Hulk book out of crossovers but other writers would involve the Hulk in their tales.) When the books weren’t getting put into crossovers, the creative teams were routinely plotting one- and two-issue stories simply to avoid the upcoming crossover “crisis” (far too often, the crossover issues seemed to come out of nowhere–very little connection to the previous or subsequent stories). As for Byrne’s storytelling on Superman, I believe that was actually a part of his agreement with DC when he took over Superman–that HE set the stories on his books (Superman and Action, which had been turned into the team-up book replacing the old DC Comics Presents) and that he had approval over whether *his* books were involved in line-wide crossovers. I may be mistaken, but I believe Byrne’s books were involved in exactly two linewide crossovers: Legends, which Byrne himself pencilled so he’d have some “prior” knowledge of what to expect when doing *his* books; and Millennium which actually fits into how you approvingly explained Byrne’s handling of his storytelling (what’s more interesting, even Byrne’s crossovers were never more than 1 or 2 issues long–aside from his pencilling of Legends and his part in plotting the resolution of the Superboy and Legion conundrum crossover in 1987′s 4-issue “The Greatest Hero of Them All” storyline which took two Legion issues and but only 1 each of Superman and Action). I’m not counting any of Byrne’s mid-to-late 90s return to DC and the works he did then since you’re apparently not either.

I too do wish DC hadn’t opted to go through such lengthy stories when it launched the New 52 but this whole trend of extensive multipart tales is NOT solely a DC problem. Marvel excels in them. When was the last time you read a Marvel TPB collection that had more than one storyline in it? I certainly don’t remember a recent volume offered by Marvel that listed four to six issues that weren’t a single story (and most of the TPBs will simply pad the volume with an older story that may have some tangential connection with the more recent storyline being reprinted–and I’m not counting Marvel’s Essentials or Masterworks volumes that reprint the company’s 1960s and early 1970s books).

Marvel’s “Now” is just more of Marvel’s recent SOP. The company has seen the reaction to DC’s New 52 and decided they’re going to pretty much the same thing except for launching all their books at one time. The creator shuffle? DC did it. The continuity deals? Well, please show me how Marvel’s NOT going to have to figure out a way of adjusting Iron Man’s history or the FF’s history that justifies the need for new #1s (hint: You can’t simply put a simple “everything’s still exactly the same” bandage on it and still have us accept Lee and Kirby’s original Fantastic Four storyline remains valid–Ben and Reed canNOT have served in WWII; Reed canNOT want to “beat the Russkies” into space without being 85 years old and, to the best of my memory, Reed hasn’t been put into some sort of stasis or frozen or been subjected to some sort of rejuvenation beam; and, of course, Tony Stark can’t have been captured by a batch of Communist-sympathetic Vietnamese since Vietnam’s been fully Communist for the last 37 years unless Tony is a LOT older than we’ve been led to believe or Papa Stark took his toddler child with him on some bizarre sightseeing trip into potentially hostile areas during the last year or so of the Vietnam War). No. Marvel’s going to–once again–try to have it both ways (they’ll keep what they want and discard what they don’t want, and basically to hell with fans who cry “Foul” but go right on buying the books) and folks will let them get away with it. They’ll accept that Peter Parker is just 20 years old but still managed to do everything he’s done in the past 50 or so years of storytelling in just the “last few years” because Marvel’s decided that’s the way it is and random “hot Marvel writer” is telling the story with random “hot Marvel artist”–and whatever the writer decides to ignore will be “the” official line until the NEXT “hot Marvel writer” takes over and decides he wants to revive that ignored storyline with his “exciting new direction.”

Oh, and one last thing that hasn’t really been explained with this “Now” deal: Since the new books aren’t being released simultaneously, how will Marvel explain inconsistencies? For instance, the first issue of the brand-new Remender/Cassaday Uncanny Avengers (a “Marvel Now” book) with a cover featuring Thor and Captain America is scheduled to come out the same week as the Bendis/Peterson Avengers #31 (and Cap is presumably featured on the cover of Avengers #32) and the week before the Fraction/Davis The Mighty Thor #21 which will then have ANOTHER issue to come out before Thor presumably becomes part of the “Uncanny Avengers” team.

Here’s a silly thought: Why don’t we see how all this “Marvel Now” BS plays out over the next year and see how much different it turns out than what Marvel’s done over the past year? I feel pretty safe in expecting there to be absolutely zero difference–that every single one of the “Marvel Now” books will prove to have no more real affect on what happens in the “Marvel Universe” than the soon-to-be-ended books would do if they were to run for another year.

What’s next?
Image Comics relaunch? New IDW relaunch? Archie Comics Now relaunch? Nu-Dark Horse relaunch?
etc.

@JosephW:

Very nice, very impressive wall of text. Any thoughts on the actual content of GOF’s post? You know, about DC?

@Taichara
LMAO indeed, folk.

As far as this post goes. I’ve given up on fretting over the continuity of the new 52 and connecting all titles into a whole, cohesive world. I enjoy the books I enjoy and am just happy to have great stories and great art. If I get an easter egg or nice little nod to the previous DC, well that’s fine and good. As long as a book can feel grounded with it’s own individual sense of history I can ignore whether the universe itself does. The best stories in the DCnU are the ones that have drawn me fully in and I’ll continue to read them happily whether or not I feel it’s weird for Wonder Woman to be only 23.

I did give the new 52 books a try, but ultimately now I’m reading less DC than I was before (Demon Knights/Batman/Batman Incorporated/Action Comics).

Partly that is down to economic circumstances, and part of it is just down to poor story-telling. In their rush to make everything intertwined, story suffered. The example of the relaunched, George Perez written Superman (although in interviews he has suggested that the final version may not reflect what he wrote), started off with a teaser for Stormwatch. Why? It wasn’t paid off in Superman and didn’t help the narrative.

I read the Jim Lee/Geoff Johns Justice League hardcover, and realised that I didn’t understand what the villains motivation was. So I read it again. I still don’t know. He turned up for the cool splash page, and ensuing fight, but there was no good reason (if I missed something, I would be delighted if someone corrects me).

It isn’t a Marvel vs. Dc things. I think that both do some solid books, but overall the focus seems to be on world building or mythology building for the next big thing, rather thank focussing on the individual books.

The New 52 has left me cold as well. I can’t even muster enough concern to despise it. At this point I’m just apathetic to anything DC is doing with their universe.

Like Chris B., the DCnU just feels like an exclusionist retreat for new readers.

I think part of the problem I’ve had though, unlike you, GOF, is that there was too much crossover, basically ‘tricking’ us into buying books we wouldn’t normally be reading. I didn’t think the stories were strong enough, especially in light of the “five year crunch” since as an old-time fan I had a very hard time wrapping my head around what history was present and what history had been missing for reintroduction.

On the one hand, “All stories are still in canon,” which leads me to wonder why Captain Atom and the JL are at odds and how the JLI doesn’t know each other. On the other hand, “It’s a new beginning!” so how are there five Robins under the bridge now, and where did the Hall of Justice come from (seriously, did the Nightwing-as-Bats second-string league ever exist in the new continuity? NO ONE IS TAKING CARE OF THE HALL OF JUSTICE?)

Really one of the big centerpieces of awful was the fact that a good number of the books wanted world-shaking problems on their plate (like JLI, Stormwatch, Captain Atom, even to a lesser extent, Frankenstein, Teen Titans and Legion Lost) which you’d think other heroes or teams (like the Justice League) might pick up on and want to be a part of. But while they’re doing their 5-years previous super extended dance mix with Darkseid, (trying to poke his eyes out for an entire issue of the arc,) there’s no indication there even IS a Justice League, except in JLDark, where they choose two of the most ill-suited members (Cyborg and Superman are going to fight a magician? Really?) to take on the threat and then completely drop it because … because.

I dunno, all DC’s titles feel like polished 90s Image comics to me. More violence and spectacle with less heroism for your $3.

There were many years when I bought EVERY DC comic, and decades where I bought most of them.
For 45 years I was a DC addict.
I’m still buying The Shade, but other than that, DC has driven me away.

nuDC will rot your mind. It’s only slightly better than being a crack-head.

@Sureiachan
I line up with some of your thoughts on the DCnU but several things (crossovers, world shaking events in one book don’t resonate in others) have been staples of comic book storytelling for years. The first one (crossovers) does annoy me as I don’t want to have to read extra books to get a complete story. I felt the same way in 1987. The second one has no effect on me at all. I don’t mind if Frankenstein’s world threat doesn’t blip on the JL’s radar. In fact, that would lead to the sort of crossover issues I don’t like in the first place. I’ll take each book having its own contained story over making the whole line of books make 100% sense as happening on one world.

For the more violence and more spectacle with less heroism comment, I think it all depends on what you want to pay attention to. I like stories of heroism. It’s why I like superheroes. It’s also why I read Action Comics and not Red Hood and the Outlaws. I would say the Superman of Action Comics displays more heroism than he had in his monthly books in a long time.

I don’t think the problems with the New 52 stem from a lack of cohesive continuity, I think they stem from crappy writing and art. The good books at DC are good whether or not they tie into a larger whole (I’m looking at you, Batman Incorporated) and the bad books will be bad regardless of their “fit” into the DC universe (I’m looking at you, every book written by Scott Lobdell). The same holds true for the current Marvel books and I’m sure it will hold true for the Marvel NOW! launches. I had no idea what the history of Red She-Hulk was when I picked up Defenders #1, but I like the book nonetheless. When Dr. Strange guest-starred in the last issue of Daredevil, there was no big deal made about how Brother Voodoo is technically the sorcerer supreme – and his appearance was all the better for it. Now I ended up dropping Invincible Iron Man a year and a half ago because the story (while firmly integrated into continuity) was incredibly slow and stretched over far too many issues. Likewise, I will probably not pick up Gillen’s relaunch (as much as I like Kieron Gillen’s writing) because Greg Land simply cannot tell a story effectively with his porn-traced “art.” This has nothing to do with the integration of the book into the Marvel universe, it is simply a product of crappy art.

Both of the Big Two need to reeducate their writers on how to tell a story in each issue while setting up continuing subplots. They need to stop rehashing old stories and try to come up with their own. It wouldn’t kill the writers to come up with some good new characters every once in a while: new villains, new heroes, new non-powered supporting characters. Changes should matter and should not be undone by new writers. And artists need to bone up on storytelling and spend less time on their cross-hatching skills until they’ve done so.

They need new direction… they need new publishers… they need a new E-i-C… they need a new CCO… and they need a new president.

Hermes_T, you hit the nail on the head. The worst move DC has made in the past few years is basically hiring the 1990s Marvel editorial bullpen. Get Harras and his crew out of there! (And take Dan and Geoff with you!) Bring in some NEW BLOOD. Hire from the more successful independent comic companies if nothing else!

I’m surprised that Johns (despite being the architect of Flashpoint) was so willing to do a reboot that erased so much of what he did at DC: JSA (including characters like Stargirl) and Brightest Day, which was supposed to be the launching point for upcoming stories.

I’m also surprised at a guy like Dan Jurgens who was such a big part of the Superman books in the 90′s, wouldn’t object to what’s been going on in the Superman books. I was hopeful that his involvement with Giffen would be a good thing for Superman, but it didn’t work out that way at all. Also, his and John’s work to make Booster Gold a major character at DC has also been flushed away, despite the Booster title being all about time travel and all of that, yet Flashpoint should have been addressed directly in that book. I’ve only read the first trade of the new JLI and the Booster in that book seems to have no relation to “my” Booster. Has Rip Hunter appeared yet in the new 52 ?

i’m still not sure how the Flashpoint reboot actually took place story wise. The Flash goes back in time, changes history, creates an alternate reality, attempts to change it back, meets Pandora who merges realities, Flash then returns to his own world, remembers the alternate reality he was in and gives Batman the letter from his dad, The End. Has any of that been mentioned in any other books ? the new 52 Flash (from what i’ve seen) is not the same character from the end of Flashpoint.

I really believe that if the Superman books weren’t so bad saleswise, there wouldn’t have been a reboot. the main Bat and GL titles were selling, which is why they weren’t totally rebooted.

eh, what do I know ?

I was an all DC reader since the 80s (getting 40+ books a month) I tried the new 52, but they were rather unpleasing, I found them rather horrid. Those were not the characters that I had loved all these years. Even after COIE they reset but were basically the same. characters, same attitudes, same behaviors etc… DCnU is totally different. DC had some problems reaching people, but they are so out of touch with reality they have no idea how to reach new readers. If i ran a company that had so many sales problems and production problems, Instead of keeping the whole team that was messing it up to begin with, I’m clean house and get new blood in there. The people in charge were responsible for decreased sales to begin with. I am just not feeling it. I have one DC title on my pull list now (LOSH) other than that I’ve picked up 10 Marvel, some Dynamite and IDW.

An earlier poster put it best, it’s a party that I wasn’t invited to. If DCs new readers can sustain them for 30 years go for it. I have thousands of DCU to keep me entertained without tacky armor, pockets and unnecessary lines and Mandarin collars without sexist character changes and a ton of brooding douche-bag heroes.

I enjoyed this article, it reflects much of my own concern with the nuDCU. I’ve been a comic collector for many years and my Superman collection goes back into the 50s with almost every issue of everything. But I’ll be honest I don’t know who Superman is any more and the more I read the less I like the nuDCU. And here is my kicker, I’ll still collect Superman comics as long as they are published but. I wouldn’t recommend my son to read them. In fact, I’ve found that when my subscriptions come and I collect over 35 books a month they go in a box with the unread issues being on top. I’m finding and I HATE this but, I haven’t even taken the last 2 issues of any of the Superman family books out of their bags (my subscription comes pre-bagged and boarded). What is really disheartening is that DC might not have lost a customer with me but they’ve lost a fan and not just one but two because I tell my son don’t waste your time on these issues wait until DC wises up and brings back Superman and gets rid of the pretty boy with the ridiculous looking body armor.

Comic books I wouldn’t say are great literature but they are great in their own right. I don’t expect War and Peace when I read a comic. It’s akin to drinking a soda. I like the taste and I don’t expect any nutritional value. I just want to enjoy it and thats it. Don’t get me wrong even great literature has it failings. As I sit here looking at the box with unread books I think to myself maybe I’ll sit here for a few minutes and read a couple of books.

Nah, I think I’ll go get War and Peace off the shelf and read it again. I’ll save those Superman books for when I really don’t have anything better to do. And I say that with half a tear in my eye.

Bad sales or no, Superman was unreadable for 20 years, and it will be unreadable again when Grant Morrison leaves.

DeleteMyComment

August 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

@Paul

It’s as if what we’ve gotten with the New 52 are these half-ultimate, half-classic versions of the characters. So DC didn’t go all the way, and make them ultimate versions – yet they burned down their entire comic catalog and all the history that went with it

Pretty wishy-washy decision making from guys at the very top of DCs food chain

I read every monthly title that DC publishes. With a few exceptions (All Star Western, Batman, Batman & Robin, Batgirl, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps) I feel the vast majority are mediocre to sub-standard. I’ve decided to call it quits with the Zero month. I like the old DCU better.

While I agree with GOF and most of the rest, I think Mike H. Sums it up.

It’s just completely monotonous and lackluster.

I did largely enjoy Aquaman tho. Best book, for me, so far. I still have a few arcs saved up for several more titles, but none of what I’ve read to issues 10 and 11 has been compelling.

Yeah, the New 52 has largely been a dud…I’ve dropped just about everything but Action Comics and Batman Incorporated, though have still been reading JLA, Wonder Woman, Flash, Batman and Stormwatch…

Honestly, I think DC ultimately rushed this…like they had one idea going in and quickly changed it moving forward…I think they should have used the approach they had to the original 52 weekly series…4 (or a few more) creators come up with a back story for everything, plot at least the first years worth of books and then go from there…
Continuity doesn’t seem to fit and the whole shuffling of creators so much has been the detriment of the overall (appearance, since much of what has been published i think is pretty terrible) of quality…

as far as the Superman fiasco that I’ve seen in a few of the responses…I think the best way to get writers to again have a grasp on him would be to de-power him quite a bit…he’s like the ultimate nullifier from Marvel, except personified and one of the staples of the DCU…

let me also add to my last post…

the best single issue I think i’ve read in the whole thing was Red Lanters #10 which (for obvious reasons of who did the book) felt like a great tie in with Stormwatch…it wasn’t the best issue quality wise, but had a great organic universal feel to it…

this also leads me to add, I think Martian Manhunter is the biggest benefactor of this new DCU, I’m not the most well versed in his background but I feel a lot of depth has been added to the character and especially loved the hints in JLA to the past encounter with him and the league…

I see no improvement on the writing of the stories but I do like the exploration of this new universe. I got back into reading 4 years ago after a 20 years hiatus after reading a few Loeb Batmans and some Hellblazer trades.

I really liked the relaunch as it gave me a chance to discover the universe from fresh – no more wiki references.

I’ve found the most enjoyment from the Wildstorm books and Azzarello’s WW. I think DC is really trying to to make this special, and that is why they have a small leash on creative teams.

It’s a great time to be reading DC comics.

The first DC reboot was better but it was a different animal altogether, times were different and they had a lot of dirt to clean up. Now they needed to update their universe while at the same time not make it feel like an alternate earth (problematic because people wouldn’t want to read the same stuff about characters they already know either). 52 new books will always be a mixed bag that needs some time but the attempt to generate interest was a good idea.
As for the upcoming Marvel Now I hope it will be a new reader friendly milestone but it’s probably a huge creators-reshuffling and another convenient excuse to publish a lot #1′s at the same time (and that is already way too frequent at Marvel with all that renumbering, renaming, relaunching). “Marvel – a place where your series will be renumbered, renamed, relaunched after 30+ issues because it’s more fun that way”.

I hope it won’t become another gimmick to generate sales like yearly big events – can you imagine a company wide reboot every five years ?

Dc comics had me with Action Comics first few issues then I quit the book all together when the story started going in a strange place.The only Dc comics book that I enjoy reading is Batman.That’s it.I’ll probably pick up the paperback book of Bruce and his son teamed up in the Batman and Robin books.

i gave all the super titles plus justice league a shot for 7 issues. The best title was Justice League. Then I dropped them. DC should have done a full reboot on all of the titles. leaving no continuity ties to the old stuuf standing. I know a ton of fans that would have enjoyed trying comic books from the starting point if that is exactly what they got. but to have to wait almost a year or more to find out the origin of characters that DC hopes new fans have gotten drawn to is ridiculous. 52 new #1′s should have been filled with 52 origin stories establishing new continuitry in all of the characters. The 52 titles should have been broken up into monthly waves instead of dumped on the readers in one month. Action Comics and Superman should have not been started off in different time periods. They should have been released a week apart with the story that was started in Action Comics being continued in Superman. Same as Detective and Batman. I have taken part in everal discussions with readers who would have loved to see the new origin of Batman And Robin told through out the string of Bat titles you have. Detective, Batman, Batman and Robin, And Batman:the dark knight would have been enough batman titles to push his and robins origins through in a month or two. same with all the Green Lantern titles. same with Wonder Woman. Then they have released Justice League. and all these other titles. having Superboy and Supergirl Launch the same month as the other super titles and Teen Titans made no sense. especially when the stories leading up to Superboys creation were supposed to never have happened and Superman hasn’t had enough time on earth being a hero by himself to be able to deal with having a cousin and a clone. Batgirl should have been released months later with it being stories that are based in the beginnings of her career same as Catwoman. Legion of Superheroes should have not started for awhile and it to should have been a reboot instead of a continuation of the last threads from the old stories. Legion Lost is an obsolete title. Dc had a chance to make the clean start they had once talked about when they did Crisis on Infinite Earths, but once again have failed to fully pull the plug on the old dc universe and turn on the light of the new.

@Mike H.:
“The worst move DC has made in the past few years is basically hiring the 1990s Marvel editorial bullpen. Get Harras and his crew out of there! (And take Dan and Geoff with you!) Bring in some NEW BLOOD. Hire from the more successful independent comic companies if nothing else!”

TRUE!

I was very interested and excited when the New 52 began and tried a lot of the titles but as time passed, I became less and less engaged. Looking back, I think I might have had a sense of how things were headed with how unimpressive Justice League #1 was. It wasn’t good or bad, just kind of bland. I found several titles that held my interest but I’m down now to, of all things, Wonder Woman right now (a character that I never read until the New 52) and I’m debating dropping it (although I did return to Justice League Dark just recently and have enjoyed it). I think my general eventual feeling toward the New 52 can be seen in how I stopped reading Animal Man and Swamp Thing, two decent titles. While finding them interesting on some levels, I kept wishing that the current story about the Rot in each title would end. Then when I really thought about it, I realized that I didn’t care how the story would end and just dropped both titles.

I miss the sense of fun some of my old DC favorites used to provide–titles like the Doom Patrol with Giffen and the Superboy and Batgirl (yes, I’m pro-Steph) titles that both had a sense of fun to them and were ended abruptly by Flashpoint and its aftermath. I miss the old Legion and Blue Beetle–two titles I looked forward to in the New 52 and dropped for differing reasons after their first issues. I just don’t enjoy the new DC’s titles like I used to, so the various ones I read weren’t difficult to drop from my holds list.

And after years of avoiding Marvel aside from Daredevil and X-Factor, I’ve actually added a title (Hawkeye) and am curious about the Waid Hulk and the two FF books (provided they aren’t $4 or twice a month–it’s hard/bad enough that DD and X-Factor are that way but I enjoy both enough that I take the hit for them).

MarvelNOW may be just be Marvel with a fresh coat of paint but if there is fun to be affordably had, I’m going to drift over the House of Ideas, despite its tendency to also be the House of Price Gouging.

I guess beyond continuity, DC’s failings might be in a lack of fun and joy that can be found in their titles. Well, at least for me anyway.

Think I’ll stop here–kind of feel like I’m rambling a bit. Don’t know how you regular posters do this. On the whole, it’s probably easier to troll than try and make a cohesive point. At least I didn’t (I hope) act like one of those charmers.

dc still has a lot of work that needs to be done starting with their history 5 years is no kind of history no golden age no sliver age

na na na batfan

August 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

i fully understand peoples misgivings about the new 52 almost a year in but i would like to point out that many of the gaps in most stories actually leave fertile ground for creative teams to explore. i would use batmans trip to apokolpis in the opening arc of justice league as a prime example, does anyone really believe that geoff johns wont explain that in a later story. we have found out little about martian manhunters relationship to the league except for a 2 page spread and some brief dialogue in a later issue, i would also like to point out that Batman has the letter from flashpoint #5 in the cave. aquaman has never been better in his long history then he is right now also i have the same feelings about superman’s self titled book many of you have expressed but action comics is great on the whole and goes closer to the characters original values form 1938. action comics is also the place where you can see batman and supermans relationship begin to develope in the new 52. i can only speak for myself but i have never had more interest in wonder women then right now and find it a joy to get to see the heros of an entirely different earth become established in the earth 2 book. i have found that after reading monthly comics for almost 25 years give or take the best thing to do is be patient and if they ware thin wait for the trade, look for great solo stories or ones contained in familes of books. readers seem to be content to have marvel change the status quo on a yearly basis i think we should give dc time to establish one and to do it organicly. thank you for your time and hope i this post didnt seem like rambling.

They gave 3 TITLES to Rob Liefeld… 3 TITLES, no less!
They KILLED the New Teen Titans!
They turned JLA into something generic and bland.
And now they gave SUPERMAN to… Scott Lobdell!

This is insane!

I’m really sorry for the good writers still working for DC… I’m sorry for Morrison, Snyder, Lemire, Cornell and Milligan.

i’ve been following the new 52 in the hopes it may rekindle my interest in all things dc. and so far, nothing has worked. with the exception of snyder’s batman, the biggest culprits are the new wonder woman and jim lee’s overblown justice league.

It is funny , to read the comments , makes you wonder if any of these people really read DC before the relaunch.

It seems impossible with sales still way up on many titles , a year later and up on just about all of the mid-level titles , of course there are so some low selling books , but with 52 titles each month , you would have yo believe not all would do well.

It does make you wonder on where these people buying them are coming from?
some examples of titles from June of this year and 12 mos. earlier :
1-YEAR COMPARISONS
+187.2%: JLA
+147.8%: All Star Western
+145.3%: Batman
+112.8%: Detective Comics
+101.7%: Batgirl
+ 99.1%: Teen Titans
+ 92.5%: Action Comics
+ 58.7%: Supergirl
+ 58.1%: Superman
+ 53.4%: Wonder Woman
+ 36.1%: Superboy
+ 31.3%: Batman, Inc.
+ 21.7%: Batman and Robin
+ 4.1%: Scooby-Doo
+ 2.2%: Hellblazer
+ 0.3%: Fables
- 0.8%: American Vampire
- 1.9%: BB Unlimited
- 1.9%: Birds of Prey
- 5.1%: Scalped
- 6.5%: Green Arrow
- 6.8%: Sweet Tooth
- 11.7%: LoSH
- 13.5%: Unwritten
- 15.2%: GoW
- 17.0%: Young Justice
- 17.7%: New Guardians
- 23.3%: I, Zombie
—–

I am a longtime comics fan, and I am truly enjoying the New 52 (or at least the 15 or so titles that are still around from the launch, as well as most of the books from the subsequent waves). Here are some random thoughts:

* I wish “Mister Terrific” had survived the first cut. His series had unusual art, interesting stories, and would have been a great pairing with the two current Earth 2 books.

* “Aquaman”, “The Flash” (a book I didn’t have on my list until a friend let me read his first issue), and “All-Star Western” are the three books (after “Legion of Super Heroes”) I look forward to most each month.

* I was not thrilled with the concept of “Legion Lost” (and ignored the crossover books during “The Culling”) at first, but I have come around a bit. I’ve decided that I am happy that the book which features several of my all-time favorite Legionnaires (Timber Wolf, Wildfire and Dawnstar) has given them more space to shine than the main title would have. That being said, I am still hoping that it is just a ‘long miniseries’ which will run its course in another year or so at most. The Legion works best 1,000 years in the future.

* When the Golden Age was replaced by the Silver Age, that generation of fans had to get used to new versions of old characters. Many of us had a similar taste of that with ‘The Crisis on Infinite Earths’ back in the 80′s (the only ‘true’ crisis in my opinion). When the New 52 was announced, I basically told myself that it was just ‘time for a new sweep’, and looked forward to most of the changes.

* I will miss the Wolfman/Perez “Teen Titans”, but I am not a teen anymore (as I was when that particular dream team was on the spinners), and I can always go back and reread the old stories (yet again) anytime I want. And let’s be honest: with all of the Robins since Dick Grayson, the various speedsters, Young Justices, and re-re-relaunches of the Titans books, that concept needed a pretty severe shake-up. The JLAers would all be in their 50′s (or at least Batman would be) if all of the Robins and TT teams had kept their long histories intact.

A quick note about Marvel in all of this. I’ve never been an ‘either/or’ fan when it came to the Big 2. However, all of the non-stop Avengers events took the enjoyment completely out of the stories for me. And Marvel did the same thing with the younger mutants that DC did with the Titans: introduce the ‘next new young team’ ad infinitum, thus pushing the originals’ ages higher and higher. “New Mutants”, then “Generation X”, then all of the Xavier School classes, and add on The Five Lights (whoever they are supposed to be). And Layla. And Hope… Not to mention the ‘toss all of the X-Men into a hat and pick & choose a team for a few months’-style mess it’s been over there for the last few years. Throw in a $3.99 price point, and this lifelong comics buyer hasn’t dropped a dime at Marvel in over two years.

Anyway, sorry about the ramble, but I just wanted to say that not all of the older readers are ripping their hair out, or fighting the change, or lighting up the message boards with whiney rants. I’m not saying that everyone is doing that, but I wanted to demonstrate the many layers of acceptance and resistance inside of just one reader of ‘tenure’. The change happened, and it’s up to each one of us to vote with his/her dollars (and not just the air coming out of our mouths) for the stories we ENJOY. It’s less stressful and more productive, and of course the back issues from the ‘old’ universes never go away…

I’ve never bought into the dichotomy of Marvel vs. DC. I like good stories and good art, no matter who publishes it.

Second, there’s NO way I could read or afford ALL the “good” books being published. I try out some titles, I see what I like…and I keep buying them.

I hadn’t bought comics since 1988. Up til then I was a Marvel reader. I never read a single issue of Batman or any other DC title. I dropped out of comics until about 2011 when I would get an occasional trade paperback.

For me, the NEW 52 was an unprecedented opportunity to discover new/old characters and THEN go backwards and pick up “classic” story arcs from the last 40 years without feeling burdened with NEEDING to know all that continuity.

I really like Snyder’s writing. Batman has been thoroughly enjoyable. I didn’t dig Wonder Woman much and was thoroughly unimpressed with the first 8 issues of Justice League. I’m still reading All Star Western, Swamp Thing, Animal Man (maybe not for much longer), Earth 2, Batwing (I know).

Waid’s Daredevil is great. Slott’s ASM was not quite my style. I’m actually excited to see Waid’s take on Hulk, and Remender’s Captain AMerica.

For me, continuity is not an issue, but if I had been an uninterrupted reader for 30+ years then it might be. Great conversation piece this article.

I definitely agree with you on your points about the New 52. For me, the biggest problem with this relaunch is lack of focus and lack of history. If you’re going to reboot the DC Universe, don’t do a soft reboot, just go for it with gusto so all fans, new and old, can jump in and see what the deal is with characters they’ve either been introduced to or have followed for years. While I understand some fans’ apprehension of throwing all the rules and continuity of what happened before out the window, having the clutter and confusion of this New 52 concept makes for some frustrating and lacking stories. Do I feel we need to be spoon fed origins right off the bat? No, not necessarily. But when you start out a new idea like the New 52 with a book like Justice League, a book that should be the crown jewel in the New 52 crown with a storyline set 5 years in the past but then decide to jump to different eras in other books like Superman and Batman, it makes for sometimes confusing and sometimes pointless storytelling. Batman is on my personal must-read list each and every month, but Superman however I couldn’t stomach passed Perez’s first story arc, and that arc wasn’t so compelling that I felt any need to stick around to see how other creators might mishandle the Man of Steel (although I am tempted by Lobdell and Rocaford’s run to see if they can pull that book out of the nosedive it’s been firmly settled in).

The lack of history for readers wondering what stories are still in place from previous runs is pretty awkward in my opinion. I lost count at how many times I’ve heard fans question what matters and what doesn’t anymore based on where a book currently is. Instead of being a fun mystery to uncover, it’s a hindrance when you’re trying to enjoy a story and then get shaken out of it by something odd that doesn’t add up. I think the #0 across the board in DC’s titles is their response to so many fans asking so many questions over the last year, but it’s basically a necessary evil when the number of fans asking questions seems to take a lot of the luster away from the newness of the New 52. Instead of creating stories that are easy to jump in and enjoy the ride, it’s become less user friendly for the fans who have been showing up week after week at the comic shops to get the latest installment of their favorite characters.

For me, I know that the titles in the New 52 that have managed to keep some sort of consistency in their creative line up are the ones that I’d rather collect. Batman is a huge case in point, with the 12th issue being the first time someone other than Greg Capullo has lent their pencils to. That’s pretty amazing to me, especially in this day and age of revolving door creative teams. Another one that I have to give a nod to is Aquaman, a title that only saw one issue of a change up during it’s one-off story with Mera in issue 6 from Ivan Reis’s always welcome pencil work.

Another thing the New 52 managed to do to my surprise is make me take notice of books that I normally wouldn’t have bothered with. While over a year or so ago I would have said I was reading Green Lantern on a fairly regular basis, now I’m reading Batman (while being a Superman fan that can’t seem to find a version of Superman that fits my tastes in the New 52), Aquaman (a book I barely ever picked up, but I will fully admit that more than not it’s because Ivan Reis’s artwork astounds me), Animal Man and Swamp Thing. I do pick up Action Comics as well, though the way the planning of the stories in this first year worked out, I only picked up the issues specific to the first story arc (not the Legion centric issues or the President Superman issue) and Red Hood only because that book is so nutty and goofy with how far off the reservation it is that I have less owning to what happens there than in, say, Superman. Sometimes you need a popcorn flick even if you’re watching Oscar caliber movies, you know?

While I can also understand from a company standpoint why DC would crank out 52 new titles to entice new, lapsed and continuing readers to check out their reboot, I’m still feeling that 52 titles was a lot to do for what feels like a trail and error test of what DC’s readership wants. While I can understand their might be a market for someone who might like, say, Red Lanterns, I couldn’t be farther from interested in them. Captain Atom? Not so much, unless you’re going to tell me he’s associated to the JLE, which was a title I loved as a kid. Deathstroke? I don’t think I bothered even touching an issue of that one even in my speculation phase of buying a decent amount of #1 issues last September. It just feels to me that this whole concept was scattershot in what characters DC was banking on to make an impression. And with those hopes from DC’s side of things, I wonder how many of those titles hit the audience they were intending to. Did I need 2 Superman books, one for the past version and one for the now version? Personally? No. I also feel having multiple Batman books plus even him cameoing in Justice League and JLI just showed the same mentality that was already in place so that didn’t help make the New 52 feel new or fresh to me. Plus, starting an entire line launch around a book that takes place 5 years in the past seems a little odd when you have books like JLI coming out and trying to show how the Justice League needs to be embraced on a global scale. To me, it’s the cart before the horse, with that being proven by how JLI recently ended. Maybe I’m just getting older but to me simple is good. Why couldn’t the New 52 have started out with a few core books that really built up this new world, giving moments to show off characters before they’re given their own titles to see which survives and which fails? I understand from a business standpoint how that could be silly as less titles equals less revenue, but if done in a way similar to Brightest Day where you have storylines being drawn by an artist specific to a certain character while keeping the story focused on introducing said characters and expansive world in a simpler, possibly more robust fashion, I think the New 52 would have less frustration than not.

Well that and just flat out go for the full reboot and don’t cherry pick story points just to give service to the fans. Go big with the idea, not with the number of titles thrown at flagging readership who are already weathering enough continuity storms, or Crises as it were. I’d almost rather have them close the door on the former continuity so that those stories aren’t bastardized into something they weren’t meant to be a part of.

I think ultimately, there are two kinds of comic reader. The kind who loves jumping into the middle of a moving shared universe and gets excited by everything they don’t know and thrills in catching up with everything. And the kind who sees no value (or little value) in the universe having a history or ties between titles outside of the specific book they’re reading. It’s clear from the original article that Tom is the former kind of reader, and so am I.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, for me to accept that DC simply defecated on the importance of the New Teen Titans. It was, for god’s sakes, the DC book that went toe-to-toe with Claremont’s X-Men, the industry’s top book. New Teen Titans was a juggernaut. Outside Superman and Batman, it’s one of the biggest things DC’s ever done, and they just chose to throw it away. As I’m the historical enthusiast kind of reader, undermining one of the key high notes of your universe’s history guts a large part of the DCU for me. It’d be one thing if they’d chosen to retcon away WARLORD or THE QUESTION, I could live with that, but they did away with the friggin’ NEW TEEN TITANS. That’s so major it’s effectively not the DCU for me anymore, it’s a whole new entity, and since I’m the historical enthusiast kind of reader, I’m just not turned on by this shallow, history-less universe.

So long, DC, and thanks for all the fish.

And the dolphin departs.

They have made some questionable choices to sat the last

90′s Marvel is now at DC
(Who is the guy responsible for hiring Liefeld and Lobdell… Harras? Lee? or both?)

Johns Justice League is a masterfully crafted book… of confusing uncomfortable awkwardness
And erasing Wolfman/Perez Titans is just… plain STUPID.

Oh yeah… and now you have Rob Liefeld proclaming that he is resurrecting your books… HURRA! BRAVO DC! :p

We look at Marvel´s NOW and the strong creative teams they are delivering so far and my feeling about DC is they are stuck on the 90´s .Unfortunately, DC decided to bring old creators, like Lobdell who wasn´t on the game, at least with good work for almost 10-15 years and give him big names like TT and now Superman, with a variety of great and new names who could do better than just bring back an era of splash pages and no stories. DC 52 is a failure, maybe not for those editors, also children of the 90´s . At least Marvel moved on, investing in great names like Aaron, Fraction, Gillen and others and DC is years behind. Good and new ideas and comics aren´t the same as a confusing retcon, Superman´s armor, 5 Robins in 5 years and so on.

I agree something needed to change, but nu52 wasn’t it.

Dan DiDio is co-publisher with Jim Lee, so there’s not a lot of people above him other than president Diane Nelson, who may be mucking about with the company’s biggest characters.

Of course, Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns could have carte blanche over comic stories, as well as editor-in-chief Bob Harras. Although if DiDio is saying one thing and Johns or Harras is saying another then the chain of command over at DC is pretty fucked.

What a mess…

When the New52 was announced I was really excited at the prospect. I thought it was a very brave move to pretty much revamp their entire universe and I respected them taking the risk. Saying that, I don’t think its been as successful as it could have been. I have been frustrated with the lack of progress on some titles. Opening story arcs of 6 issues or more were a little excessive in many cases and didn’t seem to say much in the time they had.

GOF’s comparrison with Byrne’s run on Superman is a good one. Shorter stories allowed Byrne to explore more of the Superman universe than Perez’s first six issues did. But the industry now is definitely all about decompressed storytelling, and despite claims, when the New52 was announced, that there would be a move away from ‘writing for trade’, that doesn’t appear to have been the case.

However, I’ve got to say that almost 12 months into the relaunch I’m enjoying some really great comics, same as I was twelve months ago, same as I was twenty years ago and even further back. I’ve been reading comics for over 30 years and can understand those who complain that all the stuff they’ve read no longer matters. However, all those New Teen Titans, Justice League, Starman, etc. comics I’ve read and loved STILL matter because I loved reading them, they brought me a lot of enjoyment and I can still go back and read them whenever I want.

Most of DC’s soft reboot has been more perplexing than if they had just scrapped the whole thing and started fresh. Batman and Wonder Woman have been the only books I’ve enjoyed out of this. The Justice League book is just plain boring and the loss of the Perez era Titans is a travesty along with Tim Drake maybe not being a Robin. I get updating the look of certain characters, and having them start wearing their undies under their costumes, or having cyborg move up to the big league. A lot of what they seem to want to accomplish could have been done more organically. As is, I’m reading less and less of the nu52.

I have read DC since I could not even read.
I taught myself to read on Superman comics.
I loved this universe.
The Original Universe they called it until recently.
Now, sadly, I can’t see myself caring much any more.
The history and LEGACY of the DCU made the DCU special.
That is all gone now.
I miss it.

If this tactic brings in new fans that keep the characters part of the popular culture for a dace or two more, great.
But they left a lot of us at the curb when they took off on this new ride.
Good luck and I’m sorry o see you go.

On a very similar note, the same appears to be able to be said for Marvel.
It’s just Sad.

I don’t have nothing personal against DiDio, Lee or Johns… but in my humble opinion they need to re evaluate what they are doing with the DC Universe.

Sadly the bad outways the good in the new 52.

I will never buy a DC comic until they bring back Wally West!

As someone who is new to reading comics, one of the reasons that I started buying them on a monthly basis was because the New 52. That being said, I can see why a lot of you veteran readers are upset by the lack of history established so far, but I don’t have a problem not knowing everything in this new universe. I’ve been doing lots of research into the history of the DCU and discovering the past is enlightening but it’s exciting to be following the creation of a new mythology. DC’s announcement of the 0 issues shows that they are addressing the lack of mythos for those who can’t apparently wait for it to be revealed naturally. Personally I can’t decide if I’m going to pick them up or not, I’m more pissed that this is making wait another month for the Rotworld crossover but such is life.

I was on board with the New 52 all the way. Sure it would get rid of “my” Superman (the Byrne one) but it would open up the opportunity to do exciting things. I’d hoped for a few things: the doing away with the rape (and death) of Sue Dibny, the return of the “real” Martian Manhunter, the removal of the death of Blue Beetle, and may evening returning Dick Grayson to being Robin. I’d sacrifice Clark and Lois’ marriage for that.

Then I realized that the guys whose watch those things happened under now basically ran EVERYTHING. Johns got to keep his stuff, if Identity Crisis still happened I assume that’s so that Brad Meltzer can write for them again, and nothing was solved with 4 Robins in 5 years.

Johns’ books have focussed more on the villains than the main characters so even though were getting the best Aquaman comic we’ve had in a long time, we’re not getting the best Aquaman. We’re getting Mera, his old associates, and Black Manta. I originally started with 29 of the New 52 but with Marvel Now! coming and wanting to test those waters, I’ve dropped down to 12 (that’s counting Earth-Two and World’s Finest). Even if I don’t like Marvel Now! I doubt I’ll replace the DCs that I’ve dropped.

Ungrumpy New Fan

August 13, 2012 at 5:59 am

That’s sad – that you can’t let comic books act independently… to be distinct books unique unto themselves. That, instead, they need to operate in an interconnected way for you to be happy!

It’s typical fanboy thoughts like these that are killing the comics industry. If you want interconnected mess – how on earth are the mythical brand new reader supposed to join in?? Why shouldn’t the new reader just experience comics that are independent of each other?

If you want DC-cohesive books – well, don’t you have the decades of pre-New-52 DC? Those decades of impenetrable fan-service books that kept me from wanting to enjoy DC in the first place. And don’t forget – it was those very books that forced DC to relaunch in the first place, because their sales were going real down. But hey, Grumpy Old Fan, let’s just overlook all that. I guess you must’ve been happy when DC were selling less than 20,000 a book back in 2010.

Don’t you want more new readers reading DC? Don’t you want DC to survive?

You’ve had your DC for decades. If you can’t take the new order, why don’t you just quit, instead of trying to force everyone to live up to YOUR standards??

@Ungrumpy New Fan:
“It’s typical fanboy thoughts like these that are killing the comics industry”

I respectfully disagree… it’s not just about “continuity”.

I don’t have any problems with the New 52 in theory… the idea was good.

But its execution was rushed and sloppy as hell, especially considering DC kept waffling and contradicting itself about what got wiped and what didn’t in the reboot up to the moment of release.

What is really killing the industry are professionals (writers/editors/publishers) who aren’t skilled in their craft.

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