Looking Back At DC’s New 52

Justice League of America in 2011 by Jim LeeIt’s been a year since DC began its bold New 52 relaunch. I can now look at the question of whether it worked or not. And the answer?

If you are asking this question about its financial result, then it is a yes. DC has sold a boat load of comics and has built a stronger presence on the bookstore shelf with the collected volumes. DC’s titles are making up the majority of the top ten best sold comics each month. Until recently, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Aquaman listed among the top selling monthly comics.

They also expanded their sales by having their titles available for digital purchase the same day as the printed copies hit the shelf. For now, this doesn’t seem to be hurting the print business at all, which is an anomaly in the entertainment world. Usually physical copy sales plummet once the electronic version becomes more readily available. This hasn’t been the case.

As a reader, I’ve kind of had a mixed reaction to the New 52. I’ve stopped reading the three titles that I decided to pick up during the launch. To be fair, both Hawk and Dove and Justice League International were both a lot of fun and wound up being cancelled. I really wanted to enjoy Green Arrow, but it felt too different from the Oliver Quinn that I enjoyed reading.The writing and art were fine, but I just am not connecting to the character. I do plan on picking up some of the issues at some point, but for now I can wait.

I did enjoy what I read of the Batgirl series and I will attribute that to how awesome a writer Gail Simone is. Rob Liefeld’s work on Deathstroke was fun, too, because it reminded me of the fun I had reading Extreme Studios comics back in high school.

I also read a bunch of the trades and surprisingly, I really enjoyed Judd Winick’s Catwoman. I picked it up thinking I was going to hate it to be perfectly honest, especially with its hyper-sexualized first issue. But getting past that, it was a very good first story arc. And there was some other things that I liked as well.

There’s been some criticism of the New 52, ranging from its portrayal of female characters (to lack of prominent ones as well) to some creators not being happy with some of the editorial policy and direction.

Now that I’ve seen it, I’d say that it’s mostly a good thing. They’ve certainly gotten a lot of excitement from their readers about the product line. And I’ve realized that my concerns and woes about continuity really don’t matter, a good story is a good story regardless how it fits in with my back issues.

I’ll give it a solid B.

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12 thoughts on “Looking Back At DC’s New 52

  1. I agree, DC made some mistakes in the last year, and you pointed out the biggest ones.
    For example, they heavily distorted one of my favourite characters (Green Arrow), and this is something really difficult to accept. His distinguishing mark was his maturity: now he’s just a young hero like (almost) everyone else, from Spider Man to Superboy. I understand they had to link the comic book to the upcoming tv series, but they could have done that in a far smarter way: for example, they could have created a comic series narrating his early days as Green Arrow, like Marvel did with “X – Men: First Class.” When you reboot a character, you can change everything but his spirit: DC didn’t follow this simple but essential rule, so they haven’t been faithful both to their tradition and to their public.
    Anyway, I have been mostly satisfied with the New 52 line as well. Titles like Animal Man, Blue Beetle and Team 7 are pure awesomeness, and they make me turn a blind eye to the mistakes DC made.

  2. I agree with Green Arrow sadly becoming a tie in to the television show. But if I really wind up enjoying the new show, it might rekindle my interest in the Green Arrow monthly book. I’ve been wanting to check out the Blue Beetle and Team 7 stuff, so I’ll definitely have to give that a priority if I can find some of it cheaply.

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