The GeeksverseThe New 52 – More Of The Same

The New 52 – More Of The Same
Published on Friday, October 7, 2011 by

With the first month of the New 52 behind us, I think it’s time to look back and see if this whole thing was worth it.

First off, it has to be said, that just because the first issues sold a ton doesn’t mean anything. I’ve read that “sales are up” and that helps prove that the New 52 was worth doing.

Okay, it’s a known fact that first issues sell alot and then there’s a significant dip in sales for the second issues. So that the first issues sold so many copies, had so many printings, it doesn’t mean a single thing at all. It was obvious that DC was going to own the month of September when this whole thing was first announced. That was a given. With 52 new first issues, people were going to check them out.

So what the first issues sell means absolutely nothing. It’s how well the 4th and 5th issues do. That’s when it’s going to matter. So hold off on the “it was a success” until we see how well it does with the 4th issues. Remember, the way Previews work, the retailers (and the fans) pretty much have to order the second and third issues “sight unseen”. Orders are in for issue 3 before issue #1 has even hit the shelves.

DC could do very well for the next two months and then come December find itself with a huge dip in sales. It’s too early to tell.

Now how was the first month of the New 52?

Just more of the same.

Seriously, there really isn’t that much different between the old DC and the New DC. The idea was to bring in new readers right? To bring back lapsed readers? Well there wasn’t enough risks taken or enough changes made to really do that I don’t think.

Batman is still Batman. Green Lantern basically picked up right where it had left off.

Sure there are differences. Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl. Superman isn’t married to Lois Lane anymore.

But where are the new stories? Where are the things that make this new universe different? How is a new reader supposed to get into the stories when there is already five years of backstory?

And five years? There’s an awful lot that has to have happened in those five years. We already know that Dick Grayson was Robin, Jason Todd spent time as Robin, Tim Drake was Robin and now Damien is Robin. We know that Dick Grayson spent a year as Batman. We know that the New Teen Titans (Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy and others) existed in that 5 year span and that they were around long enough for Bette Kane (Flamebird) to have been a member. We know that Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joke 3 years ago and in just 2 years became Batgirl and worked with Batman. We know that Batman has formed Batman, Inc. We know that there was a team of super heroes in Africa before Batwing called The Kingdom (wonder if there’s any connection to the other hero from Africa, Vixen).

That’s alot of stuff that has already been established just in a couple of books in the new 52.

I’m a continuity guy. I’m all for a good retconning when there’s a reason for it, but this just seems like DC is setting itself up for another messed continuity. Which is what led to CRISIS and then Zero Hour and then Infinite Crisis and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, there was some nice stuff that came out of the new 52 and they did add some new stuff to the universe. Adding Stormwatch and other aspects of Wildstorm was nice. Adding some Vertigo characters back into the DCU was nice. They also did change up and shake up the titles giving us some new additions like Justice League Dark as well as brought back Resurrection Man.

But for every Wonder Woman, which is what the New 52 should have done for all the characters, there was a Legion of Super Heroes which continued exactly from where it left off.

This was a soft reboot and in the end I think it was too soft. When given the chance to really take a risk they decided to not. Nothing they did in the new 52 was risky. Nothing has the chance to drive away their existing reader base. They said they wanted to bring in new readers and lapsed readers but what did they really change that would do that?

Wonder Woman is what they needed to do for all the books. This was a title that just feels different. It’s not the traditional Wonder Woman title that everyone has seen before and passed over. It’s different. It’s new. But at it’s core it’s still Wonder Woman. They seem to be doing it with Superman as well. But Batman? Green Lantern? Flash? Aquaman? Same place they’ve always been.

If someone didn’t read Green Lantern before, why are they now?

Hell, Batwoman and the upcoming Shade, are probably the same scripts that were going to be published prior to the New 52 being announced.

Batwing and Justice League Dark were the right idea. Bringing back Resurrection Man? Great idea. Adding Grifter, Voodoo and Stormwatch to the DCU? Great thinking.

There was some they did right, but too much of it was just half-assed. If you’re going to bother relaunching your universe and changing some of the titles, then do it right, do it from the beginning and change it all.

I understand that to increase their market share, and let’s be honest that is really all this was about, they had to keep the 52 books. They “ended” with 52 or so and they needed to “start” with that number of books in order to start at the same level they ended at. I get that. Sound business decision. DC was tired of being #2 to Marvel and so they thought they had to do something drastic and the announcement of the new 52 was just that.

So there was no way they would have just started out with five titles and grew naturally from there. And because of that we get this weird growth where there has been so much that has already happened and we pick up from some arbitary point.

Batman, Inc has already been formed. Batman has already had 4 Robins. There are 4 Green Lanterns from Earth. There is already too much.

It’s the same thing that we had before.

And let’s not forget the built-in reset switch that they have in the form of this mysterious woman that shows up everywhere. If sales take too much of a hit, then they just hit the switch and try again.

So where do I see this all ending up?

I predict alot of continuity issues but at the end of the day I see DC ended up right where it started from. It’ll still be #2 behind Marvel and be selling around the same volume they were before.

The first books canceled?
Hawk & Dove, Savage Hawkman, Justice League International

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