The GeeksverseGoodbye To The New 52

Goodbye To The New 52
Published on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by

About 15 months ago DC Comics did the unthinkable, rebooting their entire universe of books. Now, 15 months later, it’s time to say goodbye.

The New 52 was unprecedented. DC Comics, long the #2 publisher behind Marvel, wanted to shake things up and they accomplished that. They canceled all of their titles and relaunched with 52 new books. Some of the books essentially carried on from where they left off, but most of them were restarted with new directions. The Wildstorm universe was merged with the DCU and the New 52 was born. At first it accomplished what DC wanted, they became the #1 publisher and held the spot for awhile.

But then the cracks started to show. Creators starting leaving, directions were changing, books were getting canceled right and left. Things were not as good as it seemed. Today the New 52 is much different from where it started. There have been dozens of creative changes, with many pointing out issues with editorial over direction.

That’s all fact. Now comes the opinion.

All this in five years?

All this in five years?

The books are a mess. Justice League started but every other title was 5 years in the future after Justice League #1. That caused all kinds of issues. The Bat-titles, which had remained relatively unchanged, now had to deal with there being 4 Robins in a 5 year period, along with Barbara Gordon becoming Batgirl and getting shot, but apparently was never Oracle. That was the most glaring, but the five year gap created little issues (that started to become big). With the constant creative changes it’s hard to get a handle on the books, which are written like we’ve been reading these characters for dozens of years instead of just fifteen months.

My thoughts on the initial books that were launched can be found here; here; here and here.

The statistics were: 52 books published, 20 did not purchase, 14 added to pull list, 9 that would get a second chance and 9 that were one and done.

I started off, Pre-New 52, getting 13 monthly DC titles. At the end of the first month I was going to get anywhere from 14 to 23 monthly DC titles.

And now? Now it’s going to be down to 3 monthly DC titles, possibly 6. The three I’ll be keeping: Wonder Woman, Sword Of Sorcery and Earth 2.

Wonder Woman. Sword Of Sorcery. Earth 2.

What do those titles have in common? They are the ones most disassociated with the rest of the New 52. They could almost (and do in the case of Earth 2) exist on their own with no connection to the rest of the DCU. Why is that an important distinction?

Token DCU character to make it look good.

Token DCU character to make it look good.

It’s important because the rest of the DCU is a MESS. Even without the five year gap, there is just so much wrong with the New 52. The books are written badly. In the case of Birds Of Prey, every month when I read a new issue, it feels like I’ve missed an issue. The stories require us to have some prior knowledge, or at least we’re supposed to, about the characters. But this is a reboot (not a relaunch, which is different). In a reboot, these are new characters, new histories, new connections. We know nothing about these people.

Prior knowledge about the DCU was thrown out the window when Justice League #1 was launched. It’s new territory. Unless you’re reading Batman and Green Lantern, which requires you to have been reading just prior to the New 52. The soft reboot in some titles contradicts the hard reboot in others.

The meshing with Wildstorm? Not done well at all. It was like they got together and just threw ideas out there without thinking it through or providing the necessary connections with each book. Stormwatch, which is supposed to be a team that works behind the scene to save the word, has no connection to the rest of the DCU. The Martian Manhunter was there just long enough so DC could say “look, it’s connected”. But otherwise, it’s been dealing with it’s own threats and has had no interaction. Team 7, which shows the period of time between Justice League #1 and the rest of the New 52, has some new characters and meshs some DCU and Wildstorm, but it’s still not a good book. None of it is being handled well at all.

Where's the Wildstorm representative?

Where’s the Wildstorm representative?

Why not have a character from Wildstorm in the Justice League? It’s like they only want Wildstorm to barely be connected, only on the “Edge” (the edgier group of books). Why Cyborg and not Spartan?

Green Arrow is only 15 issues old and already on it’s fourth (or fifth) writer.

This is not how you make good books.

And so with the new year, and months of disappointing reading, it’s time to say goodbye to DC and the New 52. I started out at 13 books (pre New 52), went to 23 books, changed to uhm… uh… (I forgot since there were so many canceled and new ones, lost track) and now I’m going to be down to 3 monthly books (and undecided about Justice League, which is badly written BTW, and Justice League of America; might also keep reading Batgirl just to spite the higher-ups at DC for the stupid firing and rehiring of Gail Simone, who should never have been let go in the first place, just another example of how messed up things are at DC). I’ll be giving Threshold a try as well, because it’s Keith Giffen and Captain Carrott.

Two books from the #2 publisher.

That’s sad.

Very sad.

DC needs to look at the Valiant relaunch. This is how you relaunch books. Each is solid, with stable creative teams, and you can already see how the books are tied together in the grand scheme.

Valiant is what the New 52 could have been.

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