This article may get me some hate from hardcore comic fans, and I completely respect their opinions. Let me just start out by saying that DC’s New 52 was what got me back into reading comics after a considerable absence and it could be the reason that I am such a fan. Do I think everything about the New 52 was great? No, but I understand why DC did it from a business perspective and I think that it did a lot to bring new fans to comics and it most certainly gave us all something to talk about back in 2011. It was a wild 4 year ride and it now that it has come to an end with the launch of “Rebirth” it’s time to take a look back at what made it so special.
God Damn It Barry
If you don’t like the New 52 you have no one to blame but Barry Allen. The New 52 spawned as a result of the “Flashpoint” crossover series that merged the DC, Vertigo and WildStorm universes into one, which had severe repercussions for certain characters. This meant that while some new characters were allowed to join the DCU it also meant that many characters had their back stories altered much more than others. Every title started back over with #1s including Action Comics and Detective Comics which had been on going since the 1930’s. I can understand why this rubbed some people the wrong way, but at the same time it put every comic reader on a level playing field. You didn’t have to go back and read 600 Superman comics to be up to date. It made starting or getting back into comics much less intimidating.
New Titles and New Stories
Love it or hate it one of the things that the New 52 really did was gave readers more variety, both in the re-imagining of many characters’ backstories but also in introducing new titles that gave “smaller” characters a chance to shine. DC was also smart and released these new titles in waves, 6 in total, and was able to build on the success or failure of other titles. I’m thinking of titles like “Talon” that came out of the Court of Owls storyline, one of the best new Batman stories in a long time. The repackaging of Nightwing/Dick Grayson into a super spy who was working along with Batman to take down Spyral following the events of Forever Evil, another amazing storyline. I even liked Mister Terrific in the 8 issue run that he got. Grifter was a cool character that I’d never heard of before the New 52, Constantine got a new start. We got introduced to the Justice League Dark and Batman: Zero Year created a whole new idea on how Bruce Wayne got started.
Mini-Series and Weekly Sagas
I mentioned it a bit ago, but Forever Evil was great and the impact it had on storylines can’t be overlooked. They unmasked Dick Grayson, I mean come on that was huge! You also had Batman: Eternal and New 52: Future’s End. These were amazing weekly comics that drew in aspects from all of the different characters, writers and artists that were involved. I’ll admit that some of the art design wasn’t my favorite but the thought that went into the stories and the fact that they all kept me engaged for 52 straight weeks was outstanding. The New 52 also introduced us to the Justice League 3000, which I really enjoyed as well as the Suicide Squad that we saw in the Live action film last year.
The Good With the Bad
Okay as you’re reading this it might not come off as quite the “Love Letter” that the title would have led you to believe. I’ll freely admit that I did not read every issue or even an issue of every title in the New 52. I did read quite a few but I’m not a completionist and I don’t have the time or the money to read everything. Were there bad comics in the New 52? Yes, of course there were. Deathstroke wasn’t near as good as the pre-New 52 version. As much as I love Nightwing I really wasn’t blown away by him being in Chicago. Batman Incorporated served its purpose but was largely just filler. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Batgirl comic when it got rebooted mid-series. I thought that Suicide Squad was very good, but for some reason they decided to create the New Suicide Squad. And there are a lot of titles that I didn’t even get started on “Hawk and Dove, Lobo, Arkham Manor, Gotham Academy, Star-Spangled War Stories to name just a few.
Here’s the thing. This is all just my opinion. You may have loved some comics that I wasn’t a fan of, or conversely you could have hated some of the things that I really enjoyed. The New 52 gave everyone more than enough choice to go around. I think that some of the storylines, especially Forever Evil and Futures End deserve to be rated just as high as Infinite Crisis and I think that the Court of Owls and Death of the Family stories rank right up there with The Killing Joke and Year One. The fact that a lot of what we have seen in the DC films and if rumors can be believed, a lot of what we are going to see going forward are based on the stories from the New 52, I think it is safe to say that they served their purpose and will have a lasting impression on comics as a whole.
That was my two cents. What do you think? Did you like the New 52? What was your favorite series? Let me know in the comments.
Image from dccomics.com