Why I Love The New 52: Five Things DC Did Right

Why I Love The New 52: Five Things DC Did Right

DC Comics' New 52 still gets a lot of hate, but there are many things it managed to get right.

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Harley Quinn. for things like this

I love almost everything about new 52 and I haven't bought comics since the 90s Image Dark Age. And I'm really happy that Aquaman is getting a shout out. The writers took the "superfriends" era baggage and they just OWNED it.

Admittedly there are some flops like Hunted, Green Team, Hawk and Dove. But overall the quality is excellent and some of the continuity is really imaginitive, specifically the ties between Swamp Thing and Animal Man and Red, Green, Black mythology.

Okay letts play this game.
Aquaman? No contest however all that could of been done before the reboot.

Batgirl. Really? if it was done right they wouldn't need to make such a tonal shift and the writer probably wouldn't of had a problem with how she wanted to write it.

Batman. It has been bloated to a simple conclusion, Year Zero is by far the worst and Death of the Family is just weak as it's not like we see him pushing away his "Family" to the point of the ending, very little build up with circumstances in the series. Art and Dialogue was great and good respectively.

JL. The first arc sucked and it took more than a year for Cyborg to actually get any good while every member gets their own comic for development.

Wonder Woman. a mixed bag. See I like it but there are problems, Wondy being yet another bastard child of Zeus is the easiest and most boring origin on earth. Azzerrello's take is less to do with her and more to do with her world which would be fine if there was a balance.

I'm surprised other stuff wasn't mentioned but most of the best stuff was/is cancelled.

Resurrection Man, Animal Man, All-Star Western and others

What DC NU52 did wrong is numerous and deserves it's own article.

Snyder's a hack.

Court of Owls played out like a complete and utter rip of the Black Glove. I'm actually amazed that he got away with it.

rembrandtqeinstein:
I love almost everything about new 52 and I haven't bought comics since the 90s Image Dark Age.

Then you missed some of the best comics since the late 70s/early 80s :(

Justice League International was killed because of the forced tonal shift that requires all comics to not only look so alike they're interchangeable, but for the tone of all comics to be just as much a carbon copy of one another.

For that, as well as ruining Harley Quinn with the abomination that is Suicide Squad, and making Katana one of the worst comics to ever be made, there's just nothing to love.

Every comic from DC I liked was either outright cancelled because of the unneeded reboot or axed within six months. The only characters I liked that are still run are now in comics from writers who either have no idea what they're doing, or have no idea how the handle the characters they've been tasked with.

I used to buy about as many Marvel and DC comics before the reboot happened, now it's an oddity if I buy one or two in a six month span, and they tend to be one-shots that I was told by a friend where good enough to be worth buying.

I hold no love for Neo 52, and I never will. It's what made DC's comic books dead to me. Now the only thing they've got going for them is animated movies and games.

softclocks:
Snyder's a hack.

Court of Owls played out like a complete and utter rip of the Black Glove. I'm actually amazed that he got away with it.

I'm curious what you mean about that.

You're right, the New 52 straight-up remade then-recent stories (Action Comics' "Men of Steel" was Geoff Johns' "Brainiac" crossed with Superman: Secret Origin), but I wouldn't say "Court of Owls" is one of them. At least not with "Black Glove"; Doctor Hurt and his allies didn't have much in common with the Owls or the Talons.

Where exactly do you see comparisons between them?

Power and mysterious organization, possible ties to Batman's father, Batman almost being driven insane while fighting them, identical ending, etc. The flow of the story was almost identical as well, the only difference being that Morrison took his time building it up while Snyder's arc was more rushed and made more accessible to readers.

-Ezio-:
Harley Quinn. for things like this

I now have a sudden urge to go read everything that involves Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. At least, I think that's who that is *shrug*

softclocks:
Power and mysterious organization, possible ties to Batman's father, Batman almost being driven insane while fighting them, identical ending, etc. The flow of the story was almost identical as well, the only difference being that Morrison took his time building it up while Snyder's arc was more rushed and made more accessible to readers.

You make some great points, but even if the connections were intentional they aren't identical. Zur-en-arrh is very different from the Owl's labyrinth. The Black Glove and the Owls had different goals (destroy Batman, control Gotham) and methodologies (character assassination vs actual assassinations). Court of Owls also didn't end with Nightwing becoming Batman, and the Black Glove didn't have an undead army at its disposal (not that I recall anyway).

Besides, Batman has followed these kind of plot points for years; he's fought secret societies (The League of Assassins), or villains connected to his family (Hush), and went insane in the middle of jobs (anything with Scarecrow) long before Black Glove.

If anything, I'd say Snyder put together a more cohesive story. Morrison's run was great, but you have to read R.I.P, Batman & Robin, and Return of Bruce Wayne just to piece together what Doctor Hurt's deal was. What you call "rushed" I call "getting to the freaking point".

The only one of those I can agree with is Wonder Woman, which has been a fantastic read.

Everything else listed here has been a disappointment.

The first couple of Aquaman issues were good but then seemed to ride the "lol, everyone thinks Aquaman is weak" joke far too hard for it to be entertaining any more before escaping into mundanity.

Batman, Batgirl and Justice League simply never grabbed me at all. I still groan over One-Face.

I think you missed out on Morrison's Action Comics which was a fantastic modern revitalisation of Superman which also took him back to his roots as a defender of the poor against the powerful and corrupt rather than just a puncher of giant robots. I liked some other stuff like Animal Man and Swamp Thing (until that crossover between the two) but didn't love it and Demon Knights was alright. Maybe Green lantern too if the arc where Sinestro basically spent 12 issues showing how Hal is an idiot were New 52. Batwoman was good for the art if nothing else.

Real highlights in the New 52 have been slim though, with little or nothing being on par in my eyes with Hawkeye, Saga, Hickman's Avengers (or his previous Fantastic Four), Thor God of Thunder, the current Deadpool run which has given him back his pathos, Rat Queens, X-Men Legacy with Legion, Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-man, Young Avengers, Ms Marvel, Journey Into Mystery, Loki Agent of Asgard, East of West, Sex Criminals (not what is sounds like!), Archer and Armstrong, the first six issues of the Moon Knight reboot, etc.

It seems to be a really good time for comics at the moment but little of the output that interests me comes from DC.

Edit: Green Arrow was good for a while too.

Overhead:
I think you missed out on Morrison's Action Comics which was a fantastic modern revitalisation of Superman which also took him back to his roots as a defender of the poor against the powerful and corrupt rather than just a puncher of giant robots.

Actually, Morrison's Action Comics was the first thing I read from the New 52. While I thought his take on young Superman was interesting, the arc itself didn't really grab me. Most of what happened was done better by Geoff Johns a few years earlier (Superman: Secret Origin, the "Brainiac" storyline, and the glimpses of Krypton).

Not that Morrison can't write a fantastic Superman; All-Star Superman is still one of the best superhero books he ever made.

For the purposes of this article though, I tried to focus on (what I think) are great, established, current books the New 52 is putting out. That means I couldn't cover anything that got cancelled, or something that's very new. (I would have thrown Grayson up there otherwise. I love the hell out of that series.) But I did try to give a few honorable mentions to books that did something interesting, even if they didn't meet that criteria.

Maybe someday I can do a follow-up with the more obscure stuff, but I wanted to make sure readers could track this stuff down and jump right in if they so chose.

JaceArveduin:

-Ezio-:
Harley Quinn. for things like this

I now have a sudden urge to go read everything that involves Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. At least, I think that's who that is *shrug*

it is. she's popped up in a few Harley quinn issues. if you do decide to get into the series you'll be just in time to see harley team up with an amnesiac Power Girl this month. should be interesting.

It would be one thing if New 52 was just confined to the comic book pages but when the bad ideas of New 52 start to infect just about everything DC related then the burden of the bad starts to get unbearable. Sometimes it feels like all the fun has left the DC Universe and people wanting some sort of heroic ideal better just look somewhere else.

Fanghawk:
Most of what happened was done better by Geoff Johns a few years earlier (Superman: Secret Origin, the "Brainiac" storyline, and the glimpses of Krypton).

*Rolls up sleeves*

Them's fighting words!

But seriously I thought Secret Origins was rather bland and I especially didn't much like certain aspects of it from Superman's doubting about himself and his role (He's obviously going to embrace who he is by the end of the story, and angst doesn't suit Superman) to the people of Metropolis being shown in a poor light until Superman redeems them and shows them the way to the manner Clark Kent is presented as inept and cowardly.

On the other hand I thought Action Comics and loved it from the very first issue. When Superman was taken out by a bullet train (A combination of something as a fully developed hero he would be both faster than and stronger than) I was hooked. It felt more engaging than Birthright on every level - the people of the city being wary of him for instance felt forced and rather trite in Birthright. Lex goes "He's not Human" and everyone starts doubting despite him being unambiguously heroic in his actions. In Morrison's run Superman, while still obviously a good guy, does present himself as an honest threat - he's sending corrupt businessmen hurtling off the sides of their building after all!

His attitude was fresh, having the desire for justice that Superman is known for but with a cocky attitude that shows he hasn't grown to become the icon of hope that he will in the future and that he will later become. It shows growth while keeping to his inherent goodness.

Plus Krypto. Man, those Krypto related issues really hit you where it hurts if you've ever lost a dog.

Two words why the New 52 is heinous beyond reckoning:

Teen... Titans...

That is all.

Am I literally the only guy who doesn't like Geoff Johns' Justice League books? I mean, they keep getting a lot of praise, but I just don't find anything particularly interesting about them. Admittedly, I've only read the first two volumes, but they both just come across as really rushed and there are moments where it feels like I needed to read the solo books to properly understand what's going on (like the Martian Manhunter bit in volume 2). What's more, those moments just don't feel like they're trying to tempt me to explore the wider DCU, it just feels like they're desperately grabbing me by the lapels, screaming "buy the rest of our books!"

I don't know, does it get better with Volume 3?

Meh. The Court of Owls is a fascinating idea, like the League of Assassins with better costumes, but that's been about it. I've tried to read DC books over the past couple years, and they've been (in my opinion) terrible. Writing, character designs, stories, none of it really clicks with me. Which is OK, I'd guess, as the books aren't meant for me. I'm glad that comics are still surviving and that folks are enjoying them.

Kmadden2004:
Am I literally the only guy who doesn't like Geoff Johns' Justice League books? I mean, they keep getting a lot of praise, but I just don't find anything particularly interesting about them. Admittedly, I've only read the first two volumes, but they both just come across as really rushed and there are moments where it feels like I needed to read the solo books to properly understand what's going on (like the Martian Manhunter bit in volume 2). What's more, those moments just don't feel like they're trying to tempt me to explore the wider DCU, it just feels like they're desperately grabbing me by the lapels, screaming "buy the rest of our books!"

I don't know, does it get better with Volume 3?

The first two volumes are really the weakest of the Nu52 JL books, in fact when I recommend the Nu52 JL to people I say get volume 1 and get the first two volumes of Aquaman instead of the second volume of JL since that's totally skippable and Aquaman is gonna help you more in the long run. Volume 3 is totally worth it and that along with Trinity War is when Johns' League really shines.

Back on topic, I could go into an innumerable amount of reasons why the New 52 is not good (and for the record there's plenty of books I still really enjoy), but really all I have to ask the big supporters of the new 52 to do 2 things.

1. Give me a good story in the new 52
2. Justify why the ENTIRE CONTINUITY had to be rebooted in order to tell that story

The Answer after that is zero. There is no story in the New 52 that couldn't have been told in the regular continuity with (at most) a few retcons. They should have just done what Marvel Now is doing and just re-number their books with fresh creative teams specifically writing good jumping on points at the beginning.

LarsInCharge:
Two words why the New 52 is heinous beyond reckoning:

Teen... Titans...

That is all.

What's frustratin is that the Teen Titans started off so good. Or at least it had the makings of being really good. Then somewhere shit went off the rails, then it jumped onto some other rails in the wrong direction, then the whole fuckin thing exploded.

Luckily the new incarnation of the Teen Titans is turnin out pretty decent. Wish they'd explain some shit (like why the hell they're all together in the first place), but its a far better dynamic than the first run of Teen Titans. Plus Beast Boy turns into lice to sneak into a building, which is just straight up fantastic.

I was able to see my old friends with the Convergence event with The New Teen Titans run as well, which is simply wonderful. Disco Nightwing away!

On topic! New 52 has been super hit or miss. I enjoy the hell out of Batgirl and seein Cyborg get some well deserved respect is excellent. However as everyone in the world (rightfully) points out, they really shit on a lot of their female cast and made some weird decisions overall. Random thing that bothered me a ton was the Deathstroke comics. It was literally just pages and pages of Deathstroke murderin folks for money. That's...all. Just entire comics of him goin from murder contract to murder contract. What's the point of that? Like, for cereal.

 

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