10 Things We Like (So Far) About DC's THE NEW 521 of 12By Newsarama Staff
Two months. Sixty days. One-hundred-ten issues. However you want to measure it, two full rounds have now been fired from the chamber of DC's rebooted superhero universe, The New 52. And yes, while it's still very early and things can (and probably will) change fast, there's now enough story out there in the world to start some evaluation and come clean regarding what we're digging, and what's leaving us cold about DC's bold initiative.
Newsarama asked 10 of our contributors (including staff and freelancers) to detail one thing they like so far about the New 52 and one thing they're not liking so much.
We asked each participant to write his or her entries without sharing them with each another, so what follows in our countdown is an unfiltered, uncoordinated look at the DCnU's hits and misses as interpreted by our writers and editors.
We borrowed Harvey Dent's coin and flipped to see which list would come first, so what follows is our countdown of 10 Things We Like (So Far) About DC's THE NEW 52.
After this evening's peace and harmony, come back tomorrow night as we flip the script and embrace the dark side...
MOVE OVER, HEROES2 of 12By Vaneta Rogers, Contributing Writer
One of the most encouraging things about the DC relaunch is that it included different types of comics not just the usual superhero fare.
Wildstorm was once the best place to read about superheroes that had a harder edge or were set in a darker world. Now that the imprint is gone, it's good to know DC recognizes there's an audience for that type of material.
There's also a focused effort to build that part of DC's world, especially in the shared universe emerging between Animal Man and Swamp Thing.
TALKIN 'BOUT MY GENRE-ATION3 of 12By Alan Kistler, columnist, Agent of S.T.Y.L.E."
I was a big fan of Andrew Bennet but once his story was over, it was over. Aside from the occasional appearance in the background of a Dr. Fate adventure or a Shadowpact comic, the noble vampire had no real role in the DCU and there are only so many times I can re-read the same story. But now with a relaunched universe, not only do we get new I, Vampire series starring Andrew, but we get to modernize the character and his whole saga. His enemies are both old and new again and maybe this time he won't survive. Who knows? Similarly, it's fun to see some other characters streamlined so friends don't feel daunted by storylines of the past, some of which now seem like they shouldn't have happened.
Along with this, some of the relaunched titles now have a much stronger sense of other genres. Animal Man and Swamp Thing are definitely urban horror dramas rather than typical superhero titles. Captain Atom is a science fiction drama about a man dealing with change and a new distance from humanity. It makes for a stronger feeling that the DC Universe is meant for many tastes. Even Justice League Dark seems worlds apart from Justice League and that's fantastic because you can really choose a series that you enjoy rather than be faced a few titles that star teams that not only have similar names but seem to the same purpose and many of the same members.
SHUFFLE UP & DEAL4 of 12By Jill Pantozzi, columnist, Hey, That's My Cape
Before the relaunch, there were a good chunk of books with creators on them I never wanted to see leave the titles. I was really bummed that things were getting shuffled around in The New 52 but as it turns out, that was a good thing.
For example, I never could have seen anyone but Gail Simone on Birds of Prey but holy hell, Duane Swierczynski blew me away. Even though the team lineup is different, the book feels like it hasn't skipped a beat. The tone is spot on and Jesus Saiz's art is in my top three of the relaunch.
The same goes for Scott Snyder. When I heard they were switching him from Detective Comics to Batman I was worried. He was phenomenal with Dick in the old book and I didn't want to see that energy and fierceness go missing. Well guess what? It didn't. His storyline for Bruce Batman in the new book may not have the same feel as his past work but it's exciting me all the same.
A NEW DAY FOR THE MAN OF TOMORROW5 of 12By Chris Arrant, Contributing Writer
Although some people have lamented the Superman of DC's New 52, their central complaints seem to lie more with the clothes than the man himself. The hero I've seen so far the young Superman in Action Comics, the adult in Superman and the team-player in Justice League -- gives me hope for a more holistic take on DC's flagship character.
Superman's long been treated as a one-note hero (and pigeon-holed because of it), but showing these three angles on Superman simultaneously is providing a new thrill that Superman wasn't born in a day but actually grew and matured over time.
KEEPIN' IT FRESH6 of 12By Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer
There was really only one way for DC's "The New 52" to succeed, and it was pretty simple to figure out yet rather tricky to actually pull off: It had not to feel like more of the same.
So far, so good. Besides the obvious changes Barbara Gordon back as Batgirl, different genres being explored in books like I, Vampire and Men of War the initiative has gone a long way in rejuvenating many of DC's decades-old superhero staples.
Action Comics by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales has gotten plenty of well-earned attention for its portrayal of a young Superman as a denim-clad social justice crusader, but Wonder Woman and The Flash have also struck a nice balance of recognizable elements and new territory. Batman works perfectly as both a continuation of writer Scott Snyder's pre-Flashpoint run and as an series completely accessible to new readers.
And though Geoff Johns has been writing Green Lantern since 2004, the book feels much more accessible and much less weighted down by its own continuity, while still respecting the past which was kind of the entire goal, right?
THAT's WEIRD, WILD STUFF7 of 12By Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Blogger
If there's one thing that I really love about the New 52 - and there's more than one thing, really; I love Hal Jordan being a jerk in Justice League an embarrassing amount, and Grant Morrison's Action Comics offers up a new Superman who's charming in new, brash way - then it's that it's brought the weird back to the DCU.
Don't get me wrong; DC has put out some amazing DCU books over the last few years, but ever since Vertigo was formed out of series like Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol and Shade The Changing Man 20-or-so years ago, the DCU had become an increasingly straight-laced place, with only random acts of violence or misogyny to break up the "classic heroics" of the tone, and books that didn't fit in finding themselves cancelled and retconned out of existence as soon as you could blink, for the most part (Oh, Green Lantern: Mosaic, I still miss you).
But now? Now we have Swamp Thing and Animal Man back, and trying to add flavors of supernatural oddity to Batman and Superman's world. We have Justice League Dark with Peter Milligan sneaking John Constantine and Shade into the company's top franchise alongside DCU mainstays like Zatanna and Deadman. And, maybe most surprisingly of all, we have O.M.A.C., with Keith Giffen and co-publisher Dan DiDio himself offering something that's part-Jack Kirby, part-Adult Swim and all fun.
Rebooting continuity and replacing Superman's costume may be the kinds of things that get the headlines, but embracing the weirdness and variety of the DC Universe is the kind of change that makes me glad that DC went for the New 52 most of all.
FROM ZEROES TO HEROES8 of 12By Zack Smith, Contributing Writer
Writers and characters that might have lingered on the B-list or lower prior to the reboot have thrived. Jeff Lemire, already a master storyteller to those who've known his work on Essex County and Sweet Tooth, has taken his mixture of whimsy and menace to a new audience with Animal Man and Frankenstein, the former of which has been the surprise critical and popular success of the New 52.
My new favorite DC character is longtime immortal villain Vandal Savage, depicted by writer Paul Cornell in Demon Knights as a fun-loving barbarian who's joyous at the prospect of killing and eating a dragon (who wouldn't be?).
Scott Snyder, whose work on Detective Comics and his Vertigo series American Vampire has been a highlight of DC's output the past year, has seen his Batman launch to the top of the sales charts and somehow managed to do a version of Swamp Thing distinct from the legendary run by Alan Moore.
Good creators enjoying boosted profiles and revitalizing long-stagnant characters? That is the reason for reboots like the New 52.
ART OF THE DEAL9 of 12by David Pepose, Host of Best Shots Reviews
Before the relaunch, it often seemed like DC was playing a game of moneyball with their Marvel-ous competition. With Marvel sporting heavyweights like Marcos Martin, Paolo Riviera, Olivier Coipel, Chris Bachalo, Guiseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Caselli and Humberto Ramos, who did DC have to push back? The New 52 has certainly provided a platform for an impressive visual overhaul for the DC universe, particularly with talent such as Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato on The Flash, J.H. Williams III on Batwoman, Rags Morales on Action Comics, Jim Lee on Justice League and, in perhaps the most surprising comeback, Greg Capullo on Batman.
You can feel the energy crackling in a lot of these titles, and the enthusiasm is contagious. Many of these picks feel like A-list talent on A-list books, which is a welcome change of pace after the pre-boot arcs of Superman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League. This is a matter of picking the right talent for the right properties, and DC is coming back with a vengeance.
HORROR FOR THE SUPERHERO SET10 of 12By Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Site Editor
I'm not completely foreign to the world of horror comic books, but only a handful have grabbed me, and even less have been something I felt like I could recommend to any 'ole person off the street. When I heard about the "Dark and Edge" books as part of the DCnU, it was intriguing, but to be honest, I didn't think there was anything that was going to drastically change my mind.
Color me completely, utterly wrong. First came Animal Man. With the first two issues, this book has shown how perfectly merged horror tropes and themes can be with the world of superheroes, and proven that not everyone who wears tights needs to be fighting alien invasions or stopping bank robberies.
Then along came I, Vampire, a book that had no right being as utterly cool as it is. It's beautiful, it has a compelling and twisty story, and with just one line in the first issue, it completely established that yes, this is taking place in the DC Universe. By not shying away from that sort of thing right from the start, it avoids annoying "what if" kinds of questions, and lets the reader focus on the fun.
Those are the top two examples, but honestly most of the books that sit a bit on the fringes of this brave new DCU (JL Dark, Demon Knights especially) sit amongst the top standouts of the entire line for me. And that's not something this primarily superhero reader expected to be saying two months ago.
JUST DO IT11 of 12By Michael Doran, Founder & Senior Editor
After two months of evaluating the execution of DC's brash idea, what I find is a line whose varying degrees of quality isn't much different from what preceded it. So narrowing down what I like most about the New 52 is easy because it's still what I liked first about the New 52 ...
...that DC did it at all.
As both a long-time industry observer and a longer-time reader, it's clearer to me in retrospect (meaning looking back at the months of June, July and August) how much comics desperately needed a shock to the system, and love it, hate it, or wherever you are in-between, who can deny the New 52 was a defibulator?
That DC Comics, long-regarded as the most conservative among the industry's top publishers was firing up the paddles and yelling CLEAR! makes it all the more impressive.
I don't know if the New 52 will lead to long-term sales growth for DC; I don't know if the quality of DC's art and writing will be any different than it was before, but what I do know is it captured the attention and imagination of an entire community whose attention and imagination needed abduction.
Will few spikes on the comic book direct market EKG be enough for a clean bill of health? Or will a full-on transplant still be required down the line?
No one knows that yet, but today the patient is more alert and breathing easier than it did a few months ago. And that's gotta be a good thing, right?
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