Discussion: What’s Wrong with the New 52?

We decided to discuss what we felt was wrong about DC Comics’ New 52 and compare it to Marvel NOW! We talk about costumes, Jack Kirby, Superman, Spider-Man, Hulk, Daredevil and a lot more.

Jason: There’s nothing interesting happening in the New DCU. It’s all just repetition of old comics and stories we’ve already seen.

Superman looks like he’s wearing a big blue diaper now

Johnnie: Yeah, that was my impression as well. I mean, ideally the New 52 was designed to bring in new readers. But what they’re doing with it is so uninteresting to me, I just didn’t bother with 99% of the revamp. The only one I’ve gotten into is Batman. And even then I was already interested in reading Batman. Plus those costumes. My God.

Jason: We could write an entire book about why every costume in the New 52 is absolutely horrible. Superman has so many lines going all over his body that it’s hard to know what to look at. It’s like they tried so hard to make the costumes look ‘real’ that they look so unbelievably overdrawn and unrealistic.

Johnnie: Yeah, I think Superman is probably the worst offender I’ve seen. But it goes beyond just those totally unnecessary, goofy lines. His suit is also not like, cloth. It’s this weird alien technology. Like, I don’t even know how to describe it. What is it exactly?

Jason: It’s some kind of technology that materializes when he wants it to. No more itchy costume under his business attire. He can just rip off his shirt and mentally command his suit to materialize! It’s so necessary!

Johnnie: Why do that, though? Just ‘cuz? Just…for fuck it all’s sake? I’m going to miss him racing into phone booths and doing that whirlwind thing and coming out as Superman.

Jason: The problem is that DC promised new stories, new ideas. NEW. But they’ve just been playing catch up with continuity. Most of their ‘new’ is just a mix up of old and new concepts together. It was better the first time. Either move onto something new or just use the old ideas, stop trying to modify everything.

Johnnie: Well Superman didn’t start out with that silly line-filled costume. In the first Action Comics of the reboot, he was portrayed as this populist, Wall Street crime-busting hero. He wore an “S” t-shirt, blue jeans, work boots, and the cape. And he went around holding corrupt businessmen over ledges and threatening to drop them unless they confessed that they were paying their workers poor wages. It was like the weirdest, eerie propaganda. Like, seriously propaganda. I’m fine with comics with a message if the message is elegantly and unobtrusively placed. But this was just ridiculous. It totally turned me off with its heavy-handed preaching.

https://i1.wp.com/media.dcentertainment.com/sites/default/files/comic-covers/2012/09/bm_cov15.jpgJason: I think this is what happens when Grant Morrison is brought under DC’s whip and chain. They have total control over everything. The New 52 was advertised as a breeding ground for new ideas. All DC Editorial has done is push everyone in line and control this so called ‘creative process.’ Basically they’re conveniently organizing their continuity instead of just letting the creative process take place and go where it goes. So many creators left in the first few months of the relaunch and there’s plenty of proof that creators feel like DC is strangling them.

Johnnie: DC sounds like the Fox of the comic book world. Like, so tightly controlled, cancelling things without giving them time to grow and breathe, and just being general bullies all around. Do you think some of this has to do with desperation? With wanting to beat Marvel so badly that they’re afraid to let their creative teams run wild?

Jason: Perhaps, but I think it has a lot more to do with DC Comics’ evolution into DC Entertainment. Around 2009, I believe, Warner Brothers suddenly woke up from it’s coma and decided that DC Comics was actually a lucrative endeavor. They shifted things around, put someone in charge that knows nothing about comics and made Dan DiDio and Jim Lee Co-Publishers and Geoff Johns the Chief Creative Officer (whatever that is). Either WB had these guys do their bidding or this new brain trust had the brilliant idea to suddenly reboot the entire universe and erase 70 years of continuity, unless it was Batman or Green Lantern. The result was such an unorganized disarray of ideas that DC is still trying to correct. It essentially misfired on release.

Johnnie: As a Marvel guy, I never really “got” DC. They really are very opposite brands. It’s hard to describe though. I’m not sure why I feel like DC and the New 52 are so inaccessible to me. I think it might be because they frame their characters differently from Marvel, in general. With guys like Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, people like that, their powers are derived from magic, or from birth, or space aliens. But with Marvel, you have people like the X-Men, who are mutants. The X-Men are more accessible because they’re born that way. We as readers can put ourselves there. Feel like outcasts for being different. Other characters like Spider-Man, the Hulk, Daredevil, etc, gained their powers through freak scientific accidents. So again, more accessible, relatable characters. The only character I can think of in the Marvel U that is similar to DC in terms of how they frame their characters is Thor. Thor should have been a DC character, really.

Jason: Well DC’s philosophy is that their characters are larger than life. They are the Gods of mankind. I think the New 52 Justice League tried to emulate that with their regal attire and high collars. Essentially, DC used the Jack Kirby approach. Like Thor, like the New Gods, these characters are larger than life and therefore can’t be relatable to normal people. Instead of trying to bring them down to our level, we should be trying to bring ourselves up to theirs. That’s why Kirby creations have been so inaccessible after Kirby and that’s why DC characters are too. Superman is so god damn powerful that no one can relate to him. Instead of trying to make him worry about something, which leads to Superman: Grounded, where he wandered around the country for a year, don’t even try to. Accept what you have and let Superman be Superman. Let him fight giant space monsters and killer robots and instead of worrying about stupid crap, let him focus on actually having adventures. That’s what the comics used to be. Marvel characters have the luxury of being ‘relatable’ so you can have more humanizing stories. Superman can’t.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.ifanboy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Marvel-NOW_Promo-Art_EW_JQ.jpgJohnnie: What I love about the Hulk is the pain of Bruce Banner. His struggle. THAT is interesting. THAT is something readers can get behind. And yes, we love to see Hulk smash, too. But there’s a human being behind it. Same thing with the X-Men. And Spider-Man. Daredevil was a horribly tortured individual up until recently. But at the same time I think there is an argument to be made for characters like Superman. He is framed precisely as you described: the ideal for humanity. I remember a long time ago seeing the teaser trailer for Superman Returns (this was before it came out and we all realized it sucked), and I got goosebumps watching it. It almost has this feeling of Greek mythology. And I loved that about it. I just don’t get that from the comics though. I mean, right now, Superman is gallivanting about with fucking Neil de Grasse Tyson? Like, what is that?

Jason: Didn’t you hear? They found Krypton, man! Using science and stuff. This is more important than writing a compelling story. Because in the end the New 52 is more about publicity than creativity. They want you to think they’re awesome and groundbreaking, when they’re actually just retreading old ideas. I think Before Watchmen proved exactly where DC’s priorities are. Mining old material, not creating new ideas. If they wanted to really start fresh they should have either rebooted the universe from day one, none of this vague five years later stuff, or just did what Marvel has done with Marvel Now and not dump everything, but just give everyone a chance to start fresh.

Johnnie: Yeah, I think you may be getting at the fatal flaw of the New 52. They have focused almost exclusively on superficial, surface details. Like costumes. They’re not getting down to the nuts and bolts of the storytelling to create compelling new plots and characters. Like, despite the fact that Scott Snyder is doing a great job with Batman, it’s still just Batman. Nothing has changed about the comics’ essential nature. As you pointed out, Marvel NOW! is not a complete reinvention; it’s a fresh start, but the continuity hasn’t been completely scrapped. And for good reason. I think Superior Spider-Man is one of the few, if not the only, comic that is undergoing a complete and total revolution, much to its detriment, in my opinion. So it seems to me that if DC wanted to reboot and reinvent its universe, they should have done that in a meaningful way, rather than just giving Superman a turtleneck.

Jason: It seems to me the best titles are the ones that could have easily existed in the old DC Universe. Batman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Green Lantern. Those titles still have ties to old continuity. Superman is all new, Teen Titans has been completely restarted, and Blue Beetle is basically a worse retelling of the same story that already took place years ago. What we’ve seen is change for the sake of change. All the big news has been about ‘this Vertigo character is now DC’, ‘this Wildstorm character is here now’, but there’s no news about the substance of the content. To me this universe is still just a mashup of concepts and doesn’t really feel like a true universe. A year has gone by already and no new title has run away with readers. Nothing new has really garnered a lot of attention.


For some reason the Teen Titans are from Tron

Johnnie: Well, is it even the New “52” anymore? Aren’t there much fewer now that they’ve canceled a ton of books?

Jason: No they keep cancelling books and replacing them with new books. They keep trying to throw out these old properties that could never hold interest for very long, do nothing new with them and then are surprised when still no one gives a shit. They’ve published two war comics in the New 52 and both have been cancelled after 8 issues. No one wants to read about the war in the Middle East. DC seems to be so far outside the zeitgeist that they’re throwing out these random properties with no idea how to make them relevant and nothing works. Eventually they’re going to run out of ideas in a year or two if they keep doing this.

Johnnie: That’s another huge problem. Marvel has a whole stable of profitable, popular titles. Like, I can name a ton of Marvel properties that are huge, get their own movies, and make a ton of money. X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, even Daredevil. Ghost Rider got TWO movies! Punisher got TWO movies! But DC? Batman and Superman. Like, where is the Flash movie? Or Wonder Woman? I know a lot of these get mired in production hell and other problems, but just in general, from comics to movies, it doesn’t seem to me like DC has that many huge properties.

Jason: They definitely don’t. Yeah, DC has the two most profitable superheroes in the industry, but after that it’s a long drop off. They obviously get a lot of money from Batman, considering they can have 10 different Bat-titles out in any given month. But that takes away from other properties from getting their own titles. Wonder Woman still only has one title. So does Flash. I think the market can sacrifice one or two Batman titles in order to get some new ideas and concepts out there. How about a new team? That’s what Marvel does. They have The Avengers, The New Avengers, The Mighty Avengers, The Secret Avengers, 8 different X-Men teams, the Defenders, the Thunderbolts, Guardians of the Galaxy. Very few of them have brand specific characters. You can have those teams with anyone in them and that helps characters get a higher profile. DC has Justice League and soon Justice League of America, which is kind of a new team, but it still has Martian Manhunter in it and a Green Lantern and a Bat character. Other than that they have the Outsiders, the Teen Titans and Doom Patrol. All of which are generally the same team most of the time. Marvel has rechristened Thunderbolts into a team up of Red Hulk, Venom, Elektra and Deadpool, that’s awesome. Also New Avengers is Black Panther and the Illuminati. That sounds cool too. DC should take some of their fringe properties and put them together to create one strong title. Innovation, people!

Johnnie: Well, you also have like Batman Incorporated and the Green Lantern Corps. And isn’t there Red Lantern Corps now too? But Batman Inc seems totally wrong to me. Like, I agree with you, but I don’t think Batman Inc is the way to do it. It just doesn’t seem very Batman-like to have that kind of team.

Jason: Well that was the point! It’s very un-Batman-like. I’m kind of sick of the dark dreading Batman. Maybe it’s a product of so many Batman stories all at once, but I’d like to see something different. Batman Incorporated is something different and I’d be interested to see where they go with it after Morrison leaves (if they don’t cancel it). I’d definitely read an Adam West-like Batman book. Still serious, but not brooding. Like Marvel has done with Daredevil. Like you said, DC hasn’t changed the fundamentals of their characters at all. They desperately need a reinvention like Indestructible Hulk where it throws the concept on it’s head just so there can be some fresh ideas. Wonder Woman has definitely done that, though.

https://i1.wp.com/media.dcentertainment.com/sites/default/files/comic-covers/17555_900x1350.jpgJohnnie: After so many years of Christopher Nolan’s Batman interpretation, it’s probably time for a new vision. The problem is, Nolan’s Batman was SO popular and SO successful with both fans and critics, I’m not sure that will happen for a long, long time. Scott Snyder is writing good stories, but it definitely fits that Batman mold. It’s dark. Very dark. Joker had his goddamn face cut off. It’s like a horror story. It’s definitely not like an Adam West Batman. But that may be just what he needs. Maybe we’re all sick of the Frank Miller/Christopher Nolan dark, depressing crime noir type Batman. Maybe we need a little more of this. And I’m dead serious. What Mark Waid has done with Daredevil, getting rid of that grainy, dark, gloomy stuff and letting Daredevil be a successful, relatively well-adjusted and mostly pleasant character, it’s opened up new opportunities and new stories we haven’t seen Matt Murdock in before, or at least not since the ooooold days. And it works. And it’s refreshing. The new Daredevil won a damn Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.

Jason: See, this is exactly what DC claimed it would be to comics. They said it would give writers the freedom they want because there would be no more continuity. There may not be continuity, but writers definitely have to step in line according to DC’s master plan. I think a big difference between the way DC and Marvel handle their creators is that Marvel allows them to have an open ended run and do whatever they want. It was a big deal that Bendis was in charge of all the Avengers titles and now Jonathan Hickman is. The DC equivalent to that would be Geoff Johns with Green Lantern and basically everything else now. If Scott Snyder was allowed to take control over all Batman titles then we could see something grand take place. DC doesn’t have any of that. Everyone has their little run where nothing is really changed and then a new writer comes in, starts from scratch and doesn’t change much either. Then the title is cancelled and the process repeats.

Johnnie: Marvel writers certainly have more freedom. Like, if you read interviews with people like Dan Slott, it’s pretty clear they do basically whatever the fuck they want. And sometimes that pisses me off. Like, I am not happy with what Dan Slott is doing with Spider-Man. I know that was something Marvel higher-ups probably had a lot to do with, but I also know that much of this was Slott’s brainchild and Marvel’s attitude about such things is good for the most part because then you get guys like Mark Waid doing remarkable, new, exciting things with Daredevil and Hulk, and you get Bendis doing cool stuff with X-Men, but you also have to run the risk of some crazy goatfucker like Dan Slott just laying waste to your most profitable property. It’s a mixed bag.

Jason: True, but I think I’d like rampant freedom over soul crushing editorial edicts. At least you get the chance to get something remarkable here and there. DC just makes everything stay in the middle. Not too boring but nothing too crazy. Nothing new. DC is very unforgiving to their lower tier titles, but the big sellers aren’t allowed to do anything different. It’s a baffling way to run a company that relies on ideas.

Johnnie: What do you think they should do to fix it? Is it as easy as DC realizing they’re suffocating their properties to the point of mediocrity? And just letting go of the reins, letting writers be experimental?


Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder do what they want with Animal Man and Swamp Thing

Jason: I think so. They need to be open to finding new talent with new ideas and giving them a chance, because someone else is going to allow them to do it elsewhere. I like how they’ve allowed Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder free reign, but they need to bring in more talent instead of relying on old hasbeens from another era. If DC really wants the New 52 to matter to this generation they need to put people who get what they want on their books. No more old men on comics like Teen Titans. Get someone who remembers what being a teenager is like. Bring in great artists who will not just get the job done, but will actually be a draw to the book. Marvel is hoarding these amazing talents on their books and people are lining up to pick them up. DC needs to do the same. It wasn’t long ago that they had Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Greg Rucka and Geoff Johns leading the way on their books. If they want to be successful they need to be open to allowing creators a chance to tell their story, not the story DC thinks we want to read. Creativity sells itself.

Johnnie: I know you’re not going to like my saying this, but DC needs a Deadpool. A character like that. Not exactly that. But with that flavor, that style. And DC needs to have the same open-mindedness about their characters as Marvel clearly does about Deadpool. They hired comedian Brian Posehn to co-write it. THAT is experimental in and of itself. He’s not a comic book writer by trade. He’s a stand-up comedian, but also a nerd. Yet it works so well. And when you read Deadpool in Marvel Now!, it’s obvious they have little to no restraints on them. It’s a fun, experimental, hilarious book. And I think it’s because they have a fresh creative team and they allow them to do whatever the fuck they want. But with DC? Oh, Neil de Grasse Tyson found Krypton. Hey, I know that guy from The Daily Show! This comic is AWESOOOOOOME. Please.

Jason: People don’t buy comics because it’s a chore, because they have to, because they need to keep up with the latest event. People read comics because it’s fun. When DC originally announced that they were shying away from line-wide events in favor of character-based stories, people weren’t disappointed. They celebrated. They’re going back on that now, leading up to their ‘monumental’ Trinity War, because they realize they need to kick themselves in the ass and get people reading their comics. But it shouldn’t be because they NEED to, it should be because they want to. Event comics only get people in the door, it’s books like Indestructible Hulk and Daredevil that get them to stay.

https://i0.wp.com/www.comicbloc.com/read/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Daredevil4_full.jpgJohnnie: It’s Marvel’s attitude about how they hire writers, and how they let them work, that gets you books like Daredevil, Indestructible Hulk, and Deadpool. And so I am not sure what the exact numbers are, but I have a feeling people are flocking to Marvel NOW! because of the cool things they’re doing with it. I know I was eagerly anticipating Deadpool, Iron Man, Hulk, and X-Men. And they all paid off. I got exactly what I wanted: great stories, new visions, and promise of future greatness.

Jason: The important thing is not the initial draw that DC seems to be emphasising, but being able to keep those readers coming back. DC is losing customers. While it might be too early to say what Marvel Now’s effect on the industry is, it does look like they will be much more successful at retaining their audience. With what they’re doing it kind of proves that it doesn’t pay to be the first to do anything. Marvel Now is a better New 52.

10 thoughts on “Discussion: What’s Wrong with the New 52?

  1. Manny

    I think it is important that DC keeps a tighter leash on authors. It was the nonstop creativity that lead DC to reboot the universe in the first place.

    I think the problem with the reboot is more with the massive story arcs that strangle the development of the other titles. Perfect example, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a HUGE fan of the story. Hell, I went to the Baltimore ComicCon just to get them to sign a copy for me. But when you begin to explore the rest of the Batman family, you start to find that the other titles really aren’t doing too much with their own stories plots as much as they should. They simply just ride the coattails of Batman.

    But it makes sense. Step back and review DC comics as a BUSINESS. What sells? Batman ALWAYS sells. Superman, Green Lantern, hell any of the original Justice League will always sell. DC has decided to put it’s best writers for these characters (Superman, meh, they thought Geoff was the perfect guy for it) and make the other titles follow these plots. The idea being if they can force an avid Batman fan to read Batgirl solely for the purpose of complete the Batman plot, then they can gain a profit. And it’s working. Batgirl will never be able to create a strong plot, but if they can hide a few vital facts between her craptastic story that helps explain why Batman is acting the way he is, then it will still sell. And it is working.

    But take a look at Batwoman. Williams refused to tie into the Night of the Owls arc and Death of the Family, and the title is flourishing. Heck, once you pull away from the big namers, you actually start to see something amazing. Titles like Aquaman, which I never thought I would actually enjoy, are doing great (God help us all in the upcoming Throne of Atlantis plot). Frankenstein, the Animal Man and Swamp Thing plot, Red Hood and the Outlaws. They allow the writers to freely develop a new identity for those heroes.

    Once DC can coordinate it’s plots across it’s other family titles, the characters and fans will be a lot more satisfied. Until then, it’s business strategy is bringing in the sales and widening its market to newer, younger fans that can now witness the new identities for these characters emerge for their generation.

    1. Jason Cohen Post author

      But who’s fault is that? It’s DC editorial’s for making every title follow Batman. Peter Tomasi doesn’t want to do this, he has to do this. I agree that the big events limit the other titles in their creativity. What is also good for business is spreading their brand outside of Batman. If they cancel just one Batman title, not only would that probably give the other titles better sales (since someone who needs a Batman fix will have to look elsewhere), but it also allows another character to get their own title and hopefully improve the overall DC brand.

      Great talents on obscure properties allow for more freedom because there’s nothing for the editorial department to enforce on their writers. There’s a big difference between guiding the different titles in order to let their stories grow naturally and in continuity and enforcing DC’s will to make sure that the Joker appears in Catwoman. As much as I like Blackest Night, the tie ins were absolute overkill and reading everything all together made the full story less fulfilling. I want to go back and just read Green Lantern and Blackest Night to get the actual story, instead of all the filler.

      DC’s strategy should be to extend all their major properties into multiple titles. Snyder is developing a new Superman title that will undoubtably be called Superman: Man of Steel and will hopefully figure out what the hell they want to do with Superman, because right now he’s a mess. They should also be striving for a second Wonder Woman title (Sensation Comics), a second Aquaman title (Adventure Comics) a second Flash title (there were rumored to be two additional titles in the works before the reboot) and so forth. They need to figure out how to expand their brands, not just Batman and Green Lantern, but everyone. Letting creators come in with new ideas can do that.

      I completely understand that DC is a business, but this reboot feels more like a business strategy than a creative one. Especially when it was promised to be a gateway into creativity. It feels kind of like misdirection. Don’t believe the hype, sure some books are selling very well, but a lot of them have fallen back to pre-reboot numbers. The line itself has basically reverted back down. I don’t know who exactly is reading comics, but it could have something to do with old fans leaving and new fans simply just taking their place. I don’t know. DC wants you to think they’re a juggernaut of sales and creativity, but it’s all publicity.

    2. johnnie88

      I think you bring up a lot of good points. Thanks for your response! As someone who is far more familiar with Marvel than DC, my interaction with Jason was essentially my view as an outsider. So it’s great for me to read comments like this, and talk to guys like Jason, to widen my understanding of these issues and what’s going on on the other side of the comic books aisle. That said, I think you hit the nail on the head with your analysis of all those Bat-titles having crossovers and including important info in books that don’t sell as well just to increase revenue for those “lesser” titles. But there is a problem with that. It comes off to people like me, (potential new readers), as substituting a business model in place of genuine artistic creativity. Don’t get me wrong; I fully recognize DC is a business and they’ll do what it takes to make as much money as possible (especially in this economy.) But when you have a whole roster of Batman variations and you integrate plots so much that you’re almost forced to buy the whole slew of them once or twice a month, it just seems cheap, even dishonest.

  2. Manny

    I absolutely agree. With both of you. But when I think about what the problem is with DC comics, it all comes down to one issue, money. As a fan disappointed that I can only shift through the giant pile of crap for the chosen gems that shine in the new reboot.

    While I agree that they needed to reboot the DC Universe, they have definitely shaken their fundamentals. It is interesting to witness DC comics obtain a “fresh” identity amiss this New 52, but it is clear that there is not a definite focus on what that vision is just yet. I think lately they are trying to just play it safe. Until then, I’ll buy the monthly Batman and just enjoy Image Comics.

  3. little tyson

    I can’t believe I read this entire “conversation.” It was essentially a few marvel fans sucking each other off while trying to bash the competition while spitting out complete falsehoods. It’s obvious that these contributors are not regular readers of DC.

    As a long time reader of both, most of what you said about DC is patently false. DC Comics are so much better than Marvel. Here’s Marvel pitching a new comic: “Make a new avengers team. Or a new X-team.” BORING.

    1. Jason Cohen Post author

      Ok, first of all, I’m a DC fan, but I can step back and see what I think they’re doing wrong. The whole point of this Discussion was to spark a discussion about the topic. You might agree, you might not. Whatever. Don’t come here and yell at people. If you disagree I am more than happy to hear why and what you think. The things we said here are not definitive, they’re just our ideas. It is seriously a discussion. Discuss!

    2. johnnie88

      I’m the other guy from this conversation. As Jason said, we welcome discussion and debate, and it doesn’t offend us when people disagree. But your comment isn’t really helpful or conducive to a positive discussion because it has so much vitriol and negativity. You’re free to disagree with us. We welcome debate. That’s one of the reasons Jason and I started this blog: to discuss and debate comic books. And we welcome you to expand on your disagreement and talk about it with us. But in the future, for you and all commenters, we ask that you be polite and respectful, not only to us but to all who post here. We’re all comic book fanatics, so we’re all friends here.

      Also, I’m the Marvel fan. Jason is the DC fan. We often disagree with each other. Sometimes I feel like we disagree more than we agree! We’ve had many long DC vs. Marvel debates. In this particular case, Jason and I happen to agree on our view of the New 52.

  4. Kary

    It seems most of the characters previous personalities were abolished in new 52. I’m especially peeved about Teen Titans, I hate how they brought in new characters, and are hinting at new relationships, totally ruined the previous line.

  5. Rocky

    I thoroughly enjoyed the above conversation. I am a life long DC fan who has gradually become more and more disenchanted with the direction that DC has taken in the last decade. It has been a steady downhill slide in creativity and editorial leadership. Frankly I could talk for days on this subject; suffice to say I laughed pout loud at some of the above “conversation”. Great read. DC really needs to get their editorial heads out of their asses and let their writers ‘write’.
    I particularly enjoyed the comments regarding the costumes. They really suck. And, of course the stories are awful. The exceptions are Batman and Green Lantern and arguably Wonder Woman simply because the writers on those titles are given freedom to be creative. (To the extent that titles like Swamp Thing and Animal Man have received critical acclaim it is because up and coming writers like Snyder and Lemire are being given freedom to write what they want).

    Overall, the DC relaunch essentially rebooted the DCU from scratch… BUT the official rhetoric from DC was that it was a ‘soft’ reboot (which was DC’s way of saying “we don’t know WTF we did, so just let us puke out about a bunch of random stories and whatever works will be the new continuity!”) In short, DC had NO plan. What they had was 52 darts that they threw at a Dartboard hoping they would all stick. Their mistake was in choosing the wrong darts and then proceeding to throw them all at more than one dartboard. Batman and Green Lantern landed on the old dartboard while the rest of them landed on a new one. But hey, no problem…. we’ll just tell everyone that their all on the same board. And if that doesn’t work we will puke out the excuse perfected by Dan Didio and reincarnated again and again … “Focus on the stories, NOT continuity! We will not let continuity constraints prevent the telling of a great story”.

    As a DC fan who has been reluctantly EXTREMELY impressed with Marvel creativity in the last 10 years I can’t help but observe that Marvel doesn’t seem to have a problem telling good stories despite arguably more history/continuity issues than DC.

    In the end, my experience and observations over the last 10 years force me to conclude that DC editorial has neither the inclination or willingness to work with their writers to streamline their continuity with the creative brilliance of their writers. They are cop outs. And the proof of this is in the pudding as the saying goes. DC’s stories and characters simply suck overall. Take away Batman and Green Lantern over the last 10 years and you have depressingly little to be proud of.

    And there is nothing on the horizon at DC that gives me any hope that anything will be different in the foreseeable future. The DC I used to enjoy is for all intents and purposes feels completely different than it was pre-52 relaunch. The costumes are laughable. And one other issue that really irks me as well. The Justice League all look like teenagers. They look like the Teen Titans used to. De-aging the DCU puts me in a position where (as a reader) I am expected to believe that a bunch of arrogant god-like 25 year olds know WTF their doing. It just doesn’t feel right. Something is just plain off. There was a maturity to the characters of the pre-new-52 that is sorely missing from the present DCU.


    I’ll stop now.

    Sorry for the rant.

    But since the destruction of the DCU message boards (another slap in the face by DC to us dedicated fans who posted on the boards all the time) I do not have palace to post with others about these things. And DC’s Facebook pages is a fucking advertising gimmick and joke.

  6. illustratorsanonymous

    I agree 100 percent. I am definitely not a fan of the new 52 although not a big fan of DC in general. I’m beginning to wonder if this is the beginning of the end of DC. Hopfully DC will right its self and fix some of the glaring issues with their books but if not, there are tons of amazing indy houses with fresh ideas and fresh talent that are capable of filling the void DC would leave.


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