In 2011, the biggest thing to hit the comic book world was the New 52. The announcement of 52 new titles from DC (some of them reboots of age old series, some being new origins, some new series altogether) was unquestionably awesome. Some big things happened in the new 52: Barbara Gordon is out of her wheel chair, Superman’s red undies are now presumably beneath the tights, Sinestro is fighting against his own Corps, Barry Allen is no longer married to Iris (oh, and Where’s Wally?), Cyborg has finally made it into the Justice League, Superboy got a new origin, and somehow Geoff Johns made Aquaman cool again. But, as expected, the New 52 has been met with mixed reviews. When you publish that many new titles, you’re bound to have some hits and some misses. Most critics agree that Animal-Man, Action Comics, O.M.A.C, Swamp Thing and Aquaman got the job done. However, a lot of the new releases haven’t been quite as well received. Hawk and Dove, DC Universe Presents: Deadman, Red Hood and the Outlaws (wired.com) and The Fury of Firestorm (MTV Geek) all got sub-par ratings from critics.
The New 52 was undoubtedly a truly inspired marketing move. Whether you hated the idea or loved it, you bought some of these comics, just so that you could voice your opinion on how they did with their reboot. Starting fresh is always an appealing move. It makes die-hard fans buy the comics so they can say how they feel about it and it also lures in new fans because it makes the titles approachable and easy to start with.
Just as the critic’s opinions vary about how well DC did on their reboot so do we here at The Illumi-Nerdi:
Snapper Carr: First of all, thank you 52. Since 1993, I have been a fan of comic books. I felt alone in loving comics. But after the new 52 came out, I was no longer alone. Now, two of my friends are huge fans of comic books just because of DC’s reboot. Out of all the new 52, I read 33. I love some of the titles and others bore me. My favorite comic so far is Action Comics. Superman is young and an amateur. He is not that powerful and his marriage to Lois has been made void. The most underrated comic book of the new 52 is Red Hood and the Outlaws. Yes, Starfire isn’t the one from the Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans but she is much of a badass as her counterparts. When Connor Kent died I was sad and when he returned I was so excited for comic books again. After reading the first issue, I can’t wait to see the development of an emotionless new Superboy. I was soooo excited for Grifter but by the end I found his origin to be mundane. It simply lacked excitement. For the last 30 years, there have been so many Supergirls. Some origins have been interesting, others have sucked. The new 52 Supergirl is boring and lame. The first two issues were an entire fight scene. I expected a fresh origin story but what I got just made me fall asleep. My least favorite comic was Stormwatch. I felt so thrown into a conflict that I was unfamiliar with. Also, I was disappointed with Martin Manhunter being on the team. He is the soul of the Justice League and he is on a team with known murderers. What a bummer…
Gabriel Partridge: My favorite new title is All-Star Western. I got this on a whim at the last minute when it came out and was instantly, pleasantly surprised. I didn’t expect all of the awesome references to
Gotham. Seeing Arkham, hearing about the and Mayor Cobblepot, were pretty cool little references. Plus, it has been a pretty damn cool murder mystery with Jonah Hex, a pretty underrated character. I also loved Detective Comics. It hasn’t quite been universally well received but I think it’s fantastic. The Dollmaker is a freaking awesome original villain. He has the chaos of the Joker but the brilliant planning of Lex Luthor. Tony Daniel weaves a genuinely well done mystery yarn with the world’s greatest detective. I thought Deadman was also underappreciated. First of all, it’s a pretty cool concept, but that’s nothing new. Second of all, I really like what they’re doing with him. Boston Brand going against the god, Rama and trying to take a little more control of his own destiny is pretty damn cool. In keeping with the Justice League Dark theme, Hellblazer seemed to be an influence here, and that’s a pretty damn good lead to follow. Waynes
So far, I’ve really liked Justice League also. It’s a completely new origin story, with genuinely likable characters. I’ve never been the biggest Green Lantern fan but Hal was pretty funny in the first few issues. I also love that Cyborg has finally been included in JLA. I like the hint at the metamorphosis of Victor Stone into Cyborg in the most recent issue. That being said, I’ve been pretty disappointed in most of the Superman titles. Action Comics has been a complete let down to me. I guess I just found the story really uninteresting and unexciting. It really didn’t do it for me. Superboy was also a really boring story. Half of issue one, Superboy was in a tank, the other half didn’t even actually happen.
In keeping with the “52” theme, our combined score of the reboot is a 37 out of a possible 52. Even though we at The Illumi-Nerdi disagree on many of the titles, we’re definitely happy the New 52 happened. It has revitalized comics in a way that we can only hope Marvel can follow in 2012. Check out our post next week when we argue the validity and need for Marvel to reestablish itself in 2012.