The New 52 so far

It’s been 10 months since DC rolled out the New 52 – 52 new titles, all beginning their character’s stories anew.

It’s likely DC was looking to get a stranglehold of the monthly comic sales while simultaneously telling some excellent, less-convoluted stories.

So, has it worked?

Yep.

The sales

Since the re-launch last September, DC has, at its lowest point, been responsible for six of the top 10 highest-selling comics in a month. At the highest, and for two consecutive months – January and February – every single one of the top 10 highest selling comic books was a DC title.

Compare that to just last August, when Marvel titles took up six of the top 10 spots.

So it’s worked pretty well for them.

It could be argued that it’s been good for comics overall, as well.

According to Diamond Distributor’s numbers, comic sales for the first four months of 2012 are up 7.3 per cent. This could be due to a lot of things – the ever-growing popularity of comic books, mostly – but certainly DC will have no problem taking credit for it.

It was all me, baby!

The excellent, less-convoluted stories

It’s no secret that comics can get a little bit (okay, a whole lot) silly and convoluted. Characters die, come back, die again, exist in parallel universes while time travelling and a whole bunch of other confusing gobbledygook.

This College Humor video sums it up well.

The nice thing about DC’s reboot is that all that is eliminated. Every story starts from scratch, reintroducing characters to each other and the reader.

What’s great about that is, not only does it make the stories easier to read, it makes them accessible. Finally, someone can pick up a copy of Superman and know what the hell is going on without having to read a fifteen-scroll Wiki on it.

And the stories have been good. Like, really good.

Wonder Woman’s storyline has been delving into Greek mythology – a gold mine – with unreal results. Brian Azzarello’s writing is top-notch, and Cliff Chiang’s art has been no slouch either.

Swamp Thing, Animal Man and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. are all doing crossovers as their main characters battle a natural force of death called The Rot. The results are three fascinating reinventions of often-sidelined characters with a sense of urgency that rivals the best thrillers.

And, of course, the flagship titles starring The Justice League, Batman and Superman are stripping the mythologies of these characters right down to their essentials. And now they are shining, and finally justifying why fans love the characters so much.

Oh, and Resurrection Man is cool, too.

Which you can clearly see from this completely context-free image.

But will they be able to maintain the quality and the sales?

It remains to be seen.

Dan DiDio and company have been investing a lot of time and capital into their domination of the comics industry. They have some of the best writers in the business writing some amazing stories for them.

But nobody wants to work at the same job forever, especially not those whose creative geysers run nonstop. Eventually, these writers will want to move on, and, God forbid, the well of good ideas may dry up.

For now, though, let’s relish in some of the best stories these characters have seen in years.

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One thought on “The New 52 so far

  1. wwayne says:

    Even if I don’t like the concept of making a reboot and I think that DC made some errors in the last year, I have been mostly satisfied with the New 52 as well. Series like Animal Man, Aquaman and Swamp Thing are having an enormous success; other ones, like I, Vampire and Suicide Squad, are doing far better than a C-list DC comic is supposed to do.
    I tried only 2 of the 5 series I mentioned: I bought the 6th issue of Suicide Squad (and I found it was good, but overrated) and the TP of Animal Man. I agree that Lemire series definitely is one of the best New 52 series. The detail I enjoyed more was the homelike atmosphere: I can’t tell you why, but it reminded me of Daria, an MTV cartoon I was deeply in love with when I was younger. And the decision of setting this series in a small town, instead of choosing a metropolis, is another detail that pushes Animal Man near to Daria (and to indie comics as well, since this is their typical setting – I bet this is not a coincidence). I’m not going to buy Animal Man regularly (I’m already doing this with Grifter and Nightwing, and I can’t afford to do it with a third series), but I will definitely buy the second TP when it comes out.
    As you can guess, Grifter and Nightwing are the New 52 series I am enjoying more. Nightwing was no surprise: the character is so interesting that it’s almost impossible not to do something good with him. I didn’t know Grifter before the New 52 had started, but I loved it from the very first issue. Do you remember the action movies in the 90s? There was a Rambo – like leading character (usually acted by Stallone himself, or by Schwarzenegger) forced to fight against innumerous enemies: any other man would have been doomed, but our hero, with his guns, muscles, fight techniques and (last but not least) brain, was always able to find a way out. Grifter has the same storyboard, it is the exact translation of those movies in the comic book language: no matter how many enemies he has to face and how complicated their plans are, you can be sure Grifter will find a solution to all his problems. The stories are easy but well written, and the art is simply explosive. Edmonson’s run was amazing, especially from the 4th issue on, and Liefeld’s one got off on the right foot, so I’m very satisfied with this series so far. It is definitely one of the best DC comics right now, so I can’t understand why it doesn’t sell: it should be at the top of the list of every comic book lover.

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