I knew I was going to have a problem with DC’s New 52 pretty much from the start.
In Justice League #1, nobody knew what a Parademon or a Mother Box was. None of the heroes were aware of the danger posed by Darkseid.
Suddenly all of the characters in the DC Universe had forgotten everything they ever knew about the world they lived in.
I had not.
Asking me, the reader, to pretend I didn’t know the things I knew about these characters and their pasts was too much of a leap. I’d been reading comics for over 40 years by that point. I couldn’t just shove all of that information out of my head simply because the creators in charge of the stories couldn’t get a handle on continuity…again.
It got worse from there. Instead of fixing the perceived problems with DC, the powers that be seemed to think that Nehru collars and 90s style pouches were the solutions.
Most of the titles read like weak fan fiction, and most of the books looked like they were drawn by the staff of Image circa 1996.
I kept expecting Franklin Richards to show up with a ball. And yes, I just compared the New 52 to Heroes Reborn. It had the same feel; it had the same tonal disconnect. I felt the same cash “grabbiness.”
Hellblazer was cancelled so John Constantine could be shoehorned into Justice League Dark, which could just have easily been called Night Force. Nobody was using the name.
Superman was running around in the same costume worn by every kindergartener who every played dress up.
Green Arrow and Deathstroke both got makeovers to look more like their television counterparts.
The Justice Society and Wally West simply disappeared.
That’s not to say that everything was bad; there were some real gems amidst the chaff. Scott Snyder’s Batman, Gail Simone’s Batgirl and Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman were sterling examples of what could be achieved with these characters. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for Red Hood and the Outlaws. In fact, the less said about that the better.
Finally, the powers that be pretty much admitted they made a mistake. They rebooted, again for what seems like the 20th time since Crisis on Infinite Earths. They gave us Rebirth which is doing its best to undo the mistakes made by the New 52. So far, they’re living up to their promise. They’re embracing history. They’re giving us back characters and relationships they inexplicably destroyed.
They’re doing all of that and mixing in the Watchmen.
How that all plays out remains to be seen, but at least its fresh. At least it’s unexpected.
No, I’m not going to miss New 52. It was a creatively bankrupt publicity stunt that disregarded the fans. Worse, it disrespected all of the creators who made the DC Universe what it is.