The Comics Pimp – The New 52, A Review
Exactly one month ago, DC Comics began the most ambitious experiment in comics. After more than 70 years of history and numbering, the venerable publisher decided a reboot was in order, birthing 52 new titles, each with a brand new #1 issue.
Clearly, DC’s attempt is to attract new readers by simplifying histories that, after decades, have become so muddled even the writers and editors have difficulty understanding their protagonists. The question is, have they succeeded? Though it might not be fair to proclaim success or failure after just one month, here, in bullet form, is a rundown of the first month’s highs and lows:
- Action Comics: As it should be, DC’s first and greatest hero comes out on top in this spectacular first issue. Writer Grant Morrison taps the Superman as conceived by its creators (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), and the story picks up as Metropolis discovers a brasher, more furious Superman. The art by Rags Morales is spectacular.
- Aquaman: The surprising runner-up is the undersea king, as conceived by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. In one issue, the creators have succeeded in creating the New 52’s coolest superhero.
- Batman: I was quite disappointed that DC was neither brave nor bold with their dark knight. Instead of going the route of Superman, Batman’s history has remained almost intact, and they have condensed much of the past 15-20 years of Batman stories. Batman still has 4 Robins…
- Catwoman: The previous incarnation of Catwoman was my favourite. She was a tough, independent, woman who walked a fine line between hero and thief. I’m not sold on this new version. Not much happens in this issue, but what has everyone talking is the last few pages, a graphic sex scene between the titular character and Batman. This highlights the problem with many New 52 titles. Though I have nothing against a hot superhero romp, I think DC has missed the ball in trying to attract younger readers. Few, if none of their titles are kid-friendly.
Lastly, on a purely commercial standpoint, DC’s New 52 seems to be a resounding success. It’s too early to know whether initial sales will carry through to subsequent months, yet they’ve attracted readers new and old. In the years that I’ve visited the local comics store, I’ve never seen huge lineups at the cash register, let alone outside, before the store opens! Let’s hope this keeps up, even if I have to wait in line before getting my hands on a freshly printed issue of Action Comics.