October 2nd, 2011

wish, hope, life

The New 52 - Week 4 and FINAL!

Well, it's been a busy month for all of us comics readers. 52 titles, some good, some... less good, and overall a whole lot for us to take in. It is tempting, of course, to paint the whole reboot with a broad brush and complain about the changes - or the lack of changes - simply so we can be aggrieved fanboys who have something to complain about.

What's important to remember, I think, is that as much as we may be fans of these characters, they don't belong to us. Hell, they only belong to DC in that picky legalistic sense. These characters belong to our shared culture, and if we want them to persist - and we do - then we have to accept that they're going to change as times change. If you think that the Christopher Reeve Superman is the best and only Superman out there, then stop reading comics and watch those films over and over. If you think that nothing good has come out of comic books in the last twenty years, then stop reading comics, collect those back issues, and revel in the Good Old Days.

Change is part of the medium, and it's important to accept that. Our job as readers and fans is to encourage the creators to take risks, explore new avenues and, most importantly, give them the freedom to screw up from time to time. And they will, oh trust me they will. But if they don't take those chances, then we'll just end up with the same old safe, boring storylines again and again. And no one wants that.

Okay. Off soapbox number one, onto soapbox number two. Spoilers abound....

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So, to wrap things up: The reboot has been interesting in many ways, frustrating in others. Overall, I think that it wasn't quite as daring and radical a change as it was made out to be, at least not yet. A lot of the characters we knew and loved are pretty similar to what they were before, just with more complicated costumes. With the inclusion of characters from Wildstorm, Milestone and Vertigo, however, the DC Universe has expanded a bit and offers some more variety in storytelling, which I look forward to exploring.

On the whole, though, I think DC stayed pretty conservative with the reboot, especially when contrasted with the world they'd created for Flashpoint, which was radically different. I can certainly understand, though. As I noted above, comic book fans don't generally handle change well, and altering the status quo too far could have rebounded pretty harshly on them in terms of sales.

It must be remembered, of course, that this is only the first month. Even for the crappy titles, there's a chance they could pull through, and if they don't, well, they get dropped. New writers will come in and new artists will join, and the characters and world will continue to evolve as they always have. And I'll be here to see it, no doubt. The plan so far is this: I'll follow all of these titles through their first major story arc, and then decide what to cut out. Hey, some people spend their disposable income on nice clothes or expensive food of having "a life" and "friends." This is my vice, dammit...

I will not, however, be doing these full reviews every week. It takes forever, to be honest, and I have enough on my plate as it is. So if anything really exciting happens, I'll chime in on it, but otherwise this is the last complete rundown for the New 52.

And I must say, it's been made a hell of a lot easier with the same-day digital decision. That was easily, hands-down the best thing DC did with this relaunch. Reading comics on my iPad is great, even if Comixology gets kind of persnickety about how many comics I should be keeping on board. For those of us who are several thousand miles away from our local comic book store, I must say Thank you.

Here's my final judgment of the first month, in convenient list form (which may be altered based on my whims):

I'm going to follow these because they look really good:
Action Comics
Animal Man
DC Universe Presents
Demon Knights
The Flash
Green Lantern
Static Shock
Swamp Thing
Wonder Woman

I'm going to follow these out of a sense of deep-seated nostalgia:
The Fury of Firestorm
Justice League International
Green Lantern Corps
Green Lantern: New Guardians
Legion Lost
Legion of Super-Heroes

I'm really interested to see where these are going:
All-Star Western
Blue Beetle
Captain Atom
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
Birds of Prey
I, Vampire
Justice League
Justice League Dark
Red Lanterns
Resurrection Man

I can take 'em or leave 'em:
Batman and Robin
Savage Hawkman
Teen Titans

Probably not going to make it:
Batman: The Dark Knight
Green Arrow
Hawk and Dove
Men of War
Mister Terrific
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Suicide Squad

Oh, HELL no:
Detective Comics

And that's it! Thanks for sticking around for the first month of the Reboot, and happy reading....