In August and September of 2011, DC Comics began a nearly line-wide re-boot of their universe. Stemming from the events of their big event mini-series Flashpoint, most of their comic series (and the continuity attached to them) was erased. In its wake were 52 books dubbed the New 52. In August 2012, DC released the 12th issue of each of the series which had survived the cuts. With this first birthday, letís examine some of the aspects of DC Comics grand move.
Comic book re-launches and re-boots usually serve a specific purpose and that is to allow readers to jump on without worrying about long histories of characters and complex storylines. Both terms are quite different and often are mistakenly used interchangeably. The decades that the bigger comic book publishers have been around for have served to create these vast universes of characters and stories that weíve grown to love. Those large worlds however, have also become so complex as to turn readers off and complicate storytelling. A re-launch resets a series numbering back #1. This could have been due to a big storyline or a return to a series which has been on hiatus. Other times it has been done merely to spark interest. A re-boot usually resets a universe or characterís history. Both can pull in new readers, bring back old readers, and sometimes even push readers away.
However, it was not a full re-boot. Despite being publicized as such, the DC universe maintained several aspects of its current status. Iím sure I wasnít alone when the realization that DCís most popular franchises, Batman and Green Lantern, werenít actually altered much. I say Green Lantern because Supermanís adventures have been in an odd place in recent years, while the popularity of Green Lantern Hal Jordan and the Corps has steadily risen. This is due to Geoff Johns work on the title and big-screen adaptation starring Ryan Reynolds.
In that first year, there have been many changes. Several books have been cancelled, such as Mister Terrific, which was gearing up to be a good book starring the intelligent and talented Michael Holt. This and more books were cancelled and new series took their places. There were also changes on the creative level, some of which accompanied varying degrees of controversy.
Going along with the nearly line-wide change to the status quo and book cancellations, some of the books seemed to lack direction and appeared to exist merely for the sake of being published. Green Arrow is an example of a book that seems unfocused on reinventing the character for new readers. Since the DCnU began, however, this book also had a change with the creative team. Ann Nocenti took over writing duties after the departure of J.T. Krul, who actually wrote Green Arrowís previous series.
On a more positive note, my favorite series in this new universe are I, Vampire by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Andrea Sorrentino and Supergirl by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Mahmud A. Asrar. I highly recommend these titles for both their writing and art.
The next step for DC involves the release of Annuals and issues #0ís. These will hit shelves during the months of August and September of 2012. Typically, Annuals have existed to provide readers with a story that outside of current storylines. These look to follow the same path. For the books that have yet to detail the origins of its characters, the zero issues will take up that role.
The Previews catalog is a good tool to keep you up-to-date on what comics are coming and when. You can also jump in the forums to discuss whatís been going on in that first year as well as whatís on the radar for DC Comics.