There are a lot of different opinions to consider when answering this question, some fans loved ‘The New 52’ while others couldn’t wait for an event like convergence to undo a lot of it. If your not a big fan of comic books and have no idea what I’m talking about, ‘The New 52’ was a reboot of the DC Comics Universe attempted in 2011. It took all the characters back to an earlier point in there origins, although some of the issues raised by this were handled quite clumsily. The idea was to help new fans of Batman and the Justice League discover DC without having to dig through years of continuity, and in that I believed it succeeded.
Unfortunately,I do not have enough time to discus every ‘New 52’ title so I am going to have to make very broad statements that do not apply in some unique cases. ‘The New 52’ has a style to it that is shared across almost every single series. It all feels like it’s part of the same world and that the designs of the characters all fit into the general design of the world. This really helped to establish the idea of interconnectivity which was sorely needed for new readers. With only the Avengers films to give non-comicbook fans the idea of how a comic book universe works it’s easy to see why visual cues like this helped new fans. The designs are also pretty slick, no main character undergoes huge changes but there are subtle tweaks that are nice to see. Superman wearing a suit that looks more like armour is nice to see an Wonder Woman’s silver accents give her outfit a little extra awesome.
The structure of the first wave of stories both helped and hindered ‘The New 52’. The idea of having it set five years since the founding of the Justice League saved on a lot of needless exposition, but when DC started stating that bits of the old continuity had still happened it meant a lot of stories where about clarifying continuity issues. This made ‘The New 52’ a little less accessible to new readers. However, the first Justice League arc which depicts a new origin for the team is perfect for any reader and was a stroke of brilliance from Geoff Johns and his team.
Picture source: http://www.cosmicrealms.gr/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/justice-league-vol-1-origin-tp.jpg [Accessed: 18/06/2015]
One of the best aspects of The New 52 is that it followed through on it’s promises, DC announced that the universe was going to change and that a lot of things would be different. On this they delivered, characters like Red Hood, Joker and Batgirl all got fully reinvented in a way that both fitted with the characters but also breathed new life into them. The changes were not always for the better and many aggravated fans, such as the Teen Titans line-up and the Starfire redesign. Personally, I believe there were more good changes than there were bad and at the end of the day it’s almost impossible to change everything for the better.
Another question, which I considered making the title of this article, is ‘was The New 52 successful?’ this one is a little more complex to answer. The figures for the first three months of the New 52 (from Diamond Comics distributors) do show a large increase in the sales for DC as the universe rebooted. This is normally the case when new series are launched, but the increase has seemed to continue over the last four years. Graphic Novels from the New 52 such as The Court of Owls have become some of the best selling Graphic Novels of all time, so it is quite easy to say that ‘The New 52’ did it’s job and built up the DC Comics fanbase.
Did it work?
The New 52 may be controversial but it had a lot going for it. It redesigned the entire DC Universe into something that was relevant and a platform for good stories, which is why we read comics at the end of the day. Yes, there were problems and those problems have persisted but they are the growing pains of a positive growth. The characters were strengthened and the sales reflected this. The true answer to what worked about ‘The New 52’ is that it created a location and populated it with fresh characters that could be formed into some of the most interesting and spectacular stories in comic book history. The last four years have been filled with top writers creating fun stories without the constant threat of breaking continuity. I think the ace in the hole for me though, was finally getting Superman to wear his underpants under his trousers instead of over them.
Check back on Saturday for the top five graphic novels from ‘The New 52’!
Picture Source: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=new+52+superman&view=detailv2&&&id=55DC97901C8DB1330141B702D21CB1B2FFBECFE7&selectedIndex=201&ccid=mrC%2bk31X&simid=608011153170171302&thid=JN.w25FhzEqLdDN1Azj2GjlVw&ajaxhist=0 [Accessed: 18/06/2015]
Featured Image source: http://images.sequart.org/images/new-52-superman-costume-batman-aquaman-flash-cyborg-wonder-woman-green-lantern-darkseid-wallpaper-justice-league-by-jprart-jim-lee-trinity.jpeg [Accessed 18/06/2015]