This is a review for DC’s New 52. Now while they don’t have waves like Marvel NOW!, they have been going for a longer period and just finished their first major comic event. That leaves some room to have an actual review of their progress so far.
DC’s main intention was to create a new point where current readers can jump in. 52 new titles introduced and touted as a large publishing event following the conclusion of the “Flashpoint” crossover storyline. In terms of bringing in new readers, they definitely succeeded. In the case of old readers, this was a big hit that they took. Anger throw in every direction because they felt that years of storytelling was now flushed down the drain. Between costume changes and new origin stories, a good portion of it was not appreciated and took many time to look past it.
From the perspective of a reader who came aboard post New 52, if it wasn’t for the New 52 I would have never been able to get into DC comics overall. Sure it’s all the fans favorite heroes rebooted and not “exactly” what they grew up with, but I understand that it’s what they had to do to keep sales going. Justice League Dark, The Ravagers, Suicide Squad, Superboy, not what most invest their time into reading but I came to find entertaining when I started keeping up with the New 52. Unless these books or all of them have to meet some standard then I do believe that people are missing the point of what makes comics exciting as a whole. Yes we have Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Justice League, Green Lantern, yet there’s so much more out there. The New 52 made it so that those titles could receive the spotlight, those such as Swamp Thing and Animal Man as well. What I always found were the comics that were considered experimental, or second or third tier were a lot more interesting, entertaining, and fun than a lot of the core titles. It almost seemed like the creators on these comics could be more creative without editors breathing down their necks.
Now that’s not to say they haven’t lost some which deserved more of their efforts. Static Shock, Blue Beetle, Demon Knights, many others which were cut off abruptly due to low sales.
Some of the issues for DC started with the big shakeup in jobs around the time of the New 52 relaunch. A lot of these writers played a large role to keep writing and dictating stories to their younger upstart writers, essentially turning them into scriptors. Another issue is running into books which off the rails left and right. Many really had no direction and when some did, it was hard to comprehend the necessity of the change. The number of creators walking off books or airing out grievances had now turned into a low double digit number, and that just reflects poorly. To have some of the best talent the industry has to offer, and then to rein them in, just seems unfair, and it makes you wonder what the new 52 would look like if they were to take a page out of Marvel’s 2013 play book instead of Marvel 2003 playbook. Give all writers new and old a chance to stretch their legs and take creative liberties without being dictated.
While exposing myself to the many fans out there who have been disappointed, I came across different views and opinions which all really made sense. The biggest problem with the New 52 has been DC’s approach to change. We all know they needed it, but the way they went about it was their issue. Despite Avengers Vs X-Men not having the best reception, it set in motion Marvel NOW! which has been successful in their approach, but the New 52 wasn’t able to get that same traction. Since then it’s really been a steep climb uphill only to have been getting better last year. Even then there were still bumps in the road. Some changes were necessary, but many were not. Complete redesigns which hurt the characters that fans were really familiar with. A reboot can mean going a new direction, but it can also mean that without putting old readers in a position where they have to adjust to something they’ve followed for years. Some of it to them kinda felt like DC telling them to deal with it and what they dealt with wasn’t of the same quality.
Due to overwhelmingly positive reception, you can say Trinity War was a big success for DC. As DC Comics’ first big event of the New 52, it was make it or break it as to if they could pull off the most important establishment of the new world they have created. It doesn’t matter whether DC or Marvel, readers are always weary of jumping into a comic event or crossover. They don’t have the best chances of success, and the hype put into them isn’t always as easy to live up to. Trinity War lived up for the most part to the hype which was generated for it. Despite having some idea of what to expect overall, it was a very satisfying tale. It kept you guessing, and it was meant to be something you find exciting rather than being taken back by dramatics. They fight over loyalties, trust, their ideology, and over the general twists that this story threw at them and us.
From a business standpoint, this has been a success. From a business perspective, it led to an increased market share for DC. They have new readers and their world has been adjusted to a more acceptable representation of the modern world. What remains to weigh down it’s success to readers is still reception from a reader’s perspective because the same stories could have been told without rebooting the fictional universe. Aside from this, the New 52 has reached a point where they have established their characters as heroes and you could easily move past the fact that these aren’t the same heroes you were familiar with pre-New 52. Trinity War is the mark of a new point in time where they all can move forward with something new.