DC Comics and the New 52

Starting last September, DC Comics relaunched their fictional universe with 52 new issues, character redesigns, and new back stories. This is an attempt to consolidate their 75+ years of continuity and bring it into the 21st century. This is nothing new really, and both DC and Marvel comics revamp their line of characters every ten years or so. Sometimes the changes are drastic, sometimes there are minor tweaks. Even though this revamp is nothing new, I have to admit I was curious. Especially because with this revamp DC has also started to release all of their new issues to digital devices on the same day as their print issue. Going digital like this is a big deal for any industry, especially an industry that has relied primarily on more traditional distribution methods.

Anyway, I didn’t try and read each and every issue. I don’t have the time and there are some characters that I just have no interest in, no matter what DC does. All-in-all, there were probably only 10 to 15 issues out of the new 52 that caught my eye. Now that there have been a couple three issues released of each title, I can say there are maybe only four or so that I’ll continue to pick up with any regularity, and I’ve listed those below. Since the stories are starting over and characters are being reintroduced, now is a good time to give them a try.

Superman: Action Comics
I’m always surprised when I find myself actually liking a Superman story, but there really are some good ones. There is just something about the character that can get under my skin. But when he is handled right, ya can’t go wrong. One of those Superman stories that I enjoyed from years past would be Grant Morrison‘s All Star Superman. So when I heard Morrison was going to be writing this new Superman, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. It isn’t perfect, but Superman and Clark Kent are being introduced and fleshed out in an interesting way. And Lex Luthor is a true weenie, just like he should be.

Superboy
Forget being surprised by Superman… but Superboy? Really? I honestly have no idea why I even picked this one up, on a whim really. But damn, it is pretty good. This Superboy is a clone grown from a mix of Kriptonian and human DNA. A very unique approach, and handled in an unexpected way. Kind of an amoral character with god powers, which makes for an interesting story and it will definitely hold my interest if they keep it up.

Swamp Thing
I’ve written before about how much I love Alan Moore‘s run on Swamp Thing from the early 80s. Well, so far writer Scott Snyder is proving that he is able to take the series and keep the story moving forward. There are a few things that he has changed, like making Swamp Thing a human again instead of a plant that thinks he is a human, but if I complain about that I’ll feel like a goofball nerd. So I won’t complain, because it’s off to a good start. Yay, Swamp Thing!

Animal Man
I’ll bring up Grant Morrison once again, only because he did a story line on Animal Man in the late 80 and early 90s that was decent. Maybe it wasn’t as good as it could have been, but I always thought there was a lot of potential in the character. So far, this new Animal Man realizes all of that potential, and goes even further. This new series is written by Jeff LeMire (who is one of the best writers in comics today, as far as I can tell) and might be my favorite. Bizarre and creepy, but beautiful.

There are other titles that are also pretty good that I may or may not keep picking up as well. Titles like O.M.A.C., Resurrection Man (yeah, I will keep getting this one too. It’s good), All Star Western, and maybe Demon Knights. Even though I don’t buy a lot, I’m glad DC Comics made this change. Superhero comics can get stale very fast, plus this digital initiative is just what the comic book industry needed.

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