DC’s New 52 and Justice League #1
If you haven’t heard by now (I mean it is almost a month old news at this point) DC is completely rebooting their mainstream universe. A top to bottom overhaul of the entire universe. You can now toss out all those Green Lantern comics I covinced you to pick up. Sorry.
So what’s this all mean? What IS the New 52? How have my comics and favorite characters changed? Oh boys and girls, follow me now, through the rabbit hole and find out.
The New 52, here’s what it is in a nutshell. With the end of DC’s current mega event, Flashpoint, the entire universe will snap back and reset itself. A new status quo will be established and everything goes back to #1. Everything. There will be 52 new titles over the next several weeks from DC that will make up their new publishing roster. The idea behind this universe is that superheroes are relatively new, having only shown up in the last five years or so. Yeah. All those years of continuity and well-developed back story and relationships? Gone. In a flash (get it? Oh nevermind).
I tried not to hate this immediately, my nerd gut reaction said HATE THIS BECAUSE IT IS DIFFERENT. I tried to calmly explain that sometimes things change. While change is universally disliked by all humans ever; nerds tend to have more specific things they can point to and yell about when they get changed. I really tried to give this whole a reboot a wait and see approach. Maybe this one wouldn’t be terrible, maybe I wouldn’t have moments where I sighed heavily and wondered just what they had to have been thinking when they came up with this or that.
I really tried, however; I hate this.
I gave it a shot, but in the end this isn’t what I want from DC. I want my 70 years of history. I want characters that know each other and have established relationships and can talk about “that time when”. This isn’t the DC universe I want. Now bear in mind this isn’t a terrible DCU. This is just DC’s way of doing the Ultimate universe that Marvel did. When Marvel introduced the Ultimate U they created a new sandbox for people to play in that didn’t include all the continuity and things to keep in mind from the established universe. They kept them separate, you still had your normal heroes to come home to at the end of the day. DC isn’t giving you the option. You take these new heroes they’re handing you or you’re pretty much completely out of luck because the old familiar faces aren’t coming back.. For some people I’m sure this new universe is awesome, but this isn’t what I want; for you guys though I’ll stick around and give some of these new books a shot.
Let’s start with Justice League #1. This is DC’s new flagship title, the lynchpin to the rest of their universe.
First off: the writing. The story is by Geoff Johns and if you’ve read my other stuff you know I’m kind of a fan. The writing does not disappoint, he still writes good dialogue that flows well and his action scenes really pop. His pacing, the plot, and the characters he’s playing with are also all positive points in this book’s favor. The art, by Jim Lee, is also great. Lee has done some of my favorite books in the past and I’m a fan of his work overall. The characters look and sound great, the action really jumps out at you, and there’s a couple of cool splashes that made me nod and think alright, these aren’t too bad. But overall something was missing. Something was off; I just wasn’t vibing with this book. Good writing, good art, this should be an immediate no brainer for my pull list.
Then it hit me: I’d read this before, and I was already over and passed it. At this point with comic book movies still showing their universes in the early stages the law enforcement and the superheroes don’t always get along. A good dynamic for just starting out, adds tension, creates early conflict. Eventually both sides come to a mutual understanding of course, but the initial clash is interesting. The first time you see it that is. When you’ve seen it done and redone time and again you kind of get tired of it, so seeing my Justice Leaguers square off against the authorities felt rehashed and lazy. When I got to the end of the book I had the weirdest sense of having done this before, then I realized this felt just like reading Gen 13 all over again in middle school. I liked Gen 13, I still credit that book highest as the cause of my love affair with comics, but that was a different time. Those were the glory days of Image Comics, and even Image has changed since then- grown up a bit you might say. The stuff Image puts out now compared to then is evidence that points to a comic publisher having grown up and found their voice. The only problem with Justice League is that I don’t want to read Gen 13 again, I outgrew those books. I want smart, fun, entertaining mature books that have a history and show growth from the characters’ rich backgrounds. This isn’t a problem with the book really, but more with the universe the book is set in.
Bottom line, the book is good, well done and actually an enjoyable read. For me it just isn’t the book I want when it comes to my favorite DC heroes. It won’t stop me from reading comics, I’m not going to make any sweeping declarations, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue with this book past my initial six. If I had to recommend this book to someone I’d say diehard DC fans who want to see where the New 52 is headed, or comic fans who haven’t read much DC stuff before. The book does make a great jumping on point for new readers, sadly that just isn’t me.
As the weeks roll on I’ll be picking up other DC New 52 #1’s, the books that either contain characters I’m interested in, somehow snag my attention, or end up on my radar because someone else said something surprising about them. Look for those reviews later.