Brave New World: The DCnU Reboot and the New 52

I’ll admit, I dismissed it at first. My initial reaction to the rebooting of the extensive DC Universe into fifty-two streamline and reimagined titles was one of disinterest at best, and at worst, disgust at corporate greed. It’s just a ploy, I said. To make more money, I said. A gimmick. And, well, it still is on some level. But what I didn’t anticipate about the DCnU is that it would be just good, it would work. I have been sucked in. I’ve drunk the Catwoman Kool-aid. The New 52 isn’t just a rehash of old characters, they’re an accessible – key word here, accessible – starting point for readers who may have been intimidated by the breadth of history behind DC. Many of these titles – the iconic Action Comics and Detective Comics, both of which have been revived for the reboot – were founded in the 40s and 50s, the very dawn of comics themselves. And especially when it comes to giants like perennial favourite Bats or Supes, there can be intimidating amounts of material to choose from; or the plot-heavy Green Lantern titles, or the futuristic Legion of Superheroes. Finding an entry point is a daunting task, especially for people who don’t have access to a reliable Comic Book Guy.

I can’t stress the how very valuable a Comic Book Guy can be, and I urge all casual or serious comics fans to utilise theirs to the fullest. The first issues of the New 52 can be a great introduction to the characters and a starting point to building a library of your own. And, since the reboot only happened this past September, most titles are only rolling out issue five around this time, which makes it relatively easy to catch up. Unless you have my luck, and all your locals will be sold out of Issue #2 of every title you’re looking for.

So. DCnU. Good idea. And, overall, great execution. There are some hits (Batgirl), some misses (The Fury of Firestorm), and some undecided (Hawkman). There are a couple titles I have fallen in love with, a couple titles I couldn’t stomach, and a couple big surprises. Aquaman has shocked most of the comic book world by being really, really good. Really good. The writing is sharp and self-referential without being glib. The reboot has also given artists a chance to expand from the usual muscles-and-spandex models of superhero art, which makes some of these titles not only entertaining but visually gorgeous. The gothic titles I, Vampire and Justice League Dark have more in common with Dark Horse or Vertigo blockbusters than Superman, and, my personal favourites Wonder Woman and Batwoman looks like the long-lost sister of Fables. The quirky details in the art of Catwoman also catch my eye every time I turned a page and discovered another perfect feline facial expression.

The influx of new comics into my collection has inspired me to become a little more organised. But as I’m arranging my slim and beautifully bagged-and-boarded Marvel monthlies, I’m starting to long for a Marvel reboot, just to make my filing a little easier. A geek girl can dream, huh?

I’ve been talking about the New 52 on my blog, and I’ll be reviewing some of the new titles more in depth in the coming weeks. In the meantime, what’s your take on the new batch? Which titles thrilled you, which ones have you coming back for more?

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