DC’s New 52 Final Thoughts

Now that I’ve read and reviewed all 52 of DC’s New 52 comics, I feel the need to look back at my original predictions about all these books. Reading them all wasn’t an ordeal as some places on the internet are trying to make it seem. They are comic books for Christ sakes; they are quick, easily digested entertainment. But I did pay for all of those things, so I am going to get my fair share out of blogging out of them. Also, I am going to decide which titles I will continue to purchase and which I will gladly never have to look at again. To finish, I am going to rank all 52 from best to worst.

When I first looked at these books, I had not yet decided to buy the whole lot for the first month as some sort of crazy experiment. Plus, all the cool internet people were doing it and I wanted to be cool. So I rated the books on whether I was: excited for them, which meant I expected them to be great, intrigued by them, which meant they sound like they could be good but I wasn’t quite sold, dubious about them, which meant I thought there was some nugget if interest to be found but doubted it would be worth it, or that I would pass on them, which meant I saw little reason for that book to exist. So how did my initial predictions fare, at least with the first issue? Let’s see.

The Justice League.


For the Justice League books, I was Excited for Justice League, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. All three were pretty much what I expected, though Justice League was slower than I had hoped.

I called Justice League International, Fury of Firestorm, The Flash, and DCU Presents Intriguing. Flash was much better than I had hoped, while Fury of Firestorm was disappointing. I had hoped Gail Simone would tone down the darkness that she has used to great effect in books like Secret Six, but that was not the case. The jury is still out on DCU Presents since its anthological nature has yet to be shown. And JLI was a decent superhero book.

The only book I called Dubious was Mr. Terrific, and that was about right. There was a glimmer of some quality in it, but I’m not sure Eric Wallace can polish it into a quality series. And the artist changed to the fluid Gianluca Gugliotta, who I like a lot.

I was set to Pass on Green Arrow, Savage Hawkman and Captain Atom. While I didn’t think they were outright terrible, that would have been the correct choice on Green Arrow and Hawkman. Captain Atom was one of the surprises of the month, delivering some of the best art and a solid start to the series.

So as a whole, I was spot on for this portion of the re-launch. Except for Captain Atom, which it turns out was just short of great.

The Dark

I was probably most interested in this group. I was Excited for Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Frankenstein and Demon Knights and all of them were great. Those four books are worth the re-launch on their own.

I was Intrigued by Justice League Dark and that seems spot on too. The seeds are here for something great, but the first issue wasn’t quite there.

I was dubious on Resurrection Man and even then, it disappointed. It just wasn’t very good at all.

And a Pass for I, Vampire, which was way off. This book was nearly as good as the top four in this group. The Twilight fake-out cover fooled me.

Except for I, Vampire, I had this set called. It was easily the best group of books DC put out, and probably the most likely to get cancelled.

The Edge

I was not looking forward to this set of books, and I was probably the most wrong about it. One title got an Intriguing, All Star Western, and it turned out to be really great.

I handed out a lot of Dubious guesses. Stormwatch, Blackhawks, Men of War, OMAC, Suicide Squad and Voodoo all got that designation. Men of War, Blackhawks and Stormwatch all lived up, or down, to that. Though Stormwatch should get better. I ended up liking OMAC and Voodoo much more than I expected. Both were good to very good. Suicide Squad was one of the worst books of the re-launch and I should have given it a pass. I do not know why I didn’t.

I called for a Pass on both Deathstroke and Grifter and only Grifter really deserved it. That book was a mess. Deathstroke was a good Deathstroke comic. I have no interest in reading more, but fans of the character should be reasonably pleased.

I underrated this group. With OMAC, Voodoo and All Star Western, and maybe Stormwatch, there were some high quality books here.

Young Justice

Like with The Edge, I wasn’t very big on any of the Young Justice books in my predictions, either. The only book I even called Intriguing was Blue Beetle, and that was possibly a little high. It was okay, not great.

Static Shock, Legion Lost and Legion of Superheroes all seemed Dubious to me. Static turned out to be pretty good, so I had it pegged a little low, but both of the Legion titles turned out pretty sour.

I said Pass on Hawk and Dove and that was absolutely right. I called for my one fan boyish Uber Pass on Teen Titans and that turned out to be too harsh. Tough to be fair, DC’s Teen Titans promotional art was terrible. In the end, it was an okay book.

Except for Teen Titans, I was close on this set. I didn’t think it would be very good, and it wasn’t.

Batman

The Batman group is I think the biggest group of books in the re-launch, and I spread my predictions around pretty well. Only two Exciteds, Batman and Batgirl. Batman lived up to that, Batgirl did not.

I was Intrigued by Nightwing, Batwoman and Batman & Robin. Nightwing and Batman & Robin are both solid second tier books, but Batwoman was one of the best of the relaunch. I should have been excited for it.

Predictions of Dubious on Birds of Prey, Batwing and Red Hood and the Outlaws. I was right on Red Hood, over on Batwing and under on Birds of Prey, but for those two I wasn’t far off.

Passes for Batman: the Dark Knight, Catwoman, and Detective Comics. Right on all three, they were terrible.

I think I had a good handle on the much-unchanged Bat books. I think Batgirl will get better, so I don’t feel bad about that one.

Superman.

I had one entry for each on the four Superman family books, and I was only right on one of them. I was Excited for Action Comics, and it was great. I thought Superman was Intriguing, but it turned out to be a slog. Since I wasn’t sure on the direction of Supergirl it got a Dubious, but it turned out to be pretty good. A Pass for Superboy, which I was all set to just ignore, but was another great surprise. I had predicted the art would look good, but I didn’t expect the writing to be as solid as it was.

So I guess I didn’t have a very good read on this family of books.

Green Lantern

I was Excited for Green Lantern Corps, and it was good. Tomasi writes a great Guy. I had been slipping on Green Lantern, calling it only Intriguing, but it was a return to form for Geoff Johns on the title.

I was Dubious about both The New Guardians and Red Lanterns, which looks pretty correct so far. Neither are travesties, but neither are they actually good.

It was easy to get a read on the Green Lantern books since they changed so little in the re-launch. I had their number.

Conclusion

I think the re-launch turned out better than I had expected. Some books I thought might be good weren’t, but more books I thought would be terrible turned out to be pretty good. My biggest disappointments were writers Gail Simone, Paul Cornell and Peter Milligan. Other than Demon Knights, none of their six combined series lived up to my expectations. I’m not writing them off, but all three have done better work and I fully expect all three to do better work in subsequent issue. They all simply stumbled a bit out of the blocks. My biggest surprise was Scott Lobdell. Sure, there is much furor around Red Hood, but his other two books had better starts than I expected.

So what am I going to keep buying? My budget won’t allow me to buy more than about 15 o these, even with the discount they give with dcbservice. So I’ve bolded 18 in my top to bottom rankings that I at least intend to keep purchasing. Not the first 18, though certainly many of them, because even though some series had a good start and are certainly going to continue to be good I am just not that interested in the subject. Or because I’d rather support a less popular good series that a more popular very good one. DC isn’t going to stop publishing Batman. I don’t have to worry about seeing more good Batman stories made. But Frankenstein or Demon Knights? Those aren’t like to last much more than a year, no matter how popular they are.

Top to bottom rankings

  1. Action Comics
  2. Animal Man
  3. Wonder Woman
  4. Batwoman
  5. All Star Western
  6. The Flash
  7. Batman
  8. Aquaman
  9. Frankenstein
  10. Swamp Thing
  11. Green Lantern Corps
  12. Green Lantern
  13. Superboy
  14. OMAC
  15. Justice League
  16. Demon Knights
  17. Supergirl
  18. Batman & Robin
  19. Justice League Dark
  20. Nightwing
  21. I, Vampire
  22. Voodoo
  23. Captain Atom
  24. Justice League International
  25. Static Shock
  26. Deathstroke
  27. Batgirl
  28. Blue Beetle
  29. Fury of Firestorm
  30. Mr. Terrific
  31. Stormwatch
  32. Birds of Prey
  33. DCU Presents Deadman
  34. Superman
  35. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  36. Teen Titans
  37. Red Lanterns
  38. Men of War
  39. Green Arrow
  40. Savage Hawkman
  41. Green Lantern: The New Guardians
  42. Resurrection Man
  43. Grifter
  44. Legion of Superheroes
  45. Legion Lost
  46. Batwing
  47. Batman: The Dark Knight
  48. Blackhawks
  49. Catwoman
  50. Detective Comics
  51. Hawk and Dove
  52. Suicide Squad
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2 thoughts on “DC’s New 52 Final Thoughts

  1. Pingback: Science Ninja Action Team: Cosmic Hellcats IX - Reflections on the New 52

  2. Pingback: DC New 52: I Read a Bunch More #1s (and a Few Others) « All Day Comics

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