DC's The New 52 VS Marvel NOW!

Who is pulling off the more effective reboot?

It is a very interesting time to be a comic book reader these days. Publishers are making big moves such as online publishing, and putting out multiple and high priced variants. Perhaps the biggest thing is that both DC and Marvel have seen relaunches. Some fans see this as great jumping on point and a chance to wipe the slate clean, whereas other fans see it as a cheap stunt designed to draw in big money. This editorial will analyze both DC's The New 52 and Marvel NOW! I will compare both initiatives, pointing out differences, and ultimately offer my opinion of which one is better.

Section A: What are they?

Both The New 52 and Marvel NOW! are relaunches. They are designed as jumping on points to attract new reader. However, they are not each the same. In addition to being a relaunch, The New 52 is also a reboot. For the most part, this is the beginning of a new DC universe. Marvel NOW! on the other hand, is just a relaunch. They are not restarting their continuity. Instead, they are simply starting the next chapter of the world of Marvel, and using a line wide relaunch to draw attention to it. So which one appears to be the easiest to understand? In my own opinion, I think it is much easier to understand Marvel NOW! Like I said, no continuity is changed, and the only changes are writers being switched around or introduced, a book's renumbering, or in some cases, a completely new series. The New 52 on the other hand, while fun, can confusing. While it's categorized as a reboot, it's only partially one. Some characters have been allowed to remain the same, while others are completely new versions of themselves. To make matters worse, some of the seemingly unchanged characters have had pieces of their histories altered in some places, making it really tough to figure out what is going on in some cases.

Section B: How aggressively is the material putting out?

I would say both companies are being pretty aggressive, but in different ways. For example, DC made a big push to launch the whole new 52 in September of 2011 with Justice League premiering a month early as a primer. This meant that all stories before the New 52 had to finish before the relaunch. DC has also been very strict about making sure their books come out on time. All 52 of every month. This means that if a creative team is going slow, DC will hesitate to change them, so the schedule remains intact. Of course, this means, that stories are not always as fleshed out as they could be, but the fans are able to get the books and determine if they are worth reading. Not every book sells well though, and when DC sees several books struggling all at once, they cancel them, and announce new "waves" of books to replace them. Marvel too follows an aggressive schedule to get their books out as well, but in a different way. Unlike DC, Marvel ships some o f their books twice a month, and this has carried into Marvel NOW! This is actually pretty cool, because you get to see some of your favorite books more frequently, and for the most part part, the stories have been written a while back, so they have had their room to grow. The only thing that seems to bug readers a bit is that some books require multiple rotating art teams to keep up. In the end, the stories carry though. Another difference is that Marvel letting their NOW! books launch when they are ready, and are also allowing the pre-NOW! books to reach their natural conclusion. Also not all books are re-numbered even when they do eventually get the Marvel NOW! branding. Likewise, some creative teams are also kept in place.

Section C: Who has the better talent?

This one is a touchy area. Both companies have good writers, but their is a distinction between the 2. A lot of DC's talent are the same people who were working for them before, with seemingly not a lot of new names coming in save for Kyle Higgins, Adam Glass, Jeff Lemire, Joshua Fiakov, and Scott Snyder. How can what they are trying to create feel truly new and fresh when you have people like Rob Liefeld, Dan Jurgens, Ann Nocenti, and Scott Lobdell working on the books. Some are good, but some of them like Liefeld and Lobdell feel a bit washed up. Of course, Grant Morrison and Geof Johns still perform nicely. Of course, I feel the reason that DC is using who they are using is because they know most of them will get in line, and get the books out in a timely fashion. I think though that many writers and artists do not want to work at DC, because of the constant switching and micro-managing. I mean truthfully, you will get this at any company that puts out stories that all take place in the same world, but the fact that only parts of the new 52 are truly new, with the rest being up in the air, it must be chaotic at times for the writers to figure out how everything needs to go together. And I apologize too, for not mentioning artist, but it's the writers who get the bulk of the attention, and many comics at both companies employ multiple artists per book. Marvel and it's Marvel NOW! relaunch seems to have a better pedigree of talent. And that is because they are constantly bringing new people and looking to the indy scene a lot. A lot of the folks there now are pretty fresh like Matt Fraction, Jonathon Hickman, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Sam Humphries, Cullen Bunn, Kieron Gillen, Dennis Hopeless, Jason Aaron Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and Rick Remender. Of course, you have some old guard and mainstay types like Peter David, Dan Slott, Mark Waid, and Brian Michael Bendis, but these guys still seem to be able to write stuff that seems as relevant as the newer crop.

Section D: Who puts out the better books?

Now I will admit a head of time, that I read more Marvel, and that I have been favorable towards them in this piece, but I am looking at things objectively. What I see at DC is a company that maybe does not fully understand where all their characters are in this new universe and that they seem to making it up as they go. This can confusing to the readers, because as I said several times, not everything is rebooted. The phrase throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks comes to mind. That being said, there are several books from DC on my pull list, and if you are like me, and stick to what you like, you will more than likely still enjoy the books. When I look at Marvel and Marvel NOW!, I am able to see what direction they are going in more clearly, because the characters are starting new chapters in their lives, and not being rebooted. It's just a highly advertised relaunch with lots of books getting new number 1's and creative teams. If you want rebooted Marvel charcters, then look to the Ultimate and MAX imprints. It's all about what general feel you want from your comics. DC is more fantasy based, and a lot of their characters inhabit made up cities. Marvel has and still takes place in our world, and our cities.
Posted By:
Member Since 2/28/2011
Filed Under "Comics" 12/9/2012
DISCLAIMER: ComicBookMovie.com is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
SageMode - 12/9/2012, 9:00 PM
DC's NEW 52 is a Reboot AND a Relaunch. Everyone's slate and history was wiped clean and started anew.

Marvel's MARVEL NOW is just a Relaunch. Everyone's history is still intact with no continuity issues.
ironpool007 - 12/9/2012, 10:03 PM
I meant to type relaunch in the tagline, not reboot.
Spideyguy94 - 12/10/2012, 3:39 AM
Thing with Marvel NOW! Is that it's basically just the heroic age 2, the status quo has been changed and will probably go back to normal after age of ultron. What I like about Marvel NOW! And unlike the heroic age they are shuffling around the creative teams I.e. remender taking over cap, bendis leaving avengers and new avengers and Hickman taking over, fraction leaving iron man and moving over to fantastic four while gillen is taking over iron man, bendis going over to x-men, Aaron on Thor and waid on hulk. And nearly every single one of them have been great with a with dud issues but the next one has picked it up. The DC New 52 while they have there great titles like batman, green lantern, aquaman, swamp thing, animal man and action comics, they've really screwed up there continuity and either extremely depowered there characters (superman) or completely destroyed them as a character (green arrow).
marvel72 - 12/10/2012, 3:54 AM
what sagemode said is exactly right or spot on,however you want to say it.

best new 52

-animal man
-green lantern
-justice league dark
-swamp thing
-wonder woman

best marvel now

-all new x-men
-fantastic four
-indestructible hulk
-journey into mystery
-thor god of thunder
-uncanny avengers

not all of the marvel now titles have been released yet i.e avengers arena,cable & x-force,guardians of the galaxy,new avengers,nova,superior spider-man,uncanny x-force,uncanny x-men & so on.

this is the best marvel has been in a while.
xcrementus - 12/10/2012, 4:05 AM
I think Marvel has benefitted from long-term planning with this relaunch. they waited til the ducks were in a row, chose the right teams for the job, and made sure there was a strong narrative direction for the relaunch, as well as a lot of diversity between genre flavours.

New 52 seemed kinda rushed in comparison, all the books starting at the same time, ready or not, and Superman (which i would have thought would be in the top 4 of their priorities for getting right....others being batman, wonder woman and justice league) is onto what, the 3rd writer now?

And Superman has lacked writer co-ordination with Action Comics, set in the past?? How the hell does DC let that happen? its more than an oversight, its a complete mess.

New 52 was great for putting asses into comic stores, Marvel Now i think will have more of a long-term gain, if they keep up the good product.
SageMode - 12/10/2012, 7:01 AM

Not to start any wars or anything, but IMO, the only reason the NEW 52 came about was because Marvel was kicking DC's ass in comic sales for over 30 years prior to the reboot. The same as when they killed off Superman and broke Batman's back.
xcrementus - 12/10/2012, 7:17 AM
yeh, DC was struggling just before the reboot sales-wise, and Marvel was definitely keeping their eye on what kind of difference a line-wide relaunch would make.

Add that to the Avengers coming out, and you have a perfect excuse for a bunch of #1's.

All i meant is the Marvel NOW launch has a kind of consistency to it that new 52 didn't have. A lot of the marvel books have come out guns blazing, and DC's were kind of hit and miss, even more so as the months rolled on and writers changed/got fired/quit.

I think the planned approach and the long-term agreed writing gigs are really gonna pay off, once the Marvel relaunch has finished up.

Either way, we have a fricking guardians book. a book with Scott Lang as the main character. and shang chi is in the avengers. its win win for readers like me!
AC1 - 12/10/2012, 8:29 AM
@SageMode it's not that clear cut, certain elements of the pre-Flashpoint DCU are still in continuity in the DCnU - The Killing Joke still happened, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake were all Robins who then moved on to their own identities, Damian Wayne was introduced under the same circumstances and became Robin (in fact, Dick Grayson's tenure as Batman is still canon, although I'm not sure whether Bruce's 'death' was still the reason or if it even happened in the new 52)... much of the Green Lantern continuity is the same, I think Blackest Night still happened based on Deadman...

It's a reboot, but not a perfect reboot where all prior continuity is abandoned. It's an in universe reboot, like JJ Abrams' Star Trek movies - it's a slightly different alternate reality caused by events that happened in the one before, much like most of DC's prior reboots.
AC1 - 12/10/2012, 8:30 AM
In fact, compared to past DC reboots, this is probably the least perfect reboot.
tonytony - 12/10/2012, 11:40 AM
typical marvel fanboy why write an independent comparison if you are going to be admittedly favourable towards one company?

I have to say Marvel stuff is getting better and i have found myself picking up some of their titles recently but it doesn't touch the previous 52.
aresww3 - 12/10/2012, 11:57 AM
I like DC for different reasons to Marvel, but I think Marvel has been better. I think what DC has done to Wonder Woman is unforgivable and I can´t wait till they trash it. I love the indestructable Hulk angle. so we´ll see.
ironpool007 - 12/10/2012, 1:26 PM
@tonytony: I am more of a Marvel than DC Yes. But that is why I.favor them more. Just look at the continuity of The New 52. Hell, look.at the pre New 52 continuity. It is a mess in some spots.
ArtisticErotic - 12/10/2012, 1:37 PM
I'm not reading either and don't plan on it, but from what I can see Marvel is doing a better job of not pissing their fans off.

DC is just dying off, they've lost some valiable talent because of this relaunch/reboot and some loyal fans. The keep changing creative teams on book cancelling titles and it's just a mess. Like I said before Marvel now is just a new 52 done in a better way, they took what DC did wrong and corrected it.
bazinga85 - 12/10/2012, 4:27 PM
If you haven't read either, you really can't say which one is better.

Anyways, I enjoy what both companies are doing...I have dropped a lot of New 52 titles though, TT, Nightwing, Aquaman(i loved this title but had to drop it, $), Batman + Robin, GA and Earth 2(dropped after first issues, terrible). Currently my pull list is...DC: Batman, GL, and JL(I think i might drop this as well) Marvel:All New X-Men, Uncanny Avengers, F4, and Deadpool...series i'll probably pick up:Savage Wolverine, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Hulk
BIGBMH - 12/10/2012, 4:53 PM
I'll reserve judgement until I see how Marvel Now plays out. I don't read much DC, but I've enjoyed Batman and Nightwing quite a bit. I like that Marvel isn't rebooting its universe, but New 52 felt like more of an event to me. This new wave just hit all at once. It would have been nice if Marvel planned it far enough in advance so the writers could all time the endings together and just release the new titles closer together.
Spideyguy94 - 12/10/2012, 6:57 PM
@TheNerdicon marvel rebooting is an incredibly stupid thing to do for 2 reasons 1)DC only reboot to simplify the universe because they have a lot more complicated continuity and alternate universes, and marvel doing it after DC just rebooted there's would be a terrible decision. 2) they have the ultimate universe which is basically a rebooted marvel universe except they kept the old continuity which is a really smart thing when you think about it.

Oh and by the way marvel are not oversaturating avengers the way dc is with batman. Avengers only have 3 books, same as X-Men who have always had 2-3 seperate teams. Batman has 7 books where he is the main character, if you include the bat family 11. The only marvel character who has multiple titles is spider-man which is only 2 with him as the main character with 4 overall family books.
Happy11 - 12/11/2012, 4:58 PM
Sounds just like another dc bashing exercise but to prove me wrong what titles in the new 52 are you buying right now and I will discuss points.........or haven't you actually bought or read any.
ironpool007 - 12/11/2012, 8:28 PM
@Happy11: My DC pull list is Justice League, Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Batman, Catwoman, Red Hood and Thd Outlaws, Talon, Suicide Squad, and Deathstroke
FlashhGordon27 - 12/13/2012, 9:02 AM
I'm enjoying the new 52 more than Marvel NOW! at the moment, but that could change, I am LOVING All New X-Men and Avengers was Stunning, but nothing else has really drawn me in, although Deadpool is a fun read. With the new 52 however, Batman is amazing, Loving Justice League, loving Green Lantern, loving Nightwing, Loving The Dark Knight (The Scarecrow arc, wasn't keen on the first bane arc), loving Batgirl, loving Talon, Loving Earth 2, New Guardians started off GREAT but is slowly going down. I'm a fan of both Marvel and DC, I don't join in on those stupid DC VS Marvel arguments, but I'm like new 52 more, but that could change.... man I love All New X-Men....

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.