COMICS: DC Comics THE NEW 52-One Year Later

COMICS: DC Comics THE NEW  52-One Year Later

Corporate logo overhauls, creative changes and a few Robert Liefeld rants later we find ourselves on the precipice of DC's New 52 One Year Anniversary. Let's recap with special emphasis on a few of the more successful and noteworthy titles.

THE NEW 52 - FIRST WAVE                    

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

Tomorrow officially makes it one year for DC's New 52 which kickstarted a new era in DC Comics with Justice League #1. DC was previously lagging behind Marvel in sales for a number or years and annual sales figures overall were on the decline. Hence, the company plotted and planned and pulled the trigger on an event that garnered coverage across the world and on nearly every social platform imaginable. In terms of sales, its a tough argument to make that the relaunch of the DC Universe was anything other than a success. But what about quality? As a one time avid comic book reader in my youth, the relaunch of the DC Universe hooked me back into comics for the first time in nearly 20 years. (Up until then I satisfied my occasional curiosity by reading reviews on sites like Rokks Comic Book Revolution). At some point or another, I picked up the odd issue of nearly every title on the list above but on my Pull List were Justice League, Action Comics, Batman, Nightwing, Wonder Woman, Mister Terrific, Captain Atom, Aquaman, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Superboy, Resurrection Man, Justice League Dark, Justice League International, Stormwatch, Voodoo and Demon Knights. I heard excellent things about Animal Man and Swamp Thing but that was after a couple of issues in and I dislike jumping on titles mid-run so I waited for the trades.

Out of the titles I regularly followed each month, I have to say that Aquaman was surprisingly the Most Consistent followed by Batman as a close second. Johns hooked readers in on Aquman by poking fun at Arthur but jokes soon faded for some impressive and compelling storytelling. For the Most Underrated, I'd have to go with Mister Terrific. That was a book that most people overlooked which is a shame because Michael Holt deserved better. There was actually a deep story being told intermixed with science, superheroics and one-night stands with Powergirl. I'd also give a shoutout to Voodoo in this category, specifically the run under Ron Marz. The art from Sami Basri and Jessica Kholinne was sick and there was a serious X-Files vibe to the storyline which intersected with a lot of other titles; at least there was before the editorial decision to 'go in a different direction.' For Most Disappointing title, I'd reluctantly have to say Justice League. The art from Jim Lee was great but the story thus far lacks any real development amongst the team. The heroes in the book were pale shadows of their solo title counterparts which was especially unfortunate for Cyborg who doesn't have one. However, there's hope here as issue #12 was a complete 360 which teased a hookup between Superman and Wonder Woman but delivered a whole lot more. I'v enjoyed and loathed a few other titles as well but the ones above were my personal standouts for me over the last year.

In looking at the New 52-First Wave as a whole, 10 books have been canceled or had their runs ended prematurely; Static Shock, Mister Terrific, Voodoo, OMAC, Captain Atom, Justice League International, Resurrection Man, Hawk and Dove, Blackhawks, and Men of War. But of course, we've had 10 new titles take their place which is in keeping with the New 52's mandate to keep things fresh. Justice League #1 was the top selling comic book for 2011 and sales as a whole are up. DC held the top publisher spot for several months before Marvel released Avengers vs X-Men. During that same span, Aquaman outsold every Marvel title as well, a fact that was a pretty big source of pride for DC advocates. Regardless, the move put DC back under the spotlight so to speak and the company is currently riding high on a wave of media exposure.

The relaunch has also had its fair share of controversy. There's been concerns over sexism, the lack of certain fan favorites and a TON of creator spats. Still, I'd say that DC's goal for the New 52 was met. Their stated goal was to acquire new readers and attract people that haven't read comic books in years. They certainly hooked me and as a result I started reading an equal number of Marvel titles again as well.

What about you guys? What's your experience with The New 52 been like. I'd love to hear from you on some of the titles I didn't pick up. Which titles are you're Most Consistent, Most Underrated and Most Improved?

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