The New 52 has started! DC Comics's relaunch of their main series has been the most anticipated - and controversial - event in possibly all of comics history. It's no secret that comic book sales have been on a decline for awhile. DC has admitted that The New 52 is their attempt to gain new readers and raise the popularity - and sales - of comics. While this is a desperate move by DC, it is by no means a bad one.
People ranging from established comic gurus to people who have never bought comics, but enjoy the superhero movies, video games or TV shows, have been looking forward to the "soft reboot," as DC calls it. The directors, writers, and artists involved in the project are very excited about it and have done their best to show they are putting their all into every issue.
To me, the most amazing aspect of The New 52 is that the continuity of the DC Universe (DCU, or, for The New 52, DC new Universe, or DCnU) is much less bogged down and is streamlined. Essentially, what this means, is that everything that happens in The New 52 comics happens at the same time, and the writing teams behind comics are not bogged down by 75 years of comics history.
The history isn't being erased - stories and aspects essential to the characters are still being kept - but new readers are now able to pick up a #1 issue and understand what is going on instead of an issue numbered #903 in the middle of an ongoing story. That is a lot less daunting and, as DC and myself both hope very much, will invite a lot of new comic readers in!
Some comic lovers aren't happy, though. Continuity that has stood for many years is being rewritten. While some long-time fans are rejoicing in the event, others remain cautious, and many are even enraged. Some are so bitter it seems they actually want DC to fail.
Whether or not DC truly fails or succeeds, though, can't be determined until later. The main goal of the reboot is to increase sales for the long term - and whether or not this is a 'scam,' as some resentful enthusiasts call it, or genuine artistic ambition also can't be decided until many issues of the comics have actually been released.
The immediate success, however, is astounding. The spike in pre-orders is monumental. Justice League #1, by Geoff Johns, which launched The New 52 on Wednesday, August 31st at midnight, sold out in under 24 hours. So did the second printing. DC is printing a third. It seems, for the time being, DC's massive, unparalleled advertising campaign in the comics industry for the New 52, which reached the internet, radio, and television, has paid off.
I attended the midnight release at in Scotch Plains. I had a really fun time, and went dressed as Joker, and my friend went as his girlfriend/groupie, Harley Quinn. After going home and washing off all of the makeup and hair dye, I was finally ready to read Justice League #1.
Justice League #1 Review: 4/5 Stars
The World's Greatest Super Heroes are back as The Justice League of America!
Well, sort of. They're beginning to meet each other, at least. The opening arc of the premier issue of DC Comics's New 52 initiative seems to revolve around how they meet, which makes sense - how members interact and why they do so is an essential part of any team! The events in Justice League, at the moment, actually take place 5 years before the streamlined DCnU. At this point, the world doesn't really know about superheroes. Superheroes barely know of each other!
The issue looks amazing. Jim Lee, the comic's artist, is renowned as a genius for a reason. The issue is also very fun. It seems, at this point in their careers, superheroes have not yet learned humility. Their egos are massive, and their very different methods of being a superhero collide (compare Batman's reliance on traveling through shadows to Green Lantern's glowing ring capable of creating what would be an awesome, but very green, July 4th fireworks show).
As it stands, it seems almost impossible that such people could ever work against a common enemy, not to mention become friends. The issue teases that such an enemy is coming, though - and this is no enemy to sneeze at. In the old DCU, he caused incalculable loss of life and destruction!
Unfortunately, though, all the issue does is hint at future events. The premise of the comics is the interaction of the characters and the way the world views superheroes at the moment, and it accomplishes this fantastically. As for getting the plot going, though, it doesn't accomplish all that much.
Which is all the more reason to look forward to #2, where the real action will definitely start.