Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Comics: New DC 52 Report Card

About a year ago, DC did the boldest move ever in the comic book industry: they rebooted their entire line up and started all of their comics over at issue #1.

The sales have been wonderful and sales for the company have been up a bit. But what about the books themselves.

I may be one of the only people to pick up all of the titles. Below is my report card, divided by category.

These are books of the highest quality and the first ones I gravitate to each month. They are excellent reads.
-Green Lantern: Best book in DC today A+
-Green Lantern Corps: Tomasi delivers a GL book that rivals Johns' A
-Justice League: High octane action. Big book, but it needs more character depth. A-
-Aquaman: Best version of the character since Peter David's run. A-
-Batman and Robin: My favorite Batman book because it involves all the Robins A-


-Nightwing: The story is decent and the art is great. B+
-Green Lantern: The New Guardians: Imaginative storyline with such wonderfully different characters B+
-Batman: An excellent Batman book that pushes the hero to the breaking point B+
-Batgirl: I know people were not crazy about Barbra Gordon getting out of the chair, but her book is consistently good. B+
-Superman: Got better with the new creative team. B+
-Stormwatch: I like this book. It's one of the most imaginative. B+
-All-Star Western: Now that I am a Jonah Hex fan, I enjoy this comic immensely It is the DCU of the Old West. B+
-DC Universe Presents: This one goes back and forth because the talent, characters and story changes. It's been worth it thought for James Robinson's Savage story B
-Suicide Squad: A worthy follow up to the Secret Six B
-Blue Beetle: This book has some of the most fun scenes in DC B
-Action Comics: When it works, it's good. When it doesn't, it's pretentious B
-Supergirl: I miss the Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle run, but this has been decent. B
-Superboy: I was not crazy about the take on Superboy, but now that the book is more closely woven with Teen Titans, its getting better. B
-Teen Titans: Good plot, but they got too caught up in the first story arc. It's loosening up now and is getting better. B
-Red Lanterns: Interesting if not fully engaging B-
-Flash: Fun, but I'm not crazy about the Rouges makeover. B-
-Justice League Dark: The closest thing I've seen to the old Trenchcoat Brigade. B-
-Blackhawks: Good start, but it got lost in its own story. B-

These books need improvement, but I'm hanging in there hoping that the stories get better

-Voodoo: Strange, but it will keep me interested till the end. C+
-Catwoman: Hit and miss. Some parts are good, but its surrounded by a lot of mediocre. C+
-Birds of Prey: The Birds don't feel the same without Simone writing them. C+
-Red Hood and the Outlaws: I like the chemistry between the three characters, but the book is too busy and needs to streamline. C+
-Men of War: The first story arc was good, but it meandered after that. C
-Fury of Firestorm: Started amazingly strong, but lost all of its steam when Simone left the book. C-

These books either lost me or never had me. Some of them are not bad books, but they were not to my taste. And while some were borderline, the price of comics being what it is I decided it wasn't worth the money each month

-Batwoman: This one could not recapture the magic of her storyline from Detective Comics D+
-Legion of Superheroes: Couldn't hold a candle to Johns' take on the Legion D+ -Swamp Thing: I like the plot, but it was a bit too out there. D+
-Animal Man: Too weird, though it was done well. D+
-Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE: I hung in their, but the art never clicked and the stories were too convoluted. D+
-I, Vampire: I like the idea, but it feels drawn out. D+
-Detective Comics: Good art, but I can't get into the stories. D+
-Batman: The Dark Knight: Great art, but empty D
-OMAC: I wanted to like this, but it eluded me. D
-Resurrection Man: Started strong but then got weird. D
-Batwing: Could not get into the story. D
-Wonder Woman: No connection to the characters. Strange visuals. D
-Green Arrow: Started as Steve Jobs as a Super Hero. Became meandering D
-Justice League International: When they killed off Gavril, they killed the fun of the book. D

These books either started bad or became bad and were cut early.
-The Savage Hawkman: Bad writing, bad art. F
-Mister Terrific: Interesting character who didn't get a good enough book. F
-Captain Atom: Nothing interesting said about the character. F
-Demon Knights: I this after an unnecessary cheap shot at a Catholic priest. F
-Legion Lost: I couldn't follow this. F
-Static Shock: Good art, but it felt empty. F
-Hawk and Dove: I liked what Sterling Gates was trying to do, but Liefeld killed this book. F
-Deathstroke: Started like a DC Punisher, but as with Hawk and Dove, Liefeld killed this book. F
-Grifter: Started good, but as with Hawk and Dove and Deathstroke, Liefeld killed this book. F


The grand experiment was a mixed bag. Some characters, like Aquaman, got a huge infusion of sales and notoriety. Others like Hawkman never made it out of the gate with a fighting chance.

Of the New DC 52, I kept 29 on my weekly pull list. Of those 29, 3 have been cancelled or soon will be cancelled.

Since the New 52 have launched, DC has put out some other monthly books that I have picked up including:
-The Shade A
-World's Finest: Huntress and Power Girl C+
-Earth 2 A-
-Smallville A+
-The Ravagers B-
-National Comics A+ (so far)

So that leaves me with buying 32 DC comics per month on average.

And for the life of me I cannot understand why every time Rob Liefeld kills a book that they GIVE HIM ANOTHER ONE!

Next month, DC is going to try to get more readers to jump on by having all of their titles publish an issue #0. This will serve as an origin story so that new readers can jump on. I was actually surprised how few of the new 52 were origin stories, so this will be a good time to try a book you've always wanted to see

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