Jonny and I bitch a lot about DC’s New 52 relaunch. It’s not that we’re just perpetual haters; it’s that they took a universe that we had come to know and love, flaws and all, and restarted it under the pretense three factors. The first is that DC wanted to make their comics easier to access by their fans. Instead of having to pick up a comic with a decade or more of back issue continuity, fans could start with issue one. The second reason was to erase the mistakes of bad writing as well as de-age all the characters to keep them younger and more relatable to the target demographic. But the main reason was of course to make money… and in that respect the New 52 has been a huge success. However, there have been tons of problems that we have had with the relaunch and its subsequent storylines.
This leads me to my main point. From the literal beginning of the New 52 and for two years since, DC has been building to the “Trinity War,” this huge battle between Justice Leagues that was going to rock the universe. I decided to give the storyline a chance. What a friggin’ let down.
The Trinity War offered little in the way of the all-out war between the Leagues (as was promised by the Free Comic Book Day promo comic). Instead, it was really just a lame wild goose chase centered on a red herring. I did, however, like the ending of the Trinity War storyline of introducing the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 into the main DCU. But this in turn had me questioning, much like I did with Marvel’s Ultimate line ten years ago, how many new ways can you tell the same old story? How many times now has the Crime Syndicate of America been “introduced” into the main DC universe?
Moving on, there was a confusing jump where the CSA claimed that the Justice League was dead and that they (or evil) had taken over the world. Funny, I thought evil just took over the world a few years ago during the Final Crisis storyline. Huh. Obviously they aren’t really dead or else DC will have to pull something out of their asses like replace them with another alternate reality Justice League or even have to do another reboot.
Of course this lead to the new gimmick of releasing a month’s worth of villain-centric issues in place of the regular monthly titles. And just so we know that the spirit of the 90’s is still alive and kicking, DC offered those issues in neat 3D lenticular covers. I will admit that many of them looked really cool, even if they did tend to give me a headache.
I didn’t read all of the villain issues, but I have thumbed through those not in my pull box at the comic shop. They were pretty hit or miss. Some were pretty interesting, like the issues dedicated to Deadshot, Penguin, Relic and Doomsday. Others, like Deathstroke’s, Solomon Grundy’s, Darkseid and Desaad’s… not so much. The best one I read was Black Adam’s. That one not only explained his resurrection but also featured him kicking some serious ass!
The best thing to come of these villain issues, at least with some of them, is the chance to learn what their current origins are in the New 52. Some are pretty much the same, while others like Bane’s, Cyborg Superman’s and Creeper (who apparently is now a villain) have been changed considerably. My point is that some of these issues are filling in the ambiguous origins of these villains post-reboot. That has been a major issue Jonny and I have had with the New 52. Instead of beginning the reboot at, I don’t know… the beginning, they started the universe about 5 years in and didn’t bother to tell us what was already canon and what hadn’t “happened” yet. Worse yet, it seemed that the continuity of the Green Lantern books have carried over from before the reboot, despite much of that history not likely to have occurred? For instance, was Coast City destroyed and cause Hal Jordan to go insane and become Parallax? If not, why is Kyle Rayner around? If so, how was the universe restarted without the “big bang” created by Damage, who doesn’t seem to exist in the New 52? See what I mean? These villain issues at least give us some idea of this “lost” history.
Where the Forever Evil storyline is headed seems to be a big showdown between the Crime Syndicate versus Lex Luthor and whoever he can scrape together to back him up (shades of the original CSA story). Will it be any good? Probably not as good as what Marvel’s doing with their Infinity event. Since the Marvel Now rebranding (I don’t know what else to call it… it’s not a reboot) they have been doing some cool stuff. I find myself far more excited to read Uncanny Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova and Deadpool than I am any of the DC titles I have subscribed to at the comic shop. Maybe it’s time for another reboot.