Thursday, October 13, 2011

DC's New 52 - A Look at All Those First Issues

As mentioned before, I wasn't able to read all 52 "Number One" issues of DC's relaunch - but my pal Clint did, and he provides this insightful review of the effort. (Thanks, Clint!)

He calls it:

Playin' 52 Pick-up

by Clint McElroy

Oh DC, DC, DC, DC...

...You blew it.

It was all there, laid out for you: the whole enchilada, the whole chinchilla, the whole chinchilla enchilada! You had Marvel on the ropes, gloves dropping, eyes glazed… and you couldn’t get the knockout.

I’m speaking, of course, about the New 52.

We were all ready. We were pumped, braced for sweeping changes, clean slates, new beginnings... and what did we get?


Barbara Gordon can once again do the Lambada (the Forbidden Dance, in case you had forgotten). Starfire likes doing the Tube Snake Boogie (which is NOT a dance). Morgan Edge went all Nick Fury / Samuel L. Jackson and changed races. And you slapped collars on everybody.

That’s about it for the Sweeping Changes Department.

I bought and read every first issue of the New 52. Then I read them again. Then I sat quietly. Quietly and sadly (Even sadder than when I read T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents) Why so sad, Clinton? Missed Potential.

(Okay, maybe too soon to mentions T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents... it makes me sound bitter).

Well, I am. Bitter, that is.

You had us, man! You KNEW we were going to gobble up those first issues! Have you SEEN the sales figures? For the love of Herb Trimpe, THAT’S WHY YOU DID THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE!! Fifty-two chances to make a first impression! We could have opened those books and been blown away by compelling writing, brilliant new concepts and remarkable art. The Collective Hive Mind that IS the comic consuming public would have said as one: “This is what I shall spend my disposable income upon!”

(For those lucky people who actually HAVE disposable income.)

I realize you are a powerful multi-national corporation, DC (May I call you D?).
I know you could snap your ink-stained fingers and my family and I would be sleeping with the fishes (Which no longer talk to Aquaman... I forgot THAT sweeping change) so let me cover the McElroy Family’s posteriors by stating very clearly: I LOVED some of the books.

My favorites were the titles where you cowboy-ed up and took a chance: Men of War, Resurrection Man and All-Star Western. You stepped out on a limb and tried something different.

I also loved the books with strong, character-based writing, great dialogue and real honest-to-God plots! I really dug Red Hood and the Outlaws, Stormwatch, Catwoman and Aquaman. (Yes, Clint McElroy enjoyed Aquaman: THAT JUST HAPPENED!)

But the new directions and earth-shaking changes were few and far between.

Ironically, the character you changed the most drastically is the most beloved, iconic character in your pantheon! Kal-El! The Man of Steel! The Last Son of Krypton! The Dude We Never Really Saw In Any Episode of Smallville!

Grant Morrison took Superman, put him in a t-shirt, Levis, Hushpuppies and a bath towel, and turned the whole story on its ear.

And it was AWESOME!

THERE’S your template, True Believers! (Sorry, wrong lexicon.) If we had been presented with 52 number ones like THAT, it would be a seven-run lead in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and Mariano Rivera coming to the mound. (Oops, another sports reference; I need to watch that.)

I can hear it now: “Not every book is for every reader, you grubby little man!” Good point. I’m sure all the Twilight fans will buy I Vampire. All the fans of hot strippers will pick up Voodoo (Note to self: Keep Voodoo on pull list) See? I am a little bit grubby. And the other part is true as well. I can only speak for myself. I can only spend MY money. When it comes to comic book patronage, everybody is a critic... LITERALLY. Your review is the money you plunk down on the counter at Ye Olde Comic Booke Shoppe.

By the way, D, I plunked down $155.48. It was darn well worth it because I
wanted to be fair and try out each new issue. The price tag could have been a lot higher. I for one, really appreciate the whole “Hold the Line at 2.99” thing. Of course, as a comic book fan from the 1960s I can also remember a time when you could “Clear the Shelves, They’re All Priced .12!”

I appreciate the effort. I really do. I WANTED to be blown away by every book. As it turned out I was blown away by a few books, and some aspects of others: Justice League was beautiful to behold, the layouts for Blackhawks were awesome, and the new Amanda Waller was hot.

So I am keeping 13 of the New 52 on my pull list. That’s not bad, right? A batting average of .250 is pretty darned good! (Uh-oh! Another sports reference. I am getting out while the getting is good.)

But, before I go..about the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents...


Anonymous said...

I give Clint much credit; he bought
'em all and read 'em all. I worry
a bit about his psyche but I think
he'll be all right. His review(s)
hold a lot of weight with me and
they're damned entertaining and you
can give Clint the guest chair any
time you want, Chuck!

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, he's welcome to sit in anytime - I'm hoping to wheedle more commentaries out of him! Clint knows his comic books - he's one of the few people alive today who's actually been reading them longer than I have (I think), and he's written comics, too (which is more than I can say).

Which reminds me - I should post a reminder that anyone is welcome to submit reviews or comments to be published in this blog, as long as they stick to the "no spoilers" rule. I can't guarantee I'll use 'em, but I haven't turned anyone down yet! ;-)