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DC Comics: The New 52 by Geoff Johns
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DC Comics: The New 52

by Geoff Johns

Other authors: Dan Abnett (Contributor), Christian Alamy (Illustrator), Oclair Albert (Illustrator), Mahmud Asrar (Illustrator), Brian Azzarello (Contributor)110 more, Matt Banning (Illustrator), Eddy Barrows (Illustrator), Sami Basri (Illustrator), Tony Bedard (Contributor), Ed Benes (Illustrator), Joe Bennett (Illustrator), W. Haden Blackman (Contributor), Brett Booth (Illustrator), Ivan Brandon (Contributor), Rick Bryant (Illustrator), Brian Buccellato (Contributor), Cafu (Illustrator), Greg Capullo (Illustrator), Bernard Chang (Illustrator), Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Vicente Cifuentes (Illustrator), Yildiray Cinar (Illustrator), Paul Cornell (Contributor), Mike Costa (Contributor), Fernando Dagnino (Illustrator), Federico Dallocchio (Illustrator), Tony S. Daniel (Contributor), Tom Derenick (Illustrator), Dan DiDio (Contributor), Nathan Edmondson (Contributor), Wayne Faucher (Illustrator), Joshua Hale Fialkov (Contributor), David Finch (Contributor), Richard Friend (Illustrator), Sterling Gates (Contributor), Ransom Getty (Illustrator), Keith Giffen (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator), Adam Glass (Contributor), Patrick Gleason (Contributor), Jason Gorder (Illustrator), Justin Gray (Contributor), Mick Gray (Illustrator), Dan Green (Illustrator), Michael Green (Contributor), Ig Guara (Illustrator), Gianluca Gugliotta (Illustrator), Scott Hanna (Illustrator), Kyle Higgins (Contributor), Rob Hunter (Illustrator), Mikel Janin (Illustrator), Paul Jenkins (Contributor), Mike Johnson (Contributor), Ruy José (Illustrator), Dan Jurgens (Contributor), Tyler Kirkham (Illustrator), Scott Koblish (Illustrator), J. T. Krul (Contributor), Andy Lanning (Contributor), Ken Lashley (Illustrator), Rob Lean (Illustrator), Jim Lee (Illustrator), Jeff Lemire (Contributor), Paul Levitz (Contributor), Rob Liefeld (Illustrator), Scott Lobdell (Contributor), Aaron Lopresti (Illustrator), Doug Mahnke (Illustrator), Francis Manapul (Contributor), Guillem March (Illustrator), Ron Marz (Contributor), J. P. Mayer (Illustrator), Scott McDaniel (Illustrator), Jesús Merino (Illustrator), Peter Milligan (Contributor), Rags Morales (Illustrator), Moritat (Illustrator), Grant Morrison (Contributor), Diogenes Neves (Illustrator), Fabian Nicieza (Contributor), Graham Nolan (Illustrator), Ben Oliver (Illustrator), Jimmy Palmiotti (Contributor), Yanick Paquette (Illustrator), Fernando Pasarin (Illustrator), George Pérez (Illustrator), Alberto Ponticelli (Illustrator), Francis Portela (Illustrator), Joe Prado (Illustrator), Norm Rapmund (Illustrator), Ivan Reis (Illustrator), Kenneth Rocafort (Illustrator), John Rozum (Contributor), Matt Ryan (Illustrator), Jesus Saiz (Illustrator), Miguel Angel Sepulveda (Illustrator), R. B. Silva (Illustrator), Gail Simone (Contributor), Scott Snyder (Contributor), Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrator), Duane Swierczynski (Contributor), Adrian Syaf (Illustrator), Philip Tan (Illustrator), Art Thibert (Illustrator), Peter J. Tomasi (Contributor), LeBeau Underwood (Illustrator), Ethan Van Sciver (Illustrator), Jonathan Vankin (Illustrator), Eric Wallace (Contributor), Freddie Williams II (Illustrator), J. H. Williams III (Contributor), Judd Winick (Contributor), Ryan Winn (Illustrator), Phil Winslade (Illustrator), Pete Woods (Illustrator)

Series: The New 52 Omnibus (1)

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Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

This book is unpaginated, but as it collects 52 issues, and most single issues these days are 20-22 pages long, it must contain around 1,000 pages of comics, making it nearly unreviewable, especially given that this book isn't one big story (like some other DC omnibi I've read, such as 52) but rather the beginnings of 52 different stories. Still, I'm going to try, and I'm going to do it by speaking to 1) the book as a whole, 2) the continuity issues involved, and 3) each subsection of the book. So please bear with me. Each of the issues is a #1 issue, published in the wake of Flashpoint, which reset the DC universe.

The Book as a Whole
To be honest, it's not a very satisfying reading experience. I think it could have been, but that would require a totally different way of approaching the single-issue comic than is normal in the 2010s. None of these are done-in-one stories, a format that still exists, but is probably avoided in the first issue of a series more than anywhere else, given that you want your readers to pick up issue #2. That said, I don't think they needed to be as formulaic as they are: I'd estimate the 75% of the stories here have the same structure of fight scene→bit of personal life or backstory→dramatic last page appearance of someone. Sometimes the order of "fight scene" and "bit of personal life or backstory" is swapped. As I kept on reading, I just got tired of seeing this cliche over and over again. I'd say that it was unsatisfying to not know the end to the fifty-two different stories begun here, but in actuality, I don't want to know the end of the fifty-two different stories begun here, as most didn't do enough to grab my interest in their twenty pages. Some dude turning up on page twenty does not a hook make if you haven't laid an interesting groundwork first.

The Continuity Issues
Sometimes I think people overestimate how much continuity contributes to the reading experience of a book. I've seen a lot of complaints about the New 52 that it's hard to get invested in characters when you don't know what old stories count and what ones don't. But Crisis on Infinite Earths did the exact same thing-- it was ages before the "past" of the new, integrated DC universe was completely built up, and I think people forget how piecemeal it was at first. The pre-Crisis Wonder Woman and Superman continued to appear for a year or two because George Pérez and John Byrne's reboots weren't done yet! The pre-Crisis Superman, for example, turned up in an Omega Men storyline that was explicitly post-Crisis, yet there's no way it could happen with the post-Crisis Superman. So things are going to be a bit muddy when you introduce a new shared universe all at once, and I think that's okay.

That said, I'm not sure why DC didn't got full clean slate with more of these characters. For example, we're told Animal Man has been a hero, retired from heroing, and is now returning to heroing-- but this doesn't add anything to the story when he could just be a recently established hero. Too many of the characters here have semi-complicated backstories because bits of their pre-Flashpoint backstories have been retained, but nothing is done with these backstories. Arsenal and Starfire apparently worked together on a team of teens before, but not in the Teen Titans because the Teen Titans #1 here is about the first Teen Titans team coming together. So they were just on... some team? But it doesn't really matter because they don't act like they know each other at all. Why not make it their first meeting then? Though the idea of there being a bunch of former teen sidekicks is weird anyway given DC's compressed the timeline down to five years. Like, you can have everything be fresh and new, or you can have a bunch of legacy characters, but it seems to me you can't have both. (And yet there are four different Robins!)

Justice League (Justice League, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Captain Atom, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Mister Terrific, Deadman)
Only three of these stuck out to me in a good way: Wonder Woman is slickly drawn, a surprisingly dei noir take on an old character. I read the first few issues of this run on Comixology back in 2011, and though I forgot to keep reading, this reminded me of what I enjoyed then. Everything I've ever seen of Francis Manapul's take on the Flash has been solid, so I ought to pick it up someday, though this one I liked more for the art and layouts than the story (it definitely fits into the cliche #1 format I mention above). I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the take on Deadman here. Like, this had great ideas and amazing artwork. On the other hand, the new Justice League #1 is almost embarrassing, and Justice League International is the perfect example of the kind of comic book you just can't do in a brand-new universe-- none of these also-ran character have backstories now!

Superman (Superman, Superboy, Supergirl)
I can see how Grant Morrison's Action Comics #1 is a tribute to the original, with its non-stop action (duh!) and social-crusader bent on Superman, though this adds in a giant Lex Luthor conspiracy for good measure. Rags Morales is a good artist, but he's no Joe Shuster, and some of the art is too hard to follow at times. I'm more interested in what comes next because of what I know about Morrison in general, though, not because of anything actually in this book. On the other hand, Superman #1 is an over-narrated yawn, and the new takes on Superboy and Supergirl do nothing for me, and also do nothing contribute to the idea of a Superman family.

Batman (Batman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Batwing, Catwoman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws)
I think there are three different stories here about Arkham breakouts. That's just sloppy. Nothing here that was new to me captured my interest-- everyone here seems really invested in the EVERYTHING IS GRITTY AND SAD perspective on Batman. (I did appreciate that Batman and Robin #1 has Batman deciding not to mark his parents' deaths so much, though.) Batwoman #1 isn't J. H. Williams III's best work, alas, and Batwoman is one of those characters who suffers from the compressed timeline-- her sidekick is a former teen sidekick of the Golden Age Batwoman, and I don't see how that makes any sense these days. Birds of Prey #1 is probably the best story here, a typical-format action opener, but at least a well done one. The Batman stories contain what surely be the most actively offensive New 52 debuts, Catwoman #1 (with its hilariously awful rooftop sex scene) and Red Hood and Outlaws #1 (which should be taught in intro to feminism courses as an explanation of the male gaze).

Green Lantern (Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, New Guardians, Red Lanterns)
You know, when I first got into comics books back in 2006 or so, Geoff Johns's legendary Green Lantern run was underway, and I was super-intrigued. I still haven't read it, and every time I read a piece of it in a book like this, my interest is diminished, because none of the excerpts are ever any good.

The Dark (Justice League Dark, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Frankenstein, I, Vampire, Resurrection Man, Demon Knights)
Bringing what had been successful Vertigo concepts back into the main DCU doesn't really work for me-- it's an off fusing of genres most of these writers can't pull off. Jeff Lemire's Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 is definitely the best story here; after enjoying both Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein and Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown, I need to pick this up in full someday. Other than that, I found little here to intrigue me, not even Demon Knights #1 by my personal favorite Paul Cornell, which was a bit too confusing for a #1. Travel Foreman and Dan Green's work on Animal Man did look real neat, at least.

The Edge (Stormwatch, Grifter, Voodoo, Deathstroke, Suicide Squad, O.M.A.C., All-Star Western, Blackhawks, Men of War)
Presumably "the edge" means "the edge of quality," because almost all of these were dreadful. Who wants to see abandoned Wildstorm concepts like Stormwatch, Grifter, or Voodoo brought back? I read enough of Team 7 to know nothing good can ever come out of a comic with Grifter in it. I like the idea of bringing back the war comic-- if there's one thing the New 52 lacks, it's genre diversity-- but both war comics here are terrible, with tedious action and interchangeable characters. At least Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen's action-packed Jack Kirby tribute in O.M.A.C. #1 is a blast. I'm pretty sure none of these series other than Suicide Squad lasted beyond 6-7 issues. I can see why.

Also, what's the difference between "the dark" and "the edge," anyway? And how come there's no section called "the fun"? Remember when superhero comics were fun? They don't all have to be fun, but in this book, maybe 4% of them are.

Young Justice (Teen Titans, Static Shock, Hawk and Dove, Blue Beetle, Legion of Super-Heroes)
Like I said above, Teen Titans makes no sense in this halfway house reboot-- Wonder Girl and Kid Flash aren't even the sidekicks of Wonder Woman and the Flash, because there's no time for that to have been the case in this new continuity. But who cares about these unrelated characters with the same names? A good writer could pull it off, but DC hired Scott Lobdell instead. And kudos to DC for giving the Legion of Super-Heroes a shot with two different Legion ongoings, but if I, as a longtime Legion reader and hardcore fan found these stories confusing and dull, how on Earth could they have hooked a new reader? Shoulda just stuck it out with the threeboot, DC. I was intrigued by Static Shock #1-- actual fun was had! Amazing!

One should note that all the review blurbs on this volume speak to the idea of the New 52-- none to the actual quality of stories contained within. I wonder why.

DC Comics Crises: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Feb 12, 2017 |
In 2011, DC Comics did a reboot of their super-heroes books, calling the (I assume) 52 new comic book re-writes "The New 52". This is a massive compilation of every first issue of those books, ranging from iconic figures like Superman and Batman to old standbys such as the Suicide Squad, to some possibly new creations I'd never heard of (Stormwatch, Voodoo). It's a mixed bag in terms of both story and art. I'm traditionalist enough to lean more toward the established heroes; plus, they seemed to get the better writers and artists. The book as a whole was frustrating in one way: Since they're all first issues only, it's like reading 52 cliffhangers in a row, with no resolution.

This was a very generous Father's Day gift from my son Ben. Part of me is very touched, and part of me wishes he hadn't done it, because I know what the book cost. ( )
  burnit99 | Aug 29, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geoff Johnsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abnett, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alamy, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Albert, OclairIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asrar, MahmudIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Azzarello, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banning, MattIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barrows, EddyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Basri, SamiIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bedard, TonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benes, EdIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennett, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blackman, W. HadenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Booth, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brandon, IvanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, RickIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buccellato, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
CafuIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capullo, GregIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chang, BernardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chiang, CliffIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cifuentes, VicenteIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cinar, YildirayIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cornell, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Costa, MikeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dagnino, FernandoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dallocchio, FedericoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daniel, Tony S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Derenick, TomIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DiDio, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edmondson, NathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Faucher, WayneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fialkov, Joshua HaleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Finch, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friend, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gates, SterlingContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Getty, RansomIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giffen, KeithIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glapion, JonathanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glass, AdamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gleason, PatrickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorder, JasonIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gray, JustinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gray, MickIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Green, DanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Green, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guara, IgIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gugliotta, GianlucaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hanna, ScottIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Higgins, KyleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hunter, RobIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Janin, MikelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jenkins, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, MikeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
José, RuyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jurgens, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirkham, TylerIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koblish, ScottIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krul, J. T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lanning, AndyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lashley, KenIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lean, RobIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, JimIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lemire, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Levitz, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liefeld, RobIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lobdell, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lopresti, AaronIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mahnke, DougIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manapul, FrancisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
March, GuillemIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marz, RonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mayer, J. P.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDaniel, ScottIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Merino, JesúsIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milligan, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morales, RagsIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MoritatIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrison, GrantContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neves, DiogenesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nicieza, FabianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nolan, GrahamIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oliver, BenIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palmiotti, JimmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paquette, YanickIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pasarin, FernandoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pérez, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ponticelli, AlbertoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Portela, FrancisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prado, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rapmund, NormIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reis, IvanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rocafort, KennethIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rozum, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ryan, MattIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saiz, JesusIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sepulveda, Miguel AngelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silva, R. B.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Simone, GailContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sorrentino, AndreaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swierczynski, DuaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Syaf, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tan, PhilipIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thibert, ArtIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tomasi, Peter J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Underwood, LeBeauIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Sciver, EthanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vankin, JonathanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wallace, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams II, FreddieIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams III, J. H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Winick, JuddContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Winn, RyanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Winslade, PhilIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woods, PeteIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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DC Entertainment is making history by launching 52 #1 DC Comics issues starring the World's Greatest Super-Heroes.

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