You Can't Spell "Mediocre" Without DC
by, 09-18-2011 at 10:22 PM (1573 Views)
With all the hype, the promotional sneak peaks, and the television commercials, the New 52 seems rather... Blah. After reading a few of the titles, I was neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed. I was just dissatisfied. It was a lot like the last time I went to Flemming's Steak House. I heard wonderful things from everyone I know who went, so I decided to take my then girlfriend (now wife) there for a fantastic feast. Unfortunately our waiter was rude, the service was slow, and the food was over priced. We had spent $80 in just meats with no sides. Although the food was passable, decent even, there was so much around the meal that made it not worth the visit. This is how I feel about the New 52.
I understand the reason behind relaunching the entire DC line up. For starters, they had flat revenue even after raising cover prices. This equals a drop in readership that needed tending to. Also, there were 52 different universes in the DCU. That's 52 different back stories on similar characters that you have to keep straight; 52 variations on possible events that you the reader have to untangle. So what does a publisher do? In this instance, they hit the reset button and started over. Massive libraries of major characters were sifted through to find the gems, the story lines that everyone would consider sacred and necessary for the character to be that character, then just forgot about the rest. Story arcs and histories were consolidated to make for tidier connections and cleaner histories. The issue count came down to #1 again so that new readers wouldn't be intimidated by the nearly 900 previous issues of Action Comics to just jump in and enjoy Superman as he was.
This solution may do what it was intended to do, bring in new readers. But what about the DC faithful? What about those who read every month to see the Dark Knight battle against evil in psychosis filled jaunts through the underbelly of Gotham City? Or flew with Superman as he fought against villains with god like powers all while standing for truth, justice, and the American way? They read along as Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Flash and the others formed the Justice League. They were there when Superman died. They read on through the various Green Lanterns and their battles to keep the universe safe. Readers have stayed loyal to their heroes for generations only now to have the collections of childhood memories just pushed aside in an effort to draw in a newer and younger audience. From the outside, it looks like DC is having a midlife crisis. They bought a fancy new sports car and started dating younger.
I just hope that this works out well and doesn't continue on as vanilla as the first two weeks of releases have been. There have been some really good titles (Action Comics, Detective Comics, and Green Lantern), some really kind of bad titles (Red Lanterns, Animal Man, and Hawk and Dove [It was bad even if you accounted for Liefeld's artwork.]), but the majority of them just floated in mediocrity. DC should be better than floating at the top of mediocrity.
I guess Hitler was right... All you need is capable writers.