The past couple of months have seen DC slaughter our wallets as they announce and release new books. It’s been hard not to pick them up, mostly because of how good they are. And, in some ways, how different they can be. In the last two months, we’ve gotten The Movement, The Green Team, Pandora, Superman Unchained, Larfleeze, and Batman/Superman, and the digital first Adventures of Superman. In addition to this, books like Justice League 3000, Superman/Wonder Woman, and Harley Quinn’s very own ongoing series.
Now, all of the books that have already come out have been great, and the upcoming books have excellent creative teams attached to them. Giffen and DeMaddeus on Justice League 3000, Charles Soule and Superman/Wonder Woman, and Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti on the new Harley Quinn book. And, really, I’ve loved all the new books. I know I haven’t reviewed all of them (Hey, I’ve been at camp. Technically I still am.), but I loved all of them.
That begin said, the books that they’ve replaced were some of the best in DC’s line up. All of the books that have come out so far, as well as the ones that are going to start coming out, have replaced some of the best books in DC’s line up. Here’s a list of the books we’ve lost in the past couple of months, or will be losing soon:
Legion of Superheroes
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
Honestly, I could care less about Legion of Superheroes. I only ever read the first issue of the series anyways. Now, that being said, almost all of the other books on that list are big losses for DC’s line up. I, Vampire, Demon Knights, Threshold, and Frankenstein were among DC’s best books. The problem? No big name heroes attached to them, so the sales went down. DC, in many cases, didn’t even bother to advertise them. Because this is DC’s logic: If it’s not Batman, Superman, Justice League, or Green Lantern, it must be garbage.
Here’s the problem with that though: as of right now, all the Superman focused books, aside from Superman Unchained and Batman/Superman are garbage. Really, DC would have been better off getting rid of Superman, Superboy, Action Comics, and Supergirl, keeping only Superman Unchained and Batman/Superman around.
I’m not going to hark too much on the three Justice League books, since they’re all pretty good. The same is true of the Batman books. Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Detective Comics, Batman Inc and Batman and Robin are all pretty great. The Dark Knight should be gotten rid of, as should Red Hood, but the Bat books are the least of my concerns, even if there are too many of them, and some of them aren’t that good. However, they all fit into pretty much the same mold. The only one that really stands out on it’s own is Snyder’s Batman, and, arguably, Batgirl and Nightwing. There just isn’t enough variety, but, unlike the Superman books, at least there’s quality.
Now, Green Lantern is a whole different beast. New Guardians, Green Lantern proper, and Green Lantern Corps are all very similar, and now that Johns is off the main series, none of them are all that special. Despite Charles Soule taking over Red Lanterns, it still feels like an unnecessary series. The only book that stands out is Keith Giffen’s Larfleeze. It’s really good, and has a very different tone from most other DC books, which is nice.
Now, nearly all the books that have cancelled were books that were different from everything else going on in the DCU. They were still dark, but they were all great books, and each had their own unique tone.
That’s not to say that some of the new books don’t have individual tones – as I’ve already said, Larfleeze is one such example. But the only other one that is at least slightly different is Gail Simone’s The Movement. The Green Team is different, but it’s not all that great, at least in my opinion.
Now, onto the new books that I haven’t talked about.
Batman/Superman, by Greg Pak and Jae Lee
This is kind of an odd beast. It was really good, and it seemed to have a different tone from other books going on at DC. That being said, it’s really too early to tell whether or not it will be different, or even good, as it continues on. And that’s not exactly a good thing.
Superman Unchained, by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee
Superman Unchained is off to a stellar start. It’s the best Superman we’ve gotten in the past two years, especially since Snyder seems to actually understand the character, as well as the characters that surround him. It’s dark, but Snyder is able to do something with it that differentiates it from the other books on the stand. It’s also a really great testament to Snyder’s flexibility as a writer.
Trinity of Sin: Pandora by Ray Fawkes and Daniel Sampere
So I’m not completely dissatisfied with the new books that have already come out. What really worries me is what’s coming, and what’s been replaced.
Superman/Wonder Woman is promising, simply because Charles Soule is pretty awesome. I doubt that it will have a problem carving out it’s own identity. Now, Justice League 3000, despite the killer creative team, is worrying. I’m sure it will be good, but it’s not what we need, especially not when it’s replacing the likes of Demon Knights and Threshold. But my biggest issue? This new Harley Quinn ongoing. What’s the point? It has a good creative team, but it just seems like a useless book. There is absolutely no way that it could be any different from the books already out there right now. I doubt it will be able to carve out it’s own identity.
And, ultimately, that’s The New 52’s biggest weakness. Many books aren’t able to carve out their own identities, and everything is being moved into one box. Books aren’t able to be different, and authors that try are often smacked down. At least there’s been a boost in the quality of these books lately…