So, what is the deal with DC’s New 52? It’s a fair question. Despite huge amounts of press attention and general hype, there’s still a lot of confusion as to what the New 52 actually entails. Maybe you stopped reading comics a while ago, or you’ve seen the Batman films and never known where to start reading? Perhaps you’re a Marvel fan who’s wanting to try something new? Whatever your story, the New 52 are for people just like you. To help break things down, we’ve created this handy guide looking at what the New 52 is, and what you can expect as a reader.
Over the past couple of years, a number of DC’s main books (most notably The Flash) have been building towards an event known as Flashpoint. The main idea behind Flashpoint is that one of the Flash’s enemies, appropriately called the Reverse-Flash, has re-written history and only Barry Allen (aka the Flash) knows the difference. Over the course of the 5-issue mini (and various tie-in books), readers have been introduced to alternate versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and various other DC characters. The final part of Flashpoint (issue 5) comes out next week (August 31, to be precise) and at that point an event happens that will change the DC Universe forever and establish the shape of things to come.
We don’t know exactly what that event will be and which story-lines from the old DC universe will be left intact, but it has provided the opportunity for DC Comics to re-evaluate their entire line and create an entry point for new readers or those who have lost their way over the years.
DC aren’t in the habit of re-numbering their titles all the time, and no one’s attempted to do this kind of thing across their entire line for a long time, so it’s kind of a big deal, but what does it mean for you as a reader? Basically it’s your best opportunity to jump into (or back into) the DC Universe.
Each of the 52 titles will start with a new #1, explaining everything you need to know about the book and those characters. That’s not to say regular DC fans should feel slighted or left out. DC are simply distilling each character down to their essence – seeing what works and what doesn’t – and launching some fresh new properties along the way.
Will it all work? Probably not. Everyone is constantly trying new books and not all of them succeed, but from the end of this month, starting with Justice League #1, you’ll have the chance to give them a shot and see what works for you.
Do you need to have read Flashpoint beforehand? Not at all. But I do recommend it as Flashpoint reads nicely as a complete story, and DC are rush-releasing the collection of the mini-series for October. All you need to do is go in with an open mind and be prepared to try something new. If you’ve been reading something and enjoying it then stick with it – but if you’ve been looking for that opportunity to start reading Superman or Batman or Swamp Thing, then here it is.
As for the books themselves, they seem to fall under 7 main categories or umbrellas. Here’s a brief rundown of what each one covers and what titles are involved:
1. Justice League – covers the Justice League and associated characters including:
- Justice League (by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee)
- Justice League International (by Dan Jurgens & Aaron Lopresti)
- Aquaman (by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis)
- Wonder Woman (by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang)
- The Flash (by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato)
- The Fury of Firestorm (by Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver & Yidiray Sinar)
- Captain Atom (by J.T. Krul & Freddie Williams II)
- Green Arrow (by J.T. Krul, Dan Jurgens & George Perez)
- The Savage Hawkman (by Tony S. Daniel & Philip Tan)
- DC Universe Presents (by Paul Jenkins & Bernard Chang)
- Mister Terrific (by Eric Wallace & Gian Luca)
2. Superman – covers the Superman family of books including:
- Action Comics (by Grant Morrison & Rags Morales)
- Superman (by George Perez & Jesus Merino)
- Supergirl (by Michael Green, Mike Johnston & Mahmud Asrar)
- Superboy (by Scott Lobdell & RB Silva)
3. Batman – covers the Batman family of books (see where we’re going with this?) including:
- Batman (by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
- Detective Comics (by Tony S. Daniel)
- Batwoman (by J.H. Williams III)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (by Paul Jenkins & David Finch)
- Batman & Robin (by Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason)
- Batwing (by Judd Winick & Ben Oliver)
- Batgirl (by Gail Simone & Adrian Syaf)
- Nightwing (by Kyle Higgins & Eddy Barrows)
- Catwoman (by Judd Winick & Guillem March)
- Birds of Prey (by Duane Swierczynski & Jesus Saiz)
- Red Hood & The Outlaws (by Scott Lobdell & Kenneth Rocafort)
4. Green Lantern – covers the Green Lantern family of books including:
- Green Lantern (by Geoff Johns & Doug Mahnke)
- Green Lantern Corps (by Peter J. Tomasi & Fernando Pasarin)
- Green Lantern: New Guardians (by Tony Bedard & Tyler Kirkham)
- Red Lanterns (by Peter Milligan & Ed Benes)
5. The Dark – covers the more magical and supernatural aspects of the DC Universe including:
- Justice League Dark (by Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin)
- Swamp Thing (by Scott Snyder & Yanick Paquette)
- Animal Man (by Jeff Lemire & Travel Foreman)
- Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE (by Jeff Lemire & Alberto Ponticelli)
- I, Vampire (by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Andrea Sorrentino)
- Ressurrection Man (by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Fernando Dagnino)
- Demon Knights (by Paul Cornell & Diogenes Neves)
6. The Edge – covers some of DC’s grittier, more violent books and titles including:
- Stormwatch (by Paul Cornell & Miguel Sepulveda)
- Voodoo (by Ron Marz & Sami Basri)
- Grifter (by Nathan Edmondson & CAFU)
- Suicide Squad (by Adam Glass & Marco Rudy)
- Deathstroke (by Kyle Higgins & Joe Bennett)
- All-Star Western (by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti & Moritat)
- O.M.A.C. (by Dan DiDio & Keith Giffen)
- Blackhawks (by Mike Costa & Ken Lashley)
- Men of War (by Ivan Brandon & Tom Derenick)
7. Young Justice – covers the younger heroes and elements of the DC Universe including:
- Teen Titans (by Scott Lobdell & Brett Booth)
- Static Shock (by John Rozum & Scott McDaniel)
- Hawk & Dove (by Sterling Gates & Rob Liefeld)
- Blue Beetle (by Tony Bedard & Ig Guara)
- Legion Lost (by Fabian Nicieza & Pete Woods)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (by Paul Levitz & Francis Portela)
So, what are you waiting for? Get your orders in, or start your standing order now… I’m sure there’s going to be a few surprise sell-outs and you don’t want to get caught out.
If you still have any doubts about the New 52 or what books you might like, feel free to check with our staff. We each have our favourites and will happily guide you to something you might like.