DC New 52: A Newbie’s Point of View

Comic Books GeekMom

When DC announced their new 52 series, I was ecstatic. I have always wanted to get into reading the Superman, Batman, and the Justice League comics. What scared me out of getting into it was all the history I didn’t know. The new 52 gave me what I was looking for…a fresh start with all my favorite comic book characters. I would like to think I know a lot about Batman and the others, but the truth is I am a complete newbie to their comic book worlds.

As a child I watched Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Superman: The Animated Series. As an adult I fell in love with The Batman cartoon series. So for the most part in the realm of the cartoon series, I feel pretty well versed.

Most comic book lovers know that what you read in the comics and what you see on the cartoons are two entirely different things. The Joker for instance went from being a murdering psycho, (comics), to just a psycho who was more of a nuisance in Batman’s side, (animated series). My younger brother and I would have long discussions comparing what he was reading in the comics to what I would see on TV. The fact that one character could have so many incarnations still amazes, (and confuses), me.

I have started to read The Justice League and Justice League International and I love them both. Justice League hit the ground running with the team not being in formation and Darkseid being the main villain. In the first five issues, they already have a majority of their team introduced, so from here on out I expect it to be about kicking Darkseid’s tail and eventually proving to the world that they are the good guys.

Justice League International started a little slower. I already see issues with how the team was formed. It makes me wonder what is really going on in the U.N. They have already kicked some butt but they have a long way to being a good team. The next few issues I think it will be more about Booster as the leader and how he gets the team to be more of a team. I also expect that the issues some of the U.N officials have with the team will come to light.

As for characters, my favorite character in Justice League right now is Barry Allan as the Flash. I have always preferred Barry Allan over Wally West because I feel Barry is more adult and mature. Wally was always a horn dog in the cartoon series. The words exchanged between Flash and the other members is quick and to the point. He makes a joke and moves on. It’s also nice to see him still have a friendship with a Green Lantern like in the Justice League animated series. Green Lantern, (Hal Jordan), seems to be a prick with an ego. I don’t know much about him as a Lantern so I don’t have anything to compare him to. I was warned not to see the movie so I read a book that day instead.

In Justice League International, I was taken back when it was announced that Booster Gold was the leader of the team. I know Booster briefly from the cartoon series and to be honest, I was not impressed. Another big surprise to me in Justice League International is the strong presence that Batman has. It feels like the creators are using him to draw in the readers with a popular character. It worked. In this series though, Batman seems to have had an adjustment to his attitude. He acts almost like a big brother to Booster. He doesn’t lead the team, but he does give Booster little hints at what he should do. Don’t get me wrong, he still has that “don’t screw with me unless you want your jaw in four pieces” attitude. He just seems a little friendlier on this team than I remember him in the cartoon series.

All in all, I never realized how fun it was to read comic books. The only downside I have found is the comics themselves are not that long…Ohh well, next month the new one will come out and I’ll get my fix again.

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23 thoughts on “DC New 52: A Newbie’s Point of View

  1. Wally always got the short end of the stick in the cartoons. It’s like they read the first few issues of the comic when he took over as Flash and stopped. But over the years his character grew and matured and became far more interesting than his mentor. Its a shame they never picked up on that in the cartoons and that he is (so far) absent from the new 52. At least they are trying to make Barry more interesting but reading the growth over the years of Wally from sidekick to insecure hothead to mature hero was one of the best stories in comics. Hopefully he will return in some form soon.

    1. I don’t know much about the “Flash” personas except for their names. I always thought Wally was just The Flash renamed after they got bored with the name Barry Allen. I didn’t know he was a sidekick type before. It would have been nice to see him mature in the cartoon series. I wish I new more about how he became The Flash and how he grew to the hero he is now.

    2. Come on Mark… Isn’t it fitting thought?

      We all know Booster Gold is the biggest hero you never heard of.

      1. From what I have researched on Booster, he is a hero that looks more for the glory that the heart of the fight. It will be interesting to see how he turns out as a leader. I have never been a fan of him because of what I have read on the internet, but I am looking forward to see how his story line turns out in the reboot.

    3. I have to disagree about Wally getting shafted in the cartoons. When he started out he was quite a lot like he appeared in Justice League: immature, womanizing, actively oblivious to his own potential. That’s what worked about the comics before the reboot. There was a natural progression over time that didn’t ignore what happened before, but explained it so that it wasn’t a glaring jump in character so much as a journey getting out of Barry’s shadow and becoming his own man. I do think if you start from The Return of Barry Allen (not Flash: Rebirth, totally different book) and follow the next two or three trades, it’s one of those books that stood out in the grim and gritty 90’s as what superhero comics could still do. Anything Mark Waid did on the Flash was phenomenal.

  2. I was thrilled with digital comics came out, and with the DC comics, I’ve been able to catch up on Wonder Woman, who was always my favorite. I’ve been catching up on the DC 52 version, and I’m like you– waiting for the next issue to come out! Interesting twists and turns with the story.

    1. My younger brother just also introduced me to the graphic novels. He suggested I try them verse buy the comics if I don’t like the waiting period between issues. The only problem is you wait a lot longer for the graphic novel verse just buying them each month. It does give me some ideas on how to catch up on Wonder Woman and other members of the team that I am not to familiar with.

      1. You can argue that, in the overall history of DC Comics, Wally West is the glue that holds everything together. He was one of the first side-kicks. He was on original member of the Teen Titans. He has worked with just about everybody. He moved up the “big leagues” when he joined the Justice League. He went from a precocious super side-kick to a mature, important, valued member of the world’s most powerful super hero team.

        It is sad that he is not in the reboot. As the other respondent said, watching Wally’s maturation process throughout the years/decades was an incredible character arc.

  3. Some very brief background for you:
    The Reason Batman is sort of an outsider with teams like the Justice League International is because his “world” (Gotham, all his villains, most of his stories) generally do not have superpowered people. Having access to too many super-people begs the question- why not have your super friends help clean up Gotham? So he is generally a respected advisor/strategist/background leader.

    Hal Jordan brings a certain kind of imperfect/flawed hero to DC. A semi-reformed womanizer, his arrogance and cockiness fits with his role. Green Lanterns powers work because they can overcome fear and have strong will power. That’s what makes the rings work. A hero like that who is also a perfectly nice guy would be, well boring. He and Barry Allen (Flash) bond well because they are both sort of cops- the only 2 in the Justice League.

    Hope this bit of info helps your enthusiasm for DC

    1. I remember in the JLA cartoon series, Batman turns the team down when asked to officially join. He in turns says he will be around when they need him and “trust me you will.” After that he is just always around and looked as part of the team.

      That is an interesting point about Hal Jordan. Is there a DC graphic novel you would recommend me reading to catch up on his history?

      1. The only time I liked Hal Jordan was in DC: The New Frontier. (Great Barry Allen Flash too.)

        Of course, that’s an overall great story. But it wouldn’t help you sort out continuity, as it’s a stand-alone. 🙂

        1. Ill check that one out. My local library has some of the graphic novels available. Its nice to see they actually keep quite a few comics in stock. 🙂

    2. Also I’d like to add more about the Booster/Batman connection. In the old 52 Booster tried to save Barbra Gorden from the Joker by continuously going back in time (I’m leaving out a considerable amount of info cause I don’t want to give too many spoilers). Batman, being the detective that he is, found out Booster was up to something good but couldn’t and knew he probably shouldn’t investigate any further. Since then Batman has had Boosters back when everyone else counts him out.

      The other dynamic is that Batman and Booster put on the same front. One is a billionaire playboy and the other is a shameless douche bag. Batman is able to see through Booster’s facade because its a mirror of his own. There are many faces to Batman’s coin, and Booster is one of them.

  4. Read green lantern: secret origin. I found batman: black and White really easy to get into when I first started with comics. And if your looking for justice league without heavy continuity; look no further than Justice. Alex Ross art is beautiful.

  5. Like you, I am new to the comic book world. After a childhood of watching The New Adventures of Superman I started with Superman and Action Comics. I threw in a bit of Wonder Women as well.

    After a couple of months I started to read Dectective Comics too which is great!

    I’m loving them all and have even started reading some graphic novels.

    As you like Justice League, have a look at the New Frontier novels….they are ace and have helped me learn a lot more!


  6. Wow! It looks like I have quite the reading list. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. It looks like I’ll be visiting my library very soon to get started. 🙂

  7. The new 52 was where my DC comic reading came to a end. I understand why they did it, and if I ran a business I would agree with it. However being a long time fan (3 decades) I was very put off by the move.

    For me the thing that scared you off from readinf was what I thought was one of DC’s strong points…legacy. Heroes passed the mantle to a new generation (Flash, most of the JSA) or heroes evolved/grew up (Nightwing, Troia Impulse). Sometimes those heroes(Barry) went out with a major sacrifice that left a lasting effect on the DCU.

    All those great stories now gone they are no longer in continuity. All those great heroes now gone, or changed so much I don’t even recognize them.

    On the bright side all the money I used to spend on comics I can now put towards new art, currently collecting Star Wars and GI Joe sketches and drawings 🙂

  8. Check out the Young Justice cartoon as well. It might be the first cartoon to come close to BTAS and JLU in quality. In just 18 eps so far, it’s already better than Clone Wars and the new Thundercats.

  9. Welcome to the comics fold. Glad we hooked another one! 🙂

    I took note of your concern that the comics aren’t that long and don’t take that long to read. This was something that started to bother me with comics a couple years ago, and I might have dropped them entirely except that I turned to collections instead (also called “trades” or “trade paperbacks,” even though some are hardcovers). I don’t know how up to date you are on DC’s New 52 plans, but they’re going to start releasing collections of the books starting in May (and beginning with Justice League of America); you may find that a more comfortable way to read the books.

    For all the background reading you’ve been given, let me humbly present my DC Trade Paperback Timeline (http://bit.ly/dctpbtimeline), which organizes almost every collection DC has produced since their Crisis on Infinite Earths event (so, the modern era of DC Comics before the New 52) into a cogent reading order with plenty of context. That might help when you’re having your “where did this person come from?” moments. Enjoy!

  10. Awesome Review this has made me 1 step closer to going out and buying some new 52 comics. As soon as I finish up with my current project I will be going out and buying some. Keep up the good work.

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