As I knew it might, and as I've discussed here before, DC's New 52 and its attention on supposedly newer and younger readers (a possibly necessary marketing step) feels less and less like its working for me every week. And its an odd feeling.
I'm still excited by a few books. Animal Man. Swamp Thing. Batwoman. Action Comics. But as time wears on, the approach DC has taken in the relaunch, of hiring the same old hands and just sort of re-jiggering the DCU with no rhyme or reason to it... the sheer half-baked approach to the effort on so many titles, is just beginning to wear on me as an adult reader and a long-time DC fan.
But the bottom line is that while some of these comics are sort of bad, most of them are just plain not very good. They aren't special or worth the time or money associated with them. They're the filler material of C-list comics that, for some reason, always seem to just exist the same way shows like NBC's The Sing Off manage to show on television for no real reason other than that they generate modestly more money than the budget and are less embarrassing than going to a test signal and admitting you ran out of stuff worth showing.
I think it was in reading Superboy #3, a title which I thought promising in issues 1 and 2, that I had a moment of clarity. This was just mediocre-to-bad storytelling. Three issues in and we're circling the drain of characters living in a microcosm just dealing with a small group of characters with whom they'll be locked in an endless bad relationship because that's how comics work these days. Its yet another secret lab run by secret scientists and secret men with ridiculous outfits and names dealing in self-referential plots, none of which makes sense.
This was coupled with the un-reviewed copy of Supergirl #3 that I picked up after hearing the series picked up with issue 3. In which the writers gave Supergirl a Luthor knock-off who is a TRILLIONAIRE.*
I'm just tired of seeing so many comics and no new ideas, no fresh approaches, and nothing you can point to that says "oh, yes. In 2011, the DC Relaunch really did change superhero comics". I want my Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns moment, and I fear I'm getting Heroes Reborn.
The DC Relaunch has not been a total failure for me, but so much of it feels so very, very lazy. Writers keep "leaving" books and are replaced by guys who saw their prime when I was in high school or starting college. Few new writers or hot writers are finding a place in the new DCU (where is Cullen Bunn's book? Or Chris Roberson's?) As a reader, I have to come to the conclusion with some of these books that either the writer doesn't respect my intelligence as a reader, or they (and their editors) aren't all that sharp themselves.
I want for some of this to work, but... I'm now simply waiting for the New 52 to fall over and subduct into the comics history books within 18 months. The product DC is spinning is virtually indistinguishable from the sorts of comics that weren't drawing reader/ consumer interest in June. The push for digital seems to have fizzled, and the marketing money and effort is a distant memory as we enter month 4.
The relaunch, while momentarily successful, was a one-time deal. And I can't see how DC can say they were ever really serious about all 52 titles.
Truthfully, I don't really want to write much more on this topic. Its kind of a bummer. But as we spend so much time talking DC Comics on this site, for me, the topic is unavoidable. I suppose part of me is just putting a stake in the ground so that in 18 months, when something has changed, I can look back and say "what was the date where I posted about the mediocrity of the DC relaunch and how I was concerned for what it meant longterm?".
Well, here's my line in the sand.
*that's roughly 20 times more than Bill Gates. That more than 13x the value of the wealthiest man on Earth right now. Its just a stupid number that in no way works the same way as, say, a gorilla army invading Central City. Not to mention, the dude's business plan is chasing meteors, so this means the guys on Meteor Hunters on cable are worth the GDP of a good chunk of the planet's nations.