The Best And Worst Of DC’s NEW 52 In 2013

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Looking back at 2013, I’ve noticed that DC has continued to excel at creating bad press and driving away good talent. Nevertheless, some stellar writers and artists have remained and created great stories, like Trinity War and Forever Evil. Here’s a look at DC’s greatest and worst moments this year:

5.) Lobo is a fraud!

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I actually like the new guy, but DC already used up their chance to give Lobo the makeover they wanted after the reboot. So the company comes up with a ridiculous compromise: the New 52’s first Lobo is an imposter, and this new guy is the real deal. Just make the new guy an entirely different character and call him Gary!

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4.) Joker’s Face Returns

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Growing up, I had a dog that found a dead woodchuck. My family kept burying it because it was ghastly and gave our dog bad breath, but she kept digging it back up! That’s what I think of when I see that stupid detached mug resurfacing. I thought we saw the last of it with Scott Snyder’s “Death of the Family” story arc. But then DC had to rework this disgusting gimmick to give Duela Dent, aka the Joker’s daughter, a new look.

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3.) Suicide Panel – Harley Quinn

Artist: Philip M. Jackson

Artist: Philip M. Jackson

Context, context, context! That’s the lesson from this debacle. Amanda Conner and Jim Palmiotti were looking to include some new talent to work on their Harley Quinn #0 issue and asked interested artists to submit a series of panels depicting the title character committing suicide in outlandish ways. The fourth panel would depict Harley naked in a bath about to cut a cord that would release a bunch of electric appliances into the water. This alienated many artists who saw this as an attempt to sexualize suicide. Also, this contest just happened to be announced a couple of days before National Suicide Prevention Week.

Having read the issue that came out in November, I personally think including the dialogue might have made the talent search less controversial. That being said, it was wise of Conner and Palmiotti to cancel the last panel.

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2.) Andy Diggle Quits Superman Action Comics 

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Things must be really f—ed if Andy Diggle couldn’t even complete one story arc. He bailed after the first issue, giving no details but citing “professional reasons” over Twitter. And it had to happen right before Superman’s 75th birthday, too! Worse yet, DC ended up letting Scott Lobdell write two Superman titles at the same time.

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1.) Batwoman’s Creative Team Steps Down

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DC ruffled the most feathers when they wouldn’t let Batwoman marry her lesbian lover, causing writers J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman to quit in frustration. Naturally the internet cried “homophobia” until Dan DiDio assured fans that DC was deeply committed to preventing all marriages, gay and straight. Just ask Clark and Lois, or Barry and Iris. He elaborated, saying his vision for the Bat Family was that they were all miserable people, and that happy people were incapable of being superheroes.

This story highlighted DC’s two biggest problems. One is that writers and artists don’t have the freedom to tell the stories they want, and the other is that Dan DiDio is waging a war on happiness in the DC Universe.

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But enough of the bad stuff – I’m sure we could go on all day. Let’s ring in the New Year on a positive note by reviewing what DC did right:

5.)Wonder Woman Becomes the God of War

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It’s been a sad year for Wonder Woman. Sure, we learned that we would at long last see her in a feature film, but only as a bit role in the sequel to Man of Steel. Meanwhile, the Flash is getting his own feature film in 2016 and live action television series!

Luckily, her own comic book title is one of the better New 52 titles. Writer Brian Azzarello has wisely chosen to ignore her relationship with Superman or her involvement with the Justice League, focusing entirely on her own story. Recently she ascended to Mount Olympus after reluctantly killing her brother and Mentor, Ares, to become the God of War. It’s good to see her get the respect Hollywood owes her.

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4.) Damian Wayne’s Death

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It’s hard to feel anything but apathy when a comic book character dies. Most of them come back in a year or so. But the issue of Grant Morrison’s Batman, Incorporated in which Damian Wayne died was very moving, particularly his last exchange with Dick Grayson. Of course, DC’s internal mourning ad campaign helped drive the grief home. So, congratulations, DC! I actually miss the little snot.

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3.) Bruce Timm’s Page in Harley Quinn #0

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That thing they did to Lobo? I’ve been hoping they could do the same thing to reintroduce classic Harley Quinn. Unfortunately, it looks like New 52 Harley is here to say, but for one glorious page in Harley Quinn #0, Harley’s original artist, Bruce Timm, drew her in all her former glory. The whole issue is actually chock-full of amazing talent, and definitely worth picking up.

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2.) The Portal Opens

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I’ll admit to squealing with delight when the Crime Syndicate burst through the extra-dimensional portal, even though DC ruined the surprise with their promotional art for Forever Evil. Also, how lame would it have been if the box Pandora opened turned out to be just a little box to imprison evil spirits? For this character to be worth any ounce of her hype, her powers must be tied to other dimensions.

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1.) Booster Gold’s Reappearance

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When Booster Gold saw Superman kissing Wonder Woman, he disappeared like Marty McFly at his parents’ high school prom. This summer, he showed up in Jonah Hex’s time period. He is currently suffering from amnesia and randomly showing up in various moments in the DC Universe’s history. Booster Gold may just be the time-traveling hero the New 52 needs to smooth out any lingering time paradoxes from the Flash’s reckless actions in Flashpoint.

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About Author

Paul de Vries

Paul de Vries was raised by a pack of wild Dutch immigrants in pastoral Western Massachusetts. Having trouble connecting with the other kids in his neighborhood, he sought refuge in Greek Mythology. As he matured, superheroes started replacing gods and now he observes each new comic book day religiously. He currently lives in New York City where he performs stand up comedy.