DC Gets a Facelift

In 2011, DC Comics relaunched 52 comics starting each series at issue #1.  The idea behind the relaunch was the goal of bringing in new readers who felt left behind because they did not know cannon.  This relaunch has been dubbed "The New 52." The New 52 provided more detailed and even new backstories to many characters; however, the relaunch has left much to be desired with many readers.

The New 52's major problem to keeping new readers, according to critics, is DC's over reliance on company-wide crossovers.  The New 52 has also created continuity issues in both character storyline and artistic interpretation.  A notable artistic and continuity change can be seen in Superman's two new looks: one in jeans and a blue t-shirt with the "S" logo and cape, and a second look in Kryptonian battle armor more like his signature look. The New 52's interpretation of Superman has also changed his cannon as his marriage to Lois Lane has not occurred and his adoptive parents have died!

The New 52 also shows a drop in female creators; this takes DC's list of female creators from 12% to only 1%.  When approached at San Diego Comic Con about the lack of female creators, DiDio (DC Comic co-publisher) responded:
What do these numbers mean to you? What do they mean to you? Who should we be hiring? Tell me right now.  Who should we be hiring right now? Tell me.
In addition to the lack of female creators, the New 52 has been criticized for the over-sexualization and marginalization of female characters; for canceling series with female leads; and relegating the status of some women in series to the status of girlfriend only.

For many fans, regardless of your love and involvement with comics, the largest adaptation has come from the change in visual representation of classic characters.  All New 52 images are on the left with the "retro" image on the right for comparison.

Aquaman: The New 52 places him back as a founding member of the Justice League and has him play a primary role within that team.  Where Aquaman struggles is with recognition to younger readers when compared to the other members of the original Justice League who have done well on their own.

Wonder Woman: The New 52 puts Wonder Woman back in a costume similar to her "retro" image, but has given her a completely new origin story! For The New 52, Wonder Woman is no longer a clay figure that was brought to life by the magic of the gods but is a demigoddess (think female Hercules) as the daughter of mortal Queen Hippolyta and Zeus.  The reboot has also placed her in a relationship with Superman within the Justice League comics.

Superman: The New 52 places Superman's story a few years prior to his original appearance in the DC Comics.  Creators have, since the release of The New 52, admitted that the series (costume wise) will include Superman's discovery of how important his suit will be to him and his path to the iconic Superman Suit.

Justice League: The Justice League in New 52 occurs 5 years in the past from #1-#6 and provides a new origin for the league; comic #7 places the reader back in the future/present. New 52's initial team consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg.

Harley Quinn: In the past Harley Quinn has been considered part of Gotham City Sirens as she has previously joined forces with Poison Ivy and Catwoman, but this redesign takes her character to an interesting level. What makes this change interesting to me is that it, potentially, changes her origin story.  She was originally a psychiatrist of Gotham Asylum and fell in love with the Joker as she treated him.  In my opinion, she created her costume to mirror the original Joker as she wanted his affection and love.  Though the New 52 has also redesigned the Joker, I'm not sure if Harley's new redesign keeps her back story as in tact.  We'll have to see as it progresses!

The Joker: The New 52 introduces The Joker as a homicidal killer who is placed in the Gotham Asylum.  He soon meets Dollmaker, a new villian, who cuts The Joker's face off.  The Joker holds his face on with a strap and staples which creates the more vicious look for The New 52.

Poison Ivy: She has always been my favorite DC female villain for years!  I think her New 52 design is fantastic for her character!  Her origin story is altered, but not enough for me to despise the redesign.  In the original comics, Poison Ivy is a botanist who is poisoned by her colleague with herbs that are untraceable; she survives the murder attempt and finds she is impervious to poisons.  The New 52 employs her at Bruce Wayne Enterprises, for a brief time, in the Bio-Chem department.  A chemical spill of a diabolical project she was working on causes her to become Poison Ivy.

The Bat Family: The Bat family has served as a surrogate family for Batman and keeps him from slipping too far into a vigilante persona.  Visually, the New 52 helps the family grow up in more ways than one!

What do you think of The New 52?  For me, it's been truly interesting to hear DC Comic creators talk about their creative process through Comic Con panels and interviews.  The creative process is an interesting beast!  Let us know if any of your favorite characters are in the redesign and what you think of it!  Until next time, stay exceptionally chic and exquisitely geek!

-Seven of Nine-

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