New 52 Superman VS Marvel now Thor
A few weeks ago, back when I started talking about my favorite comics of 2012, I mentioned that I kinda stopped following DC Comics at some point late last year. I said that between the Avengers movie, the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe and Marvel’s “Marvel NOW!” initiative, I just felt like it was more of a Marvel year for me. So I’d like to take a few minutes to really expand on that and elaborate on what that means. I’d like to explain why I have, for the time being, stopped reading DC Comics.
First of all, I’d like to clarify that I do not wish for this to be an article that exists solely to bash DC or to slam them for their editorial choices or whatever. I’m a lifelong DC reader just as I am a lifelong Marvel reader. It was Batman that brought me into comics, and then later it was Spider-Man and the X-Men that kept me there. And there have been times throughout my career as a comics fan that I have swung more DC than Marvel, and vice versa. So this is not an attempt to shill for Marvel or to persuade readers to leave DC. I just want to analyze the two companies’ different initiatives and figure out where DC went wrong, for me, and where Marvel went right.
Let’s start at the beginning. In August of 2011, DC released Justice League, the first book of it’s New 52 relaunch. The book was written by DC’s Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, and pencilled by it’s Co-Publisher, Jim Lee. It starred a new Justice League lineup, featuring the core heroes of the DCU, including Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman. The former Teen Titan Cyborg was added to the roster as well, presumably to add some ethnic diversity to the lineup. The series was a widescreen, summer blockbuster-style action comic that showed Batman and Green Lantern, not yet friends, on the trail of a parademon in Gotham City. The hunt lead them to crossing paths with the other superheroes and to eventually form a united front against the parademon’s master, Darkseid.
For me, this signaled the beginning of the end. Johns and Lee were taking point in the New 52, and I wasn’t convinced that was the direction I wanted to go in. To be sure, I’ve always liked Jim Lee’s art. One of the first comics I remember owning and really cherishing as a kid was X-Men #1. Growing up, he was the man. However, seeing his art on DC characters just doesn’t make sense to me for some reason. It’s like putting Curt Swan on the X-Men. Which isn’t to say his art was bad, it was top-notch, it just seemed like an awkward fit.