It has been 6 months since the New 52 started. Mostly, it has been a spectacular success. With the first few title cancellations announced (predicted here and reviewed after the fact here), and the second wave announced, it feels very much like there is a plan. There may not be, but DC is really making it look as thought out as anything I’ve seen in comics in a long time.
The plan as stated at DC is that the books will be on time, even if it means that they will replace creators (in mid arc if needed) to keep things moving. So far only one book has been late, a Justice League book got pushed back a week or so, and now that book will go to a fifth week release schedule and will have an art fill in for a couple of issues to allow Jim Lee some catch up time. I cannot say I like this emphasis. I want the books on time, but if I have to chose, I want consistently good stories over an on time schedule. There have been several very public changes and moves, most were always going to happen. George Perez was really only ever going to do the first arc on Superman, but David Finch was behind on the Dark Knight book before he even started, so he got help on the writing, which can only help the book. Dark Knight was a vanity project from the start to utilize a popular, now exclusive creator, to the greatest benefit. If the changes make for an on time book that is actually better as well, then great, but that remains to be seen.
As the second arcs begin on the titles there have been other changes, most notably is Travel Foreman leaving Animal Man to do Birds of Prey. AM was a huge surprise hit and has been the poster child for the success of the New 52, so his departure from the art duties there, may sting a little, and to be honest, I cannot picture him on BoP. That mix seems off somehow. But he is a good artist, and things may improve over there, as Birds has been in the middle, and floating down if the sales figures I have seen are accurate. And there are the other surprise hits, like Detective Comics. Was any fan out there all that excited? But it is one of the standouts.
Having read about half of the new books, the only complaint I have is that the reboot, did not reboot enough. Some of these books are seamless continuations of the pre New 52 titles, like Green Lantern and some of the bat-books. JLI is a direct, but kind of clunky transition from Generation Lost, etc. Action Comics, Superman, the Dark books etc, are much more of a reboot/revamp and are almost all much better for it, but the lack of a line wide wipe of old continuity bothers me. I am something of an “in for a penny, in for a pound” kind of guy. Go big or go home. Insert whatever clichéd phrase you want. While I may not have liked everything that was changed, had they really thrown caution to the wind, I think the overall response from the people that actually read the books (instead of just complaining about them) would have been even more positive.
I am going to defiantly pick up 8 of the new trades/hardcovers, and am deciding on 3 or 4 others that may make the cut. As a trade waiter, that will be the big test. If they read well as complete stories, I’m convinced. The low page counts make them a not very enjoyable read month to month, so this will be the final test for me. But at this point, I’m still enjoying the biggest and most controversial thing to happen in comics in years.