Hello interweb, Nate here. So with convergence on its way, I started to think about the last reboot (which happened only 5 years ago), the New 52, and I remembered that while I never really hated the reboot and also never really loved it either, there were several things it did that ticked me off. So I decided to compile a list of some characters the New 52 tried to modernize and failed to do so (unless “modernize” is synonymous with “over complicate and insulting” then yeah they succeeded, but that’s obviously not good). While a few of these may be nitpicks, most of these I honestly feel the New 52 just ruined a few characters.
To see my other Top 10s (or 5s) click here.
Apologies for Last Post
So last post I talked about the Batgirl #41 Joker Variant and my opinion was that they basically overreacted with pulling the cover. The reason I was annoyed about this was because I thought the complaints where gender-based (which for the most part they kinda are) but some of the people who commented did say how gender had nothing to do with it and how it was just an overly dark and violent cover for a comic targeting mostly little girls (like 10-ish). After looking at it like that I realized that they’re right. Maybe if the comic was a bit more mature than the cover would’ve been ok, but to put that cover on a comic for younger readers was a bit inappropriate and the fact that I said it was ok makes me feel that I should apologize for what I said. And considering that the poll had 3 votes for yes it was offensive and 3 votes for no it wasn’t offensive, I feel like at least half of you guys didn’t really like it.
- Must be a character I feel was ruined by the New 52
- This could mean bad character redesigns, bad (or straight up offensive) personality changes, or just a poor writer for their comic book run.
- This is opinion based, meaning if you don’t agree than just comment below for your opinion
Dishonorable Mention – Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn was one of those New 52 controversies that I had mixed feelings about. Before the New 52, Harley Quinn was Jokers cute and bubbly girlfriend, but the New 52 decided to make her more insane and showed off some more skin. Now the insane part I honestly didn’t care about and actually liked the change. But the fact that her new design shows off a bit more skin…yeah. So let me get this straight, someone took the cute and bubbly Harley Quinn from the animated series and thought it was okay to sexualize a mentally insane clown? That’s just kinda creepy. Although I like the new hair.
#10 – Black Canary
What the heck am I looking at? Cause this isn’t Black Canary. Black Canary is a BA motorcyclist who wears a leather motorcycle jacket. But then they changed it to…um…what is that? This is just one of the many examples of the New 52 over complicating a design. The yellow stripes are unnecessary and they should’ve stuck with her biker jacket.
#9 – Lobo
Let me get one thing out of the way: I’m not a fan of Lobo. I don’t hate him like Wolverine but I just don’t care much about him. However, I do know what he’s suppose to be like and the New 52 ruined it. Lobo is an alien mercenary and bounty hunter and is usually shown being big, strong (shown to be inconsistently on par with the strength of Superman), and rather rude. In the New 52, there was a continuity error (there where a lot of continuity errors when the New 52 started) where the New 52 Lobo debuted in both Deathstroke #9 and Justice League #23.2 as part of villains month. The one that debuted in the Deathstroke comic had a lot more similarities with the Pre-New 52 Lobo while the one in Justice League appeared to be a lot more like if Edward Cullen was Lobo. So one was chosen to be an imposter and was killed off by the “real” Lobo, I’ll give you a few seconds to decide which version they chose to be the “real” Lobo… … …times up! It was the Edward Cullen Lobo. Just, why? Did anyone really though we needed the Edward Cullen of Lobos in out New 52?
#8 – Static
This isn’t so much about the new design (because in my opinion it’s pretty cool) but the writer’s choices in the comic. When the New 52 started, Static Shock #1 was one of first 52 comics that came out that month. However the comic was cancelled after just 6 issues prompting me to get the trade paperback at my library to see why no one was buying it. I was honestly hoping no one was buying it simply because he’s still a pretty obscure character (despite his cartoon back in the early 2000s) compared to the likes of the Justice League, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. and people were just buying those comics instead of this one. However my fear that no one was buying it because it stunk was confirmed when I read it myself. I’ve already talked about Static’s history in three different posts (my inaccurate Top 10 favorite DC superheroes, Top 10 Movies I want to see, and my Martin Luthor King Jr Day Special on my Top 10 Favorite Black Superheroes) so I won’t talk about him here, but when Dwayne McDuffie, Static’s creator, created Static it was to make a better representation of minorities (in this case Black people) in mainstream comics. This comic just turned Static into something of a stereotype and the comic itself didn’t make any sense.
The thing I found interesting is one of the writers, Scott McDaniel, is an electric engineer so I thought giving him an electric-based superhero would be pretty interesting since he would know the properties of electricity. Although he apparently had some arguments with DC and fellow writer John Rozum which turned the comic into a mess. I hope that they’ll bring back Static after convergence and this time give him an appropriate writer, but knowing DC they’ll probably give the next title a decent or bad writer so that they can give the good writers too the countless Superman and Batman titles. I love Batman more than any DC super…-scratch that-more than any superhero out there, but we don’t need 5 different Batman titles and I would like to see some b-list or c-list characters with good writers.
#7 – Beast Boy
Now thankfully they fixed him so he’s green again (although I didn’t read the first run of the New 52 Teen Titans so I don’t know whether or not they gave a legitimate reason for going back to the green color or artists just decided to change it back for unexplained reasons) but when the New 52 first started they thought it would be a good idea to change Beast Boy from the usual green color to red. They changed quite a few Titans making quite a few fans of the team really annoyed. A couple of the Titans, like Beast Boy here, being part of the 2003 Teen Titan cartoon so fans of that show that started reading this comic got upset too. The explanation for this changed (behind the scene, not in the actual comic) was that DC wanted to link Beast Boy to Animal Man. I don’t know much about Animal Man so I had to do some research and by what I can tell Animal Man doesn’t actually turn into animals, like Beast Boy, but instead adopts the abilities of animals by an force called “The Red”. Again, I don’t know much about Animal Man so I don’t know whether or not there’s more to the story but the fact of the matter is that DC unnecessarily turned Beast Boy to red even though he has been green for decades. And the fact that the New 52 Teen Titans comics (see #6) had a mostly red color scheme, Beast Boy just looked bland and blended in with everything making the color choice even worse.
#6 – Teen Titans
The New 52 really liked over complicated designs and stripes all over the costumes and the worst of this is the Teen Titans. It got better with the second run, but the first run was terrible. When you read the comic the colors often blended together and just wasn’t fun to look at. Oh, and the titans had a thing for glowing stripes and the back ground was often red making the characters practically blend into each other. Linkara has already did a review on the first Teen Titans story in the New 52 Teen Titans: The Culling so you can check out part 1 of his 4-part review here.
#5 – Artemis
Young Justice was a popular DC cartoon (that actually had little if any to do with the actual Young Justice comics) that gathered quite the fanbase. One of the things the cartoon did was introduce the character Artemis (who was already around in the form of Arrowetta). Artemis became a fan-favorite and DC decided to introduce her into the Teen Titans storyline Teen Titans: The Culling. Huh, that sounds framiliar. Anyways, that was actually a smart idea as it allows fans of the show to get introduced to the comics with a character they already have an attachment to. And the design is really similar to the cartoon (with the exception of the blue paint but whatever).
So if I thought it was a good idea than why is she on this list, and so high on the list? Well, because they killed her off in the first issue. You read that correctly, DC brought in a popular character from a popular cartoon and decided to kill her off in the first issue she ever appeared in a comic. Is DC trying to mock us or something? I can practically see them going “You want this character in the comics? here you go…now let’s kill her!”
Raven has had a very interesting comic book history and thanks to both the 80s run of The New Teen Titans being the best run (according to most people who’ve read it) of the Teen Titans and the cartoon, Raven is probably one of, if not the, most popular of the Titans. She was a half demon and daughter of Trigon (the DC’s version of Satan) and was basically born to bring Trigon to Earth. She of course didn’t want to bring Trigon to Earth and attempted to use her demonic powers for good instead of evil. She iconic for wearing a black cloak and having short, black hair. But instead of that design, DC decided to make her look like some type of monster. Oh, and since her name’s Raven, why don’t we give her feathers on her costume? Here’s why, it’s stupid!
#3 – Starfire
Starfire is probably one of the New 52’s most controversial change and for several reasons. The biggest reason this is so controversial is because, well, she was ridiculously sexualized. Now people have stated that Starfire has always been sexualized, not to this degree. Starfire’s a Tamaranian, an alien races that apparently doesn’t understand the human need for modesty. As a result, there where several scenes where Starfire would question the purpose of clothing. But the whole point to her was that she was basically suppose to be sexy, but she didn’t know it. On top of the fans of the old comics with Starfire in it, people commonly knows Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon series. Although obviously they couldn’t put the Starfire from the comics into the series so they changed a sexualized character into the cute and bubbly version (think Harley Quinn from Batman: TAS as an alien).
Now keeping in mind that the purpose of the New 52 was to make it easier for new readers to get into comics, just…look at this panel to the left from Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. This is worst than her original comic book version! They changed it from a character that was suppose to be sexy but not knowing it, to a character that’s sexy and she knows it. Honestly, I was originally going to not add this to the list as I frankly didn’t want to talk about it. But if I didn’t add it to the list, than that would be like saying that I’m fine with it and that’s obviously not true. Who even thought this was a good idea?!?!
I do want to make it clear that I never read Red Hood and the Outlaws and I probably never will. Besides, Linkara already reviewed #1 so I already know how bad it is.
#2 – Superman
Superman is one of my favorite superheroes and I know what Superman should be like. I’ve said this before, but the point of Superman is that he’s a god among men that chose to use his immense power to save and protect people. He’s a boyscout and he’s suppose to be the living embodiment of the superhero, doing anything and everything that he thinks is the right thing to do. And then he can live among humanity as the nerdy, clumsy Clark Kent.
What we got instead is a high school jerk who decides to use his powers for good because he likes to punch things. I could do a Top 10 List alone on everything wrong with the New 52 Superman alone. On top of that, why does Superman need armor? He can basically fight crime in pajamas and have the same amount of protection, and while I like to complain about his red trunks being removed because they’re part of the iconic Superman design, it seems that most people have either wanted the trunks to be gone for a while or has given up on it so maybe I should just bury the hatchet on that.
But the design and personality isn’t the only thing terrible about the New 52 Superman. For example, early on in the comics Ma and Pa Kent was killed off. Are you kidding me! Superman was one of the few superheroes out there that wasn’t an orphan and now you just gave him superhero cliche #1. And the worst part is the Ma and Pa Kent was killed off when he was young. The main reason that Superman isn’t an orphan (besides the fact that he was created before that cliche) is because Ma and Pa Kent taught Superman to be the boyscout he was always suppose to be. They’re the reason that Superman would much rather make peace with a villain (yes, even Lex Luthor) than throw a fist at them.
#1 – Wally West
This may require a little bit of history to be explained properly. In 1956, DC recreated the Flash (previously a college student named Jay Garrick) as a forensic scientist named Barry Allen. Later on, Barry Allen’s nephew, Wally West, was turned into Kid Flash with the exact same accident that turned Barry into the Flash. Later Bart Allen, the 31st century grandson to Barry Allen, was brought back into the present as Impulse. During 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths (which is way to confusing to explain in depth here but it was a way for DC to reboot their universe and combine their multiverse into the one universe) Barry Allen died trying to save the world, causing Wally West to take the mantle as the Flash and Bart to become Kid Flash. Barry would be dead for 20 years (real time) meaning to anyone that loved superheroes between 1985 and 2009 (where he back in Geoff Johns’s Flash: Rebirth) Wally West is the Flash. That goes for me too as I was born in 1999 and as such I grew up with Wally being Flash and as such he’s my favorite Flash.
When the New 52 started, it followed the 6-issue miniseries Flashpoint in which Flash (Barry Allen) basically rebooted the DC universe (not going to go into specifics). After this, Barry Allen stayed as Flash and Bart Allen (now called Bar Torr, for some reason) came back as Kid Flash. So where’s Wally? Well, Wally didn’t appear for a while but at one point the writers wanted to bring Wally West back to the DC universe. So DC editorials said yes but as long as they mess up the character. Oh sorry, what they actually said is that they can bring him back but only if they make him a minority character. So Wally West came back as a Black character and as Impulse with the worst costume of the Flashes, even the new Kid Flash. Now just to be clear, I love Black people. You know what scratch that, I love people of all races. Plus adding more characters of different ethnicity is a great thing to attempt and I think DC should try to do just that. But turning Wally Black would be like turning Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, or Aquaman a race other than White, you just don’t do it. Wally has an iconic look: pale skin, freckles, and red hair. So why bring him back as a Black character? Why not make a new character that’s not White? Or make some of your current Black superheroes, like maybe Static, more well known and better written?
Besides the ethnicity, Wally West is known to be the wise-cracking Flash. He’s like if Spider-man was a speedster only nicer (c’mon, Spider-man does have a habit of mocking his enemies). Oh and speaking of being nice, one of the reasons I like Wally more than Barry is that wally is really funny but also a really nice guy. He’s just likable and someone to look up too. So what is he like in the New 52 (besides being Black)? Well, he started out as participating in illegal acts such as vandalizing and shoplifting. Not even kidding. Wally West was turned into a Black kid whose basically a bad kid. Hey DC, turning a character into a different ethnicity isn’t really helpful when it’s a stereotype of that ethnicity. Just, what were you guys thinking?!?!
Did you like the New 52? Also, which of these characters do you feel where ruined? I’m just curious if you guys agree with me or not.