So, one of the cool things about getting into comics all fresh and new now, is within the DC universe1, pretty much everything’s hitting the refresh button and they’re relaunching 52 titles. This means you can start with brand new issue #1’s…
This is big. DC cancelled all existing titles — books that have their origins from the 1930’s. However, this isn’t a complete reboot of their entire universe. Editors at DC say it’s more of a “soft reboot.” While a number of characters are getting new backstories, there’s also a fair bit of the history of the DC universe that’s going to remain intact. Obviously you can see how this could stir up mix feelings — and there are some issues with DC’s big changes2 — but this can be something exciting for people new to comics, like me.
For those already familiar with comics, The New 52 really isn’t news. The relaunch started in 2011. But I didn’t start reading comics (as opposed to graphic novels) until less than a year ago. So for me, this is prime time to start fresh with this universe. Since they’re starting with all new #1’s, that means the writers understand people will be coming to this without much or any knowledge of the character’s history.
You won’t get a complete new origin story with each character, however — though I really can’t speak to most of this relaunch because I’ve only barely dabbled in it myself. With Batgirl, we’re definitely not. It jumps in some time after The Killing Joke story arc, which was a huge turning point for Batgirl/Barbara Gordon.3
Now that I’ve started in with a few characters (ok, really just one), I’m interested in exploring others. Reading Batgirl makes me want to read Nightwing and even Batman4. Also, because I was familiar with Barbara Gordon’s character prior to Batgirl, I’m also interested in The New 52’s relaunch of Birds of Prey to see how or if Oracle is handled. And this whole thing with crossovers? Definitely exciting, but I’m hoping I don’t overwhelm myself.
The DC universe is just one part of the greater comic world. For me, these are the characters and writers I’m more interested in (and really, I’m only looking at a small part of the DC universe itself). But I think that it’s really neat, and interesting, that they’ve chosen to do this relaunch. Whether you agree with the methods or not (the loss of characters and whole story arcs), it’s a bold business decision on the part of DC. And I’m thankful for this opportunity to get in on the, sort of, ground level of this universe.
1. Ok, so Marvel did this too a year later with it’s Marvel NOW! line… at least with the new #1’s, they didn’t really do a “reboot” of their universe…
2. One of which is the lack of female creators, which dropped from 12% to a measly 1%.
3. Side note, and possible spoiler alert: Barbara Gordon became the character Oracle, after becoming paralyzed during her time as Batgirl (but not as Batgirl). In The New 52, she’s no longer paralyzed — which also caused debate because it took away a very well handled and well done disabled character.
4. At the time I wrote this, I hadn’t started the new Batman series. I’ve since read vol 1.
FYI: If you’re interested in checking out some of the New 52, Comixology has a good handful of Vol. 1’s on sale right now! Worth looking into.