M’s Spot – Why I DROPPED Most of DC’s New 52 Comics

That was basically the first word out of my mouth when I heard Amy Reeder was off Batwoman. Don’t know why she’s gone. She might have wanted more influence on story, page layouts or both. Maybe not. I just know her style gives the book energy.

It’s interesting seeing a J.H. Williams III script being interpreted on an almost traditional comic book level. The double-page spreads are still there, but they don’t dominate the book.

DC Comics marketed Batwoman as the art book of their New 52 comic line… So I often forgive the disjointed storytelling that plagues the book. Williams is never going to bring the depth Greg Rucka brought the title and probably never will.

Now that Trevor McCarthy has been named as Reeder’s replacement, I’m not so sure how forgiving I’ll be with an artist who is serviceable at best. It brings my willingness to read the book down a bit– to the point where I’ll skip McCarthy and wait till Williams is back on art duty. That way I’ll know the comic will be something worth buying.

Of course, we can’t talk “shit” without mentioning Marvel… Or at least I can’t. The big teaser now is Spider-Men #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Sara Pichelli. This new comic will follow Dan Slott’s “Ends Of The Earth” storyline– seeing release, of course, just in time for the new movie. I predict this comic will be the biggest, most unoriginal cross-promotional gimmick Marvel has pulled, EVER!

Really! That phrase should’ve been the tagline for the book. Instead, we got “This June History Will Be Made For The Marvel Universe.” I have no doubt Spider-men is another lame attempt by Marvel to temporarily boost sales and draw in those mythical new readers DC’s been trying to ferret out since The New 52 began. Seems likely, since that is exactly what Marvel seems like they’re also trying to accomplish by launching the needless Avengers Assemble.

We are already seven months into DC’s New 52 and almost all the books– with a few exceptions– feel like they are completely stuck in the mud. They move at a glacial pace. The two exceptions (for me) are Batwoman and Wonder Woman.

Other than that, I have dropped all my DC titles.

Batman? I don’t like the unnecessary price increase. I know DC said they are raising the cover price to pay for the back-up feature… But the back-up is to expand on a crossover. I feel it is far too early to be laying the groundwork for a crossover when they are in the infancy of rebuilding their universe. Besides, I like my comics priced at $2.99.

Swamp Thing? I have a problem with the pacing… But if I wanted to buy a Scott Snyder book that reads like a Vertigo comic, I’ll just keep buying American Vampire. Animal Man? I find the art off-putting at times… And both Swamp Thing and Animal Man are heading towards a crossover.

Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E? Scratchy art and I can’t get past the fact that this is basically DC’s version of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. If I wanted that, I would just read Hellboy.

Action Comics and All Star Western? The issue, again, is cover price. When you read a good portion of these titles, it just feels like they are stringing you along month to month– milking you for all your worth. This is DC Comics yet again prying another play out of the musty old Marvel handbook. I hate this decompression bullshit!

Whatever happened to one-shot comic books?

The answer is simple, really: OGNs and Trades happened. Why do a self-contained story in a single issue of a comic book… When you can bloat the story into a mini-series or fill a nice, pricey Original Graphic Novel hardcover with extra, unnecessary story pages? (Did I mention how much I dislike decompression?) What I like about one-shots is the idea of doing more with less– something I feel is swiftly becoming a lost art in modern comics.

Good comic book one-shots are few and far between. So few and so far that I had to go back four years to find two good ones. Both books have similar themes, but are worlds apart in many ways.

Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1 written by Matt Fraction, art by Salvador Larroca. Both these creators have been in a bit of hot water recently– Fraction for bringing us Fear Itself and Larroca for showcasing his Photoshop skills. But before that controversy– in the middle of Marvel’s Civil War— there was this little comic gem.

Since this is a Civil War story, remember Spider-man’s identity is public knowledge. He has already switched sides and is now against heroes registering with the government– making him a wanted man on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D— opening up his wife Mary Jane and his Aunt May for aiding and abetting charges.

This one-shot allows Peter and Mary Jane to express what they mean to each other, why their marriage matters and pays tribute to the long past they have shared together. It’s tragic reading this in retrospect– given what will happen later. If you’re someone who doesn’t know why the Spider-man O.M.I.T story line is such an utter piece of shit, this story should explain why. Read it.

Now for a completely different one-shot, Our Love Is Real— written by Sam Humphries with art by Steven Sanders. This is the kind of comic you see pop up on the Fox News Channel on a slow news day. (And not because the book was printed in a strange square format.)

I kind of want to give this comic to an ultra-conservative and watch their head implode. The book takes place in the future– five years after an AIDS vaccine– and people now have sex with plants, animals and crystals. The story is told by a cop named Jok who is a zoosexual and details how he met Brin— who is a mineralsexual. This comic caught me completely off guard– not because of the subject matter, but because I thought it was going to revolve around the cliché that opposites attract. It does– just not the way I was expecting. It’s fresh and original… And it is a one-shot.

That’s what I think… But what about you, IMJ Nation? What are some of your favorite one-shots?

And have you been watching Cartoon Network’s DC Nation? If so, what did you think of the Young Justice episode with Captain Marvel? That ep showcased a really clever use of the Captain’s powers… And I predict it is 1,000 times more interesting than whatever Geoff Johns has cooked up for The Big Red Cheese in the near future. Also, I recently saw the final episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and felt it was probably the best cartoon I’ve seen all year thus far.

As always, I’ll be interested to read what YOU have to say!

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19 Responses to M’s Spot – Why I DROPPED Most of DC’s New 52 Comics

  1. tomstewdevine says:

    Is that Brave and the Bold episode “The Mask Of Matches Malone!”, that’s the Bird of Prey one. And I watch it usually 3 times a week, because it’s my daughter’s favorite episode of any show ever.

    One-Shot’s, I miss them as well, recently New Mutants had a good “date with the devil” one-shot that was very well done. The Jimmy Olsen One-Shot from a while back was one of the best single issues of comics I have ever read. And I loved “Our Love is Real”, China the poodle being my favorite character.

    As for DC, I read all the New 52 up to issue 5, that’s 260 comics, Maybe 20% were good reads. It was a lot of work at points, we will be talking about it in an upcoming issue of A Comic Book Look.

    Another great column Mspot.

    • TheMSpot says:

      Thanks tom, it was “Mitefall!” with Bat-Mite and Ambush Bug.

      The Jimmy Olsen one-shot is a great choice, and I would say JMS’s Brave And The Bold #33 or that entire series of one-shots in general were really good.

      Agreed, about DC’s New 52, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the next issue of A Comic Book Look.

      • tomstewdevine says:

        Mitefall!, Nice,.

      • Tiger Topher says:

        I was actually thinking of The Brave and the Bold #33 while I was reading what you had to say about good one and done stories. That comic might be the best thing JMS has written over the last few years. For other good one and done stories, I’d recommend just about any issue from the last Jonah Hex series.

        • bello1234 says:

          Glad the Jimmy Olson one shot was brought up. That is my favorite one shot ever. Actually was able to get Nick Spencer to sign my copy of it.

          I remember last year there was a Wolverine one shot that featured Nick Fury that I heard great things about anyone here know what that was called?

  2. NicktheStick says:

    Was the Young Justice episode the one where there is a kids world and an adult world? Man that was a great episode. In fact, that whole series is great.

    I was reading some random older comics that I have (mid to late 70s and early 80s) and most of it is one shots. However, they do have an overarching plot which is something I can get behind! I like those types of stories and in fact feel that Young Justice is that way. If you look at it, most cartoons are like that,whether good or bad. I remember watching Pokemon when I was younger and that had the same type of story telling. Now while I felt that dragged on compared to shows like Young Justice or Avatar the Last Airbender, the format was the same. I would love to see comics start moving that way again. Or at the very least, condense stories to 2-3 issues instead of 5-7.

    Anyways that’s my ramble. good article.

    • TheMSpot says:

      Thanks Nick, yes that was the episode of Young Justice.

      Agreed, I would like to see comics take a cue from television shows like Supernatural or Doctor Who. What I like about a show like Supernatural, there’s a ongoing overarching storyline, but each episode is a stand alone case where the bigger storyline is just sitting in the back seat. Occasionally, things that happened previously or the current overarching storyline have to makes there way into a episode in order to progress that seasons storyline. If that makes sense.

  3. Locusmortis says:

    War Stories from Vertigo. 2 series of four issues, each with a dense done in one story, written by Garth Ennis and art from the likes of Carlos Ezquerra, Cam Kennedy and David Lloyd.

  4. Matthew Guy says:

    I dropped some DC books because of price to try other books. I dropped Batgirl, Batman & Robin & Swamp Thing both after issue 8 when their arc ends, Catwoman & All Star Western for Superman Family Adventures, Smallville Season 11 coming soon along w/ Fables sequel Fairest. While making room for Saga, Fatale, & probably another indie book down the road w/ Usagi Yojimbo when it does come out (about 6 to 8 issues a year). The Sensational Spider Man Annual was awesome. I still like DC but just different books I loose out on Jonah Hex but I enjoy JLI. So come to a balance as a reader that you enjoy that makes you happy. As for Batwoman, I also said Shit along w/ some other bad words that would make George Carlin proud in expressing my anger over that decision. As for AvX & Before Watchmen, I will avoid both & read what I want Legends of the Dark Knight Jim Aparo HC & Knightfall trades w/ some Alan Moore stuff mixed in over the spring, summer & early fall. Have some fun & read a comic.


  5. bello1234 says:

    Now that I know the trades are coming out I’ve actually been dropping DC books left and right. I dropped Wonder Woman and Batwoman I wasn’t crazy about either books issue 5 or 6. I am dropping Aquaman this week its a very entertaining book, but I replaced it with the Manhattan Projects.

    The ones I’ve kept are Animal Man, Batman, The Flash, IVampire (surprise hit of the year), Justice League Dark (can’t wait to drop this book after it’s crossover with IVampire easily one of the dissapointing books of the new 52), and Swamp Thing. I’ve enjoyed all these books and the art on all of them have been amazing.

    Definately an interesting column I do agree with you on Batwoman once JMS is back on art I will gladly pick it up. I heard great things about Wonder Woman issue 7 I may pick it up today.

    On a final note happy to say that after Daredevil 10.1 I will no longer be buying ANY Marvel books. If that damn Omega Saga wasn’t occuring I would continue, but I don’t want Avenging Spider-man or Punisher so I gotta trade wait Daredevil.

  6. sai011 says:

    I am dropping batman after court of owls story arc is done, maybe batwing. I am also considering justice league dark, hoping it gets better.

    One of my favorite one shot of all times is:
    Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe

  7. NicktheStick says:

    I think I am down to the number of DC comics I will get for awhile. I started out trying close to 15-20 titles and I think I am down to 6. I still pick up Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batwoman, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. Though I think I will now trade wait iVampire as I have heard great things about it. I only collect 1 Marvel title. Most of my pull list comes from Image, with the odd thing from IDW or Dark Horse.

    It definitely took me a bit to start dropping titles from the big two. I think when my pull list was at its biggest I was collecting close to 15 Marvel titles, 10 DC titles and maybe only 5-6 indies. Then I started to pick up more indies and my big two remained the same. Needless to say that didn’t work well with the budget, so I started dropping things. When it came down to what I really wanted to read… it wasn’t Marvel or DC.

  8. I tried to give the main/JL DC comics all a shot. As of now, I’m only sticking with the Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, along with Action and Detective. I also like most of the Dark line of comics too. If anyone hasn’t check out DEMON KNIGHTS yet, you are missing out on a good comic, especially for those Vandal Savage fans.

    I will agree, though, that stories are really drawn out. I remember that one of the things the new 52 was suppose3d to do was to let the writer write with out having to think about thinking of the Trade format, they were supposes to write the stories and how they would be placed in trades will be an afterthought. Yeah, I don’t see that going on most of the titles I read. It kinda sad to think that the last time I read a ongoing comic that were either single issue stories, or were part of a larger story but had single issue contained sub stories was probably back in the early to mid 90’s. I still think events like the Upcoming A vs. X or even the crossovers that are up coming would do better as Annuals or mini-series. Or if there is a crossover in the ongoing series, don’t build the story around that upcoming cross over. Great example was the X-Force/Spiderman crossover that was built around the first world trade bombing. It was an X-force storyline, but it was in NYC so Spider-man popped up. They got a four issue story, 2 from each title, and they were done. It was organic and none of these cross overs feel like that anymore.

  9. kurumais says:

    warren ellis’s 6 issue run on secret avengers were all on and done stories really fun reads
    i agree whole harderly about the new 52 being in its infancy and just doing events and cross overs as usual. i thought the new 52 was going to be a break in the modus operendai of dc and let the individual titles stand on their own and build from there. its just the same old same old with some different titles most wil be gone in another year. unless digital saves them

  10. Chris says:

    I started with over 20 when the reboot started. I am down to none now. I have collected DC comics since 1983, and this is the first time ever I am not getting any. The scale of the reboot was too much, and I found reading most books to be just painful. I mean really, JLI is one of the worst comics ever, and there is no hero I enjoy more than Booster. But, coming off Generation Lost to that was appalling. Dan’s whole attitude with Ted never existing was too much. Nothing in the new 52 … not one issue or story I read was worth a page of the continuity they cut. I am sick of hearing about how “new” fans are too stupid and immature to learn the old continuity. You know what, you screw up the characters beyond anything we remember… and people start saying.. you know what… this run sucks. Over and over. Now the fan boys are leaving, and DC no longer has the core fans it alienated to fall back on. Personally, I can not wait for the sales figures at the end of a year from the reboot. I was reading my three kids Tiny Titans every week. That was making new fans. Dan couldn’t take that last hold out with the old continuity.. so he canceled it.

    Take a deep breath, you remember the first time you watched Episode one the Phantom Menace? At some point, I think just about everyone came to a point that they couldn’t deny it any longer… this is terrible… the whole thing is so awful that it was starting to ruin the memories of the original movies. The same can be said for the new 52, each day more people are reaching that point.

  11. ed2962 says:

    Provocative. Yeah, one and done stories are almost a lost art at the majors.

  12. kurumais says:

    old dc continuity and the cartoons
    both justice league and young justice use the length and width of the dcu, yes they tweek, change and transform it here and there but they throw a ton of dcu at the viewers. most viewers arent even comic readers. and they seem to have no trouble latching on to the characters, their connections and relationships. just take a look at all the girls reviewing and making fan vids on youtube. they know all about the dcu through ships and which robin is which. im sure tons of fans of batman tas, the batman and teen titans who have never been comic fans could hold conversations about a lot of dc characters. i thinks the whole continuity thing being too confusing
    is load of bull.

  13. I am down to Batman, Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Action Comics. Action Comics is on the chopping block because A). It’s $3.99 and B). The current issues are pretty much stories I’ve already read just told a bit different. Batman may also be on the chopping block soon because I’m getting really sick of the Court of Owls. I REALLY want to see Snyder’s take on some of Batman’s classic villains.

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