Four-Color Coverage: DCnU – “The New 52”

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The powers that be at DC Comics have hit the “reboot” button and are crafting a new universe for readers.  This isn’t the first time that they’ve done this. In 1985, they rebooted the DCU with Crisis on Infinite Earths. This was an attempt to streamline their continuity and make their characters accessible to readers. It happened again – though to a lesser degree – with Zero Hour and, yet again, with Infinite Crisis.

And so, the era of “The New 52” is upon us. The DC Universe – which has been referred to as “the DCnU” – has been reborn/reimagined. Readers have been teased with images and bits of backstory, but this week the doors have been opened and we get our first full views of the new DC Universe with Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1:

Flashpoint #5 – This issue served as the introduction and catalyst for the new universe. In it, readers learn not only how the DCnU was… created/ignited/born… but we also learn who the true “villain” of the story was. Yet, it’s more nuanced than that. There’s an adage that says: “The villain is the hero in his own story.” [SPOILER DELETED] wasn’t really a villain; they were just trying to do what they saw as correcting an injustice. Yes, it was a selfish motivation, but it was also very personal… which makes for good storytelling. And the story’s coda was not only fitting, but also showed an interesting side of the relationship between [SPOILER DELETED] and [SPOILER DELETED].

Justice League #1 – This issue “happens” five years in the past. Before there was a ‘Justice League.’ When the characters we know as heroes are still very much unknown quantities. The pacing on this story was a little slower than one might expect from the first issue of the first book of a “new” universe; but for me, that was okay. Most of the issue follows Batman and Green Lantern’s first meeting — the Dark Knight, a veritable urban legend, and the Emerald Warrior, a new hero from the west coast with a certain attitude about his “second job.” In the former DCU, Geoff Johns explored what lied at the heart of the divide between Batman and Green Lantern in Green Lantern: Rebirth

In this incarnation of the DCU, Johns explores it again.. but with a twist: Green Lantern is cocky and headstrong and very much of the “I can handle anything” mindset. Batman is… Batman. And when Green Lantern finds out that Batman is:

Green Lantern: Hold on a second… You’re not just some guy in a bat costume are you? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

Batman (smirking… with GL’s ring in his hand): What’s this do?

GL: How the Hell’d you get it off?

Batman (examining the ring): I don’t see any buttons, so I’m guessing that it works off concentration. (turning to look at GL with a sly smirk) You… weren’t concentrating.

GL (willing his ring back to his hand): You won’t do that again.

Batman: Not unless I want to.

GL: You really want to pick a fight with someone who can create anything he can think of?

Batman: I’d be worried if I thought you could think.

And there we have it. We are also briefly introduced to a pre-Cyborg Victor Stone and some guy in red and blue with a yellow-and-red “S” on his chest.

It wasn’t a perfect book, but it sets up an interesting story and one that I may actually be interested in following.

And with maybe not so much a “Big Bang” as a “jump to the left,” the DCnU is underway. Let’s hope that it’s a good ride.