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Monday, November 14, 2011 

The New 52 is little more than New Violence times 52

The Comics Journal wrote a whole article on what DCnU is like, and it turns out they're using the same approach as in the past decade. It's not just the Green Lantern series where bloodshed is taking place:
Still, it’s not like it isn’t present in other titles as well, from the sexually adventurous badass female character in Blackhawks to the scantily clad Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad to the frequent arched back/butt-shot posing of the female red lantern Bleez in Red Lanterns to all that prostitute killing in All Star Western.

Ultimately it’s all part and parcel of DC’s true goals however. For all their talk of new readers, for all the interviews Dan DiDio and Jim Lee did where they swore up and down on the cross that they were being inclusive this time, there’s really only one readership they’re interested in attracting and that’s young males. Preferably young males that happen to be lapsed DC fans.

That can be seen in the level of absurd machismo that dominates the line, especially in the level of over-the-top violence on display. Anyone hoping that in their effort to win back readers DC would tone down the gore they’ve become known for in recent years is going to be sorely disappointed. To wit: two comics (Red Lanterns and Suicide Squad) open with torture scenes. One closes with a guy being slowly lowered into a vat of acid. The Fury of Firestorm opens with a family being slaughtered. Green Lantern Corps opens with one character being bisected and two others being beheaded, and closes with an entire race of people being decimated. The otherwise entertaining Batwing ends with the gory slaughter of a police department, headless bodies lying everywhere. A horse is beheaded with a creature crawling out of the stump of its lifeless body in Wonder Woman. Perhaps the most memorable sequence comes at the end of Detective Comics, where the Joker (who, for reasons unknown first appears in the comic naked) gets his face flayed off and hung on a prison wall, an experience he describes as “fangasmic.” Even the first issue of Static Shock – Static Shock of all things! – ends with the character’s arm getting sliced off by some flying compact discs. Not all of these sequences feel like pandering, but enough do to make you realize how narrow an audience DC is aiming for here.

[...]In that regard, the New 52 doesn’t seem like a genuine attempt to look forward as much as it does a desire to gaze longingly back to the heady days when comics last mattered, at least in terms of sales, i.e. the 1990s. Why else have people like Rob Liefeld, Greg Capullo, and Scott Lobdell at the forefront of this revolution? Look at Brett Booth’s art work on Teen Titans. It’s practically a mash note to the Image era, a time that, despite the big sales, I would suggest was not the superhero genre’s finest moment.
The gore galore they allude to here is bad enough, and no doubt the sexual overtones are dreadfully worked out too, but what really drops the jaw in disbelief is the Joker appearing in the nude! Are they kidding?!?

And then there's the problem with mass slaughter all over the place in these new books. When it's that bad and frequent, making any serious point about a particular subject is near impossible.

And if the following reader response tells something:
I had read somewhere that supposedly there was an editorial decision to make the new books more ‘stand alone’ storywise, so I had hoped to get something I could read where there was a beginning, middle and end. Instead I got the first chapter of a paperback collection to be released in six months. I know that’s been the market for years, but it’s been a major beef of mine.
They haven't moved away from padded storytelling for the sake of trades one bit. This is practically why comics should've made the move to trade paperbacks only years ago, and with them the chance to actually tell a story that isn't padded (it could be a tale just 50 pages long, which would surely be enough), and comics stores would have no problem with that either. Instead, they've proven they have no ability to develop and adapt, and only stick to outmoded ways of publishing.

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i am absolutely disgusted with the further descent into Manchildren territory at DC, i had written of Marvel 15 years ago

looks like comics will soon go the way of trading cards.

Action #2 has a torture sequence as well, alleviated somewhat by our knowledge that torturing Superman isn't likely to prove very effective.

Too bad that there isn't an independent comics company out there that produces quality stories with real heroes and good character drama mixed in with science fantasy and action/adventure rather than something that reads like torture porn or leftist political diatribes like you see in today's comics. It would be really sad to see both Marvel and DC go, but it's been a LONG time since they produced any GOOD comics.

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