The New 52 Vs. The Point One Initiative: Part 1 – The Lines Are Drawn


Point One Initiative vs. The New 52

DC and Marvel, the behemoths of the comic book industry. Between them over 150 years of comic books have been published. DC has it’s stable of iconic heroes like Superman and Batman. Marvel plays home to some of the world’s most popular heroes, such as Spider-Man and Captain America. They have series with 500+ issues, Action Comics (Superman) just hit issue 900 last year. As a comic reader, I know this is pretty intimidating. Where do you start? How do you jump into a story over 50 years in the making? It’s a tough hobby to get into, unless you do a lot of research or pick up new series that may not last more then a dozen issues. So DC and Marvel decided to try something different, namely the New 52 and the Point One Initiative, giving new readers a way to get on board.

Marvel and DC knew they had to redefine their books to make them more accessible. In the past DC has tried re-writing character histories, that’s what Infinite Crisis was all about. Marvel went a different route to encourage new readers. In the early 2000’s they started the Ultimate imprint to entice new readers interested in comics, and to give their older properties a bit of a face lift. That’s what got me into comics, I started reading the Ultimate line in early 2010 (which was pretty late) and managed to read everything via trade paperback. To do that with the main line would be extremely expensive and near impossible. It’s rare to get a solid starting point to get into comics, so what’s the solution for this? In 2011 both companies made some changes, albeit DC was more drastic. These changes were the Point One Initiative from Marvel and the New 52 from DC.

Marvel Comics

Point One is simple, rather than rebooting, or branching off to another new universe (ie: Ultimate Comics) Marvel decided to make jumping on points in their titles. Nice one-shot comics that a new reader could use as an access point to that year-ish worth of stories, or an existing reader gets an extra book that month. It’s a good idea, the problem I found was it’s execution. Marvel wanted Point One to be a solid jumping on point for new readers, but they don’t really let you get to know what’s going on. If you read The Amazing Spider-Man’s first Point One issue 654.1, we learn about the new Venom. This was great and all, but what about everything else? The issue doesn’t really set up anything for The Amazing Spider-Man, it sets us up for Venom.

DC’s approached this a little more… drastically. They decided to just cancel every title and restart them all at issue 1. This wasn’t your usual “Here’s a new volume of X title where we renumber it but continue the same story”. The new 52 is a full on reboot, except apparently for Green Lantern books, but that’s for later. With the new number 1’s comes revamped origins, status quo changes, and new costumes. Long established things like Superman being married to Lois Lane, or Barbara Gordon being paralyzed are changed or totally abandoned. This was a pretty ballsy move for DC to make. Anyone who was reading comic news last year should remember all the hate they got for rebooting such established titles. Numbers don’t lie though and DC has been selling a hell of a lot better since the reboot. Shit even Aquaman outsold EVERY other Marvel book released in January 2012. I’m a Marvel guy, that’s what I lean towards, with the exception of Batman. But I even found myself picking up a lot of the New 52 to see what all the excitement was about.

New 52 - Justice League

I really need to hand it to DC, they took a chance and pissed off a lot of fanboys. In the end though, the books I’ve read are interesting for at least one story arc. But it’s still pretty confusing especially if you want to read more then one “family” of books. Justice League takes place 5 years ago, Action Comics is before that, but Superman and Detective comics are the present. Seriously? I thought that plan was to be less confusing and make this easier to understand? Even with a large number of successful books it was recently announced that in May DC will cancel 8 of the books and start 6 more. They’re labeling this The Second Wave, which I think is kinda silly but hey I’m not in marketing so what do I know.

That’s all for now, tune in next week same bat-time same bat-channel when we’ll get into details about the good, the bad, and the just plain stupid.

talks a bunch on PodQuest each week. He's also been known to write about stuff from time to time.

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