It’s been too long since I read comics regularly (Wolverine was still missing his adamantium the last time I frequented a comic shop) for me to comment intelligently on the relative pros and cons of the DC Universe reboot, called The New 52, that began last September. What I can say is that I recently discovered, to my great pleasure, that most of DC’s catalog was available for purchase digitally on the iPad (and other tablets, I presume). You download the DC app from the App Store and buy comics for $2.99 a piece with your Apple ID. As I said, I’ve been out of touch with the comics world for a long time, so this relatively straightforward innovation was an expected but pleasant surprise. You can also read them on the web.
Despite the commercial success of the reboot, some have criticized the overall quality of the comics themselves. I’ve been reading Batman primarily, and while it’s true that it’s hardly Frank Miller, the art is good and the experience of reading comics on the iPad is stellar. The benefit of the reboot is that it allows people like me to start reading again, by providing a jumping off point. The plotlines of comics being the notoriously twisted labyrinths that they are, the idea of simply picking up a book and reading can be intimidating. I’ve always been an X-Men fan, for instance, but X-Men stories are nigh on incomprehensible if you don’t read every issue, and every tie-in series, religiously. Sometimes they’re incomprehensible even if you do. Which is why I’ve often preferred the simpler, distilled versions of superhero stories presented in movies.
The general premise of The New 52 is a new beginning: younger heroes, set in a world new to the idea of costumed superheroes, redesigned for modern readers. I’m unclear as to how much of the pre-reboot canon has survived, and despite several attempts to find a primer on this subject online, I’ve come up with zilch. I guess I’ll just have to keep reading and find out. Expect to see the occasional comic book review here in the future.