The New 52

The New 52 was the 2011 revamp and relaunch by DC Comics of its entire line of ongoing monthly superhero comic books. Following the conclusion of the "Flashpoint" crossover storyline, DC cancelled all of its existing titles and debuted 52 new series in September 2011 with new first issues.[1] Among the renumbered series were Action Comics and Detective Comics, which had retained their original numbering since the 1930s.

The relaunch included changes to the publishing format; for example, print and digital comics began to be released on the same day. New titles were released to bring the number of ongoing monthly series to fifty-two. Various changes were also made to DC's fictional universe to entice new readers, including changes to DC's internal continuity to make characters more modern and accessible. In addition, characters from the Wildstorm and Vertigo imprints were absorbed into the DC Universe.[2][3]

The New 52 branding ended after the completion of the "Convergence" storyline in May 2015, although the continuity of The New 52 continued. In June 2015, 24 new titles were launched, alongside 25 returning titles, with several of those receiving new creative teams. In February 2016, DC announced their Rebirth initiative with the release of an 80-page one-shot on May 25, 2016, and continuing through late 2016.

The New 52
The New 52
Cover of DC Comics: The New 52 #1, July 2011.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
Genre
Publication dateAugust 31, 2011 – May 25, 2016
Main character(s)DC Universe
Creative team
Written byVarious
Artist(s)Various
Collected editions
DC Comics The New 52ISBN 978-1-4012-3451-5
DC Comics The New 52 Zero OmnibusISBN 978-1-4012-3884-1
DC Comics The New 52 Villains OmnibusISBN 978-1-4012-4496-5

Publication history

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Jim Lee and Geoff Johns at the August 31, 2011, midnight signing for Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 at Midtown Comics Times Square

Launch and Second Wave

Following the conclusion of the Flashpoint limited series, all titles set in the DC Universe were cancelled and relaunched with new #1 issues.[4] The new continuity features new outfits and backstories for many of DC's long-established heroes and villains. An interview with DC Comics executive editor Eddie Berganza and editor-in-chief Bob Harras revealed that the new continuity did not constitute a full reboot of the DC Universe but rather a "soft reboot". While many characters underwent a reboot or revamp, much of the DC Universe's history remained intact. Many major storylines such as "War of the Green Lanterns", "Batman: A Death in the Family" and Batman: The Killing Joke remained part of the new continuity, while others have been lost in part or in whole.[5] DC editorial constructed a timeline that details the new history and which storylines to keep or ignore.[5]

On August 31, 2011, Midtown Comics Times Square held a midnight event at which they began selling Justice League #1 and Flashpoint #5. On hand to sign the books were DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, who was the writer of both titles, and Co-publisher and writer/artist Jim Lee, who illustrated Justice League.[1][6]

On January 12, 2012, DC announced that after their eighth issues, Blackhawks, Hawk and Dove, Men of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., and Static Shock would be cancelled and replaced with six new titles, which would reveal more of The New 52 DC Universe.[7] The new titles were dubbed the Second Wave: Dial H, Earth 2, G.I. Combat, World's Finest, Ravagers and Batman Incorporated, which was absent from the initial line of Batman titles, and would continue Grant Morrison's storyline from before The New 52 involving the conflict between Batman and Talia al Ghul.[8]

"Zero Month" and continued title changes

On June 8, 2012, DC announced that in September 2012, the first anniversary of The New 52 launch, all titles would get a zero issue, dubbed "Zero Month".[9] In addition, the Third Wave of titles was announced: Talon, Sword of Sorcery, Phantom Stranger, and Team 7. With these additions to the line, Justice League International, Captain Atom, Resurrection Man, and Voodoo were cancelled.[10]

In October and November 2012, DC announced new titles Threshold,[11] Justice League of America,[12] Katana, Justice League of America's Vibe,[13] and Constantine.[14] Threshold would be published in January 2013, Constantine in March 2013, while the others would be published in February 2013. DC later consolidated these new titles as the Fourth Wave of The New 52.[15] G.I. Combat, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Grifter, Blue Beetle, and Legion Lost were cancelled as a result.[16] Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine's Day Special #1 was published as the 52nd title in February 2013.[15]

In January 2013, DC Comics announced the cancellation of I, Vampire and DC Universe Presents in April 2013.[17] To celebrate the 60th birthday of Mad Magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman, DC solicited variants drawn by Mad artists for 13 titles being published in April 2013.[18]

Starting with titles released on January 28, 2013, all printed New 52 publications featured advertisements for fictional news channel, Channel 52. The two page back-ups, titled Channel 52, appear in all books, starting in February 2013, and replaced the previous "DC Comics: All Access" features. This news feature stars Bethany Snow, Ambush Bug, Vartox, and Calendar Man as reporters and anchors on the fictional in-universe news show. The art is provided by Freddie E. Williams II.[19] Each week brings new content regarding the current or future goings-on in the DC universe. Channel 52 and Bethany Snow make an appearance in the second season of Arrow.[20]

On January 30, 2013, DC announced that all titles released in April 2013 would be "WTF Certified". Each title would feature a gatefold cover and story lines and moments that will leave readers in a state of shock, including the return of Booster Gold.[21][22] However, DC later dropped the "WTF Certified" branding and did not feature it on any of The New 52 books.[23] In February 2013, it was announced that DC Comics would launch two new politically motivated books as parts of the Fifth Wave: The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires and The Movement. These would explore concepts similar to the Occupy Movement and the role money has in a world of superheroes.[24] A wave of cancellations was also announced for May 2013 including: The Savage Hawkman, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man, Sword of Sorcery, Team 7, Deathstroke, and The Ravagers.[25]

In March 2013, DC announced that it would launch four new titles in June 2013, making up the rest of the Fifth Wave: Superman Unchained, Batman/Superman, Larfleeze and Trinity of Sin: Pandora.[26] In April 2013, the cancellation of Batman Incorporated was announced for July 2013. DC also solicited two director's cut one-shots for the Superman Unchained book and the "Batman: Zero Year" story arc.[27] In May 2013, it was announced that Batman Incorporated Special #1 would be published to finish off the Batman Incorporated series in August 2013.[28] Another director's cut one-shot was solicited for the "Trinity War" story arc, along with the cancellations of Demon Knights, Legion of Super-Heroes, Threshold and Dial H.[29]

"Villains Month", "Forever Evil" and "Zero Year"

In June 2013, DC announced that all titles in September 2013 would be "relaunched" as a #1, featuring a villain from that respective book, as part of "Villains Month". For example, Detective Comics, which would have published issue 24 in September, would be released as Detective Comics #23.1 and Poison Ivy #1, with the issue being known by both titles.[30] It was the first major crossover in the New 52 since "Flashpoint" and spun out of the aftermath of "Trinity War". Each book featured 3D lenticular front and back covers.[31] DC also released 2D versions of the covers.[32] Some books published multiple "Villains Month" issues, while others skipped publication in September 2013. For example, Batman, Superman, and Justice League are some of the titles that published four issues, while The Flash published three issues, Aquaman and others published two issues, and Green Arrow and others published only one.[31][33]

In addition to "Villains Month", a seven-issue limited series titled Forever Evil, by Geoff Johns and David Finch, launched in September 2013 and focused on the Crime Syndicate, an evil version of the Justice League from Earth-3 in the Multiverse, as they attempt to take over Prime Earth in the Justice Leagues' defeat at the end of "Trinity War".[34] The "Forever Evil" event ran in other titles starting in October 2013, including three 6-issue tie-in books that launched: Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion by Brian Buccellato and Patrick Zircher; Forever Evil: Arkham War by Peter Tomasi, Scot Eaton and Jaime Mendoza; and Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. by Matt Kindt and Manuel Garcia.[35] Other tie-in titles included: Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, Justice League, Justice League of America and the "Forever Evil: Blight" storyline in Constantine, Justice League Dark, Trinity of Sin: Pandora, and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger.[35][36] Forever Evil #1 was also reprinted in a director's cut one-shot in October 2013.[35]

It was also announced in June 2013 that the "Batman: Zero Year" storyline in Batman would spin off into an event during November 2013, which would include other titles outside the "Batman" line of titles.[37] The event, initially conceptualized to tell Batman's origin in The New 52,[38] was featured in issue #25 of Action Comics, The Flash, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern Corps, along with Batgirl, Batwing, Batwoman,[39] Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, and Red Hood and the Outlaws in the "Batman" line.[40][41] The various books explored their characters' connections to Gotham City, and their first encounters with Batman.

On June 17, 2013, DC announced two new titles, Justice League 3000[42] and Superman/Wonder Woman as the first titles of the Sixth Wave,[43] which began publication in October 2013. On July 16, 2013, DC announced Harley Quinn, the third and last title of the Sixth Wave, which began publication in November 2013.[44][45] In August 2013, it was announced that Justice League 3000's initial publication would be delayed to December 2013, following creative changes on the title.[46]

Launch of weeklies and start of "second phase"

In October 2013, DC announced Batman Eternal, a weekly year-long series which would feature Batman, his allies, and others in Gotham City.[47] It was announced in January 2014 that the series would begin in April of that year.[48] The cancellation of Katana and Justice League of America's Vibe was also announced, with the titles' final publication in December 2013, while Green Team: The Teen Trillionaires would end in January 2014.[49] Following the release of Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure, DC announced cover variants for 20 titles published in January 2014, featuring Scribblenauts-inspired artwork.[50]

In November 2013, DC announced one-shot issues Superman: Lois Lane #1 and Batman: Joker's Daughter #1 for February 2014, featuring Lois Lane and the new Joker's Daughter, respectively.[51] DC also announced that 20 titles being published in February 2014 would feature steampunk-inspired cover variants.[52] As well, Johns revealed that the end of "Forever Evil" in March 2014 would mark the end of the first phase of The New 52, with a new phase starting in April 2014, "one that will see the introduction, and re-introduction, of a lot of characters, concepts and a decidedly new center to the DC universe."[53]

In December 2013, it was announced that another weekly year-long series titled The New 52: Futures End would begin publication in May 2014, with a free zero issue for Free Comic Book Day. The series would be set 5 years in the New 52's future. Co-writer Jeff Lemire stated that the series was "an exploration of DC's past, present and its future." Batman Beyond made his New 52 debut in the series.[54] Solicitations published in December 2014 also revealed that 22 titles to be published in March 2014 would feature variant covers based on Robot Chicken, to promote the second Robot Chicken DC Comics Special.[55][56]

In January 2014, DC announced Aquaman and the Others, Justice League United, Secret Origins and Sinestro ongoing series and Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs Bane #1 for publication in April 2014. In addition, DC revealed that Justice League of America, Nightwing, Stormwatch, Suicide Squad, Superman Unchained, and Teen Titans would end in April 2014.[48] It was also announced that April 2014 publications would feature a second wave of variant covers inspired by MAD magazine.[57]

In February 2014, Gail Simone revealed that her series The Movement would be canceled in May 2014 after 12 issue.[58] It was also revealed that 19 titles published in May 2014 would feature variant covers drawn by Mike Allred in the style of Batman '66.[59] A one-shot issue, Superman: Doomed #1 would also be published in May, as a tie-in to a crossover story arc of the same name.[60]

DC later announced that as part of the celebration of The New 52's third anniversary, all ongoing titles published in September 2014 would feature stories that tied into The New 52: Futures End.

"These stories aren't going to just be tied into the weekly. But what you'll be seeing is a lot of the writers who are working on series right now projecting forward—their ideas, their storylines, where they think their character might be five years from now. [...] The [lenticluar 3D] covers now will also have the ability to have a 'flicker' effect. That means that the images change and show the transformation going on... There is a level of change that is taking place with our characters during the course of this story.

— DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio

DiDio said that new ongoing titles would launch in June and July to be included in the event.[61] Following the month of tie-ins, a third weekly titled Earth 2: World's End launched in October 2014. This title is set in the present DC Universe on Earth 2, while showcasing the events and circumstances that lead to the future depicted in Futures End.[62][63]

In March 2014, DC announced the launch of Infinity Man and the Forever People, the one-shot Harley Quinn Director's Cut #0, and the cancellation of Larfleeze for June 2014.[64] March also saw the announcement of variant covers for 20 titles in June 2014, based on the DC Collectibles "Bombshells" statue line designed by Ant Lucia, the covers feature retro and pinup versions of female characters.[65] DC also revealed two new publications for July 2014: an ongoing series Star-Spangled War Stories and a one-shot Harley Quinn Invades San Diego Comic-Con.[66]

The Multiversity, new titles, new creative teams and DC You

In April 2014, DC announced Suicide Squad and Teen Titans would be relaunched in July 2014, with the former being retitled New Suicide Squad.[67][68] A new series, titled Grayson, focusing on character Dick Grayson following his role in Forever Evil,[69] and a one-shot issue Robin Rises: Omega, tied into the Batman and Robin storyline "The Hunt for Robin", would also debut.[70] It was revealed that July 2014's variant theme would be Batman's 75th anniversary, with 21 publications featuring "Batman 75" themes.[71] April also saw the official announcement of The Multiversity, which began publication in August 2014;[72] the 8-issue limited series was first mentioned by writer Grant Morrison in April–May 2009 intended for a 2010 release date. The Multiversity was intended to pick up on storylines left over from 52 and Final Crisis.[73]

In May 2014, DC announced that six titles, All-Star Western, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Superboy, Trinity of Sin: Pandora and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, would have their final publications in August 2014.[74] It was also revealed that 22 titles published in August 2014 would feature "DC Universe Selfie" variant covers, focusing on the popular trend of taking selfies.[75] A second Superman: Doomed one-shot was also announced.[74]

In June 2014, DC announced six new titles for their Ninth Wave: Arkham Manor,[76] Deathstroke,[77] Gotham Academy,[76] Klarion,[78] Lobo,[79] and Trinity of Sin[80] for publication in October 2014.

In February 2015, it was announced that following the Convergence storyline in May, The New 52 branding would not be used anymore, although the continuity of The New 52 would continue. That June, 24 new titles were unveiled under a newly introduced DC You initiative, and most of the 25 remaining titles of The New 52 had new creative teams.[81]

Multiversity and Convergence: the return of hypertime and the Pre-Crisis multiverse

The Multiversity Guidebook #1 revealed that the 52 multiverse and changes to it to form the New 52 multiverse was the result of a phenomenon called hypertime.

Soon after it was shown that Brainiac had taken cities from the Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis, and Post-Flashpoint multiverses and placed them on a planet in another reality. The portion of himself he left behind renamed himself Telos and had the cities battle each other.[82] Deimos of Skartaris tried to take complete control of the Telos' world but was killed by the Parallax-possessed Hal Jordan.[83] This triggered a chain reaction that threatened to collapse the multiverse.[84] To prevent this, Telos sends several of the heroes back to the Crisis on Infinite Earths to prevent the destruction of the original multiverse. Telos states "They have done it. Reality is resetting, stabilizing. Each world has evolved, but they all still exist." In an interview writer Jeff King stated "Post-Convergence, every character that ever existed, in either Continuity or Canon, is now available to us as storytellers."[85]

The end of The New 52 and DC Rebirth

In February 2016, DC announced its "Rebirth" initiative, a line-wide relaunch of its titles, to begin in June 2016. Beginning with an 80-page one-shot which was released on May 25, 2016, Rebirth also saw Action Comics and Detective Comics return to their previous numbering (#957 and #934 respectively), nearly all books releasing at US$2.99, multiple books shifting to a twice-monthly release schedule, a number of existing titles relaunching with new #1 issues, and the release of several new titles.[86][87] DC has used the Green Lantern: Rebirth and The Flash: Rebirth miniseries as examples of the basis for the initiative, which has been described as a rebirth of the DC Universe. The Rebirth initiative will reintroduce concepts from pre-Flashpoint continuity, such as legacy, that had been lost with The New 52 and build "on everything that's been published since Action Comics #1 up through The New 52."[86]

Changes to the DC Universe

9.21.11SnyderBrandonByLuigiNovi1
Scott Snyder and Ivan Brandon at a September 21, 2011, signing for Batman #1 and Men of War #1 at Midtown Comics

In June 2011, DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee revealed that he and DC Art Director Mark Chiarello had enlisted artist Cully Hamner to help spearhead the redesign of characters for the relaunch of the DC Universe.[88]

In late July 2011, DC released The New 52, a free preview book giving solicitations and previews of all of the new titles launching from August 31, 2011. Notable continuity changes shown included Superman's two new looks: one which consists of jeans, a blue T-shirt with the "S" logo and a cape, the other consisting of Kryptonian battle armor that resembles his classic costume. Other notable changes included the integration of the Wildstorm imprint's characters into DC continuity, with Martian Manhunter as a part of the new Stormwatch team in the relaunched Stormwatch series.[89]

Justice League was the first book of the relaunch, with the first issue released on August 31, 2011. The first story arc takes place five years in the past, detailing the first meeting of the Justice League members and the formation of the team.[5]

The initial run of first issues show a universe in which superheroes have only appeared within the last five years and are viewed with suspicion and hostility,[90] with Superman and Batman being pursued by the police five years ago at the start of their careers.[90][91] In the present day, organizations such as the United Nations and the United States government seek to exploit and control the superheroes through groups such as the Justice League International[92] and the Justice League of America.[12]

The "Batman" family of titles strongly resemble the past continuity. However, former Batgirls Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain have had their histories erased. Additionally, all of the Robins have been accounted for, including the previously non-canonical Carrie Kelley.[93] Stephanie Brown made her first appearance in The New 52 as the Spoiler in the teaser issue to Batman Eternal in Batman #28.[94] Barbara Gordon recovered from the paralysis inflicted upon her by the Joker's bullet in Batman: The Killing Joke and returned to crimefighting as Batgirl.[95]

As for Superman, his romantic relationship and marriage to Lois Lane has not transpired, and his adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent have died.[96][97][98] He was depicted as being slightly more short-tempered, retaining his American identity, and in a relationship with Wonder Woman. Various character changes were implemented, such as Starfire,[99] Guy Gardner,[100] and Tim Drake[101] having their origins significantly changed. Sinestro was depicted as having returned recently to the Green Lantern Corps, where he became a villain again. Meanwhile, the Earth-Two version of Alan Scott was depicted as gay.

Publications

Imprint titles

The imprint titles are divided into seven families of titles, revolving around central characters or themes. By the release of the October 2013 solicitations, DC was no longer grouping the titles by these families. Instead they began releasing one larger solicit, titled "The New 52 Group". However, titles that were not participating in an event for the month, such as "Forever Evil", were still grouped together in the larger solicit by the previous family headings.[102]

Justice League - The New 52 (Jim Lee's art)
The original Justice League team, as they appear in The New 52; art by Jim Lee
  • "Justice League" – These titles featured characters related to the Justice League.
  • "Batman" – These titles featured Batman and the "Batman Family" of characters.
  • "Superman" – These titles featured Superman and the "Superman Family" of characters.
  • "Green Lantern" – These titles featured the members of the Green Lantern Corps and the other Lantern Corps of the emotional spectrum.
  • "Young Justice" – These titles featured teenaged characters and superhero teams.[103]
  • "The Edge" – These are titles with war, science fiction, western, or crime themes, and include titles and characters formerly belonging to the WildStorm imprint.[104]
  • "The Dark" – These are titles with supernatural, fantasy and horror themes, including titles and characters formerly belonging to the Vertigo imprint.[105][106]

Post-imprint titles

In February 2015, it was revealed that after the Convergence miniseries in June 2015, DC would no longer use The New 52 name to brand their books; however the continuity established in September 2011 would continue. Dan DiDio stated, "In this new era of storytelling, story will trump continuity as we continue to empower creators to tell the best stories".[107]

Rather than having 52 books all in the same continuity, and really focusing on keeping a universe that's tightly connected and has super-internal consistency, and really one flavor, we've really broken it up. We'll have a core line of about 25 books that will have that internal consistency, that will consist of our best-selling books. But then the rest of the line, about 24 titles, will be allowed to really shake things up a little bit.

The new titles would be about "reinventing key characters", such as Black Canary, Cyborg, Bizarro, and Starfire, with a new "contemporary tonality to ensure a diverse offering of comic books." In the initial "relaunch", 24 new publications joined 25 existing publications from before Convergence, with new titles continuing to be added.[107]

In March 2015, DiDio revealed there would not be an "overarching brand on this" stating the relaunch was just "DC Comics, pure and simple."[108] However, in May 2015, DC announced the advertising campaign DC You for the relaunch, which highlighted the four main themes of characters, talent, stories and fans. The initiative, which began in DC's print and digital comics on May 20, before transitioning to other digital content on June 3, was featured on print inserts and ads, as well as on the DC Comics website and across social media with a special hashtag of #DCYou.[109]

Reception

Sales

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Jim Lee and Geoff Johns at a May 11, 2012 signing for the Justice League Vol. 1: Origin, the hardcover which collected the first six-issue story arc of that series

Pre-orders for Justice League #1 exceeded 200,000 copies.[110] Justice League #1 has been sent back to press at least four times and all of The New 52's first issue titles sold out by September 24, 2011.[111] For the month of September 2011, DC had 8 of the top 10 comic books, in spite of Marvel's heavily publicized replacement Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales debuting in that title the same month.[112] Justice League #1 was the top selling comic book in 2011.[113]

Writer Warren Ellis was unimpressed with the relaunch's sales, stating that it garnered DC a half-point lead in dollar share and a five-point lead in units sold over Marvel Comics. Ellis also pointed out that the units DC sold are returnable.[114]

Columnist Heidi MacDonald stated that while the market share comparisons are correct, the sales figures for single issue books do not take into account the fact that returnable comics are downgraded by approximately 10%, and that DC's sales are about that amount lower than the actual sales, in order to allow for potential returns. MacDonald opined that while the sellouts and reprintings make returns unlikely, the sales will remain 10% lower throughout the period the books can be returned, which will last through December, and that actual sales would be adjusted for this factor in Diamond Comic Distributors' end of year figures.[115]

Writer and ComicMix columnist Glenn Hauman wrote that relying solely on Diamond's numbers, to the exclusion of newsstand, overseas and digital sales, does not provide a complete measure of the relaunch's success. Hauman emphasized that the infinite long-term availability of digital editions will mean that sales will continue on the books for weeks and months afterwards, and that the market share for that market is uncertain.[116]

By December 2011, Marvel Comics regained the top spot for market share in both dollars and units.[117] In April 2013, DC's unit share fell below 28%, but rose to a 45.17% market share in September due to high orders for Villain Month.[118][119] It fell back to 30.77% by January 2014.[120]

Critical reception

Forbes, The New York Times and The A.V. Club saw The New 52 as a good editorial move from DC.[121][122][123] The Christian Science Monitor's Rich Clabaugh cited the relaunched Action Comics and Detective Comics as the strongest of the first week's releases.[124]

In terms of the books themselves, Keith Phipps and Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club praised the art in Justice League #1, but thought its writing and structure was a weak point.[125] In all, the two reviewers named O.M.A.C., Captain Atom, Animal Man and Wonder Woman their favorite books of the relaunch.[122] They gave Batman high praise,[126] and enjoyed Action Comics, Swamp Thing,[127] Batwoman, Frankenstein Agent Of S.H.A.D.E., Demon Knights, Batman and Robin,[126][128] Nightwing,[126] Aquaman, The Flash, All Star Western, and Voodoo.[122] However, they both disliked Detective Comics, Hawk and Dove,[127] Legion Lost, Red Lanterns,[128] Legion Of Super-Heroes, DC Universe Presents: Deadman,[126] Superman, Batman: The Dark Knight, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men, and The Savage Hawkman.[122] On the remaining titles, the reviewers were either split, or exhibited mixed reactions ranging from indifference to cautious optimism or curiosity.

Corrina Lawson of Wired dubbed the New 52 "a big, fat failure" from a reader standpoint, noting that the same stories could have been told without rebooting the fictional universe. She did, however, state that the New 52 was good from a business perspective, as it led to an increased market share for DC.[129]

Criticism

Lack of female creators

The launch of the New 52 was criticized for the lack of female creators, which had dropped from 12% to 1%, the latter figure represented by writer Gail Simone and Amy Reeder, an alternating artist on Batwoman who would not debut on that title until issue #6.[130] This led to a tense interaction between fans and DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con,[130][131] where DiDio was asked by a fan about the drop in female creators from 12% to 1%. DiDio responded saying, "What do those numbers mean to you? What do they mean to you? Who should we be hiring? Tell me right now. Who should we be hiring right now? Tell me."[131]

In an editorial responding to DiDio, Comics Alliance editor-in-chief Laura Hudson wrote, "Women are half of the world, and a significant percentage of the DC Comics character stable, and yet only 1% of their creators. And the way that you treat and represent half of the people in your world—and by extension, half of the people in the real world who might potentially buy your books—should be more than a marginal concern."[132]

On July 29, 2011, DC released a letter addressing the lack of female creators on their official blog, highlighting notable female creators currently being published by them and promising more in the future.[133] Hudson called the letter "an enormous and very positive departure from how DC Comics has dealt with controversies about gender and race in the past, which was almost uniformly not to comment", adding, "While it remains to be seen what sort of meaningful changes in either attitudes or hiring practices will follow, it certainly leaves me feeling more optimistic than I have in some time, or maybe ever."[134]

Portrayal of female characters

CatwomanNew52
Catwoman as she appears on the cover of Catwoman Vol. 4 #1 (Sept. 2011). Art by Guillem March

DC also received criticism for its handling of certain female characters during the relaunch, sparking discussion of exploitative overtones in titles such as Catwoman #1 and Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. Laura Hudson of ComicsAlliance and Andrew Wheeler of Bleeding Cool criticized the relaunch for oversexualized characterization of its female characters, such as Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Starfire and Voodoo, and for cancelling books with female leads like Power Girl, and relegating the star of that series to the status of Mister Terrific's girlfriend.[135][136] Writer/editor Jim Shooter disliked the treatment of female characters in general, and referred to the treatment of Starfire in particular as "porn for kids".[137] Keith Phipps and Oliver Sava agreed with the observations of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws,[126] but opined that Voodoo was a positive example how to incorporate a female character's sexuality as a relevant aspect of the story without appearing exploitative.[122] Wheeler also complained that retconning Barbara Gordon's paralysis as a temporary injury from which she recovered,[95] and restoring her as Batgirl, to the exclusion of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, made the DC Universe less diverse and inclusive.[136] Responding to the criticism, Catwoman writer Judd Winick explained that it was DC that desired this tone for that book.[138]

Restoration of Barbara Gordon's mobility and aftermath

In June 2011, DC announced that Barbara Gordon would be returning to the role of Batgirl in September 2011, in her own eponymous monthly comic, as part of a company-wide relaunch of all of their titles. In addition, former Birds of Prey writer Gail Simone would be writing the series.[139] This announcement became one of the most controversial aspects of the DC Comics relaunch.[140] Supporters of Barbara Gordon in her persona as Oracle have expressed dismay over losing an iconic character for the disabled community. Journalist and blogger Jill Pantozzi, who is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, stated that:

[...] people being disabled is part of the real world, it is essential it be part of the fictional world as well... Writer Kevin Van Hook did a great job showing what disabled individuals have to go through in the mini-series Oracle: The Cure. It's that type of honesty I expect more of ... While some diverse characters were mishandled over the years, Oracle was always treated with the utmost respect but this move is the most disrespectful I've seen in a long time.[141]

Gail Simone responded directly by stating that at times when others had attempted to restore Gordon's mobility, she fought to keep her as a disabled character, even in light of requests from readers who also had disabilities that wished to see the character healed.[142] However, part of her reasoning for reversing her decision and writing Batgirl with Gordon as the title character was that:

[a]rms and legs get ripped off, and they grow back, somehow. Graves don't stay filled. But the one constant is that Barbara stays in that chair. Role model or not, that is problematic and uncomfortable, and the excuses to not cure her, in a world of purple rays and magic and super-science, are often unconvincing or wholly meta-textual. And the longer it goes on, the more it has stretched credibility. But now, everything has changed. If nearly everyone in the DCU, not just Batgirl but almost everyone, is now at a much earlier stage in their career, then my main objection no longer applies, because we are seeing Barbara at an earlier starting point.[142]

Former Batman writer and editor Dennis O'Neil and Oracle co-creator John Ostrander expressed disappointment over the change. O'Neil stated that during his tenure at DC, "[W]e had hordes of people in spandex beating up criminals ... We didn't have anybody like Oracle, who overcame a disability and was just as valuable and just as effective in a way that didn't involve violence." However, he also stated that from an alternate point of view, "Barbara Gordon's perception in the mainstream public as Batgirl would be a very valid consideration." Ostrander continues to view Oracle as a stronger character than Batgirl, but has also expressed faith in Gail Simone's skills as a writer. He commented that "[t]imes change and characters and people evolve. I changed things when I wrote characters, including changing Barbara to Oracle. Others do the same for this era ... Gail Simone is a good friend and a wonderful writer and I'm sure her work will be wonderful."[143]

Editorial controversies

A number of editorial controversies emerged in the wake of The New 52, prompting Topless Robot, a genre website owned by The Village Voice, to publish an article in September 2013, "The Eight Biggest DC Creative Screw-Ups Since the New 52 Began". A number of these controversies concerned firings or resignations of creators, which in some cases, stemmed from conflicts between those creators and editorial decisions.[144]

Writer/artist George Pérez, who left Superman after six issues, explained his departure in July 2012 as a result of the level of editorial oversight exerted on the title. This included the inconsistent reasons given for rewrites of his material, the inability of editors to answer basic questions about the new Superman's status quo, such as whether his adoptive parents were still alive, and the restrictions created by not being told that Action Comics, with which Superman had to remain consistent, was set five years before Superman, a situation complicated by the fact that Action writer Grant Morrison was not forthcoming about his plans.[145]

In the following month Rob Liefeld, who had been hired by DC to plot Grifter and The Savage Hawkman, and to plot and draw Deathstroke, and who had indicated the previous month that his run on those titles would last into 2013,[146][147] announced that he was quitting DC Comics, with his last issues being the #0 issues to be published that September. Though he characterized his experience on The New 52 as positive overall, he did not disguise his animosity toward editor Brian Smith, with whom he clashed, being among his reasons for leaving the company.[148][149] Other reasons he cited were frequent rewrites of his material, and the overall corporate culture that was more prevalent now that both DC and Marvel were owned by large media conglomerates. Liefeld also referred to Scott Clark's artwork on Grifter as "crap".[150] In response to these events, artist Pete Woods defended DC editorial, stating that the restrictions placed on creators was the result of a plan they had for all 52 of their titles that required them to be consistent with one another.[150] Marvel's Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort and writer Gail Simone defended Brian Smith, disputing Liefeld's characterization of him, leading to a heated exchange on Twitter between Liefeld and Brevoort,[150][151] and eventually head Batman writer Scott Snyder as well.[150][151][152]

In late November 2012, Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool had noted the possibility of Gail Simone leaving Batgirl and possibly DC Comics as a whole.[153] In December 2012, Gail Simone had revealed that she was no longer the writer of Batgirl,[154] despite the title being a consistent top-seller which had received favorable reviews.[130] She had been informed by her new editor, Brian Cunningham, via e-mail of the creative change.[155] Ray Fawkes would fill-in for two issues, Batgirl #17 and #18.[156] Twelve days after being fired, however, Gail Simone had announced that she had been re-hired as the writer of Batgirl, and that she would return following Fawkes' issues.[157]

In March 2013, both Andy Diggle and Joshua Hale Fialkov announced that they would be leaving their writing duties at DC Comics. Diggle had previously signed as ongoing writer of Action Comics starting with issue #19, following Grant Morrison's run on the title. However, Diggle later announced that he would be leaving the title before the first issue had even been published, citing professional reasons. He is credited as the sole writer in issue #19. Series artist Tony Daniel finished Diggle's work on the title as a scripter.[158] Fialkov was signed to write both Red Lanterns and Green Lantern Corps following Geoff Johns's departure from the Green Lantern line, however, Fialkov left DC Comics without a single issue being written by him due to creative differences with editorial.[159]

In September 2013, J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman announced their intention to leave Batwoman with issue 26, citing last-minute editorial changes as the reason.[160] Among these editorial decisions was a prohibition on having the title character marry her fiancée Maggie Sawyer. Co-Publisher Dan DiDio explained that the major superheroes in the Batman family of books should not get married because finding true happiness would undermine the angst and turmoil that typify those characters, and their commitment to the superhero lives they lead. Writer Marc Andreyko, who is openly gay himself, took over the title with issue 25, which featured a "Batman: Zero Year" tie-in.[161] This creative change interrupted the finale to Williams' and Blackman's work on the title; they had already written issues 25 and 26 prior to their departure.[162] Andreyko resolved Batwoman #24's cliffhanger ending in Batwoman Annual #1.[163]

Other media

  • In the video game Batman: Arkham Origins, skins based on Batman's New 52 costume design (and a metallic variant) and the Batman of Earth 2's New 52 design, are available to be unlocked.[164][165][166]
  • In the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, three alternate costumes based on The New 52 designs of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were packaged with the Collector's Edition of the game.[167] "The New 52" skin pack was later released as DLC, alongside an "Earth 2" skin pack, featuring Solomon Grundy, The Flash and Hawkgirl's designs from the Earth 2 series.[168] Alternate costumes based on The New 52 designs of Nightwing, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Shazam are also unlockable in the game.[169] In the PlayStation 4 edition of the game, a skin based on The New 52 Black Adam is available.[170]
  • The 2014 direct-to-video animated feature, Justice League: War, is based on the first New 52 Justice League storyline, "Origin". Aquaman's The New 52 origin is examined in the DC Universe Animated film Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.[171]

See also

  • "Flashpoint", the storyline that leads directly into The New 52
  • DC Rebirth, the initiative that follows The New 52
  • DC Implosion, a 1978 event in which DC cancelled or reformatted many of its titles, although not for the purposes of rebooting the fictional universe
  • "Crisis on Infinite Earths", a similar 1985 storyline, used to simplify and reboot concepts in the DC Universe
  • "Infinite Crisis", the 2005–2006 sequel storyline to Crisis on Infinite Earths

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Aquaman

Aquaman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941). Initially a backup feature in DC's anthology titles, Aquaman later starred in several volumes of a solo comic book series. During the late 1950s and 1960s superhero-revival period known as the Silver Age, he was a founding member of the Justice League. In the 1990s Modern Age, writers interpreted Aquaman's character more seriously, with storylines depicting the weight of his role as king of Atlantis.The character's original 1960s animated appearances left a lasting impression, making Aquaman widely recognized in popular culture and one of the world's most recognized superheroes. Jokes about his wholesome, weak portrayal in Super Friends and perceived feeble powers and abilities have been staples of comedy programs and stand-up routines, leading DC at several times to attempt to make the character edgier or more powerful in comic books. Modern comic book depictions have attempted to reconcile these various aspects of his public perception, casting Aquaman as serious and brooding, saddled with an ill reputation, and struggling to find a true role and purpose beyond his public side as a deposed king and a fallen hero.Aquaman has been featured in several adaptations, first appearing in animated form in the 1967 The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure and then in the related Super Friends program. Since then he has appeared in various animated productions, including prominent roles in the 2000s series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as well as several DC Universe Animated Original Movies. Actor Alan Ritchson also portrayed the character in the live-action television show Smallville. In the DC Extended Universe, actor Jason Momoa portrayed the character in the films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and Aquaman.

Barbara Gordon

Barbara Gordon is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. The character was created by William Dozier, Julius Schwartz, and Carmine Infantino. At the request of the producers of the 1960s Batman television series, DC editor Schwartz called for a new female counterpart to the superhero Batman that could be introduced into publication and the third season of the show simultaneously. The character subsequently made her first comic book appearance as Batgirl in Detective Comics #359, titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" (January 1967), by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino.Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon, the sister of James Gordon Jr., and is initially employed as head of the Gotham City Public Library. Although the character appeared in various DC Comics publications, she was prominently featured in Batman Family which debuted in 1975, partnered with the original Robin, Dick Grayson. In 1988, following the editorial retirement of the character's Batgirl persona in Batgirl Special #1, the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke depicts the Joker shooting her through the spinal cord in her civilian identity, resulting in paraplegia. In subsequent stories, the character was reestablished as a technical advisor, computer expert and information broker known as Oracle. Providing intelligence and computer hacking services to assist other superheroes, she makes her first appearance as Oracle in Suicide Squad #23 (1989) and later became a featured lead of the Birds of Prey series. Reverting the character to her Batgirl persona, DC Comics relaunched its comic book titles in 2011 during The New 52 event, featuring her in the eponymous Batgirl monthly title as well as Birds of Prey. These changes were retained for the second company wide relaunch in 2016 known as DC Rebirth.

The character was a popular comic book figure during the Silver Age of Comic Books, due to her appearances in the Batman television series and continued media exposure. She has achieved similar popularity in the Modern Age of Comic Books under the Birds of Prey publication and as a disabled icon. The character has been the subject of academic analysis concerning the roles of women, librarians and disabled people in mainstream media. The events of The Killing Joke, which led to the character's paralysis, as well as the restoration of her mobility, has also been a subject of debate among comic book writers, artists, editors and readership. Viewpoints range from sexism in comic books, to the limited visibility of disabled characters and the practicality of disabilities existing in a fictional universe where magic, technology, and medical science exceed the limitations of the real world.

As both Batgirl and Oracle, Barbara Gordon has been featured in various adaptations related to the Batman franchise, including television, film, animation, video games, and other merchandise. The character has been portrayed by Yvonne Craig and Dina Meyer and has been voiced by Melissa Gilbert, Tara Strong, Danielle Judovits, Alyson Stoner, Mae Whitman, Kimberly Brooks, Ashley Greene and Rosario Dawson, among others. In 2011, she was ranked 17th in IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes".

Batman Incorporated

Batman Incorporated (also known as Batman, Inc.) was an ongoing American comic book series published by DC Comics, featuring the superhero Batman. Written by Grant Morrison, the series debuted following the events of Batman R.I.P, Final Crisis, Batman and Robin, and The Return of Bruce Wayne where, after being stranded in the distant past and believed dead, Bruce Wayne has returned to the present day DC Universe. Now, he is prepared to take his war on crime to the next level, by essentially "franchising" it and drafting, training and commanding a global team of heroes who will answer to Batman himself called Batman Incorporated.In the series, one of the primary themes present is Batman traveling across the world seeking to use the symbolic power that the Batman has on a global scale. For the first volume of the series, Wayne is featured wearing a new costume designed by David Finch, to further distinguish him from Dick Grayson, who was still operating as Batman before the DC Universe Relaunch. After the relaunch, Wayne was again the only character serving as Batman and would be shown wearing the costume that first premiered in August 2011's Justice League #1, designed by DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee.In the wake of the relaunch of the DC Universe under The New 52 initiative, the first volume of Batman Incorporated came to an end in December 2011. In May 2012, the series returned with a new first issue, continuing the narrative of the first series while incorporating the altered elements of DC Universe continuity and characters into the new series.

DC Universe

The DC Universe (DCU) is the fictional shared universe where most stories in American comic book titles published by DC Comics take place. DC superheroes such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are from this universe, and it also contains well known supervillains such as Lex Luthor, the Joker, and Darkseid. In context, the term "DC Universe" usually refers to the main DC continuity.

The term "DC Multiverse" refers to the collection of all continuities within DC Comics publications. Within the Multiverse, the main DC Universe has gone by many names, but in recent years has been referred to by "Prime Earth" (not to be confused with "Earth Prime") or "Earth 0".

The main DC Universe, as well as the alternate realities related to it, began as the first shared universe in comic books and were quickly adapted to other media such as film serials or radio dramas. In subsequent decades, the continuity between all of these media became increasingly complex with certain storylines and events designed to simplify or streamline the more confusing aspects of characters' histories.

Desaad

DeSaad is a fictional comic book supervillain, appearing in books published by DC Comics. He is one of the followers of Darkseid from the planet of Apokolips in Jack Kirby's Fourth World meta-series.As DeSaad serves as Darkseid's master torturer, his name refers to Marquis de Sade. At one point DeSaad had an assistant named Justeen, a reference to de Sade's novel Justine, although she bore little resemblance to the title character.

Dick Grayson

Richard John Grayson is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Batman. Created by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane, he first appeared in Detective Comics #38 in April 1940 as the original incarnation of Robin. In Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July 1984) the character retires his role as Robin and assumes the superhero persona of Nightwing, created by Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez.

The youngest in a family of acrobats known as the "Flying Graysons", Dick watches a mafia boss named Tony Zucco kill his parents in order to extort money from the circus that employed them. After the tragic murder, Batman (Bruce Wayne) takes Dick in as his legal ward (retconned as an adopted son in some cases) and trains him to become his crime-fighting partner Robin. He is written by many authors as the first son of Batman. As well as being Batman's crime-fighting partner, Dick establishes himself as the leader of the Teen Titans, a team of teenage superheroes. As a young man, he retires as Robin and takes on his own superhero identity to assert his independence, becoming Nightwing. As Nightwing, he continues to lead the Teen Titans and later the Outsiders. In the first volume of his eponymous series (1996–2009), he becomes the protector of Blüdhaven, Gotham's economically troubled neighboring city, the locale the character is most closely associated with. He has also been depicted as protecting the streets of New York, Chicago, and Gotham City over the years.

Dick Grayson has taken on the identity of Batman on a few occasions. In the aftermath of "Batman: Knightfall", Grayson initially declines taking up the mantle of Batman while the original was recovering from a broken back as he feels Nightwing is a hero in his own right and not Batman's understudy, but after the events of the Zero Hour miniseries later that year, he replaces Bruce Wayne as Batman, beginning in Robin #0 (1994) and extending throughout the Batman: Prodigal storyline in 1995. Dick again assumes the mantle following the events of "Batman R.I.P." (2008) and Final Crisis (2008–2009). As Batman, Dick moves to Gotham City following his mentor's apparent death and partners with the fifth Robin, Damian Wayne. On Bruce's return, both men maintained the Batman identity until 2011, when Dick returned to the Nightwing identity with DC's The New 52 continuity reboot. In a 2014 comic story, Dick is forced to abandon the Nightwing identity after being unmasked on TV and faking his death, setting up Tim Seeley's Grayson comic book, Dick becomes Agent 37, Batman's mole in the nefarious spy organization Spyral. Following the conclusion of the Grayson series, and the restoration of his secret identity in the series' final issue, Dick returns to being Nightwing as part of the DC Rebirth relaunch in 2016.

Dick Grayson has appeared as Robin (Batman’s sidekick) in several other media adaptations: the 1943 serial played by Douglas Croft, the 1949 serial played by Johnny Duncan, the 1966–1968 live action Batman television series and its motion picture portrayed by Burt Ward, played by Chris O'Donnell in the 1995 film Batman Forever and its 1997 sequel Batman & Robin. He stars on the Titans television series for the new DC streaming service played by Brenton Thwaites. Loren Lester voiced the character as Robin in Batman: The Animated Series and later as Nightwing's first screen adaptation in The New Batman Adventures. In May 2011, IGN ranked Dick Grayson #11 on their list of the "Top 100 Super Heroes of All Time". In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Grayson as Nightwing as #1 on their list of the "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics".

Donna Troy

Donna Troy is a comic book superheroine published by DC Comics. She first appeared in The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #60 (July 1965), and was created by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. She has been known as the original Wonder Girl, and Troia.

In May 2011, Donna Troy placed 93rd on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time.

Donna Troy has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. She appeared in her first live adaptation on the Titans television series for the new DC Universe streaming service played by Conor Leslie.

Green Arrow

Green Arrow is a fictional superhero who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Mort Weisinger and designed by George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His real name is Oliver Jonas Queen, a wealthy businessman and owner of Queen Industries who is also a well-known celebrity in Star City. Sometimes shown dressed like the character Robin Hood, Green Arrow is an archer who uses his skills to fight crime in his home cities of Star City and Seattle, as well as alongside his fellow superheroes as a member of the Justice League. Though much less frequently used in modern stories, he also deploys a range of trick arrows with various special functions, such as glue, explosive-tipped, grappling hook, flash grenade, tear gas and even kryptonite arrows for use in a range of special situations. At the time of his debut, Green Arrow functioned in many ways as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman character, but writers at DC subsequently developed him into a voice of left-wing politics very much distinct in character from Batman.

Green Arrow enjoyed moderate success in his early years, becoming the cover feature of More Fun, as well as having occasional appearances in other comics. Throughout his first twenty-five years, however, the character never enjoyed greater popularity. In the late 1960s, writer Denny O'Neil, inspired by the character's dramatic visual redesign by Neal Adams, chose to have him lose his fortune, giving him the then-unique role of a streetwise crusader for the working class and the disadvantaged. In 1970, he was paired with a more law and order-oriented hero, Green Lantern, in a ground-breaking, socially conscious comic book series. Since then, he has been popular among comic book fans and most writers have taken an urban, gritty approach to the character. The character was killed off in the 1990s and replaced by a new character, Oliver's son Connor Hawke. Connor, however, proved a less popular character, and the original Oliver Queen character was resurrected in the 2001 "Quiver" storyline, by writer Kevin Smith. In the 2000s, the character has been featured in bigger storylines focusing on Green Arrow and Black Canary, such as the DC event The Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding and the high-profile Justice League: Cry for Justice storyline, prior to the character's relaunch alongside most of DC's properties in 2011.

Green Arrow was not initially a well-known character outside of comic book fandom: he had appeared in a single episode of the animated series Super Friends in 1973. In the 2000s, the character appeared in a number of DC television properties, including the animated series Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice, The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and several DC Universe Animated Original Movies. In live action, he appeared in the series Smallville, played by actor Justin Hartley, and became a core cast member. In 2012, the live action series Arrow debuted on The CW, in which the title character is portrayed by Stephen Amell, and launching several spin-off series, becoming the starting point for a DC Comics shared television universe called the Arrowverse.

Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn (Harleen Frances Quinzel) is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, and first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series in September 1992. She later appeared in DC Comics's Batman comic books, with the character's first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993). In her depictions she has been portrayed as a physician psychiatrist and as a psychologist.

Harley Quinn is a frequent accomplice and lover of the Joker, whom she met while working as an intern Psychiatrist at Gotham City's Arkham Asylum, where the Joker was a patient. Her name is a play on the name "Harlequin", a character which originated in commedia dell'arte. The character has teamed up with fellow villains the Catwoman and Poison Ivy several times, the trio being known as the Gotham City Sirens. Poison Ivy is known to be a close friend and recurring ally of Harley, even being depicted as her girlfriend in recent comics. Since The New 52, she is now depicted as an antihero and has left her past as a supervillain behind. However, she is still depicted as a supervillain at times. Harley Quinn has also been depicted as a member of the Suicide Squad.

Justice League

The Justice League is a team of fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The Justice League was conceived by writer Gardner Fox, and they first appeared together, as Justice League of America (JLA) in The Brave and the Bold #28 (March 1960).The Justice League is an assemblage of superheroes who join together as a team. The seven original members were Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman. The team roster has rotated throughout the years, consisting of various superheroes from the DC Universe, such as The Atom, Big Barda, Black Canary, Cyborg, Green Arrow, Elongated Man, the third Flash, the third Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, Power Girl, Orion, Red Tornado, Stargirl, Captain Marvel/Shazam and Zatanna, among many others.

The team received its own comic book title called Justice League of America in November 1960. With the 2011 relaunch, DC Comics released a second volume of Justice League. In July 2016, the DC Rebirth initiative again relaunched the Justice League comic book titles with the third volume of Justice League. Since its inception, the team has been featured in various films, television programs and video games.

List of Batman supporting characters

The Batman supporting characters are a collective of fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics featuring the superhero, Batman, as the main protagonist.

Since Batman's introduction in 1939, the character has accumulated a number of recognizable supporting characters. The first Batman supporting character was Commissioner James Gordon, who first appeared in the same comic book as Batman in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), and is Batman's ally in the Gotham City Police Department. Robin, Batman's vigilante partner, was introduced in the Spring of 1940, Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler, was introduced in 1943, and Barbara Gordon was introduced in 1967.

"Batman Family" is the informal term for Batman's closest allies, generally masked vigilantes operating in Gotham City. Batman also forms strong bonds or close working relationships with other superheroes, including Justice League members Superman, Green Arrow, Zatanna and Wonder Woman as well as members of the Outsiders superhero team. Others such as Jason Bard, Harold, Onyx, and Toyman work for him.

In addition, Batman has perhaps the most well known collection of adversaries in fiction, commonly referred to as Batman's rogues gallery, which includes the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Two-Face, among others.

Question (comics)

The Question (real name Charles Victor Szasz, better known as Vic Sage) is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer-artist Steve Ditko, the Question first appeared in Charlton Comics' Blue Beetle #1 (June 1967). The character was acquired by DC Comics in the early 1980s and incorporated into the DC Universe.

The Question's secret identity was originally Vic Sage. However, after the events of the 2006–2007 miniseries 52, Sage's protégé Renee Montoya took up his mantle and became his successor. Following the DC relaunch The New 52, Sage is reintroduced as a government agent.

As conceived by Ditko, the Question was an adherent of objectivism during his career as a minor Charlton hero, much like Ditko's earlier creation, Mr. A. In a 1987–1990 solo series from DC, the character developed a Zen-like philosophy.

Richard Dragon

Richard Dragon is a fictional comic book character created by Dennis O'Neil and James R. Berry in the novel Kung Fu Master, Richard Dragon: Dragon's Fists (1974) under the pseudonym "Jim Dennis". O'Neil later adapted the character for DC Comics in the comic book Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter.Dragon is a thief who was trained in martial arts and decides to use his abilities for good. Along with Batman, Bronze Tiger, Black Canary, and Lady Shiva he is considered one of the top martial artists in the DC Universe.

In DC's The New 52 continuity, Jeff Lemire introduced a new villanous character going by the name Richard Dragon, who was later revealed to be Ricardo Diaz, Jr., and to have been mentored by and killed the original heroic Richard Dragon. This later version of the character is subsequently adapted for the live-action TV series Arrow, portrayed by Kirk Acevedo and going by the name the "Dragon".

Robin (character)

Robin is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson, to serve as a junior counterpart to the superhero Batman. The character's first incarnation, Dick Grayson, debuted in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Conceived as a way to attract young readership, Robin garnered overwhelmingly positive critical reception, doubling the sales of the Batman titles. The early adventures of Robin included Star Spangled Comics #65–130 (1947–1952), which was the character's first solo feature. Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books and other DC Comics publications from 1940 through the early 1980s until the character set aside the Robin identity and became the independent superhero Nightwing. The team of Batman and Robin has commonly been referred to as the Caped Crusaders or Dynamic Duo.

The character's second incarnation Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983). This Robin made regular appearances in Batman related comic books until 1988, when the character was murdered by the Joker in the storyline "A Death in the Family" (1989). Jason would later find himself alive after a reality changing incident, eventually becoming the Red Hood. The premiere Robin limited series was published in 1991 which featured the character's third incarnation Tim Drake training to earn the role of Batman's vigilante partner. Following two successful sequels, the monthly Robin ongoing series began in 1993 and ended in early 2009, which also helped his transition from sidekick to a superhero in his own right. In 2004 storylines, established DC Comics character Stephanie Brown became the fourth Robin for a short duration before the role reverted to Tim Drake. Damian Wayne succeeds Drake as Robin in the 2009 story arc "Battle for the Cowl".

Following the 2011 continuity reboot "the New 52", Tim Drake was revised as having assumed the title Red Robin, and Jason Todd, operating as the Red Hood, was slowly repairing his relationship with Batman. Dick Grayson resumed his role as Nightwing and Stephanie Brown was introduced anew under her previous moniker Spoiler in the pages of Batman Eternal (2014). The 2016 DC Rebirth continuity relaunch starts off with Damian Wayne as Robin, Tim Drake as Red Robin, Jason Todd as Red Hood, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing. Robins have also been featured throughout stories set in parallel worlds, owing to DC Comics' longstanding "Multiverse" concept. For example, in the original Earth-Two, Dick Grayson never adopted the name Nightwing, and continues operating as Robin into adulthood. In the New 52's "Earth-2" continuity, Robin is Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman, who was stranded on the Earth of the main continuity and takes the name Huntress.

Steppenwolf (comics)

Steppenwolf is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Jack Kirby and made his first appearance in New Gods #7 (February 1972). Steppenwolf (which is German for "steppe wolf") is one of the New Gods, the uncle of the supervillain Darkseid, the brother of Heggra, the great-uncle of Kalibak and Orion, and a member of Darkseid's Elite.

The character made his live-action debut in Zack Snyder's Justice League film, played by Ciarán Hinds.

Teen Titans

The Teen Titans, also known as the New Teen Titans or simply the Titans, are a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, often in an eponymous monthly series. As the group's name suggests, its members are teenage superheroes, many of whom have acted as sidekicks to DC's premiere superheroes in the Justice League. First appearing in 1964 in The Brave and the Bold #54, the team was founded by Kid Flash (Wally West), Robin (Dick Grayson), and Aqualad (Garth), with the team adopting the name Teen Titans in issue 60 following the addition of Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) to its ranks.Over the decades, DC has cancelled and relaunched Teen Titans many times, and a variety of characters have been featured heroes in its pages. Significant early additions to the initial quartet of Titans were Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy (Roy Harper), Aquagirl, Bumblebee, Hawk and Dove, and three heroes who did not wear costumes: boxer Mal Duncan, psychic Lilith, and caveman Gnarrk. The series became a genuine hit for the first time however during its 1980s revival as The New Teen Titans under writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez. This run depicted the original Titans now as young adults and introduced new characters Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, as well as the former Doom Patrol member Beast Boy (then known as Changeling), who would all become enduring fan-favorites. A high point for the series both critically and commercially was its famous "The Judas Contract" storyline, in which the team is betrayed by its member Terra to its archenemy Deathstroke.

Stories in the 2000s introduced a radically different Teen Titans team made up of newer DC Comics sidekicks such as the new Robin (Tim Drake), Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), and Kid Flash (Bart Allen), as well as Superboy (Kon-El), some of whom had previously featured in the similar title Young Justice. Later prominent additions from this era included Miss Martian, Ravager (Rose Wilson), Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), and Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes). Concurrently, DC also published Titans, which featured some of the original and 1980s members now as adults, led by Dick Grayson in his adult persona of Nightwing. Later, a new run following DC's The New 52 reboot in 2011 introduced new characters to the founding roster, including Solstice, Bunker (Miguel Jose Barragan) and Skitter (Celine Patterson), although this new volume proved commercially and critically disappointing for DC. In 2016, DC used the Titans Hunt and DC Rebirth storylines to re-establish the group's original founding members and history, reuniting these classic heroes as the Titans, while introducing a new generation of Teen Titans led by new Robin (Damian Wayne) featuring the new Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) and Kid Flash (Wally West II).

The Teen Titans have been adapted to other media numerous times, and have enjoyed a higher profile since Cartoon Network's light-hearted Teen Titans animated television series in the early-mid 2000s, as well as its DC Nation spin-off Teen Titans Go!. A live-action Teen Titans series was in development for the network TNT before moving production to DC's in-house web television service DC Universe. Its characters and stories were also adapted into the 2010s animated series Young Justice. Within DC Comics, the Teen Titans have been an influential group of characters taking prominent roles in all of the publisher's major company-wide crossover stories. Many villains who face the Titans have since taken on a larger role within the publisher's fictional universe, such as Deathstroke, the demon Trigon, and the evil organization H.I.V.E.

Tim Drake

Tim Drake is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. Created by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick, he first appeared in Batman #436 (August 1989) as the third character to assume the role of Batman's vigilante partner Robin. Following the events in Batman: Battle for the Cowl in 2009, Drake adopted the alias of Red Robin. As of 2019, Tim has returned to his original Robin persona in the Wonder Comics relaunch of Young Justice.

As a young boy, Drake was in the audience the night Dick Grayson's parents were murdered and later managed to discover the identities of Batman and the original Robin through their exploits. After the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and witnessing Batman spiral into darkness, Tim was convinced that he should train to become the third Robin.

The character has been featured in various adaptations, including the animated television series The New Batman Adventures, Young Justice: Invasion, and the video game series Batman: Arkham. In 2011, Tim Drake was ranked 32nd in IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character is a founding member of the Justice League. The character first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in October 1941 with her first feature in Sensation Comics #1, January 1942. The Wonder Woman title has been published by DC Comics almost continuously except for a brief hiatus in 1986. In her homeland, the island nation of Themyscira, her official title is Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta. When blending into the society outside of her homeland, she adopts her civilian identity Diana Prince.Wonder Woman was created by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston (pen name: Charles Moulton), and artist Harry G. Peter. Marston's wife, Elizabeth, and their life partner, Olive Byrne, are credited as being his inspiration for the character's appearance. Marston's comics featured his ideas on DISC theory, and the character drew a great deal of inspiration from early feminists, and especially from birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger; in particular, her piece "Woman and the New Race".

Wonder Woman's origin story relates that she was sculpted from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and was given a life to live as an Amazon, along with superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods. In recent years, DC changed her background with the revelation that she is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, jointly raised by her mother and her aunts Antiope and Menalippe. The character has changed in depiction over the decades, including briefly losing her powers entirely in the 1970s; by the 1980s, artist George Perez gave her a muscular look and emphasized her Amazonian heritage. She possesses an arsenal of advanced technology, including the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in older stories, a range of devices based on Amazon technology.

Wonder Woman's character was created during World War II; the character in the story was initially depicted fighting Axis military forces as well as an assortment of colorful supervillains, although over time her stories came to place greater emphasis on characters, deities, and monsters from Greek mythology. Many stories depicted Wonder Woman rescuing herself from bondage, which defeated the "damsels in distress" trope that was common in comics during the 1940s. In the decades since her debut, Wonder Woman has gained a cast of enemies bent on eliminating the Amazon, including classic villains such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as Veronica Cale and the First Born. Wonder Woman has also regularly appeared in comic books featuring the superhero teams Justice Society (from 1941) and Justice League (from 1960).The character is a well-known figure in popular culture that has been adapted to various media. June 3 is Wonder Woman Day. Wonder Woman is part of the DC Comics trinity of flagship characters alongside Batman and Superman.

The New 52
Ongoing series
Miniseries
See also
Creators
Comics
Adaptations
Characters
Parodies
See also

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