Comics Speculator: The End of DC Comics’ ‘New 52’

Recently, DC made a major announcement; one that shook DC collectors—old and new—to their very core. The New 52, DC’s relaunch of its entire line that took place a little more than three years ago, is coming to an end. According to the press release DC will be canceling 14 ongoing series in March, and then after its April/May Convergence event, it will launch 24 new titles in June.

The end of the New 52 comes complete with another mini-series, Divergence, that will set the new status quo for comics’ first super hero universe.

The end of the New 52 comes complete with another mini-series, Divergence, that will set the new status quo for comics’ first super hero universe.

Some media outlets called it the cancellation of the New 52, others called it another reboot. At the end of the day, most of us just stared blankly at the articles on our favorite comic news sites and wondered what the heck is going on in the DC office (which is in the process of moving to Burbank, Calif.)?

On the podcast I co-host, we’re actually hosting a pseudo-support-group call-in show for confused and angry fans. It’s a strange time for the DC Universe. Some fans (me included) are happy to see the New 52 go, while others who just got on board are devastated. From the look of the creative teams announced for the new titles, it seems DC editorial is going to allow creators to do what they do best—create without being beholden to rigid continuity.

It certainly seems to have worked for Batgirl, who got a new look and address, along with a much younger, hipper feel to the series. While elder-nerds (like me) might not recognize this new Batgirl, you can’t argue that it gave the series some serious hype and improved sales. Black Canary seems to be getting similar treatment in her new title, which sees the character re-imagined as the lead singer of a super-hip-rock-band. Will this new push/reboot/relaunch/retooling work? Is it an over-course-correction? We’ll all find out this June. The only thing certain at this point is that this is not the first time, and probably not the last, that DC has shaken up its entire universe.

As always, some of these new titles announced will be under-printed and under-ordered, but it’s just way too early to call my shot on any speculation yet. For now, I thought it might be interesting to look at some past comics that changed the DCU forever.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, DC, 1985, Death of Barry Allen

Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, DC, 1985, Death of Barry Allen

Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, DC, 1985, Death of Barry Allen

Back in the mid-1980s, writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez were given the task of removing the Multiverse from DC continuity and crushing all the different U’s into one cohesive DCU. If that makes perfect sense to you, congratulations, you are a comic nerd. Continuity was smashed, universes destroyed and, of course, heroes died. The most notable death being that of Barry Allen, the second Flash and the character who ushered in the Silver-Age of comics.

What’s it worth: Currently, Crisis #8 guides out at $14 in 9.4 Near Mint condition and you can pick up a copy for that price in that condition at most comic shops or online. CGC graded copies in 9.4 are selling for $45 to $110 in 9.8 condition. Now is a good time to buy a copy if you’re in the market.

Zero Hour #4, DC, 1994, Preview Edition

Zero Hour #4, DC, 1994, Preview Edition

Zero Hour #4, DC, 1994, Preview Edition

In the mid-1990s the changes made in Crisis had created all manner of questions regarding characters origins, timelines, etc. So, it was time to change things up again. Zero Hour was another universe unraveling story that would see some heroes live, others die and others changed to make a little more sense.

What’s it worth: Issue #4 shipped with a few different covers but the one to grab is the preview edition. This was a promotional copy sent to retailers to hype the end of the event. Currently, there are only three copies of issue #4 in the CGC Census graded in 9.8 condition and none of the preview editions in any condition. It’s almost impossible to know the exact print run, but it’s very low. Currently, this comic guides for $12 but good luck finding it anywhere. If you can find one, $12 is probably a steal.

These are just a couple of the comics that changed the DCU in the past. This new change comes complete with another mini-series, Divergence, that will set the new status quo for comics’ first super hero universe. The New 52 is dead… Long live the DCU…


Matt Baum is Worthpoint’s comic book Worthologist and Co-Host of the Two-Headed Nerd Comic Book Podcast. If you have questions about these comics or any others feel free to post them in the comments section below or hit him up on Twitter, where he’s constantly yelling about stuff even nerdier than what you just read.

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