DC Comics’ New 52 Reboot: The Complete Guide

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

Guide to the DC New 52 DC Comics New 52 Reboot: The Complete Guide

The DC Comics Reboot – or the DC relaunch, or The New 52, or whatever you want to call it – is probably the biggest thing to happen to comic books since Crisis On Infinite Earths nearly 26 years ago. Not just in terms of changing the canonical status quo, but also in terms of the way comic books are sold.

Every DC Comics book from here on out will be digitally distributed “day and date.” This means that on the same day individual issues hit the shelves of your local comic store, they’ll also be available to read digitally on your iPad, your iPhone, your Android, and so forth. In a world where print is dying, the economy is drying up, and comic book sales are laughable, this is a big deal—at least as far as comic books are concerned.

Courtesy of Hero Complex, The New 52 is already on its way to dominating the comic book market share in September – a rare feat for DC in the past, uhm, four decades - with six books that have preorders over 100,000. A little context for you – it has not been uncommon for entire months to go by in 2011 where not a single DC book has reached 100k in sales. Six in a single month, you say? Well, bless my soul!

You can click any of the links below to skip to a particular week of the guide:


For visual aid, Check out all 52 covers on one poster, via the DCU Source Blog:


DC The New 52 Poster 280x364 DC Comics New 52 Reboot: The Complete Guide

Furthermore, Justice League – technically an August book – has sold out with preorders of over 200,000 units, which would make it the best-selling comic book of 2011 so far (by far). Whatever your thoughts are about The New 52, it’s obvious that DC’s gamble has paid off … at least in the short-term. Only time will tell if those numbers stick around, or if digital sales (which are unlikely to be available for public perusal) can save the industry as we know it. Spoiler Alert: Yes, they can…they just can’t save comic book stores.

Check out The DC New 52 trailer below:



For superhero movie fans looking to acquire any miniscule amount of information as to what forthcoming DC Comics film adaptations might entail – from Man of Steel to Wonder Woman to The Flash to Justice League – the New 52 is the place to start, which is why we’ve created this extensive guide to help you navigate all 52 new titles, from Action Comics on down to Wonder Woman. After all, 52 comics is a lot of comics.

We will also rate the worthiness of each “New 52″ title according to the criteria outlined below. WARNING: These ratings are just my opinions and recommendations as a longtime comic fan. The final decision, of course, will be up to each reader to decide for his/herself:

  • BUY means what it sounds like it means. There are enough reliable variables in place for the comic to be worth an immediate purchase.
  • EH means there are reasons to buy a particular comic and reasons not to, so you should probably wait for critical consensus or word-of-mouth before you put money down. But hey! It’s your money, so whatever!
  • DO NOT BUY means do not buy, because why the heck would you even think about buying something like that until you know for a fact that it’s worth your hard-earned cash? 

Covers: Click any of the comic covers in our guide to check out a larger version of the artwork.

Launch Day & Week 1 of DC’s New 52…

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  1. Wow. Deathstroke cut off Jack Kirby’s head.


  2. interestingly supermans outfit in the new JLA uses a red belt instead of the red underwear similar to the new movie costume.


  4. For me Green Arrow is a must buy, the art sucks but the story will be great.

  5. Oh and one more thing, in the shortened version you didnt put Green Arrow any where so you named 51 comic recommendations not 52. lol

    • You got us there ;-). I’ve added ‘Green Arrow’ to the shortlist. Thanks!

      • Lol no problem :D

      • You actually also missed Red Hood and the Outlaws. I think that will make 52. I love the article by the way! Thanks!

  6. Incredible article! This post will be partially responsible for my buying of WAY too many comic books.

    • Thanks, J.C.!

  7. The video almost sold me on trying the new 52 and i have yet to view the rest of the article but my mind is made up and i will probably not buy any of these except maybe flashpoint in trade.

  8. hmmmm

  9. I am so glad I stopped buying comics 5 years ago.

  10. wonderman and deadpool in DC? tell me that those two dont look like them!!! 1:20 deadpool (little different costume, but same guns) and 1:30 is wonderman!!! talk about stealing…

  11. one of the reasons i never got into comic books was because the universe was so extensive. There are like a dozen Superman time lines and cross overs with other comics, spin offs and “dream sequences” that its very intimidating for someone who didnt grow up on them.

    This is a great chance for me to ease into an official linear storyline from the beginning.

  12. Cyborg is soooooooooooooooo lame

    • Nowadays he could actually be more relevant. He offers a dimension that most other superheroes (except for Mr. Terrific and Steel) doesn’t possess: unlimited access to technology. That’s important in this age. I’m also much more interested in Cyborg the character than Steel who had a similar role, as Steel was just too much of a copy of Superman for my tastes. I wwas very surprised Cyborg wasn’t getting his own book as well.

      But I think DC’s plan of replacing the Martin Manhunter with Cyborg is going to work well. For one thing, Martin Manhunter makes a very awkward public figure due to his obvious alien nature, and I can see him taking more of a prominent role on a team concept like Stormwatch.

      For another, Cyborg is a nice addition to the Justice League palette. We had green and green with Green Lantern & Martin Manhunter. Now we get (ironically) white.

      • Strangely enough, IMO, no writer has ever “known” what to do with Martian Manhunter — many of his arcs are about him as an outsider to Earth and the group, and only JLI (exasperated mentor with a dry wit) and Grant Morrison’s run (tactical commander on par with Batman/Superman in hierarchy) presented different roles for Martian Manhunter in the Justice League. (again, IMO so you might disagree) I agree with Phil that Martian Manhunter belongs better in Stormwatch, but also partly because of the writer’s fault: we mostly know him as the “backbone” of the JL because he’s been with it almost since the beginning, but beyond that his character role is constantly changing. Superman is the hero, Batman is the vigilante, Flash or GL is the goofy, younger team member, and Martian Manhunter…he’s always different.

        tl;dr I agree with Phil about the Martian Manhunter part. About the Cyborg part…not so sure. I think there were dozens of other characters that could’ve fit well into the dynamic. In a practical sense, certainly they need a tech guy. But that role could be filled by so many others that also have an interesting personality. Cyborg feels a bit like another boring hero, and I don’t see him falling into any particular character role in the dynamic. But again, IMO, and we’ll have to read it to see.

      • You see, I always saw MM as being like the wisest member of the JLA. He sort of projected an otherworldly knowledge and wisdom that none of the other members had, especially on Morrison’s run in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. For example, he was the first one who recognized that the Hyperclan were actually White Martians (I forget which storyline this was, I read it a while ago). I’m going to miss that aspect, but I do guess he is more in line with a team like Stormwatch.

        I think that Cyborg as a member of the JLA is something that DC has been building up to for a while. They’ve been grooming him for this since like the mid 2000s. I guess they felt that he was more mature than the other members of the Teen Titans and belonged on a more grown up team. I also think it should make for some interesting character dynamics. They can make him into an outsider, like Martian Manhunter, but not in the alien respect (someone who was born and outsider), but as a character who originated as a “regular” member of society, but as a result of his accident was made into an outsider. And they seem to be going in that direction, especially since in the #1 issue he’s seen talking with one of his friends about what he thinks superhumans are like and also because its revealed that his father researches superhumans/works with them.

        Also, as the youngest member of the team who’s getting used to his powers, they can make him out to be the “rookie” of the group, someone who isn’t sure if he’s cut out to be a superhero, but is still trying to be one.

  13. Good run-down, Ben Moore. I am impressed, I agreed with almost every one of your assessments. Well done.

    I think the “unidentified Star Sapphire” on the cover of the New Guardians is Fatality? But I don’t know that for sure.

    Also, I happen to like Jesus Merino’s artwork more than Perez’s these days – I loved Perez back in the day though, but I think his artistic skills have eroded in the last five years. I do agree that it’s an “EH” book though.

    The only “BUY” book I disagree with is Static Shock. Never been crazy about Scott McDaniel’s artwork. In its place I’ll be buying The Savage Hawkman instead – I agree about Philip Tan’s artwork being not very good on Batman & Robin, but so far it seems like he’s redeemed himself with this book.

    • Thanks, Phil. Appreciate it.

      Static Shock certainly doesn’t look like a homerun to me, but I appreciate the character and really hope the book’s a success. So let’s call it a buy with reservations.

  14. I scrolled down and saw that you marked Teen Titans as an “Eh.” Job well done. :)

  15. i dont get it, they are just kinda keeping some things while totally ignoring others? is this a new continuity? a reworking of the previous continuity? a cash grab? an avoidance of paying origin property rights to heirs of creators? All of the above?

    a few to many buys on the list if you ask me, not enough eh’s.

    Also, Deadpool, when created, bore resemblance to deathstroke, and was givin the name Wade Wilson as a inside joke bc deathstroke is Slade Wilson. Deadpool though became the more popular due to his utter insanity and zany antics in contrast to the typical tough as nails merc.

  16. Ok, so why exactly would an invulnerable being need armor?

    Batman – yes needs armor, regular dude
    Heck even the Flash & GL could use some armor, what with death lurking around every corner for these mere mortal supers…

    But Superman?!?!??? Why exactly would he need armor? Would the armor be more invulnerable than he is?

    • It’s Kryptonian armor, though. It’s the armor built by his people who were not invulnerable on their planet. It also looks like a throwback to Kirby, which is always a good thing, in my opinion.

      I’m not completely sold on the costume either, I just think most gripes are due to the fact that fans are incapable of accepting change in all its forms.

  17. I’m buying all 52 plus a few of the variant covers on the Green Lantern and Batman books as well as the Finch variant on Justice League…actually I got my Justice League # 1 today and the Finch variant cover….I got the final issue of Flashpoint too although I am interested to see how that turns out since it seems to me like they left WAY TOO MUCH for the final issue..haven’t even seen Zoom and I have collected every issue of Flashpoint along with all the tie-ins..it’s been underwhelming to say the least..Batman : Knight of Vengence was really good though!!

    • Batman: KOV was awesome. Brian Azzerello is Awesome.

      • Yeah Kofi..I loved the “twist” in that one..was a great spin on the mythos

  18. I collect both Marvel and DC so I am not knocking DC but Marvel’s Fear Itself has been a much better buy IMO…New Punisher is great..Daredevil meh.. Moon Knight..so-so..New Captain America is a good read..Uncanny X-Force is awesome(Art, colors and story arcs)

    • Uncanny X-Force is also awesome. Fantomex and Deadpool are a great pairing.

    • I’ve can’t stand Fear Itself. Art is awesome — hopefully Stuart Immonen will get a lot of money out of it — but Matt Fraction bores me to tears. Uncanny X-Force is great, though the Age of Apocalypse storyline has been underwhelming.

  19. Stopped buying comic books YEARS ago because they got ridiculously expensive-especially if you had to buy 4,5, or even 10 titles to follow the story lines weaved throughout the comic universe. I love the characters, always will, but I can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on comic books.

    • I often wait until they collect issues into trade paperbacks (tpb). They usually collect whole story lines, they’re cheaper than buying individual comics, and aren’t filled with ads. There are a lot of good deals online for comics and characters from many publishers. (Though I do admit I’ve subscribed to several of the new 52 titles.)

  20. I never really collected DC and haven’t been into comics for almost 15 years but, 52 comic title sounds like allot. I don’t recognize allot of this stuff and probably wouldn’t know half of Marvels stuff at this point. I just don’t think there was 52 issues out from Marvel and DC combined even back in the heyday.

    This digital download thing is going to help bury the comic shops even further though.

  21. Anything that even remotely signifies the U.N. as anything relevant is irrelevant!

  22. Wow Ben, regardless of whether I agree with your opinions or not that was a CRAP TON of work there so I applaud the effort!

    I also still think it’s total and complete garbage they felt the need to replace a such a unique character as Martian Manhunter with the somewhat lame Cyborg in the JL founding member line-up. I have my suspicions as to the reasons for the change but will reserve commenting further about it.

    • Thanks, Mongoose.

  23. I foresee this becoming a bastardized quagmire of unprecedented proportions in the annals of comic book history! Political correctness f*cks everything up it infects & apparently now comics too.

    • @ wolf_man

      Do you ever say anything else?

      You hate Political correctness. Fuseball is the devil. We get it, man.

      • Well when I don’t read an article about a writer pleased about p*ssing off Glenn Beck & all of this other non-relevent c r a p I keep seeing polluting the comic book industry these days, perhaps I will have something else to say. As it stands now, there’s a reason why the industry’s tanking (along with so much else)& you can either pull your own head out & recognize what’s happening to your downgraded society or you can just stay put & shut the fck up!

        • You’re saving the world bro – through sheer will and wisdom. YOU deserve your own comic book.


          • Actually laughed out loud at that.

  24. The thing that irks me is that, even though this is supposed to make the dc universe less confusing, but even though I love the dcu I am more confused as to how it all fits together than ever, AND how are they rebooting things when every other comic references a previous story arc.

    • That is one of my manin gripes also, but if you go to newarama there are several articles that will help you but at the same time make you shake your head.

      I was infriated for a few months at the notion of no JSA, but i believe last week i read that they were bringing them back. Most of my frustration is at the confusing nature but at the same time they say everything will be explained in the first issues, i believe.

  25. Looked over the list, some i agree and some i disagree with as in buying. I do thank you for the article for it will help if i ever scratch my comic itch.

  26. Man, can Cyborg get a Bad-Ass looking costume for once? I mean DC recognized Martian Manhunter needed a new one(dude was wearing nothing but a speedo and a cape), and gave him that awesome black suit. Cyborg continues to look like a busted up version of a Cylon.

  27. Hey Ben you’ve made lot of typo mistakes and is’nt Enchantress from Marvel(Thor’s old enemy from asgard) how come it’s on DC?

    • I hope this comment is ironic.

    • You’re seriously COMPLAINING about this article?
      I’m sorry, did screenrant charge you money to read it?
      Hmm, no? Well then, you’re not really allowed to complain are you ;)

      And yes, Marvel and DC have characters with the same names (eg. Captain Marvel) and characters that are VERY much alike (eg. Green Arrow & Hawkeye). So what? Each character still has his/her own origin and characteristics that make them unique.

      P.S. Ben: Terrific article – it was a great read.

      • He’s allowed to complain about whatever he likes, this is Screenrant is it not?

        • Touche

        • I have no problem with him complaining about the article, I just don’t think there are “typo mistakes.”

  28. Ben, Wow! Great Work Man!!!

    • Thanks, Mike!

  29. Great work on straightning the 52 out. I have checked out a lot of websites looking for this sort of info. As someone who has never read a DC comic, but is familar with most of the characters, its probably a good time to start. Is there any rebooting going on with Green Lantern? And if not, where does it fit in with the new DC universe?

    • Thanks, Avatar!