The Black Perspective: DC’s New 52

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In Sept 2011, the DC Universe undertook the bold initiative to not only relaunch it’s titles with #1 issues, but also to revamp characters, and even redo origins. The company announced it would cut the number of magazines it published down to 52 and would absorb companies like Milestone and Wildstorm’s characters directly into the new DCU. This bold new move left a lot of us wondering if we would see some of our Black Hero characters that had seemed to fade into the limelight. Characters like Steel, or Wildstorm’s Battalion or Flint, and Milestone characters like the beloved Icon, Rocket, Hardware, or perhaps even the Blood Syndicate were hoped to finally be brought out of the shadows and maybe into a more visible role. What we got though was a little disappointing.

Of the 52 books that were released or still a part of the current 52, only 13 books featured, either as solo titles or with a group, black heroes. Who were these lucky individuals you ask?

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So much promise…..

You’ll find the list at the bottom. Take a good long look at it, because after the first year of publication, few survived the next couple of waves, which in turn brought on cancellations. Four books in particular were solo titles. We had Mr. Terrific, Static Shock, Batwing, and Voodoo. Static Shock and Voodoo represented the other companies (Milestone and Wildstorm, with a Battalion-less Stormwatch coming from Wildstorm as well). Although Static Shock had his own solo title and following from his Milestone and cartoon years before the New 52, he couldn’t muster the sales to stay afloat; same with Voodoo. Mr. Teriffic’s sales figures were weak as well, but then again, I don’t think I (or anyone else) would have chosen him for a solo title. The last man standing is Batwing (See Sales Figures Here). If you aren’t reading Batwing, then you are missing a treat. His showing remains strong, even with the switching out of David Zavimbe for Luke Fox. The change in lead character comes with a change in creative team, but nothing was lost. Batwing is still an awesome read and worth it’s price. The question is, wasn’t there maybe another character or two that could have had his own title? Couldn’t Icon be counted as one of the Milestone representatives? How about Vixen? To be fair, both Icon and Rocket saw unprecedented air time on the DC Nation cartoon series, Young Justice, with Icon joining the Justice League team and Rocket joining the “B” team. The cartoon itself held black heroes viewers because it also starred Black Heroes Aqualad, Black Lighting, Mal Duncan, Bumblebee, an alternate version of Static Shock, and appearances by Cyborg and John Stewart. This strong showing of Black Heroes with pivotal roles (in one storyline Icon was the galactic counsel for 6 Justice Leaguers who found themselves in trouble on another planet) made this cartoon a must see. So why not feature one of these in a solo title?

The New52 saw major changes to a couple of heroes, and introduced us to two nice surprises. We saw the revamped younger version of Black Lighting, which meant goodbye to the wife and kids (Thunder and Lightning), and am now seeing the changes made to the Bronze Tiger, who now instead of wearing a Tiger mask, can actually change into a tiger (Check it out). I am still up in the air about that one.

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Is it what we want….?

At least we can say he kicked Batman’s butt while still human! The loss of Black Lighting’s superpowered kids was also something to bemoan, having been as established as they were. As for the surprises, we were introduced to a new Earth 2 version of Hawkgirl. This character has the potential to be very dynamic, but she needs more panel time. We were also introduced to a new Green Lantern named Simon Baz, who despite the wrestling mask hiding his identity (he looks like the Marvel character Rage with a power ring) is also a force. The thing that bothered me about the introductions was how both were shown with guns. Why should that bother me? Well, one has a GREEN LANTERN POWER RING. As for the other, as exotic of a character she has the potential to be, couldn’t we pick other sophisticated weaponry instead of a gun?

O.k., maybe we won’t be seeing the Blood Syndicate in the New52; maybe we won’t see Steel or Hardware featured in their own solo titles; maybe Jakita Wagner won’t be wrecking shop; but can we at least have some characters with more than 8 issues of staying power? Can we at least get some type of poll or something so we can get a little say? A nod does go out here. At least Amanda Waller and John Stewart are still representing. I hope Batwing and Hawkgirl can do the same.

Here is the list of New52 titles that featured or included Black Heroes:

Justice League InternationalVixen, later Batwing; canceled

Mr. TerrificMichael Holt canceled

Static ShockVirgil Hawkins canceled

Batwing David Zavimbe then Luke Fox

Green Lantern CorpJohn Stewart; even though they tried to kill him off

VoodooPriscilla Kitaen and her Clone canceled

Suicide SquadAmanda Waller, Black Spider and Iceberg

The Fury of FirestormJason Rauschcanceled May 2013

Justice LeagueCyborg

Earth 2Hawkgirl

Team 7– Young Amanda Waller

DC Universe PresentsBlack Lighting, issues 13-16; canceled Jan 2013

Justice League of AmericaSimon Baz

Green LanternSimon Baz

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Marcus Roberts

Marcus is a freelance writer and longtime comic book collector. He is a husband and father of two. He is also a certified Life Skills Coach with a degree in psychology. He is a moderator for the Independent Creators Connection (ICC) and ICC Anthologies groups and an administrator for the Heroes of Color page on Facebook,and the creator of Project Nexus and The Protector. Written credits include Jennifer Rash's Dream Angel , and from ICC Publishing, IHERO 3,Imperia: The Chaos of Calamity and ICC Magazine (Available on IndyPlanet), and The Protector (Available on Comixology, Indyplanet, and Adventcomics.com/unboundrealms)

blackheromarcus has 112 posts and counting.See all posts by blackheromarcus

9 thoughts on “The Black Perspective: DC’s New 52

  • July 24, 2013 at 2:00 am
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    I totally agree with you, however, DC has shown time and time again that this a white boys club.

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  • July 24, 2013 at 10:36 am
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    That’s right,like “our gang” with batman and superman as spanky and alfalfa! All the black HEROS that’s been left out could get together and form a powerful team. And what was the writers reason for changing Batwing from David zavimbe to Luke fox anyway?!?

    Reply
  • July 24, 2013 at 10:43 am
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    Why does hawk girl hav to be from an alternate earth to be black? Are their any black hawk people in the earth one dimension ?

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  • July 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm
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    Sales in the cancel book, was do in my opinion to the piss poor writing! The writing in Static Shock and Mr. Terrific was horrible!!

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  • July 26, 2013 at 11:22 am
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    DC can barely write for their white characters. They definitely can’t write for their minority characters and poor villians don’t help. heros are defined by villians.

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  • April 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm
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    I dont know that we shold count Simon Baz, he’s black in the sense of skin color, but ethnicity-wise, he’s middle-eastern. John Stewart is the black GL

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  • July 25, 2014 at 8:05 pm
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    Simon baz looks like brown race man in phenotype i think.

    Reply

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