If DC was really really serious about attacking Marvel's floppy dominance, a Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns monthly would be in their slate of 52 titles. There is nothing sacred at Marvel, they've re-touched all of their epics, and it has not minimized the impact of the original material. Rephrasing it, if Marvel had anything as seminal as Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns, we'd be seeing the sixth volume of it in 2011.
Squadron Supreme, probably the only item in Marvel's roster that's remotely comparable to the higher order of DC's canon, was remolded by JMS into a stellar title, better than the previous title, though not nearly as revolutionary.
Justice League Dark is a step in the right direction. I'd have loved to see a new Tim Hunter series, or at least have him involved in the DCnU.
How a New Gods series was left out is befuddling.
- Watchmen, monthly
- Dark Knight Returns, monthly
- New Gods by Ladronn, or Jenkins/Jae Lee
- Batman Year One, monthly
- Looney Tunes in the DC Universe
- Planetary, monthly
- V for Vendetta, monthly
- Crisis Quarterly, Wolfmann, Morrison, Johns rotating writers and art, 100 page giant. 32-40 page lead, 60-68 pages reprints.
- Action Comics/Grant Morrison
- Justice League/Jim Lee
- Justice League Dark
- Legion of Super-Heroes/Legion Lost; great idea to satisfy the two types of Legion fans - greater idea to rope in the former to buy the latter, and vice versa.
- OMAC/Demon (where's Kamandi??)
CBR ran a poll that laid out fan interest in all 52 titles. The results seem overwhelmingly negative (did Bendis and John Siuntres keep voting?), and I wonder if true data can be gleaned from what seems like marvel.com bots spamming the cbr system. David Finch's The Dark Knight relaunch garnered 42% "Not at All" votes. This for a title that averaged about 80,000 pre-order sales (*1, *2). Maybe there's confusion that Finch is only going to be writing the title, in which case 42% would make more sense.
Unsurprisingly, Justice Leagues (Johns & Lee) and Action Comics (Morrison) are the top vote-getters (in truth, I, Vampire and OMAC are the top vote-getters, albeit for "Not at All"). I think we can all agree that Justice League is going to be the #1 DC seller for the relaunch. Action Comics #1, my personal favorite, could've been #1 but I think Lee sways buyers more than Morales. At least I think he does. Maybe he won't, and readers will decide that his art worked in 1995, but has since stagnated.
A great rundown on the 52 relaunch is at Comics Should be Good
My take: I largely agree with the assessment, so I'm going to comment on the Matt Fraction portion of the article. The "old Matt Fraction" is something I've read about, but while I'm reading the current incarnation, I get the feeling of a guy born on third base thinking he hit a triple (to paraphrase Max Kellerman). To be given talent on the level of Pasqual Ferry, Olivier Coipel, and Stuart Immonen and have the lackluster output of the past years isn't maddening, it's sad. Get him off Thor, he can't write Thor, and while you're at it, let's get a scripter for Bendis whenever Thor shows up in one of his books. Fraction is friends with the guys at Marvel, that much seems obvious if you follow the "architects" on twitter. I wonder how long those friendships last under the strain of his subpar diction choices. To be as popular as they are, and yet to fail so dramatically whenever Thor shows up in one of their books, suggests the two writers would be better served putting the dvd player away, and reading up on diction and english language structure.
An interesting rundown of the writers involved in the relaunch is here.
My take: In the "architects" for DC vs Marvel, I'd say DC wins, simply because Morrison (the writer in comics for the past 10 years) and Johns outshine Hickman. Bendis is running on fumes at this point, buoyed only by the occasional good comic (Avengers #7), and for every Cap and Iron Man book an architect does, they put out an awful X-Men and Thor series, saved only by the outstanding roster of artists at Marvel.