Many of the changes made by DC Comics’ The New 52 seem to be change only for change’s sake, with things like costume tweaks generating a lot of controversy but not actually making any difference in the way the characters are depicted or perceived.
Still, in the wake of the massive, line-wide crossover there was sure to be some real, substantial change, and there are certainly some characters who have come out of the relaunch more interesting, more popular or simply richer than they were before Flashpoint began two years ago and kicked off the series of events that would lead to the relaunch.
Here are our picks for the characters who benefitted the most from a fresh start.
A character who had long since gone to waste in DC’s massive library of also-rans, Godiva seemed an unlikely candidate to join the Justice League International when the title relaunched in September.
Nevertheless, writer Dan Jurgens has written her as a key part of the comic and artist Aaron Lopresti has imbued her with a humanity and charm that gives her a strong visual appeal, even if her costume is pretty boring.
And someone as socially active as she is? Doesn’t she know better than to wear white to a fight?
Another one that almost doesn’t count, on the grounds that Mitch Shelley had been out of commission for so long before the relaunch took hold. Nevertheless, he’ll now be remembered not as a one-off character who never really interacted in a meaningful way with the DCU and only ever existed for about a year in a strange (if awesome) solo title.
Having been relaunched, suddenly he joins the ranks of characters like The Atom and Firestorm who, even if they have trouble supporting their own book, they’re undeniably a big part of the DCU and a high priority for DC.
Alan Scott (Green Lantern of Earth 2)
Love or hate the idea to turn Alan Scott into a gay man in the world of the New 52, there’s one thing that’s for certain: More people are talking about the Golden Age hero, what makes him interesting and what makes him tick than ever before.
Whether it’s supporters of the character trying to argue that he’s fundamentalliy unchanged, opponents of the change insisting that he’s been debased in some way, or simply the press who are trying to explain to newcomers why an alternate-reality Green Lantern is so all-fired important, there’s more discussion of Alan Scott than there has been in my lifetime.
Let’s face it: in spite of DC’s best efforts, the company has a very difficult time getting people to care about Wonder Woman, the media to cover the character or readers to stick with the book very long. By putting a couple of fan-favorite creators on the title and sending her in a profoundly different direction that still feels fundamentally familiar, they’ve given fans a reason to care again and provided the handful of longtime readers with a period in the character’s history that’s as exciting as the George Perez run for the first time.
Buddy Baker is perhaps the character who’s done the least with the most since Grant Morrison left the title years ago. Later creators had a hard time living up to Morrison’s strange, smart and creepy book and ended up reverting back to a more traditional superhero form that didn’t suit the best of his stories and relied on his admittedly silly power set.
Jeff Lemire has turned all that around–if anything, he’s gone bigger and stranger than Morrison ever did, and tied the book in with Swamp Thing, which means two of the best horror-superhero mash-ups in the company are co-existing and being written by two of the company’s hottest young talents.