With a number of Vertigo and WildStorm characters making their DC Universe debuts in their own ongoing monthlies starting this month, who could have guessed that the most controversial book so far of the ongoing New 52 relaunch would be...Green Lantern Corps #1?
DC Comics gave Comic Book Resources an exclusive preview of the upcoming Green Lantern Corps #1 by Peter Tomasi and Fernando Parasin on Friday and it immediately started to stir reactions among the comics press. Comics Alliance questioned the wisdom of titling the issue "Triumph of the Will," the title of an infamous Nazi propaganda film. While commenters on the site defended DC, saying in effect that most comics readers are unfamiliar with the original source of the title, Bleeding Cool was busy running a story questioning whether a story that featured evisceration and dismemberment in its preview pages should be rated T+ (the DC equivalent of an R-rating at the movies) instead of T (described as "Appropriate for readers age 12 and over"), as Green Lantern Corps is.
While it seems unlikely (at least based on the comments at Comics Alliance) that the issue of the title will gain any traction, the issue of rating is one that DC may well be forced to examine. With sell-outs across the line and robust digital sales, it's likely that new or lapsed readers really have been lured in by The New 52, and presumably those people will have little awareness of the way comics storytelling has developed in recent years. Gruesome images that would never pass muster in a PG-13 movie appear not only in Green Lantern Corps, but also on the final page of Detective Comics.
Given that no writers have indicated that all of their scripts are yet turned in, but DC's subscription page has the T and T+ books already rated for the year, it seems likely that single issues that are wildly out of the norm will not be re-rated to accommodate the story or visuals. Whether a few thousand new readers and a few dozen complaint letters from mothers who "didn't expect that in a Batman comic!" will change that policy will be an interesting thing to see play out.