In many ways, DC Universe has two completely different styles for it’s two different types of content: Film and Comics. Many fans are complaining about the comics side but when you look at the video side most fans are content. This is due to two different types of comic rotation and filling. Let’s start with the positive first.
The video side of DCU is very thorough, giving us enough content to last us for a while. Every episode of Super Friends, Batman TAS, Superman TAS, Static Shock, and Young Justice are all available along with every episode of The Adventures of Superboy, Lois and Clark, and live action gems like Constantine and Birds of Prey. All this content equates to over 400 hours of TV Content most of which you might consider watching. This content has minimal holes, and the only series weird gaps are the lack of recent films. That’s not to say all the content was given critical acclaim after all the Adventures of Superboy has lots of weird visual effects, but the content is thorough. The only part fans are lamenting is the lack of the Worlds of DC (DCEU), the last film of the dark knight saga and Arrowverse content, yet fans have easy ways to watch it outside of the service legally so even there, people aren’t that upset. We have also received word that Syfy’s critically acclaimed Krypton is joining in 2019. Alongside DCU’s original content. If I were to rate the TV side based on Content alone, I would give it a 9/10. In terms of rotation, one big thing has been rotated in and out with 3+ week notification. When the Batman films were available, there was a clear warning that the films were leaving after 2 weeks. In total there was a total of 8 hours of TV rotated out. In return, users got a month to watch the movie Supergirl after The early batman left. Most of the availability has been very stable and we’ve been told what’s leaving over 2 weeks in advance
When you juxtapose that with the comics side, you realize how lackluster that side is. Before I say the negative though, DC does have some stuff right though. 1. The content does a better job at directing users to certain comics. For example, right before Titans episode 1. The trending comics were all Teen Titans with 7 of the top list being from TNTT alone. That means (theoretically) that most fans were reading through TNTT and read at least a full Trades worth of it. That is awesome as fans are finding in the community side that they have read some of the same stuff. On top of that, there is no bad/ meaningless series on the comics side. Whereas the film side has some bad TV series (maybe good for its time), more of the comics have held up to the test of time. TNTT is a great example as its a series that was released 30 years ago that still hits emotional heartstrings through its #2 and #18 with intense power. I remember the exact number these events happened because they were so powerful. The comics that haven’t stood the test of time have important historical value like Action Comics #1. These comics are a wonderful read for Comic History Nerds. Another spendid thing with the comics side is that the complete runs are phenomenal. The Legends of the Dark Knight and Aquaman (95?) are phenomenal. While not every issue is great, these massive runs have many high points and very few low points. These long series are more likely to be read because they are some of the only 70+ runs the service has.
Comics- The Bad
While the complete runs are excellent and the curation is decent, the comics format has a lot of problems.
Most series only have a couple of issues. Tales of TNTT is vastly incomplete and doesn’t give readers the chance to actually enjoy the series. Most of the rebirth stories only offer teases and don’t fully convince readers of their quality. In fact, in many ways, the small number of rebirth issues actually hurts DC as most #1 and #2 experience growing pains. The issues that are available often are expository by nature. King’s critically acclaimed run is the perfect example. Batman: Rebirth #1 tells a short story which introduces Duke to the bat family and sets up nothing for Batman #1. Batman #1 is a story that tells of Batman saving people on a plane and ends with 2 heroes being introduced to the story. That’s all DC Universe gives us. If you read through King’s work it’s about the idea that “Batman loves Catwoman” (King). Yet love and Catwoman never show up, if his run gets good starting at vol. 2 “I am Suicide” then the reader has no idea how good the series actually is with only 2 issues. I am the perfect example of why a full arc or 2 is beneficial financially. I will be honest, I originally read Batman: Rebirth #1 - Batman #12ish illegally. But I realized how good the series was and now own Vol. 1-5 in trade form. My illegally reading the first arc made DC more money than they would have if I just read the first two issues and said Nah on DC Universe. I’ve done the same thing for Aquaman, Superman, Action Comics, and Flash now owning a total of 29 volumes from the rebirth era and plan to read more once the new volumes come out. If I had just read the first two issues, I would have just bought at most the first volume.
The rotation is too fast. Unlike watching TV which can allow you to multitask. Multitasking while reading is not possible. Reading is a more time-intensive skill. If I wanted to read through TNTT #1-20 in a week (assuming one takes 20 minutes each) takes 6 hours and 40 minutes of fully dedicated reading with no multitasking. Meanwhile, all 50+ issues of the Death of Superman also were leaving a week later. That week, in order to read everything before it left, you would have had to read 30 hours and 20 minutes. Is that even remotely possible on top of our normal lives? To be fair on the death of Superman side, if you read 4-5 hours a week you would have finished on time which would bring you down to 7-8 hours last week. Still, that is incredibly time-consuming and just can’t happen. The worse part is that the numbers are like this EVERY week. Now I get the reasoning behind it (the good) but slow down. At the current rate, you need to read an hour per day just to read everything that is leaving the service. DC ends up fighting itself with this policy. If I watch the Arrowverse than I spend 5 hours a week for its 5 shows (including black lightning) and another hour for titans and an hour for Gotham. This is before Batwoman and Krypton Season 2 add an extra 2 hours a week. Add all these numbers together and a superfan would have to commit over 13 hours a week to reading/ watching DC comics. That is assuming you only read and watch stuff as they are released. If I were DC, I would just keep the pace of content being added to the service but remove all the taking away. If I didn’t finish TNTT #12-20, I can’t read (#21-28) much less (#29-41).
If I had to grade the comics section, I would give it a 6/10. Which I consider okay. Now I do want to say one last thing. When DCU was announced, we only knew about the TV side. The comics were an added surprise but now that comics are there, they need to satisfy comics/original content only users.
Some questions: Have you had a scenario with pirating like me that has made DC Money?
What do you love about the service? (while I was negative, please try to stay positive.
I thank anyone who read this article and hope to release a follow up about why the DC Universe service is actually ahead of the game and already has the infrastructure to get even farther and about the awesome community side led by Applejack. Recently, I got wind that super active community members are actually about to receive special gifts. This is awesome and I hope DC continues to find ways to grow the service. DC Universe is magical and wonderful don’t forget that. The expectations of fans are so high because we all believe it can be even better. Have great day mods and readers.
P.S. Join the DCU book club discord: https://discord.gg/jKmtuKm