In 2011, DC Comics decided that it was time to modernize its characters for the 21st century. By 2016, a mere five years later, DC pulled the plug on the rebrand, dubbed the New 52, and relaunched its continuity yet again with Rebirth. Although five years may seem like a long time in comic years, let's remember that DC allowed the Post Crisis continuity, dating back to 1985, to stand for over 20 years. Objectively, the New 52 failed, but this begs the question: why?
Even though the New 52 hit the skids after half a decade, it's revisionist history to claim that all of the books incepted during the run were awful. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's Wonder Woman was an early standout; Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis breathed new life into Aquaman; Scott Synder and Greg Capullo began their character-defining run on Batman, and Jeff Leimer's Green Arrow was equally killer. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Swamp Thing, Green Lantern, Action Comics, and Animal Man were also quality titles under the New 52 umbrella. So, with all that talent, why did the line fail?
In the video linked above, Comic Tropes analyses what went wrong with DC's incredibly ambitious rebrand.