michael dworkis looks at DC Comics’ relaunch …
It is not a reboot. This is a relaunch. The execs at DC Comics made a decision, come Aug. 31, the final issue of Flashpoint will coincide with the release of the all-new Justice League #1. This ushers in what DC Comics have branded as the “New 52” set to pave the way for a fresh new beginning for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern and more.
The final issue of Flashpoint signals the end of every single DC comic book series currently on comic book shelves. To describe Flashpoint, simply, is the universe has been altered and it is up to The Flash with the help of Booster Gold and the so-called heroes of this darker, grittier universe to defeat the Reverse Flash and right the world. The final issue is not out yet, but DC hints that the ending contributes to the relaunch of the DC Universe.
New series titles include: Superman, Batman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Nightwing, Action Comics, Detective Comics, Justice League, Justice League International, Justice League Dark, Animal Man, Green Lantern, Red Lantern, and Stormwatch, just to name a few. (For a complete list: go here).
Let me make one thing clear so the following rant is understood. DC Comics has stressed the point that this is not a reboot at all. No storylines have been eliminated, no origins being drastically changed. These comics will tell a new story between some of the classic sagas we know, such as the Death of Superman or Crisis on Infinite Earths. Sadly, this also means Batman Inc. and Final Crisis still took place.
With this relaunch, DC is aligning all their heroes and villains into once cohesive timeline. I like that fact they have publicly spoken and revealed that no previous story or saga was written out of existence. DC is bringing Wildstorm (an imprint owned by DC, for mature readers) characters into mainstream DC comics with Stormwatch, teaming Wildstorm regulars Apollo and Midnighter with DC legend Martian Manhunter. I question this move, as characters from Wildstorm are portrayed as vulgar, disgusting, bloodthirsty super-powered humans. Will this be part of a new theme in DC?
Now, onto my gripes. Thanks to Grant Morrison, Final Crisis saw the death of Batman, then the revelation Batman did not die, but stuck in time and his subsequent trip back. This led to the creation of Batman Incorporated, where there can be more than one Batman. Dick Grayson became Batman post-Death of Bruce Wayne, but returns to Nightwing in the New 52. One will still find at least a half-dozen Batman titles on the shelves of comic shops. Batman, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman and Robin, Batwoman, Batgirl, and introducing the Batman of Africa – Batwing. I stopped reading Batman shortly after the Return of Bruce Wayne and the introduction of Batman Inc. Seeing this many Batman titles does not inspire me to resume reading about the adventures of the Caped Crusader.
Another gripe? No Justice Society. I read a few interviews from the writers of DC comics online, and the common theme of the JSA was “time to give them a break.” Really, a break? I guess World War II did not tire them out at all? How about saving the universe during Final Crisis? How does the Justice Society bow out? The final issues of the current run finds Mr. Terrific losing to a racist he never met, Jay Garrick becoming Mayor of Monument Point, and Alan Scott wearing a giant Green Lantern battery as armor, and no, not the awesome armor from Kingdom Come.
Booster Gold, the hero who sticks his neck out to preserve the timeline, took the first punch from Doomsday during the Death of Superman arc, was the main event of 52, brought Bruce Wayne back to the present, and will play a role in helping The Flash save the world at the conclusion of Flashpoint. Booster Gold brought humor to heroes in a way that no one could. Taking the role of bringing a lighter side to the often serious demeanors of heroes such as Hal Jordan, Batman, and even Superman, over the years Booster Gold has become a Grade-A hero.
However, it is not a total loss, and Booster Gold will be leading the new Justice League International! Dan Jurgens will be writing the series, thus giving me hope that we will still get to see Booster bellow his “Bwaa Haa Haa” at Guy Gardner.
I am intrigued by the launch of Red Lantern, a series about a bunch of angry aliens. Having the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps is enough for me, but maybe other comic fans want to taste the rainbow of lantern-ness.
I can tell you I worry about some of the titles. Teen Titans looks like an adolescent X-Force which is not a good thing, and the cover of Superboy makes me want to scream KAAAAANEEEEEDAAAAA!
My biggest gripe of all, are the re-numbering of Action Comics and Detective Comics. Only months ago, DC was touting that their longest running comics would soon achieve the status of hitting the 1000th issue, something a Marvel comic has yet to do. In less than a month, DC eats those words as these historic comic book titles get reset to Issue Number One. If there were any comics to ever be left untouched, it should have been these two. Sadly, issue 1000 is once again a wishful dream.
Yes, those are some hefty complaints, but I, like many in the nerdiverse will always find something unsatisfactory. However, what many people fail to realize is that comic geeks do not always complain. Dissatisfaction is part of life, not everything will go exactly the way every single comic fan would want to see it. I will still pick up my monthly comics. There is plenty that I do want to read. Booster Gold may not have his own comic, but he is leading the new JLI, and that is good enough for me. I stated earlier I am looking forward to Justice League International, hoping it will bring back the same serious-yet-humorous look at how superheroes behave. I am very interested to read about how the new Justice League will play out, and I will be watching with interest how Stormwatch, Mr. Terrific, Animal Man, and the Legion of Super Heroes will roll out.
The relaunch by DC is an effort to maintain their current readers, and earn new ones. I believe they will succeed with this effort. I will still read because I love a good hero story.
Oh … and DC …
No Power Girl????
All photo credit: DC Comics/Warner Brothers