Monthly Archives: December 2016
DC Rebirth – My Thoughts, Hopes, and Expectations
“I love this world. But there’s something missing.” By now, the current crop of DC Comics fans should be well acquainted with these words. They’re the words of a hero whose return to the DC Universe has brought back life, optimism, and legacy to it. His name is Wally West, and he is the fastest man alive… … …aaannd he’s wearing some pretty awesome new threads. ^_^
With the end of The New 52 this past June (happy birthday to me, btw, lol), a new era has begun in DC Comics. While it continues telling the story of the universe established at the end of Flashpoint, it’s nonetheless balanced things out to be more similar to how it was prior to the reboot, as well as set up the groundwork for some big stories in the future. It’s also helped to establish exactly how and why the characters and their stories are different from how they once were. This is DC Rebirth.
DC Rebirth officially started with DC Universe Rebirth #1. However, the seeds of what would become Rebirth were planted almost exactly one year beforehand during DC Convergence. In that story, several pre-Flashpoint worlds were reintroduced, and the events that led to the collapse of the original Multiverse were undone, causing it to become infinite in size once again (though with the currently established Multiverse at the center). In the year that followed, several stories followed up on those events. In particular, we learned that the pre-Flashpoint Clark Kent, his wife Lois, and their new son Jon had all someone been transported to the current Earth 0, AKA Prime Earth. Furthermore, as a result of events in Justice League and his main books, the New 52 Superman found himself dying and, before the end came, asked his pre-Flashpoint counterpart to continue protecting the Earth in his stead. This brings us to today, where Clark is Superman once again, and his son Jon is the new Superboy…and there’s another Clark Kent who has no powers who may or may not be the New 52 Superman, I’m honestly not sure what that’s all about. We’re supposed to get an explanation in March, though.
Another thing that happened in the year between Convergence and Rebirth was the return of the Titans. Basically, it was retconned that the original Titans team really DID exist (although how is anyone’s guess when one considers the backstory of the New 52 Donna Troy, and that’s ALL I’m going to say about that, lol), but that they all lost their memories of ever having been a team. After a while, they finally all came back together, minus one individual who they knew was missing but couldn’t pin a face or a name to. Luckily, as it turned out, they wouldn’t have to wait long.
Anyway, those were all big parts of the Rebirth, but the official era didn’t actually kick off until DC Universe Rebirth #1. In it, we see the pre-Flashpoint Wally West has apparently been trapped in the Speed Force, is regressed in age by a few years, and is back in his Kid Flash costume. Also, it turns out that he and the New 52 Wally West are cousins. Might seem like a bit of a stretch, but I have both a brother and a half brother named Randy, so I can tell you from past experience, it ain’t impossible…though it IS confusing. But more of a big deal is the fact that nobody remembers him. He keeps trying to remove himself from the Speed Force by making contact with people he knew, but without that connection, he keeps falling back. Even Linda Park doesn’t remember him. Finally, he appears to Barry Allen, ready to disappear, but at the last possible moment, Barry remembers him and pulls him back into the world. After five years, Wally West has returned.
Wally gives some exposition, and between it and stuff we can make guess work at, we learn that someone has literally taken away 10 years of history. At this exact moment, we don’t know how, why, or which 10 years exactly were the ones taken. We don’t even know if they were 10 full years or just bits of time here and there that added up to 10 years. But here’s what we do know: The New 52 DC Universe is essentially the same universe that existed prior to Flashpoint, just with those 10 years taken away. That’s the biggest contributing factor as to why this universe is so different. Because, without certain key moments that occurred during those 10 years, relationships were either changed or outright erased, characters were de-aged, and several other contributing factors occurred to completely mess with peoples’ lives, who they were, and what they meant to the universe at large.
Now, with that said, you might ask “But Jyger, wasn’t the reason the DC Universe was changed was because of Barry’s traveling through time and Pandora’s merging elements of the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes with it?”, to which I reply “Yes, that WAS the reason given”… … …Ugh, okay, let’s TRY and unravel this, shall we? So, first off, let’s assume for the moment that this isn’t just a blatant retcon (although, let’s be honest, it probably is). If I had to make a guess at what happened, it’s that someone took advantage of Barry’s breaking the time barrier and used that opportunity, when history itself was vulnerable, to remove 10 years. Pandora, seeing what had happened, decided to strengthen the now weakened universe by fusing it with the Wildstorm and Vertigo universes. That, I THINK, is what has happened here: That, while having some cosmetic differences and whatnot, the New 52 Universe wouldn’t have been AS different as it has been without the loss of that decade worth of history. Oh, and speaking of Pandora, during the events of DC Universe Rebirth #1, she was apparently fried…in a very familiar fashion, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Also, because of certain other events going on in some of the newer stories, I have my doubts that she’s really gone.
Anyway, other stuff happened in DC Universe Rebirth #1 that has started to balance things out to be more like the previous continuity. For starters, Aquaman proposed to Mera, so we can finally put it to rest as to the nature of their relationship. Green Arrow and Black Canary met up during an investigation into New 52 Supes’ death and were left with a feeling like something was missing from their lives, which is being explored in the current Green Arrow book where the two are finally tag-teaming against criminals and dating again, except without the baggage of some of the shittier things Ollie did while they were involved in the previous continuity. And characters like Ryan Choi, Jackson Hyde, Ted Kord, Johnny Thunder, and Saturn Girl were given their appropriate reintroduction to the universe (okay, technically, we’d seen Ted beforehand, but now he’s working with Jaime as he should be).
In the midst of all of that, though, we found ourselves with hints of what was to come. Batman was seen investigating the revelation that there are apparently three Jokers…and yeah, not sure what to make of that, other than the fact that, with the Silver Age Joker supposedly coming back as his own character, we’ll at least have a Joker who is FUN again. Superman was visited by a figure known as Mr. Oz, who we’ve actually seen in the Superman books of the New 52 before, and who gave some rather cryptic remarks regarding the nature of both Supermen’s existence. Like the new Clark, we’re supposed to get some more info on Oz in March, and we’ve even seen him in the newer Detective Comics issues as well. Damian Wayne, the current Robin, turned 13, hinting toward his future alignment with the Teen Titans. Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson) let Ted Kord know that the Scarab is actually magic…because, for some reason, we’ve now gone backwards through retcons. Seriously, I don’t get why they switched BACK to the Scarab being magical in nature, other than as a means to involve Doctor Fate, and with the Justice Society apparently coming back soon, it’s not really necessary. We learned for absolute certain that New 52 Wally West is a speedster, and pre-Flashpoint Wally gave his blessing for him to be the new Kid Flash, which I’m actually fine with. Now that we’ve established the two as completely separate characters, New Wally is free to be his own character. And we found out that Jessica Cruz, the newest Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 will be having to work directly with Simon Baz, AKA the one Green Lantern who carries a gun.
However, all of that paled in comparison to the big reveal. After being brought back from the Speed Force by Barry, Wally told him everything he knew about the current situation and how he felt this wasn’t completely Barry’s fault. In the end, though, he couldn’t place a face or a name to whoever was responsible for taking away time. However, it seems he may have left a clue nonetheless, as Batman investigated where Wally had originally appeared in the Batcave, and found something embedded in the stone wall: A single smiley face button with a drop of blood smeared across it. And so, the story ended with the image of a watch on Mars, along with the following familiar dialogue…
“I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.”
“In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.”
…Yup, turns out the culprit is none other than Doctor Manhattan. How and why is still unknown. Hell, for all we know, Jon didn’t even do so intentionally. However, considering the all-too-familiar method by which Pandora was killed (as well as Owlman and Metron at the end of Darkseid War, and yes I AM still planning to do a full review of that someday), chances are he’s very much doing this blatantly. But regardless, we do have a reason for Doctor Manhattan’s inclusion from a meta standpoint: Simply put, there are a LOT of writers out there who look at a book like Watchmen and think that the reason it was great was because it was dark and dire, so they try to copy that approach, not understanding that dark stories don’t automatically equal something good. As far as I can tell, between what’s being presented and what Geoff Johns has said in interviews since the release of the comic, Doctor Manhattan is basically being cast as just that: Someone who doesn’t understand that the way his dark story is being written doesn’t work. Of course, no one bothers to mention that Geoff Johns himself has done this in the past, whether he realizes it or not, but he still has a good enough idea as to how things are supposed to work and how characters are supposed to behave that I trust him with this. How exactly that gels with what happened at the end of Watchmen is yet to be seen, but between his involvement and the dialogue at the end of the book, I think we might just know who exactly “Mr. Oz” really is, who has since abducted both Doomsday and Tim Drake for reasons that are currently a mystery. Personally, I’m kind of expecting to see this resolve in some big DC Rebirth vs Watchmen event. How that’ll play out, and just to what degree will its existence piss off Alan Moore, is still a mystery, but it’s still likely to happen nonetheless. Hopefully, they take their time building to it.
So, at this point, you’re probably thinking “Well, that all sounds well and good, but if that’s the case, then why in the hell has it taken you this long to discuss Rebirth?”. And…yeah, I fully admit that I kind of procrastinated at that. However, in the end, I’m kinda glad I did. Why? Because it gave me something POSITIVE to talk about at the end of the year, and as I alluded to the other day, there hasn’t really been a lot positive to discuss regarding 2016. And while Rebirth hasn’t been perfect, and there are still some issues from the previous era left to iron out, it’s most definitely been an improvement, and I’d likely consider it the best thing to happen in comics this entire year. I’ll probably go more into detail as to some of the ups and downs of Rebirth once it’s a year old…at which point, I’ll be 32 years old…God, I’m ancient. But, for now, stuff like seeing the Titans and the Birds of Prey back together, the pre-Flashpoint Superman training his son, Dick Grayson being Nightwing again, Barry teaming with the new Kid Flash, and Wonder Woman being written by Greg Rucka again (who is fixing EVERYTHING that went wrong with her in the New 52, btw) are all major pluses. Oh yeah, and they’re also hinting at the return of the Blue Lanterns, THANK GOD. You have NO idea how hard it’s been to keep optimistic about a comic book universe that seems to actively hate hope, and to see it on its way back is such a relief.
But for me, the biggest point about why Rebirth works and The New 52 didn’t is because the characters FEEL like themselves again. It’s not just the situations and circumstances, it’s WHO THEY ARE. How they act, how they respond to different situations, and so on. Everything just kind of fits again, but without excluding any of the things about The New 52 that worked. Because this isn’t about pretending The New 52 never happened. This is about putting the DC Universe back on the right path, one that isn’t devoid of hope and fun, nor forgets the lessons learned from the mistakes of yesterday. Really, the only thing about the previous era that’s been undone is the vast majority of what happened to Wonder Woman. And even then, it’s not like those events never happened, it’s more damage control for her origins and the Amazons, and it all unfolds in a way that makes sense and helps make things feel like they’re supposed to be. It’s not just that Lois and Clark are back together. It’s that Lois and Clark FEEL like Lois Lane and Clark Kent. And I hope that, in continuing with DC Rebirth, the writers and higher-ups of DC Comics remember that point and continue to learn from their past mistakes.
But hey, that’s all just my opinion. What do you think of DC Rebirth? What have some of your favourite or least favourite titles been? Lemme know in the comments, as well as how you hope to see things unfold from here, and we’ll check back in June with how Rebirth has been upon turning one year old. Ja né, and Happy New Year!
Dear 2016, Fuck You. Love, Twitter.
Well, let’s see. We’ve lost, in no particular order and among MANY others…
- Richard Adams
- Alan Rickman
- Alan Thicke
- Carrie Fisher
- Zsa Zsa Gabor
- Gene Wilder
- Leonard Cohen
- David Bowie
- John Glenn
- Harper Lee
- George Michael
- Muhammad Ali
- Anton Yelchin
- Kenny Baker
- Elie Wiesel
…Also, an idiot got elected President of the United States, and, on a more personal note to me, my mother had to spend close to a month in the hospital. And I’m sure a bunch of other horrible shit that’s gone down… … …Yeah, this is deserved. If I could maybe have some appropriate music, though?
Got a message for 2016 of your own, or perhaps want to share something positive that happened to you this year? Leave it in the comments below, and let’s all hope and pray with all of our souls that 2017 will be better. Ja né!
How Affleck Batman Could Have Been Bale Batman
So, I think a lot of people probably know by now my general thoughts on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Namely that I didn’t like it. However, it wasn’t until a video was posted online that the gears in my head started to REALLY turn as to one thing they could’ve done differently with relative ease to make the movie flow just a tiny bit better. That video was the following:
Now, when I first saw this video, I left the following comment: “Sounds epic as fuck, and would’ve guaranteed given boners to the crowd, but it doesn’t work for one reason: Bale Batman doesn’t kill, Affleck Batman does. Whatever your stance on whether Batman should or shouldn’t kill, that’s the major difference between the two”. However, the more I’ve sat and thought about it, the more I realized just how easily it would’ve been to have Affleck Batman be Bale Batman, only years after the events of The Dark Knight Rises. Let’s go through how the two film series line up, shall we?
So first off, let’s talk about how The Dark Knight Rises ends. Bruce faked his death so he could retire to a normal life with Selina Kyle, and Robin John Blake is given the coördinates to the Batcave, presumably so he could take over Bruce’s place as Gotham’s protector. Now, you may ask how that could transition to Batman V Superman, but let’s look at a few other details. Specifically, let’s look at the one major villain from The Dark Knight Trilogy who didn’t die and is now an important character in the new DC Cinematic Universe: The Joker. Now, granted, the Joker from the Dark Knight movies IS very different from the new one. Specifically, Ledger Joker was clearly wearing make-up and had a permanent smile due to the scars on his face, whereas Leto Joker is hinted at having the more traditional backstory of having fallen into a vat of chemicals. However, let’s say they didn’t go that route for a second and then look at what else we know about Leto’s Joker from details given to us strictly in Batman V Superman: He killed Robin.
Now, lets look at Bale Batman vs Affleck Batman. Obviously, the biggest difference between the two (besides their age) is their methodology and the limits they’re willing to go to in the line of duty. As I said before, Affleck Batman has no problems killing criminals, while specifically not killing was a big thing for Bale Batman. Yes, the Batman of the Nolanverse movies did find loopholes he could exploit to get around that fact, but for the most part, that was Bale Batman’s biggest rule, so something pretty drastic would’ve had to have happened for him to go back on that to such a degree that he’d resemble Affleck Batman’s style of doing things. So, what would make him do such a thing? The answer again falls on one point: The dead Robin.
Anyone who knows anything about Batman in the comics likely knows that the dead Robin in the DC Cinematic Universe is more than likely Jason Todd. However, let’s instead think of Batman V Superman occurring in the same canonical universe as The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Robin is, in fact, John Blake, having used his first name that he mostly opted not to use as his codename while working as Batman’s replacement. Now, imagine if The Joker brutally killed Robin, then publicly taunted Batman (regardless of if he knows Batman is really alive or not) with this fact. Again, Jason Todd dying in the comics was a big deal for a long time, and still sort of is even after his return to the land of the living. It’s often regarded as Batman’s greatest failure. But now imagine this happening under these circumstances, with Bruce realizing that Robin would have never died if he hadn’t faked his death and enlisted him as his successor. Suddenly, not only do you have a great reason for Bruce to return to Gotham and continue his work as Batman, as well as coming up with a convincing excuse for how he, as Bruce Wayne, likewise was still alive (preferably not at the exact same time as to avoid arousing suspicion), but he would also have reason to go more than a little nuts. Remember, the only reason he didn’t in the comics after the death of Jason Todd was because Tim Drake stepped in and helped to keep him grounded. But in a world where that never happened, can we say with 100% certainty that he wouldn’t have lost it, even if we’d LIKE to think Bruce would never do that? It’s certainly a believable scenario to have presented. And all of the aesthetical changes to Batman (his suit, his equipment, his vehicles, etc.) could easily be explained by him changing with the times, especially since the vast majority of his tech was destroyed at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, specifically The Bat and his spare Tumblers. Hell, you can even explain away the voice modifier as him deciding he didn’t need to do the Bat voice himself anymore.
So, with all of that said, why didn’t DC and Warner Bros. decide to do this? Well, there’re a few reasons. For starters, there are characters who appeared and died during The Dark Knight Trilogy that they might be considering making use of later on. Second, all of the characters who would be returning would either have to be recast, or they’d have to convince the previous actors to return. In particular, The Joker would NEED to be recast due to the death of Heath Ledger, and honestly, I don’t know who I would have chosen to portray Ledger’s Joker. And, not to be too disrespectful, but suffice to say, Jared Leto is NOT Heath Ledger. Just saying. Third, while the details DO line up, there likely would still be plot holes created. One that comes to mind is the fact that we know Clark was wandering around and helping in (relative) secret wherever he could for several years before becoming Superman, and odds are good he would not have just sat around and did nothing about what was going on in Gotham during The Dark Knight Rises. And no, there’s NO way he couldn’t have known. And lastly, another big reason why they may have opted not to connect the new DC movies to the earlier ones in any way was so that they could build this whole new movie universe from the ground up. Don’t have to worry about past continuity, doing research to make sure everything lines up, or rehiring anyone that worked on the previous movies, they can just do everything over again. And, admittedly, while they COULD have found ways to iron out all those issues, I can’t really say as I blame them for not doing it. Plus, with the Arrowverse CW shows having established the existence of an infinitely-spanning Multiverse, it’s entirely possible that ALL of the live action interpretations of DC’s heroes are canonically part of it. Still, for what it’s worth, everything I’ve presented can still stand as a neat little idea of how things might have been. But hey, that’s just a theory…A FILM THEOR-Wait, what do you mean MatPat does theories for movies too???
…Anyway, let me know in the comments (or in the poll below) whether you think DC should or shouldn’t have connected the new Batman related movies to the previous ones, and I will see you guys the next time I decide to show my geekness…which’ll probably not be very long from now. lol Ja né!
Still Making Expies On Deviant Art! Who’s Next?! Previews + Polls!
Yup, I’m still doing this. lol That said, compared to what I had up, I’ve made quite a few new Captain Ersatzes on Deviant Art, and I owe a lot of that to my readers who voted on who they’d like to see me make expies of. I’m still going through the list, but here’s a look at what I’ve posted since I started taking requests…
…BUT, as anyone who has been to my Twitter knows, I’ve still got maybe one or two left to go. Specifically, I decided to go ahead and make counterparts for the Justice League. And, because you guys went ahead and helped me out with this, here’s an early preview…with appropriate music. lol
Anyway, with that outta way, there’s another poll I’d like to present. Basically, now that I’ve done a few counterparts of Batman’s rogues gallery, I was wondering which group of villains I should do next. So, by all means, vote below on which rogues gallery you’d like to see expies of next, and we’ll see what happens in a week’s time. Ja né!
Jyger and N. Harmonik Watch Steven Universe: Three Gems And A Baby
Sorry it’s a few days late, but here’s our blind reactions to the newest Steven Universe episode, Three Gems And A Baby!
Making Captain Ersatzes For Deviant Art? Feedback Needed!
So, as I announced on Deviant Art, I’m planning to make Captain Ersatzes via HeroMachine 3 and posting them online. If you don’t know what a Captain Ersatz is (and you’re too lazy to click on the link to TV Tropes, lol), basically, they’re kind of knock-offs of previous existing characters and properties. And before you point out the general track record of these, lemme point out that BATMAN is technically one of these for Zorro. Plus, it’s not like I’m making money by posting these on Deviant Art. I’m just doing this for funsies.
So, why am I asking for feedback here? Well, specifically, I wanna know which characters you’d like me to make expies of. Also, since Green Defender is sort of Batman with powers, which members of his rogues gallery would you like me to make counterparts of, and just any other ideas, thoughts, suggestions, etc. you might have on the subject. Either way, let me know in the comments below, and be sure to check out my various HeroMachine 3 creations (knock-offs or otherwise) by clicking the link under the image below. Ja né!