Category Archives: DC Rebirth One Year Later
DC Rebirth One Year Later – Superman/Action Comics
I’m afraid someday soon — too soon — you will have to pick it up and embrace the “S” for yourself. It’s not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you’re scared… even when you think no one is looking.
Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. This time, however, I’ve opted to look at two books. Why? Well, because of a certain major event that occurred as part of a crossover between the two. Plus, it saves time. So, let’s look at Action Comics AND Superman. And, as always, SPOILERS AHEAD.
So, to start off, a little background is probably required. During the events of Convergence, we saw the pre-Flashpoint Superman and his wife, Lois, bring their son, Jon, into the world. At the end of that story, the three went back to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths to try and stop it. As a result of that, they somehow wound up on the Earth 0 of the New 52, AKA Prime Earth, AKA the mainstream world where the vast majority of DC books takes place on nowadays. Because there already was a Clark Kent and Lois Lane in this world, and said Clark Kent was this world’s Superman, they decided to lay low and take on new lives as the Smith Family in Hamilton. It was also eventually revealed that, due to his nature as a human/Kryptonian hybrid, Jon had superpowers like his dad. However, eventually, pre-Flashpoint Superman made his presence known during the event wherein the New 52 Superman was dying, ultimately promising him before he died that he’d look after the world in his absence, which is pretty much where we pick up in Superman: Rebirth #1 and Action Comics #957.
Let’s begin with something that is both a positive and a negative: Jon, AKA the new Superboy. Remember what I said about Wonder Woman’s brother Jason apparently going to be the central character of an upcoming arc in her book and how, and I quote, “what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character”? Yeah, well, that’s kind of a thing in the main Superman solo book: A LOT of the story is built around Superboy and his emergence as a young superhero. Now, on the one hand, I actually rather like Jon. I think he’s a sweet kid and a fine addition to the Super Family. And his presence is one of the areas where Peter Tomasi as the writer actually is a huge benefit: The guy knows how to structure a father/son story. But, at the same time, I’d be lying if I said he didn’t hog some of the spotlight. There is SO much time devoted to building up this character in a book that is supposed to be about Superman. Now, on the one hand, you can argue that it IS still about Superman, since a lot of it also directly relates to how Clark deals with having a super-powered son. But at the same time, there’s even an arc that’s about Jon’s first meeting with Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, and building a partnership with him, even though we knew ahead of time that there were already plans for a book starring those two as a team. Honestly, what I think would’ve worked better was if THIS book was Action Comics, and Action Comics was Superman, since Action Comics focuses more directly on Superman. Plus, it would fit a sort of theme, with Action Comics and Detective Comics being used to not only star Superman and Batman, but also be devoted to building up their supporting casts.
One element of Action Comics that’s a bit on the odd side in terms of whether it’s a positive or a negative is Lex Luthor. As established during the New 52’s Justice League book, Lex is trying his hand at being a superhero nowadays. And unlike past endeavors, wherein it was ultimately all about some evil scheme, here, he actually means it. Granted, he fully admits (while being tied in the Lasso of Truth) that a big part of it is his ego, which is likely why he ultimately attempts to take on the mantle of Superman after the New 52 Clark dies, but the rest of it is also about doing right by his sister. He wants to be a better man than he was. But, with all of that said, given his past track record, plus the fact that the people of Apokolips chose him to be their new leader in the wake of Darkseid’s death and rebirth as a baby, plus the fact that he’s still kind of a dick, the audience is ultimately left just waiting for that moment when he turns evil again. And I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t awaiting it myself. I believe Lex Luthor WANTS to be a better person for the sake of his sister, but I also know that this is Lex frigging Luthor, and that pull is ultimately going to catch up to him at some point or another. Plus, this IS DC Rebirth, where a lot of the emphasis seems to be getting characters back to what makes them who they are, so Lex’s eventual downfall seems pretty much inevitable at this point.
And now we should probably talk about Superman Reborn, the crossover event told in Action Comics and Superman. First off, again, DC could not resist doing a big crossover event before they were at least a year into these new books. Granted, the current Action Comics book takes up the old numbering and adds in the issues from the New 52 Action Comics to that final sum, so it’s not really a “new” book, but still, it’s a little absurd. But regardless, this is the story where we got resolution on the apparent new Clark Kent who appeared in Action Comics #957, and Lois and Clark’s investigation into him. There were a LOT of theories as to who it could be, from the New 52 Superman being depowered, to Superboy Prime taking over his life. However, it ultimately turned out to be Mr. Mxyzptlk, having escaped imprisonment by Mr. Oz at some point and assumed Clark’s life as revenge for the fact that he never came to save him. This also gave resolution to what was going on in the Superwoman book, but I’ll get to that at another point. The end result of the story is that it was revealed that, by nature of the New 52 Earth 0 being the same as the pre-Flashpoint one, just minus 10 years of history and with elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes imprinted onto it, both the New 52 and pre-Flashpoint Supermen were actually one and the same, just split apart a la Red and Blue Superman…somehow. I think we’re supposed to assume that Convergence allowing for a pre-Flashpoint Superman to exist with his memories of the past timeline is responsible for the split, but it’s still weird and will make your head explode if you give it too much thought. Anyway, the point is, this finally validates once and for all that the New 52 Superman WAS Superman, just different due to how events in his life played out. In the end, Jon is somehow able to unite the red and blue energies of the two versions of Superman and Lois Lane to bring them back and restore the history that had been taken from them at the birth of the New 52.
The end result of Superman Reborn was a soft reboot, reintroducing elements of the pre-Flashpoint timeline, and drastically changing certain events from both timelines (and outright retconning others). Again, I think the implication is that merging the two versions of the characters basically returned the 10 years stolen from them, and that how their lives are now is more or less what would’ve been had Doctor Manhattan not taken their history away from them during Flashpoint. The resolution also gave Superman a new costume…which I thank GOD for. I HATED the original Rebirth costume. I think it was the lack of red boots that did it, which was especially dumb since some artists occasionally either forgot they weren’t there anymore or just outright ignored their absence. Seeing this one, with the red boots back and a yellow pentagon added to the belt, was very refreshing, and I think is a step in the right direction for how a modern Superman should look. And speaking of costumes, the new timeline also makes it clear that Superman DID wear the old school tights for a while, which is good. As for how and in which ways this new timeline was different and the same, that was all gone over in the ensuing issues of Action Comics, with Superman going over the records of his life at the Fortress of Solitude. Which, I totally get. If I found out my entire history was somehow dramatically altered, I’d want a refresher course on it too, just to make sure there’re no holes in my memory or anything like that. Fortunately, DC’s actually gotten a little better at establishing which events in its past are and are not canon, and this is a good example of that. It doesn’t cover EVERYTHING, though, particularly how this new timeline affects characters outside of the Super Family, and I hope they go over all of that in full soon.
Believe it or not, one thing I actually have mixed feelings about in the wake of Superman Reborn is the fact that, apparently, Superman and Wonder Woman never got together in this timeline. Now, I know what you’re gonna say: “Jyger, didn’t you spend like 4 years bitching about the fact that Superman and Wonder Woman were in a relationship?” Well, the thing is, yes, I DID bitch about that, and I DO prefer Lois and Clark together. However, I could still see there being a brief attraction between the two when they were younger and before they got into relationships with Lois Lane and Steve Trevor which would eventually evolve into a close friendship. If that happened, fine, but as far as I know, they were NEVER together. So why does that bother me? Well, it’s like I said when I was talking about Wonder Woman: The events of the New 52 should not be out and out retconned, but rather used in a way that develops her in a more positive manner into a better person. Instead, they went with the easy way out and erased the relationship from existence. I’m not in favour of that, especially because it was completely erasing past relationships and history that got us into the mess that was the New 52 to begin with.
Speaking of, like I said before, the two issues of Action Comics that better explain Superman’s new timeline don’t really go fully into how these changes affect the people outside of his immediate supporting cast. For example, how do these changes affect his relationship with Batman? How does it affect certain Justice League stories he was directly involved in, both pre- and post-Flashpoint? Now, I have a theory on why we haven’t gotten that explanation yet, and it’s actually pretty simple: As far as I can tell, what’s happened with Superman will eventually happen to the other characters in the DCU as well, merging their pre- and post-Flashpoint selves and restoring their histories. As such, how these changes affect them directly is probably going to be saved for when that happens. Hopefully, though, we won’t have to wait TOO long for that to happen, since otherwise, we’re just left with so many questions that it’s mind-boggling.
And, what the hell, since it just finished, let’s talk about the most recent story arc of the main Superman book, Black Dawn… … …It blew. HARD. First off, I don’t know if it was always the plan to reveal that Lois and Clark’s neighbours were aliens or not, but it was kinda dumb. Second, the way it ends, with Manchester Black’s consciousness winding up in a cow that gets tipped over by some idiots. I am NEVER going to be able to read What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way, nor watch the animated adaptation of that story, Superman vs The Elite, with a straight face ever again because of that stupid ending. But aside from all that, let’s talk about the part of the story that really, REALLY pissed me and a lot of fans off. And, for the squeamish people who might be reading this, I’m just gonna warn you now, this is where we get a little gruesome, and at the same time, really Goddamn stupid…
… … …So, first off, before I rip this to shreds, let me get one thing out of the way: Lois thinks she just lost her leg. She didn’t, of course, it’s actually some kind of mental illusion created by Manchester Black. However, the point still stands that she thinks she just lost her leg, and what is her immediate reaction? “Clark, cauterize this Goddamn stump and go save our son!” Lois Lane = Possessor of the biggest balls of anyone in the DCU. Now, that said, allow me to go over everything wrong with this in the following bulleted list:
- WHAT THE FUCK is with DC constantly wanting to dismember or even outright murder Lois Lane?! Seriously, I have seen Lois Lane in some kind of mortal peril that can only be described as torture porn 9 Goddamn billion times. At this point, I am honestly of the belief that there is someone in DC with a serious snuff fetish for Lois. If so, I have the following advice to whoever he or she is: GET HELP! IMMEDIATELY!
- Despite the fact that we didn’t have it revealed that this was some sort of illusion until two issues later, most of us kind of gathered that this would result in either a fake-out or a reversal with her coming out of it with her leg intact. That means that the only reason they did it was for the sake of a shock moment for the readers, and ultimately, all it did was piss us off and/or generate mockery of DC for pulling such a stunt.
- Even for those of us that considered for a moment that this wasn’t going to be undone or revealed to not happen at all, we knew this would not result in a story centered around Lois having to deal with phantom pain, or the overall effects such would have on her body, or adapting to a prosthetic, or anything like that. And no, it wasn’t just because we have solicits telling us what future stories will be, it’s because we knew DC had no interest in telling that story. Why? Because they NEVER do. They NEVER want to tell stories about people dealing with massive changes to their bodies. Yes, Barbara Gordon lost the ability to walk for a long time, but other than not being able to walk, where did they ever discuss the other tolls the damage to her spine caused to her body? Paraplegics have to deal with more than just paralysis, you know. It also often causes sexual dysfunction, issues revolving around bladder control, and a bunch of other stuff that is no fun whatsoever. To the best of my knowledge, none of that is ever acknowledged with Babs, nor with anyone else who has dealt with paralysis in DC.
- Even if they did eventually tell the above story, the problem is, stories that involve someone losing vital parts of their body have never been told specifically to tell how that affects THAT individual. It’s always about how that event affects EVERYBODY ELSE. The only exception I can think of is Cyborg, with him losing the vast majority of his body and having it replaced with cybernetics, leading to him having to deal with that and whether or not he truly feels human anymore. But still, that’s ONE case I can think of. And more often than not, these events happen specifically to women, and the book in which they occur is never actually ABOUT the incident in question. Superman #23 was not about Lois losing her leg, it was just a thing that happened to motivate Superman and the story. The Killing Joke was not about Joker shooting Babs in the spine, it was just something he did to mess with Jim Gordon. Hell, even though it was revealed that Lois never actually lost her leg, there’s no follow-up with her and her mental state after being put through a scenario where she thought she lost it…Although, that leads to the next point…
- The nature of the illusion is a little…confusing to me. I’m not sure if the idea is that Lois was never actually there and was just a mental projection created by Black, or if she was and she was made to think that’s what happened along with everyone else. And if that WAS Lois, and she never actually lost her leg, then what the hell is actually happening when Superman uses his heat vision to cauterize a wound that does not exist? The implications of that are HORRIFYING, and yet when we see her in Superman #25, she’s fine. So was that really Lois standing there or not?
So yeah, haven’t had to pull this bit out in a while, but in nearly every conceivable way, these two pages absolutely FAIL.
Anyway, that leads to where the book is headed. Specifically, not only is an upcoming story going to have Mr. Oz’s identity and plans laid out, but in the aftermath of Superman Reborn and the Batman/Flash crossover, The Button, we’re now headed toward an event called Doomsday Clock, wherein we’re apparently going to get a full-on confrontation between Superman and Doctor Manhattan. And, I’ll admit, this is the first time in a long time I’ve ever really thought to myself “…Does Superman even stand a chance in this fight?” And, given that Doomsday is among the prisoners currently being held by Mr. Oz, it’s likely that he’ll have some sort of involvement as well. How this will all play out is anyone’s guess, but I’m assuming this will likely lead into a much bigger event that involves the full scope of the DCU that will result in the ten years taken from them being restored. Either way, though, it is nice to see Superman finally taking center stage again as it pertains to the more major events in DC Comics. Let’s just make sure that future events involve less of Jon hogging the spotlight, and a LOT less of Lois possibly losing body parts.
But anyway, those are my thoughts. Lemme know what you think in the comments below, and next time…Oy. It’s time. I’ve been dreading this moment since I started this project, but next time, we take a look at Tom King’s Batman. Prepare yourselves for utter disappointment. Ja né!
DC Rebirth One Year Later – Wonder Woman
Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And with this one, we’re looking at what quickly became one of the most anticipated books of the initiative after the creative team was announced: None other than the solo book of the Spirit of Truth and savior of the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman.
Once again, SPOILERS for anyone not caught up on the book, so turn back if you don’t wanna know what’s been going on without reading the book yourself. So, first off, I just wanna make clear that this book is SO cathartic for anyone who hated the New 52 Wonder Woman book. If you liked that book, and I know there were those who did, then I’m sorry, this book is probably not for you. But if you’ve been waiting for a return-to-form Wonder Woman, this is for you. And the decision to bring Greg Rucka back to write the book was a great choice by DC. Granted, I would’ve liked to see Gail Simone return to the book, but in hindsight, when it came to telling the opening stories of this book, Rucka was probably the better option. Hopefully, The Simone will return at a later point. Although, if you’ve been waiting for that moment as well, you might be interested to know that Gail Simone will be writing a Wonder Woman/Conan crossover book in the future, so there’s that.
So, again, this is very much return-to-form for Wonder Woman. During the events of Justice League’s Darkseid War, Diana learned that she had been deceived in regards to a great many things as it pertains to her past, which is further proven upon putting herself in the Lasso of Truth. To make a 24 (going on 25) issue story short, Diana never returned to Themyscira upon leaving it with Steve Trevor. The one we’ve seen her come back to in the New 52 is a fake, as have been the incarnations of the Greek Gods she’s encountered during that time. How and why this happened is still a little unclear, although I’m assuming this will be fully explained in #25 next week. What will also likely be explained is the true nature of Diana’s origins. The implication SEEMS to be that she was made from clay, but then how do you explain her apparent twin brother Jason (part of the revelation made in Darkseid War) being born on the same day, unless they were both made from clay? And what about the true nature of the fakes and their existence? They can’t simply be illusions, since Steve sees them too, and they created Donna Troy in the new continuity, and she’s very much real, but I’ll get into that when I talk about Titans.
Some people might see that as a cheap method of setting things back to the status quo, by implying that everything that’s happened with Wonder Woman in the New 52 no longer counts. I disagree. Other than the apparent retcon of her relationship with Superman due to events in his books (which I’ll get to when I talk about them), a lot of those stories still happened. The fact that she was interacting with people who weren’t necessarily real or genuine does not negate that fact. For better or worse, those events and how she handled them are a part of her history and contribute to her character development.
Wonder Woman, however, is not the only character being taken back to their core elements. Steve Trevor is back to his awesome-yet-constantly-needing-to-be-saved-by-Wonder-Woman self, and is reasserted as Diana’s primary love interest. Personally, I tend to prefer the idea that they USED to date, and that relationship helped better them as people before becoming just friends, but I can deal with them in a relationship far sooner than her and Superman. Etta Candy is sporting a new look wherein she’s still African-American like her New 52 self, but is also thicker and curvier. Also, she’s a hell of a lot more fun to read, which is a big point of interest for me, because I love when Etta Candy is a delight. Barbara Minerva’s backstory is made sympathetic again, and the tragedy of her transformation seems even more-so as it’s implied (if not outright stated) that she and Etta might have had feelings for each other. I DO have a bit of a nitpick in that I wish her design included the long red hair and a string bikini, perhaps similar to how she looks in Injustice 2 perhaps, but I at least get what they were doing with this look. The Amazons are also all brought back to their awesome selves, and it seems the idea of Hippolyta and Phillipus as a possible couple might be coming back, which is VERY appreciated. A lot of Diana’s rogues make returns, like Doctor Poison and Doctor Cyber, all of whom are appreciated. And then there’s Veronica Cale, and holy shit, does she work GREAT as one of the primary antagonists of this book. She’s just sympathetic enough in her character and the things that happen directly to her that you can at least understand some of the things she does, but man oh man, does she do some fucked up stuff to Diana and pretty much everyone who gets caught between them. There’s even a scene where she manages to get a leg up over Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor at an auction (long story for those who haven’t seen it), and it is glorious.
One thing that was a bit odd in terms of how this book has unfolded is that, because Wonder Woman was one of the books that would be released twice a month, Rucka was telling two different stories in the same book, with current events being told in the odd numbered issues, and past events being told in the even numbered issues. And while the end of each issue made clear which future issue would continue which story, it could prove confusing for anyone going into the book late and not knowing that. My advice? Wait for the trades to come out, since they collect the specific stories. And while it was released second, start with the Year One storyline, since it better explains everything. Plus, it’s probably my favourite arc of the book. Why? Wonder Woman’s origin story with Greg Rucka as the writer and Nicola Scott as the artist. That combination is, for a lack of a better term, wonderful.
…*sighs* But, now we gotta talk about where this book is going, and that’s where things get a bit murkier. If you haven’t read the most recent solicits from DC, it seems that James Robinson will be taking over as writer of the book in September, and that the first arc of his run will specifically be about Jason, the apparent twin brother of Wonder Woman. So, basically, we’re getting a Wonder Woman book…that is not actually ABOUT Wonder Woman, but a man. Granted, I fully expected the book would eventually get into explaining the existence of Diana’s brother, but if what we’ve heard and read about Robinson’s story is correct, then he is basically the star of this story, not Wonder Woman. This is more than a little problematic for many fans, for a few reasons. Even ignoring the fact that this is kind of a slap in the faces of the more feminist comic book fans, and Wonder Woman IS a feminist icon, so that IS a legitimate problem, I don’t care what anyone says, what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character? I can only hope this arc doesn’t last long, because otherwise, there’s probably gonna be a SERIOUS drop in the book’s sales.
Other than that, though, where does the book go? Well, a lot of that is probably gonna depend on the outcome of next week’s issue, which will be Greg Rucka’s last on the book. Afterward, Shea Fontana will be getting a quick run on the book before Robinson takes over. After all that, though? Who knows. Hopefully, like I said, the Jason arc won’t last long, and then maybe we can eventually get Gail Simone back on the book. It just feels like it’s time, and we know she can write some awesome Wonder Woman stories. Even if it’s only for a little while, it’d still be appreciated.
Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have to say about the book so far, at least as a more general look at it. I MIGHT decide to give a more in-depth look at Wonder Woman: Year One someday down the road, though. For now, leave your own thoughts on the DC Rebirth Wonder Woman book before, and next, what say we round out the Trinity by going up, up, and away? ^_^ Ja né!
DC Rebirth One Year Later – Detective Comics
Well, it’s June, so it’s finally time for me to take a more in-depth look at DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative. However, the reason this is only starting now in the middle of June is because…well, there’s a lot to talk about, both good and bad, and I can’t really imagine me going over ALL of my thoughts on DC Rebirth in one article. As such, I’m gonna be talking about several specific books in their own articles, what I liked and disliked about them, and then give overall thoughts on where I think the book might be headed. And obviously, considering I’m going over the events of these books, there will be SPOILERS, so if you aren’t caught up on them and don’t want to be spoiled, turn back now. So, with that said, let’s talk about Detective Comics.
Now, first and foremost, when I heard about this book initially, I was PUMPED. Not only was it going back to the old numbering, meaning we’d be hitting #1000 relatively quickly, but just look at the cover. It’s a TEAM book, featuring some of my favourite Bat Family characters: Batman, Batwoman, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain… … …erm, Clayface…Yeah, I’mma get to Clayface, but suffice to say, he’s one of the elements of the book that’s both good and bad. Regardless, though, this was gonna be great… … …Then some shit happened that made me a lot less excited. But I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about Tim Drake, AKA Red Robin.
So one of the first things the book did was re-establish everything great about Tim Drake. He’s the brains of the Robins, the one most on par with Bruce when it comes to detective skills, and is the one who builds a lot of the tech they use in their new base of operations. Bruce also gives him a new costume that’s more closely associated with the other Robins (remember, in the New 52, Tim was never Robin, and was always Red Robin), and makes it clear to him that he ALWAYS considered him a Robin, whether Tim did or not. Even Tim’s relationship with Stephanie Brown is re-established, much to my joy. And it goes a long way in explaining why these things were re-established here when you consider that, apparently, James Tynion IV is a big fan of the character and his original solo-series. So, for fans of Tim Drake, like myself, this was a great thing to do… … …Then Tim died.
Well, okay, anyone who has read the book where Tim Drake makes his final stand knows that Tim didn’t actually die. Before he could be killed, he was basically removed from the area by Mr. Oz, a character who has been cropping up in Superman’s stories for a while now, and was made Oz’s prisoner, effectively taking Tim off the board because he was an important link to a lot of different people in the DC Universe. What Oz’s motivations for doing this are is still a mystery, and I’ll get more into that when I talk about the Superman books, but that’s the situation as is. And frankly, while that DOES annoy me, that we finally got Tim back as he should be only to lose him, the fact is, this DOES play into a bigger story that even goes outside of this one book. Oz’s plans are one of the big mysteries of DC Rebirth, and Tim is now a part of that, as we see him trying to escape, make contact with Batman, taunt Oz over the loss of other prisoners, etc. He’s not just being benched permanently, it’s part of a storyline that’s actually going somewhere. But, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that fallout from his apparent death has led to things that DO legit bother me.
Now let’s talk about Clayface. First, let me explain that I actually do like his motivations for joining Batman. For those that don’t recall, it was established in the New 52 that Karlo’s abilities had evolved to the point where he could not only assume the forms of other people, his DNA would also change to whoever he made physical contact with. However, this came at a price: He could assume the form and DNA of anyone…except Basil Karlo. So, when we first encounter him in this book, he’s basically hit rock bottom, just sitting alone at a theater showing one of his old movies and not caring for crime or if he gets sent back to Arkham or not. It’s a position that I think a lot of us can understand and would probably find ourselves in if we were in his shoes. Thus, when Batman offers him a chance to become Basil Karlo if he joins Batman’s team to help Gotham, he accepts. And as a result of that, we see him start to change. He’s regaining his humanity and is legitimately wanting to help people again as opposed to feeling forced to. It’s a well-written redemption storyline that, hopefully, won’t be undone.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Clayface being the one to receive this redemption arc, one that I was not privy to because, while I know a lot about No Man’s Land, I have not read it in its entirety. However, since his introduction as a member of this team, a friend of mine let me in on the fact that it was made pretty clear (if not outright stated) that Clayface raped Poison Ivy during the events of No Man’s Land. This was part of the story that led to Ivy being put in charge of Robinson Park and looking after orphaned children. And I know, I KNOW, someone’s gonna point out that this might not be in continuity anymore. And granted, that’s a legit argument. However, here’s my counter-argument: DC, while getting better at it as of late, has never made it fully clear what all is and is not canon from the pre-Flashpoint stories. So, until it’s made clear one way or the other, we don’t really know whether the events of No Man’s Land are or are not still a part of these characters’ histories. Furthermore, even if No Man’s Land and the rape are no longer canon due to it being among the ten years of history taken from the DC Universe, it still doesn’t completely erase what happened, especially since events in recent comics suggest those ten years are going to be reintegrated into main storylines. And you just can’t have it both ways by saying that all of the previous history is canon again, but that the rape never happened. Other than situations where characters couldn’t have been physically present due to not being introduced in the new continuity until much later, re-establishing the past history means it ALL happened. Now, if this was an alternate universe with its own history and incarnations of the characters, then I would say “Okay, I can overlook that”. But this ISN’T. Rebirth has made it clear that this is the same universe that existed pre-Flashpoint, just with ten years worth of history removed and elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes blended in. And I’m not even saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE to do a story wherein Clayface redeems himself for those actions, it’s just that, be it because Tynion isn’t aware or forgot about that story, or either he himself or higher-ups at DC don’t care, there does not exist a story wherein Clayface at least attempts to rectify what he did to Ivy. Now, if they do so later, fine, but for now, it’s an issue that will always stick out to me. And if you think I’m wrong to feel that way, lemme ask longtime DC fans something: What was your initial reaction to seeing Doctor Light appear in the New 52 as a good guy who joined the JLA? My guess is probably revulsion, because you remembered that image of Doctor Light raping Sue Dibny, and then later being made into a serial rapist who was killed by other bad guys because even they couldn’t stomach him. You can’t simply pretend that didn’t happen when these are all still supposed to be the same characters. This is what the publisher did with the character, and you can’t simply brush it off because it’s inconvenient.
…*sighs* And, speaking of which, that leads me to probably my biggest disappointment with the book: Stephanie Brown. I have made it no secret that Steph is one of my all-time favourite superheroes, held the #1 spot for me for many years, and was the star of my favourite Batgirl title. Now, initially, I didn’t really have a problem with Stephanie in this book. It wasn’t until she left the team that I had a problem, and that wasn’t even really with her leaving the team. The thing is, Stephanie Brown finding fault and taking issue with Batman’s methods? That’s totally in character for her. They DO have differing philosophies and methodology as it pertains to helping people and dealing with crime. It’s not even that she leaves over Bruce’s tendency to inadvertently get others caught in the crossfire of his fight with villains, since it works as motivation for him to be more careful and do more to help those caught in his path. The problem is just how fucking hypocritical she acts, talking about how Gotham doesn’t need heroes when she goes out and specifically does superhero acts, all the while sabotaging Batman and saying how he shouldn’t be out in the open taking the credit. THAT is NOT in character for her. And she talks about how Batman should stick to the shadows and not let the general public in on his existence, when guess what? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HE USED TO DO!!! He DID stick to the shadows! He DIDN’T let people know he really existed! He was an urban legend, and the confirmed existence of him was known only to a select few. He only came out into the light when things in Gotham got SO bad that he HAD to, that his presence would’ve actually been a positive to Gotham. Then there’re hints that, in future issues, she’s gonna be teaming with Anarky. Now, Steph teaming with anti-heroes like Catwoman or the like, that makes sense. ANARKY IS A STRAIGHT-UP VILLAIN WHO KILLS PEOPLE. Her working with him makes no sense for her character. And the most insulting part of all of this is that the event that triggers it all is Tim’s supposed death, meaning it’s entirely possible none of this would’ve happened if not for the fact that her boyfriend bit the dust. Give me a fucking break!
In terms of the other characters, I like that the book makes use of people like Batwing, Azrael, and Bluebird, heroes who don’t have their own books and are able to get some stories told about them here. I also like that the book was able to tell a story that directly led into Batwoman getting her own solo title again, which is always a good thing. Batwoman is a popular and important enough character to deserve her own book, and I’m glad they’ve done so. I also like that it’s made clear that she and Bruce are equals on this team, as they should be. Not sure why they completely shaved her head at the beginning, but whatever, minor nitpick, and at least it’s growing back out again as of late.
One problem I have with the book that’s actually a bit smaller than the ones I’ve mentioned thus far is the fact that Kate’s dad was made a villain. I mean, I GUESS when you look at the story as a whole and how it unfolded, it kinda makes sense. Still, I kinda find it problematic if, for no other reason, it pushes Kate to be more like Bruce, since she now no longer has a father to go to. And frankly, the story of him going after a super-secret organization that Batman doesn’t believe exists, but then it turns out they do and that they’re a far bigger threat just makes Batman look like an idiot, especially since this isn’t even the first evil group he thought never existed and then was proven wrong about.
So, now for where I think/hope this book is going. Well, first off, it’s pretty clear that Tim being alive will come out at some point, especially with Superman apparently having to deal with Mr. Oz more directly in upcoming events. What they’ll do with him at that point is anyone’s guess, but I’d imagine him being confirmed alive will probably be what leads to Steph and Bruce resolving their issues. I honestly hope they DO actually work what happened in No Man’s Land into a story, with Clayface feeling the need to make right what he did in some way, shape, or form. CAN he be redeemed is a question everyone needs to ask themselves, but personally, I’d at least be fine with them giving it a legitimate attempt. At least acknowledge that he feels guilt over what happened. And hopefully, Kate and her father can resolve their issues as well, and WITHOUT him dying in some way. Honestly, what I think would be a good move after Tim is brought back into the fold is for Bruce to maybe take a step back and let the team do their own thing. Let us see how the group can function without Batman taking direct control of it.
One thing I’m legitimately worried about is that, with the recent reveal that the Outsiders are still canon, the team in this book will be disbanded and replaced with the Outsiders. I’m not against the Outsiders getting back together, and I would be in favour of them getting their own book or integrating this team into their ranks. However, I hope this team is not completely broken down for the sake of bringing them back. I feel like that would be a disservice to these characters.
Most importantly, though, I want Detective Comics to remain a team book. Detective Comics basically just being another Batman book in the New 52 seemed like a waste, whereas now we have actual stories we can tell with it. And, to be honest, despite everything bad I’ve said that’s happened in this book…it’s still a lot better than another Bat book I could name, which I’ll be getting to eventually. For now, lemme know what your own thoughts on Detective Comics in DC Rebirth are, and join me next time for something a bit more…wonderful. Ja né!