Y’know, in comics, when you’re setting up line-ups of different titles to try and sell to your customers, say as part of a reboot or relaunch or whatever, it’s a good idea to keep it varied. After all, you never know when something different might stick with someone. But, at the same time, there are certain books that have a certain name value to them that need to be kept in, no matter what you’re doing. DC Comics, in particular, seems to have several of these high name value books. But which ones are the ones that I feel are the ones that MUST be kept in, regardless of what they’re doing? What books, no matter what kind of universal reboot or retooling or new direction, do I feel are the titles that should be kept around? Well, strap yourselves in, because I’m about to go over them now. These are the 12 essential DC titles I feel should be a part of every line-up. So, let’s start with an obvious one…
If for no other reason, Action Comics needs to be kept around for DC’s entire life-span because it’s the book that started this whole incredible ride. And because it’s been around for so long, it can provide for great anniversary moments. Hell, at this moment in time, we are coming up super close to a legitimate Action Comics #1000, and it’s frigging awesome. I would keep Action Comics running from now until the end of time if I could, and I would NEVER attempt to renumber it ever again.
Same deal as Action Comics. Detective Comics has been a major staple of DC (right down to the frigging name), and is likewise creeping up on 1000 issues. This needs to keep running for as long as DC Comics does. Maybe even longer, if say someone like Marvel or whoever bought out DC and kept their characters and stories going.
They are the three pillars of DC Comics. Let’s just be clear about that. No matter how big anyone else gets, and there are plenty of big freaking names, these are the ones that best define DC: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You do not have DC Comics if you don’t have these three characters, and they MUST have their own solo titles. Admittedly, though, Action Comics and Detective Comics of the modern day are pretty much just Superman and Batman books respectively, but at least said books also feature plenty of their supporting casts. Hell, for a time, Detective Comics primarily starred Batwoman. But yeah, these three HAVE to be around.
Okay, I know what I just said about the Trinity, but if there was anyone else in DC that I can’t imagine the books existing without, it’s The Flash. This is probably because of the fact that he’s been central to so many major events that revolve around the Multiverse and the central continuity of the stories. Think about that: Any time there has ever been a major shake up, Barry or another Flash was in the middle of it. As such, Flash is very much a central part of DC’s legacy, and needs to continue to be as much moving forward.
It’s the A-List group of superheroes within this universe. There is no shared universe of any sort without the Justice League. And I don’t care what you call them, be it the Justice League, Justice League of America, JLA, Justice League International, or Justice League United, there MUST be a Justice League of some sort no matter what is going on. That said, there are maybe two other teams that need just as much focus…
With so many great superheroines in the DC Universe, it’s hard to imagine there ever being a time when the Birds of Prey didn’t exist. I mean, I know there was, but I can’t imagine how or why. It’s bizarre. That said, one thing that the Birds of Prey books need to stop doing is introducing whole new male characters that no one cares about. Specifically, Condor from the New 52 version and the new Oracle in the Rebirth version. It’s infuriating. lol I would also probably use this book as a means of getting the Gotham City Sirens (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy) involved in major storylines if they didn’t have their own books. I mean, I would probably make sure they did have their own book, but again, I’m going specifically for the bare essentials here.
Again, with so many younger heroes, there simply MUST be a Teen Titans (or just Titans) book at all times. Even if you rebooted back to square one, to where Dick Grayson is Robin and so on, there are still plenty of options to go with. You still have Kid Flash, Aqualad, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, so many younger heroes that would be welcome in a Titans book.
Granted, this hasn’t always been the case, but Green Lantern, more than any other hero, helps to unite the events on Earth with the events throughout the universe in DC. So many cosmic heroes and villains that are brought into what goes on with Earth via connections to the Green Lantern Corps. I don’t even care which one you use (I personally prefer John Stewart, but whatever), but there MUST be a Green Lantern with their own book at some point. Hell, there are so many, each with their own unique stories, you could give the vast majority their own books.
Of all of the characters who have rotated in and out of the Justice League, Aquaman is one of the few that has stuck around the longest. For all the jokes people STILL sling at this guy, none of which are warranted, he remains one of DC Comics’ signature characters. And dammit, he needs to remain as such forever. He’s earned it.
So, that leaves us with #12. And, I’ll admit, this is the hardest one to decide, because whoever gets in, that means everyone else is left out as being one of the essentials, which I feel is a slight against all of them. No matter how I spin it, I’m purposely leaving out each one of the above characters who aren’t chosen as #12 as being one of the most important characters with the most important stories. And it doesn’t help that my own personal bias affects this, too. And yes, my personal bias makes me want to say Gotham City Sirens or a Stephanie Brown book. But, in the end, I have to choose what I feel would be the most important to DC’s line-up and its legacy. So, with that in mind, and I KNOW I’m gonna piss someone off with this, here is my pick for #12…
I think that one thing that’s been universally agreed upon in terms of what was lost with the New 52 was the DC Universe’s legacy. Not just where it’s headed, but where it came from as well. Both the legacy heroes who came before and are yet to come. No matter what kind of reboot or reset that happens, it’s important, for the sake of those that continue to keep up with DC, to have something that speaks to its legacy. And no team better represents DC’s legacy, where it’s been, and where it’s going, than the Justice Society. And it can be either a book set on an alternate Earth, or a book about a team that existed back in the days of the Golden Age of comics, but there MUST be a Justice Society. Ironically, at this time, Earth 2: Society has finished its run, and a Justice Society book is still in the works. Hopefully, though, DC doesn’t leave us waiting for too much longer with the latter.
And, just to be clear, if I was running DC Comics, I would of COURSE have books like Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Martian Manhunter, Gotham City Sirens, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Secret Six going at the same time as the other twelve I’ve mentioned. They’re all important characters and stories to me. But this isn’t just about me. And besides, with the choices I gave, there’s still plenty of room to involve all of those characters and more. And, like I said at the beginning, it’s good to throw other, varied options around for the reader to pick up and see if they like it. Give different heroes and stories a chance to shine. But, at the end of the day, these are the twelve that I think NEED to survive above all others from now until whenever this crazy age of comic books comes to an end.
… … …BUT, I’m sure you all have your own picks and selections, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. Ja né!
“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!
…Well, we’re finally here, folks. It’s been five years, but at last, the New 52/DC You is dead. Granted, a few of its titles are still finishing up their runs, and the new books still take place in this universe, but it’s a changed one, and, quite frankly, a VASTLY improved one in my opinion, but I’ll be going over how when I look at DC Universe Rebirth #1 (the reason I haven’t yet is because there was still some fallout from it that continues into the other Rebirth one-shots). Before that, though, I think it’s time to look back on exactly what happened with the New 52, where it went wrong, and some of the worst titles that I personally have ever read from this era. So, welcome once again to How To Drop The Ball In Comics as I, for one last time, let it all out about the New 52.
What Is It?: The New 52 was basically a way to bring in new readers who might be intimidated by 70+ years of history, likely as a means of competing more with Marvel by upping their numbers. Sound familiar? It should. It’s something that DC has tried to do a few times now. However, they never tried anything quite like this: Following the event Flashpoint, the DC Universe was rebooted to where most of the heroes of the world had only been active for about 5 years. Most of the history of the characters were either gone or changed, thus creating a blank slate to start over from scratch with new talent to tell their tales in a modern setting. Now, DC was no stranger to reboots and retcons. But, as I said, this went a bit above and beyond anything they’d ever done before. So, the question one has to ask themselves, as has been done since the beginning of this new comic universe, is the same singular word as it’s always been: Why?
How Did It Have Potential?: Really, when you get down to why DC felt the need to reboot everything, it usually leads to a common question: Are there really that many people who want to read comics but don’t because of so much continuity to go through? And the answer is…complicated. I’ve had this talk before, and as I said then, this generation is actually the luckiest when it comes to stuff like that. We have the internet, with which we can read up on all this information. Sure, we might not get EVERYTHING, but the most important details will be waiting for us. That said, there DO exist people who either don’t know where to get this information, or don’t feel obligated, for whatever reason, to read up on it, but would STILL like to get into comics. Now, personally speaking, nowadays, I’m more of a subscriber to the theory that the best way to get new readers isn’t to sweep everything under a rug, but instead to give just enough allusions to these old stories and make them sound super exciting and interesting, thus making the reader want to know more. If you wanna know where I figured THAT out, read JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative. Or, if you can’t find it, watch Linkara’s review of it. However, I’m not blind to the views of those who would implement this strategy to get more people reading.
On top of all of that, though, there is one thing people have to consider. And I know that there are people who have forgotten this, but…there ARE some heroes who kinda got screwed over LONG before the New 52 happened, and who have since gotten a new lease on life as a result. Want an example? Okay, VIBE. Vibe was considered the worst member of the Justice League EVER. His name was practically a punch line, and he likely either would’ve remained that way or completely faded from everyone’s memory, were it not for the reboot giving Geoff Johns a chance to do something new with him. And after seeing how he worked in the New 52, I gotta say, I really like Vibe. I would gladly have him on my Justice League team. I hope he comes back again. And, likely as a result of his being brought back in the New 52, the character was also adapted into The Flash’s TV show, which has another new interpretation of him that I really like. So, yes, the reboot had potential when it came to characters like him. Also, while I’m not necessarily a fan of how Donna Troy was brought back in the New 52, I will say that I’m glad it finally gave her a definitive origin that didn’t require a road map to understand…I think, anyway. Not sure exactly how her origin works in terms of how she could’ve been a member of the Titans, but whatever. Something I’ll get into another time.
Finally, though, we have to be honest: The New 52 had good books, many of which I listed before. Also, some of the books which were of actual good quality would not or could not have worked in the old continuity. Not without their own share of heavy changes, anyway. And some of these books were so good that, when the word got out about them, they brought in new readers. You know how I know that? BECAUSE I WAS ONE OF THEM! Yeah, I was one of those people who was on the fence about actually buying comics. Sure, I was a fan of many of the characters long before that, but that was mostly via their TV shows, movies, video games, stuff I learned through Atop The Fourth Wall, and just word of mouth. But when the reboot came, I saw it as an opportunity to get into comics, starting with Scott Snyder’s Batman, and I’ve been buying comics ever since. And a few characters DID eventually get put over as new stars. Harley Quinn is one of the top characters in DC right now, and has been outed as bisexual in her own book, meaning she is one of the most high-profile LGBT characters in comics. Speaking of, Batwoman got her own monthly title. Granted, she was already the star of Detective Comics for a while, but here, she had her own self-titled story. So, yes, we have to accept the fact that, in some ways, THE NEW 52 DID SEE SUCCESS… … … … …Now for the half-to-three-quarters empty.
How Did It Drop The Ball?: Well, before I get to that, I wanna show you something. Before writing this article, I went out on Twitter and asked a few people, if they could sum up exactly what went wrong with the New 52 in about 10 words or so, what those words would be. Let’s see what they had to say, shall we?
To be fair, though, one person I asked also had THIS to say…
…And yeah, that’s a legit concern to have, one that I’ll address when I get to DC Rebirth. Regardless, I can’t help but agree with the other responses, too. So, let’s start with the obvious one: What the loss of the past continuity cost us. Well, for starters, at the beginning of the New 52 (so the first 52 books printed), there was no Wally West, Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, the VAST majority of the JSA, Aqualad (either of them), and several other legacy heroes. Dick Grayson was back to being Nightwing. Bart Allen was the only Kid Flash. Cassandra Sandsmark was the only Wonder Girl. Barbara Gordon was the only Batgirl, was only in a wheelchair for a couple of years (give or take), and was suggested to have never been Oracle. There was no Young Justice team. The Outsiders were forced underground and were ultimately forgotten for a time. Cyborg was never a Teen Titan, instead taking Martian Manhunter’s place as a founding member of the Justice League. Martian Manhunter was more or less made into a hero everyone had trust issues with and would freely mindwipe others at a whim. Aquaman and Mera weren’t married, although no one apparently thought to tell Geoff Johns that while he was writing. Also, the Teen Titans never existed before Tim Drake’s new team, but again, apparently no one told Scott Lobdell. Roy Harper never had Lian, nor did he ever become Red Arrow, and instead became an anti-hero working with Jason Todd. Batman never revealed his identity to Catwoman, and instead the two were just having sex on rooftops. No one knew where the frak Renée Montoya was. But probably the most damning of all, Clark Kent and Lois Lane were never married, nor in a relationship.
But even beyond stuff that no longer happened due to the loss of past continuity, there were other retcons passed around throughout the New 52 that either didn’t make sense, came outta nowhere, or just served to piss people off. I’ve already gone over stuff like what happened to Wonder Woman, Starfire, and Martian Manhunter, but it didn’t end there. The Phantom Stranger was made to be Judas Iscariot. The Question was… … …I have no idea what the hell the Question was supposed to be, honestly. Tim Drake didn’t find out Batman’s identity and become Robin out of a need to help him, but instead failed to figure out who he was and instead forced his hand by messing with Penguin and almost getting his parents killed. Supergirl’s dad became the New 52 Cyborg Superman, which apparently is still canon in Rebirth for some reason. Billy Batson was turned into a little asshole who never shuts his gob. Roy Harper got a STUPID trucker hat that he refused to take off for some reason. Jason Todd’s back-story was changed to where Joker apparently set up his life to turn out exactly as it did to where he was killed and brought back. Mr. Freeze was never married to Nora, but instead was obsessed with her because of stuff relating to the cold and his mother that just makes my skin crawl. Overall, though, most of these changes and several others served for a single purpose: To make the DC Universe darker, and the stories were more often than not reflective of this, oftentimes filled with lots of sex and violence.
More than all of that, though, where I think the New 52 fails most in terms of stories is just on a sheer conceptual level. You’ll recall that I said the reboot was meant to put everything back to a clean slate. Here’s the problem: Some events in the past continuity did still happen. Several moments in DC’s history were condensed down into a much smaller time frame that made less sense the more one thought about it. Supposedly, events like Hal Jordan becoming Parallax, Blackest Night, and Batman being sent through time and believed dead still happened, but several key people involved weren’t, and the exact details of how it happened were changed. All the male Robins still exist (though Tim Drake was apparently never Robin and instead was always Red Robin), all within the span of 5 (later changed to approximately 10) years. Barbara Gordon was still shot by the Joker. Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend was still murdered and stuffed into a fridge (which, of all things to wipe away, why did THAT have to remain canon?! o.O). And, on top of all of this, some things happened, others didn’t, and not only was DC quiet about what did and didn’t happen, but they failed to give memos to the people WRITING THE STORIES about what was and wasn’t in canon. Like I said before, guys like Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell, who were given high-profile books, weren’t informed of certain details. The first issues of Red Hood And The Outlaws and Teen Titans clearly made reference to past Titans teams, only to later learn that, supposedly, there were no previous Titans. I honestly have NO idea if Superman being killed by Doomsday is still canon or not. Heroes like Plastic Man and Miss Martian were referenced in the first issues of Justice League International and Teen Titans, only for it to be retconned that they never existed. George Pérez had to quit after six issues of Superman after repeated failures of being informed of details about Superman’s new status quo in this new universe. And I’m sure there are other instances of stuff like this that I’m not thinking of.
If you haven’t put it together by now, a major problem with the New 52 was mismanagement, and it wasn’t just a problem with the stories, either. Ask any of the talent that have left DC within the past five years, and you’ll probably get a similar story of broken promises and last-minute changes. Many left their stories unfinished as a result. In particular, Andy Diggle left the company before the first issue of his run on Action Comics ever even hit the stands. I think probably the one that still gets me is the controversy involving Batwoman, and I’ve gone over this before, but here’s as quick a summary of what happened as I can do. In September of 2013, J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman went public with the fact that they were leaving Batwoman, starting with issue 26. Why? Well, because of last-minute changes to stuff they had planned, specifically that they were told that Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer, who had just recently gotten engaged in the book, would never be allowed to get married. According to Dan DiDio, superheroes shouldn’t be married because being happy would undermine their angst and turmoil, and would compromise their commitment to being superheroes. Now, apparently, DiDio claims this is only to do specifically with the Bat-related characters, but if you’ll recall, neither Superman nor Aquaman were married, either. In fact, the only superhero seemingly still with a family was Animal Man. So while DiDio says it was only a Bat Family thing, I think it’s more likely that he doesn’t like the idea of superheroes being married, for one reason or another. This is evidenced further by notes of his going back as far as Infinite Crisis, where it’s clear he wanted to break up Clark Kent and Lois Lane for YEARS. But hey, I’m not in charge of DC Comics. I don’t have any say in what goes on. So maybe Dan DiDio DOES know better than me. But, if that’s the case, can I ask a simple question? And it’s one I’ve asked for years now and never gotten a good answer for: If Batwoman getting married was such a problem, then why was it ever given the green light to begin with? Why were they ever allowed to get engaged? You could’ve avoided all of this and the controversy that followed if you’d simply suggested against this move to begin with in a calm and rational tone, and instead worked out something different with Williams and Blackman.
Speaking of the controversy involving Batwoman, that leads me to another issue: The women of DC. And that’s not just the characters. That said, here’s a list of just SOME of the examples of violence and fridging towards women in the New 52 (though PLEASE be aware that these are horribly graphic in many cases, so read at your own discretion): Link. Beyond that, though, there was an overall lack of female creators working for DC at the beginning. I think the official figures were that the female creators at DC had dropped from 12% to 1%. And we’ve got more now, but it’s still a rather small number. And probably the most high-profile among those at the beginning was Gail Simone. Only, guess what? There’s controversy there, too, not only because Secret Six, a best seller at DC before the reboot, was cancelled, not only because the book she’d be working on, Batgirl, had Barbara Gordon taken out of the wheelchair and claimed to have never been Oracle, a move that ticked off a LOT of people, but because she was, in December of 2012, fired from Batgirl via e-mail (which was later suggested to be inaccurate or untrue, but who knows at this point), despite the fact that she’d made the book work and be a top-seller in the face of everything working against it. Granted, she was hired back 12 days later, but I honestly feel that’s only because her firing got SO public that DC was basically becoming a lightning rod of hate. But again, guess what? She eventually left the book AGAIN, and then went on to write a rebooted Secret Six, which is, again, getting cancelled. Maybe it’ll be back in Rebirth someday down the road, I don’t know, we’ll just have to wait and see.
And lastly, I was GOING to include a list of my 5 Least Favourite Books of the New 52. However, I’ve decided not to because, at this point, you should probably have a good idea as to which books I didn’t like and which ones outright pissed me off. Maybe I’ll go back and do it later if I REALLY feel the need to, but for now, here’s just a quick rundown of the books I didn’t like, hated, or just had problems with.
Batman The Dark Knight: A horrible and nonsensical opening arc, and then later, the AWFUL killing of Batman’s love interest at the time. Even excluding those, though, it just wasn’t good.
Action Comics/Superman: The character was just not as likable or inspiring as he could be, even with the reboot, and later became crossover event after crossover event.
The Fury of Firestorm: Sorry, Gail, but every great writer’s gotta have at least one bomb, and this was just terrible.
Detective Comics: The book started off with Joker getting his face cut off just to set the stage for a story written one year later in another book…Do I even need to SAY anything else after that? Even when it was good, it always felt like it was just the other Batman book.
Teen Titans: Even if Scott WASN’T a sub-par writer, the lack of communication with editorial over what was and wasn’t canon ruined it in the beginning. The second volume started off promising, but later delved into being just bad. Overall, both volumes have kinda ruined Tim Drake as a credible leader. Still, I really like Bunker and hope he returns in Rebirth.
Wonder Woman: Massive retcons to Wonder Woman’s origins and the Amazons, and was later given to the Finches, who frankly just do not get the character.
Justice League of America: Existed solely as lead-in to Trinity War, and was later scrapped and reworked into the superior Justice League United. There’s also a JLA book going on right now that involves the seven main members of the Justice League going up against Rao, but I haven’t been following, and apparently, the book has been outright plagued with delays and cancellations.
The Movement: …I DID mention that I really like Gail Simone, right? 😀 …Okay, to be fair, I actually really liked the characters, but the overall story structure seemed problematic. Maybe it was just me, though. I’d actually be fine with this title coming back someday, or maybe the characters making comebacks, especially Vengeance Moth and Virtue.
Superman/Wonder Woman: Would’ve been fine if it was just about the two teaming up to fight bad guys, except it was far more about the two’s relationship that many were sick of already, and later existed solely to further the crossover events involving the other Superman-related books.
Birds of Prey: Started off okay, and had a new fan favourite bisexual character in Starling and put Poison Ivy on her more heroically inclined path, but it quickly fell completely apart, particularly when both aforementioned characters had heel turns and left the group.
Nightwing: While I personally enjoyed the book, it had a problem that a lot of other books frequently involved in crossover events had, in that there was rarely if ever a status quo to become invested in.
Red Hood And The Outlaws: The only reason I can fathom as to why this book is being brought back for Rebirth is as a means to keep Scott Lobdell away from anything else. That said, at least it won’t involve Starfire and Roy Harper anymore, who are returning to the Titans books.
Earth 2/World’s End/Earth 2 Society: Earth 2 started off promising, but then Dan Wilson took over, and the ship was pretty much sunk in every conceivable way. Dan Abnett’s actually trying REALLY hard to make Earth 2 Society good, and you can tell he’s a good writer, but I just don’t know how or if you can save this outside of another reboot, and that’s what got us into this mess.
Harley Quinn: If this was a book that was just about Harley, that’d be one thing, but they include Poison Ivy and just do strange and stupid things with her at times (though they DID at least make it canon that these two are bisexual), and did an amnesia arc with Power Girl where the latter was utterly humiliated and degraded in more ways than one.
Futures End: Brought Terry McGinnis into the mainstream continuity just to kill him off and replace him with an alternate future version of Tim Drake. Also, was FULL of body horror, dark twists, and ultimately proved to be pointless as the future presented never happened. Still, it DID have some good tie-ins, like the Batgirl one that I’ve brought up before.
Martian Manhunter: If anyone can tell me just what in the hell happened in this book without giving me a headache, that would be much appreciated. lol
Catwoman: I don’t even. I just don’t even. The first issue has her having sex with Batman for no reason, and has gone through multiple writers and arcs, none of which seemed to be written all that well.
Black Canary: I wouldn’t call this BAD, it’s just weird seeing Dinah in a band. But, let’s be fair, that could just be a problem with me.
There’s almost certainly more I’m either not thinking of or didn’t read, but that’s enough for now. Honestly, at this point, I’m sick of ranting about the New 52. And really, this is why I decided to do this article: Just to get this all out one last time so I can move on. Because, if you’ll look back on my blog and read my DC-related articles, it’s clear that I need to move on. I can’t live in the past, especially THIS past. I need to look to the future, and while DC Rebirth has a few things I could pick out as problematic, I will say that it still looks like a VAST improvement over the New 52. In the end, all the New 52 was was just a poorly managed era of comics history, one that even those behind it have figured out was a failure, and one that I am more than happy to leave behind for brighter horizons.
So, that’s pretty much the New 52 in a nutshell. Got any stories about this era of comics or details I might’ve left out? Lemme know in the comments below, and come back later this month when I finally take a look at DC Universe Rebirth #1, and my overall thoughts on the new era going forward. Ja né!
…SO, today was kinda nuts. Before I go in-depth on all of the big announcements, since I fully expect more news to come out soon enough, let’s instead take a look at some of the art revealed for the new books and a few quick notes I took for the different titles.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll go more in depth soon enough, though. Lemme know your own thoughts below, and we’ll see how things pan out from now to May 25th, 2016. Ja né!
So, I’ve talked about some things I’d like to see from DC Rebirth back before we knew really ANYTHING about it, and I gave general thoughts on the books announced to be part of DC’s new line-up during Rebirth and beyond. Now, it’s time to look at the individual books announced and/or characters involved and talk about what I either expect to see happen as part of this movement to bring back the elements of the books and their characters we and the creators love. Keep in mind, I might’ve discussed some of this already in the aforementioned articles, so I may be repeating a few points. Still, let’s start off with…well, a book I’m a little disappointed to hear something about…And by a little disappointed, I mean my first words upon hearing about it were, and I quote, “SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!!“…I might’ve overreacted slightly. lol
Then again, though, when you consider the quality of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s work as of late with Justice League, can you really blame me for that reaction? Well, regardless, with Justice League and Justice League America, what I would recommend doing is having both books be about different groupings of the same team. Like, one book could focus on the original big seven of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter (who I am hoping to God is returning to the League now that his book is ending), and the other can focus on some of the newer members, like Shazam, Cyborg, Jessica Cruz, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda. I’ve actually heard for a while now that there might’ve been a planned crossover between Justice League and JLA, but unless they had this planned with whoever was taking over for Johns, I don’t see that happening right away. And frankly, I’m a little sick of books doing crossovers before they hit 12 issues anyway, so holding off on that might be in order.
Assuming he retains the memory of it from the events of The Darkseid War, something tells me that a future arc of the new Batman title might revolve around him looking for the Joker now that he knows his identity. I just can’t imagine him gaining ahold of that information and not wanting to use it to maybe put an end to the Joker’s threat before anyone else gets hurt. Still, I’m a bit…leery of that idea. See, for me, the Joker works best when you DON’T know all the details of who he really is and what his past was like, and I can’t imagine DC actually going through with that. As Joker himself once put it, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice”. Then again, they’re apparently telling his back-story in the TV show Gotham, which I dislike for various reasons on top of that, so who knows? Like I’ve said before, though, I hope that they decide to make Joker a little more fun in the future. He’s more than capable of being a terrifying villain AND the occasional goofy clown. Other than that, since I don’t see any books involving Robin in the line-up thus far, one has to wonder what’s to become of Damian and the members of We Are Robin, in particular Duke Thomas. Will Damian become Bruce’s full-time partner again in one of the Batman books, or will he step aside and become his own individual while Duke takes his place? Or perhaps Duke will instead take on the identity of Lark, like in one of Bruce’s nightmare scenarios brought on by the Scarecrow’s fear toxin? And what of Jim Gordon? Will he continue to take up the mantle of the All-New Batman? Only time will tell for sure, but we’ll talk more about Batman’s supporting cast and related characters later.
So, after the newest issue of Action Comics, it looks as though Superman is no longer dying. I could be wrong, but that appears to be the case. He’s also been fully revitalized. So, doesn’t look like the Super League is being built as a possible replacement for the Man of Steel. However, I would be willing to suggest that he’s instead putting it together due to the events where his powers were drained, his identity was leaked, and so on, and that there’d need to be someone who could stand in for him if something like that should ever happen again. Speaking of, though, I’ve got this sneaky suspicion that the public may not remember that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same post-Rebirth. Why? Well, like I mentioned before, the Spyral satellite has the ability to remove the public’s knowledge of Dick Grayson being Nightwing, which is likely how he’ll return to the role as I’ll get into when I talk about him. If I were one of the heads at DC and decided that Clark’s secret identity being exposed was not a good idea for the long-term, that seems like it’d be a good way out of it. With that said, though, if I may make a request, if that happens and they do that…?
Keep Lois’ memories of the ordeal intact. This isn’t even me wanting to see Lois and Clark as a couple again (although I do, a LOT), but simply because ever since she found out Clark Kent is Superman, she’s been even more actively involved in stories, for better or worse. Married or unmarried, couple or friends, ultimately, I think history has proven that there are more stories that can be told with her in the know about Clark being Superman than with her being kept out of the loop. But, with that said…yeah, I really do wanna see them together again, especially since the book about the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark is ending. In fact, who knows? Maybe they’ll do some kinda merger thing where the Superman and Lois Lane of both worlds blend into one, and both become a balance of their counterparts? Not sure where that leaves little Jonathan, but it could happen. But, for that to happen, obviously, something’s gotta go…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s time to call it quits on the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship. Above all else, the reason I’m just plain sick of it is because the two are rarely, if ever, treated like equals when it comes to their relationship. Wonder Woman is pretty much just Superman’s girlfriend in a lot of stories they’re presented in as a couple. Beyond that, my standard requests are as follows: Restore the Amazons to the compassionate protectors of mankind, and for the love of God, pants or no pants, I don’t care anymore, just give us a brighter colour scheme for Diana. In fact, I’d actually be fine with the design Jason Fabok uses for her in Justice League, but with gold instead of silver. Also, I keep hearing that the movie will be rebooting to the old school Etta Candy, and if I can make a suggestion? Do the same in the comics. You don’t necessarily have to undo making her black. Hell, you don’t even need to make her as overweight as the original. Just something similar, and above all else, make Etta the ninja tackling badass sidekick I remember.
…Okay, not really much to say about Aquaman, other than it’s great to see him back to his old look and kicking ass like normal. I will say, though, that the writers really need to make up their minds as to whether he’s gonna be King of Atlantis or not for the foreseeable future, though. No, my biggest concern for the Aquaman books is something…different.
…OH, GOOD GOD, WHY?! I got into a little bit of a rant about this on Twitter when I saw this, as you can read here. Suffice to say, no. Absolutely not. Whatever the writers of Aquaman are thinking, NO! BAD writers! Don’t make her Aquawoman. You make her Aquawoman, and I will violently murder the first fish I see. Oh, and just saying this? If they DO make Arthur King of Atlantis again, can we PLEASE have these two be officially married again? Or maybe they already have been when I wasn’t looking, I don’t know, but if they aren’t, please don’t listen to Dan, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to superheroes being married, especially with these two. It makes no sense for them to not be married when all evidence points to her having served in the capacity of Queen of Atlantis at Arthur’s side at least at one point. Also, I’m sorry, but one of these days, we gotta make Mera an official member of the Justice League. How many times does she have to accompany them and their various divisions into action and show just how easily she stands among them before she’s given a seat?
Again, not a lot to say about The Fastest Man Alive, other than that I hope that this whole mess involving him being Central City’s most wanted and being hunted by the Rogues doesn’t last long. I AM interested to see what role he plays with Rebirth, however. As Geoff Johns himself has pointed out, nearly every time there’s been a massive change to the universe, a Flash (usually Barry) was at the center of it. Speaking of, I wonder if we’ll ever get follow-up on exactly why Pandora used Barry to reboot the universe at the end of Flashpoint. The whole thing about Pandora’s Box being the reason seems kinda minor when you consider what that turned out to be. I mean, she really needed to reboot the universe just so we can get a Boom Tube that led to Earth 3? But yeah, once again, my bigger concern is with a certain other Flash…
Seriously, I don’t care if he’s black, white, yellow, red, purple, green, or fuchsia, we need the FUN Wally West back. The Wally West who is cracking jokes and being the far more fun-loving Flash. And I don’t care if he’s The Flash, Kid Flash, Impulse, whatever, it’s time to pull the trigger on him suiting up and working with Barry. With that said, a lot of people were against the new costume we saw him in during the whole Future’s End tie-in, but honestly, I thought he looked good. The silver DOES stand out in a very dramatic way and makes him look very distinct from the other Flashes.
Again, I’d kinda like to see Hal Jordan and John Stewart, and maybe even the other Earth-born Lanterns rotate on the Justice League and JLA. Beyond that, though, I get the feeling that Jessica Cruz will be switching out the Ring of Volthoom from Earth 3 for a Green Lantern Ring. There WAS a silhouette of a female Green Lantern in the image for Rebirth, and Jessica seems like the logical candidate. And frankly, I would just be happy to see her conquer her fear and give Volthoom the boot. Still, kinda hope her Green Lantern costume, if I’m correct, incorporates some elements of her Power Ring costume. Oh, and can we PLEASE have a sense of stability in the Green Lantern Corps for at least a year? I don’t think I even need to point this out, but life has been hell for the Corps as of the past few years. The Guardians finally came out as evil, there’s been a shit-ton of members dying left and right, they got better Guardians who still managed to screw the pooch in the end, and now most of them have been banished to another dimension or some shit. But as for Hal himself…he’s gotta lose the jacket. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work for him. To be honest, when he and Parallax had their fight recently, Hal looked more like a villain than Parallax did…y’know, until Parallax pulled the whole fangs thing, which still looks fucking stupid. lol
What in the HELL is going on in J’onn’s comics as of late?!?! No, seriously, someone please explain this shit to me! It turned out he was a bio-engineered weapon the Martians were going to use to take over Earth, and that he was hiding that for years, and that might’ve been why he was kicked outta the League during the gap between the first two story arcs of Justice League, but he doesn’t wanna hurt anyone, but he’s not willing to stop the plan, but then he wants to die, and then he does die, but somehow he’s got different aspects of himself that converge into a new Martian Manhunter, who looks…well, I’m not gonna say BAD. In fact, as far as radical redesigns go, at least this keeps some aspects of the old look intact. But still, he tries at first to lead the martian invasion, but then he decides not to, and now he’s got some kinda giant mech, which is both awesome and stupid, I don’t even know, and oh God, my head… … … …So yeah, please DC, just put him back on the Justice League and scale this nonsense down a bit. I had to check my ear a second ago just to make sure there wasn’t blood seeping from my brain and out there from all that.
Okay, is it just me, or does the storyline of the government being untrusting of Cyborg actually make WAY more sense than when they do the same thing with Superman? Maybe it’s because we’ve seen that Vic’s control CAN be overrode, and thus it’s less about trusting that he’s a good guy, but rather concern that it could happen again, especially when he can be plugged into EVERYTHING. Plus, there’s the whole matter of Victor having cybernetic enhancements to benefit him after he lost most of his body, and yet amputees have to deal with ordinary prosthetic parts that don’t work even a tenth as good. I’m not saying everyone should be decked out with his stuff, and it was established from the beginning that the tech used to make him into Cyborg was experimental and very easily could’ve backfired. And yeah, none of this is actually Victor’s fault, he’s just as much a victim in this as anyone else. Still, I can at least understand the conflict here WAY more, and if they wanna continue with that arc post-Rebirth, I wouldn’t mind. However, I WOULD suggest maybe adding more to his rogues gallery. We need his version of the Joker or Lex Luthor, someone who is his opposite in nearly every way, but can challenge him on an equal footing despite his natural advantages.
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear by now, allow me to do so: I HATE THIS VERSION OF CAPTAIN MARVEL! And a big part of why I hate him all revolves around the mass changes to Billy Batson. He was supposed to be a sweet, innocent, giving, and (for the most part) selfless individual. It was why he was chosen to gain the powers of Shazam. But when we meet him in THIS universe, he’s a little punk shithead who cons people and is mean to his adoptive family for no reason other than he wants to be! And even after all that, when he finally becomes Shazam and learns more about being a hero, he STILL acts like a little twerp who swears a lot to sound adult and cool, which is at its most jarring when he’s transformed into Shazam, has the wisdom of Solomon, and therefore should know better! But then, I KNOW why they made those changes. It’s the exact same reason they made so many changes to Superman: It was to make him SO much more identifiable and realistic. But, just like with Superman, it was done in a manner so poorly that he no longer resembles the hero he once was in any way. Hell, he doesn’t even have the same NAME! Seriously, DC, if you are serious about this, look back at what made the old Captain Marvel a beloved character and try reintroducing those elements.
Anyway, that’s all when it comes to the Justice League. Check back in next time when I look at the Bat Family and what I hope and/or expect to see become of Nightwing, Batgirl, and the returning Birds of Prey. Ja né!
Yeah, this is kinda late, but I thought I’d wait at least a little bit to see what news emerged before giving my thoughts on the current line-up. There were a lot of rumours going into Rebirth, namely what exactly it was. Another complete universal reboot, a soft reboot, a changed line-up to better reflect the shows and movies going right now, etc. In the end, though, what it appears to be is basically taking the concept of books like Green Lantern Rebirth and The Flash Rebirth and applying it to the DC Universe as a whole, as Geoff Johns explains here:
So, it doesn’t seem to be a universal reboot, but rather a soft reboot to reintroduce certain aspects of the characters that we love, as well as re-establish certain other heroes. We can go more in-depth about what that might entail, as well as the cryptic words of the mysterious narrator, later, though. For now, let’s just look at the actual line-up of books that have been confirmed thus far, which looks like this:
• AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1
• BATMAN REBIRTH #1
• THE FLASH REBIRTH #1
• GREEN ARROW REBIRTH #1
• GREEN LANTERNS REBIRTH #1
• SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1
• TITANS REBIRTH #1
• WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• AQUAMAN #1
• BATMAN #1
• THE FLASH #1
• GREEN ARROW #1
• GREEN LANTERNS #1
• SUPERMAN #1
• WONDER WOMAN #1
New Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• ACTION COMICS #957
• DETECTIVE COMICS #934
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY REBIRTH #1
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS REBIRTH #1
• THE HELLBLAZER REBIRTH #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH #1
• NIGHTWING REBIRTH #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
• NIGHTWING #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATGIRL #1
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
• THE HELLBLAZER #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1
• THE SUPER-MAN #1
• TITANS #1
• BATMAN BEYOND REBIRTH #1
• BLUE BEETLE REBIRTH #1
• CYBORG REBIRTH #1
• DEATHSTROKE REBIRTH #1
• EARTH 2 REBIRTH #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1
• SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1
• TEEN TITANS REBIRTH #1
• TRINITY REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• CYBORG #1
• DEATHSTROKE #1
• HARLEY QUINN #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATMAN BEYOND #1
• BLUE BEETLE #1
• EARTH 2 #1
• GOTHAM ACADEMY: NEXT SEMESTER #1
• SUPERGIRL #1
• SUPERWOMAN #1
• SUPER SONS #1
• TEEN TITANS #1
• TRINITY #1
…So, let’s go over my thoughts for now about some of the announced books, starting with…
Looks like the Superman titles are undergoing a major revamp. While Action Comics is going back to its old numbering, Supergirl is returning with her own title (about time), and we’re also getting the new books Superwoman, Super Sons, and The Super-Man. If I had to take a guess, and I suppose at this point that’s all I can do, I’d wager that this all has to do with the upcoming Super League storyline that’ll wrap up the current Superman titles, with Superman enlisting several other superheroes as a team of Supermen (and Superwomen, it seems). Why is he doing this? Well, recently, Superman was able to regain his powers, but at a price, and he’s potentially dying, so he might be trying to pull a Batman and have the Super League act as a contingency should something happen to him and the world still needs Superman. Also, Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman seem to be getting dropped in favour of a Trinity book, which I am 100% okay with, especially since both books have been telling the same story as the other Super titles anyway. Might as well just put all three in a single title where they all get top billing. Also, I can’t help but notice that Superman: Lois And Clark is disappearing, but I’ve heard that the pre-Flashpoint Superman who appears in that book will both be involved in the Super League story as well as Rebirth, so not crossing them out just yet. Lastly, the one book that got me to raise an eyebrow most in this whole line-up was “The Super-Man”. However, I’ve since been directed to a cover for Justice League #51, where Lex Luthor is shown to be in a Superman-esque costume. Perhaps an attempt to cast Lex Luthor as the evil Superman that was originally conceived before Action Comics #1? We’ll see. Oh, and just saying, PLEASE DC, put Superman in a costume that at least balances out the three colours better. There’s just too much blue and not enough yellow in this equation.
I’m a bit interested to see where Batman goes now that he’s been back from the dead…again. lol I mean, the last time he came back, he created Batman Incorporated. Right now, it feels like a similar idea isn’t far off, with Jim Gordon apparently keeping his Batsuit, Batgirl starting a new Birds of Prey team, and Dick Grayson evidently going back to being Nightwing. And, if you’re confused about that, well…Batman And Robin Eternal #20 kinda revealed that Helena Bertinelli set it up to where Spyral’s orbital little satellite has the ability to make everyone forget about his unmasking and ‘death’ in Forever Evil, thus allowing him to go back to his old life if he so chose. And, I gotta admit, when I first heard about that, it actually sounded like an intriguing moral and ethical dilemma: Should Dick use this technology, essentially mind wiping the entire planet’s population, so he can go back to being Nightwing? Or should he continue to work for a group of secret agents who are CONSTANTLY bending the rules of what is and isn’t ethically sound or legal in order to get the job done? It’s not an easy situation to figure out… … …Too bad I know for a fact that they’re not gonna explore it much and instead it looks like he’s just gonna flip the switch and damn the consequences. I’m not saying that’s necessarily WRONG, just…kinda feels like the easy way out. Frankly, at this point, I just hope they put him back in blue this time around. I’m also interested to see what Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey will be like, and I kinda hope that Gail Simone ends up writing it eventually. Ask nearly anyone, and they’ll tell you that Birds of Prey was at its best when Gail was writing it. No sign of a Robin book yet, which is a little concerning, and it looks as though Gotham Academy is continuing on. And lastly, yeah, I remember what my initial reaction was to Red Hood And The Outlaws coming back, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that, as long as that book is around, it keeps Scott Lobdell away from anything I actually CARE about. 😛
SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!! Just when Justice League had become AMAZING, Johns and Fabok are both off the book! Didn’t I specifically say I wanted them to stay on the book going into Rebirth?!…Well, hopefully, Fabok can find work on one of the other titles. I’m personally hoping for Wonder Woman, because I fucking love how he draws her. Speaking of, I’ve been hearing rumours (so take this with a grain of salt) that Marguerite Bennett could be the new writer for Wonder Woman, which is actually funny because she’s Scott Snyder’s old pupil, and I was requesting Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman a while ago, so…Yeah. lol Anyway, Justice League of America is apparently just gonna be Justice League America…’kay. Why we can’t just call it JLA, I dunno.
So, I’m guessing that since there are two Titans books right now, Teen Titans and Titans Hunt, and there are two Titans books post-Rebirth, Teen Titans and just plain Titans, that plain Titans is probably gonna be about Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Roy Harper, and the other older Titans. With any luck, we’ll see Starfire join that team, since her book is ending (not cancelled, though, as it was apparently always planned for 12 issues), and otherwise, I fear she might end up going back to RHATO, which I would LOATHE. Other than that, not much else to discuss.
Like I said earlier, the team of Marguerite Bennett and Jason Fabok on Wonder Woman would be awesome if it comes to be. The silhouettes for the official image for Rebirth suggest the return of Wally West as Kid Flash, which could prove interesting for The Flash, and there looks to be a female Green Lantern, which could be Jessica Cruz, and after recent events with the Green Lantern Corps, they could use the new recruits who are already a little experienced with Power Rings. It’s looking like Earth 2 might be reverting back to a more traditional look and feel, especially if I’m right about who that is second from the left behind the curtain of the Rebirth image. And I couldn’t help but notice both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes appeared in the video, so seeing that there’s a Blue Beetle comic involved raises some questions, like are they going to be working as a duo of sorts. And Hellblazer…Look, I don’t really care about Constantine. I find him to be a major horse’s ass, personally speaking. But, I know a lot of people DO care, and were pissed when his show got cancelled rather quickly, so I will say that I’m glad those people are getting their fill of Constantine, both with this comic and with his appearances in Arrow. Oh, and lastly, I’ve heard that Rebirth will apparently include what Dan Didio calls his most controversial moment ever…Dear God, save me. -_-
Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. If anything else comes up that I’m personally invested in, I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts on it. Be sure to leave your own thoughts below, and we’ll see what goes on from now ’til June. Ja né!
…Oh yeah, and expect a How To Drop The Ball In Comics: The New 52 in June. ^_^
… … …Kinda. lol
Okay, here’s what’s happening: While every other book in DC’s line-up will be getting brand new #1’s as part of the big DC Rebirth event, Action Comics and Detective Comics will not. Instead, their previous numberings from before the New 52 (Action Comics was at 904 and Detective Comics was at 881) will have the books from the New 52 and onward line-up added to them, meaning we’ll see Action Comics #957 and Detective Comics #954 in June…which is kinda cheating, but whatever. They’re still technically the 957th and 954th issues of said books, not counting #0’s and Annuals…I think. lol
I should also note that these two comics will be among the books getting two issues per month…which may or may not screw with plans I had, but whatever. The point is, if we assume they’ll both be shipping 24 issues per year, then that means they’ll both hit #1000 in a mere TWO YEARS. That is kinda fucking insane, and probably a big part of why they went back to the old numbering. As far as I know, we’ve never seen a legitimate #1000 in comics EVER, so this will be a big history-making moment. And if Scott Snyder really IS going to Detective Comics, I can’t wait to see what the frickety frackity hell he’s got planned for #1000. 😄
As for the other books in the line-up, here’s a link to the rest. I’ll be giving my overall thoughts on it soon enough, but for now, you can check it out. I should note, though, that at least two books have been announced to be released post-Rebirth that are not shown in the line-up, so if you don’t see your favourite comics on this list, or ones you were hoping to see, don’t worry just yet. For now, though, lemme know what you think of all this, and we’ll see how things develop. Ja né!
…Also, I wanna know right now which one of you mother fuckers keeps buying the Red Hood books to the point where RHATO is getting relaunched. lol j/k
… … …
…Please dear God, don’t be another universal reboot. It feels like we’ve just cleaned up a lot of the most damning and damaging parts of the last one by re-establishing the Multiverse, leaving the doors open for writers to do any story involving the characters of those past worlds that they want, and reintroducing characters like Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. On top of that, we’ve actually got a fairly decent writer on Earth 2: Society, and we’ve had neat stuff like the Court of Owls and the new Power Ring around that I’d hate to see tossed aside…Although, with all of that said, there’s still a LOT of crap in the current universe that needs to be cleaned up, like the overall attitude of the Amazons, the fauxmance between Diana and Clark, and certain books being a little less fun than they could be. Thus, I’m hoping that, instead of being a complete reboot, DC Rebirth is instead a SOFT reboot, in that it doesn’t necessarily say that everything we’ve read for the past four years didn’t matter, but that we’re moving on to a place where we can improve upon everything and fix what went wrong. With that said, here’s a list of things I’d like to have kept around, as well as some stuff I’d like changed up/fixed/improved. First off, let’s talk about something I want to see stick around…
OMG, I love this team… … …erm, the creative team, that is. lol Geoff Johns has finally figured out how Wonder Woman should work as a character, and between his stories as of late and Jason Fabok’s glorious artwork, Justice League has been AMAZING. Also, Fabok, for the love of God, keep making the covers for the book look like movie posters. They’ve been so freaking awesome, I almost wanna have them blown up to cover each of the walls of my room.
Seriously, it’s time to pull the trigger on this. I mean, assuming it hasn’t happened already. I’ve heard that Wally MIGHT have gotten speed powers recently, but nothing solid yet. With that said, though, whether he becomes Kid Flash or not, one thing that DOES need to happen? Let Wally be WALLY. Let him be FUN. I don’t care what colour his skin is or anything else, I just want Wally to be fun again. That never needed to change.
Okay, DC, you had your fun with Superman and Wonder Woman being a couple, but I think it’s time to move on to what fans really want: Lois and Clark together. And hey, you can still do the Superman/Wonder Woman book and just have it be about the two teaming up to kick 31 flavours of ass, just let us have DC’s OTP back. They don’t even HAVE to be married, either, just have them be in a relationship again.
Words cannot express how much Amy Chu’s Poison Ivy book NEEDS to be an ongoing. However, one thing that might be a good idea is for Ivy to look at some of her past decisions and make re-evaluations. Perhaps she could feel grief over some of her more unethical activities in the past and wanting to go forward in a more positive attitude, possibly even moving beyond the antagonistic relationship she has with many heroes and instead joining them. Really look at Ivy as a character and her history and have her decide what the best course of action for the future is.
I’ve heard part of this rebranding will take greater strides to advertise the characters with their own shows. In that case, there is no excuse for not having a Vixen solo book. Or, if nothing else, having her be part of a high-profile team, like the Justice League or perhaps a team-up book for her, Flash, and Green Arrow, would be a great idea.
So, word is that Scott Snyder is leaving the main Batman book and instead going over to Detective Comics… … …Well, that should improve things over on THAT book, at least. lol However, if I can make a suggestion to whoever takes over for Batman? MAKE JOKER FUN AGAIN. I’m not saying you can’t do big, epic, horrifying stories with him, but you also gotta remember that this is the same guy who once tried to show the world he could pull off the greatest boner… …erm, not what it sounds like. lol Just saying, with someone as off-the-walls crazy as Joker, you can do both and still have it make sense.
I’ve been hearing that Dan Abnett, the new writer for Earth 2: Society, is actually doing a fairly decent job of cleaning up the mess Daniel H. Wilson left of that world, but that it still seems like a lot to cram into a single book. My personal recommendation? More or less make Earth 2 its own pseudo-imprint, with its own line of books. Have one dedicated to a new Justice Society forming, one dedicated to Huntress and Batman cleaning up the streets of Gotham, one dedicated to Fury and the new Amazons, and so on. Just make sure that the people writing have been briefed on Earth 2 history, both old and new, and know who the heck they’re writing about. In fact, while we’re on the subject…
Y’know what my favourite part of Convergence was? The fact that a lot of the stories felt like they were written by people who legitimately got the characters and understood how they’d respond to the situation presented. I am sick of stories written by people who don’t get the characters. Why would you ever assign someone a book in that case? That needs to stop, PRONTO.
Okay, I’m not gonna say that Dick Grayson as a secret agent doesn’t have potential, because we’ve seen that it does. However, I think it’s time he went back to what he did best, and that’s being a hero. Seriously, be it as Robin, Nightwing, Batman, whatever you wanna call him, Dick Grayson is clearly meant to be a superhero, one who bridges trust and friendship among various members of the superhero community.
Admittedly, this is one I’m actually a little on the fence about, and here’s why: While I prefer John Stewart overall as a character to Hal Jordan, Hal DOES have great lines and chemistry with Batman. So…I dunno, maybe you could have them both serving on the Justice League and rotating in and out for different stories? Or, I suppose another answer is to have a new secondary team for the JLA created and put him on that. Speaking of, I’ve heard that Justice League of America will be sticking around even after the storyline involving Rao finally wraps up. Perhaps there’s a place for him over there? Speaking of heroes that need to return to the League, though…
Honest to God, I have no idea what is even going on with Martian Manhunter anymore, but I think it’s time he came back to the Justice League…Not much else to say, really. It just doesn’t feel the same without him.
She’s been on the sidelines long enough, guys. It’s time to bring Batwoman back into the fold. I don’t really care how it’s done, be it in her own book or as a supporting character for another book, but it’s time Kate started getting her hands dirty. Oh, and for God’s sake, can we PLEASE have her be married finally? I think the point’s been made clearly enough that stopping the marriage was a terrible idea. Besides, with Maggie as the current GCPD Commissioner, that would put her in a VERY interesting situation that can be played around with.
I’m not saying it has to be a permanent change, just something quick and fun. Mainly because, as I’ve brought up before, we’ve seen that Scott Snyder can write stories for both Superman and Batman really well, so it’d be neat to see if he can go three for three with DC’s Trinity.
It recently hit me that the group Babs has been putting together in her book of herself, Frankie, Spoiler, Bluebird, and Black Canary could work great as a new Birds of Prey team. With that said, I might also wanna include Cassandra Cain as Black Bat since…well, I’m not really sure what else to do with her once Batman and Robin Eternal is over. Also, BRING BACK STARLING. Her heel turn and disappearance left a LOT of fans upset and confused, and there’s been zero follow up on that.
Apparently, there’s a storyline coming up where Superman FINALLY notices that Supergirl’s been kinda MIA as of late. As such, I hope that means we can finally get a new solo book for her, especially since she DOES, in fact, have a pretty successful TV series running right now. I know, some people aren’t as big of fans of it as others, but there is no denying success.
I get that, because of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, that DC might feel the need to continue pushing the crap outta the comic. However, I hope they remember that there’s another team of villains and anti-heroes that a lot of fans love and don’t toss it aside like they did at the start of the New 52.
…Nope, I’m not gonna stop saying it until it happens. For an entire generation of fans, Tim Drake was Robin. He had his own solo book. He made Robin cool for the 90’s without doing too many of the stereotypical 90’s comics things. And he’s always been the detective of the Robins. As such, I would love to see him get a book. If nothing else, I kinda hope that Scott Snyder makes him a supporting character in Detective Comics. But, speaking of Tim and books he’s a part of…
Yeah, I’m sorry, but as much fun as I was having with the new Teen Titans books for the first few issues, the fun kinda dried up pretty quick. Is it too much to ask to have a FUN Titans team? One that, while knowing when to be serious, can also be an enjoyable and even funny read at times? Something a little closer to the tone of the animated series?…The good one, that is, not that piece of shit Teen Titans GO!. You don’t even need to change the cast (although, if Wally DOES become Kid Flash again, maybe adding him would be a good idea).
And that’s all I got for now. Have an idea I didn’t post? Leave it in the comments, and we’ll see what happens in June. Ja né!
So, I was doing research on Superman in the DC Comics Database, when I found some rather interesting information that somewhat contradicts something that was said during the analysis of Superman and Goku during DEATH BATTLE. As many fans know, Superman and Goku have fought not once but twice in DEATH BATTLE, with Superman coming out the victor. However, based on this information I’ve found, and applying it to information and logic I already have, I’ve come to the following discovery: Even though Superman won both fights, he’s still going to DIE!
According to an issue of The Question Vol. 2, Lex Luthor discovered that, despite what Ben and Chad said, Superman IS vulnerable to ki (or chi as it was called there, but based on what I’ve found online, they’re exactly the same thing). As such, Luthor tried to weaponise ki against Superman to kill him. Now, the weapon ultimately failed, but considering said weapon was built by the guy Superman beats every Tuesday, it’s easy to assume that a man-made construct would fail to do the job, whereas a person who uses ki on a level similar to how Superman uses solar energy could succeed in killing him. As such, you really have to ask yourself the question: How did Superman walk through a blast of enough ki to blow up a planet like it was a strong breeze?
At first, I couldn’t come up with an answer, and it looked like the analysis for DEATH BATTLE had made a severe oversight. However, then I remembered their first encounter, wherein towards the end, Superman was knocked into the sun by Goku, who failed to understand Superman’s connection to it, and thus only managed to make him stronger. That’s when the answer came to me: All-Star Superman. In it, Superman had absorbed enough solar energy that, when he was blasted with a Kryptonite laser, its usual effect on him did absolutely nothing. Now, I know we’re already dealing in fictional minerals and men that can absorb and weaponise solar radiation, but try to bear with me as we apply that logic to his weakness to ki. That means that Superman’s little break in the sun could’ve conceivably granted him enough energy to plough straight through all of Goku’s ki. Plus, considering that energy he absorbed in All-Star Superman never left him by the time the story was over, it’s easy to assume he still had it in the rematch at SGC 2015. So, all’s well and good, right?
As was also established in All-Star Superman, high enough levels of solar radiation can be deadly even to Superman. As such, if we assume that my theory is correct in how Superman defeated Goku, it therefore stands to reason that his cells are now in a state of overload and he is going to die. So, yeah, DBZ fanboys can let themselves feel at least a little good that, in the end, Goku may have gotten the last laugh…y’know, except for the part where Goku’s character would never take pleasure in that sort of thing, so doing so kinda misses the whole point.
And while we’re on the subject, there’s one other thing I’ve been meaning to get off my chest: Even if a future transformation of Goku’s made him as strong as Superman, he still wouldn’t be able to beat him in a fight. How do I know this? It’s called MATH. As we’ve established, DEATH BATTLE takes their opponents not from a random point in their history, but at their maximum potential, and Superman’s maximum is INFINITY. As such, if Goku reached that same level, he still couldn’t win, because then they would both equal infinity. Infinity does not beat infinity. Infinity equals infinity, it cancels infinity, and infinity subtracted by infinity is zero. The best Goku can ever hope for is a draw. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Goku eventually gained a transformation powered by magic or Kryptonite (the latter of which will never happen for obvious reasons). The likelihood of Goku defeating Superman with such a form isn’t that great, because of the following:
- Superman could still overcharge his cells like I suggested earlier to defeat Goku at the cost of his own life.
- Goku generally prefers to beat opponents with his own abilities, admitting once to disliking using Super Saiyan God’s powers because he needed outside help to get it (though he kinda came to peace with it when his body was able to naturally re-absorb the energy when the transformation wore off). That’s probably the reason he doesn’t use the Power Pole anymore, and why he never uses the Spirit Bomb except against enemies capable of and/or planning to destroy the planet.
So, yes, within the context of the universe in which the Superman vs Goku battles took place, Superman is likely going to die from his battles with Goku, and some fans can choose to take that as a victory. I personally do not, and for the record I’m a fan of both characters, but I won’t judge any of you if you choose to do so, provided you do one other thing: QUIT YER BITCHIN’!!! It’s a frigging internet show made by fans for fans that is doing the best it can with over seven decades of fictional information to comb through, which seemingly continues to get more and more absurd every time something is added. It would be EASY to make a mistake somewhere. And, even if they’re right, I agree that, if I had a Goku who could reach the same kind of power as Superman, I probably wouldn’t want him. If the movie Man of Steel has taught me anything with how they tried to take the dark tones of the Batman movies and transplant them into Superman, it’s that one element of a character that works really well for them does not equal the same level of success when given to another. Goku’s character and what he stands for would completely fall the fuck apart if he were as powerful as Superman, because he’s all about aspiring to be better and breaking new limitations, and then he would have NOTHING LEFT. His story would be OVER. And, what it comes down to is, I don’t really want his story to be over. I think that’s part of the reason why I actually find myself liking this new series coming out, because it lets me continue to see what happens to these characters, their stories, and their histories…Although hopefully, this time around, a few less characters in Dragon Ball will find themselves getting screwed over. lol
But hey, that’s just my own thoughts on the matter. Leave your own in the comments section below, call me a nerd for looking all of this up, whatever, and hopefully we can all put this frigging argument to rest for a while. Ja né!
… … …So, it’s been an interesting start of the DC YOU movement. I haven’t read the new Robin book, but it’s supposed to be alright. Starfire looks promising, although I’m a little leery considering the creative team on it are the same people that think that Poison Ivy still nonchalantly feeds people to plants, has her very blatantly engage in double entendres with Harley, and is pretty obviously meant to be her sidekick…although, at least they’ve confirmed that Harleen and Pam are LGBT, and you know how much I love seeing more comic book characters that are. Dunno how I feel about the Cyborg book, but at least he’s got one, and is getting a slightly more…traditional look. I’m looking forward to the new direction for Justice League United, so long as they continue to be stationed in Canada, because you know how long I waited for my country to have its own Justice League? lol Earth 2: Society, while having an interesting premise, is held down by bad writing, specifically focusing too much on Batman and the apparent intent to turn Helena Wayne heel in a way that makes no sense. I still have no desire to read the current Batman book, even with the confirmation that Bruce Wayne is alive, at least until Jim Gordon is no longer having to stand-in as Batman. While I’m not reading Justice League, I feel deeply encouraged to do so for just how frigging epic it is. And I continue to find myself HEAVILY irritated by the Superman books, although at least now, my anger is less about Lois being the one who revealed his identity (as it seems she may have been coerced somehow) and is more-so directed at the notion that, upon learning that Clark Kent is the Man of Steel, the government has COMPLETELY turned on him and are going after him and his loved ones. Ahem…
However, what’s actually managed to baffle me even more is what was recently revealed to be true about Martian Manhunter in this universe. It’s not a worse thing, mind you, just more baffling in my mind. Because, as much as all of that infuriates me regarding Superman, I can honestly say that it’s not the first time they’ve done something so epically stupid with him, and have actually explored the possibility of him being an enemy of the government before. And even the current Batman story isn’t completely new ground, as Bruce Wayne has had to stand aside for other people to take over for him as the Dark Knight. However, while I admit to not reading many of Martian Manhunter’s solo books in the past, I honestly can’t recall a time where it was revealed that he was a WEAPON designed to, you guessed it, take over the world.
Now, while I didn’t read the Justice League United tie-in to Future’s End, I did read ABOUT it, and know that, in that timeline, Martian Manhunter eventually led a Martian invasion of Earth. However, you’ll forgive me if I go on record as saying that 99.9% of what happened in Future’s End ended up meaning precisely DICK. The only real ramifications it had was the introduction of Telos for Convergence, and to set up the new Batman Beyond book. Other than that, none of what we saw meant ANYTHING, other than to give DC an excuse to tell a dark and grim story about a future where humanity gets epically screwed and show a lot of body horror scenes. So, naturally, I assumed that Martian Manhunter’s heel turn was never going to happen… … …and, oddly enough, from what I can tell, it still might not, depending on where they’re going with this in his solo book.
Okay, so long story short, we find out that Martian Manhunter has basically been lying to people for the past how many years he’s been on Earth in this continuity, and that, while he IS a Martian, he’s also a weapon designed to eventually bring about the enslavement of humanity. More-so, he’s NOT the last Martian, and they are planning to continue on with their plan. However, it also appears as though he wants to die, suggesting that he’s not actually all that okay with what he’s been made to do. In fact, it seems to suggest he’s being forced into this role by powers that are beyond him. What kinda higher power could make J’onn fucking J’onzz do as they say is kinda head tilting, but regardless, that’s how it seems to me. Now, I will be fair to this twist: The seeds of this revelation can be traced back quite a ways. If you look at this all in hindsight, the clues were all there. The fact that he was ejected from the Justice League for reasons never explained, the flashbacks we got when him and Catwoman had their little mind meld, the fact that he gets uneasy letting Stargirl get so close to him. When you look at it all together as a single picture, it DOES suggest there was something dark and devious about him behind the scenes. So yes, I will admit that this isn’t a twist that comes out of nowhere and makes no sense.
With that out of the way, though, I have to ask a question: Was it REALLY necessary to make another of the big name superheroes’ lives as we originally knew them a lie in this continuity? Was it necessary to paint the Martians as evil conquerors, just like how the Amazons were painted as vile rapists and the traders of children for weapons? Was it necessary to take yet another of DC’s top heroes, a character with a great following and fanbase, and totally change everything they thought they knew about him for the sake of being edgy? For me, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding no.
Now, some might say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say, you’re not the one who has to make these calls”. To which I respond…well, yeah, it IS easy for me to say. Everything’s easy for me to say, since I’m just a blogger on the internet. But regarding the latter, you’re correct. I’m not the one making these calls. If it were up to me, Superman would be wearing a costume more akin to his old tights, Batman and his supporting characters wouldn’t be the only people DC markets anymore, Wonder Woman would lose those wrist blades on her new costume (seriously, I actually kinda like the new costume, but those are so 90’s, and not in the good way), Huntress would have her own book written by someone who actually gets the character, we wouldn’t NEED a Poison Ivy League because Poison Ivy would have her own title where she’s not killing people willy nilly and engaging in sexual innuendo 24/7 with Harley Quinn, and more importantly, we’d have more of heroes being HEROES. But that’s just me… … …Well, actually, it’s a LOT of people I talk to online, and a lot of bloggers, forum followers, and so on, but regardless, none of us run the company, have any say in what goes on, or have any clue as to what the direction they want to go in is.
Having said that, may I again ask what may seem like an obvious question to some, but clearly went over the heads of others, that being “Will somebody please explain to me what possible reason did DC Comics have for naming their new line-up ‘DC YOU’, implying we have ANY influence in this?“. Do you think the average comic book fan would suggest the idea of Superman having his powers in flux, the world knowing who he is, and the military openly showing resentment and hostility toward him, even going so far as to leave him to fight a battle on his own while they go to torch a street full of Superman supporters? A guy on Twitter by the name of Anthony Dean had some things to say about such a direction, and I love this so much that I’m going to transcribe it for you…
But he’s relatable now! No glasses, dudebro haircut/clothes, a stupid destructive new power, no secret identity or dorky reporter job, *and* a hot super-babe! Way more relatable now! And all they had to do was, um, get rid of everything vaguely recognizable to the general public? (Showed someone at work this Supes; they said: “not *my* Superman/arms looked like the Hulk’s”)
…DC, do you see the problem? Now, the obvious counter to all of this is “Well, that’s just aging hipster comic fans wanting THEIR heroes back”. Here’s my counter to that argument: What makes these new versions of the characters superior to the old ones in any way, shape, or form? Why do you think Convergence did so well, and why digital-first comics like Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman are doing so well? You wanna know what was the moment when I knew, unquestionably, that the Convergence Superman book was superior in every way to the FOUR Superman titles you have going right now is? It’s right here.
THAT is Superman. He finds out that the various cities that have been plucked from their worlds are going to be forced to fight, and his immediate is response is “No. I will not let this happen. I am not going to stand by and let this person get away with this. I am going to save as many people as I possibly can, and I don’t care who they are or where they come from.” And the people that are distrusting of him in this book have valid reasons to be, instead of “He’s an alien!” He even opts to name his son Jonathan as opposed to Jor, seeing Earth as his true home, not Krypton. That’s the difference: My Superman is a man of Earth who encompasses everything we could hope to be and what our values are or should be and saves everyone he can, even when the universe tells him it’s impossible. Now, does that make the current Superman a bad character in concept? No. I’ve already gone to great length talking about a story that features that character and how great it was: Superman Unchained, where we see this flawed Superman doing everything he can to try and save us. But when that is one book out of five to star the character, not counting the Justice League books, and it’s the only one I know of that tells a story I want to read about Superman, and it was only 9 issues long…well, you see where the problem is.
But back to Martian Manhunter. Like I said, stories like Superman being hunted down, exposed, and whatnot have been experimented with before. I imagine that’s likely because he’s such an iconic character that it gets people’s attention when they do. Mind you, I don’t know of many stories when they’ve done this with Batman, and in fact have had him be antagonistic towards Superman when they’ve done such stories before. But why do this to J’onn? Some people say that Superman’s story is that of an immigrant from outer space having to live among us and accept both sides of his life, while at the same time helping to show humanity how we can be better. While I wouldn’t necessarily argue that point, I daresay that if there’s a DC character who represents the immigrant part of that story better, it’s Martian Manhunter. J’onn wasn’t raised on this planet. He wasn’t taught our value system from a young age. He wasn’t brought up to be like us. But, in spending time here, in learning how we are, both the good and the bad, we become a world he genuinely wants to spend his life protecting. Now, there ARE still aspects of that left in him. Like I said, his apparent willingness to die in spite of what he’s been sent here to do suggests he doesn’t want to do us harm. But the darkening of his character, his back-story, and making him someone who apparently got into a fight with the Justice League over all of this, as well as his apparent willingness to casually mind wipe people when he used to be against that sort of action take away a lot of what used to make him a heroic figure to fans, and therefore makes me want to read the old Martian Manhunter FAR more. And frankly, putting this back-story next to what they’ve done with Superman and Wonder Woman paints a somewhat xenophobic picture of modern DC, which is a TERRIBLE stance to have, especially if they’re supposedly trying to branch out and get more readers in the same way Marvel’s done as of late. The last thing you want ANYONE to even suggest you could be in such a situation is afraid of stuff and/or people that are different.
In the aftermath of Convergence, DC seems to suggest that the door is now open for creative teams to tell stories about previous incarnations of the characters seen from the timelines presented in that story, and presumably others. If I may be so bold as to call them out on that, though, can I ask why all four of the Superman titles they currently have going right now focus on the current version of Superman and this new, darker phase of his career? And, on top of that, for those that have long suggested that DC is basically trying to make Clark Kent into Peter Parker, I think the fact that we now have four Superman books running and all telling the same story pretty much proves your point beyond any doubt, they’re openly making Superman into Spider-Man. If you’re a modern fan of comics, I’ll explain: Marvel used to do this thing where they had a different Spider-Man book running practically every week by different writers and artists, and all telling the same continuous story…which could get very confusing, monotonous, and downright AWFUL at times (see the Clone Wars for hardcore proof of that). But even if they wanna do that, why can’t we have just ONE of those books be about the pre-Flashpoint Superman? Hell, before the renumbering of all the books that came with the New 52, Action Comics was only about, what, less than ten years away from hitting a legitimate #1000? Go back to the old numbering and tell stories about THAT book’s Superman. And hey, for all I know, maybe that IS in the works for after the Truth story arc is over. And if not, feel free to take this idea and ride off into the sunset with it. I will gladly give it up and take zero credit for it. The same goes for a lot of characters, like Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and Batman (if they can finally figure out what all did and didn’t happen with him in this new continuity). And you can do all of this and still have your darker continuity, too. Obviously, there’s an audience for it, or else you wouldn’t still be doing it.
So, that’s my take on the DC YOU product thus far. It’s not God awful, there are some things about it that show promise, but it could stand to have a TON of improvement, specifically distancing from what made the New 52 as bad as it was, and bringing back what made the classic continuities what they were. Have your own thoughts? Feel free to leave them in the comments, and we’ll see how things develop over time. Ja né!