I’m afraid someday soon — too soon — you will have to pick it up and embrace the “S” for yourself. It’s not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It’s about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you’re scared… even when you think no one is looking.
Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. This time, however, I’ve opted to look at two books. Why? Well, because of a certain major event that occurred as part of a crossover between the two. Plus, it saves time. So, let’s look at Action Comics AND Superman. And, as always, SPOILERS AHEAD.
So, to start off, a little background is probably required. During the events of Convergence, we saw the pre-Flashpoint Superman and his wife, Lois, bring their son, Jon, into the world. At the end of that story, the three went back to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths to try and stop it. As a result of that, they somehow wound up on the Earth 0 of the New 52, AKA Prime Earth, AKA the mainstream world where the vast majority of DC books takes place on nowadays. Because there already was a Clark Kent and Lois Lane in this world, and said Clark Kent was this world’s Superman, they decided to lay low and take on new lives as the Smith Family in Hamilton. It was also eventually revealed that, due to his nature as a human/Kryptonian hybrid, Jon had superpowers like his dad. However, eventually, pre-Flashpoint Superman made his presence known during the event wherein the New 52 Superman was dying, ultimately promising him before he died that he’d look after the world in his absence, which is pretty much where we pick up in Superman: Rebirth #1 and Action Comics #957.
Let’s begin with something that is both a positive and a negative: Jon, AKA the new Superboy. Remember what I said about Wonder Woman’s brother Jason apparently going to be the central character of an upcoming arc in her book and how, and I quote, “what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character”? Yeah, well, that’s kind of a thing in the main Superman solo book: A LOT of the story is built around Superboy and his emergence as a young superhero. Now, on the one hand, I actually rather like Jon. I think he’s a sweet kid and a fine addition to the Super Family. And his presence is one of the areas where Peter Tomasi as the writer actually is a huge benefit: The guy knows how to structure a father/son story. But, at the same time, I’d be lying if I said he didn’t hog some of the spotlight. There is SO much time devoted to building up this character in a book that is supposed to be about Superman. Now, on the one hand, you can argue that it IS still about Superman, since a lot of it also directly relates to how Clark deals with having a super-powered son. But at the same time, there’s even an arc that’s about Jon’s first meeting with Damian Wayne, AKA Robin, and building a partnership with him, even though we knew ahead of time that there were already plans for a book starring those two as a team. Honestly, what I think would’ve worked better was if THIS book was Action Comics, and Action Comics was Superman, since Action Comics focuses more directly on Superman. Plus, it would fit a sort of theme, with Action Comics and Detective Comics being used to not only star Superman and Batman, but also be devoted to building up their supporting casts.
One element of Action Comics that’s a bit on the odd side in terms of whether it’s a positive or a negative is Lex Luthor. As established during the New 52’s Justice League book, Lex is trying his hand at being a superhero nowadays. And unlike past endeavors, wherein it was ultimately all about some evil scheme, here, he actually means it. Granted, he fully admits (while being tied in the Lasso of Truth) that a big part of it is his ego, which is likely why he ultimately attempts to take on the mantle of Superman after the New 52 Clark dies, but the rest of it is also about doing right by his sister. He wants to be a better man than he was. But, with all of that said, given his past track record, plus the fact that the people of Apokolips chose him to be their new leader in the wake of Darkseid’s death and rebirth as a baby, plus the fact that he’s still kind of a dick, the audience is ultimately left just waiting for that moment when he turns evil again. And I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t awaiting it myself. I believe Lex Luthor WANTS to be a better person for the sake of his sister, but I also know that this is Lex frigging Luthor, and that pull is ultimately going to catch up to him at some point or another. Plus, this IS DC Rebirth, where a lot of the emphasis seems to be getting characters back to what makes them who they are, so Lex’s eventual downfall seems pretty much inevitable at this point.
And now we should probably talk about Superman Reborn, the crossover event told in Action Comics and Superman. First off, again, DC could not resist doing a big crossover event before they were at least a year into these new books. Granted, the current Action Comics book takes up the old numbering and adds in the issues from the New 52 Action Comics to that final sum, so it’s not really a “new” book, but still, it’s a little absurd. But regardless, this is the story where we got resolution on the apparent new Clark Kent who appeared in Action Comics #957, and Lois and Clark’s investigation into him. There were a LOT of theories as to who it could be, from the New 52 Superman being depowered, to Superboy Prime taking over his life. However, it ultimately turned out to be Mr. Mxyzptlk, having escaped imprisonment by Mr. Oz at some point and assumed Clark’s life as revenge for the fact that he never came to save him. This also gave resolution to what was going on in the Superwoman book, but I’ll get to that at another point. The end result of the story is that it was revealed that, by nature of the New 52 Earth 0 being the same as the pre-Flashpoint one, just minus 10 years of history and with elements of the WildStorm and Vertigo Universes imprinted onto it, both the New 52 and pre-Flashpoint Supermen were actually one and the same, just split apart a la Red and Blue Superman…somehow. I think we’re supposed to assume that Convergence allowing for a pre-Flashpoint Superman to exist with his memories of the past timeline is responsible for the split, but it’s still weird and will make your head explode if you give it too much thought. Anyway, the point is, this finally validates once and for all that the New 52 Superman WAS Superman, just different due to how events in his life played out. In the end, Jon is somehow able to unite the red and blue energies of the two versions of Superman and Lois Lane to bring them back and restore the history that had been taken from them at the birth of the New 52.
The end result of Superman Reborn was a soft reboot, reintroducing elements of the pre-Flashpoint timeline, and drastically changing certain events from both timelines (and outright retconning others). Again, I think the implication is that merging the two versions of the characters basically returned the 10 years stolen from them, and that how their lives are now is more or less what would’ve been had Doctor Manhattan not taken their history away from them during Flashpoint. The resolution also gave Superman a new costume…which I thank GOD for. I HATED the original Rebirth costume. I think it was the lack of red boots that did it, which was especially dumb since some artists occasionally either forgot they weren’t there anymore or just outright ignored their absence. Seeing this one, with the red boots back and a yellow pentagon added to the belt, was very refreshing, and I think is a step in the right direction for how a modern Superman should look. And speaking of costumes, the new timeline also makes it clear that Superman DID wear the old school tights for a while, which is good. As for how and in which ways this new timeline was different and the same, that was all gone over in the ensuing issues of Action Comics, with Superman going over the records of his life at the Fortress of Solitude. Which, I totally get. If I found out my entire history was somehow dramatically altered, I’d want a refresher course on it too, just to make sure there’re no holes in my memory or anything like that. Fortunately, DC’s actually gotten a little better at establishing which events in its past are and are not canon, and this is a good example of that. It doesn’t cover EVERYTHING, though, particularly how this new timeline affects characters outside of the Super Family, and I hope they go over all of that in full soon.
Believe it or not, one thing I actually have mixed feelings about in the wake of Superman Reborn is the fact that, apparently, Superman and Wonder Woman never got together in this timeline. Now, I know what you’re gonna say: “Jyger, didn’t you spend like 4 years bitching about the fact that Superman and Wonder Woman were in a relationship?” Well, the thing is, yes, I DID bitch about that, and I DO prefer Lois and Clark together. However, I could still see there being a brief attraction between the two when they were younger and before they got into relationships with Lois Lane and Steve Trevor which would eventually evolve into a close friendship. If that happened, fine, but as far as I know, they were NEVER together. So why does that bother me? Well, it’s like I said when I was talking about Wonder Woman: The events of the New 52 should not be out and out retconned, but rather used in a way that develops her in a more positive manner into a better person. Instead, they went with the easy way out and erased the relationship from existence. I’m not in favour of that, especially because it was completely erasing past relationships and history that got us into the mess that was the New 52 to begin with.
Speaking of, like I said before, the two issues of Action Comics that better explain Superman’s new timeline don’t really go fully into how these changes affect the people outside of his immediate supporting cast. For example, how do these changes affect his relationship with Batman? How does it affect certain Justice League stories he was directly involved in, both pre- and post-Flashpoint? Now, I have a theory on why we haven’t gotten that explanation yet, and it’s actually pretty simple: As far as I can tell, what’s happened with Superman will eventually happen to the other characters in the DCU as well, merging their pre- and post-Flashpoint selves and restoring their histories. As such, how these changes affect them directly is probably going to be saved for when that happens. Hopefully, though, we won’t have to wait TOO long for that to happen, since otherwise, we’re just left with so many questions that it’s mind-boggling.
And, what the hell, since it just finished, let’s talk about the most recent story arc of the main Superman book, Black Dawn… … …It blew. HARD. First off, I don’t know if it was always the plan to reveal that Lois and Clark’s neighbours were aliens or not, but it was kinda dumb. Second, the way it ends, with Manchester Black’s consciousness winding up in a cow that gets tipped over by some idiots. I am NEVER going to be able to read What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way, nor watch the animated adaptation of that story, Superman vs The Elite, with a straight face ever again because of that stupid ending. But aside from all that, let’s talk about the part of the story that really, REALLY pissed me and a lot of fans off. And, for the squeamish people who might be reading this, I’m just gonna warn you now, this is where we get a little gruesome, and at the same time, really Goddamn stupid…
… … …So, first off, before I rip this to shreds, let me get one thing out of the way: Lois thinks she just lost her leg. She didn’t, of course, it’s actually some kind of mental illusion created by Manchester Black. However, the point still stands that she thinks she just lost her leg, and what is her immediate reaction? “Clark, cauterize this Goddamn stump and go save our son!” Lois Lane = Possessor of the biggest balls of anyone in the DCU. Now, that said, allow me to go over everything wrong with this in the following bulleted list:
- WHAT THE FUCK is with DC constantly wanting to dismember or even outright murder Lois Lane?! Seriously, I have seen Lois Lane in some kind of mortal peril that can only be described as torture porn 9 Goddamn billion times. At this point, I am honestly of the belief that there is someone in DC with a serious snuff fetish for Lois. If so, I have the following advice to whoever he or she is: GET HELP! IMMEDIATELY!
- Despite the fact that we didn’t have it revealed that this was some sort of illusion until two issues later, most of us kind of gathered that this would result in either a fake-out or a reversal with her coming out of it with her leg intact. That means that the only reason they did it was for the sake of a shock moment for the readers, and ultimately, all it did was piss us off and/or generate mockery of DC for pulling such a stunt.
- Even for those of us that considered for a moment that this wasn’t going to be undone or revealed to not happen at all, we knew this would not result in a story centered around Lois having to deal with phantom pain, or the overall effects such would have on her body, or adapting to a prosthetic, or anything like that. And no, it wasn’t just because we have solicits telling us what future stories will be, it’s because we knew DC had no interest in telling that story. Why? Because they NEVER do. They NEVER want to tell stories about people dealing with massive changes to their bodies. Yes, Barbara Gordon lost the ability to walk for a long time, but other than not being able to walk, where did they ever discuss the other tolls the damage to her spine caused to her body? Paraplegics have to deal with more than just paralysis, you know. It also often causes sexual dysfunction, issues revolving around bladder control, and a bunch of other stuff that is no fun whatsoever. To the best of my knowledge, none of that is ever acknowledged with Babs, nor with anyone else who has dealt with paralysis in DC.
- Even if they did eventually tell the above story, the problem is, stories that involve someone losing vital parts of their body have never been told specifically to tell how that affects THAT individual. It’s always about how that event affects EVERYBODY ELSE. The only exception I can think of is Cyborg, with him losing the vast majority of his body and having it replaced with cybernetics, leading to him having to deal with that and whether or not he truly feels human anymore. But still, that’s ONE case I can think of. And more often than not, these events happen specifically to women, and the book in which they occur is never actually ABOUT the incident in question. Superman #23 was not about Lois losing her leg, it was just a thing that happened to motivate Superman and the story. The Killing Joke was not about Joker shooting Babs in the spine, it was just something he did to mess with Jim Gordon. Hell, even though it was revealed that Lois never actually lost her leg, there’s no follow-up with her and her mental state after being put through a scenario where she thought she lost it…Although, that leads to the next point…
- The nature of the illusion is a little…confusing to me. I’m not sure if the idea is that Lois was never actually there and was just a mental projection created by Black, or if she was and she was made to think that’s what happened along with everyone else. And if that WAS Lois, and she never actually lost her leg, then what the hell is actually happening when Superman uses his heat vision to cauterize a wound that does not exist? The implications of that are HORRIFYING, and yet when we see her in Superman #25, she’s fine. So was that really Lois standing there or not?
So yeah, haven’t had to pull this bit out in a while, but in nearly every conceivable way, these two pages absolutely FAIL.
Anyway, that leads to where the book is headed. Specifically, not only is an upcoming story going to have Mr. Oz’s identity and plans laid out, but in the aftermath of Superman Reborn and the Batman/Flash crossover, The Button, we’re now headed toward an event called Doomsday Clock, wherein we’re apparently going to get a full-on confrontation between Superman and Doctor Manhattan. And, I’ll admit, this is the first time in a long time I’ve ever really thought to myself “…Does Superman even stand a chance in this fight?” And, given that Doomsday is among the prisoners currently being held by Mr. Oz, it’s likely that he’ll have some sort of involvement as well. How this will all play out is anyone’s guess, but I’m assuming this will likely lead into a much bigger event that involves the full scope of the DCU that will result in the ten years taken from them being restored. Either way, though, it is nice to see Superman finally taking center stage again as it pertains to the more major events in DC Comics. Let’s just make sure that future events involve less of Jon hogging the spotlight, and a LOT less of Lois possibly losing body parts.
But anyway, those are my thoughts. Lemme know what you think in the comments below, and next time…Oy. It’s time. I’ve been dreading this moment since I started this project, but next time, we take a look at Tom King’s Batman. Prepare yourselves for utter disappointment. Ja né!
“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!
… … … … … …Okay, make that two lies. lol I’m sorry, but with the news regarding Marvel Comics’ NEW MU being revealed, and people making comparisons to DC Comics’ New 52 (which is ironically being dropped next month, even though it’s the same continuity set by that), I need to discuss this. Specifically, I need to look at whether or not this really is the same thing that DC did back in 2011, and if Marvel is on the verge of making the same mistakes. However, because I got my anger at DC out last time I talked about it, those that are bothered by angry ranting can rest easy in knowing this’ll be a bit more controlled.
In fact, before I go on, I should probably clarify something: While I consider the New 52 as a whole to be a mistake, it’s not like EVERYTHING that resulted from it was innately bad. Scott Snyder’s Batman has been frigging epic, and while I personally have no desire to read a book about Jim Gordon standing in as Batman, I’m sure it’ll nonetheless be well written. Vibe getting revamped into someone I could actually see myself WANTING to be on my team was a good call. And while certain concepts in some of the books rubbed people the wrong way, Animal Man, Aquaman, Batgirl, Frankenstein, and others were all good. However, with the good came the bad and at times outright awful. The abandonment of multiple great stories in a misguided attempt to do them over again, lack of communication leading to confusion over what was canon and not canon, overuse of grimdark stories, too many crossovers, the whole ‘heroes can’t be married/happy’ controversy, practically everything that’s been done with Lois Lane and Wonder Woman (with one or two exceptions, like the Lois Lane one-shot or more recent issues of Justice League), the mistreatment of women in general, and countless broken promises by the higher ups to their writers leading to disappointments and walk-outs. It was a mess, and it continues to be a mess even with the New 52 banner being dropped.
So, with the NEW MU being announced, people are getting increasingly concerned that Marvel may be looking to copy DC’s ‘success’, only to make the same mistakes. And, for the record, the name “NEW MU” was a mistake, just gonna say it right now. I get that’s probably meant to parody the New 52, but I think that concept may have been lost on some. On top of that, for reasons I stated above, and the fact that the moniker was used long after the New 52 was new or maintained 52 books, it pretty much parodies itself. There’s really no reason to go there. However, beyond the name, is there reason to believe this is the same situation as DC’s September 2011 reboot?
First of all, let’s get something out of the way right now: This is not a complete back to square one reboot of the Marvel Universe. Want proof of that? Read All-New, All-Different Avengers from Free Comic Book Day. Sam Wilson is still Captain America. Jane Foster is still Thor. Characters like Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, and Sam Alexander as Nova are still around and carrying their current hero names. Past continuity is still addressed. Alternatively, when the New 52 started, we had the Justice League being formed in what was considered the first time for that continuity, represented by six of the seven original members of the team, and retelling the origin story of Cyborg.
Then there’re the stories that ended the old universes and started the new ones, DC’s Flashpoint and Marvel’s Secret Wars. Now, the great thing about Secret Wars, as I’m coming to understand, is that a lot of various concepts, characters, locations, and even whole books that tie into it are going to carry over into the NEW MU, so really, it’s more of a preview of things to come. So far, among things confirmed to continue on in the new universe, we’ve had Maelstrom, the all-monster version of the Howling Commandos, and much to my delight, the all-female contingent of the Avengers, A-Force. Flashpoint also introduced some concepts and characters that carried over to the New 52, but I’m not sure how much of it was intended from the beginning. I think the only one that was would be Element Woman, although I will say that I DO absolutely adore her as a character, so I’ll give them that much…Speaking of which, we really need to see a Doom Patrol book, now that she’s hanging with them, and we need to see them toss Caulder to the side for his bullcrap.
Lastly, let’s compare tones. As I said before, the New 52 has been very dark and dire, relying a lot on grimdark stories and fridging characters. And while Secret Wars kicked off with the destruction of two whole worlds and most of the people on them, let’s again look at All-New, All-Different Avengers, where the team’s focus and intent is to help people, and where we’ve got three relatively young and light-hearted characters on the team to keep things from getting too serious. Also, I’m 99.9% sure that many of those shown to be lost in the destruction of the two worlds will be back in some way, shape, or form. So it’s looking like, tone-wise, it’s gonna be at least slightly lighter than the New 52.
So, ultimately, are they making the same mistakes as DC did with the New 52? Ultimately… … …no, they aren’t. It’s not a complete reboot, since history is maintained from the previous universe (although I’m sure the dates certain stuff happened will get pushed closer to present day, like when Steve Rogers was defrosted, when Tony Stark became Iron Man, etc.), it’s not going to rely on the same crap that DC did, it’s introducing new ideas while keeping the old ones, and they have the advantage of doing this after the New 52 and learning from its mistakes. So, no, this isn’t the same thing, or at least not in my opinion. At the very least, I personally am not gonna worry about it, at least not yet. And, as I’ve said before, if THIS is the new look for Marvel comics…
…I think we’re good. 😀 Anyway, lemme know what you think about all of this, and we’ll see how things develop. Ja né!
Well, I announced earlier this week that I’m doing a Justice League fanfic entitled ‘Justice League Infinite’. As such, I’m going through all seven members of this world’s League, what makes them different from their counterparts, etc. So far, we’ve looked at Batman, The Flash, Poison Ivy, and Superman. So, for today, let’s go ahead and take a look at this world’s version of the Spirit of Truth, Wonder Woman.
Origin wise, this version of Diana of Themyscira is pretty much the classic sculpted-from-clay story. Not that I have a problem with Wonder Woman being a demigod, just that it taints her back-story in a bad way. She also has her sister, Donna, who is a mirror duplicate of herself as a child and a possible inheritor to the Wonder Woman title, AND THAT’S ALL. lol What’s different is that, not only was her mother Hippolyta the first Wonder Woman on the Justice Society (an idea that’s been tossed around on occasion), but recently, Hippolyta and Aquaman were tricked into entering a fight to the death, which was witnessed by Diana and Mera. As a result of that, and as a means of keeping their respective peoples from declaring war on each other, Diana and Mera married, becoming co-Queens of each other’s lands, and thus uniting the people of Themyscira and Atlantis (meaning Themyscira is no longer a land bereft of men). Of course, the two were already close friends, thus making their relationship a bit interesting now that they’re wives. In terms of personality, Diana is a compassionate, loving soul, but while she will try to negotiate her way out of a confrontation, she will fight with the ferocity of a lioness if necessary to protect the weak and defenseless. Likewise, while she will not bring death to humans, she has no such compunctions for demons, monsters, undead, and some aliens.
Regarding Wonder Woman’s costume and appearance, take her Earth 2 costume in the New 52 (only with gold replacing all the silver and red boots instead of blue), give her chest coverage that her Justice League War costume had and the ponytail (because I LOVE it, lol), and a red cape like she’s sometimes seen in on some of her more diplomatic missions. As far as her skill set goes, she has her usual package of super strength, speed, reflexes, durability, and stamina, tracking skills, and is a master of both unarmed combat and wielding a shield and sword. She’s also a highly skilled diplomat and negotiator, meaning that she can oftentimes avoid ever having to use such gifts in combat by putting an end to conflict before it ever even begins. She can also fly fast enough to keep up with Superman, but as a means of reserving energy, she mostly prefers to fly on the back of a pegasus. As always, Diana wields the unbreakable Lasso of Truth, which forces one to reveal their true nature, tell the truth, and even free them from brainwashing or other types of control. Finally, she has the Bracelets of Victory, which guard against all forms of attacks. When the bracelets are removed, however, most of her natural abilities increase to ludicrous levels, the likes of which even Superman cannot contend with. For all of these abilities, though, Wonder Woman isn’t invincible. Her stamina, while incredible, does have limits, meaning she will eventually tire out if a battle runs for too long. Also, while removing her bracelets doesn’t cause her to go into a berserker mode like in the comics, it DOES put a huge strain on her body. Just a couple of minutes is long enough for her to be ready to pass out in this state. Finally, while her compassion is a great gift, it also comes coupled with a sense of self-sacrifice, constantly causing her to put herself in harm’s way to protect others. Granted, she more often than not walks away without being too harmed, but when you consider the possibility of her leaving Themyscira without its Queen…well, hindsight is 20/20.
…So, that’s all there is to know about Infinite Wonder Woman, but what about her new wife? Granted, she won’t be joining the Justice League, but she will be making an appearance or two, so let’s look at Mera.
Again, Mera is very similar to the mainstream version seen in the comics: A princess/assassin from another dimension sent to kill Aquaman, but instead fell in love with the King of Atlantis and married him. She’s also become somewhat of a surrogate mother to Jackson Hyde, AKA Aqualad, due to his estrangement from his father, Black Manta. In this universe, she’s also a close friend to Diana, and accepted her proposal to get married for the sake of their friendship and their peoples (which is quite the twist from Flashpoint). While kind and loving, she is also known to fly into fits of rage when wronged. You know the old saying “Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d, nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d”? If William Congreve had lived in today’s society, he likely would’ve been talking about Mera. And yeah, I know, it can be something of a sexist comment, but it’s most certainly true of Queen Mera ‘Don’t You DARE Call Me Aquawoman’. While she understands that she SHOULDN’T kill, she at times has difficulty keeping the desire to in check.
Mera is more or less exactly like the mainstream version of her in both appearance and powers. Like Aquaman, the Queen of Atlantis is perfectly capable of surviving in a kingdom at the bottom of the sea, meaning she has the strength, durability, and enhanced sight of someone who lived in a place so dark and having such constant pressure put on her. She’s also an extremely fast swimmer, and possesses a leap out of the ocean measuring at approximately 1000 feet. Mera also possesses telepathy, able to send messages to someone’s mind and receive replies, though she lacks skill in terms of digging deeper into a person’s thoughts. Her trademark ability, however, is her skill in manipulating water. She can shift water around to her will, form hard water weapons, and launch concussive blasts. Also, get her REALLY mad, and she could conceivably warp the water molecules inside of someone to hurt them from the inside. Ultimately, her greatest weakness is her anger, as it can blind her in combat and cause her to make mistakes. Also, while she’s durable enough that bullets would only scratch her skin, she is by no means invulnerable.
Anyway, that’s it for Wonder Woman and Mera. Next time, we wrap up our look at the Justice League Infinite with Green Lantern and Doctor Fate. Ja né!
DC Comics recently announced the event that is clearly intended to be the Crisis On Infinite Earths anniversary event, and it’s not exactly what I was expecting, but I’ll nonetheless take it. The event is referred to as Convergence, and it follows up on plot hooks going back as far as Justice League International’s finale, and heavily involves recent revelations from Superman Doomed and Future’s End. Long story short, Brainiac (or rather A Brainiac) has been bottling people and cities from various worlds across different universes in the Multiverse. In fact, some of these universes don’t even exist anymore, meaning that this version of Brainiac managed to survive the Multiversal reboot of The New 52, as did the people he’s captured.
According to what I’ve read up on, the current New 52 books will be taking a two month break in April and May (so I guess I’ll be saving a bit more money than usual, lol), which explains why all the current arcs in the storylines are ending at the same time. During this break, there’ll be a weekly series for Convergence, as well as a number of two-part miniseries that’ll cover different worlds involved in Convergence. Basically, seeing what these characters have been up to since the last time we saw them, and probably tying into the greater events of Convergence. And since I’m seeing worlds based on the last year or two of the pre-Flashpoint New Earth, the pre-Flashpoint Earth 2, Superman Red Son, Kingdom Come, and several others, I would imagine there’ll at least be SOME comics in this event that’ll catch my attention.
So, a common theory among fans right now is that, following Convergence, the current reality of The New 52 will be adjusted to include a number of characters and concepts from past continuities. Others are suggesting that this is the end of The New 52, and the restoration of the previous continuity. Honestly, I’m hoping for the former, since there has actually been some great stuff in The New 52 that I would hate to see wiped away. Plus, if that happened, what the hell would’ve been the point of the past 3+ years? It would’ve just been a complete waste of our time. With that said, there’s plenty of the previous continuity that I would like to see integrated into the current one, and plenty of BAD stuff we’ve seen in The New 52 I would like to see done away with. So, with that said, here’s a list of changes I’d like to see after Convergence is over, be it returning characters and concepts, or the end of current ones…
This is actually something that is possibly being teased for before Convergence, if I’m correct, that is. Basically, I took notice of the fact that solicits for Superman #38 promised a new costume for the Man of Steel, and that his pelvic area was hidden or otherwise obscured on the cover of every book he was on that month. My theory is that he’s either returning to the old tights, or his current costume is being adjusted to resemble it and its colour scheme. Honestly, either one works for me.
Now, there ARE a ton of heroes on Earth 2, but they aren’t really so much a team. Bringing back the Justice Society would be a huge benefit to the Earth 2 books. But beyond bringing back the JSA, I would also bring back some of its members, like Jade, Wildcat, Doctor Mid-Nite, Liberty Belle, possibly even the Kingdom Come Superman, and so on. That said, I think I would wanna keep the newer costumes for those that have been around in The New 52. No offense to the original designers, but I just think the newer costumes look a bit better.
I’m sorry, but the romance between Superman and Wonder Woman needs to end. Like, NOW. This was doomed to fail from the beginning, and I think reader response has proven that it did. It really says it all when even Man of Steel knew well enough to have Clark and Lois together. I don’t even care if they’re married or not, I just wanna see them back together. That said, wouldn’t necessarily have to cancel Superman/Wonder Woman, just make it about them teaming up to fight supervillains instead of ‘the fauxmance’. Speaking of Wonder Woman, though…
Seriously, we need the old Wonder Woman back. Badly. Beyond the obvious, having her be the compassionate diplomat once again, her back-story and the history of the Amazons needs a change from the current New 52 version. What bothers me most about the changes to her back-story isn’t so much the fact that I mind her being the daughter of Zeus. That much I can live with. Rather, it’s Hippolyta bending over backwards for Zeus (or was it forwards? I honestly can’t remember), and the HORRIBLE changes to the Amazons, making them pirates and rapists. That, above all else, needs to be undone. If you wanna keep Diana as a demigod, fine, but fixing the situation with the Amazons is a must, and the circumstances surrounding the tryst of Zeus and Hippolyta need to be changed to make her look better. Finally, just a cosmetic note, I think I’d want the silver on the Wonder Woman costume made gold again. Gold just looks better on Diana than silver, to be honest.
Beyond some of the more obvious heroes to bring back (Blue Beetle, Donna Troy, Plastic Man, Renee Montoya, Cassandra Cain, Elongated Man, the Blue Lantern Corps), one that I would like to see make a comeback is Proxy, AKA Wendy Harris. Seeing as how Babs is currently Batgirl, and I actually rather like what they’re doing with her nowadays, bringing Proxy back to fill her role as Oracle would seem like the best option. The loss of Oracle, as someone who helped to coordinate the various heroes on Earth, has been significant, and is still being felt nowadays.
I cannot frakking believe I forgot to mention this before, but bringing back the Birds of Prey would be amazing after this, and here’s why: In the final issue of Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl, we learn that Babs has the means by which to get ahold of pretty much EVERY SINGLE SUPERHEROINE ON EARTH. That means she could conceivably form a team out of ANY of these women. You wanna see a team-up of Strix and Katana? Catwoman and Batwoman? Zatanna and Raven? Misfit and Vengeance Moth? Starfire and Bleez? Any and all of these are now possible. Heck, she’s also in touch with Helena Wayne, so she could conceivably call in help from Earth 2 superheroines like Power Girl, Red Tornado, and Aquawoman someday. The Birds could actually succeed the Justice League as the greatest assortment of heroes on Earth at that point. People, just TRY and tell me you would not read a book like that. 😀
Anyway, that’s all for now. Leave a comment below on stuff you’d like to see change following Convergence, and we’ll see if we get any of these wishes. Ja né!
Jyger’s Rant – What I Liked and Didn’t Like About Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So I just got finished watching Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which is an animated movie based off the event comic Flashpoint. If you’ve never read the book or seen the movie, then I’m sorry, spoilers ahead. However,I’d wager to bet that everyone reading DC nowadays at least has heard of Flashpoint and knows that it’s the event that closed out the previous continuity in DC Comics, established with Crisis on Infinite Earths and shaping the modern DC universe, and began the DCnU, also known as The New 52 (even though it’s two years old and does not currently consist of 52 books like it originally had). Either way, here’s a brief summary of the events for those who don’t wanna read it, or who have and need a refresher on what happened. This is Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
The Flash (Barry Allen) is consumed with grief over the loss of his mother, so he decides to use his speed to travel back in time and save her. However, when he wakes up the next day, the world isn’t like he remembers. Kal-El was never found by the Kents, instead held in a government compound. Bruce Wayne was shot by Joe Chill and his father, Thomas Wayne, becomes a gun-totting Batman while his wife, Martha Wayne, goes insane and becomes The Joker. Aquaman has an affair with Wonder Woman, which Mera discovers, and is killed in self-defense when she attacks Diana, leading Themyscira and Atlantis to all-out war. And lastly, Cyborg is working for the government, trying to bring together a group of heroes (and a villain or two) to stop Diana and Arthur from causing World War III. There’s a ton of other characters involved, like Grifter, Hal Jordan, Lois Lane, Shazam, and Captain Atom, but it mostly centers around Flash, Batman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Professor Zoom.
Anyway, to make a long story slightly shorter, Barry travels to Gotham City and meets Batman, telling him what happened. He finds Professor Zoom’s suit in his ring instead of his own, and Batman theorizes that Zoom planted it there to let him know he’s still around, leading Barry to believe Zoom is the cause of the change to history. However, after the final battle between Aquaman and Wonder Woman begins and the heroes try to stop the war, Zoom arrives to tell Barry that he didn’t do anything: Barry is the cause. When Barry broke through the time barrier to save his mother, he created a time boom (comparative to a sonic-boom created when someone breaks the sound barrier) that altered history. Batman kills Zoom, since he was siphoning off the Speed Force and keeping Flash from going through time again, so that Barry can go back and stop himself from altering history, thus averting the crisis that almost destroyed the world. However, while that succeeds, we see in the end that he and Batman’s costumes have changed, though neither notices the difference, as the universe has still been changed into that of the DCnU.
There’re a lot more details to go over, but because I’m honestly left liking a lot of moments in this movie and hating others, I’m gonna give my thoughts based on lists of what I liked and hated. Also, I don’t wanna compare this to the book, since the only part of Flashpoint I ever read was the ending, but there IS something that happens there that didn’t happen in the movie, so I’ll leave that for after my lists. So first, here’s what I liked about this movie.
- Pretty much the entirety of the Flash Museum battle, in particular how Professor Zoom’s bombs are dealt with. The Justice League show up to help Barry with the situation, as Zoom has planted bombs on The Rogues, and we see them all using their unique powers, skills, and quick thinking to deal with each one: Aquaman has millions of microbes eat one bomb for dinner, Batman and GL disable one in space, Atom fries one in the atmosphere, Wonder Woman uses Captain Cold’s freeze gun on one, Flash uses his speed to gather a ball of wind to knock out one he can’t reach, and Superman…Well, Superman just clutches the last one in his hands and lets it blow up rather harmlessly. lol
- Lois Lane is not shown to die…I KNOW, RIGHT?! I mean, we can infer that when Aquaman blows up Captain Atom to destroy the surface world that she would’ve died, but since we never see her die and Flash goes back in time before the blast is completed, we can’t really add her to the kill-count in this movie (which sadly, there IS a rather lengthy kill-count, but I’ll get to that later). In fact, not only does she not die, but she joins Grifter’s team and starts kicking all kinds of ass in the final battle.
- I love just how many characters are involved in this. The Batsons, General Lane, Harley Quinn (now called YoYo for some odd reason), Flash’s Rogues Gallery, BOTH AQUALADS! I’m just a sucker for stories that involve LOTS of characters, because it makes me wanna brush up on what I know about them all.
- This is a great movie for fans of Barry Allen. Actually, I would daresay it’s a good movie for people who don’t like him too, because we pretty much get the best of him in this movie. He goes through the process of recreating the accident that gave him powers, TWICE, even after the first time fails and leaves him covered in third degree burns. He rallies the heroes together to try and stop the war. He’s CONSTANTLY pushing the boundaries of what should be possible even for him, just to give this insane world a chance. And when he finally realizes exactly what’s happened, what he did to cause all this, he undoes it, because he knows what his mother would WANT him to do, and that the cost of letting himself do what he did was too high. No second guesses, no easy way out. Be a hero.
- There’s just something about the ending where Barry gives the letter from his father to him that gets me emotional. It even lets me ignore the simple questions of how he should even be in possession of it if the timeline it comes from was erased.
…So that’s what I liked about the movie, but what did I hate about it?
- As I mentioned before, the kill-count in this movie gets kinda crazy, and the violence gets pushed pretty high for a PG-13. Steve Trevor is hanged, Mera is beheaded, Cyborg is torn apart until his heart is exposed, Kal-El accidentally fries some soldiers when he gains his heat vision for the first time, Billy Batson (who I must remind is a kid when he’s not Shazam) is stabbed, and Professor Zoom has a hole shot through his head. Look, I’m generally the first to stick up for kids and what they can and can’t handle, but this woulda traumatized me as a child. And frankly, just the fact that we see these characters killing each other in such graphic detail when a lot of them are the otherwise good guys is so hard to watch sometimes.
- Kind of a minor one, but Batman referring to Cyborg as a ‘boy-scout’ and Cyborg working for the government just makes me think of Frank Miller’s writing…in a bad way.
- I’m not sure why this is called Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, when the members are only seen as being the Justice League in one scene. Other than that, it focuses primarily on The Flash and Batman (because he’s DC’s meal ticket, and as much as I love the crap outta Batman, it can get EXTREMELY annoying how much they push him, even in other people’s stories). Flash being the central protagonist is kind of the reason the comic was originally called Flashpoint.
- Why is Wonder Woman a mass-murderer who assists Aquaman in cheating on his wife? Come to think of it, why is Aquaman an adulterer who then goes to war when his wife that he cheated on went to go kill Diana and was killed in self-defense? I get it, it’s a different version of the characters, but the changes in personalities and perspectives for the characters are usually explained, except for these two. The problem with that is that their conflict is the major conflict of the movie, since Flash has to stop their war from destroying the world.
- Not that big a deal, but…WOW, Cyborg is tall in this! I know it shouldn’t bug me all that much, but in every scene that he’s in, I just can’t stop thinking “Holy shit, Cyborg’s tall!” He’s bigger than Superman, for crying out loud! And he’s got that big honking blaster on his right arm. Dude, I don’t think you need to compensate for anything! You’re freaking Cyborg! lol
…So now that we’ve gone over what I liked and hated, let’s talk about what big thing was missing from the movie: Pandora. Again, for those who don’t know, in the original comic, after stopping himself from changing history, Flash heads back to the present, but encounters Pandora. Pandora explains that the universe was split into three (DC, WildStorm, Vertigo) to weaken it for some coming threat, and that she’s using Flash’s travelling through time to recombine the universes, thus creating the realm we know as the DCnU. So, if she’s absent from this movie, what’s the implication? That Flash still managed to botch up history somehow? Now, it’s not as big a deal here as it was in the comics, since the movies jump around wherever they like and most exist in their own universes (although I’m pretty sure Justice League: War is a sequel of sorts to this), but it still makes me question it… … …Also, where the hell was Element Woman? o.O
Overall, what are my thoughts? Well, my biggest problem with the Flashpoint comic, at least what I read of it and about it, is that it seems relatively small when you consider it’s the last story of the former DCU. But again, that’s not a problem for the movie. Heck, I understand another movie they’re gonna do in the future is an adaptation of the story where Bruce meets Damian. The violence DOES bother me a lot, though, as do the Flashpoint-verse Wonder Woman and Aquaman. I DO see the heart of this story on its own, however: It’s about a man who fell to the temptation to do what he thought would be the right thing for someone he cared about, he made a terrible mistake, and when he realized it, he did what was necessary to set everything right, making the sacrifice needed to save the world. So, there IS a good story beyond all the blood and death…which, I think I may have heard was actually made worse for the movie, I’m not sure.
But anyway, those’re my thoughts on The Flashpoint Paradox. Have you got a different take on it? Comment below what you thought of the movie, the comic, the DCnU, whatever, and I will see you guys next time. Ja né!
- PaulRom Reviews: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX (comicbookmovie.com)
- Movie Review: “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” (comicsauthority.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (todaysmoviereviews.com)
- DVD Review – Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (chyrondave.wordpress.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (hwb239.wordpress.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (backpocketentertainment.com)
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (comicvine.com)
- Movie Review: ‘Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox’ (ifanboy.com)
- Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox (ihogeek.com)
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX – First Clip and Images (geektyrant.com)
So I got a few things for Christmas, but I wanted to focus this particular entry on the comic book (graphic novel) that I got today: Justice League Origin, considered to be the primary introduction to The New 52. And because I suppose there’s a chance someone could read this blog entry that hasn’t read up much on the New 52, hasn’t read my previous What I Bought Today entries, or just wants more information, let’s first take a trip back to September 2011.
At the end of an event comic known as Flashpoint, wherein the Flash (Barry Allen, for those curious as to which Flash) found himself in an Earth where history had been altered due to a mistake he made going backward in time, Flash manages to stop himself from altering time, thus returning the world to the way it was supposed to be. However, a cloaked individual later confirmed to be Pandora (as in Pandora’s Box Pandora) merged the timeline of the main DC universe with that of two others (Wildstorm and Vertigo), claiming that they had originally been one universe but were splintered to weaken them. We’ll talk more about how combining the universes and causing some of the changes seen in the new DC Universe, or DCnU, makes very little sense later on. Instead, let’s take a look at the book that really helps to kick this new universe off, and yes, this will be an actual review. But since I don’t wanna melt anyone’s brains from going over it all at once, I’ll only look at Issues #1 & #2 here and cover the rest in other blog entries. So, as they say on a VERY popular comic book review show, let’s dig into Justice League #1 & #2 and see how the new universe got started!
Issue #1 opens 5 years in the past, so I’m guessing since this came out in 2011, that makes this 2006. The Gotham City Police Department follow Batman via helicopters as he chases down a figure that is clearly not human. After a tussle with it, Batman is helped out by Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, who actually seems surprised to learn that Batman is real. Apparently superheroes are only recently becoming known to the public and haven’t really interacted much with each other. Also, it seems the world is afraid of them.
While chasing their target down, GL asks Batman what his powers are, eventually realising that Batman has none. He’s more than a bit surprised and maybe doubting of Batman at this point, until he notices that Batman has slipped his ring off. And it’s at this point I gotta wave a yellow card and just ask: REALLY? The Guardians of the Universe didn’t install some kinda safety mechanism in case someone just took the ring off a Green Lantern? Batman says that he managed to get it off him because Hal wasn’t concentrating, and that that’s clearly the means of controlling the ring, but I still wanna call foul. It’s pretty much at this point that the New 52 Drinking Game comes into play: Whenever something occurs that makes no sense, especially given knowledge obtained prior to the relaunch, take a shot. Let’s see how long it takes for readers to get plastered, shall we?
Anyway, they find the target, but it blows itself up, screaming “FOR DARKSEID!”. Hal manages to shield them both from the blast and tries to scan the box it left behind, but is unable to. Hal’s confused at this, claiming that the ring should be able to give him any information that the Guardians know…And take a shot. Okay, I know the Guardians of the Universe are MAJOR screw-ups, and nowadays have actually made the jump to being villains, but gimme a break. They don’t know of Darkseid or his machinations? This actually makes less sense later on, but we’ll get to that.
Realising this is clearly alien tech, Hal decides they should go to Metropolis, since rumour has it that Superman is an alien. Batman starts to say that he’s researched Superman, claiming his power levels are over 9000 (okay, Hal cuts him off at “power levels”, but how funny would it be if he’d actually said that?), but GL seems sure he can handle Supes if he becomes a problem.
We cut to Victor Stone winning a big football game, scouts apparently wanting to give him a huge scholarship. However, poor Vic seems more disappointed that his Dad couldn’t make the game, and that apparently he’s missed several, his studies on super-humans keeping him away. Quickly, somebody cue a chorus to sing “Cats In The Cradle”! Suddenly, a big green jet flies overhead and sets down in Metropolis, letting Batman and GL out. Batman warns Hal not to engage Superman, who apparently has been in a fight recently. Hal just puts Batman in a big green box and tells him he can handle this. However, a red and blue blur flies out and knocks Hal for a MAJOR loop, sending him crashing through the box that held Batman, before it lands next to the Dark Knight, revealing itself to be Superman.
Issue #2 opens at the Central City Crime Lab, Barry Allen arguing with his superior regarding a murder case. He wants to follow up on it, insisting this man was a husband and a father and that he shouldn’t become a cold case, but while his superior agrees and wants to be solving murders as bad as Barry does, it seems the police chief wants every last one of them working to solve the Flash case, apparently obsessed with figuring out who the Flash really is. Major “Ouch” moment for Barry.
Meanwhile, we see that Batman has pretty much emptied his utility belt trying to stop Superman, who is convinced they were working with the ones that attacked him earlier since they had a box like the one Batman and GL took from the previous Parademon. GL gets his second wind and tries to chain up Superman, but like that’s gonna work. Batman is sure that Superman was worked into a frenzy from his previous fight and that right now he’s far too strong and fast to fight, but Hal claims he knows someone faster. He calls up Barry, since they apparently worked together on a case to bring down Gorilla Grodd…and destroyed the Museum of Natural History in the process, which is part of the reason the police want Flash. However, after some begging and insisting that Superman is going to kill them (Superman doesn’t kill, take a shot), Flash shows up and actually gets a good shot in on Superman. He’s pretty sure this is a big misunderstanding, but Supes doesn’t seem to be in the mood to listen to him. Barry dodges his attacks with ease until Superman finally gets a finger flick into Barry’s face, sending him flying down the street. Batman finally manages to talk everyone down, Flash fixing up the damage their fight has done. As they try to get to the bottom of things, the military catches up to them. Superman’s sure that Lex Luthor can’t be far behind, so they take cover underground.
We cut to S.T.A.R. Labs in Detroit. They’ve got the box from Superman’s tussle with a Parademon, and have picked up a signal coming from it. Apparently, there are similar signals coming from New England, Washington D.C., Central City, and Coast City. Dr. Silas Stone is sure that the super-humans are involved somehow, but is cut off when his son Victor shows up, highly upset. His dad tells him that he doesn’t need a scholarship, since he’s paying for his school, but Victor would rather he pay for someone who needs it, claiming that M.S.U. wants him and that he could go pro. Dr. Stone pretty much explodes at him, telling him that with super-humans popping up, it could only be a matter of time before they make what Victor can do seem like nothing at all and that then he’d have nothing.
Meanwhile, Superman has brought the team to an abandoned printing press, since he apparently doesn’t have a base of operations. Fortress of Solitude, anyone? Take a shot! Hal thinks he and Flash should take the box and ditch Batman and Superman, and Batman determines that Flash is a cop when he suggests he could take the box in for analysis and try to find fingerprints or DNA traces. However, before they can continue on, we see both this box and the box at S.T.A.R. Labs are setting off some kind of pinging sound, after which they rip open massive portals that let loose legions of Parademons. And so our comic ends with Dr. Stone looking on in horror as his son is caught in the blast of the portal opening, his body burnt and torn asunder.
These comics…don’t really suck. No, really, since this book is supposed to be a brand new start and could be the first book for new readers, a lot is established. The book establishes that Batman has no powers but is fit enough to keep up with the others and is very likely the intellectual superior of the group. It establishes the group’s varying powers and how they work. It establishes the friendship between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, as well as how Hal and Batman have problems getting along (and how Hal can be kind of a dick, lol). Most of all, we get to see Victor Stone BEFORE he becomes Cyborg, his relationship with his father, and we see what accident occurs in the new universe that will inevitably cause him to become Cyborg. However, this book isn’t perfect. For one thing, Wonder Woman and Aquaman still haven’t shown up by the end of issue #2, but then that could just be to set up the others first before introducing them. Also, this book has the main failing of most books involving Superman in the New 52 in that they constantly feel the need to remind us that he’s an alien. The only other problem is that anyone reading this book that knows these characters’ histories prior to the relaunch will find themselves picking at everything different, be it subconsciously or not.
Still, this is a good read, and it only gets better from here. Next time, we look at Issues #3 & #4, wherein we get to see New 52 debuts of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and of course, Darkseid. Ja né!