How To Drop The Ball In Comics – The New 52
…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!
My Thoughts On The DC Rebirth Line-Up
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. ^_^
What I’d Do With The New 52 Part 05: My First 52 Titles (14 – 26)
I’m back again, and here to talk about the next 13 issues of what I would have planned for the New 52 if I were in charge of it. And for people wondering why the first 13 issues were so similar to what was actually done, basically I wanted to get them out of the way first. Also, just as a note, for The Flash, probably what I’d do if Barry and Wally were both in it is have Barry wear a modified version of his Blue Lantern Flash outfit, just to keep them unique in style and also to make the red on the Justice League a little lessened with Barry on there. So with that said, let’s kick this off with…
Sorry to fans of Suicide Squad, but I just feel that keeping the Secret Six around under the penning of Gail Simone would make a much better villain’s book, so I’d replace Suicide Squad with this. Would probably involve most of the previous team getting out of jail, though I’d likely sub out Bane for Harley Quinn or Giganta or somebody like that and make Scandal the leader. Maybe not right away, but pretty soon to give way for what happens later on in Talon. But speaking of Gail Simone, let’s talk about a couple other books she’s helmed…
Pretty much the same as Batgirl was originally (dammit, still need to review The Darkest Reflection), save for a few things. Yeah, what a shocker, I’d want Stephanie Brown in once or twice as a recurring character. Sorry, I just love Steph as a character so much, and her team with Barbara was amazing, and seeing the two working together would be incredible. Maybe even get Black Bat in on the fun. The other thing (again, what a shock), I WOULDN’T FIRE HER. lol
Okay, clearly I can’t have her writing 4 books at once, but I would definitely want whoever was writing Birds of Prey to have her input and whatnot. With Birds of Prey, there’s a couple of things I’d want changed. First off, put Huntress back on. There is no reason she can’t at least be a loosely affiliated member of the team. Second, PUSH THE F’ING BUTTON ON THE KURT LANCE SIDEPLOT! We are now 19 issues in, and they’re still doing this! Third, I’d probably want Goldrush on there at some point so we at least know something about her before she appears in Justice League.
Okay, once again, I need to stress that I’m not saying that the Justice League Dark we got sucked. I would never say that, This is just what I would do with the team, and what I would do can be summed up in one word: Raven. Basically, Madame Xanadu senses that Trigon is back and causing all kinds of paranormal havoc while trying to reach through dimensions, so she calls Raven, Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, and a few others, possibly even Elongated Man since he’s a ghost detective. And speaking of Justice Leagues…
Really, the only thing I’d change with Justice League International is that I probably wouldn’t have as much of a rotating door roster on the group. That really bugged me how at the halfway point, half the team either died, got de-powered, or otherwise left the group.
Frak no, I ain’t changing anything with Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.! And if you need to know why, look no further than Issue 3, where Frankenstein jumps into a giant spider monster’s mouth and does THIS!
‘Nuff said, moving on…
Again, wouldn’t change much about Animal Man, except I wouldn’t kill the kid and thus possibly separating the family, I would’ve likely wanted to involve Beast Boy at some point, and I would’ve wasted a lot less time getting to the crossover with Swamp Thing.
…Leave me alone, that was the best logo for Spoiler I could find. lol Anyway, I’d naturally want Bryan Q. Miller on this book, and basically have it continue from where his Batgirl run left off, with Steph becoming Spoiler again and continuing her operations along with Proxy. I imagine her attire would be similar to the Nightwing attire we saw in the last issue, except with her usual hair instead of the buzzcut. As for what I’d replace, probably Batman: The Dark Knight.
Well, this is where fans of David Zavimbe and the original arc of Batwing are gonna kill me, but I think I’d want to start off with the Luke Fox arc. Sorry guys, I just like what they’re doing here more, and I’ll hopefully be able to explain why tomorrow after Free Comic Book Day.
Not really anything I’d change plot wise with Supergirl, but…Well, I guess I’d just wanna change the costume. Maybe something akin to this…
…except that the pants would have to blend in better with the costume.
…Yes, believe it or not, I WOULD have Red Hood and the Outlaws be around. I would do a few changes, though: I’d have Lian be brought back, I’d have Chesire on the team, I would have Starfire NOT be a skank and instead just be an amnesiac, and I think I’d add Scarlet (because I otherwise have no idea what happened to her with the reboot) and a couple of anti-heroes and/or d-list villains to balance the team out.
Again, like with Batwing, I’d want to start Green Arrow off with the current arc by Jeff Lemire. While I don’t buy it since I’m not a big Green Arrow fan, I have read it in the stands, and trust me, it’s a LOT better.
Believe it or not, I would want Worlds’ Finest writer Paul Levitz to write Catwoman, pretty much as she acted in Worlds’ Finest #0. Why? Because she actually ACTED like Catwoman! I am so SICK of how Catwoman’s been in her book. I know I said that since they changed writers that it got better, but since then, it got WORSE. Want a good example of it? Check out Catwoman #18. That ONE issue is the best example I can give on what’s wrong with the book.
And that’s half the books down already. Next time, I’ll talk books 27 – 39, but tomorrow, I attend Free Comic Book Day at GameZilla! See y’all there!
What I Bought Today – Talon #3, Batman Incorporated #6 (Warning – Spoilers) + Interesting News Concerning Red Hood
Well, it’s Wednesday, so let’s go ahead and check out…
God, I love the new logo. Anyway, let’s kick off with Talon #3.
So yeah, you remember my two problems regarding Issue #2? How it’s hard to agree with Calvin Rose in his mindset when we haven’t seen anything of him interacting with Casey and her daughter Sarah, and how Guillem March was absent? Both of those problems are not present here. Guillem March is back for this, and we see LOTS of Casey (who pulls off ‘strong independent woman’ in a way relatively unseen in the New 52) and Sarah (Sarah is adorable, btw. Almost gave me ghostly flashbacks of Lian), and I have nothing to bitch about…well, save for one thing, and it’s not even really a problem so much as something that gets on my nerves: Sebastian Clark is so gonna turn heel. I can see it coming a mile away. He’s either gonna turn heel or he’s gonna find some way to screw with Calvin, be it on purpose or by accident. It’s one of the two things, but I can be sure it’s one of them. In the meantime, the chemistry is still good between him and Calvin. Also, we see the return of the mask that Dick Grayson wore in Batman #1, which is neat. And while we get a shit-ton of new characters kinda thrown at us, they all get their own time in the comic and we learn who they are and what their background is. Great stuff as always from James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, and of course, the returning Mr. March.
Batman Incorporated #6…Okay, I love this comic, I really do, but I have no idea what the fuck is going on! We still have not gotten to the point at the beginning of #1 where Bruce Wayne is arrested, and I’m pretty much left guessing what in the world happened and if it will EVER be addressed in any of the other comics. Also, despite what we saw a little over a month ago, there’s a line of dialogue near the end that suggests that Damian ISN’T the one who becomes the third Batman (second after Dick, remember). I have a theory on that, but I’d rather keep it to myself. Also, after the explosion from last issue, most of the members of the Batmen of all Nations are horribly wrecked, some are even dying, and I honestly got a little horrified for Squire in this one for a bit. I hope for the best, I’d hate to see ANY of them be killed off. Otherwise, this is still a good comic with Batman robots fighting Leviathan’s Man Bat legion and plenty of drama. I will also give this comic a major plus: Bat Cow cameo! That ought to make Gotham Spoilers happy. 😛 But seriously, somebody please tell me what the fuck is going on, or at least that it’ll get resolved soon because I hear tell that Grant Morrison won’t be writing for much longer, and I can’t see them continuing this book without him.
Oh, and the last thing I wanna talk about here: There’s this rumour on Bleeding Cool (same people that somehow knew that Gail Simone had been fired before she did) that starting with Red Hood and the Outlaws #18, James Tynion IV is taking over the comic…And when I heard that rumour, I started to cry tears of joy for a little bit…I’m starting to get a little choked up right now, actually. The only way this comic will not improve by a HUGE amount with this switch (if it DOES in fact happen) is if it turns out that editorial mandate is what makes the plot stupid. Tynion has earned my trust with this. I may or may not begin picking it up again if this change does happen, though, depending on what all changes. I’ll keep y’all posted.
Anyhow, that’s it for today. Next week, we learn about the last Amazon left on Earth-2 (PLEASE be Donna Troy), and much much more! Ja né!
What I’d Do With New 52 – Part 02: The Titles
So yeah, continuing on with what I would personally do with the New 52, here’s what I would change regarding the line-up of titles itself. And to start off, let’s go with something near and dear to my heart: The Batman titles.
Problem: If I had one complaint about the Batman titles, it’s that Batman is frigging EVERYWHERE. Scott Snyder‘s Batman, Detective Comics, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batman & Robin, Batman Incorporated, Justice League and the now cancelled Justice League International. He also frequently cameos in Catwoman and Nightwing, and has on occasion cameoed in Batgirl, Batwoman, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans, and Action Comics. Now the reason why this frustrates me is two-fold: 1) It creates a chronological mess. Basically, I have no idea which comics occur when. They can’t possibly all be happening at once, because Batman would need to be everywhere at the same time. 2) Having Batman be star in seven books (granted two are team books and he’s not THE star of those books) makes it hard for other characters to get a good run.
Solution: First off, cancel Batman: The Dark Knight. That comic kinda pisses me off for the insane, nonsensical, and on occasion even outright lying to the audience (I’m looking at you issue 9) stories that occur there, and frankly they can be told much better elsewhere. As far as Detective Comics and Scott Snyder’s Batman is concerned, I’d do one of two things: Either make Scott Snyder’s Batman into Detective Comics, OR give Detective Comics to a different character, possibly Tim Drake or The Question. Actually, regardless of that, Tim Drake DOES need a comic of his own.
Problem: Maybe it’s my imagination, but there seems to be a LOT of red on the superheroes lately. Nightwing turned red, Beast Boy turned red, the Red Lanterns have a book, and red seems to be the predominant colour for a lot of teams like the Justice League, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and the Teen Titans. Now admittedly, Beast Boy turning red makes SOME sense since he gets his powers from The Red, but I still miss when he was green.
Solution: Give Nightwing back his old blue costume and give the team books a more varied look as far as their colour schemes go. Like, for as many complaints as I’ve heard about JLI, at least the team had members of varying powers and colours.
Problem: I haven’t really been reading Teen Titans or Ravagers, other than Issue 0 of Titans which I’ll get into at another time. So really, I can’t point out anything really wrong with the books, other than one thing: Why do they both exist as individual books? Why aren’t they the same title? Two members of the Ravagers were Titans prior to the relaunch, two are based on former Titans, and their story spawns from an incident in the Teen Titans book, why not just have them be one mega team?
Solution: Have a story arc where the Ravagers join the Titans, then cancel their book and just have them be in Titans. Also, can we please let BB chillax a bit? Again, haven’t read the books, but every image I see of him lately shows him being really pissed off and feral looking.
Problem: Again, read my former rants regarding Starfire, Red Hood, Arsenal, and this fucking book.
Solution: I WOULD say cancel it and pretend like it never happened, but I think I actually have a better idea, one that at least attempts to DO something with this. Wrap up this storyline involving the Untitled and have the inevitable confrontation between Jason, Kori, and Dick, THEN cancel the book, and then have the team either split with Starfire regaining her memories and rejoining Nightwing or the Titans, OR have the team become antagonists for the Teen Titans and Nightwing. Possibly even Green Arrow (‘cuz of Arsenal’s past with him). Either one works, just do one or the other ASAP.
Problem: Well really, I’ve got two problems. The first is similar to my issue with Batman in that Superman is in Action Comics, the Superman comics, Justice League, Scott Snyder’s upcoming Superman title, and has cameoed in Supergirl, Batman: Detective Comics, and Red Hood and the Outlaws (WHYYYYY?!?!). Now the cameos in Supergirl are fine, and I understand that Action Comics originally told Superman’s new origins while the Superman comics told what he’s doing now, but the origin’s been told, so why are there still the two books? I don’t get it. The other thing that bothers me a lot is the changes to his attitude, his personality, how they’ve retconned his marriage to Lois (which I’ll get to later), and how they’ve essentially turned Clark Kent into Peter Parker. It’s actually to the point that I’m concerned that even Snyder can’t save him.
Solution: Well, if anyone can save him, it’s Scott Snyder. However, more than that, they really need to re-establish Superman’s roots. What do I mean by that? Well, basically I mean what Linkara said about him once, that despite coming from another planet, which they’ve pretty much beat into our heads over and over lately that he’s an alien (like we didn’t know it already), at his core he is truly the most HUMAN superhero of all, that he embodies the best that humanity has to offer as was taught to him by his adoptive parents that raised him. Also, seeing as how Action Comics and the Superman comic are now telling stories around the same time period, either cancel Superman and just have the upcoming Snyder title and Action Comics, or give Action Comics to someone else. There must be SOMEONE that can carry their own title that they could give Action Comics to. Heck, the DCnU version of Steel appeared in Action Comics early on, let him give it a try.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Next time, I take a look at some of the characters already in the DCnU and what needs to possibly change about some of them. Ja né!
90th Blog Post! More Roster Contemplations for JLA Fanfic + Red Hood and the Outlaws Rant
So yeah, a few more superheroes I’m contemplating using. Even though I’ve already kinda got a storyline thought out, there are still spots on the team I haven’t decided on, so for my 90th blog post, let’s take a look at some more potential members.
Before I do though, there’s something I gotta address. A common thing you’ve likely heard me say is “I haven’t read any of the comics that _____ was in”. Well the thing is, I never really started collecting comics until a year ago, and the only ones I’ve been collecting are Scott Snyder‘s Batman (since the very first issue), Batman: Detective Comics (though I stopped collecting that recently), Red Hood and the Outlaws (again, dropped that because it stopped being a guilty pleasure and instead just became painful to read, but we’ll get to that later), Nightwing (starting with the Night of Owls tie-in, though I do plan to get the trade of the previous issues), Batman & Robin (again, starting with the Night of Owls tie-in), Earth-2, World’s Finest, and Batman Incorporated…Yeah, not hard to tell that Batman’s my favourite character, huh?
So yeah, prior to that, my knowledge of the heroes of the DC universe was limited to the DCAU which I still love to death, articles that I’d read online, wikis, and of course the greatest comic book review show EVER, Atop The Fourth Wall. After a while, I decided to start collecting comics myself, but since the reboot was on the way, I opted to wait until it started first since I felt it would be a good jumping-on point, and that’s the reason I haven’t read the comics involving a lot of these characters. Luckily for me, however, I have discovered the DC Comics Database wiki…or possibly unluckily, since I can’t seem to tear myself away from it for very long these days since the back-stories of a lot of these characters is so engaging.
So now that we got that out of the way, let’s go through some more potential members of the Justice League for my fic right now.
Reasoning: In almost every version of the Justice League’s origin story, Martian Manhunter played a role. I think the only major retelling that doesn’t is the current one for the New 52, and that’s only because he’s serving with StormWatch, and even then it’s suggested that he joined the League at some point but was kicked out due to some sort of fight between himself and the other members. I am actually contemplating involving StormWatch at some point if I don’t add him to the League in my fic.
Interpretation: Wise and knowledgeable (yes, there’s a difference between the two), though often times plagued with the loneliness that comes from being (one of) the last member(s) of his race. He’ll come with the basic run-down of his better-known powers without making him too similar to Superman (a practise I believe the DCAU did as well). He can fly, he can read minds, and can alter his body to make increase/decrease his mass, make himself invisible, shape-shift, phase through solid objects, and even regenerate from the smallest pieces of himself possible.
Reasoning: Okay, maybe instead of giving reasons why he should be on the team, I should address the reason people likely wouldn’t: That his ability to control aquatic life is “useless” in certain situations, like if they fight in a place with no water. Point made, but yer missing out on something else if you thought about it logically: Since he operates at the bottom of the sea, obviously a lack of oxygen isn’t a problem for him. He’d have to be much stronger, faster, and more reflexive than the average human to withstand the constant pressure. And finally, his natural senses would be enhanced as well. In particular, he’d need enhanced vision to combat the lack of light down there. Add in a badass nature to his character and his skills as a leader that come from being King of Atlantis, and I have to ask: Why WOULDN’T you want him on your side in a jam?
Interpretation: Pretty much everything I just said. And no, I’m not giving him the beard and the hook hand. I’m with MarkMadness on this one, I think that was an unnecessary attempt to amp him up and overdose him with badassness (not a real word, I know), and he doesn’t really need it.
Reasoning: Member of the Justice League on many an occasion, and in the New 52, he becomes one of the founding members…which is a good thing and a bad thing. Why bad? Well, because it means that the New Teen Titans never really happened at all, which is kind of irritating. Still, Cyborg is both an athletic powerhouse and possesses a high intelligence inherited from his father, thus proving to be a good choice.
Interpretation: Strong, athletic, intelligent, and comes complete with all sorts of high-tech gadgets in his body. I know a lot of writers tend to do a sort of conflict between the machine and the man with him, and while I may reference that he DID have that conflict, I think I want him to be pretty much over it and be just glad to be alive and saving lives. And don’t worry, I don’t plan to have him say “Booyah!” every five seconds, though I imagine it will be hard to keep him from saying it at least once if I do include him.
Reasoning: Oh boy…Okay, it’s because I like the character and that she has served as a member of the JLA before, but there’s more to it than that. If you’ll allow me to go off on a rant, there’s something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest about this character.
Again, I got into the Titans through their animated series, and while Starfire wasn’t my favourite character (that honour goes to Raven), she was kind, sisterly, forgiving, and possessed a naivety that made her endearing. Now, I understand that in the comics Kori wasn’t exactly like that, and also had a liberated sexuality, and you can make your arguments on whether that’s a good thing for the character or not. The thing is, though, that while she made love with whomsoever she wanted, it was about making LOVE, not bonking for the sake of bonking.
And then Red Hood and the Outlaws happened, and she became someone who was generally uninterested with human beings, had her happiest thought being snapping the neck of someone who showed kindness to her while she was a slave, had her memories of BETTER stories wiped from her mind, the size of her breasts had the ability to change from panel to panel (okay, really it was the artists not knowing her breast size, but that would be a little funny in an admittedly sick way if they said that) and generally had sex with whoever she wanted all the while claiming that “love had nothing to do with it”.
Now, I’m not gonna claim to be sitting on some higher moral whatever and that the idea of a character acting in such a manner offends me to my very core. If they just had a whole new character acting in such a manner, I probably wouldn’t have even taken much notice to it. What bothers me is that they did this with Kori! And the saddest part is, having her be amnesiac and hanging with Red Hood actually does make for an intriguing storyline. Hell, even knowing she slept with him one time is alright and at least makes for a plot point that you know will eventually hit the wall when Dick Grayson eventually finds out about all of this, and you just KNOW he will. That’s actually why I stuck with it for as long as I did, because it looked like the team was gelling together as friends more and they were heading somewhere with it, but when I opened issue 10 and saw that they were planning to keep up with this bullshit AND that it was a change to her whole species, I had to drop it because of how insulted I was. FU, Scott Lobdell. FU!
…Okay, rant over. But yeah, let’s move on to interpretation.
Interpretation: I am very sorely tempted to make her exactly like her Teen Titans cartoon counterpart, but then again, she would be an adult in this, so…I’m thinking have her dialogue resemble how she spoke in that show, but have her more adult nature as well. Also, I’m thinking her powers should be more based off of her comic book version, and that she gets them by absorbing ultra-violent radiation.
So yeah, those are a few more of the heroes I’m contemplating. Now again, I have a general story idea thought out, so expect the fic to come out sooner or later. Til then, ja ne!