DC’s Big Do-over.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little intrigued by DC Comics’ big relaunch. I mean, we’ve had major events to reset the status quo in comic universes in the past – heck, Wildstorm seemed to have one every few months, but we’ve never had an event which basically almost completely wiped the slate clean and started over. Not with a universe as big and with as much history as the DCU.
So to hear that they’re essentially chucking a ton of that history out the window and starting over with 52 new #1’s comes as a bit of a surprise.
It’s taken me a while to form an opinion because it’s taken me a while to wrap my head around it. Some of the things DC got right with their stories goes out the window along with a lot of their mistakes. Entire franchises are basically getting a Mulligan, while at the same time others are just picking up where they left off. Books long left dormant are getting restarted, while long established books go bye-bye. And on top of that, the entire Wildstorm universe is getting merged into the DCU (well, the most popular components of it, at least). That’s a lot of change to digest in a short amount of time.
Now, I understand that a lot of this is business. The harsh repercussions of DC’s legal battle with Siegel and Shuster over the Superman franchise necessitated rebooting the Big Red S’s corner of the DCU, as well as the need to attract new readers who may or may not be into superhero comics. DC is making a serious attempt to diversify its core (non-Vertigo) lineup with books that appeal more to females, blacks, latinos, fans of War books, Gothic Books, Horror books, Urban Fantasy books, and Western books. Reminds me of the wide variety of genres that are utilized in manga across the pond in Japan. All DC would need is a quirky romance comic and a comic about giant robots and monsters rampaging to make the cipher complete. DC is also tailor-making their books for people who would rather read their comics on an ipad or Kindle than picking up a book from a comic store.
I think it is an admirable move. DC is taking a proactive approach to the changing climate of readership, and not being reactive, which has been a major cause of the huge decline of the printed newspaper. But this is nothing new: DC has never been afraid of taking risks. In fact, the fact that the number “52” carries so much weight is due to a gamble DC took that paid off.
But I guess my main issues are with some of the editorial decisions for the new books. Granted, I know that if you’re going to start things over, it’s best to “shake things up.” Marvel did plenty of that with their Ultimate line, and achieved a lot of success with it. Even so, some of the changes had me scratching my head. For instance, Barbara Gordon was such a great character for disabled people to relate to, but now she’s fully healthy again? That seems to go against the appealing to different demographics ideal. The fact that not even one original core character from Stormwatch appears in the new Stormwatch book – which now seems to just be “The Authority lite” – ticks me off royally. And how did Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison’s pet projects (The Green Lantern and Batman Books, respectively) make it through this reboot relatively unchanged, while everything else got the super reboot treatment?
That all being said, this is still an intriguing development, and I do have a few of these books I plan on giving a try. STATIC SHOCK is and has been one of my favorite heroes, and not just because he’s a black version of Spider-Man. Virgil is a well-rounded, well-written character you can’t help but care about, in addition to his cool powers. That one will definitely get bought. RESSURECTION MAN was an old fave of mine back in my college days. It was an intelligent story with a lot of heart that used the gimmick of a man constantly dying and coming back with different powers to draw you in, but kept you with well-written stories and characters. I want to see if this new version lives up to the original. I’m happy to see MISTER TERIFFIC get his own comic book, and I’m interested to see how he is portrayed and what kind of adventures he gets into. I’d hate to see him portrayed as a batman or Black panther knockoff, or something like that. And, of course, I want to see where the GREEN LANTERN section of the DCnU goes after the epic events they’ve just been through – especially my favorite lantern, Kyle Rayner, who is the star of THE NEW GUARDIANS and will make a special guest appearance in VOODOO.
Now that I’ve given my opinion, I want to know yours. What, if any, DCnU books will you be checking out?
BTW, if you’ve noticed a slight change in my action webcomic, it’s because I’m switching from JPEGs to PNGs for posting my pages. Trying to minimize bandwidth issues.