Monday, June 13, 2011
Dc Comics Reboot
September 2011. Mark it comic book fans. It is either the day you stop buying DC comics or start buying DC comics, or don’t. Who knows? I wanted to talk about this before, and ran it by Tom at Texas Comic Shop (on Washington 2 blocks behind the strip club, there’s a plug for him), but was really waiting for the full list. As of Friday morning www.bleedingcool.com has it, so here we go.
What we do know is that in the wake of Flashpoint, DC is cancelling their superhero line and re-launching with 52 new number 1 issues (I thought the in universe significance of 52 had been abandoned. Guess not). Looking at the ideas and art work, it feels like 1992 all over again.
God I hate those days and myself now that I look back at them, wondering what I was thinking that made me end up with 4 copies of X-Men Alpha still in my collection (I’ll sell them cheap too).
So, let’s take a quick rundown the list. The first thing that sticks out to me is that they really think the Green Lantern movie is going to be a blockbuster and drive comic sales. I’m not digging it, but then I hated Blackest Night/Brightest Day (which managed to make me stop reading the exploits of my favorite DC hero, Green Arrow).
So onto the analyzing of the list. I’m not going to cover everything. Some, I’m meh about, others there really isn’t enough there to form even a half-assed uninformed opinion:
Batman Family: 19% of DCs output is Batman related, counting Bat characters in other books, Batman has a toe in a full 25% of DCs comics. He is officially DC’s version of Wolverine (who is on 3 X teams, 2 Avengers teams, Solo Title, Paired with Spiderman (is that still going on?), his son has a book, and his daughter (X-23 more or less) has a book). Considering that Batman is consistently the top seller and a new movie is filming plus a new game out in October (Catwoman in , Arleen Sorkin out), this is probably a safe bet. What isn’t safe is some of the choices they made inside.
Batman: Bruce Wayne is the One True Batman (OTB). Not a fan of that, I found Dick Grayson as Batman interesting, especially in JLA, but I can’t fault them for going back to old reliable.
Batgirl: Barbara Gordon’s back in a cape? 20+ years of character development destroyed. I don’t particularly care about the positive image of disabled people. Ok that came out wrong, I do care, but I don’t care about Barbara Gordon as a representation of that. What I do care about is that Barbara Gordon as Oracle was a compelling, interesting character that at the same time was both an effective and realistic (within the terms of the medium) way of tying the shared universe together. One of the things that made Babs a superior character was that in a world with cybernetic limbs, regeneration pools, and rampant cloning, she said, “Screw it, I can be just as much a hero, just as much a force for good without walking.”
Catwoman: Gotham City Sirens out, Catwoman solo in, with no costume changes. I like Catwoman, I’m a big fan of Ed Brubacker’s Catwoman (And Ed in general) and Judd Winick is capable (I dug his Green Arrow run), so I’m in.
Red Hood and the Outlaws: If 25 years of comics has taught us anything, no matter how you package him, Jason Todd is just annoying. Roy Harper is back, in his Red Arrow gear sporting new ink and a reverse emblem San Jose Sharks cap. Starfire got an unnecessary boob job and even more unnecessary shoulder pads. I’ll at least try it and hope for the best.
Batwing: Knight & Squire out, Batwing in. Mystifying, but I don’t care either way.
Nightwing: Dick’s demoted, but at least he gets his own title, considering he’s out of the JL.
Birds of Prey: Canary in some pseudo JL Europe costume, Poison Ivy, Katana (?), and who the hell else is that? Purple and black corset, brown hair, right arm full sleeve dragon tattoo. Roulette? Tigress? Dunno. It gets the 1 issue trial, but it better stun me.
Green Lantern: 8% of the new titles are Green Lantern. I don’t care. With team books, the Lantern is repped in 11% of the line. Still not caring. Really, about any of them. Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Jade, Gnort, Sinestro, whomever. I only had a passing interest in them before Blackest Night, and that killed any I had left.
Green Arrow: Oh, thank god. Please ignore everything since the last re-launch and bring back something I can read and enjoy. Speaking to 20 Smalls about this, she stopped reading when Black Canary left him (I only lasted 5 more issues), “After all that, that’s why she left? You can tell that was written by a man. If she put up with him for that long, no way does she leave now.” In reference to Dinah leaving him for shooting his granddaughter’s murderer in the face then lying about it. I like to pretend Ollie is sitting in jail somewhere waiting for his slot on the Suicide Squad and the latest Green Arrow run is like that one season of Dallas.
DC Universe Presents: Side note, the DC Showcase cartoons have been pretty good. Shazam/Superman sucked, but the Spectre (with GARY COLE as the Spectre), Green Arrow (Malcom McDowell as Merlyn) and Jonah Hex (Thomas Jane (who should have been in the movie) as Hex). Yes GARY COLE gets all caps. Review his work, and you will come to the same conclusion.
Savage Hawkman: Did Hawkman really need another origin? Does he get a free slurpee after 12 punches on his origin card? Will I care? No, I will not.
Blue Beetle: Jamie Reyes, who looks like he is no longer a teenager, but is still in El Paso. I’m sure he’d rather have that switched.
Fury of Firestorm: Didn’t even care about him when he was a Superfriend.
Mr. Terrific: Unless he’s in Checkmate, don’t care about him either. In my book, bigger dick than Batman. At least Batman has a trauma and the resident associated mental health issues to explain his superiority complex and assholishness. Mr. Terrific is just an asshole. I think he gets off on it.
Captain Atom: Is there a clause that says DC has to produce 2 Charlton comics at a time? If so, why does this get picked up and not the Question? Hell, I’d even take Peacemaker (as long it was the hardass version from Blue Beetle). Does Judo Master being in the JSA count? What? There is no more JSA? What the Hell?
OMAC: Kirby needs some love, so we get OMAC and not New Gods? Is the WB smoking crack?
Static Shock: I’m surprisingly OK with this. Would like him back in the Teen Titans though.
Hawk and Dove: I just sold all my Hawk and Dove back issues to clear some space in my collection. This tells you what about their chances with me? At least Liefeld gets another opportunity to fail at drawing feet.
Legion of Superheroes: Two Legion titles. Will only get more confusing and I will pass.
Legion Lost: DC’s version of Exiles, but with the Legion of Superheroes.
Wildstorm: Wildstorm will make up 5% of DCs titles, that’s new. Another new thing is that it appears to now be integrated with the mainstream continuity. 3 Wildstorm titles; with Martian Manhunter joining the Authority. Didn’t read any of these when they were with Wildstorm. Didn’t care when they were with Image either. Not reading them here.
Justice League: 4 Justice League or related titles for 8% of the line. OTB, Supes, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter (2 books featuring J’onn J’onez), John Stewart (Green Lantern, not Daily Show, that I would read). This gets a pass. I’ve been digging the JLA as a way to give some of the second tier players a little room to grow. Donna Troy, Dick Grayson, Jesse Quick, and even Congrilla have grown on me.
Justice League International: OTB (again), Fire, Ice, Guy Gardner GL, Vixen, Booster Gold, Rocket Red, August General in Iron, and a new character. The only one of interest to me is August General, I’d like to see him expanded upon but otherwise, nothing here. I’ll pass.
Justice League Black: The Legion of Substitute Shadowpact (or BPRD). So we have Deadman (who now rates 2 titles), Zatanna (in a new outfit that manages to both cover more, yet somehow be more slutty), Madame Xanadu, John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, and Enchantress with a new dye job. Is Constantine and Zatanna being ex’s in continuity anymore? Is her dating Dr. Thirteen? Mentoring Timothy Hunter? Is John Married to Epiphany? Shade blaming John for stealing his girl? Is Nightmaster dead? What about Ragman? Why do I care so much about Shadowpact? Must be Detective Chimp and Rex the Wonderdog.
Teen Titans: Red Robin losing the cowl, gaining the Falcon’s wings, keeping Cable’s bandoliers. Superboy dressing like an ‘80’s punk caricature (and I though the ‘90’s outfit was bad). Wondergirl who is now the Thief from Dungeons and Dragons, and Kid Flash with a mohawk, someone who I think is Nightshade, Spider-Girl(?) and a character I will call Ham-Fist. I dig the current Teen Titans, this will get a look, but I’m not feeling it.
Superman Family: The big red S gets 4 titles for 8% of the line, plus his JL appearance fees and Superboy’s Teen Titans appearance put the Shield in 12% of DC’s line-up. I don’t read Superman. It’s my buddy Kev’s thing and I defer to him on all things Superman related.
Superman: Supes got new boots, Supes got new belt. Supes is wearing a chest protector and kneepads. Supes finally put his underwear on the inside.
Supergirl: No longer showing the midriff, but exposing some leg. And for a solar powered hero, don’t you think she would have a little bit of a tan. If you’ve ever been to Scotland, you’ve seen this skin tone. And why have thigh high boots with the knees cut out? I dig the cut of the cape though, that’s pretty sweet, especially the collar. She needs to get Clark in this new cape style.
Superboy: Looks nothing like Superboy from the Titans. Here it looks like an adolescent Superman Robot sent into Tron and merged with GlaDos. Are there 2 Superboys now? 2 Superboys and no Detective Chimp. There is no god. Someone dig up Jack Kirby and get him to draw me one.
Suicide Squad: Harlequin, Deadshot, and Kingshark. Kingshark is now a hammerhead instead of a great white and Harley shows more skin while every other woman covers up. She looks like someone took the Harley from the London Batman musical, crossed her with Harley Arkham City, and hit the overdrive button on the skank amp.
Demon Knights: Etrigan needs some love. Only if this was Baby Etrigan from that one Justice League episode. More bad rhyming than a freshman poetry class is my prediction. There has got to be an out of work rapper out there they can tap to write the dialogue. I haven’t seen Busta in a while. Chuck D’s just doing speaking engagements. Warner has to have someone under contract. Wait, they have Rick Ross. Probably don’t want to get sued for plagiarism.
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE: The least enjoyable part of Seven Soldier of Victory gets an ongoing. As Tom asked me, “Is there a Frankenstein movie coming out I don’t know about? Now both Marvel and DC have comics with him.” Also features The Bride (of Frankenstein, not Uma Thurman) and what could be Traci 13 gone Emo, or a new character.
I, Vampire: Ok, now I know someone is fucking with me. I, Vampire done in the style of Twilight. I, Vampire done in the style of Near Dark. I’m in. Twilight, I’m so out, I’m catching up to it on the wrap around like Combat.
All-Star Western: Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti writing a western comic anchored with Jonah Hex. I dig their Jonah Hex work. But I read it in trades. I read it in trades for free because the local library gets them. I will continue to read my Jonah Hex in borrowed trades. Sorry guys.
Notable Omissions from the Line-up: Secret Six, Zatanna (solo title), Powergirl, JSA, Captain Marvel. Raven, Beast Boy, and most of the other Titans appear absent. New character's not made by Dwayne McDuffie (RIP) look gone as well.
No Zatanna, no Powergirl, no Secret Six (DC’s best 3 comics going right now). Gail Simone on only 2 comics, (Batgirl a maybe, Firestorm a hell no). And no Amanda Conner in sight. You know what this says to me: No Fun. Between this and the artwork, it’s the nightmare ‘90’s returned, all grimdark writing, grimdark themes, shoulder pads, pouches, and EXTREME ATTITUDE.
My bet: In 4 months, the JSA as back in some form and is 8 months, this is abandoned almost entirely, and next summers "Secret Crisis Invasion Point" resets the status quo back to Aug 2011.
Images taken from www.bleedingcool.com