Wednesday, June 1, 2011

DCU- Change Comes From Within... Or At Least A Relaunch

DCU- Change Comes From Within... Or At Least A Relaunch

DC Comics may have been adamant about holding the line at comic prices being $2.99, they suddenly feel the need to change things up completely as DC announced that post Flashpoint, every series will be relaunched with a new #1 and have a same day digital release.
Starting this summer, the publisher will re-number its entire DC Universe of titles, revamping famous characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others from its 76-year history for a more modern and diverse 21st century.
The first book to be released under this new era: Justice League No. 1, out Aug. 31, a series by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee that reunites the famous lineup of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
Johns promises a focus on the interpersonal relationships within DC's trademark superteam. "What's the human aspect behind all these costumes?" he says. "That's what I wanted to explore."

In September, more than 50 more first issues will debut, introducing readers to stories that are grounded in each character's specific legend but also reflect today's real-world themes and events. Lee spearheaded the redesign of more than 50 costumes to make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old.
Welcome to the new DC Universe.

The more I stare at that picture, the more I hate the matching collars on most of them. Why does Wonder Woman even have one of those things on her arm? It's as if whenever they decide to do a redesign of a costume for the newest generation they just end up making something worse than the original costume.

I mean, what the fuck is going on with Cyborg there? There's more cut up pieces of metal on him that I would really worry about even getting near him and no pointed metal pieces there than I care to talk about. And do I even have to mention that Hal Jordan has a Green Lantern chaingun construct codpiece?

Just look at what happened with Jim Lee's latest Wonder Woman redesign costume. How well did that go over? Exactly. Why anyone still goes to him for character redesigns amazes me. Don't get me wrong, he's an amazing artist. But when it comes to costumes you're just asking for cheese cake in your modern adjusting of an iconic costume.

What the fuck is up with Superman's iconic S? I mean, I know there's legal issues with Superman's costume coming up in 2013, but really? this is your answer DC? Just pay the copyright already.

Maybe it's just that I'm getting old and it's a clear sign that I've collected for too long when the amount of reboots is really getting to me. The silly thing about all this is that it essentially tells everyone that there's no point in buying any DC titles till October.

I'm not surprised that they're talking about a full reboot for Wonder Woman. I mean, the last story arch was pretty awful. But when you realize that they just did one, it's really shocking to see them press the re-set button so quickly.

Even if the Odyssey Wonder Woman story arc wasn't suppose to be a reboot, because just looking at the cover for Wonder Woman #612 shows that the classic costume was going to come back, but now you need an image of the new Wonder Woman busting through the picture of that iconic looking Wonder Woman.

As I see it, the problem so far with this re-design/re-boot is not the stories that I'm worried about. A good writer will shine and work with whatever they have to work with. What I'm concerned about is the redesigned costumes. So far all of them are pretty god damn awful.

But just to touch on that and to use a nerdy metaphor. The reason you reboot a computer is because it's running slow and doesn't work right anymore. The thing you need to remember about this course of action is that it takes time to reboot a computer. Time to load BIOS, boot the OS, input a password, load background programs and then foreground programs. You also need to re-adjust all your settings and put on whatever information you previously had that you want to keep.

You have to be careful because if you reboot constantly, you actually fall behind in the long run. That's essentially what DC is doing in all this.

This will be the fourth reboot in twenty-five years. You have Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis and Flashpoint. That's not even mentioning One Year Later. If these reboots are so effective, then why do you need to keep doing them? They don't seem to have done the Legion franchise any favors.

You can't just reboot a comic book and expect the readers to suddenly give a shit about the characters. Especially when you have 52 of them coming out all at once. I would be foolish to not mention Bob Wayne's letter to retailers - it explains the extent of the relaunch and continuity changes more clearly, and debunks the misinformation going around that it's a complete reboot. But even if it's not a complete reboot, a sort-of-half-reboot can be as confusing... if not even more confusing than a full fledged start over.

What is really shocking is that ACTION comics, which has been an ongoing comic book since 1938 and has reached issue #901, is getting restarted as #1. Really DC? Really?! You're right there. Only 99 issues away from a milestone and you're going to throw away that legacy? Why bother?

Then this news is a bit odd.
"Green Lantern #1 - Even with a new #1, Green Lantern remains in Johns' hands, and readers can expect the effects of major crossovers like "Blackest Night" to stay in place moving forward."
So... Green Lantern is getting another "Rebirth" when it just had a relaunching not too long ago? Most of all, it's keeping all of the story build up that was going into the War of the Green Lanterns? It's good to know that Johns can still tell whatever stories he wants while he conducts a reboot on the rest of the DC Universe.

In fact, that's what really bothers me about this. You're doing a lot of #1 issues to increase sales, but what happens 4-5 years down the line when people are looking for back issues/stories. It's going to be a little confusing when someone is looking to complete a story arc of Green Lantern when there's two #1 issues.. Both written by Geoff Johns.

But hey, let's flood the market with a bunch of issues that will eventually be canceled. Just look at how many titles they're cranking out. 52 are launching in this event. 52! Does DC even have 52 books being released right now?

When you look over at Marvel comics, the Ultimate Marvel launched with one ongoing title. Then they expanded to three the next year in a slow progression. DC is relaunching with 52. Even if that number includes mini-series and one-shots, it's still ridiculous to expect anyone to attempt to collect or even read even 20% of that.

DC really doesn't have enough talent to put out 52 quality books at once. They're simply going to continue to flood the market with mediocre titles in a throw shit to the wall and see what sticks strategy. We may get some good new series from this whole course of action, but it's really a shame that DC didn't take the opportunity to focus their line on the core books that were lacking and instead pressed the massive reset button.

According to USA Today, the new Justice League will have 14 members in total. That leaves 7 more spots we should worry that will be taken up by Red Tornado. Fuck that piece of shit. Besides, they already said Cyborg is on the team, so maybe he will fill in for the role of Red Tornado's position of being the robot that gets destroyed every other fight scene.

While we're at it, can we also make sure that Geo-Force and Congorilla are also never put on a Justice League team again? Though if you are going to put Geo-Force on the team, perhaps you can just put him in the role of Cyborg and Red Tornado as the character blown away. I'm guessing the sales of the book would increase if we saw him get torn apart often.

On the plus side, we can all rest easy knowing that everything leading into and coming out of Rise of Arsenal will be erased from continuity.

Now if only they could do the same in deleting that story from my mind.

From what I gather, here is a list about what we know from the upcoming titles, creative teams and the content of the relaunches.

1. Justice League - Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Big 6 + Cyborg and 7 others
2. Justice League International - Continued from Generation Lost
3. (Dark Justice League)
4. Superman title - Grant Morrison, Possibly de-aged and not married
5. Action Comics
6. Batman Title - Grant Morrison, Continuation of Batman Inc.
7. Detective Comics
8. Batwoman - JH Williams III & W. Haden Blackman, JH Williams III & Amy Reeder
9. Birds of Prey - (Not Gail Simone)
10. Batgirl - (Barbara Gordon)
11. (Nightwing)
12. Green Lantern - Geoff Johns, Continuation of current GL
13. Red Lanterns - Peter Milligan,
14. (Multi-color Lantern Book)
15. Aquaman - Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Continued from Brightest Day
16. Wonder Woman - Grant Morrison
17. The Flash
18. (Cyborg)
19. Teen Titans - (Fabian Nicieza)
20. Hawkman - James Robinson, Philip Tan, Continued from Brightest Day
21. Adventure Comics feat. Deadman - Continued from Brightest Day
22. (Legion Lost)
23. (OMAC)
24. Firestorm - Continued from Brightest Day
25. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents - Nick Spencer

We sort of have to wait for the soliticts to come out on June 13 to negate all this. I'm sure once we have a full list of the titles everyone can organize a game of DC Cancellation Bingo. Fill your card in any way you want with the titles, first person to complete a row wins. It's all part of waiting for inpending DC Implosion.

It's starting to make sense why JH Williams III's Batwoman comic book was delayed from the April release date to a September one. But on the subject of the female bat-family, did you notice up there that Bab's is... well, Batgirl.. Bleeding Cool is reporting that She can walk again!

So sorry to all you crippled comic readers out there who held her as your connection and proof that handicapped persons can still be heroes. There has clearly been a palpable tension between "crippling her was one of the worst ideas we ever had" group and the "we can't lose our one handicapped hero" band for years now.

Though I have to admit, even though I have this huge crush for Babara's Batgirl, I can't say I care much about her putting on the tights again. I mean, we have had many stories told with her in the suit in the past decade and she's been Oracle now for more time than she was Batgirl.

It makes you wonder what's up with this though. When they brought back Swamp Thing, I heard rumor that they ignored the whole retcon of "he's not a mutated man but has his meories" thing that Alan Moore created because it was suggested that DC was pissed at Moore for being a whiny ranting dick and decided to take away the contributions he made to the DC continuity.

Now stop for a second and think about what Alan Moore's other contributions to the DC Universe are.
- Swamp Thing retcon
- Mogo
- Batgirl in a wheelchair

If you're not reading Green Lantern War, here's a spoiler - Mogo was killed last week. Now Killing Joke is getting erased. What do you know. If I was Rot Lop Fan, I would be a little worried right now.

But if Johnston is to be believed, DC is mandating that all superheroines wear costumes that keep their legs mostly covered. And out of all the rumors, I think this is the one that I find hardest to believe. This is the company that just about a year ago wouldn't let Gail Simone use a more modest costume for the Huntress for reasons unknown.

I'm sure this news worries people far more than erasing side kicks and getting rid of Lois and Clark's marriage, but fear not, I'm pretty sure that their pants will just get torn to shreds in fights a lot more often.

I'm not sure I get how this achieves anything if it's true. Why do this and yet still have costumes like Power Girl's where her boobs are practically exploding out of her costume? It sort of defeats the whole purpose of things.

I'm also not sure how this really combats the negative and objectionable view of females. Look at the top picture of the DC heroes again drawn by Jim Lee. Yeah, congrats Jim Lee for putting Wonder Woman into pants. It's only a shame that you drew her with her breast about to fall out of her top. Really, nothing says "Boldly changing into the second decade of the 21st century!" like having Image Comics' Jim Lee design all new costumes in such a shitty 90's fashion.

Besides all that, I think Supergirl's current skirt is okay and the only reason why you have stupid cheesecake up-skirt shit is because of piss poor writing for the book that turns it into that.

From the standpoint I see it, DC seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Why ruin such great momentum books like Batman and Green Lantern by relaunching numbers and confusing it up with a younger type of hero just because the creative teams of Superman, Wonder Woman and JLA are suffering. I may laugh at how bad Flash currently is, but at least it's selling issues.

If this does fail, it's going to be a hard fall for DC. Not only alienating your core fan group and steady readership for the chance to get to a market of new readers with the flashy new #1's as a starting point. Only time will tell what actually happens with this.

1 comment:

Chiaroscuro said...

Times change, for Wonder Woman to still be wearing a star spangled bikini and for Superman to still be wearing red undies outside his clothes and a plunging neckline is...just ridiculous. Also, Superman's "S" has already been changed used to be REALLY different when he originally came out :)