Friday, December 28, 2012

DC Comics - Blacking You Out with a Thought

DC Comics - Blacking You Out with a Thought

Even though it has been a year since the new 52 kicked off, I'm still having a hell of a hard time dealing with the new world of DC comics. It just doesn't feel right. It's like going into an alternative universe. Things are the same, only they aren't. There's something twisted to it all. As if this world they created was based off a foundation of toothpicks and silly putty.

It's as if they wanted to start with a clean slate to lure new readers, only they wanted to keep a lot of the older stuff to retain the older readers. It makes very little sense now since a lot of events that needed to happen in order for those status quos to remain just never actually happened. Take for example the death of superman.

In this new 52, it's pretty heavily suggested that it never happened. It's only been referenced in Swamp Thing #1. Superman went to check on Alec Holland and mentioned that if he needed any help with the aftermath from the dead, that nobody knew more about that than superman.

But then again, that was a #1 and I think it's been well documented by now that nobody, least of all DC editorial, really knew what the fuck was in continuity when that issue was published. But without Death/Return of Superman happening, Coast City never blows up and Hal Jordan never goes on to be Parallax, which definitely still happened. Only wait, if Hal was Parallax, then he must have died and been the Spectre, too! But there's only been one Spectre and he was just created like a couple of months ago...

Yeah, you can see already how this whole New 52 time line is all fucked up. It's been over a year now and they're still not quite sure what happened and what didn't. It's really astounding. We should all be talking about how moronic DC was in all of this for not sitting down and setting what exactly happened and what didn't. They had their chance to fix all of these inconsistencies but failed to do so with the issues #0's that were released in order to clear up and recap all the big events that actually did happen.

They also screwed up big when it comes to time-lines. They condensed them down and that sure was a dumb move. Now they can't even decide what's happened in the 10 short years of Batman. And it's kind of funny for that because having Robin fly around in a speedo might have been normal in the 60's o 70's pop culture, but that is not really flying right in 2002. It's really funny that they soft retconned Nightwing's suit but the contradictions of times between issues, the references to the previous "Titans" and the veiled references to Superboy punching reality - which clearly couldn't have happened, and yet all of those things still remain.

At this point, they need a Crisis event to just clean up one year of comics.

It really wouldn't surprise me if the carpet-bombing of old continuity is starting to get some resistance from those outside the DiDio and Lee alliance. The Titans, particularly those of the New Teen variety, are sort of the cornerstone of the DCU, the promise of legacy heroes fully realized.

It's as if what they seemed to want to do with the Titans would be like Marvel wiping out the silver age X-men and then saying that while Jean and Cyclops and Beast were around, they didn't know Xavier and the X-men really started eighteen months ago with a vampire named Jubilee, a hairy teen called Logan, and a new insectoid creature called Buzz-kill.

DC shouts out that the whole purpose of the relaunch was to establish a clean starting point free from the traditional bindings of cannon which typically dissuade new readers from jumping on... That's such a bullshit excuse it's not even funny.

They may have accomplished the goal of attracting new readers, but did so only on their ride of publicity. Not their actual performance. DC didn't create a clean slate, they created a slate so ambiguous that attempts to define it are nothing but persuasive and arbitrary. As evidenced by the fact that sales are low now that we're in the thick of it. As well as how long-time writers don't even have a clue what the fuck is going on any more. Cannon is far more muddied now than it has ever been.

It's such a shame because DC was changing around and heading down a good direction before the new 52. Were some aspects and stories stale? Yeah. I'll admit that. But it is really that fucking hard to say, "hey, look. Aquaman just crawled out of the ocean and totally acts different now?" No, it's not. They essentially did that anyway, but sacrifice they had to wreck a ton of character development on characters that were working. Marvel flips characterizations on a dime and doesn't bat an eye about it. But they draw the line when it comes to rebooting the entire universe every time it happens.

Swampthing and Animal Man are the two shinny beacons to come out of this, but they're nothing that couldn't have been done without a big reboot behind them. DC needs to let the writers have a little more direction with where they want to take characters, otherwise they're not going to lead them anywhere but through a couple issue arch that means nothing.

It's all a mess and well, I'm just saying that I'd really would have preferred if they just went "It's a total reboot, nothing before ever happened" and work off that. Instead we get this quagmire that results in comic book fans and the obsessives arguing about what actually happened and what hasn't. They really missed their chance during Final Crisis - That was probably the best time to play this reboot card and they sure as hell missed it.

Though, maybe they couldn't work with Final Crisis because Morrison had the good guys not only actually rebooting the universe from scratch, but also casting out everything that was wrong with the old universe.... which was everything that DC's editorial loved and shoved to the front and center of this new 52.

And this is why we can't have good things.

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