Thursday, June 02, 2011

A few days ago DC Comics made the spoiler laced announcement that they will be re-booting their Universe again this September on the heels of their current Flashpoint event. The first time that they did this was the universe merging and retooling that was Crisis on Infinite Earths. Crisis was a story with a purpose, it took 45 years of jumbled continuity, multiple worlds and various versions and styles of iconic characters and smashed them all together into one singular planet and timeline. From then on in there were two kinds of DC super-hero stories, pre-Crisis and post-Crisis. There have been a few more instances of partial historical creative messing with DC history with story-lines the likes of Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis. None of these follow-ups completely big banged things back to a whole new square one though.

My initial queasiness over this new universe announcement is the feeling that it isn't done for any kind of creative reasoning, but as an idea from the on high corporate bosses at Warner Bros that they want these characters simplified for the movie going masses. I am not so naive to not understand that comic books as any other creative endeavor of this type need to still pay its creators and be profitable. I continually don't understand why comic book companies think that it's a good idea to appeal to the movie going public who aren't buying comic books vs appeasing the true comic book reader. Marvel deleted Peter and Mary Jane's wedded bliss due to it being different from what happens in Spidey movies. They're making sure that Steve Rogers is back in the Captain America costume for when the movie comes out July 22nd. And they're notorious for in recent years confusingly putting titles back to number 1, then changing their mind to put the title back to it's original run, then maybe just randomly releasing a Wolverine # 1000. Very confusing stuff. I thought DC was better than that.

DC will not only reboot. They will also restart 52 titles (52 is an important number in DC lore of late). Meaning that insanely long runs on books like Detective and Action will interrupt for the first time since the late 1930's. I do not like this. It seems even more out of place considering that there's been giant mythologies built up not only in the past twenty-five year, but very much in the last few years that will all be derailed. Grant Morrison (my favorite writer in any medium) has done some phenomenal things with the Batman books in the past few years. The biggest things maybe being the original Robin graduating up to donning the Batman cape and cowl, and Bruce Wayne's crazy son becoming a snarky boy wonder with delusions of grandeur. I also grew up in a world where my Green Lantern was a jerk named Guy Gardner, not Hal Jordan, and my Flash was Kid Flash graduate Wally West, not Barry Allen.

I'm not sure I want to read a shared universe where those characters don't exist. Do we really need to read about Superman meeting Lois again, or Batman meeting a circus performer kid sidekick, or all the rest of the bazillion histories of these characters? Seems kind of boring to me. Comics of late, much like movies and TV, seem very guilty of looking back instead of ahead. Especially Geoff Johns, one of DC's big creative inputs, seems to really not like the new. In his reign, he's brought back Hal Jordan Green Lantern and Barry Allen Flash. Which were two of the great DC death plot-lines and amazing pieces of comic book writings. He zapped things back to the norm that the masses would remember (or at least his generation of the masses, since both characters were in themselves re-toolings of older DC characters), negating the work of other creators. The past is important, icons are important, mythology is important...but how about let's evolve to some new stuff here?

Though, that fear change rant aside, this is not only a comic story, it's DC comics story. And I'm not convinced that this isn't really an erasing of 25 years of continuity, but just a JJ Abrams Star Trek style alternate universe. Plus, this does open up one very important possibility for me. This could mean that one of my favorite characters could now be magically back to life. If Blue Beetle is back, that just might be the bribe that I need to look the other way on all of this.

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