The New DC – Hey now, redesigns

Posted: June 7, 2011 in comic books, Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

While it’s been tough trying to figure out what will work and what won’t about the DC restart, one thing that’s made it easier has been the cover previews, most of which have prominently displayed the series artists rendering Jim Lee’s not-always-friendly costume revamps.

Finally, something we can unequivocally judge! And occasionally laugh at!

But in all fairness, some of these have actually been pretty good. Take for instance:

Wonder Woman 

Technically, this is Lee’s second chance to rework Diana, after a divisive new look to go with JMS’s coolly-received (and clearly abandoned) retooling. He’s managed to ditch some of the elements that didn’t work – the bolero jacket, the complicated bracers, the tiny boots – but of course, he managed to add a few needless lines around the knees, and man o man, are there a lot more W’s on that costume. Even the choker is now a W.

Still, Cliff Chiang makes that thing look pretty solid.

Lee next takes his “Let’s add as many symbols as possible” aesthetic to…

Batgirl! Yes, Barbara Gordon’s back in the costume, though I think, given her time as one of comics’ few prominent paraplegics, a lot of people (me included) are a bit ambivalent about this. But Lee wants it to make clear that this is BATgirl. Not Oracle-girl! BATGIRL. So her costume now features a minimum of SIX bat-symbols. This…may be a little needless. And pointy.

Speaking of pointy, there is…

Hawkman. Wow. EVERYTHING is pointier! He’s got a pointy shoulder-pad, a pointy helmet, pointy boots, even a pointier-than-it-already-should-be-axe! It’s a design that clearly says “Hawkman: A guy you can never hug. (See also: Cyborg.)

I think my favorite designs are the ones that were so basically perfect that Lee couldn’t figure out anything to add, such as:

Flash. Yes, apart from reintroducing the Wally West-era lightning-V belt and the JLU chest emblem, there really wasn’t much else Lee could add. So he added a chin-strap. Let it be known to designers across the land: Jim Lee added a tiny upside-down U to a mask, and probably made a good deal of money for it.

At least there was something he could add to Flash – some he had to get “creative” with:

Nightwing. However you’ll feel about Dick Grayson stepping down as Batman, it’s nice to see he’s kept his old, elegantly simple costume basically the same – except changing the blue to red, for…some reason. Maybe some circus-related reason, based on the description of his new status quo.

Could’ve been worse, he could’ve gone back to the George Perez collar.

Finally, there’s the guy Lee didn’t seem to update at all:

Aquaman

Unfortunately, this right here is why I remain a little bit iffy about DC’s upcoming output. It’s Aquaman, snarling and pointing a weapon at the reader. Aquaman. Snarling. And pointing a weapon. At the reader.

“But Holland, Hawkman’s doing that too! What’s the problem?” Well…

“And you LOVED that Peter David run in the mid-90’s where Aquaman had a harpoon-hand and did nothing BUT growl at people!” Yes, but –

“HYPOCRITE!”

SHAAAADUP!

Anyway. My point here (heh) is, It’s Aquaman. If ever a reboot could’ve benefitted a character, to return him to the standard version of the character casual audiences most recognize, it’s him. They don’t remember Aquaman threatening his audience with a pitchfork. And…demon fish? What are those?

(And Peter David’s version was clearly going through a nervous breakdown.)

Meanwhile, you know the best version of the character to show up in the last twenty years?

I’ll admit, I was kind of hoping to see THIS guy become the new “standard” Aquaman.

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