The New DC: More News, More Thoughts

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

The more information that comes out, the more even my general ideas about what matters and what doesn’t have to be revised. Let’s take the one that current fans seemed most worried about:

All their favorite stories and characters going away and being replaced by Ultimate-style, continuity-free books and younger versions that readers might not recognize. It was an idea floated by the not-always-on-the-money Rich Johnston, and general (and understandable, really) panic whenever the word “reboot” is thrown around.

So far, it looks like nobody really needs to worry. 

As more synopses and creative teams are announced, it’s looking a lot more like simply starting each book with a fresh storyline that’s easily accessible to readers. In a lot of cases, even the main creators will remain where they were (J.T. Krul keeps Green Arrow, Scott Snyder and Tony Daniels have Batman books, Gail Simone maintains control of Barbara Gordon, Geoff Johns continues Green Lantern, etc.).

Meanwhile, the new creative teams announced are heading to books that didn’t have a long-term team already there – such as Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman, or Simone and Ethan Van Sciver on Fury of Firestorm.

There will clearly be some changes to make this easier. For one, the Batman line looks like it’s shedding some of Morrison’s “Batman, Inc.” ideas (including, for the moment, the Batman, Inc. title, due to return next year).

And those few bigger changes – such as Barbara Gordon’s return to the Batgirl role – may not require the full, universe-wide Crisis on Infinite Earths-style rebirthing to do so.

Were I to wager a guess, I’d say the new (occasionally pejoratively used) term will be “Flashpointing” – once the current alternate-universe-caused-by-malevolent-time-travel story is wrapped, the world will return to its usual state, with some slight alterations.

It’s not perfect, but as an explanation for why some things are inexplicably different, it does beat the hell out of “Superboy Prime punched the walls of reality.”

Or, for all I know, Cyborg will stick a chip in Barbara Gordon’s spine and that will be why she can walk again. Or it’s some “Batgirl 2.0” avatar idea Morrison apparently floated. In either case, this really just makes Flashpoint something of a palate cleanser.

So now that these major issues have been addressed, we can talk about the problem that’s already emerging, with half the announcements made and some already-known titles coming down the way: This lineup is already hideously redundant. Look at it:

  • Four Green Lantern titles
  • Two Justice Leagues (so far!)
  • FIVE Batman-starring books (six once Batman Inc. returns)
  • SIX! Batman-family titles

And I’m sure we can expect a ton of Superman-related titles.

What’s more, some of these titles already seem destined for cancellation. Unless they’ve got some incredible hooks, “Red Hood and the Outsiders Outlaws,” “Mr. Terrific,” “DC Universe Presents,” “Captain Atom” and “Batwing” are not what anyone (outside of, say, a few hardcore Mr. Terrific fans, and those three Captain Atom lovers, I guess) would suggest as “essential” titles. (And for that matter, I’m being generous with Firestorm, only because they spent so much time building him up in the “Brightest Day” series.)

And if there’s room for the entire dozen Bat-books, I’ll be shocked. (Though I have been wrong – I had no idea so many people would be interested in buying THREE Green Lantern books.)

So that’s the first half of the lineup. I won’t lie, I am fascinated to hear about the rest of the announcements. But so far, outside of those books I might already have been intrigued by without the attention-grabbing revamp (Morrison Superman!), nothing’s really lighting my fire yet.

And then there are the costume revamps. Of which I will have a lot to say very soon.

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