Friday, 29 July 2011

This Looks Like Another Job For...

There's been one major thing bugging me about the New 52 / DC Relaunch / Reboot / DCnU or whatever it's being called this week and it can be summed up in one word:


We've learned that the new stories from September will take place five years after the dawn of the superhero - five years from the start of Superman's adventures and the formation of the Justice League.

But we've also been told that many things that have happened over the last few years in real time are also part of the timeline. Obvious examples are The Killing Joke and Identity Crisis but there's also been mention of the more recent Blackest Night still being part and parcel of DCU history.

What about the original big summer event, Crisis on Infinite Earths? Did that still happen? If so, did Infinite Crisis happen? Then there's a whole bunch of other things - Batman's crippling by Bane; Superman's death by Doomsday; Wonder Woman being turned into a goddess; were Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown all Robin within those years?

It's a whole mess of things which fanboys like myself will bitch and moan about. The Killing Joke's in continuity but the Justice Society aren't?

The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is that DC want to have their cake and eat it. The Green Lantern and Batman family of books have been successful so aren't getting changed much in the relaunch - indeed the new Green Lantern book is going to be continuing the current storyline as if nothing's happened. DC don't want to upset things there because those series are making them money - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Everything else, though, is being fixed and that way lies madness for the continuity minded among us. It'll be the fall-out from the original Crisis... - not to mention the renewed timeline from Zero Hour - all over again, with new characters / old ideas being brought in to the mix, origins contradicting one another and sooner or later, someone making a reference to something that no longer happened. Comic book fans are notoriously picky when it comes to continuity and to try and cram big events into the first five years of this new DCU timeline is going to cause aggravation which will end up being thrown back at DC and its writers. Everyone involved is simply human which means mistakes will be made, contradictions will arise and by 2014 there'll be a new History of The DC Universe to try and make sense of it. Give it ten years and there'll be another reboot where the people who were reading stories of Wally West's Flash, Kyle Rayner's Green Lantern and Conner Hawke's Green Arrow ten years ago, will have worked their way into positions of power in DC and will enforce their own Crisis event to bring back the characters that they want to read about.

I kind of wish that DC had the balls to do what they said was the original intention back in 1985 - draw a line under everything and start from scratch. Death of Superman? Gone. Jean Paul Valley as Batman? Didn't happen. Hal Jordan imprisoned for drunk driving? Not in this reality, buddy.

By not doing that, DC are creating a rod for their own back which, if you'll excuse me mixing my metaphors, will come back and bite them in the ass.

Someone needs to sort it out for them.


  1. No Ambush Bug...No Jonni DC... more the shame

  2. I'm afraid you're right. The only way for this to possibly work out in any way other than what you describe is for that alleged master time-line that they keep referring to to be adhered to scrupulously. I don't think that's even possible, much less desirable. It would mean a level of editorial control that would be unworkable as wall as absolutely stifling to any creativity and freedom. Trying to "have their cake and eat it too" is just going to end up with it smeared all ov their faces, and that rod of which you speak is going to end up stuck right up their ....

  3. @Birdman - yeah, Giffen's done with Ambush Bug it seems which is a shame.

    @Kent - think you're right: that master time-line is going to crash and burn at some point which is probably why DC will never publish it. If it remains hidden they can at least claim what they like about it; once it's out there, fans will be watching and waiting for something to contradict it.

  4. Miss Buggy.

    I have done a lot of back and forth on this whole thing, and I am giving up oin the main DCU for the most part. Some of the changes are too much for me.

    I am sticking with the Legion of Super Heroes, and am going to grab the Shade mini. That's it from the DCnU. I was excited about a lot of titles...but they killed that with several announcements over the last 2 weeks.

    Ah well...more money for other things.

  5. Each to their own, Dave, but I'm trying out a few new titles as well as picking up some stuff that I usually get.

    And hey, more money's always good.

  6. I'd hate for them to start from scratch. Because I'd have no interest in seeing the former sidekicks back in their roles or certain characters not existing yet. I think you'll right and DC is trying to have their cake and eat it to. Fixing things they believe are broke without reverting completely back so this isn't the Silver Age. That's likely because they know very few people will support a full reboot now. With fans already mad that Wallys' been kicked out of the Flash role and other new age legacy heroes like Connor Hawke being all but forgotten. I'm curious to see how or if this works. Batman stuff happened before the 5 year period so I guess that means some of Jason and Tims' Robin runs happened within the 5 year box.

  7. A sanity-filled post indeed, Gary, but if we can see that, why is DC acting as if they don't? The five-year timeline would be fine if DC were indeed rebooting from scratch and we were joining the heroes without knowing - or rather, 'knowing' - the past. But asking us to keep the various time-bending events in our head is asking for trouble.

    I think the alcoholic Hal Jordan had already been wiped out, mind. I may be wrong.

  8. Erin - I can see why they didn't go for the full reboot (like I said, GL and Batman bring in the bucks and, as much as fans may like to think otherwise, DC is in business not to publish comics, but to make money) but I'd still much rather a complete overhaul rather than the kepp 10%, change 90% approach they've taken.

    Martin - yeah, Jordan's origin was re-written with Secret Origin in the GL books - I just wanted to go for something about him that wasn't the Parallax possession.


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