Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


DC Comics Relaunch Reflections

This was originally posted on September 30, 2011.

A few months ago, I talked about the big DC Comics relaunch, lamenting about how it felt that the old fans were being ignored for new readers as well as some other worrisome issues.  As of September, the relaunched books started hitting shelves and as of yesterday, the last of the new number ones came out, so it felt right to revisit the topic and address my concerns with what actually came of it.  Obviously, the world has not ended, but I do feel like some things should be addressed.

So it turns out that the term “reboot” was a bit of a lie.  While some aspects have been drastically altered, it was not nearly as earth-splitting as it was made out to be.  Quite a few origins have been altered, mainly because a few of the titles take place before the “present,” but none of the old stories (at least not most of them) have been cast out and a good chunk of them follow up on things that happened before the relaunch.  I think if DC had been a little more open about what actually was going on, they would have had a lot less controversy on their hands.  Then again, I get the feeling that they were banking on the controversy to boost sales.

Really, the biggest change* is that the timeline as a whole has been condensed so that the major events all took place within a set five years and as such, most of the origins have been revamped to take place in that time (modern times).  In my mind, this was the right thing to do.  One of the biggest problems that ongoing comics run into is that they’re supposed to be in a current and up-to-date world.  The problem is that the world changes very fast and it’s up to comics to keep up.  New comics come out once a month, meaning that only two storylines happen in a year on average.  This presents a difficulty with internal continuity as storylines happen on each other’s heels and yet somehow, technology gets updated and even Presidents can switch out far too often.  By all rights, judging by the cars and methods in the early Superman comics, Lois Lane should be in a walker.  DC tends to get around this via reality-shifting crises, but it’s still a bit of a head-scratcher.  Condensing everything gives it a renewed sense of consistency and coherency, though my only worry is that they might run into the same problem later down the line.

*Actually, I lied.  The biggest change is that the integration of two subsidiary comic lines owned by DC (Vertigo and Wildstorm) into the mainline, basically to discard all past ambiguity and say, “Yes, these people definitely share a universe now!”  Wait, does that mean that Jesse Custer might have been approached by the Justice League?

It does seem a bit schitzophrenic about what carried over on what wasn’t, but it seems like they are mostly focusing change to the origins of characters, which again, comes with the whole compressing of the timeline.  The new Teen Titans have a revised origin, though it’s hinted that the old team still existed, the Blue Beetle is going to have a drastically altered storyline, for better or worse, and the new origin of the Justice League seems to be the starting point of everything that’s been kicked off.  Note that it’s still a little unclear when a lot of this stuff takes place.  But the big events are still there: Barbara Gordon was still paralyzed, Dick Grayson was still Batman, Hal Jordan still went nuts and killed everyone because he saw his own movie, and so on.  Yes, Superman and Lois aren’t together and there are some other stuff that’s different from before, but they’re actually handling most of it decently.

I haven’t talked about the quality of the titles because that’s not what I’m here to do.  If you really must know, some are hits, some are misses and some just aren’t for me.  You know, kind of like how it was before the relaunch.  Really, it seems like DC is using this to actually get new people into comics, whether by showing them the origins of some characters or clearing up some misconceptions about old ones (they actually put in the effort to say, “no, Aquaman isn’t actually as useless as the Superfriends cartoon made him out to be.”  Thumbs-up, Geoff Johns).  While there are some serious missteps (see Starfire, or better yet, don’t and read this instead: ), it’s nowhere near the betrayals that some fans feared would happen.  The only other big gripe that I have is that out of the fifty-two titles they released, four of them are Batman titles!  Four out of fifty-two!  And one of them is completely pointless, probably taking up the spot of a promising character!  But that’s just a minor gripe compared to Starfire… dear God, why?

I hope you all have enjoyed this rare positive musing and reflection.  In my mind, everything’s gone better than expected and best of all, those tinfoil hat-wearing lunatics who thought that the relaunch would resurrect Batman’s parents can finally pipe down.  Is it perfect?  No.  But as far as “reimaginings” go, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

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