Sunday, June 12, 2011

A pretty long post on the DCU reboot

**Originally posted as a comment on CBR. I decided to repost and expand upon that comment**

I have no real issue with the quasi-reboot. Some of the changes they apparently are making to some of the core/iconic heroes seems a bit odd, but if the stories are good, so be it. I'm not afraid of change and won't whine and cry if things aren't exactly like they've been for the past "x" amount years. I think the changes seem pointless and little too 90's retro, but I'm not going to start declaring this the first signs of the death of comics. If I don't like it, I won't buy it.

I was surprised by the choices of books in the first 52. I completely expected half of the line to be made up of Batman books so the 11 or so that are being released are no surprise. After all DC/WB doesn't seem to have nearly as much faith in their other characters.  Many of the 52 seem destined to fail within the first 12 months so I guess it will end up being a self fulfilling prophecy. There are just so many books and characters that just don't seem to have the staying power, outside of a few diehard fans, to keep a series afloat.

It's nice that DC is willing to try something different and attempt to grow awareness of their books/characters beyond Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman during their attempt to enter/create a new era, but they just seem to have made some odd choices. Why totally overlook the opportunity to re-invent fan favorite characters like the Marvel Family, the Atom & Blue Devil, among others, to focus on books and characters that don't seem to have that big or loyal of a following, such as Red Hood/Jason Todd?

While I'm sure there are people who are big fans of Jason, there rarely is a character that doesn't have at least a few fans (yes I'm talking about the 2 other Wild Dog fans out there), how does he warrant getting a position in the first wave of the reboot? Granted I can't stand Aquaman and I'm not a fan of Hawkman, but I know they have a big enough fan base and are recognizable enough to the general populace to have earned their place in the first wave. Though I do confess to being confused as to why the Atom got no love.

I understand and I don't think it is any real secret that the books/characters chosen are more than likely the ones that DC/WB believes hold the best possibilities of not only appealing to the younger generation of fans, but of also making the jump to other media (TV/Movies/Video Games/Action Figures). But I still can't believe they totally overlooked the Atom! He didn't even get a place on any of the Justice Leagues, but Hawk & Dove get their own book? WTF ?!!!??(for all you loyal readers "WTF" is the phrase of the day. Whenever you see it scream real loud.)

I don't think, under normal circumstance, that many of the titles in the initial 52 would make it to the 2 year mark before they were either canceled or went through another reboot/major overhaul. I honestly think that DC will try real hard to keep even low selling books among the initial 52 afloat. At least for a while. Otherwise they will have invested all this time and energy into something that will become known as DC's failed "Heroes Reborn" and I'm sure the suits @ WB won't like that much. Unless, of course, that's the plan. Maybe this really is just one big publicity stunt and everything will go back to normal in a few months. 

The Fury of Firestorm: I'm a Firestorm fan and I know there are quite a few other fans out there. However, I think the revised origin could turn some people off and kill the book.I hope I'm wrong and I'd love to see the character become one of the next gen iconic characters, but DC just doesn't do very well when it comes to straying too far from the idea that the entire DCU revolves around Batman and Superman, but mostly Batman.
My prediction: 24 issues

Captain Atom: I've been a Captain Atom fan since I was a kid, but I've got a bad feeling about this one. I think they are going to try to make him the Dr. Manhattan/Doctor Solar of the DCU and I don't think they will do it well.
My prediction: Unless they surprise me, I'm saying 12 issues.

Mr. Terrific: I actually like this character and applaud DC for picking him for a solo book in the initial 52, but I don't think he's compelling enough for his own book. He would have been a great addition to the Justice League or JLI.
My prediction: 12 issues

It's no secret that I have always disliked (hated) this character and could never understand his appeal (the same goes for Namor), but I also understand that he is one of the most recognizable characters outside of the big 3. I also know he has a fairly loyal fanbase so I'm betting this book will suck(I'm biased) but will stick around for a while.
My prediction: with a good writer I'm betting 36 issues.

The Savage Hawkman: I don't really like or dislike this character. I've always thought he was a bit boring, but had the potential to be cool. I actually kind of like him when he makes guest appearances, but I've never wanted to buy his solo books. I'm also betting this addition to his convoluted history won't be any better than his past books. I wish him well, but just don't see him lasting long.
My prediction: 24 issues

Justice League International: First of all I really became a comic fan/collector in the JLI era so I've been wanting to see this book for a very long time. However, the team that appears in this books just doesn't seem right. First WTF is up with Booster's outfit? It looks silly. I would rather see Animal Man than Vixen on the team. Also where is Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Mr. Miracle (Scott), Dr. Fate (he appears to even be missing from the magic books), Doctor Light and Captain Atom? I'm not asking for a return of the "bwa-ha-ha" league because I think that people forget the book wasn't originally about cheap laughs and slapstick. It was a really good superhero book that happened to have some really funny parts. The funny just took over once the book became popular.
My prediction: I hope, hope, hope this book is done well and lasts for a while (though I wish they'd get Batman off the team!) but I think this one will see lineup and creative changes fairly quickly. 36-48 issues.

DC Universe Presents: I love anthology series or ones that are basically a series of mini-series because they give lesser known characters that have fans but can't support a regular series a place to shine.Unfortunately these books don't seem to last long with current readers.
My prediction: 24 issues

Green Lantern: The New Guardians: I'm a long time GL fan and even I'm getting a bit burned out on the abundance of GL books and characters. It seems like GL is well on the way to reaching Batman status with 11 related books coming out each month. (BTW I don't read any Batman books. I have come to greatly dislike the character. Though I will pick up Nightwing) I know that the movie is coming out and they are trying to cash in on the hype around that, but really 4 GL related books?
My prediction: I'll try it and I might like it (Unless this is he John Stewart GL book then I won't make it past the 1st issue), but I'm betting I won't read it for long. 24 issues, just because of the movies.

Red Lanterns: Don't get me wrong the Red Lanterns are cool as hell. I love the idea of the color spectrum and multiple corps, but do we really need an anti-hero corps? These guys should be held in reserve for big GL story-lines and events. I think this is an example of too much of a good thing. Of course I'm a sucker and I'll be getting the first issue.
My prediction: I'm betting the Reds will play a part in one of the upcoming GL films so I'll give this one 36 issues.

Red Hood and the Outsiders: Jason Todd, didn't I call in to have them kill your annoying ass when I was a kid? Considering I could not stand this character when I was a kid and still reading Batman comics, I don't see me liking him any better now that he is an annoying anti-hero. What is this the 90's. I'm really getting that vibe with the costume designs and gun totin' heroes. I wonder if the 52 will come with alternate, holographic, chromium covers drawn by Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld?
My prediction: Considering that all of the Outsiders books have kind of sucked over the past decade or so, I don't see one starring a character that people actually paid money to have killed bucking that trend. 12 issues

Batwing: Really, Batman of Africa? While it would be great to see a book like this survive, there just aren't that many readers that are interested in characters from other cultures. DC just doesn't have any luck with these types of books. People in America, and it seems the rest of the world, want to read about American heroes. I think this stems from the fact that American writers and artists have a harder time accurately portraying characters from other cultures. Yet non-American creators seem to have a pretty good handle on how to portray American characters. He might work and become a favorite as a member of a team, but solo I just don't see this having any staying power.
My prediction: less than 18 issues.

Animal Man: I love the character and would love to see the book survive for a while, I just don't think it will happen. Thanks to Morrison's run on the character it seems that DC can't see him existing outside of the realm of the weird/vertigo realm. I want A.M. back as a superhero on a team. I don't want an attempted rehash of the Morrison run. I've already read and enjoyed those books when I was a kid. Still as an Animal Man fan I'll be giving this one a try.
My prediction: If the book is halfway good I think Animal Man has enough of a following to stick around for a while. However I'm saying 24 issues will be the max on this one. I just don't think there are enough of us fans to keep this one alive.

Swamp Thing: Few creative teams have been able to get Swampy right. I doubt this book is going to do it either. I think that this book will end up disappointing and alienating long time fans without bringing in new ones.
My prediction: With this one I will be optimistic and give it a maximum of 3 years, just because Swamp Thing does have a fairly strong fanbase. However, I will add that during the initial 3 years we will see them trying their damnedest to recapture the magic of the classic run

Justice League Dark: WTF?! The Magic Justice League with John Constantine??? That's just silly. First of all a PG-13 Constantine just seems wrong. The character has been R-rated for too long and he works in that environment. John is supposed to be the foul mouthed, chain smokin' bastard we all know and love. This is one of the few changes that I am whole-heartedly against.
My prediction: I think this one might make it 15 issues, but I'm betting 12 is too generous.

Demon Knights: A medieval magical Justice League...

My prediction: Less than 12 issues

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE: Ummmm, no.

My Prediction: Less than 12 issues.

Resurrection Man: The original series was under-and I'd like to see it go for a while, but I just don't see it happening.
My Prediction: 18 issues

I, Vampire: "Hey don't the kiddies love vampires? Let's do a vampire book!"

My prediction: 12 issues if it is lucky

Voodoo: She was never that interesting in the first place. Books about female characters, especially ones that aren't that well liked, just don't cut it.

My prediction: Less than 12 issues.

Hawk & Dove: Hawk and Dove with Liefeld? What is this a semi-annual book? How long has it been since the last issues of Youngblood was published? Well at least they had feet in the promo images I saw.

My prediction: I'm betting this one will go no more than a six months before a new creative team comes on board and probably no more than a year before cancelation. So that should equate to about 3 issues if Liefeld stays on the book.

Stormwatch: I have high hopes for this one. I'm betting a DC version of an Authority/Stormwatch mash-up with the Martian Manhunter has the potential to be a great book. Very reminiscent of the JLU cartoon. But one of the things that people loved about the Authority was its edge and I don't think that will translate into the core DCU.
My prediction: 24 issues

Blackhawks: I don't see this one lasting long at all

My prediction: 12 issues

Sgt. Rock and the Men of War: I've personally always hated spy/war comics. I can't stand Nick Fury or Sgt. Rock, so my point of view on this one is too biased to be fair. I think there is an audience for this, but it is a very small one.
My prediction: 12 issues

All-Star Western: Again, I have never liked western comics, but Hex has some fans out there.
My predictions: I'll be generous and give this one 24 issues.

Grifter: I like Grifter and I think DC could possibly turn him into the Deadpool/Punisher of the DCU. I think they will fail miserably and piss off the few fans the character has, but if done right he could be a very popular character that would make a kick ass movie.
My prediction: 18 issues

Omac: Give me a break. This character/concept has always sucked.
My prediction: less than 12 issues

Blue Beetle: Granted I grew up with Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle. He's my #1 favorite superhero and I would really, really like to have him back.
However, I do think that Jaime is a decent character and I understand why DC thought the concept needed an update. Even though he reminds me of something off of Ben10 or some kind of Power Ranger, I can't deny that this version of the Beetle has the most cross over potential. A superhero kid with shape changing power armor just screams multiple action figures with tons of goofy accessories (Deep Dive Blue Beetle, Deep Space Blue Beetle, etc...)
My prediction: I'm gonna say 24 issues.

Suicide Squad: I've never been a fan of the Suicide Squad, but I know there are a lot of people who do like it. This one could have staying power, but I think it'll need some fine tuning in the first 2 years.
My prediction: This one could go for a while, but I'm betting 24 issues if they screw it up.
You probably noticed that I didn't say anything about the Superman or Batman books and that I left alone the core GL, Justice League, Wonder Woman and the Flash books alone. That's because those books are more than likely going to get published, in some form, no matter what. So instead of a book by book take on them I'm going to group them together where applicable.

The Batman Family: Given that the only Batman books I've really enjoyed in the past 15-20 years have been the ones starring Dick as Batman, I think it is safe to say that I have a fairly strong bias here. I won't be reading any of these books, except Nightwing and Batgirl, but I know that that Bat-books are some of DC's biggest sellers. With the exception of Batwing and possibly Batwoman I think all the Bat-books will do fairly well. At least for the first year or two.

The Superman Family: I'm not sure about the direction they are taking with Superboy in the reboot, but I know that Conner is a fan favorite and has a pretty good following. Supergirl is one of those characters that has a past almost as messed up as Hawkman. No one really seems to know what to do with her so they continually re-imagine her. I think the upcoming version will be too alien and fail.
Now for the white elephant, Superman. If the images we've seen so far are an indication of what to expect I'm not hopeful. I'm all for rebooting his origin, making him younger, making him single and redoing the supersuit. However, the 90's armored look that was recently released? That's just stupid. There are a million and one variations of the Superman look that are waaay better. Many of which we have seen on the JL cartoon or in Elseworlds stories. In the image I saw he looked like Superboy/man Prime. I'm hoping that is who was really in the image and it was released to throw everybody off and get us talking. You know how us fanboys love to bitch and moan about change. If so, good job DC, you got us talking. If it is really how the "new" Superman will look, I repeat it's stupid and won't last long.

Wonder Woman: This is character that much beloved but who can't sell a book for shit. There have been good runs of her book(s), but never a definitive run. WW never had a "Batman: Year One" type of run. There has been nothing that has truly defined the character and every creative team has a different (sometimes drastically different) approach to the character. There is no definitive Wonder Woman. She really needs that. I don't see the new book as being any different than they rest of them.

Justice League: The return of the "big 7" was expected. I was surprised by the addition of Cyborg, but then I thought about the fact that he appeared on Smallville, fills the "ethnic" void left by John Stewart/Vixen/Martian Manhunter (i.e. he's not white) and is a young, tech oriented character, it made sense. He is a good fit for a "younger, hipper" Justice League. Plus, if I remember correctly wasn't he part of the Superfriends in the old Super Powers cartoons? So I guess Cyborg has earned his spot on the league, plus he's not a bad character. I was disappointed that the Atom didn't make the initial cut and that Aquaman did, but that's life. Plus I'm not diggin' the 90's leather/armored look with collars and chin guards.

The Flash, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and Green Arrow : These were kind of no Brainers. Hal, Barry and Ollie have all died, come back and been reimagined before, so rebooting them isn't that big of a deal. Honestly Ollie kind of needed it after the last couple of changes in the character.

Teen Titans: Really? Robin has wings? Yeah its gotta be 1994 or he's watched too many episodes of G-force (Battle of the Planets). Wonder Girl's a criminal? Who's the Spider-girl and shadow person in the back of the image? Is that Obsidian or a new take on Raven? BTW, how did conner get a tattoo?

Static Shock: I'm actually surprised that this didn't happen sooner

Legion of Superheroes: The Legion Lost (legion members in present day) isn't really new and the current LSH seems to be doing well. They might make them younger, but I don't think they'll mess with them too much.

Now for the surprises, for me at least, regarding the reboot:

I can't believe that the Atom, Powergirl, Starman, Capt. Marvel (or the Marvel Family), Booster Gold, Mister Miracle (Scott Free), Hawkgirl, Manhunter (Kate), Blue Devil, Plastic Man, Elastic Man(and wife) and Stargirl didn't get anything in the reboot.

First I thought Booster's book was selling pretty well. It's one of my favorite DC books. Of course I'm biased as I was a Booster fan from the first issue of his original series. Is it because they think Booster can't support two books and decided to focus on the JLI?

Powergirl not being represented kind of worries me. I really enjoy her current book and have been a longtime PG fan, but I've got the feeling that her being alternate universe version of Supergirl may have put a target on her back. I think she may disappear until yet another alternate, non-kryptonian origin can be developed for her. Or else she will return to her status as an Earth-2 citizen and be removed from primary continuity.

Where's the Atom? He can be made younger, plus he's a tech/sci-fi kind of character. C'mon DC give the little guy a chance.

Starman and Stargirl both seem like perfect fits for the new, younger DCU. Why aren't they in the Justice League or Teen Titans? Why hasn't Scott Free returned and why isn't he on the JLI? Hawkgirl is more well known than Hawkman by the younger crowd since she starred in the JL cartoons. Why does he get a series and she gets ignored? If DC is doing a mystical Justice League, where the hell is Blue Devil? Everyone else is getting rebooted, why not BD? If there is a character that belongs on a supernatural JL, it is Blue Devil.

What the hell was DC thinking by ignoring the Marvel Family, especially Captain Marvel? If they are wanting to appeal to a younger demographic why leave out the long lived character who is a kid/teen that can turn into an adult and become the Earth's mightiest mortal. He's been around as long as the big 3(really it should be the big 4 and Captain Marvel should be considered one of the iconic characters), he once outsold and was more popular that Superman and Batman, and he has a loyal fanbase. Seriously, you dropped the ball big time on this one DC.

I hope that some of the overlooked characters will show up was that the JL since it will eventually expand to 14 members. I think that that more members could be joining the JLI too. Hopefully, the Atom will be added to one of the Leagues.

As for the same day print & digital release. I don't have an iphone or an ipad and I don't like reading comics on a computer, so I don't see this really affecting me. I'm one of the ones who wants to hold my comics in my hand. With print books I don't have to worry about the industry switching to another format down the road and thus making my entire digital collection obsolete and possibly losing it. Sure a natural disaster could cause me to lose my print collection, but in 50 - 100 years if nothing like that happens I'll still be able to take my old comics out of a box and enjoy them. If the current digital format becomes an unsupported format down the road, I'll either have to find a way to convert my entire collection or repurchase them all. Screw that.

Plus I don't like the idea of "renting" or purchasing the rights to view my comics. Even in the digital world I want to own my shit. I love my kindle, but that's one of the things that pisses me off. I also refuse to give up my physical copies of certain books. Lord of the Rings, Dresden Files, Mark Twain, Wheel of Time, I have them on my kindle, but I also have and will continue to purchase (in the case of the still ongoing series) the physical books.

If DC instituted a Netflix type of deal where I could read "x" amount of books for a monthly fee I might do it. Say DC says you can read 10 books per month online for $7.99, 20 for $9.99 and so on and you retained the ability to re-read the books you've already read without eating into your monthly allotment, I might go for that.

Basically you create an online "pull list" of the books you want to read for the month and they enter your library. You can change the list from month to month or read the exact same series each month. If they stayed with the same day publication it might be worth it. I would still buy my physical books and that won't change, but this option might entice me to read books I might otherwise skip. Take R.E.B.E.L.S for instance. I wanted to read that, but it never fit into my budget, so I never picked it up.

Nothing is going to replace my monthly Justice League, and Superman books. I'll buy them, my other DC books and the books I get from other publishers for as long as they're printed. I've been doing it for nearly 30 years, I like them and I see no reason to stop now. But for the books that I skip (Teen Titans, REBELS, Outsiders to name just a few) reading them digitally might be worth it to me. I'm not losing anything because I never would have bought the physical books in the first place. Unless one of my print books got canceled.

Well that's my take/rant on the DCU reboot up until this point. I may have something else to say as more information is released and I actually get to see the books. Everything I've said is, of course, my opinion and as you know opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

I may be way off on everything I said and this could be an instance of me talking out of my ass. In a way I kind of hope it is, but I feel pretty confident that my lack of confidence in may of the series is well founded.


Dungeons Dragons said...

Woah, I knew DC was doing a reboot, but I had no idea it was going to be so severe!

DC's has had a REALLY bad run of big events in my opinion, Infinate Crisis, Final Crisis, 52, Countdown, they were ALL TERRIBLE (Actually the build involving the death of Blue Beetle was nice... but you know what I mean), should be interesting to see how this turns out, but i'm guessing it will be another red and blue superman.

Also I fiond it disturbing that DC ignores the fact that the average comicbook reader is over 30, and is constantly running after the 'hip new crowd', driving away established readers in a desperate bid to grab younger ones...

... it wasn't that long ago that I was reading titles every day and was fairly current with continuity, but the straw that brokew the camels back was the Siege (I used to like Bendis' writing at one point but he can only do new yorker dialogue, something that became increasingly apparant when he was writing 80% of all marvel titles).

Geek Gazette said...

Yes I agree that the build up to Beetle's death was good. How sad is it that the first time a writer takes the character to his true potential, happens to lead to his death?
I think they know that all of their readers are over 30. Who else would be reading comics? First they are too damn expensive for most kids. Secondly, since comics went direct market, no one except long time fans even know they are still being published. There are so few comic shops that entire regions have no weekly comics. My nearest shop is about an hour away.