Monday, January 25, 2016

Rebirth ?

It was mid-afternoon on Friday when Bleeding Cool ran an article that had a rumor that DC was thinking of blowing everything up again, renumbering all their books at #1, and basically starting over. Here is that link:

Now this was just a rumor but the idea of DC scrapping the New 52 just 4 years in and rebranding the universe to fit in with the other media versions of the characters seemed preposterous. Didn't it?

Well shortly after that story Jim Lee and Dan Didio tweeted the above image. Most likely spurred by the Bleeding Cool break of the story, they probably felt they needed to get ahead of the game.

Now this is one image and one word - Rebirth - but to me it spoke volumes. And it also spoke to how splintered I am psychologically as a DC fan right now.

You see, I have long had issues with the New 52 and it's treatment of the characters I love. Remove Grant Morrison's initial Action Comics run and Superman has been all over the map but no where near iconic. He's been aloof, a monster, powerless. He has been away from the Daily Planet. The Kansas farm boy has decided he can love a goddess.  He has had no relationship with Lois. He has been hated and shunned by Lana and Perry. And he has been hated by the people of Earth. No longer is he an inspiration to do better. He isn't trusted.

Supergirl went from being an angry, cold, distant young woman who hated her family and Earth to leaving the planet, dying at the hands of her father, being resurrected, and then becoming a Red Lantern.

And the whole vibe of the universe is humorless and dark. From Forever Evil to Future's End to Doomsday viruses to The Truth, I would never ever ever want to live in the DCU.

So I should be welcoming a reboot with open arms? Right? I mean, I should be hoping that DC leadership realizes the mistakes it has made, wipes the universal slate clean, and gives me back my heroes.

But if this is truly a universal rewrite, it also means that I have to start back from square one. And that means losing the few successes this new universe has brought me. From Burnside Batgirl to Harley Quinn to the last issues of Supergirl, I have read good stories. From Starfire and the rocker Black Canary to the odd but engaging Martian Manhunter, there has been some wins in DCYou. Do I lose those books?

And lastly, if the New 52 seemed like a Hail Mary pass by DC to be relevant again, another universal reboot just 4 years later seems like a pathetic grasp for readers by a leadership group who has lost my trust.

Am I honestly supposed to believe with the people in charge that this new Rebirth will be better than the New 52? Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

If the New 52 was a perfect jump-off point, couldn't Rebirth be the 'cut the cord' moment?

So the windmills in my mind are spinning. I don't like much of the New 52. I have been clamoring for change almost weekly on this blog. I should be thrilled about a change!

And yet, another change this soon after the last makes me realize that right now DC is in complete disarray. It's one thing to rationalize this as something Marvel just did. It's another thing entirely when you add in this was just done a handful of years ago.

There are many mantras I have used over the course of my time on this site. One I use all the time is apt here.

Good stories trump all.

Just give me good stories DC. I'm ready for them.

But another misstep after the line wide missteps of the New 52 would be catastrophe.


John (Somewhere in England) said...

If DC are starting all over again, will they take the opportunity to make more of their comics available in digital form only? Paper comics may soon be a thing of the past.

Jude Deluca said...

I just want the pre-Flashpoint DCU back. I want Titans who are childhood friends and Titans who are parents. I want Linda Danvers and Matrix and a Cass Cain who used to call herself Batgirl and a Donna Troy that didn't slaughter a bunch of men because they were men. I want a Legion whose Sun Boy didn't have his head destroyed and a Star Boy that got unceremoniously crushed to death. Hell, I want Wally West's family back and a universe where no one tried to actually pair up Arthur Light and Kimiyo Hoshi. WHO HONESTLY THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA?

Martin Gray said...

You know I try to be optimistic, but I can't deny that without change at the top - or at least a massive change of attitude in the people at the top - we're likely in for another bumpy ride. As with Batman and GL in previous reboots, though, I expect Harley and Batgirl would be safe.

Anonymous said...

What I find most ironic is if you look at something Didio said in a CBR interview in July 2015,

"Our goal is never to be in a position where we are restarting, relaunching a line, ever again. Quite the opposite. What we really want to do is build on what we created from the launch of New 52, take what existed beforehand, integrate that in, to give us the best interpretations of the characters that organically move forward, and are all part of one big continuity, that is DC Comics."

Took less than a year for Didio to go back on his word if Rebirth turns out to be another reboot. This just shows DC's failed indecision to make up their minds and do right by the DCU and their characters and their fans.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with Martin. I'm one of those who thinks that without a meaningful real life change in management no amount of fictional changes will solve the problem.

In my opinion the problem wasn't the New 52 reboot but how they handled it. A lot of the rationale in the interviews leading up to the post Flashpoint world telegraphed what since happened.

The publishers were making a lot alarming comments surrounding Superman and how they felt he was tied down in his universe, not just by Lois but even the Daily Planet world and Clark Kent.

Those interviews showed to me a fundamental disconnect between the people in power and their intellectual property. I don't believe the current management understands the strengths these characters bring. I think they've been trying to make everybody "Batman lite" if you will.

Batman sells but that doesn't mean Superman or Wonder Woman need to be like Batman to sell. They needed to write compelling stories and assign people who understood the characters to the books. However, that is just the first hurdle. They needed not to meddle to the level they did.

So many things were clearly editorially driven.

I digress. Here we are.

I wasn't a fan of the reboot post crisis and I argued against it on Usenet when I was 21. 30 years later? I can't see how a relaunch/rebirth/reboot, whatever this thing ends up being, can make things any worse.

I just really hope upper management changes and the company is steered by people who understand their own IP.

garyb said...

Louis, I read somewhere is that that the upcoming reboot, er, rebirth is driven from WB who has given the DC division orders to get their act together.

DC, as a "comics" company, is a really small part of the WB hegemony, but their IP has become enormously important in their TV production unit, CW unit, and theatrical units. They are counting a lot on BvS to fill the hole left by Harry Potter.

I had thought that as long as DC was breaking even, the suits would leave them alone. So, especially after the moving expenses this year, perhaps DC isn't even break even?

Unfortunately, I don't expect that the current management team at DC is capable of fixing it.


garyb said...

The wiki link did not survive.

We'll try again:

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many floppies are envisioned by this reboot?


Jay said...

This isn't a reboot. Just a relaunch. In popular parlance terms, the difference being that they're just putting a bunch of new #1s on books set in the same verse, really. Its still the New 52 verse. There will be something involved to justify it in story, perhaps via Darkseid War or something, and there will probably be various alterations here and there to fix things, but by and large its the same verse. For older fans, think Zero Hour.

Anj said...

Thanks everyone for the comments.

I suppose in some ways I am glad this isn't a line wide reboot as it would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

They need to rethink their primary characters and bring them back to the things that made them popular in the first place. and they need to mend some bridges with creators to bring them back to the DCU.

I'm interested to see what it all means.

Anonymous said...

"I just want the pre-Flashpoint DCU back."

New Earth is dead. It'll never be back, right like the Pre-Crisis DCU will never be back.

If the Pre-Crisis universe wasn't untouchable, why should the Pre-Flashpoint universe be spared?

"I want Titans who are childhood friends and Titans who are parents. I want Linda Danvers and Matrix and a Cass Cain who used to call herself Batgirl and a Donna Troy that didn't slaughter a bunch of men because they were men."

I'm sorry, but the only reason because Matrix and that Linda Danvers were around was DC's refusal to bring the iconic Supergirl back. After the anti-Kryptonian ban was lifted, they weren't needed.

Same deal with Cassandra. She only was Batgirl because Babs had been fridged and she was hated by Cass' creator. Yet still, Babs IS the iconic Batgirl, which is because DC took advantage of the reboot to give her cowl back. Let's be honest, Cassandra wasn't even Batgirl when the reboot hit. Cass needs her own codename and legacy instead of Babs'.

I wish no ill to those substitutes, but I'm not interested in a DCU where Supergirl and Batgirl aren't Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon. They ARE the iconic mantle-bearers who were stripped from their legacies and roles by extremely misogynist storylines.