Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Reclaiming or Purging the Past

Usually, I try to keep things upbeat here at the Absorbascon; one doesn't wish to "rant".

But I am distressed by the tack that DC seems to have taken on New Earth. They seem to have wasted a universal reboot on just adding in a few backstory details to a handful of major characters: the career of young Superman, the capture of Joe Chill, Wonder Woman's role in the founding of the JLA.

None of those are particularly important to the character's present (except, arguably, the WW/JLA connection). What I was hoping for from New Earth was not the inclusion of wanted backstory but the exclusion of unwanted backstory. I thought DC was cleaning house, not shopping for more continuity brick-a-brack that writers will have to dust around.

If Ruled The World, there are a host of things I would have excised from the DCU's past:

  • Bane / Azrael/ Knightfall
  • Millenium
  • Bloodlines
  • Cosmic Odyssey (with its evisceration of John Stewart's character)
  • Superman and Barda's porn film
  • Hush
  • The Death of Superman
  • Major Disaster in the JLA
  • Extreme Justice
  • Zero Hour
  • Gotham's two plagues and an earthquake
  • Luthor's inaction-filled presidency
  • The "B13 Virus"
  • Obsidian Age / The Sword of Atlantis / Heck, Atlantis itself
  • The Outsiders
  • The Darkstars
  • The entire revamp of and war against Eclipso
  • Many other things you will list in your comments to this post
I know that some characters have their roots in these events, but new backstories could have been created for them. Heaven knows, we can't get along without Fatality and her Fleur-de-lis of Doom; we need her "TK" on Heroclix villain teams. But the essence of her history (mad at GLs for failing to save her world) doesn't really require that Cosmic Odyssey remain in continuity. Why are we being forced to swallow a cow when all we wanted is a nice steak?

Why on multiple earths was "The History of the DC Universe" backup feature in 52 a reaffirmation that everything we were hoping to forget actually still happened? Why was it hosted by the one character most in need of a new backstory? It could and should have been a synopsis of the streamlined past of New Earth.

I'm glad 52 is explaining what happened in the one year before "the present", but I'd still appreciate a clue as to what happened in the 20 billion other years that preceded it. And now the character bios seem to be compounding the problem instead of solving it. Re-read the Wonder Woman bio; can you tell whether Diana out-competed her fellow Amazons in order to become Wonder Woman or was she simply 'the natural choice'?

DC; we know what used to be the past (and if we don't, we don't care). What we want to know is what the past is now, and we want it to be less complicated, not more.

Is it just me? Where do you stand on this?

49 comments:

Bat-mite said...

Hear, hear. I've noticed that almost anyone could run these comic book companies better than the people who do. Makes you wonder what they're thinking over at DC.

Verification word: Mdxip, who I'm pretty sure is Mxyzptlk's 4th cousin on his mother's side. Come to think of it, on "New Earth", is Bat-mite still in continuity? That's we all really want to hear.

Other verification word: Frmowjpv, who I think was a 5th Dimensional Soviet leader.

Rob S. said...

I certainly see your point – there’s a lot of stuff on that list that I’d prefer to forget. But much of it – Bloodlines, for example – while being, on the whole, a bunch of crappy stories, does no lasting damage to anything. Why excise it when simply ignoring it has worked so well for so long?

Also, it’s easy enough to make the list. But how do you make clear what didn’t happen in the stories themselves? “Hey Perry, remember that time Superman didn’t die? We almost had a helluva headline!” Sure, the DoS can be handled with more panache than that, but can Obsidian Age? Most of this stuff is already forgotten – and if it gets brought up again, let’s hope it’ll be by someone capable of making lemonade from lemons.

Big Mike said...

Scip... I think you've made some good points, but I offer a rebuttal: I love New Earth.

I have been reading DC comics consistently for a year (give or take) so the run-up to Infinite Crisis was basically my introduction to the DCU. Baptism by fire, to say the least.

Why, then, doesn't New Earth suck? It's true, they didn't clean house. It wasn't a universe wide reboot as much as it was a series of sutble changes to continuity and I can see why somene would find that annoying. However, I like New Earth because instead of creating new continuity, it simply de-emphasizes complex continuity in favor of good human stories.

Why is Wonder Woman a founding JLA-er? Because the JLA without Diana is like bread without crust, and no reader could likley believe otherwise. Why is it important that they caught the Waynes' killer? Because it allows us to believe that there's enough humanity left in Batman that he could create a makeshift family with a boy named Tim Drake.

Why can't they write out Zero Hour? That chapter in the life of Hal Jordan is essential to the man he is today. He's a deeply haunted soul and it's fascinating.

Most longtime readers I know were expecting another Crisis on Infinite Earths, but remember this: that Crisis failed in its goal to simplify the DCU FOR READERS. Don't believe me? Try explaining the concept of post-Crisis to someone sometime. Some of these characters have been around for 7 decades... there's no way the history isn't going to be complicated, no matter how you slice it. Some writer is going to come along and want to use some obscure villain from the 50's and some reader will write a letter saying 'that guy never existed' and then it's all a clusterbomb again.

New Earth isn't about simplifying the history of the greatest heroes in comics. New Earth is about shaping those heroes to tell accessible stories moving forward. Plus, why write out all sorts of history that can be sold off in TPB?

naladahc said...

Basically it sounds like you pretty much want to forget everything major from 1987 to 2003 or so.

And by major, I mean crossovers and long-term meandering storylines within books.

And on the whole I suppose I totally agree.

I guess I'm always stuck between being a "continuity-geek fanboy" and someone who just wants to forget all the past and get on with it.

Joe Chill having been caught is fine if you use that to explain why Bruce has been de-assholified. But seriously, all you had to do to de-assholify Batman wsd to not writer him that way. It is a narrative choice, not some thing inherent in fictional past.

Wonder Woman doesn't need to be a founding member of the JLA anymore than she needs to have been a major player in the JSA.

How many stories are flashbacks to those early eras? Few if any.

The only things that matter are how a character is written in the present story. If Wonder Woman is vital to the JLA of the present than that's what's important.

But then again, my needs in comics these days are pretty minor.

All I want is a white dog with a red cape that flies and such without thought balloons, Ambush Bug wandering around every now and then, and Lyta Hall meeting her retcon Post-Crisis mother once.

I got 2 out of 3 so I suppose I should be happy.

Pope Impious XXIII said...

I don't know big mike.. Personally speaking I'm a little disappointed by the most recent reboot. I started collecting comics (mostly DC) about the time of CoIE, and the nice thing about the reboot was that you could tell who was who. Superman pre-Crisis and post-Crisis weren't all that similar. Same with Wonder Woman. The essential parts of the mythology were the same, but there were enough differences to make sure that you were aware that they were different characters. Now I'm just confused. Superman still died, but Doomsday never fought 'Blue and Gold' because Booster wasn't a part of the JLA. I have no idea what is "in" continuity anymore. In the Crisis I just assumed that unless told otherwise all previous stories were no longer valid. Now they kind-of are, kind-of aren't..

I'm just afraid that the waters are going to get muddied further. With no clear guidelines some writers will put some stories in continuity while others will keep the same stories out. In the Crisis at least you could say that things were starting over (and there were still problems with the old continuity trickling in). Now it looks like it will get even more tangled between post-Crisis and "New Earth". Its a shame.

Vincent J. Murphy said...

I'd like to forget everything that's happened to Nightwing since about New Titans #67 or so. No Titans Hunt, no dumbass wedding, no retconning of Barbara Gordon to the same age as Dick, man, the list can go on just for Nightwing.

I'd also have Stephanie Brown actually saved by Leslie Tomkins, and have her continue being a Robin. I think there should be several Robins. A flock.

Ostrakos said...

I think I'd just get rid of every universe-wide DC crossover between 1987 and 2005/6. Millenium, Armageddon 2001, Bloodlines...I can't even remember all of them.

Ariel said...

'New Earth' doesn't seem different to me at all, a few major continuity changes notwithstanding. It seems as dark in tone, and muddy in ease of comprehension as it was just pre-IC. Perhaps there is more to be told to the story, but I am irritated that I spent a great deal of money to get a story that was supposed to clean up continuity and move the characters to a new level, yet still end up with the same old.

Scip, may I ask who is Martin Wisse and why is he not welcome here? He has bunch of lengthy Wikipedia entries, including one on gay marriage, but am otherwise clueless.

John said...

I've decided to wait for the trades to check out the rebooted titles, so there's not much I can say beyond "I'm not surprised."

Sounds like it's pretty much the status quo in the DC Universe and the main purpose of the big reboot is what all big reboots are for: The get existing fans all hot and bothered and buying a buncha titles they otherwise wouldn't buy.

My hope (oh why do I hope) was that the revamp would make titles more approachable (you didn't need to know a bunch of continuity to enjoy them) and less dark.

Were either two of those objectives achieved?

I will say, though, I'm interested to see what Grant Morrison and Paul Dini are doing on Batman.

Arm-Fall-Off-Boy said...

As presented, the "History of the DC Universe" was maddeningly unnecessary. If the point of Infinite Crisis was to right the foundering ship of continuity, then why devote so many pages of 52 (pages that could otherwise be used to, you know, advance the story) to rehashing the stuff that's ostensibly being left behind?

There's a sense of mortification in the history, as though Jurgens is embarrassed at having to recount the past 20 years of DC continuity. This seemed especially true in the snarky comments about the Giffen-era Justice League, which seems to be the perennial whipping boy for the current creative and editorial brain trusts at DC.

It almost feels like a bunch of people looking back with horror at their formative years (I wore what? I had my hair cut how? I read which comics?), and doing everything they can to repudiate the stuff the fear marks them as misfits.

Anonymous said...

Um, there's a lot of awful events I'd excise from DC backstory, but I'm not that curious as to establishing what did/didn't happen. I've found OYL to be a frustrating disappointment, because really, the quality of the stories hasn't been radically raised; there's just been tweaks here and there that I don't really care about.

Shadow said...

I'd personally get rid of Underworld Unleashed. A few villains who couldn't quite seem to make it to the big time got turned into some grosteqe and hideous monsters. Problem is, the majority of us seemed to like those villains.

Matthew E said...

I think I'm with big mike. Infinite Crisis wasn't about simplifying the past; it was about simplifying the present. My theory is this:

When DC did Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was in an attempt to distance themselves from parts of their past that they weren't interested in anymore. They wanted to pretend it never happened.

Except now, we have Archive editions and Showcase editions of comics. We have websites like the Absorbascon. We're surrounded by DC's past. There's no way, anymore, for DC to pretend that all this stuff never happened, so they may as well embrace the fact that it has.

Therefore New Earth, in which DC has loosened the continuity straps quite a bit. Not as much as they could have, maybe, but some. I suspect that an outcome of 52 will be that all of DC's past is equally in continuity, somehow. (Which actually sounds a lot like Hypertime, but never mind.) And that's good! Some of the stuff DC discarded in CoIE was good, and people liked it. Why shouldn't we have stories about Helena Wayne or Mon-El?

Sure, it makes it impossible to do a coherent timeline, but I don't think it works to point at a comic book and say in retrospect that it doesn't count. If DC's easing away from that approach then I support them.

Big Mike said...

I don't know, gang. Seems to me that a big crossover event like Infinite Crisis (which was a damn good mini-series by the way) isn't about erasing the bits we didn't like. If that was the case, Civil War would end in Earth 616 being transported back to 1980. More OYL titles have been good than bad. More of our heroes are well written and interesting. New Earth has a one eyed Alan Scott, the Secret Six, an Atom who quotes the Karate Kid and KRYPTOCOCCUS THE OMNI GERM. C'mon, let's not hate on New Earth because Nightwing sucks.

Rob S. said...

Well said, Big M.

k26dp said...

I don't think DC ever said they were simplifying continuity with Infinite Crisis, and I'm not expecting them to.

Power Girl is the poster girl for this. They tried shoehorning her into post-Crisis with failed origin after origin. Infinite Crisis allows her to simply be "the cousin of Superman from a parallel universe". Which is what she's supposed to be.

As for the universe being "less dark"... I believe what DC has said is that the heroes would be less dark, that they would be acting more like heroes. The stories themselves may or may not be just as dark, but the darkness will come from the villains.

And I'm fine with that.

Allan said...

"Hear, hear. I've noticed that almost anyone could run these comic book companies better than the people who do."

Really? Because I've noticed that only people who have no conception of the pitfalls and demands of the creative process make statements that so effortless combine equal measures of arrogance and ignorence. Personally I would love it if all the people who insisted they could do a better job running these companies actually were given the chance to do so, if only to see how quickly they turn into pathetic weeping shells of humanity haunted by the nattering voices of all the critics decrying them for their crimes against comics.

The Fortress Keeper said...

It looks like Armageddon 2001 is out of continuity and Doc Magnus is human again.

(Wiping out, I hope, that terrible retcon of the Metal Men.)

Honestly, I'm happy with that.

As to Joe Chill, Wonder Woman a founding member of the JLA and teen Superman - I grew up with those concepts, so naturally I'm happy to see them return.

Anything else I don't like, I simply ignore. Makes that whole Hal Jordan as Spectre thing much easier to live with.

Scotus said...

DC's continuity is obviously far from perfect. But ever since Crisis, it seems like whenever they try and fix it, they only manage to screw it up worse. So while I understand the need for the occasional tweak, I'd just as soon they resist the urge to make wholesale changes.

And if it ever gets to the point where DC feels the need to start excising entire stories--especially recent, high profile ones like "Hush"--it's time for them to either admit defeat and reboot the entire DCU, or just do their own Ultimate line.

Ununnilium said...

The thing that most interested me about this whole thing was never Infinite Crisis itself. It was OYL. And I've got to say, it did the job admirably. Superman and Batman haven't been this good for a while, and it's refreshed a number of other titles too.

Martin said...

I don't know what's more ironic....that I actually liked a lot of the stuff you want gone, or that we agree on how unimpressive the whole "New Earth" bit is.

"Bloodlines" is worth it for one reason only...it gave us "Hitman," which is still the best comic series of the last ten years that didn't star a classic character. Nothing Garth Ennis has done before (shy of "Preacher") or since comes close to how he wrecked it on that series.

I really liked "Zero Hour," and it sure reads a lot more cogently and coherently than "Infinite Written and Drawn By Committee" did. Better art, too. :)

Back to the point--I was talking to Devon and Drew today, and we all agreed to some degree that this whole "shinier, happier" DCU people keep talking about is nowhere to be found. In Grant Morrison's first issue, Batman throws a dying Joker in a dumpster. The Martian Manhunter--Mr. Zen Master Himself--is running around with a banana for a head and punching humans' faces off. I think one reason why there wasn't more of a positive reaction to JLA #0 was that simply telling us Batman's a nicer guy and having him smile in a panel or two doesn't make it so.

The Big Three are being written and drawn better than they have in years (Morrison's weirdness aside), but all the B-level heroes are suffering. Flash, GL, Nightwing (Oh, poor Nightwing)...I'm just astonished at how much less interesting they are post-IC than before.

Both comics companies are prone to excessive hype, and I think they're using the hype machine to cover up the weaknesses in their stories. Dan Didio and Joe Quesada both suffer from the tendency to tell us why things are happening when their writers don't explain it sufficiently in the book. And that's a damn shame. Don't tell me the New Earth is different--show me. And don't make me buy a year-long miniseries full of redundant backup stories to do it. :)

Ragnell said...

Well, at the DC panels in Chicago we specifically asked about Zero Hour and Cosmic Odyssey (Well, I asked about Cosmic Odyssey and Mosaic)

Cosmic Odyssey -- Still in continuity, sadly. Happily, Mosaic's still in there.

However, Didio's answer to the question "Was Zero Hour retconned out?" was interesting:

"Gawd I hope so."

Jon Hex said...

If we take out Zero Hour, we lose the new Dr. Midnight, Al Rothstein as Atom Smasher, pretty much the whole JSA run.
The Superman/ Barda porno was actually softcore and is frequently shown at The Watchtower on movie night.
Extreme Justice was retconned before Infinite Crisis.
I like The Outsiders. Well, Batman's team and Nightwing's. And The Darkstars are needed as an example as to why Green Lanterns are needed.
Hush was awesome, and should have stayed a one time Hush storyline, with like Hush having some kind of terminal cancer and dying wanting to kill his old friend.
No earthquake, no Cain Batgirl. Then again, maybe that would stop the constant battles between those who enjoyed Robin:OYL and those who didn't.
The Sword of Atlantis can never be washed from my brain, and that's the real tragedy.
I like Eclipso: The Darkness Within because it started off Valor which I think was the best use of Lar Gand ever.

Rob S. said...

What's the reference to Sword of Atlantics? Does that refer to the new Aquaman series (it's the subtitle), or something else? Because I'm really enjoying the new series, and hadn't heard any venom directed at it before today..

Rob

JP said...

Is is a ref to Peter David's Atlantis Chronicles?

The only character whose continuity I'm really familiar with is Batman and I can see the appeal of doing away with KNIGHTFALL and HUSH. Really, everything over the past couple decades apart from the Moench/Jones run, and the arrival of Tim. However, I'd be happy if DC would simply learn not to create story arcs simply for gimmicky sales value or to twist long-standing characters simply for shock value (character distortion is NOT = character development). There's a lot of baggage I'm not comfortable with, but if we can just move on now and get on with the superheroics, I'm willing to let the 'past' stand as it currently is.

Oh, and, chu not 'ranting'; chu just 'opining'. :D

Scipio said...

The Sword of Atlantis can never be washed from my brain, and that's the real tragedy.

Actually, Jonnie, I've been considering surgery...

Rob, search this blog and you'll find previous mentions of Sword of Atlantis.

Flidget Jerome said...

I'm agreeing on Knightfall, Hush and No Man's Land and would like to add in War Games. Jp is right, the last 15 years of Batman were more or less unreadable. Let's just keep Tim and shift the rest.

Brandon said...

Anybody think with the sales of Infinite Crisis and 52 that we'll start to see a resurgence of big huge mega-crossover events like Invasion?

Is it possible they could do something like that better, knowing what they know now?

Yeah, me neither.

Blockade Boy said...

Purely from a fashion standpoint, I appreciated the Eclipso crossover for redesigning the title villain from a Joker-faced dipwad with a pointy hat into a shirtless badass with a hood (replete with gigantoid Tim Burton Catwoman stitching on it). You have no idea how much I loathed the old Eclipso design.

But yeah, those "I Love The 90's" backups in "52" filled me with rage. Because I already knew most of that shit and I hated reading about it the first time.

Juisarian said...

I agree. Even the stories immediately preceeding INFINITE CRISIS were interesting and had a lot of potential, but it was all swept up and, seemingly, thrown out, baby-with-bathwater style.

Whether or not New Earth turns out to be any good or not doesn't isn't really relevant to the fact that so much had to die so it could live.

Anonymous said...

imho, the biggest problem with the "history" backups in 52 was that they merely recapped the comics that we'd already read, and told us just about nothing of the current history of the most recent incarnation of the DCU. We know (or at least think we do) that Power Girl now remembers that she's the Earth-2 Supergirl, but do all the characters recall all their pre-Infinite Crisis lives, or only the ones that were really cocked up by their reboots (no wonder Hawkman hasn't really shown himself yet--the poor guy's probably off whimpering in some corner after suddenly remembering each of his revamps. And no wonder the real Aquaman is missing from "Sword of Atlantis"--forcibly recalling all his ill-conceived reboots must have put him into a coma!). The biggest dose of what the current "history" of the DCU must be at the moment seems to have been JLA #0, which seems to have put at least most of Wonder Woman's previous continuity back in place, at least as regards her JLA career, but other than that, remains pretty vague. I'm still hoping someone will explain why the Angelo Bend Angle Man who's been appearing in "Catwoman" lately bears absolutely no resemblance to any version of that character who's ever appeared in "Wonder Woman"--if all they wanted was a nutbar that kills people with drafting tools, why not create someone new, like "T-Square" or "The Protractor"?

-Mindbender

Rob S. said...

So it is the current Sword of Atlantis stuff you don't like. Fair enough. I guess what confused me was that you lumped it in with stuff to lose from the DCU's past, when this is something that hadn't occured until after New Earth formed.

Personally, I love the book -- it's one of my favorite OYL revamps.

joncormier said...

Man I'm just upset they kept Grace around on the Outsiders. What's her point? She's like a tatto you got while vacationing somewhere and now you wish you weren't drunk enough to think a Smurf smoking a joint was actually a good thing to permanently attach to your ankle.

Scipio said...

Nice one, jon...

Peter said...

Scipio, I'm onboard with all your proposed changes, but you left out:

Emerald Twilight/Kyle Rayner/Parallax
Hal Jordan as Spectre
The Trial of Barry Allen
That post-New Teen Titans Teen Titans
Supergirl/Matrix, the Pocket Universe
Electro-Superman
Superman Red/Blue
Superman marrying Lois
The Crisis on Infinite Earths
Identity Crisis
Infinite Crisis

Matthew E said...

Why stop there? I think DC started going downhill on page 2 of Action Comics #1. Why don't we roll it back to there?

Ununnilium said...

And the King of Town would be underground in a box filled up with peeeeeeeeas...

Too much retconning annoys me. But I like a lot of what DC's publishing now. So I'm happy. Not without complaints, of course, but I think that, in the balance, the post-IC DCU is good.

Rohan Williams said...

I've been enjoying the OYL books that I've read, and I agree with matthew here- it seems like some people want to throw everything out.

I like that they didn't make too many massive, sweeping "Literally everything you know is wrong and your favourite character is totally different now!" changes, and went more with a bit of tightening up here and there while reintroducing elements of pre-Crisis history.

Anyway, do we know for a fact that all the things Scip mentioned ARE still in-continuity? 'Knightfall' and Azrael, for example?

Scipio said...

The gloves in Manhunter's costume were Azrael's (Manhunter #15).

But I would happily buy her new gloves if it meant we could forget Azrael and Bane and Shondra Kinsolving's Magical Healifying Hands.

Timothy Burke said...

I think what Rob S. said is the big point.

There are bad stories. There will always be bad stories. I don't demand that they never have happened, I just forget them (or never buy them in the first place).

What I would like DC to forget is simply the ill-advised changes to character designs, major shifts in characterization, very bad plot ideas that for some reason writers continue to reproduce or refer to, or editorial dictates that shackle the writers in various ways.

I was just re-reading a Secret Society of Supervillains special the other day, the one where Angle Man was reintroduced. What's interesting is how it ends: the villains find out the heroes' identities, basically kill them one-by-one, but use the Angler to put them all into limbo just before they die. Captain Comet comes along at the very end to save Superman, and then uses his telepathic powers to *wipe the memory of anything the villains learned about the heroes from their minds*. No biggie: all the heroes basically just stand arms akimbo and say, "Thanks, Cap'n!"

But because someone later on told a story where the very same action was turned into an enormous ethical breach (rather than a debatable choice), we're now saddled with a company-wide dictate to have characters react in various ways, and the whole thing gets constantly replayed again and again.

It's rather like what I hated most about Knightfall/Azrael, which wasn't the Shonda Kinsolving thing, it was the determination to show fans that they really didn't want a Batman who was more badass. Just like some of IC was aimed at saying, "You don't really want some of the gentleness of the Silver Age back". I think any time creators get involved in debating their audience through the medium of their characters, the creators are out of touch with their real jobs, which is to tell stories that dazzle and delight.

So in pursuit of that, by all means, I invite DC to forget the stories which make it *difficult* to dazzle and delight. Bloodlines doesn't make it difficult: it's easily forgotten as a load of crap. Cosmic Odyssey doesn't make it difficult: it's long since been forgotten in later stories with John Stewart and in Simonson's Orion; you can just take Fatality and forget most of her backstory. But some of the other bad choices DC has made are what economists call "path-dependent", they keep coming back and getting in the way of good stories in the here and now.

Anonymous said...

I hate Sword of Atlantis. It will take years to get the REAL Aquaman back.

I hate OYL. DC spent two years building up to a Crisis (pardon the pun) moment in the DCU--and they DUMPED IT. Ran from it, more like. We were denied all the DRAMA of the big guns' trying to reconcile their problems. There's no way any of this OYL stuff is as interesting as these issues SHOULD have been if they had continued the fallout of Infinite Crisis.

I hate the post-COIE DCU. By 1994 it was apparent that the Crisis revamp was in CHAOS. And it's only gotten worse since then. I can read new DC comics and enjoy them in isolation, but I cannot and dare not "invest" in any DC character because they keep changing all the time. I'm no big fan of Marvel, but their comics are a HELLUVA lot better than DCs right now. Read Captain America or Daredevil to see how to make a very old character with tons of continuity baggage INTERESTING without some kind of lame revamp.

I hate ROOKIE characters. I'm bored to death with newbie heroes and their "year one" struggles. Give me a VETERAN any day. "Year one" stories are only interesting AFTER we've come to care about them as regular heroes.

I hate REVAMPS. I hate the new Atom, new Aquaman, and the rest. If DC wants to sell a new character, INVENT one. Don't just STEAL one from yourself. I don't want a recycled "Atom" logo. I want Ray Palmer. I want to read about his post-Identity Crisis life, not some anonymous nobody.

acespot said...

Kill Zero hour. It made as much sense in Jurgens' backup to 52 as it did the first time around...that is to say, none. At least simplify it so that it makes sense. Likewise with the Armageddon storylines.

Millennium is just stupid, stupid, stupid! Sorry, Englehart.

Genesis is awful.

Superman Red/Superman Blue and ElectroSupes also have to be disposed of.

They've already gotten rid of Byrne's Doom Patrol, thank God.

Rob S. said...

While I understand the sentiment (even if I don't necessarily agree) this made me laugh:

I want Ray Palmer. I want to read about his post-Identity Crisis life, not some anonymous nobody.

Says anonymous.

Ununnilium said...

...dangit, I was about to make the anonymous/anonymous point. Rob S. is now my archenemy.

Rob S. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob S. said...

Excellent! I blame you for all my hair falling out.

Scipio said...

I agree with much of what you say, Tim. However, "the very same action was turned into an enormous ethical breach" isn't quite so.

It wasn't the memory wiping that was the breach of ethics, it was the personality-altering "magical lobotomies". Forcibly altering someone's persona is rather a step beyond just eliminating a bit a data.

That's not just my reading, but Brad's intention.

Gokitalo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gokitalo said...

Eep, looks like I'm late to the party. Ah well: although everyone's probably moved on to the newer, fine postings of the Absorbascon, I'd like to say a few things anyway.

"I'd personally get rid of Underworld Unleashed. A few villains who couldn't quite seem to make it to the big time got turned into some grosteqe and hideous monsters. Problem is, the majority of us seemed to like those villains."

I definitely agree with you about the villains, particularly Charaxes. But the reason I wouldn't want it to go away is because I think James Robinson was able to tie it into Starman brilliantly (without spoiling too much, let's just say Neron doesn't like taking "no" for an answer).

And that brings up another point I'd like to make. While post-Crisis DCU had its fair of bad stories, we also got quite a good few things out of it. As Scipio and I think someone else said, without "Knightfall" and the Darkstars, we wouldn't have gotten Kate's Manhunter armor. And as other people have said, without "Bloodlines," we wouldn't have gotten "Hitman." Without "Zero Hour," we wouldn't have gotten Starman and many of the JSA's current members. Without “Emerald Twilight”/Parallax/”Zero Hour,” we wouldn’t have Hal carry that guilt, which, again as others have said, makes him more interesting.

"Hear, hear. I've noticed that almost anyone could run these comic book companies better than the people who do."

"Really? Because I've noticed that only people who have no conception of the pitfalls and demands of the creative process make statements that so effortless combine equal measures of arrogance and ignorence. Personally I would love it if all the people who insisted they could do a better job running these companies actually were given the chance to do so, if only to see how quickly they turn into pathetic weeping shells of humanity haunted by the nattering voices of all the critics decrying them for their crimes against comics."

No disrespect to Bat-Mite, but I gotta agree with Allan on this one. I'm no comics professional, but I have no doubt that running a comic company is a very, very difficult task. Just imagine having to keep track of all the titles coming out, who's doing what, what needs promoting, etc., etc. Not to mention that with almost anything you do, there's almost always going to be a vocal group (usually on the Internet) that disagrees with what you've done and believes they can do a much better job than you can.


"The Superman/ Barda porno was actually softcore and is frequently shown at The Watchtower on movie night."

Actually, John Byrne says on his web site that he was trying to make it ambiguous enough so if you want to believe they did a porno film, you can, and if you don't want to believe they did, you also can. Haven't read the story myself yet, so I'm not sure if he made it as ambiguous as he believes.

"Hush was awesome, and should have stayed a one time Hush storyline, with like Hush having some kind of terminal cancer and dying wanting to kill his old friend."

Either that, or he should have been left unused for a much longer period of time.

"Anybody think with the sales of Infinite Crisis and 52 that we'll start to see a resurgence of big huge mega-crossover events like Invasion?

Is it possible they could do something like that better, knowing what they know now?

Yeah, me neither."

Haha, though I don't think we'll see any more mega-crossovers from DC for the time being. Dan Didio has said in interviews that he wants to stay away from them right now.

"imho, the biggest problem with the 'history' backups in 52 was that they merely recapped the comics that we'd already read, and told us just about nothing of the current history of the most recent incarnation of the DCU."

I would have liked it if the backups had covered what has changed in the history of the DCU, but I didn't mind the recapping of events seen in previous comics: after all, bringing new readers up to speed always helps ;)

"Scipio, I'm onboard with all your proposed changes, but you left out:

Emerald Twilight/Kyle Rayner/Parallax
Hal Jordan as Spectre
The Trial of Barry Allen
That post-New Teen Titans Teen Titans
Supergirl/Matrix, the Pocket Universe"

Dan DiDio also said in an interview that Linda Danvers/Supergirl/Matrix was a victim of the changes of New Earth... or the Superboy punches, I forget. Which kind of messes up a couple of Superman stories still in continuity.

Finally, concerning the original post: I think the problem with getting rid of all those stories and rewriting them/replacing them with something else is, aside from it being disrespectful to previous writers, it would have taken far too much work when a reboot could have solved the problem in a snap. Not that I wanted "Infinite Crisis" to reboot the DCU, mind you, but it would have been less confusing than making minor changes to the DCU’s past without showing how this may affect the past on a wider level. I’m starting to think that maybe the “History of the DCU” backups and Mark Waid’s “Secret Origins” backups should have been expanded to a “History of the DCU” miniseries. But I digress.

Back on topic: I also think that if the writers had spent all that time undoing/changing the past, they wouldn't have spent nearly enough time and effort on the present. Similarly, this is why I'm okay with DC explaining away most of its continuity glitches with "they were caused by Superboy-Prime punching the wall of reality." Some call it lazy, but can you imagine how daunting it would have been if the writers had tried to explain every single continuity error away individually? By the time they would have finished, there would no doubt be brand new continuity glitches and errors to fix.