Thursday, June 16, 2011

DC Reboots Christianity and 52 Other Things, Too

Okay, now that the bloom of the DCU's reboot has blossomed through the September solicitations, let's see how it smells, shall we?

First, though I want to thank Newsarama for breaking the news that DC is rebooting Christianity, as evidenced by this headline image:

Dan Didio hastened to comfort the faithful: "All your favorites characters -- Jesus, John, that little tax-collector guy in the tree -- will still be there, still recognizable. But we have redesigned and updated their costumes for modern readers (such as Crocks rather than sandals). We're not completely throwing out 2000 years of continuity or wiping out classic storylines like The Flood/Cataclysm and The Exodus/No Man's Land. But we want to make the Christian universe more diverse, rather than just have all our heroes be Middle Eastern Jewish males who died 2000 years ago and dressed like hippies. So we'll be launching some new books in the Bible this fall, including Tobit (starring Sargon the Sorceror and Rex the Wonder Dog), the Rest of Esther/The Dreaming, the Story of Susanna/Gotham Central, Judith the Time Hunter, and Bel and the Dragon/House of Mystery."

Justice League #1. Dropped "of America"; check, good idea. Dropped Martian Manhunter; check, good idea. Hey, you know I love J'onny, but he only got in the first time by historical accident (and they never knew what to do with him there). The universe has been trying to correct that mistake ever since by sending him off-planet or having the whole damned League collapse around him every time he tries to re-start it around himself.

Justice League International #1. Say what you will about the Griffen-era League, but the idea of a superhero NATO just plain makes sense in a world like the DCU. Besides, what better place to dump Vixen, er, I mean, give her a chance to shine, as the Crimson Fox for a new generation?

Aquaman #1. "Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis." Thank Neptune. The introduction of Atlantis as a player/setting in the Aquaverse was the key event that derailed Aquaman's development; all the rest was just the slow unraveling of the character.

Wonder Woman #1. "The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?" Wow; that's clever and bold. In 1940, the odd thing about Wonder Woman was that... she was a woman. Face it; that's not particularly odd any more in the world of DC superheroes. But the fact that she's, in essence, a mythological creature? Very odd; creepy, really. Smart move, DC.

The Flash #1. "The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who really can!" Excellent; a new appropriately-powered villain for the Flash. Because, your affection for them and Geoff Johns's attempts at bad-assification aside, the Rogues have always been a bunch of pansies and feebs.

Captain Atom #1. Hm. I was kind of hoping they'd lump him in with the Wildstorm bunch; that's when I learned to like him, during his travels in the Wildstormyverse.

Firestorm #1. Jason and Ronnie; I like it (to the degree I could ever like Firestorm). And if I'm guessing right from that cover, either one of them will be able to evoke/control Firestorm, giving him two different appearances; nice touch.

Green Arrow #1. Sigh. Well, if there must be a Green Arrow (which is apparently the comic book version of eating our daily bread soaked in the sweat of our brows) having him be a vigilante who isn't afraid of what that word actually means is as good a use as any.

Hawkman #1. Sounds like we're reasserting the character's roots as the flying Indiana Jones; I'm all for it.

Mister Terrific #1. GREAT! His light was always hid under the bushel of the JSA, where he seemed mostly (and very inappropriately) to function as Dr Mid-Nite's nurse. And actually characteristizing him as non-miserable? Sign me up.

DC Comics Presents #1. I love potpourri series; yay! Not all characters should get their own books, nor should they necessarily be relegated to being a bit player in someone else's story or in a mega-crossover. Give these characters a playground where writers can play with them.

Action #1. Putting the "cornerstone of the entire DCU" in the hands of addlepated ex-pat pom whose writing is nearly incomprehensible to the man on the street? Oh, yeah; great idea *eyeroll*.

Superboy #1. "Can a clone develop a conscience?" Gee, maybe if Superman actually mentors him this time, yes.

Batman #1. Sounds like there's a new committment to making Gotham City a character in its own right. Another victory for the fictionopolis!

Detective #1. "The Gotham Ripper"? That's not particularly original, but I'm certainly in favor of a book where Batman chases (comparatively) normal criminals, rather than spending all his spare time whipping up Brother Eye off panel or polishing his green kryptonite ring.

Batwing #1. The Batman of Africa? Okay, I'll buy that. I mean the concept, not the comic; it's Winick, after all. Doesn't Marvel wish they'd thought of black Batman-like character protecting an African community?

The Dark Knight #1. "The unexpected ramifications of Batman Incorporated"? Like, lawsuits? Unexpected by WHOM? Not anyone in the world I live in!

Batman and Robin #1. Damian. Ugh. So if 'our favorite important stories' are still in continuity, does that include the time Damian decapitated the Spook...?

Batgirl #1. Ah... there's Batgirl. Good.

Batwoman #1. With Bette Kane as her sidekick, Flamebird? Heh heh; excellent.

Nightwing #1. If they just squint when they read it, those Batman Beyond fans could be SO happy. But I think Batman Beyond fans are like Spider-Man fans: they don't really want to be happy.

Catwoman #1. "Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good." Ah... there's Catwoman. Good.

Birds of Prey #1. Hm, Starling, eh? Okay, I'm in.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. So, Jason Todd, Arsenal, and Starfire walk into a bar ... . Well, at least, they've finally found a way to make me identify with Jason Todd: "Jason has absolutely no interest in this motley crew of outlaws. "

Green Lantern #1 and GLCorps #1. Really, all I want is for Hal to be funny again. Can we have some of that? And funny not as in "Ryan Reynolds is funny" but funny as in "he got hit in the head with a WHAT?!?!"

New Guardians #1. Hm; interesting use of the Crayola Corps... and of Kyle.

Red Lanterns #1. I guessing this is for old-school Spectre-style retribution from people we don't have to pretend are heroes.

Justice League Dark #1. Wow; wish I'd thought of this! Oh, right; I did.

Swamp Thing #1. Monsters return to the DCU. Good.

Animal Man #1. Buddy as family man was always one of the things that distinguished his modern character. It's a sensible tack to take, though I'm not sure I'll sail too far in that direction.

Frankstein #1, I Vampire #1, Resurrection Man #1. The kids, they just love the un-dead!

Demon Knights #1. Not for me, of course, but not a bad pitch for all those Harry Potter, RenFair, Tolkienist types. You know, the ones even we comic book nerds can beat up.

Stormwatch #1. Finally, a place where the Martian Manhunter seems like the normal one. Besides, Apollo and Midnight in the DCU proper...? Can't fight that.

Voodoo #1. If Mary Sue had a daughter by Klaw the Unconquered.

Grifter #1. Smells like Captain Triumph. Still, it may just be weird enough in the DCU to work.

Deathstroke #1. Kill me now, Slade, please; before your comic comes out.

Suicide Squad #1. Like the JLI, another hard-to-avoid concept. Yet... a slippery slope toward the Revolving Door of Death...?

O.M.A.C. #1. DC, if you really love Jack Kirby as much as you say you do, let him rest in peace.

Blackhawks #1 and Men of War #1. Yeah, you can laugh at these all you want. But I've got plenty of deployed friends who won't mind reading about military types kicking the butts of terrorists and their ilk. These are also the titles I am most likely to gift as digital subscriptions.

All-Star Western #1. GUTS: DC's got 'em. Brains? The jury is still out. But Gray and Palmiotti writing Jonah Hex in Gotham working with Amadeus Arkham is a can't-miss proposition.

Teen Titans #1. The Junior League of Icons (Tim, Cassie, Connor, and Bart) plus some forgettable tofu characters (Dirt Bag! Bug Chick!) to fluff up the recipe. Pretty much the best one can hope for, I suppose, outside of the Young Justice tv series.. But no Aqualad? Gotta fix that, DC.

Static Shock #1. Of course, we all love Static. But is this perhaps why Black Lightning is among the missing...?

Hawk & Dove #1. Seems someone remembers what H&D were originally about: the inherent political tensions in America. With the added bonus of dating dead people, which is always funny.

Blue Beetle #1. Jaime Reyes was once the most promising sensational character find of our era. Now, perhaps he can be again.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1. "The Legion of Super-Heroes has been decimated by the worst disaster in its history. " Um, yeah, in Legion-land we call that "a Monday". Alien threat to the entire U.P.? Yup; Tuesday. The Legion never needs to be anything different than what it always is; it just needs to be done well.

Legion Lost #1. Sounds like one of my grandfather's old headlines: "Team benchwarmers sent back to temporal minor leagues". Still, Legionaires Stuck in the Past stories are a staple of the Legion genre, and usually do a lot to make their participants into relatable, interesting characters, so it's a smart move.

What's YOUR take on this 52 pick-up of titles?


Bonehead XL said...

I really really hate that they made King Shark a hammerhead.

Scipio said...

Yes, I thought that was an odd change myself.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

They jettisoned the Golden Age at last: no more JSA book, Sgt. Rock and the Blackhawks are in the modern day. Leave the Big One in the past, where it belongs. That'll help with the rolling timeline problems a heck of a lot.

I'm kind of stoked that DC took the artistic risk of adapting a Jim Thompson novel into a comic, but the 1990 Stephen Frears movie version of it was so good that I can kinda see it. Is that dude with the red hanky over his face the John Cusack character? Regardless, good on ya, DC.

The Red Lanterns, led by a monstrous-looking immortal beast named "Atrocitus," are a group of aliens whose power to destroy manifests in rage-fueled blood-vomit. Is that the most Metal concept in mainstream comic book history? On a scale of one to Slayer, that's at least a Danzig. If "Red Lantern" could be shown to twelve year old boys across the nation, I'd wager it to be a license to print money.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Oh, and as a huge Kirby fan, I totally agree. Leave OMAC alone. Leave the New Gods alone. Just let 'em be. They're done. It's okay. A few of Kirby's characters could still work (I'm convinced that a well-made "Kamandi" book would be great, and could even sell to the regular folks out there), but the Fourth World and OMAC? Nah.

The World That's Coming has gone.

Anonymous said...

"The Legion never needs to be anything different than what it always is."

Strong truth, that.

SallyP said...

I'm alternating between euphoria (Blue Beetle and Resurrection Man and All-Star Western) and terror (Deathstroke and Hawk & Dove). Oh, and some of the other books look interesting too.

Anonymous said...

I tell ya whut, this actually looks like a good jumping-on point for the Batman family. Between Tomasi on "Batman and Robin" and Simone on "Batgirl", I may not have any choice but to take the plunge.

CobraMisfit said...

No Booster? A small part of me has died.

Forget that, a large part.

Aw well. This'll be an interesting development for DC, especially considering it erases/resets some major plot lines.

Crossing fingers it delivers.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention erasing characters. Looks like Kon-el/Conner Kent is...gone. :-(

Scipio said...

Connor isn't gone; as mentioned in the post, he's one of the stars of the Teen Titans title.

Jeff R. said...

On the other hand, most of the JSA are gone if Superman is really the first super-hero.

(Unless they/GMoz is going the Supreme route and having a literally ageless Superman who debuts in the 30's.)

I mean, I suppose there's room for legacy nonpowered costumed types like the first Mr. Teriffic and the GA Sandman, but it'll be awfully hard to fit Jay Garrick or Alan Scott in a world where that description is true and Superman does debut somewhere around 10 years ago.

Scipio said...

Perhaps it is simply time to let those characters rest. During the Silver and Bronze Ages those characters did not exist on "our Earth", and yet it kept spinning. The JSA only became "essential" comparatively recently.

Besides the concept of the JSA -- the original JSA -- was NOT that they were Earth's greatest heroes, earliest heroes, legacy heroes, the original heroe team, or any such thing. In fact, quite the opposite. They were, frankly, the also-rans who didn't have enough popularity to have their own books; one of the rules was, once you got your own book you LEFT the JSA. Yes, really.

Nor were the properly a 'team', in the way that we think of one today. They almost never fought together; they each tackled different parts of larger problem, designed specifically to give each one an opportunity for a small solo adventure. The JSA was essentially ...

wait for it...

an anthology title, one with a loose narrative to link the individual adventures together. They were not a TEAM; they were a Society.

Scipio said...

I forgot to make my point.... ;)

The point is:

the original concept of the JSA is still very possible to introduce. And Mister Terrific would be a very likely candidate to start it up.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I can't imagine a JSA that didn't come first and wasn't tied to WWII in some fashion. That's kind of central to them. Even if they didn't fight Nazis directly that often, they were born of the great defining Manichean conflict of the twentieth century (at least that's what it is from America's perspective).

On the other hand, in my mind, Kal-El from Krypton needs to be the first of superheroes.

Here's how Anonymous is thinking we could have our cake and eat it too, and I admit even I think this is kind of idiotic. But has that ever stopped comics? NEVER!

- Superman was the first hero, maybe as much as 15 years ago. Batman and Wonder Woman followed shortly after.

- The first team to form was the JSA, which was a loose association of Alan Scotts, Jay Garricks, and so on. They met only occasionally, and their role was ill-defined. The Big Three worked with them on rare occasions.

- The JSA got sent to WWII times by Dr. Convenient Time Shift and went on some covert missions for FDR, and eventually returned to the present (probably not exactly at the moment they left; maybe a two year gap occurred).

- While the JSA was gone, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman took the JSA idea to the next level to form a JLA.

- When the JSA returned, they expanded their deal in the model of the JLA.

We're left with a JSA that is still fairly young yet fought in WWII, a Big Three who came first, a gap in time to allow for the development of legacy heroes, and no more pesky aging problems.

Jeff R. said...

I'm still not completely convinced we won't end up with a nearly centenarian Superman. Alan Moore made it work in Supreme, and Johns (the likely main architect of nu-Earth) clearly loves nothing better than retreading Moore's ideas.

Of course, I'd prefer a Generational Superman Legacy, but that's too risky for this crew. Maybe for the next reboot, when the timeline from the old Superman 2020 backups will be ready-to-use...

Accursed Interloper said...

A DCU with no JSA is just wrong, wrongity wrong wrong. Not right. Hard to accept. Disconcerting. Unsatisfactory. And wrong.
A Lobo-free multiverse is something, iznit? Maybe I can grudgingly reluctantly come to accept it ... maybe, somehow, eventually.

Steve Mitchell said...

"They were, frankly, the also-rans who didn't have enough popularity to have their own books; one of the rules was, once you got your own book you LEFT the JSA. Yes, really."

Hawkman was an also-ran? Them's fighting words!

And the rule about leaving the team once you got your own book was eventually rescinded; the Flash and Green Lantern came back, Wonder Woman joined the team even though she already had her own book, and even Batman and Superman showed up for one adventure.

"A DCU with no JSA is just wrong, wrongity wrong wrong."

I agree; fortunately, there are several versions of the DCU that include the JSA that we can return to with pleasure. The Reboot-U does not preclude the existence of other, better DCUs.

Jimmy said...

Ten years ago Superman debuts. Then Batman debuts. Other Golden Age characters debut. The Society form in Gotham. Wonder Woman joins. Most of them get kidnapped in a sting operation set up by Stormwatch.

Wonder Woman and Hawkman didn't get captured. With the help of a reformed Society now called The League, Barry taking Jay's place, Hal for Alan and Ray for Al they do a rescue mission for the Society and other captured heroes and get them a pardon. Then Infinity Inc. members can get new origins like Huntress and the old concept can thrive on Earth-2 because they frankly aren't important to main Earth as The League is to The Society.

This could all happen in 5 years. There's plenty of room for Silver Age characters without erasing and retiring Golden Age characters. No more aging, no more real time, no more FDR politics, no more War. The Society should be mystery men not government agents. The League should be its legacy not Infinity Inc.

Jimmy said...

With more exposure Alan Scott and Jay Garrick shouldn't be dismissed as has-been failures. They should be reinvented. Hal Jordan may have been my Green Lantern because of Super Friends, but Alan Scott was love at first sight.

Infinity Inc. and subsequent bad story lines won't stop me from wanting the core concept as a schizophrenic man who made his own magic ring from a green meteor (stupid starheart retcon be damned) and brought justice in a Gotham that should of had an already established Batman where they team up and are uneasy with each other, but can grow to respect one another.

I love Hal Jordan, but he'll never be Alan, he'll never have his cool origin, cool costume, villains (that's because Superman and Batman steal them) or supporting cast (they are all dead because of rampant aging so Hal can’t even befriend them).

You know who definitely will never be Alan Scott? Jade and Obsidian. They're yuppie mutants lacking altruism and classic appeal. They appeal to others, but not me.

mrjl said...

The absence of the JSA also removes a lot of modern characters.

TotalToyz said...

"They were, frankly, the also-rans who didn't have enough popularity to have their own books"

Frankly, the same could be said of almost any super-hero team. Look at the Justice League of America. For the moment only considering the team from its inception up to the Detroit Era, look how many members never had their own book in that time: Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Zatanna, Hawkgirl/woman. Aquaman only had his own book for roughly 9 years; Atom and Hawkman, less than that. Firestorm was without a solo book when he joined the JLA and only got one later. Even Green Lantern was without a solo book for several years. And the same could be said of the memberships of teams like the Avengers, Defenders, and pretty much any team; although it doesn't count when discussing teams comprised of members created for the team book itself, like the Fantastic Four and X-Men.

Anonymous said...

A Superboy appears in Titans, yes.

But that whole "can a clone grow a conscience?" thing sounds like they're erasing all his character development.

LissBirds said...

None of this looks good to me. No Booster Gold book. What's the JLI without the Martian Manhunter? (Or Ted Kord for that matter...if they're going back in time, he should be alive.) Stephanie Brown is gone. (So is Oracle, apparently.) And where does J'onn land? In the Stormwatch book. One big question mark.

And how are we going to abbreviate "Justice League?" Just "JL?" I really miss that third letter. Why can't it be "JLA" anymore? Call me old-fashioned, but I like that patriotic ring of "Justice League of America." Now they're just..."Justice League of...nothing..."

Malachi said...

It won't succeed as a matter of fact, that's what I believe.
metal building