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?