I’m not including certain things that could admittedly be corrected simply by adding the characters back in, like the fact that Stephanie Brown and Wally West are missing, among others.
Sure there are some very good books published by DC right now, but those are good thanks to the writers they put on them!
I’d like to say it wasn’t worth it, but in reality, they are selling a lot more since they did it. But here’s what bothers me.The sales are a result of two factors.
The first factor, and the biggest, is the hype of the reboot itself. No matter how they had handled it, those sales were guaranteed already.
The second? DC doesn’t seem to realize that their strong sales are not thanks to some stupid decisions but rather despite them. The new DCU is selling well because of its hype and thanks to some titles where they put the right writers and artists to do the job, like Batman, Animal Man, Aquaman and a few others. Those factors are what make fans put up with titles where they did the opposite (Liefeld & Lobdell come to mind) and stupid editorial decisions.
The part of sales that aren’t hype are those that come from good storytelling or fans sticking to a character they love no matter what. Every time DC does things like denying Stephanie Brown to fans, telling us Tim Drake was never Robin, telling us all the awesome Teen Titans stories from the past never happened… Every time, they make the real fans of the DCU disgusted and tired of that crap. Honestly, I think the best aspects of the previous DCU were built from changes and character development. Wally West replacing Barry Allen worked and didn’t need to be changed. Barbara Gordon will forever be a lot more interesting a character as Oracle than as Batgirl. And so on. For all of its claims to being the ‘new’ DCU, it sure feels like the DCU of the 70’s!
Once the hype has died down, only the real fans of the DCU that care about it will remain. Except they are pushing those fans away. The ones that are aboard DC for its current hype are easily swayed. Marvel NOW is coming and many will go to the next new shiny thing.
I myself have decided not to buy issues #0 of ‘Batgirl’, ‘Teen Titans’ and ‘Red Hood & the Outlaws’. (Let me elaborate on why those are particularly relevant to me and this article) They’re all series I gave a chance to when they first started and then dropped, but I was initially going to get issues #0 of them anyway. Because I’m a Batman fan. Because no matter what, I wanted to know the characters’ ‘new’ origins. But you know what? I’ve decided to stop doing that. It’s that kind of fan behavior that makes companies treat their fans the way they do. Do I approve of Barbara Gordon never having been Oracle? No. DC, I won’t give you money to tell me she never was Oracle. Do I like what Lobdell is doing with past Robins Tim and Jason, or how he changes the Batman continuity needlessly in the worst way possible? No. DC, I won’t give you my money for Scott Lobdell stories.
I no longer care if it’s a story that completely changes the status quo or whatever. I will skip issues of a cross-over if they have to go into titles that insult me as a fan. I will boycott stuff I don’t like even if it means no longer being the Batman connaisseur I have always been up until this point. “No, I’ve never read Lobdell’s story of how Tim Drake became Red Robin in the new DCU. Yeah, I guess I’m not a real Batman fan now since I don’t know all the details!”
This basically means that DC is behaving in such a way that I’m becoming less of a fan in certain ways, despite that I’ve been following Batman comics since I was 8 years old! And I was the guy who took pride in knowing the most useless details of Batman’s history! “Batman’s utility belt had capsules and not pouches during the oval emblem/blue-and-gray outfit era!”
I’m not naive, of course the New 52 was good for DC as a business up until now. But, despite the incredible sales… I seriously think that if they continue to do things like that to us, in the long-term they are causing more harm than good for their characters. In the long-term, which is what really matters, they might lose more people than they gained.
Or maybe I’m being petty about the loss of a fictional universe I loved so much and I’m just convincing myself that DC will be punished for their lack of respect towards their own fans and characters. I can’t really tell anymore. I just know I wish the reboot had never happened. I hate it. I hate that Batman, who at first seemed mostly unaffected by the reboot, is now having his history mauled by poor writers and stupid editorial decisions.
Seriously, what did the New 52 that rebooted the continuity of the DC universe really bring us? (Yes DC, rebooted, not relaunched!)
- The Teen Titans were cooler pre-New 52.
- The chronology for the Bat-Family in the New 52 makes no sense and has been altered for the worst. (Jason Todd blaming Bruce for ‘letting the Joker kill him’ when in the previous continuity he actually didn’t blame him for that but rather for not having killed the Joker after. The fact that there are too many Robins for a five-year span. Even if you consider that Batman has been around a bit longer, then you’d have to make Batman older than the other heroes. And while I’m fine with an older Batman [I even prefer Batman to be in his thirties], I’m less fine with the idea that Superman is younger than him. Either way…)
- The heroes are acting like they used to anyway for the most part. There was no point. Batman or Superman don’t act like they’re in their early to mid twenties anyway, nor do the writers write them as such. Except for Nightwing/Dick Grayson, who is acting and looking much older than he should be now. Might as well have kept guys like Batman, Superman, Hal Jordan and others of that generation in their early to mid-thirties! (I’m just happy they messed with Batman very minimally)
- The Flash lost just about ALL of his extended cast!
- Barbara Gordon was so much better as Oracle. And just to clarify, it’s not about the wheelchair. I just thought she was more useful to the DC universe as Oracle, and different from all the other heroes out there.
- The integration of the Wildstorm characters wasn’t a bad thing, I think Stormwatch is a cool addition to the DCU. That’s one thing.
- A lot of the good stuff that happened in the New 52 happened despite it, not thanks to it. Scott Snyder was already doing a great job with Batman in ‘Detective Comics’. ‘Swamp Thing’, ‘Animal Man’, ‘Demon Knights’, etc… They could all have gotten made in the old continuity with very few changes, if any. (And if some changes needed to be made, there’s always the soft retcon that happens more discreetly rather than re-starting everything, like they did with Superman in the past few years before Flashpoint) I think the only series where I can see a full retcon was needed for the current approach was ‘Aquaman’. That’s the one place where I’d agree, because previously he was respected in the DC universe and to have him become laughing stock out of nowhere would have been odd.
- Superman. He lost his wife and red undies and gained a hard to pinpoint characterization. At least I used to know who he was… In fact, I still know who he is. He’s Superman. This retcon shall pass… Not in the sense that they’ll officially undo it, but a few years from now writers will make him more and more like he used to be.
My final opinion? If they wanted to restart all their series with new creative teams, they didn’t need such a drastic rework of their continuity to do it. I honestly cannot think of any changes I’ve liked other than for Aquaman and Stormwatch, which do not make up for all the good that was lost.
Hey guys, remember when Superman defeated the Hulk in ‘Marvel v.s DC’ during the 90’s, but it took him all he had?
Or when Superman fought and defeated Thor in ‘JLA/Avengers’ and it took him all he had?
Yeah, I’m sorry, but those stories are flawed. In fact, almost every fight Superman gets in is flawed.
Sure, both the Hulk and Thor are at Superman’s level of strength… But everyone seems to forget that Superman has freaking SUPER-SPEED!!!
Even when they remember, it’s like he uses it for a second or two of the fight and then goes back to the same speed as his opponent!
Superman fighting Thor or the Hulk is like the Flash fighting a normal human!
In fact, one of the few comics I’ve ever seen where Superman applies his powers in a logical and effective way against another character in tights is in an out-of-continuity comic, ‘Lex Luthor: Man of Steel’. In this story, Batman intends to confront Superman with some kryptonite. Sure, Supes can’t get near Bats in that case… Except why would he even worry about that?
Superman just uses his super-breath to force Batman off the gargoyle he was perched on, causing him to lose the kryptonite. As Batman tries to use his grappling hook to catch himself while attempting to grab the falling kryptonite, Superman simply uses his super-speed to grab Batman’s rope, pull him away from the kryptonite and knock him out. Simple as that.
Is Superman overpowered? That’s not the point. The point is that he DOES have all those powers, and since he has them he should use them all the time!
For those who don’t know, ‘Rule 63’ is the term used by fans to describe the act of switching a fictional character’s gender.
For example, during the ‘Superman/Batman’ comic-book series, Batman met his Rule 63 counterpart and that of Superman’s from another universe:
And now that Rule 63 has been explained…
I’ve personally always found Poison Ivy to be one of the most disturbing villains in comic-books.
I’m serious, I find her more disturbing than many of her counterparts in Batman’s Rogues Gallery. For those who are unfamiliar with the character, she’s a man-hating eco-friendly villain who has control over plants, can create toxins from her body and can emit pheromones that allow her to control men, causing them to artificially feel love for her. (And depending on the writer, sometimes she can affect women too.) Even a hero like Batman has to use all of his willpower to resist her effects when they meet.
So what makes her more disturbing (to me at least) than say, Scarecrow? Well, let’s have a look at THIS scene, where not even Robin is safe from stuff like that happening to him:
So we have an established hero mind-raped, humiliated, laughed at and leashed. Still don’t think she’s that disturbing? Okay, here’s where Rule 63 comes in to prove my point.
Imagine the scene we just saw, with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy…
Except instead of them being women, they’re men…
And instead of having a male Robin, we have a female one…
Now, replay the scene I showed earlier with all three of them, with the exact same dialog, but with the characters all under Rule 63.
And I hope Rule 63 helps me illustrate how Poison Ivy has been getting away with a lot of stuff as a character in mainstream comics for years, just because gender roles seem to blind people to certain things. Now I’m not saying male characters are treated unfairly in comic-books, I know it’s the other way around, super-hero comics have often been a male power fantasy, with heroines often wearing little more than bikinis. I’m just pointing out how Poison Ivy is basically a character centered on molesting and degrading her victims and hating the opposite sex. Sure, Dr Light was extremely disturbing and controversial as a comic-book villain when he raped Sue Dibny in ‘Identity Crisis’. So what made Dr Light so disturbing? That he seemed to hate the opposite sex and sexually abused his victims, and all that in a mainstream comic-book. But I would dare to say Poison Ivy has been getting away with that for years and no one complained about it, many women cosplay as her even. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing at all against women cosplaying as Poison Ivy, the same way I won’t tell people they shouldn’t cosplay as the Joker because of the graphic novel ‘The Killing Joke’.
Again, this isn’t a comment on gender roles in comic-books, far from it. I just wanted to point out how creepy Poison Ivy really is, because I feel like no one else seems to notice. I simply figured Rule 63 was useful to explain my point of view.