The DC Reboot

2 weeks left for the DC Universe in its current incarnation.   Come August 31st the last DC Universe stories will be told and a new DC Universe will start with the publication of JLA #1.  It won’t be, but it will be, a completely new universe.  Those elements that they want to keep will stretch forward into the new universe, but any changes they want to make can be made.

Hmm – at least I think that is what is going on.  Until comic #1 comes out on the 31st we won’t really know for sure.

One of the exciting side effects is that this month every DC title is ending.  Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, and on – all of them are publishing their final issues.  Each week this month you get the climax to a story and often a restatement of what the core principles of the character are.  That is rare is serialized comics since normally each ending is simply a transition into the next storyline.  It means that there are some meaty, nifty issues being published this month.  Secret Six and Detective both had dark endings.  Superman finally ended the abominable “Grounded” storyline.  Many other key titles are following in the next two weeks.

Here is a pro and con list or a Here’s why I am/am not excited about the reboot:

The scope is huge.  52 titles and they span the breadth of genres.  Classic Superhero, to modern quirky super-hero.  Team books and solo books.  Other genres likes horror and western are also represented.  Some of the concepts seem to be a small polishing of old ones.  Some are completed new rethinks.  One is a revamp of an idea from the 90s.

But 52 comics – So many of them are safe.  There are 11 -ELEVEN titles in the Batman part of the universe.  The Green Lantern franchise looks like it will hardly be touched (four titles).  And 5 comics – there is no way to try them all.  The scope of it boggles the mind.  How can I possibly find the good from the bad?

Back to the good – they’ve put their best creative teams to work.  Johns and Lee are on the flagship title, JLA.  Morrison is on Action Comics.  They’ve also taken a risk on new artists and writers.  That is pretty neat.

The bad – the architects of the new DCU are the same as the old.  Morrison and  Johns are at the helm.  If what they were doing in the old DCU wasn’t working for you I’m not sure that you’ll find a big tonal shift here.  It is hard to say – it depends on how much and how well the new creators on the backlist titles make their marks.  There are also some names missing in the initial launch news and some of the announced creators and just no good in my view.

The good – this has never been done before.  DC relaunched after Infinite Crisis, but it was in fits and starts.  Some comics never saw new launches, some were delayed, and some were there from the get go.  Ultimate Comics is similar, but it didn’t replace the core universe and the scale is so much smaller – I think the Ultimate universe launched with only 2 or 3 titles.  The Wildstorm relaunches over the years might be the closest… unfortunately almost every one of them was a disaster.  Hopefully Lee will not be bringing the same problems forward here.  (Many of the Wildstorm relaunches were ruined due to late books and quickly abandoned concepts.  But most of the relaunches had an idea hidden in them somewhere.)

But the concept of the story behind the relaunch seems very similar to Crisis.  I don’t get the feeling that every piece of history is being tossed out.  The Batwoman, Thunder Agents and Batman Inc launches seem to support that idea.  But then we get a problem that plagued DC in the late eighties and early nineties – no one knew what was still in continuity and what wasn’t .  This seems like such an obvious issue that I’m sure DC has addressed it.  I’m withholding worrying to much about it until I see how they are making the titles work.

I’m also just stoked about some of the titles.  Batwoman, the new Batman – although mostly because I was stoked by the same teams on the same concepts before the launch.  Wonder Woman – it was a radical new team – Azzarello and Chiang!  The return of Firestorm.  Weird concepts like Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE.  They’ve put Liefeld back on Hawk and Dove – never would I have every seen that coming.  There is a merger of the Wildstorm and DCU properties – how will that work?  But Martian Manhunter on Stormwatch seems nifty to me.

I couldn’t get all the titles, so I’ve decided to get the ones below at launch time.

I’ve stared the ones I’m pretty sure will kick butt and I’ve put a ^ beside the ones that I’m taking a risk on.

  • Justice League #1 – by Geoff Johns & Jim Lee *
  • Wonder Woman #1 – by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang *
  • The Fury of Firestorm #1 – by Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone & Yildiray Cinar ^
  • DC Universe Presents #1 – by Paul Jenkins & Bernard Chang ^
  • Batman #1 – by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo *
  • Birds of Prey #1 – by Duane Swierczynski & Jesus Saiz
  • Batwoman #1 – by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman & Amy Reeder *
  • Swamp Thing #1 – by Scott Snyder & Yannick Paquette *
  • Animal Man #1 – by Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman & Dan Green ^
  • Demon Knights #1 – by Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert
  • Frankenstein, Agent of Shade #1 – by Jeff Lemire & Alberto Ponticelli
  • Resurrection Man #1 – by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning & Fernando Dagnino
  • I, Vampire #1 – by Joshua Fialkov & Andrea Sorrentino ^
  • Hawk & Dove #1 – by Sterling Gates & Rob Liefeld ^
  • Stormwatch #1 – by Paul Cornell & Miguel Sepulveda ^
  • Grifter #1 – by Nathan Edmondson, Cafu & BIT ^
  • Action Comics #1 – by Grant Morrison & Rags Morales *
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