When Did It All Change?
July 6, 2013

A few days ago, I joined a Facebook group that is against the new DC universe reboot which happened in Sept 2011 after the Flash Point event  (The Reboot ? Wtf !! DC Comics Relaunch Group). After reading posts there for a few days, I’ve realized the reboot is only part of my problem.  In fact, its not the current stories in the nu52 which bother me, just the fact that they cut out the history.  IMO, almost every story told could have been told with very slight if no modifications without dumping the history.  They kept the history in the Green Lantern titles, so why not the others?

It does not bother me that Cyborg is a member of the Justice League.  It bothered me more to have Superman or some other device constantly trying to convince me that the prior version of the team was the Justice League.  Cyborg is a hero with history who could be promoted up the ranks.  Nightwing served briefly, Red Arrow was a member, and the most recent team was almost all Titans and Infinity Inc members.  What bothers me is declaring that he is a founding member and that this is the founding league.  I am not upset that Martian Manhunter is not a member of the current team, but I am disturbed that he was never a member.  And that Green Arrow was denied membership.  And that Hawkman, Black Canary and others who served the team for decades were never members.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

On reflection, the real problem that I have with the DC universe is a change in direction it took about 8 years ago now.  It got darker.  I remember reading an interview where Dan Didio said that if Green Lantern and Green Arrow walked into a bar in costume everyone would cheer and buy them a round.  A thanks for their job as fire-fighters on a world wide scale.  But to him this made no sense.  Why would Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen be in costume unless there was a crisis to handle.  In other words, if they walked into a bar in costume, the logical response of the patrons would be to say “oh crap, things are about to go insane, lets get out of here.”  On that note, I have to agree.  As much as I would like to read the former, the later makes more sense.

Then Blue Beetle Ted Kord died of a gun shot to the forehead.  Donna Troy was shot point blank with a laser and died.  The fun toned Young Justice book was ended so we could have a more somber Teen Titans line up which matched the characters of the revival in the 80s, ignoring the fact that the ages were all over the place.  Identity Crisis killed off Sue Dibny, a popular secondary supporting character, gave the DCU an outright rapist, and used a minor topic no one seemed to care about to split the classic satellite Justice League.  A minor character kills off the Martian Manhunter.

I had hoped that after Brightest Day, as the name implied, the DCU would return to brighter days.  Then Flash Point hit and we never even got to see some great ideas followed up on.  Instead we got a Firestorm where a son watches his father be tortured to death and whole school of kids blown up.  Catwoman’s close associate is killed Ted Kord style.

Some of the new stories have been good.  I have particularly enjoyed most of Stormwatch and Earth 2.  But I would like it better if every every comic I opened was not met with worry that some hero or supporting cast member would end up dead or dismembered.  Some would say that the uncertainty is good storytelling.  I find it nerve wracking and unpleasant.  I think they have gone too far.

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Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.

 

 

 

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