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The DCU Relaunched


We’ve been hearing rumors for weeks, ever since ‘Flashpoint’ #5 was the only issue solicited for release on August 31st, people (mainly BleedingCool.com) have been saying how DC are going to be renumbering their titles. Well I, as I am sure most of you, thought that this was a ridiculous theory; why would DC sabotage their record holding numbers on ‘Action’ and ‘Detective Comics’ even ‘Batman’, ‘Superman’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ have high issue numbers, I believed that if DC was to renumber any books, at least these titles would be safe. But apparently not…

 

Now I am sure that you have all heard the news but let me try and summarize, I will do my best to keep it civil! Dan DiDio, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee have looked back on 76 years of the DCU, 76 years of stories, character development and redesign, 76 years of loyal fans pouring their heart, soul and hard earned money into the franchise, supporting their favorite characters and watching them grow and they’re basically saying “forget about all that, this is what really happened”. After Flashpoint, in what from I will now on refer to as the post-Flashpoint Universe, all of DC’s books will be renumbered. From there, 52 new series will start, all with #1s. Admittedly I only ever see it saying ‘superhero’ titles but I believe that this encompasses all comics in the DCU, including titles like ‘Jonah Hex’.

 

This re-vamp is said to alter the characters’ origins and de-age them to better fit the modern comic book audiences, the characters will also be featuring new or altered costumes, designed by Jim Lee (as if that makes it ok). The re-vamp also sets up DC to release every comic digitally the same day as the print hits the stores. So far, the only title that is 100% confirmed is ‘Justice League’, unsolicited but set for release August 31st, this is the only promotional image we have had so far and it shows some of the new costume designs, these are my thoughts:

 

Justice League Re-Launch

 

Whilst I don’t know much about the current costumes of all of these heroes I do note that the Flash, most likely Barry Allen, has a chin-guard as well as a gold ring around his chest emblem and the lightning bolt on his arms are larger. I don’t know anything about Cyborg but Batman looks like typical Jim Lee Batman except with longer ears and a gold belt, this does mean, however, that we’ve lost the yellow oval as I’m sure that it will be Bruce Wayne Batman. Green Lantern looks pretty much unchanged and Aquaman seems to have returned to a more classical costume. Superman looks to me the only character who has been noticeably de-aged, he also appears to have a higher collar and he is missing his red trunks for blue ones. As for Wonder Woman, there have been so many changes recently that I’m not sure if this is a redesign or not but from that last image I saw of her she is missing her jacket and the gold adorning her costume has been replaced by silver.

 

This is what Dan DiDio actually said about the renumbering: ‘This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience’. I have one major problem with this… we are today’s audience! We are happy with what we are reading, if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be spending our money. This isn’t like ‘Crisis on Infinite Earth’; that had a purpose; that was cleaning up the Multiverse and fixing continuity errors that had been built up over 50 years. This is a marketing scheme and nothing else.

 

Purely from a Batman perspective, where does this leave ‘Batman: Year One?’. With altered origins, does this mean that that story is now obsolete? Then take into consideration the fact that the animated film is releasing late summer.

 

How far are things going to go back in time to be altered? Or are things going back in time? The characters are being de-aged but why does that mean that everything they’ve done can’t be condensed into a shorter time? Grant Morrison did it with Batman; he condensed Batman’s whole career into about 30 years.

 

On the subject of Grant Morrison, what’s going to happen with ‘Batman Incorporated’? Is that whole storyline being scrapped? It would appear that way and that would definitely explain #6, if Morrison is having to condense his story to fit it into the pre-Flashpoint Universe then we can expect a very rushed Leviathan storyline- a shame after having such a vision and direction for Batman for years, taking him to this new, fun Bruce and that may potentially be all forgotten about.

 

I’d also like to quickly point out that Grant Morrison may be moving to write Superman in the post-Flashpoint Universe but here lies another problem. Does this mean that this renumbering isn’t related to Flashpoint? I ask this because, as we know from ‘Flashpoint’ #1, Superman doesn’t exist in the Flashpoint Universe, however, there is a tie-in called ‘Project Superman’ and the plot is written by Scott Snyder.

 

Lots of storylines are wrapping up before August 31st, ‘Batman and Robin’ is only getting a one issue arc from David Hine in August, Scott Snyder is writing two issues a month in ‘Detective Comics’ and ‘Gates of Gotham’ (alongside Kyle Higgins) as well as a bumper final issue for ‘Detective’, all set to wrap up before August 31st. It really makes you wonder about series like ‘Batman: The Dark Knight’, Finch has apparently been getting the title on track but we’re only getting up to issue 5 before the big renumbering, does this mean that it will just carry on as a mini-series or will that somehow play into the post-Flashpoint Universe. Also, what is going to happen with ‘Batwoman’? Dan DiDio was the one who pushed the title back to November, what does that play into? Or does it? Does this mean the only ‘Batwoman we’ll see from J.H.William III is the #0 and the #1 preview? If you think about it, DC must have known about this for years, I know for a fact that they’ve been planning Flashpoint for 2 years, why would DC then release series like ‘Batman Beyond’ which is only on #6? Or ‘Xombi’? There was big hype around that book and it’s only on #3, what’s going to happen to these titles which are just in their infancy? That reminds me, what about ‘Tiny Titans’? That book is introducing kids to the modern continuity of the DCU… how are they going to explain ‘Flashpoint’ to them? “Go on kids, go burn all of those issues you’ve already read, this is how it really happened, we’re doing this for you!”.

 

That’s the thing, this is all for new readers! The reason ‘Flashpoint’ #1 was so easy to jump into was because it was aimed at readers who had never read comics before. I’m all for trying to gain new readers but this is a real kick in the teeth to every existing fan of the DCU, I’m only a recent comic reader, I’ve been collecting for about a year and a half and I’ve clawed my way into understanding the current continuity, I’ve spent lot of money going back and picking up important trades and now I’m being told that that was all a waste of time? Honestly, if I wasn’t doing the podcast I would seriously consider dropping comics all together, I just pray that I’m jumping to wild conclusions! That seems to be the way most people see this, for people interested in starting comics for the first time, congratulations, this is just what you need and seems to be popular with that crowd but far from a jumping on point, most ongoing readers are seeing this as a chance to move on.

 

Posted by Joe Jinks

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