Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm Just too Excited for (fewer than 600) Words

For those of you who haven't heard (which is probably all of you, since you have lives), DC Comics will be restarting its whole superhero universe from square one in September and offering those comics in both print and digital media every Wednesday. This means that Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and a bunch of stalwarts are going back to issue one, like, for real.

My knee-jerk was pretty much the same as Hitler's: these are characters I've known since I was knee high on a grasshopper. There's no need to change them; they're working. You can't just take everything I've so meticulously studied and do away with the entire continuity. I mean, I'm the guy who can tell you why Green Lanterns' rings are weak against the color yellow. I know why Wonder Woman has those bracelets. I know why Speedy did heroin. Hell, I know who Speedy is!

He's the one with the needle in his arm.

Then, aware I was having a Comic Book Guy ego reaction, I stopped to think about it. I mean, it's not like the stories I love (Batman: Year One, Superman for all Seasons, Rage of the Red Lanterns) never happened. They just didn't happen in this new continuity. Realizing this, I saw the possibilities of what a restart could do.

Remember that whole "yellow weakness" thing I mentioned earlier? This article can explain that, as well as what yellow rings can do. Oh, and violet, orange, indigo, red, white and black rings can do. This is all well and good (I like the spectrum), but that black rings bring something important to mind.

They can only be wielded by the dead, which means that a bunch of characters who had been alive for years were suddenly back to being dead and Black Lanterns. Jason Todd was not among them, even though the Joker had killed the second Robin and he was resurrected by Superboy Prime ("Prime" being our world) punched reality so hard he came back to life.

I'm not joking.

In the new continuity, maybe Jason's never been dead. Maybe no one will be brought back to life, but will just stay dead. Wouldn't that be just great?

Think of all the other stupid, stupid things they've had to retcon (yes, there's a portmanteau for "retroactive continuity") or explain away. All those things are gone. Imagine what else could disappear.

Without peeking, tell me which of the following powers comic book Superman has never had:

A) Super-smelling
B) Super-ventriloquism
C) Super-hypnosis
D) Super-reading retention
E) Microscopic Vision

...Done? If you answered "he's had all of those," you're right, but not necessarily so when September rolls around, the Flashpoint event ends and everything restarts.

Not even Pre-Crisis Superman could withstand this.

You may know DC has rebooted its continuity several times before, but those caused more harm than good, like when the Justice Society of America, a superteam composed of Earth-1 heroes who survived the Crisis, found Superman from Earth-22 on New Earth.

See? I won't have to tell people stuff like that with a whole-new continuity. And if you read that last link, you read Constantine von Hoffman--who I can only assume wrote this in his Nuremberg-assigned cell--speculate that now the women will be showing even more skin.

He's wrong: that Catwoman costume, adored by all, is a hold over. Wonder Woman's getting a costume with pants. In fact, all the uniforms will be more practical.

Or, at least, better than this

DC has a huge opportunity to make a more cohesive, practical and inclusive superhero universe, in which new and old readers can relearn what made them love all these characters in the first place.

Or, at least, I'll be able to read Batman again, which I haven't been able to do since Grant Morrison made a flying Batmobile and ninja Man-Bats.

I'm still not joking.

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