Musings from the multiverse: DC Comics reboot
    The new Justice League by Jim Lee showcasing new costumes, including a lack of Superman's super shorts. Photo courtesy of DC Comics.

    The world of comic books can be a strange and wonderful place, but it can be hard to find your way through the multi-verse alone. That's where I come in. Every week I'll update you on the news of the comic world, the comics you should be reading or the things that make my heart flutter with fangirl love. It will be geeky. It will be awesome.

    Hello there, True Believers! Welcome to your one-stop shop for comic book news and notes. For this first post, I thought I would update you on the biggest news to hit comics since Superman died (don't worry folks, he came back).

    What you should know

    DC Comics is the name of one of the two main comics publishers, the other being Marvel. DC is home to such fan favorites as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League.

    DC has been around since the 1930s and — every few years — they have a big event to help streamline their decades-worth of character continuity. The publisher uses these events to build a buzz, refresh and revitalize their series and characters. This past fall, however, the company went further than they have ever gone before. After the universe-wide crossover event called Flashpoint, the publishers at DC have basically re-written over 70 years of history. Characters have been de-aged, marriages and couples have been broken up, origins have been changed, costumes have been completely re-designed, new heroes have been added and some characters have disappeared entirely. Needless to say, these changes have not gone over well with the fans.

    Flashpoint or Bustpoint?

    Here are some of the biggest issues fans have with the new DC, also known as the DCnU (a fun acronym for the “DC new universe”):

    • The paralyzed former Batgirl Barbara Gordon was given the ability to walk and made Batgirl once more.

    • Superman’s 15-year marriage to Lois Lane was erased from history. She no longer knows his secret identity and the two barely even speak. She was also shifted from a reporter to an editor, removing her from any possible adventures. According to the current writers, they believed that the super-marriage was detrimental to storytelling, a fallacy disproved by the last twenty-five years of Superman comics. However, since the next non-comics Superman story will be the 2013 Man of Steel film, in which Lois and Clark are not married, this change aligns the comics with other media.

    • Wally West, the former Flash from 1985-2008, seems to have been wiped from the universe with no news about his whereabouts.

    • Batman, in addition to other heroes, has been de-aged to 25. This complicates the history regarding his various sidekicks, of which there have been 5. Thus the job of Robin has been re-written as a sort of “internship” where each boy spent a couple years, the female Robin having also been erased. The current Robin, Damian Wayne, is Bruce Wayne's ten-year-old son. The math of this parenthood has not been explained with Bruce’s new age.

    • Fan-favorite and former Teen Titan Starfire had her whole origin re-written. She is now a bland and nearly-nude bimbo who lacks her old fiery and individualistic spirit.

    • Finally, among the announced 100 writers and artists of the 52 series in the DCnU, only one was female (with another added to the line-up very quickly). In the past few months amidst public outrage, more women have been hired.

    These are only the start of the problems people — including myself — have with the reboot. So many characters have had their personalities changed completely, not to mention the continued lack of minority/female heroes and the mistreatment of previously-existing minority heroes. DC has been fairly defensive about these issues. They mostly stand behind their decisions and ignore some of the more difficult issues, while promising that “we will see” the missing heroes at some unknown point in the future.

    Sadly, these decisions and changes have all been made in an attempt to make money and keep the industry afloat. So far it's worked, with sales skyrocketing in the first few months of the reboot, but have since normalized and even returned to lower levels.

    Of course, though DC is at a low point right now, it is not all bad. In addition to adding more women to the staff, the DCnU does contain a few new minority and LGBT characters, like new Teen Titans Solstice and Bunker. There are also some series that are not to be missed. Top amongst them is Batwoman, from writer JH Williams and artist Amy Reeder. Batwoman is a badass, with a wonderfully-thickening plot and governmental intrigue. She is also one of the few strong LGBT characters in comics. Aquaman — written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado — is a surprising success and Francis Manapul’s The Flash is always great. Of course, there are the rest of the Bat-books, including Detective Comics, Batman and Robin and Batgirl, which are given the most attention by the company. It shows. DC also seems to be gearing up for a big crossover event that looks to be awesome.

    So don’t be deterred, True Believers! Comics have their ups and downs, but now you can be well informed.


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