DC’s Big Announcement

Since the August solicits were announced, and it was revealed that DC would only be releasing Flashpoint #5 on Aug. 31, rumors were floating around about a possible relaunch/reboot of DC titles starting in September.  Well, DC confirmed that that is what is going to happen.  On their blog, The Source, DC announced that they would be re-launching their superhero titles, 52 in all.  The first of these re-launches would be Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee, coming out with Flashpoint #5 on Aug. 31.  Then, the rest of the relaunched titles would come out through the month of September.  Also starting with Justice League #1 will be same day digital release for all of the DC Universe titles (probably everything but Vertigo titles).  The only thing stated about the re-launches was that the titles would not be starting at the beginning, just at a younger point in their lives.

After reading an article about this, I decided to read some comments on this bit of news.  (I am a glutton for punishment, and comments pages are like train wrecks.)  I saw the usual panic and hysteria that I was expecting, but it did give me a couple of topics that I could comment on.

What’s going to happen to [insert 2nd or 3rd generational character]?  That’s a very good question, and there aren’t any answers to be had yet.  There’s no telling what’s going to happen to guys like Tim Drake, or Kyle Rayner, or Cassandra Cain, or Wally West, or Bart Allen.  It’s just something we’re going to have to wait around and see when creators are announced and stories are discussed.  Personally, I really hope nothing happens to Tim Drake.  He’s one of my favorite characters, but it would be foolish and irrational to say I’m going to stop reading anything if something happens to him.

Why does DC hate continuity and is always changing it?  Personally, I think people pay way too much attention to continuity, but that may be because I don’t care about the fine details of everything that has gone on previously.  When I’m reading a story, the only thing I’m interested in is that I’m interested in the story and does the characterization of the characters seem right.  However, I do hear from rational people, the excuse of not wanting to start something because there is too much continuity for them to learn.  Personally, I think it’s a lame excuse not to try something.  There are plenty of sources of information easily available to learn all there is about a character.  Sure, you may not be able to read every appearance, but you’ll have the background information needed to fully understand what’s been going on.

Why have I been reading for the past X number of years since it’s all meaningless now?  No it’s not.  Regardless if there is a retcon, reboot, or change in status quo, the issues you’ve bought are still going to exist.  No one is going to come along and remove them from your collection.  So, you can go back and read them anytime you want to.

Why would DC do this to Action Comics, Detective Comics, Superman, and Batman?  I hate renumbering gimmicks as much as anyone, and have often made fun of Marvel for all of their renumbering antics with books like The Incredible Hulks, and I don’t like everything going back to #1.  That being said, the number on the front of the issue shouldn’t be influencing whether or not you’re going to buy the issue.  To me, that’d be like buying an issue based on the cover art, especially if it is done by a different artist than the interior artist.  To me, the content of the issue is far more important than anything on the cover of the issue.  And history has shown us that more people will buy a #1 issue than would normally buy a regular issue that’s billed as a new start.  Look at what Marvel has done.  FF #1 was just a continuation of the story that had been going on in Fantastic Four.  Fantastic Four #588, the one between the death of the Human Torch and the re-launch, sold only a little over 63,000 copies.  But this new #1 issue sold over 114,000 copies.  Of course, sales fell back down for issue #2, so there is that risk.  I can only assume that DC is hoping that people will sample #1, and find that it’s not just the same book they haven’t been reading.

In responding to comments I saw, I am probably coming off as defending DC more than I really intended to.  I didn’t intend for this entry to come to DC’s defense, or to bash their decision.  Just simply respond to some of the common themes I have seen regarding this.  I don’t really have a first impression on what will come from this announcement.  I’m of more of a wait and see mindset.  I mainly want to know who will be writing and what the stories will be.  Once information about that stuff is announced, then I’ll start to form more opinions on the issue.

One comment

  1. As with all topics relating to comicdom, different types of fans will have different opinions on things. You and I differ in several areas of our fandom, so since you brought it up, I’m going to take a moment on your points:

    What’s going to happen to [insert 2nd or 3rd generational character?
    Such is the fluid nature of expanding comics. I get the frustration of fans when a certain character clicks with them and suddenly that character is whisked away in favor of another. Blue Beetle would be my go-to. But I’ve found with many legacy characters, especially in the DCU, I care more about the iconic name itself rather than who it is. Barry Allen or Wally West? I don’t care. I’m just happy there’s a Flash.

    Why does DC hate continuity and is always changing it?
    I wouldn’t say DC is always changing continuity so much as fixing it. DC’s continuity has been a mess since they decided to unite the infinite Earths and largely because of shortsightedness on their own part during the ’80s. But I don’t see this as any different than Marvel’s streak of theme changes from the darkening Marvel U after Avengers Disassembled/Secret War to the hero vs. hero Civil War era to the Dark Reign and now to the Steve Rogers controlled era. It’s a shake-up. And just like the Marvel ones, I highly doubt that this will be permanent.

    What I do disagree with is your statement that fans put too much into continuity. I think you’re oversimplifying the matter in this case. This isn’t a case of Batman catching a cold and fans flagging a mention in 1974 that he took a Bat-Anti Flu serum that should have prevented it. (And yes, I realize I am one of those fans.) This is a big deal. To suddenly change everything seems like a cop-out for these people. But also we don’t know how it’s going to work or what’s going to happen until it happens. The One More Day haters shut up once Brand New Day turned out awesome and so too will this simply fade away.

    Why have I been reading for the past X number of years since it’s all meaningless now?
    You are responding to the matter in the physical sense. Of course the issues are still going to exist. What these people are arguing is over the importance of the issues. For example, the Dark Phoenix Saga was the most important events in X-Men history at the time. When Jean Grey was brought back and the Phoenix was retconned into an astral entity, it did diminish the story. Is it still good? Absolutely. But fans will still lose the emotional edge knowing that it wasn’t actually Jean there.

    But it boils down to simply being a different type of fan. You don’t connect with the characters in the story as much as the overall story itself. You look back at past events as good stories rather than important events for these characters. And so do I, really. But that’s what you get for responding to internet postings.

    Why would DC do this to Action Comics, Detective Comics, Superman, and Batman?
    Because they’re trying a gimmick. Yes, it’s exactly what Marvel does all the time. People will buy #1 issues because it has a #1 on the cover. And sales will boost. And eventually they will probably flip the numbering back – if that’s not already the plan now.

    Personally, I like the higher numbering rather than the gimmick #1 “relaunches”. It makes the book seem more prestigeous. But I do understand that they are a business and as you said #1s sell more copies.

    But really, I would like to hear your opinion on the matter rather than your response to message board comments on the matter. Do you think this is a good idea? Are you excited about the new direction? Disinterested? Meh?


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