Saturday, June 7, 2014

Snap Out of It, DC!

By 2010 the long cumbersome individual storylines that have prevented the major characters of DC from coming together to form the Justice League once again have been coming to a close. The "walking saga" written by Michael J. Straczynski which saw Superman walking and walking and walking across the United States for 12 fucking issues has finally ended. Wonder Woman has finally come to her senses and was able to go back to her starry panties, surviving the dismal All-New Wonder Woman 14-issue run of… gasp, Michael J. Straczynski! And after getting transported into the past when he was zapped by Darkseid in the Final Crisis, Batman has successfully returned to the present after many, many years and many, many issues which seemed to run forever. Barry Allen is alive after 2009’s mediocre The Flash Rebirth, Hal Jordan is alive after 2004’s rather fantastic Green Lantern Rebirth. And most deliciously, Aquaman, The Martian Manhunter, and the original Hawkgirl Shayera Hall have just recently come back to life after The Blackest Night.

2011 would be a good year for DC Comics, I thought, as the iconic characters and their iconic versions are finally AVAILABLE. They could revitalize The Justice League, because guess what, the JLA at that point was composed of the ragtag group of Vixen, John Stewart, Plastic Man, and Jason Rusch Firestorm. Not that the member composition determines whether a book is good, but the phoned-in art and writing didn’t help. 2011 would be a good year, I thought, and then one fateful night while I was in Gloria Jeans Pan Pacific sitting in the Shrine Motherfucker 1, I’ve read the news on the net that DC would undergo… a reset. Even Action Comics and Detective Comics which have been continuously numbered since 1939 would be renumbered.

Dan Didio, Jim Lee, and the formerly reliable Geoff Johns have given all sorts of justification and tried to raise the excitement. Under the stupid imprint “The New 52”, 52 new number one’s would be published in September 2011. Brand new stories! Brand new origins! And try not to get too confused with these new stories, because the 5-year history of this New 52 world has already been well-planned, laid-out, mapped, completed, they promised.

But it was a lie. There was no plan. Storylines have become more confusing than ever, and not just because I’m a continuity Nazi who have followed over 70 decades of DC history. For instance, the book Earth 1 is in no way connected to the book Earth 2. In fact, the Earth 1 of the comic book Earth 2 is not the same earth as the earth 1 in the comic book Earth 1.

I have suspended disbelief and tried to accept the new continuity, but continuity was not the issue—the writing and art in general were just so inept. Apparently Batman and Green Lantern continuities were the only ones not rebooted, a mandate which does not make sense because how could their stories interact properly in a way that is coherent with the history of, say, The Birds of Prey, which has been completely hard-reset? And the incompetence and failure to properly plan apart from let’s sell 52 number 1’s showed fairly quickly—by 2013 only a handful of the original 52 titles have not been decimated.


Parody cover showing the major changes in the New 52

In 1995 the X-Men underwent the reality-altering story The Age of Apocalypse. I hated the idea when I've first read about it, but after the first issues were released I kind of wished it would never end, and I was bummed when after just 4 months the X-Men were back to its original timeline. But for The New 52, it’s been 3 years. 3 fucking years! When will this end! I miss reading comic books!  

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