Article originally written by Ryan Closs
I had been working on another Multiversity 101 for this week, talking about making page count a primary factor in your comic buying decisions and how (spoilers) that’s a stupid thing to do. That said, I didn’t have much more to say than that, so when the rumors of a massive DC universe reboot happening after Flashpoint popped back up today, I decided to talk about that as lots of people are getting bent out of shape for no reason. Then just after I finished my first draft DC went ahead and made their official announcement that, yes, their universe is rebooting. So, no more running with the assumption DC is doing a massive renumbering and at least a partial reboot. It’s happening. Not only that but they’re releasing the entire line of relaunched issues digitally the same day they come out in stores.
First off, relax, it’s just a number. Does it actually matter in any meaningful way what the number is on the cover aside from being to tell which issue to read next? For some reason that I’ll never really understand, people make a big deal about renumbering books, both to #1 and the new trend of renumbering “back” to the right number. What actually happens to the story in the comics? Nothing. It usually indicates a good point to start the story and is that a bad thing? When things were still in the rumor stage, I thought this was pointless since no new readers are coming into comic shops anyway, and now that we know they’re also releasing everything digitally? I applaud DC for taking a real chance to shake things up. It’s about time someone did.
I’ve been hearing people on Twitter talk about using this relaunch as both a jumping off and jumping back on point for DC comics, both seem to be coming from a place where they think that the general quality of the DC universe titles has been lacking for a while now. Some are thinking this relaunch is the last straw and some who have already given up on titles like JLA, Superman, Green Lantern and others are eager to have a reason to come back and read their favorite titles again. I can see where both people are coming from but let’s look at each argument in a bit more depth.
In other articles I’ve talked about how I look for jumping off points with the ongoing books I read: I’m planning on leaving FF when Hickman does, I wish I’d left JSA when Geoff Johns did, etc. So, it should come as no surprise that I totally understand that sentiment, especially from people who may feel like DC has peaked creatively and are on the decline. Flashpoint seems like a natural endpoint. I know DC is attempting this whole ordeal to prove that they will actually CHANGE EVERYTHING (a phrase I’m incredibly tired of) but what if it changes everything for the worse? What if the massive change that happens is actually a mass exodus of readers? Honestly I was thinking along the same lines when I first heard the rumor a few weeks ago, then I remembered how much I’m loving Batgirl and Detective Comics right now, assuming those teams will still be on after the reboot, why would I deprive myself of good stories because I’ve decided the rest of DC is no longer for me? Good stories are good stories no matter what company’s logo or issue number is on the cover, but the same can be said for bad stories, which is, I think, the concern among this group of naysayers.
The other group seems cautiously optimistic. This is the camp I’m in now. No I’m not going to stop reading all DC Comics after Flashpoint (as much as my wallet would appreciate it). I’m going to carry on as I have been and ignore the renumbering. I’ll look for what books Paul Cornell, Scott Snyder and Bryan Q. Miller are writing and check those out without question. I’ll take a look at what Tomasi, Bedard and Simone are working on and see if they’re working on something interesting. We know there’s a JLI and a Batwoman book in the works along with an Ivan Reis drawn Aquaman. I’m not going to lie, even though I’m getting fairly tired of Geoff Johns, I might give his Aquaman story a shot just to see if he can make Aquaman interesting again and for some sweet, sweet, Ivan Reis art. I’m also probably going to try out the new Justice League book Johns is going to do with Jim Lee.Continued below
Now, let’s take a look at some stuff that is still, currently, in the rumor stage.
Rumor #1: It’s a complete break from all that’s happened before. I think this is extremely unlikely, we JUST came off a year long series that brought back Swamp Thing and Constantine to the DCU along with reinvigorating the JLI. I think it’s pretty unlikely all that will be ignored for the reboot. I think it’s likely we’ll get some stuff completely rebooted (maybe Aquaman), other stuff modified (Green Lantern) and other stuff exactly the same (Swamp Thing, JLI). DC has already said some histories/origins are staying the same so this rumor is pretty much bunk.
Rumor #2: Everyone is de-aging. Everyone? Who knows. It sure as heck looks like the Justice League characters featured in the USA Today interview are significantly younger looking than they look now. Jim Lee isn’t really known for overly young looking characters so this is likely a deliberate choice (along with everyone apparently having the same collar). Could this be DC trying to cast younger actors for their superheroes in upcoming movies?
Rumor #3: Deadman will be starring in Adventure Comics: I sure as hell hope so!
Rumor #4: New Lantern book with one member from each Corps in it. This seems pretty logical based on what’s been going on in War of the Lanterns. I’m, personally, completely uninterested at this point.
Along with the rumors and hard facts we have so far, there are still several questions up in the air. What’s going to happen with the Batbooks? They’re easily some of the strongest books DC is putting out right now and Morrison has said time and again he’s got some long term goals with the whole Batman Inc. stuff. Is it going to remain untouched? Maybe since Bruce isn’t involved in Flashpoint, his section remains unchanged. What about books like Xombi, THUNDER Agents or Jonah Hex? None of them are really connected with the goings on of the main DCU so perhaps they won’t be renumbered at all? Maybe they’re just canceled? Finally, what about Vertigo? I doubt books like iZombie or Fables are going to be merging with the DCU anytime soon, are they also going to move to Same Day digital?
While I probably won’t be checking out all 52(!) new #1s coming out in September, especially not at $2.99 a piece on Comixology. I will probably be much more ready to try out a few random issues if I don’t have to preorder 3 months worth just to read #1. I really have to applaud DC for trying something significant to gain more readers. Looking at their numbers as of late, even event books aren’t doing terribly well, so it’s time for a drastic change. I feel a little bad about my comic shop not getting any of my mainstream DC business anymore, but it’s time to embrace the future. I prefer reading on my iPad than reading a single issue anyway. Bring on the change.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our reboot coverage:
DC’s Epic Relaunch – Fans Respond
DC’s Epic Relaunch – Creators Respond
DC in September – What is Real, and What Isn’t?
DC To Officially Renumber All Titles, Introduce A Few New Ones