Continuity in comics is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it allows the creation of a complex universe of interrelated characters and epic storytelling; on the other hand, it means that new readers may not fully understand aspects of a story that has years of background across many titles feeding into it. And in modern comic continuity we have to deal with canon, with some older stories having been removed from continuity.
Before looking at why this is relevant right now, I want to cover a bit of history. Continuity in comics is hardly new. In the early 1940s, Timely comics had its hero (the Human Torch) battle its anti-hero (the Sub-Mariner), each of whom had their own ongoing series. At the same time, DC comics had several of its heroes team up as the Justice Society of America. Almost every comic company had team ups with its various characters. Back in these early days keeping track of continuity wasn’t a priority, so there were often inconsistencies resulting from these stories and they rarely had any lasting impact on the character’s individual titles. This wasn’t a big deal, especially with the waning of superhero comics in the years post World War II.
But it became a very big deal after the birth of the Silver Age of comics in 1956, with DC comics introducing new versions of their characters with different origins and identities. This meant, at the time, that the Golden Age stories were no longer part of the DC continuity. And then DC decided to up the ante by introducing the concept of a multiverse, in 1961, with the story Flash of Two Worlds where the Golden age Flash met the Silver Age Flash who had accidently entered the first Flash’s reality. Suddenly, you had the potential for stories for characters from both eras. These led to dividing up which stories belonged on Earth 1 (The Silver Age Earth) and Earth 2 (The Golden Age Earth). In general this was easy as anything prior to 1956 belonging to Earth 2. But the wrinkle was that there were a few characters that were the same across both Earths as they were the handful that had never gone out of publication, those being Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow. In general the 1956 cut off was used for them as well, with the idea that some stories counted for both, without a lot of concern as to what those were.
Over the years stories were told that on some level clarified the histories, but nothing was comprehensive. Another factor that played into the continuity issue was the static nature of the characters. Most superheroes were presented as being in their mid to late twenties. That meant that in the 1960s you had Superman stories where he met President Kennedy. Years later there would be a Superboy story, back when they were all flashback stories of Superman’s youth, where he met President Kennedy. Things of that nature were usually just hand-waved. In fact, the only characters that aged at all were the teens. Spider-man was introduced as a high school student in 1962. Flash forward to the mid-1980s and he was a college student. Similar aging happened to Robin and Kid Flash over at DC. But that was it for character aging. If there was an update to a character, it was usually handled as a reveal of previously unknown information.
One of the best known of this type was in 1984, when Alan Moore wrote the Swamp Thing Story Anatomy Lesson where he revealed that Swamp Thing was not Alec Holland, a scientist transformed into a plant monster, but instead a plant creature that had absorbed memories from Holland’s corpse as part of its creation. The story was ground breaking, and is still considered the best example of a soft reboot, where the previous continuity is not altered in any way.
In 1985 DC released the ground breaking 12 issue series Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was the first full out reboot of a comic book’s continuity. In it DC merged Earth 1 and Earth 2, as well as other alternate Earths that contained characters DC had purchased from other companies (such as Fawcett and Charleston) creating a single Earth with one history. The stated purpose was to make a cohesive history and create an easy entry point for new readers who were being drawn in by books like Swamp Thing and The Dark Knight Returns.
Over all Crisis was a success, but there were some snafus in the backstories of some characters (especially Hawkman and Donna Troy) that led to several rewrites, which in Donna’s case were ok, and in Hawkman’s case just made things worse. Eventually DC had two different series that tried to do patching rewrites to clear these issues up, Zero Hour, and Infinite Crisis. Both had mixed success at best.
Over at Marvel they decided not to go the full reboot route, stating that they had gotten their universe right the first time. Not that they didn’t like to play with the continuity idea. They have a series, which has come and gone a few times, called What IF. In it the Watcher looks at different universes in which the Marvel characters have made different choices; it’s basically a chance to look at stories Marvel wrote in the past to see what would have happened, had they gone down a different path.
On a more official level they tried some different routes to make clean entry continuities for new readers. The first of these was the poorly received Heroes Reborn, where the Avengers were sent to a new Universe where their histories were rewritten (the basic idea was sound, it was just really badly written – where all the stereotypes of bad 90s comics writing got codified).
A few years after that failed experiment Marvel created the Ultimate Universe. This was a separate continuity from the main Marvel Universe that allowed them to do new stories for the Marvel heroes without the baggage of the old continuity. Overall this was a success, as the old universe was also still going on so the fans didn’t feel a sense of loss and could enjoy the new stories as their own thing. Part of the significance of the Ultimate Universe is that years later, when Marvel studios came into being and created the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they cherry picked the best elements of both the old Universe and the Ultimate Universe to make their stories.
As for the movies, a lot of people attribute the MCU success to that fact that it has continuity between all of its films, just like the comics. Some say it is a throw-back to the old movie serials. This has led other studios to try and create their own mega-franchises, such as Universal attempting new Universal Monster movies with this type of continuity.
But not all was well with Marvel continuity. Marvel was not above tweaking characters with various soft reboots. None are more infamous then the reboot of Spider-man’s continuity in the story One More Day, where Peter made a deal with a demon to save Aunt May, but at the cost of having his marriage erased from history; this remains a hot button topic for many fans.
In more recent years DC did another reboot (which I have written about a lot) called Flashpoint which lead to The New 52. Here I will simply reiterate that it was a hastily thrown together reboot designed as a means to drawn attention to DC comics (who were getting crushed in sales by Marvel). It has been a complete mess and divided fans nearly as bad as Heroes Reborn did.
And that leads us to now.
Both DC and Marvel have events going on that are pulling deep on their continuities. Over at DC is Convergence. This is a two month event that will be replacing DC’s entire line of comics for its duration, that will cover the gap created by DC moving their staff and offices from New York to California. It will feature characters from different DC continuities, such as the pre-Flashpoint universe and DC’s various Elseworlds (their answer to What If). This has fans wondering if this will lead to a more permanent return of the pre-Flashpoint universe, which fans have been asking for since it became clear that The New 52 was a mess. Marvel is doing an event called Secret Wars nameds after an event they had in the 1980s. This series has apparently been in the works for three years and will apparently lead to a new Marvel continuity that combines the old Marvel Universe with the Ultimate Universe (remember how I said that the Cinematic Universe was a combination of the two). There is a lot of speculation that this is an attempt to bring the comics more in line with the movies, and therefore an easier entry point for fans who are picking up the comics because of the movies. There is also hope that it will clear up missteps such as One More Day.
No matter which way you slice it, continuity is a big deal in comics, and will fuel fan debate in all corners of comic culture.
Back in 1980, I was struck by what (at the time) was an outrageous idea.
Why can’t Superman marry Lois Lane?
The heart of the idea was that I was getting old enough to realize that the status quo in comics was stifling, and that not letting the characters advance in any way kept the stories from being anything more than kids’ stuff. Sure you were beginning to see books with better story telling come out, like the Chris Claremont run on X-Men, and the Wolfman/Perez relaunch of the Teen Titans. But, overall, the really big name comic characters seemed stuck in a story stasis that seemed to be permanent.
Of course this wasn’t an absolute. DC had characters like The Flash, the Atom, and the Elongated Man who all eventually got married. This also did not count characters like Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who started out married.
Also if you look at Marvel you had Reed Richards and Sue Storm who got married early in the run of the Fantastic Four, as well as Ant Man and the Wasp. But, like DC, it seemed that some characters( like Spider-Man) were destined for bachelorhood.
Then 1985 happened. With the release of The Dark Knight returns and Watchmen, comics suddenly became a venue for serious writing. You also had Crisis on Infinite Earths, which tore down the old DC continuity and relaunched the entire line. It took characters (like Superman) and, even though it restarted them, allowed for stories that advanced and felt like they really could grow dynamically.
From the time of the relaunch, you saw Clark Kent and Lois Lane go through all the stages of their relationship – from dating, to his revealing his identity to her, engagement, and eventually they did get married. Over all, it felt organic and was some very good story telling. It also opened up some fantastic storytelling, with the marriage being treated like one you see in real life if one of the partners is a fireman, or solider. But not all was peaches and cream; from the beginning of the relationship, there were detractors. Some were fans who did not like the break from the status quo. They wanted the Superman who appeared in the cartoons, or the Donner movies, and could not accept a more humanized version of the characters. Others were writers who chafed at having to write about a Superman who was in a healthy relationship, as they felt it constrained them.
In spite of this, for over a decade, you had Clark Kent and Lois Lane as a happily married couple, and they were not the only ones. Wally West (Barry Allen’s successor as the Flash) married his girlfriend Linda Park. Over at Marvel you even had Spider-Man get married.
This was also paired with the growing idea of the legacy character. You had Wally West pick up the mantle of the Flash after the death of Barry Allen. You even had Dick Grayson become Batman after the apparent death of Bruce Wayne. So you had comic characters growing and their stories progressing. It was a great time to be a comic book reader.
We should have known it wouldn’t last.
The first signs of this problem were over at Marvel, when it was decided to retcon away Spider-Man’s marriage. I’ve written about the specifics of that in the past, so I won’t rehash here. The basics however were that Editor-In-Chief, Joe Quesada, wanted Spider-Man reset to how he was written during his own youth.
Sure it annoyed fans, but it was nothing compared to what was going to happen over at DC.
The first sign of trouble was Emerald Dawn, which saw the return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. This was written by Geoff Johns, one of DC’s best writers. The problem wasn’t apparent at first, as Johns did not discard Kyle Rayner, Hal’s successor, but instead made all of the Green Lanterns a team.
The real signs of trouble came with Flash: Rebirth, which was the story that brought Barry Allen back to life, again written by Johns. While not stripping Wally West of his status as the Flash, he was quietly moved to the background.
DC was rolling back the status of its Universe to the Silver Age status quo.
There was another troubling factor going on at the time; there were writers complaining that writing for a married Superman, or even Flash was too hard.
This brings us to Flashpoint and the launch of the New 52.
I’ve written a lot about what a mess this entire relaunch was, but one of the biggest factors contributing to this was the loss of all the character progress that had occurred. I may not have minded so much if it had been a clean and total reboot, but the half assed way it was handled (with not really rebooting Batman and Green Lantern) made it more glaring that characters like Superman and the Flash lost all their development from all of those previous stories.
And, of course, a large part of this was that not only were Superman and The Flash not married any more, but that their wives (Lois and Iris) were not even their love interests. In fact, the writers went out of their way to make it clear that they were in no way romantically linked.
The part that really annoyed me was when DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee said that, once they got rid of Superman’s marriage, the stories just flowed. This implies that the marriage was the problem, and not his lack of skill as a writer.
But at least the DC Universe had some married couples, like Animal Man and Aquaman. Or so we thought.
This all came to a boil during what is now known here as the DC PR Meltdown; the week when DC could not keep their foot out of their mouth.
This is when everyone learned that DC editorial had pulled the carpet out from under the long planned wedding of Batwoman, and her girlfriend Maggie. When accused of shying away from a same-sex marriage, DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio said it was not the same-sex part that they were against, but the marriage part. He said that they did not want any of their characters married, because the level of sacrifice needed to be a hero did not allow for that kind of happy ending. He fundamentally said that no DC hero should be married. So, basically, a ban on marriage. He seems to believe all heroes need to be miserable. I am left to wonder how these clearly hack writers ended up in charge of the DC Universe. Of course, I am sure the answer is politics, but I digress.
Another DC editor was challenged, after these comments were made, to reconcile these comments with a character like Aquaman, who is successfully married to Mera. The editor said Aquaman and Mera were not married. It was pointed out that Aquaman, king of Atlantis, regularly refers to Mera as his queen. The editor countered that just because she is his queen, it does not mean they are married. This came as a surprise to series writer Geoff Johns, who had never been told they were not married.
The only hero allowed to be married was Animal Man, and that is because his marriage (and its slow collapse) was central to the story. Not that it was a happy marriage, which is why I guess it was ok.
So why has DC come out against marriage?
I reject Didio’s argument that heroes don’t get that kind of happy ending. First off, marriage is not an ending, it is a commitment to the most important person in your life. Also, it is not easy and comes with many challenges that can lead to dramatic moments. Superman and Flash writers were able to find those for all the years each characters was married.
I also reject the argument that marriage limits storylines. A good writer would not have that problem. The issue is that a lot of the current writers (and more importantly right now editors) are caught up in their childhood power fantasies, and their heroes being married doesn’t fit into them.
As for the overall all ban, I have a suspicion that it was an attempt to cover a bad decision. I think someone in the editorial chain did not want there to be a same-sex marriage. When the story broke big, I think Didio’s statement against marriage was an attempt to hold off the accusations of being homophobic, chiefly due to how ridiculous the claim that Aquaman and Mera are not married is.
In the end, I think the whole war on marriage that DC has declared is just another sign of how badly there needs to be a change in the editorial structure. Time will tell, I suppose.
It’s been two years since the launch of the New 52, so it’s time to look at the state of DC comics again. Last year at this time, I took a look at the individual titles that make up the new 52 and how I thought they were doing. I cannot do that this year; two months ago I stopped collecting all DC titles.
If you have been following me for a while, then you know how much of a DC comics fan I am. If you are new, here I suggest clicking on the DC comics tag at the bottom of the column. But if you have been following me, you also know I have been very critical about the direction DC comics has been going. Over several months I started slowly dropping titles, as I had decided I should not be reading books I was not enjoying. Two months ago was where I hit the point of looking at what was going on at the company over all, and decided to vote with my wallet and drop them completely. I found that DC comics overall had just become a joyless place, where every book was being written like it was Batman, and the Batman titles were being written like they were a Lars Von Trier film.
And then this last week happened.
I find it interesting that everything hit critical mass at the 2 year point on the New 52. It all started on September 5th when J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, the writers and artist for Batwoman, were leaving the series with issue #26. Their reason for leaving was given as last minute editorial meddling on an already approved storyline. In this case, it was the marriage between Batwoman and her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer. With same-sex marriage being a major social issue, this got a lot of attention.
To be clear Williams and Blackman gave their reason for leaving as constant editorial interference, not specifically that there were not being allowed to follow through on the marriage.
Keep in mind that this has been a common complaint over the last two years. Talented creators leaving DC, for this reason, has become so common that the site Gutters and Panels created a timeline about it.
On September 7th at Baltimore Comic Con during a DC Nations panel, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan Didio clarified the company’s position: Didio said that they have no problem with gay marriage; they just don’t want any of their heroes to be married, gay or otherwise. Didio went on to say that to be a superhero is to sacrifice your own happiness. In other words none of the heroes in the DC Universe can have a happy personal life, and that includes being married.
It was also announced that Mark Andreyko would take over as the new writer on Batwoman with issue #24. This means that Williams and Blackman will not be doing the last two issues of their run as they planned.
This led to one unnamed DC executive being asked “what about Aquaman and his wife Mera?” The executive clarified that Aquaman and Mera are King and Queen of Atlantis, but that they are not actually married. This came as a surprise to Aquaman’s current writer Geoff Johns.
While this was bad enough, DC had another problem come up at the same time. An artist talent search was announced. Basically, this contest involves drawing four panels of the character Harley Quinn, based on description’s from the writer of her new series, Jimmy Palmiotti. The problem arose from the description of the fourth panel:
Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.
People complained about the promotion of a “sexy suicide”. It was later clarified that the sequence in all four panels involved Harley breaking the fourth wall and discussing the absurd situations her writers put her in. Palmiotti eventually took the blame for the uproar, for not providing context to the scene. However even with context there are a lot of people upset simply by the imagery.
Both situations were bad enough, but DC found a way to make them worse. In both cases, DC co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee took to twitter to defend their positions.
If you follow this link, you will find a listing of how Didio defended the prevention of Batwoman’s marriage and spun the departure of Williams and Blackman as a good thing.
And if you follow this link, you can see the very long twitter thread that Lee made explaining context in sequential art.
After reading both threads there was one conclusion I was able to come to: neither Didio nor Lee have much respect for their fans. Both took condescending tones on twitter, and dismissed fan concerns out of hand.
That last really doesn’t surprise me much. Both have displayed this behavior before, especially at conventions. It can also be seen in how they have been handling the overall promotion of the DC comics universe for a while now. Between the overall presentation of the new 52, or particular storylines such as the Superman/Wonder Woman romance, there has been the underlying message. Unfortunately that message is “this is what you are going to like, and we are going to keep hammering you with it until you accept this.”
It should go without saying that the fan reaction has not been positive, but again this is nothing new. There is now a website called Has DC done something stupid today. If you go to the link, you will see it has a counter for how many days it has been since they posted something fitting their criteria of something stupid. The record so far is eight days.
Due to his position at DC Comics, and his public visibility, Dan Didio has been the focal point in all the online discussions related to DC’s direction. For example, fans on twitter have created a hashtag #firedidio as a place to vent their frustration over all of the above issues as well as the handling of the company overall.
But not every bit of coverage has been against DC. Rich Johnson, of Bleeding Cool, wrote an editorial in response to #firedidio defending the DC co-publisher and citing the good things he has done for the industry.
So where does all of this leave us?
As I made clear at the beginning, I personally am not happy with the direction DC comics is going in. From the beginning, I feel that the New 52 was a hastily thrown together project. Rather than take the time to put together a cohesive reboot of the DC Universe, a rush job was done without any clear vision, and the result has been a muddled mess.
On top of that, you have had the editorial turf wars and the non-stop executive meddling in the process. If there has been a consistent narrative that has emerged, it is that DC comics no longer values its creators. Writers and artists, even well respected ones, are now considered disposable as the editors ride roughshod over them.
Does this mean that the ire directed at Dan Didio is deserved? I think the answer is yes and no.
From the outside, the problems appear to be on a corporate culture level at this stage. This means it comes from the top down. In this case, we have four people that need to be held accountable. DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, DC Comics co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee, and DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras.
There could be an argument made that Chief Creative Office Geoff Johns should be included here, as well, but his duties in that role involve DC properties outside of comics so, in this regard, he is a writer who happens to have a great deal of influence.
Lee is in a similar boat, in that although he is co-publisher he appears to spend a lot of his time on outside branding and lives on the west coast, so is not often in DC Comics New York office.
Bob Harras, on the other hand, is a flash point for a lot of fan ire. As Editor-in-Chief, he has certainly been involved in much of the interference that creators have complained about. Also, when he held the same position at Marvel, the company was on the edge of bankruptcy. He also gave the green light to the Spider-Man Clone Saga, considered one of the worst storylines in comic history. Many fans on the #firedidio hashtag want him gone just as badly.
And, of course, we have Dan Didio himself. Unlike his co-publisher, Lee, Didio is very much involved in the day to day running of DC Comics, and is basically the person setting the pace. He is also a very public figure at conventions and on social media. It should come as no surprise that he would be the focus of fan ire and, given his position and statements he has made, there is a lot to reinforce that.
On the other hand, from a strictly business perspective. he has gotten the job done. DC Comics owner, Warner Bros, is concerned with two things – profits, and being able to leverage the DC brands into other media, for additional profit. From this perspective, Didio has done a fair enough job that there is nothing directly warranting his removal. The PR faux pas are not enough to get their attention.
Of all the people in charge, Diane Nelson is arguably in the toughest position. As president of DC Entertainment, the buck stops with her. Also, if Didio, or any of the others were to be fired, she would be the one doing the firing. But, as I have written before, she is not a comic publisher; she was originally a movie brand manager. She looks to Didio and Lee to handle the publishing side of the business, and has always presented a united front with them. Unless something drastic happens, she is not going to do anything to them.
So what can we, the fans, do? Two things:
A lot of people have said that the #firedido hashtag is useless, as it will not actually get him fired. They are of course correct about it not getting him fired, but not that it is useless. It gives the fans a place to vent their frustrations, and is a public sign that a lot of people are not happy with the direction DC Comics is going. It also lets fans that are feeling that frustration know that they are not alone. Of course the same is true for the fans who are happy with DC Comics, and that want to defend them.
The other thing is what I and others like me have done: vote with your wallet. A twitter hashtag may not make WB pay attention, but dropping sales certainly will. If you are not happy with a title, but are still buying the book, then you are telling them to keep doing what they are doing since you are willing to pay for it. Remember that the bottom line is the almighty dollar.
And if both are happening at once, then we may see something happen. If sales start dropping and fans are complaining loudly about something, and citing it as the reason they have stopped buying, then you will see changes happen.
Do I expect that anytime soon? No, but if DC Comics does not do something to halt the drain of the talented creators it will eventually.
Until then, I will wait for the day when I can return to reading the stories about my childhood heroes.
Once again we are being bombarded by news about the nonsense surrounding the DC Comics “New 52”, both storyline-wise and the many issues with the creative staff, and dropping sales. I, like many comic fans, find myself musing about how it could be fixed. If you think the New 52 is great and does not need fixing, you might want to skip this, you aren’t going to like it very much.
If I lived in an alternate universe where I found myself able to mandate a fix to the New 52, how would I go about it? The answer lay in the very story that set the whole mess in motion in the first place: Flashpoint.
At the end of Flashpoint, Barry Allen, the Flash, has to correct a broken timeline. A mysterious figure called Pandora influences the Flash to merge the DCU timeline with the Vertigo and Wildstorm timelines to strengthen it against an oncoming threat. The merged timelines created the New 52 universe.
For the purposes of our fix let’s assume that either Pandora was wrong, or better yet, she is the oncoming threat and the merger was step one of her plan.
And no one remembers the old timeline, so there is no way to oppose her. Or is there?
The storyline in my imagined “fix” would start with a mysterious figure observing events of the New 52, much the same way Pandora appeared in the background of all the New 52 first issues. This goes on for a couple of months. Eventually the figure reveals himself as Wally West, who succeeded Barry Allen as the Flash during the period that Barry was dead.
Wally, along with prominent DC characters Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain were not included in the New 52 timeline. They have been exiled to a limbo outside of the timeline. After months of effort, Wally was able to use his connection to the speed force to enter the new timeline.
Wally has spent time observing the New 52 timeline to figure out what has happened. Piecing together what has happened, Wally sets a plan in motion to fix the timeline and save the world. This would be the sequel to Flashpoint.
Wally would recruit a team including Barry, Superman, and Booster Gold. They would be opposed by Pandora, who would recruit her own team to fight them by convincing them that Wally is the threat they have to fight.
The tide would be tipped by Batman, who was not as affected by the timeline change due to his own time travel misadventures caused by Final Crisis.
The result would be the separation of the three timelines (mostly) and the return of the proper DCU timeline. Some elements of the New 52 timeline would be retained, either because they would have happened anyway, or just as echoes of the merger.
This would give fans back the lost characters they have missed so much, and could be used as a jump point of more storylines, especially if Pandora survives the event as well. The event would be notable as a major crossover that does not try to prove how edgy it is by killing off a major character.
So what do you think? Would this work? If not, what are your ideas?
Everyone recognizes that name. She is not just a geek icon, she is a cultural icon. You go up to any random person on the street and they recognize her name. Everyone knows she is the plucky reporter that is also Superman’s love interest. Everyone knows that she and Clark Kent belong together.
Yes in the early days of comics she was often there so that Superman had someone to rescue, but as the medium evolved so did she. In modern lore she is a strong independent woman who is able to meet Clark as an equal and partner. She is also strong enough to give him support when the going got tough, and act as his anchor to humanity.
Well at least she was. All of the above was true until last year when DC Comics relaunched their universe with the New 52.
Now Lois Lane is barely in the books anymore, and her relationship with Clark is not a partnership of any kind. In fact she is not even a reporter anymore, she has been bumped up to a TV Producer at a news network. And her journalistic ethics, which have always been a core of the character, have been eroded.
As for the romantic front, early issues in the reboot showed that Clark had feelings for her, but that not only did she not return those feelings, she was not aware of them. Also she has a boyfriend. He has only appeared in about five panels but he exists.
As one of the most recognizable characters in comics, and the most recognizable character in the Superman franchise outside of Clark himself it seems odd that she has not appeared on a single comic book cover since the relaunch.
So what is going on? Why is one of the core characters of one of the world’s most famous franchises being pushed aside and minimalized?
A lot of speculation about that has been going on, but the consensus comes down to this; DC wants to push Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple.
I know I went over this back in August when I was going over the news of the Superman/Wonder Woman pairing and how it felt forced. What I have learned since is that this was apparently part of the plan from early on and to help facilitate this, the feeling was that Lois needed to be diminished so that she would not appear to be in the way of this relationship.
DC also seems to be getting desperate in their attempts to promote the Superman/ Wonder Woman coupling. In the last few weeks it has been the focus of many polls and features on the DC comics’ blog and Facebook page. It is beginning to have the feel of “You will like this if we have to ram it down your throat.”
This part is just speculation. It is hard to say how long the Superman/Wonder woman relationship was being planned. It still feels like an executive mandate, and in the last few months DC has been known to change plans suddenly requiring rushed updates of issues.
But the diminishing of Lois does appear to be a thing either way.
But how sure are we of this. DC has said nothing explicit on any of this. This is where a bit of good old fashion fanboy detective work comes in.
First we have to look at the comments from the creative staff. The ones that I think back up the point the hardest to this are comments that have been made by Superman group editor Matt Idelson.
Back at San Diego Comic Con in 2011, when the relaunch details were being announced, Idelson referred to Lois as Superman’s “trophy wife” when explaining that the marriage between that two was no longer part of continuity.
Last August he made an even more definite statement on his opinion of Clark and Lois as a couple.
“Clark and Lois are not inevitable, and in fact it isn’t going to happen, at least while I’m on watch duty!”
He later had to walk those comments back; I’m sure due to fan backlash.
“Clark most definitely has feelings for Lois, but he not only sees her as unattainable but also unavailable. I’d much rather see the readers pining for them to couple up, with growing intensity, until we have no choice but make that magic moment happen. And in truth, I engaged in some ill-advised hyperbole there when I said they wouldn’t get together on my watch. I miss them as a couple, I really do, but I also know that good drama comes from complicating the path that leads to the happily forever after ending. My hope is that ultimately, we’ll all look back twenty years from now and see that without Lois in his life, that human representation is something he had to grow towards, and that the absence of Lois in his romantic life held him back.”
Idelson while the highest ranking member of the creative staff to comment, was hardly the only one.
Artist Rags Morales stated that Superman sucked since he got married and he considered it jumping the shark. He also said that Lois worked better as a Damsel in Distress and a pain in the ass.
Publisher Jim Lee had compared the phasing out of Lois as no different than changing the size of Superman’s cape.
Writer Andy Diggle has stated on twitter that he feels Wonder Woman and Superman make a better couple than Lois and Clark.
Also if you look at any promotional material and you will not find any mention of Lois.
And just for comparison let’s take a quick look at another long time supporting character, Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy is still fairly active in the books; in fact right now he and Clark are roommates. I won’t go into details why, but it does allow for some fun keeping the identity secret scenes. So Jimmy is in the books about as much as he used to be.
So it seems clear that reducing her role was always the plan. They couldn’t just make her go away like Wally West or Stephanie Brown, so they did the next best thing and made her a side character.
This brings up an interesting issue for next year. The new Superman movie Man of Steel is coming out. Lois Lane will be featured in it, played by Amy Adams. I assume she will be in her traditional role in this movie. For a company so interested in synergy between its divisions I am curious how Warner Bros will address this and in turn how the comics will deal with it.
In the meantime as a fan I am not pleased with these developments. Lois was a great character because she could be strong and brave in a superhero world even though she did not have superpowers. I feel her downsizing is taking away another role model character and not helping in the perceived boys club mentality of the industry overall. As a fan I want to do what I can to let DC know we do not want to lose her or see her as just a shadow of her former self.
So here is what I purpose. I would like to see a hashtag start making the rounds on twitter and tumblr; #savelois. If it can start trending maybe it will get enough attention that DC will know she has fans that are not happy with her current treatment.
The New 52 reached the one year mark this week. At this point I think it’s time for some reflection on how the relaunch has gone. I have written several times on the overall state of the DCU, as recently as last week, so instead I want to focus on the specific books. So here is my take on the titles that comprise the New 52.
A bit of honesty first. I did not collect or read every title. It just wasn’t realistic to do so. I made my decisions as a consumer, although I did manage to read a couple of titles I didn’t collect to try them out. I’ll point out what I did and didn’t read.
With that, here we go.
The first six down.
These were the first six titles canceled by DC after the relaunch
Hawk and Dove
Men of War
I was likely part of the crowd on this one. I did not collect a single one of them, mostly because I was not that into the characters. The exception was Hawk and Dove where it was the involvement of Rob Liefeld that turned me away. Needless to say I must not have been alone in those feelings as they were all gone by issue 6.
The Books I didn’t bother with:
As with the previous six these are titles I did not collect.
The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men
The Savage Hawkman,
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Legion of Super-Heroes
For a lot of these titles, like Voodoo and Grifter, I didn’t have an interest. For Teen Titians and Superboy I was not happy with the treatment of characters I had grown attached to in the previous incarnation. For Red Hood and the Outlaws and Catwoman I actually read the first issues and disliked them enough to not want to bother collecting them.
So those are books I didn’t follow. Now on to the ones I have.
The books I decided to drop.
These are the books that I was collecting but decided weren’t ones I wanted to continue following.
Wonder Woman: I wrote a whole article on my thoughts on this one. I just did not like Brian Azzarello’s take on the character. I found her too cold and the changes in her origin did not sit right. I know a lot of people consider this one of the better books of the relaunch but I do not agree.
Green Arrow: I was not originally going to collect this title, but found myself really enjoying the first issue and decided to collect it instead of Catwoman. I got a kick out of the first six issues and thought this was going to be a high point of relaunch. However with issue seven writer J.T, Krul was replace with Ann Nocenti, and the quality went south right away. I realized that I was finding myself confused half the time about what the hell was going on. I dropped the book after issue ten.
The Books I have been following that are not living up to the expectations:
This is a tricky one. I am still enjoying these titles enough to keep collecting them. However I just feel they are not quite up to snuff so they are usually that last ones I read in the weeks they come out. I’d say a couple of them are in risk of being dropped if the quality dips much more.
Justice League: Yep, the cornerstone title of the whole New 52 relaunch and I have problems with it. I think a lot of my problems here are an issue with the tone of the series. I find it more cynical than I would expect with the League. Most of the characters are portrayed as arrogant, even if that is not their portrayal in their own books. Even Superman comes off this way. I am especially surprised at the writing of Green Lantern as he is not acting like he does in his own book despite the fact that Geoff Johns writes both. This even happens in the Shazam back up feature where Billy Batson has gone from a good hearted kid to a jaded brat.
Superman: This is a book I really wanted to love, but instead I just like it in a lukewarm way. I think its problems can be explained by the fact that the writers have really had their hands tied. I already wrote a lot about this back in June. Basically issue #1 felt like being dropped in the middle of a story and that feeling has persisted. The individual issues can be good, but as part of a whole tapestry not so much. And I find this insane considering it has been written by both George Perez and Keith Giffen. I am also just infuriated with the lengths being taken to keep Clark and Lois apart. Clearly it is not as bad as the complete ass pull Marvel performed to split up Peter Parker and Mary Jane, but it is beginning to feel a close second. Superman Group Editor Matt Idelson has gone as far as to say Lois and Clark will not get together at all on his watch.So basically it is a book that can be good, but not consistently.
The Flash: I’ll be honest this book confuses me. On one hand Francis Manapul is doing a great job exploring the Flash’s powers and his conflicts on being the Flash. On the other hand Barry Allen is coming off as a rookie superhero. If this book was set five years ago like Action comics and it was the beginning of his career it would make sense, but that is not the case. There is also the issue of Barry no longer being with Iris, who in old continuity was his wife. Here, unlike in Superman, it feels more organic, especially as you get the feel that despite the obstacles they will eventually get together.
Green Lantern: New Guardians: The weak link in the Green Lantern line. Again it has its moments, but I think it suffers from too big a cast and not a lot in the way of focus. It started with a great concept, Kyle Rayner suddenly having a ring of every color, and just as quickly dropped that idea to make it a team book, about a team that has members who have no real reason to work together. Not an impossible task to make work but the execution has been very uneven. Later issue have improved on this, but it still has a way to go.
Justice League International: I have enjoyed this book even though I feel there have been a lot of flaws. Sadly the flaws have been enough that this book was never widely embraced and is being canceled. The book’s strength has been the characters. Booster Gold managed to retain the character growth from pre-flashpoint, even if he lost the story. The August General in Iron actually had a character arc and growth which I would not have thought possible from his earlier appearances. Unfortunately this great character work was bogged down in some very cliché story telling. The JLI was sponsored by the U.N. but several members objected, their first threat was an alien intent on destroying the world, and only they, and no other superheroes were there to fight him. They were unpopular with the public and a terrorist group used that to try to destroy them.
Resurrection Man: Here is another book I was really excited about. I loved the original series in the 90s and was always hoping to see this character return. And even better the original creators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were writing it. But after the first few issues it was clear this was not the same series as before. First off it seemed to be a true reboot with the character starting off in the exact same situation he started off the old series. Again it was not a bad book; it just wasn’t exciting me that much. I think part of it is that in the old series Resurrection Man was very much involved in the DC Universe. In the new series this could have been an independent comic with no changed needed at all. This is another book that is being canceled.
Birds of Prey: I will admit I may be a bit harsh on this book. The original series was written by Gail Simone, one of my favorite comic book writers. So this book not being written by her could only suffer. Also the heart of the old series was Barbara Gordon as Oracle. Barbara is still in the series as Batgirl, but she is not team leader, Black Canary is. And you also have several team members that do not fit. In particular you have Poison Ivy on the team. Yes she is often a sympathetic villain, but she is still a villain. And big surprise, the current story line has her betray the team and force them to help her in her extreme agenda. You could have taken bets on when this was going to happened.
The books that have met my expectations.
This next set is the books that are performing exactly as I had expected. I enjoy each one and none are in any danger of being dropped.
Detective Comics and Batman: the Dark Knight: I’ll just do these two together. They are both solid Batman books. I know that grouping them like this makes them seem interchangeable, but in this case it is more that continuity in the entire Batman book line is strong right now so they do not feel like they are happening in two different worlds.
Batwoman: I have a weird relationship with this book. I really like it, and think that J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman are doing a suburb job writing it. But it is not as good as when Greg Rucka was writing the original series. I guess it is a repeat of my complaint about Birds of Prey, but without the other weaknesses I see in that book. I especially enjoy how they are doing a Tarantino and jumping around in different time frames to tell the story.
Batman Incorporated: This was a late starter being one of the replacement books after 6 months. This is a solid continuation of what Morrison was doing with this title prior to the New 52 relaunch.
Nightwing: Of all the Non-batman staring books in the Batman line this is the most tied in to the overall continuity. It makes good use of Dick Grayson’s history as well. My only complaint is the change of the costume making the formerly blue parts red. However I do get that this is done to create a visual connection to the other Robins. Every one of them has red as the dominate color of their costume.
Action Comics: Another of the cornerstone books for the New 52. It works really well as a “Superman year one” style book. Grant Morrison does a great job telling the story of a young superman still learning about his powers and figuring out what kind of hero he wants to be. While I do enjoy the book I do have a couple of complaints. The first has nothing to do with the book itself. It is just that Action Comics was one of the longest running titles, reaching issue #904 prior to the relaunch. It was set to be the first comic to reach issue #1000. The mandate that all New 52 titles start with issue #1 has disrupted that. My hope is that at some point DC decides to honor this milestone and restore the original numbering. The other complaint is that I can’t help but feel like this book is more of a well written Elseworld title, then a cornerstone of New 52 DC Universe.
Green Lantern: The Flagship of the Green Lantern books. Like the Batman books this entire line largely ignored the reboot of the DC Universe and is continuing with the story that Geoff Johns has been telling for the last 7 years. Combine this with the fact that it is largely set off Earth and it might as well be in the old DCU. On the other hand that history allows for the continued character arcs Johns has been playing with to continue and thrive.
Red Lanterns: The odd duck of the Green Lantern books. When it started I was not sure how you could sustain this book due to the almost feral nature of most Red Lanterns. To be honest around the same time that I dropped Wonder Woman I was considering dropping this title as well. But the book turned itself around by making some of the Red Lanterns more intelligent and introducing a human Red Lantern. The story telling became more focused and I have found myself enjoying it.
Dial H: Another of the 6 month in replacement books. It is a revamp of the old Dial H for Hero book. Had this book been released prior to the New 52 I am convinced it would have been a Vertigo title. Fantasy author and first time comic writer China Mieville has taken a basically juvenile power fantasy concept and made it grand ancient alien conspiracy.
Earth 2: Really the jury is still out on this one. Of the 6 month in replacement books this one has had the slowest buildup. I am certainly enjoying it right now, but I do not feel that it has settled in to its story arc yet.
The books that have exceeded expectations:
These are the top drawer books for the New 52, the ones that I read first when I get them. Basically these are the ones that I feel have made the New 52 a success even if a flawed one.
Aquaman: File this one under “who knew”. For years writers have been trying to figure out what to do with Aquaman. This is compounded by the meme that Aquaman is a lame character based solely on how he was portrayed on the Super Friends. Geoff Johns took that meme and turned it on its head. It is a combination of deconstructing the meme, thinking logically about the real extent of Aquaman’s powers and how they work, and exploring his back story. I’m not kidding when I say that on the weeks this title comes out it is the first one I read.
Batman: Remember how I said that the Batman books had the best internal continuity of all the DC titles, well this book is the anchor point. In prepping for this article I asked my friend Aron who runs The Dreaming Comics and Games what is his bestselling title for the New 52. His answer was this one. I think a lot of credit goes to Scott Snyder’s writing. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic writers. One point is that this book does the best job of exploring Bruce Wayne as Bruce Wayne. So many books treat Bruce as simply Batman’s disguise, but Snyder goes for something deeper.
Batman and Robin: This is a close second to being the best Batman book. Here you have Peter Tomasi really exploring the Father/Son dynamic between Bruce and Damian Wayne. Tomasi is another writer, like Scott Snyder where they are getting to the point where I will check a book out simply because they are writing it.
Batgirl: I’ve already mentioned that Gail Simone is one of my favorite comic book writers and if anyone was going to handle Barbara Gordon becoming Batgirl again correctly it is her. Despite all my misgiving about this one aspect of the New 52 that I have written about before, I love this book. That’s right, even though I find how DC has handled the issue of what happened to Stephanie Brown rage inducing, it has not dampened how much I enjoy this title. Gail writes Barbara as a slightly broken character that never the less has the strength to get beyond that and be a hero. Too make a character simultaneously broken and strong is no small feat and here it is done masterfully.
Batwing: This book just caught me off guard. Judd Winick is one of the most inconsistent writers in comics today. He wrote a Catwoman book so bad I refused to pick it up, but is writing a new Bat character so well that he is becoming a favorite of mine. I think Winick, who is often a writer who falls back on social agenda writing has done good job of balancing the issues a character for the Democratic Republic of Congo is going to face, with telling a good superhero story.
Green Lantern Corps: Oh look, another book written by Peter Tomasi. This is the strongest of the Green Lantern books. It is the one doing the most to move forward the threat of the Guardians of the Universe plot. As its name implies, it makes use of the entire corps and feels like the stakes are truly universal.
Justice League Dark: Aron at the Dreaming says that for his store this title slightly outsells the main Justice League book. It was a decent book under Peter Milligan and would have probably ended up in my meets expectations category, but then Jeff Lemire took over and this title just took off. Lemire obviously loves the fringes of the DC Universe. This book also builds on a lot of ideas from the vertigo books that many of its characters come from.
Swamp Thing: At this point it should be clear that certain writers are really bringing their A game for the New 52. Here Scott Snyder gets to show his chops as a horror writer. He also has built on the Swamp Thing mythology in a way that has found a way to make sense with what the DC Dark titles are doing without ignoring the great stories that made Swamp Thing a cornerstone character for so many years.
Animal Man: The companion book to Swamp Thing in that they are telling the same story from two different angles. Jeff Lemire has taken this superhero character and turned the book into one of the best horror title in years.
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: This book is a kick in the pants. While Jeff Lemire has made Superhero Animal Man’s book into a horror title, he has took horror character Frankenstein and turned the book into the spiritual successor to Grant Morrison’s Invisibles. This got taken to 11 when Matt Kindt took over the book after issue #8. There is just a level of crazy in this book that is written so consistently that once you read a couple of issue you can buy completely into it. Half the fun of this title is just following along with the various concepts that Kindt introduces.
Demon Knights: This was easily one of the best books of the New 52 right from the start. Set in the medieval past and playing with several characters in the DC Universe that are immortal, Paul Cornell has built a grand fantasy epic. The best part for me is having immortal villain mastermind Vandal Savage portrayed in this title as a boisterous, life-loving barbarian warrior who is one of the heroes.
Worlds’ Finest: Where Earth 2 is a book I am still a bit on the fence about, its companion book has no such issues. This book has a very solid hook that Power Girl and Huntress are the Supergirl and Robin of Earth 2, trapped on Earth Prime and wanting to go home. Veteran writer Paul Levitz, who originally created the Huntress, puts the focus of the series on the relationship between the two heroes and their quest to go home. The chemistry here is perfect.
So there you have it, my take on the state of the current New 52 titles. Overall I like what I see right now, but it is definitely a mixed bag. My biggest concern is that the DC Universe no longer feels cohesive, and I think that is due to there not being a clear overall plan.
I am sure I will revisit the line again as there is a lot going on over at DC right now.
We are 10 months into the relaunch of the DC universe with the New 52. Originally I had not planned on touching on the event again until we reached the 12 month mark. But as a good friend of mine is fond of saying “When man makes plans, the gods laugh”.
Between some stories that broke in the last week I felt it was time a good time to go over how I feel about the direction DC is going with its titles.
The event that set this off was an interview with George Perez on why he stepped down as the writer on Superman. It came down to a frustration due to lack of consistency on what he was being told. Implied in the interview was a high degree of executive meddling over the head of DC publisher Dan DiDio. According to George he was given contradictory instructions on an almost constant basis.
He also did not like that his book was set 5 years after the story in Action Comics, being written by Grant Morrison. Grant was not telling anyone what he was planning meaning George had to limit what he wrote as he was not to contradict anything Grant wrote.
From this we can extract the following points.
DC did not go into the relaunch with a coherent plan.
The creative staff is not getting a consistent message.
Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are not in complete charge of guiding the stories due to executive meddling.
DC is giving way too much leeway to Grant Morrison and I suspect Geoff Johns.
From the start there has been a feel that the whole relaunch was an executive plan to reinvigorate the line and make the properties friendlier to other media. The big concern was that it was a rushed half-baked plan and now that seems to be confirmed at least in part by Perez.
Looking at the books there are some points we can see.
Some books have done well. These include Swamp Thing, Demon Knights, Aquaman, Justice League Dark, and Dial H. The thing about these books is that because of how they are written they would have succeeded just as well without the reboot of the DCU. Other books that have done well are the Batman and Green Lantern books, which have largely ignored the reboot.
But then you have the books that have not done so well. Superman has had problems since September. Action is ok, but both Action and Superman feel disconnected from each other. And as you can tell from Perez’s comments Superman has been a disjointed mess. Another book that is troubling is Green Arrow. It started out ok, but like Superman there was a creative team change and now it is borderline confusing.
Another issue is that there is inconstancy in the continuity. In Justice League International you have Batman as a member of the team and very supportive of team leader Booster Gold. In the main Justice League book Batman is loudly calling for the UN to disband the JLI. Add to this the fact that the members of the Justice League are acting like stuck up pricks in contrast to how most of them act in their own books.
There is another thing that makes me worried about the level of executive meddling at DC, and this one I witnessed with my own eyes.
At Emerald City Comic Con I attended two different DCU panels moderated by Batman group editor Michael Marts. In both panels questions were raised about the status of three characters, former Flash Wally West, original Wonder Girl Donna Troy, and most importantly previous Batgirl Stephanie Brown. In both cases there was someone in the audience making a slashing motion across his throat signaling Marts not to answer. In one of the panels where the audience would not let the question go Marts stated that the person making the gesture was a PR guy telling him not to answer.
To recap there was a PR guy in the audience making sure the Batman group editor did not give answers to certain questions.
Now maybe this is not that weird, but for me I have never witnessed anything like that at a convention before.
So what do I hope to see? Personally I am hoping that in another year or so that DC will announce that the new 52 is over and they are fixing the timeline to return to the more familiar continuity with maybe a few hold over changes.
From the moment the DC relaunch was announced a question loomed: “How long until the first cancelations?” Especially since the branding on the relaunch is “The New 52”.
We now have our answer and it shows how DC plans to move forward.
April will see the last issue of six of the relaunch titles: Blackhawks, Hawk and Dove, O.M.A.C, Mr. Terrific, Static Shock, and Men of War.
In May DC will launch 6 new titles: Batman Incorporated, Dial H, Earth 2, World’s Finest, The Ravagers, and G.I Combat.
So it is clear that with the “New 52” branding DC intends to keep the main universe titles at that number, only introducing new books as replacements for canceled books. Much like a TV network schedule really.
So how do I feel about it?
Honestly I like this strategy.
Aside from maintaining the branding, I like that they are keeping their product line lean. Not glutting the market keeps costs under control and makes choices easier for the consumer.
Just looking at sales figures can tell the story. Last month’s estimated sales showed Marvel just beating DC in overall sales, but DC had seven of the Top ten titles. While that looks good for marvel at first, keep in mind that they are publishing more than twice the number titles DC is, so they have a higher overhead. DC’s more targeted approach means a better net gain.
But what about the specific books involved?
Of the six titles going away, I read exactly zero. Of the six titles coming in May, I intend to add two to my pull list and give two others a try out.
Blackhawks, O.M.A.C., and Men of War were so low on my radar I actually forgot they were being published until this announcement. Mr. Terrific and Static Shock I was aware of, I just wasn’t into either character so I gave them a pass. I was an old fan of Hawk and Dove, but Rob Leifeld’s involvement in the book kept me away. So basically none of these really surprise me.
Of the new books Batman Incorporated is the big one for me. I was enjoying this title prior to its cancelation to make room for the relaunch. My hope is that they pick up the story were they left off or at least bridge to what went before.
Earth 2 is the other sure thing. I love the JSA and if you will forgive me, I think going back to the Earth 2 concept is the best of both worlds.
World’s Finest will get a shot as it ties into Earth 2. I’m happy to see Power Girl back as well as the Huntress. My hope for this title is that it will feature the original Huntress (the alternate earth daughter of Batman and Catwoman). If this is the case we will have a third keeper.
Dial H is an update of an old series about a mysterious dial that can temporarily turn normal people into superheroes. It is a concept that can work if the right writer is on it. I will give it a look at least to see what they do with it.
The Ravagers is a spinoff from Teen Titians and Superboy, two books I am not collecting so pass.
G.I. Combat is attempting to keep a military book on the schedule. This one is at least revisiting the weird war stories: Haunted Tank, the War time forgot, and the Unknown Soldier.I really have no more interested in the than I was for Men of War. Pass
What I am really interested in seeing is what else DC has up its sleeve. Are we going to get a new title every time there is a cancelation? If so what does DC have lined up?
When the first anniversary of the New 52 comes in September what will the DCU look like?
Over the last month we saw the release of the 1st issues for DC comics new 52, the relaunch of their universe. It’s clear that it has been an initial success.Many titles are already in reprint, DC is dominating the sales chart and Marvel is already showing signs of their attempt to rip it off.
But was it any good?
I guess the final answer is…..sort of.
There are certainly individual books that are good.Originally I was not going to pick up Green Arrow or Swamp Thing on a regular basis, but both first issues were good enough to change my mind. Batwing and Justice League International were not as good, but good enough for me to give to want to read more. Aquaman I bought on the strength that it was being written by Geoff Johns, and it paid off. The Superman books and Wonder Woman were well written and I enjoyed them. The Batman and Green Lantern books were continuing stories from prior to the relaunch and still enjoyable. Resurrection Man also seems to be jumping off from the old series from a few years back, but its nature makes it flow well into the new continuity and was a good relaunch of the character.
I have heard good things about Animal Man, Blue Beetle and Demon Knights, but as of yet I have not picked those up.
On the negative side were Catwoman, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Deathstroke. And each case it is an issue of bad or lazy writing. No second issues for these.
I’ve also heard bad buzz on Hawk and Dove, OMAC and Suicide Squad, but again I did not pick them up.
And on the meh side was the Flash, Justice League Dark. Both were passable individual stories, but didn’t fire me up. I’ll give them a few issues to see if they are worth keeping up with.
And then there is Justice League. The way it was written, I have no idea yet. I can’t help feel this one was paced for the trade edition. I’ll give it a few.
Overall I am happy with the books I am getting, but I see a major flaw developing. The source of this flaw is an issue with consistency of continuity.
When the relaunch happened you had some characters like Superman and Flash getting full on reboots. Others like Wonder Woman and Aquaman were more or less getting some retooling. Characters like Booster Gold and Resurrection Man are vague on what, if anything has been changed. And then you have Batman and the Green Lanterns, where they have not been changed and are in fact continuing their stories uninterrupted.
Add to that there we have some books taking place today, and others five years ago.
This leads to confusion as knowing how characters relate becomes muddled. The Kid Flash in teen titans, who if he? Barry Allen is not dating Iris West, so it is unlikely he is Wally West. Is he Bart Allen? Ok but again Barry and Iris are not together so saying he is their grandson from the future is still awkward at best. Is he option C, none of the above?
What about Superman? In Action comics, the book that takes place 5 years ago his costume is jeans, a t-shirt, and a cape that I suspect started life as a table cloth. In Superman which is set today his custom is some sort of Kryptonian armor. Ok fine, expect that Superman appears at the end of Justice League number 1. That issue was set five years ago and yet he was wearing the Kryptonian armor.
I’m sure the real answer was that the editors were not keeping up on what the creators were doing; this seems to be a problem at both DC and Marvel right now.
Once a few more issues are out I will probably start giving more in-depth opinions on the various titles.