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Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In with the DCNu" Edition

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Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In with the DCNu" Edition

Postby LOLtron » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:08 pm

ElijahSnowFan returns to talk about the new DC Universe!


The Omega-and-Alpha Preamble

You know, Faithful Reader, sometimes it is difficult to walk the fine line between commentary and biased advocacy, between being someone who attempts to be fair in "5 Things" while reacting with emotion and passion on the boards as a fan.

When I write "5 Things," though, that's the goal: To look at this industry and its initiatives objectively, to entertain and promomot thought and perhaps even discussion. The Outhouse, to my mind, serves a significant role in giving readers an avenue to offer their thoughts, to dissent, on the issues of the day...it's important that this happens, is allowed to happen, because dissent is crucial for growth.

With that in mind, and after looking at my admittedly non-scientific snapshot polling of what people thought of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 - which obviously are the end of one era and the beginning of another -- it was interesting to note how, for the most part, the consensus appeared to agree on two points:

The DC Universe ended with a whimper, and the DCNuniverse began...on a positive note.

"5 Things" wonders if that might have deeper meaning than it looks.

Looking where the DC Universe was in its final days...well, Faithful Reader, I'll just say it: However it got to where it was, the DC Universe in its final days was, well, awful. Not every book, obviously, but as a shared universe...well, let me be the first to say "good riddance."

But let me also be the first to say that it didn't have to be this way. Because examining where the DC Universe was at its end...let's be blunt: Creators and editors need to own their mistakes.

Superman walking across the United States after renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Wonder Woman abandoned by her writer...after he dropped her in an alternate reality/revamp that no one was quite sure was going to be the status quo or not.

Green Arrow hiding out in a forest, marriage ended as poorly as it began, his ward missing an arm and a kid. But no worries...he joined a team of villains led by Deathstroke that had the name of one of the company's easiest-to-recognize heroic brands.

Green Lantern...well, let's face it, boys and girls. When you've looped back to Krona and Sinestro, again, you're just not advancing.

Flash's relaunch was mind-numbingly...pedestrian. Exactly like the last two relaunches of the franchise.

Justice League a bizarre mix of characters that honestly could've been pulled out of a hat, for as much as anybody wanted to read about them as a grouping -- and for those who disagree with that, if Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc., aren't crucial to Justice League stories, then why are they almost always the centerpieces to the inevitable relaunch of the franchise after creators stock the roster with B- and C-List characters? This is the third relaunch of Justice League in 12 years. Each has had Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on the cover of the first issue. If that type of roster is good enough for the first issue, then that should be good enough for the last issue, and the vast majority of issues in between.

I could go on, but here's where I'm going with this: At the end, and with few exceptions over the past decade, the mainstream DC Universe simply wasn't very much fun to read about. It was wheezing along and would have a few good days where a decent storyline would come out, but as a whole...it was done. No fun to be had.

The epitome of the DC Universe at the end was Flashpoint #5. I read just that series, just Flashpoint and no tie-ins, and wondered if you could truly read just the series and enjoy it, on its own.

You couldn't...for the reasons the DC Universe was dragged down to its end. Too much stuff happening in too many other places that all had to be in sync at the end -- the worst example was the page/panel where somehow, Gorilla Grodd's forces appeared out of nowhere, despite having absolutely nothing of consequence to do. Even in the series, it was never all that clear why Aquaman and Wonder Woman hated each other so much. You kinda knew that somebody had gotten killed, but even that crucial point about why two nations were ready to end the world...happened in another series.

It showed in the script, with the flimsy reveal that Barry Allen was the cause of the nightmare world, Professor Zoom being dispatched like an amateur because he couldn't be allowed to exist anymore after his power upgrade to begin with, to Barry Allen pulling what appeared to be a "close enough to count" resetting of reality as he knew it.

At the end of it, with an attempted touching moment with Batman and Flash striking me as bizarre when you consider that Flash caused a lot of pain and suffering...well, "5 Things" had been beaten into submission.

It was time for the DC Universe to go. Just...go away. No more excuses from creators about how difficult it was to labor under the weight of continuity and concepts they didn't create. No more excuses.

So, then. On to Justice League #1...which, as the snapshot poll indicated, readers found to be a little more palatable. I did, as well.

It's only one issue, so you have to take that into consideration. But I will say this: With it being an origin issue/storyline, it certainly appeared to be...looser. Free of the weight of what's gone before, but with just enough personality characteristics of the principal characters retained to be interesting.

To the way I think, the success of DC's revamp hinges on Superman - what will this character look like a year from now? The tougher, more confident/aggressive character we saw at the end of the issue, and in the preview of Action Comics? Or the sap who can fly all over the world but only wants to date one person at his job who doesn't want to date him?

It's too early to tell, but it does appear to be...promising. In talking to my LCS operator, he was cautiously optimistic that there would be enough new orders of books to carry DC for six months. He wasn't even worried about digital downloading - yet. But he said he had gotten enough orders on new books where he thought the risk was worth it.

Then? It's up to DC to make this work. Because now, the time for talk is over. DC has 51 more first issues coming out, starting this week, for the rest of the month. Now we'll see who has the ability to grab this relaunch by the throat and pull their concept to the front of the line.

I'm going to modify what I was going to do: I'm just going to read Justice League, for now. I'll wait for positive feedback on many of the others before I jump into this thing...and I will. Because out of 52 books, something's going to be good...and maybe, just maybe, readers won't be hearing creators complain about the constraints of continuity for a good, long while.

Written or Contributed by: ElijahSnowFan


http://173.199.169.70/index.php/columns/five-things-i-think-i-know/15549-five-things-i-think-i-know-the-out-with-the-old-dc-in-with-the-dcnu-edition.html/
Last edited by LOLtron on Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby Victorian Squid » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:12 pm

Hurray for an end to the hysteria! Good article.
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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby BlueStreak » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:41 pm

I'd recommend checking out the 52apolooza Reviews when they hit en masse this week.
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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby mrorangesoda » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:53 pm

To be fair, the story from Action 900 was after grounded started and despite Fox news flipping out, wasn't mentioned anywhere else in the DCU.

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby Victorian Squid » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:55 pm

BlueStreak wrote:I'd recommend checking out the 52apolooza Reviews when they hit en masse this week.


No! :x Well, okay.

If Skywatcher is reading, who told me that pre-ordering the new 52 #1s to turn a profit was a ridiculous idea, you can turn that set around overnight tonight, without even having it in your possession yet, for more than double the cost. EASILY.
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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby alaska1125 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:10 pm

As always, ESF, well written. And I agree with just about everything except sitting back to see what shakes out. Animal Man and Stormwatch have me intrigued and frankly, god forbid, a bit excited. So I'm going to go for a sampling at least initially. I'll admit to being disappointed by some of Didio's responses (posted in another thread) about the piecemeal nature of what was kept and what wasn't, but I'll give it a tumble.
At the end of the day, though, the last few years or so have been a mess. Let's hope this is the clean slate (more or less) that they need.

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:22 am

Mike Mercury wrote:Hurray for an end to the hysteria! Good article.


Thanks! As always, I appreciate all the folks who take time to read it!
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*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality."

"Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!" -- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:29 am

BlueStreak wrote:I'd recommend checking out the 52apolooza Reviews when they hit en masse this week.


Trust me, I'm going to be all over those -- I hope they're relatively detailed, in the sense that I have no problems knowing what's in a book before I buy it. I've read so many comics over my lifetime, it's rare that I see any wheels being reinvented...but I am cautiously optimistic by maybe 20 of the titles.

As I said before, though, this time I'm just going to exercise a little patience -- memories of "Hawkgirl" in OYL haunt me to this day. :wink:
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*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality."

"Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!" -- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:30 am

mrorangesoda wrote:To be fair, the story from Action 900 was after grounded started and despite Fox news flipping out, wasn't mentioned anywhere else in the DCU.


Fair enough! Your point is acknowledged -- and it's a good one.
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*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality."

"Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!" -- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:33 am

alaska1125 wrote:As always, ESF, well written. And I agree with just about everything except sitting back to see what shakes out. Animal Man and Stormwatch have me intrigued and frankly, god forbid, a bit excited. So I'm going to go for a sampling at least initially. I'll admit to being disappointed by some of Didio's responses (posted in another thread) about the piecemeal nature of what was kept and what wasn't, but I'll give it a tumble.
At the end of the day, though, the last few years or so have been a mess. Let's hope this is the clean slate (more or less) that they need.


Thanks!

I won't lie; there are three books that are likely to make me break my "Patience Embargo": Legion, Grifter and Stormwatch. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Cole Cash and a fairly large number of Wildstorm characters, and of course, Legion with the correct timeline is a book I will always embrace.
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*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality."

"Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!" -- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby Timbales » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:35 am

I've never read Superman before, but I'm looking forward to Action Comics.
However, Liefeld is an enigma wrapped in a pouch-filled, muscular, footless conundrum.
Written or Contributed by ThanosCopter

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:43 am

Timbales wrote:I've never read Superman before, but I'm looking forward to Action Comics.


You know, it's interesting that you said it that way...because sadly, I don't know that you've missed a lot over the last 20-ish years by NOT reading Superman.

The character got a charge right after COIE, when they rebooted it hard in "Man of Steel" -- which really was a pretty good interpretation of Superman at the time.

But other than that...wow. Off the top of my head, the only run of Superman I would strongly recommend is Johns' Action run, which, to my mind, is relatively underrated. Kurt Busiek's run on Superman was sabotaged by art delays, but did have some high points.

Other than that...man. It says something that one of the more fun runs, New Krypton, didn't even have Superman in Action Comics or Superman.

I've said it before -- hell, I just said it in the column -- but DC needs to get Superman right. To my mind, it drags down the whole line when that set of books is so forgettable.
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*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality."

"Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!" -- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby mrorangesoda » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:47 am

ElijahSnowFan wrote:
Fair enough! Your point is acknowledged -- and it's a good one.


I liked your article. I forgot to mention that while being an internet nerd.

I think that Action 900 thing took them really off guard. It was one of the lesser important back up stories in the issue and didn't even make sense with the continuity at the time. I feel bad for Chris Roberson, who got screwed over with 712 once DC became afraid of conservative bloggers overreacting. Anyway, it's all behind them and we have Action #1 to look forward too.

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby Timbales » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:51 am

ElijahSnowFan wrote:
You know, it's interesting that you said it that way...because sadly, I don't know that you've missed a lot over the last 20-ish years by NOT reading Superman.

The character got a charge right after COIE, when they rebooted it hard in "Man of Steel" -- which really was a pretty good interpretation of Superman at the time.

But other than that...wow. Off the top of my head, the only run of Superman I would strongly recommend is Johns' Action run, which, to my mind, is relatively underrated. Kurt Busiek's run on Superman was sabotaged by art delays, but did have some high points.

Other than that...man. It says something that one of the more fun runs, New Krypton, didn't even have Superman in Action Comics or Superman.

I've said it before -- hell, I just said it in the column -- but DC needs to get Superman right. To my mind, it drags down the whole line when that set of books is so forgettable.


I've always liked the idea of Superman, but never really felt the draw to read him. I knew there were some things that were just always going to be the same - Lois, the Daily Planet, Lex, Jimmy, etc.
However, Liefeld is an enigma wrapped in a pouch-filled, muscular, footless conundrum.
Written or Contributed by ThanosCopter

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Re: Five Things I Think I Know: The Out with the old DC, In

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:06 am

mrorangesoda wrote:
I liked your article. I forgot to mention that while being an internet nerd.

I think that Action 900 thing took them really off guard. It was one of the lesser important back up stories in the issue and didn't even make sense with the continuity at the time. I feel bad for Chris Roberson, who got screwed over with 712 once DC became afraid of conservative bloggers overreacting. Anyway, it's all behind them and we have Action #1 to look forward too.


Thanks!

True -- and I'm actually fairly excited about the possibilities in that one, as well. I've always been a "hot-and-cold" Morrison guy -- sometimes the guy is truly amazing, and sometimes, he makes me want to set his stuff on fire -- but I am cautiously optimistic about the preview that has been released. It could be really interesting, and I'm always hopeful of reading a good Superman...as I've been discussing with Timbales, that doesn't always happen.
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*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality."

"Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!" -- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity

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