DC Comics’ September Super Mega Happy Funtime Reboot

So the big big comic book news in the last two weeks has been the reboot plan of the DC Universe.

They are starting with 52 #1 books. Starting from scratch. People are getting new origins, new stories, new line-ups, new love interests, and some characters are going to disappear complete. They seem to be making a huge push to use more minority characters, giving characters like Mr. Terrific his own book, rebooting JLI, and announcing that only four of a larger number of the new new new Teen Titans will be Caucasian.

Now, I make money off of selling these things, so I’m trying to keep a cool, unbiased, objective head about all of this. If I stay positive I won’t terrify my customers.

But I’m a fangirl, so at the same time, my roommate is dealing with a lot of screaming, cursing, ranting, and there might just be some tears.

So! Good News Bad News time.

The good news: They’ve already announced one high profile book featuring a female lead, and two more are waiting in the wings: Wonder Woman and Catwoman are getting all new number ones, and Batwoman #1 staring Kate Kane is still a go.

The bad news: Wonder Woman is being written by Brian Azzarello, the man who decided to make Harley Quinn a stripper in his Joker hardcover, so you never know what you’re gonna get when you put a popular female character in his hands.

The good news: They really do seem like they’re trying to clean things up and try to attract new readers with accessible stories, where you don’t have to spend an hour on wikipedia to understand what’s going on.

The bad news: DC seems like it’s just up to its same old tricks.

Quoth the DCU blog:

“Marking the first time Batman will appear in a debut issue of Detective Comics, the series will find Bruce Wayne on the trail of a dangerous serial killer known only as the Gotham Ripper.”

The Gotham Ripper.

If that’s what I think it is, DC is yet again going to be using rape and gore as easy shock value storytelling. It’s a long-standing tradition. One that I personally abhor, for the usually triggering images stories like that produce.

When I point out that those images might be damaging to a growing female readership, some of whom may be sexual assault survivors, and they are driving those sales away, I get shrugged at.

So! DC’s all-new, all-different, super mega happy funtime reboot?

Looking like a second verse, same as the first situation.

For more info on reboot, visit http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/ and http://www.ign.com/

Comments

  1. Lindsey says

    There are a lot of rumors of making Barbara Gordon into Batgirl again as well, including the recently released cover for the new series. I think this is a terrible idea simply because Babs is a full-grown woman, not a “girl” anymore, and has moved well past being one of Batman’s sidekicks. But that’s how things were when Geoff Johns was a kid, so that’s how it has to be now perhaps.

    As well, Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are both perfectly placed for the role and popular with their fans–if they were just written out of the universe to give Babs the cowl, that would be a shame.

  2. Leigh says

    Lindsey,

    As a huge fan of all the Batgirls, I absolutely agree that making Babs back into Batgirl would be a huge mistake, because not only does it devolve her character and push aside two other really interesting and compelling characters, it gets rid of everything that made Barbara unique in the DCU, and takes away one of the only instances of a relate-able, strong disabled character in superhero comics.

    I didn’t want to bring this up in my post because I get too rage-y about it. However, this is still not confirmed and there are rumors flying around that it’s not Barbara, but we just don’t know yet.

  3. Attackfish says

    Leigh,

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    There’s a huge segment of my friends who adore her and want her fixed, and they look at me like I’ve grown another head when I talk about how much I love her and love that she’s an awesome woman superhero… with disabilities, damn it!

  4. SunlessNick says

    Also, Batgirl isn’t a terribly unique niche. Teen sidekicks aren’t ten-a-penny, but they’re common enough to be a trope in their own right. And Bat-anything-else will be narratively subordinate to Batman, because he’s the source of the brand.

    On the other hand, Oracle has her own niche, and one that positions her out from under Bruce Wayne’s shadow, and an interesting middle ground between the vigilantes and the legitimate cops. Rather than her back as Batgirl, I’d rather see her start out as Oracle.

  5. Casey says

    So if Babs is gonna be Batgirl again and they’re re-starting EVERY FRANCHISE EVAR/getting rid of stuff, then does that mean no more Birds of Prey? Or even no more alternate universes? I don’t see why (TEENAGE) Barbara Gordon can’t be Batgirl in a different continuity and she can continue being Oracle in another one…or did Superboy Prime just punch reality again?

  6. Charles RB says

    Casey

    There’s an ongoing Birds Of Prey, but from the cover Batgirl’s apparently not in it.

    Gail Simone seems enthusiastic about it, but “Now, when citizens of that city look up, they are going to see BATGIRL” is only a step away from “those other two weren’t the REAL Batgirl” and that’s a daft thing to say when anyone reading DC Comics since 1987 hasn’t seen Barbara as Batgirl.

  7. says

    Charles RB,

    The problem seems to be a distinct unwillingness to move forward from the past, and the idea that to these people “Original” means “Best”

    But to the people who have been reading for the last twenty year, and love the second-tier characters, that’s not the case. They are nixing characters that an entire generation grew up reading; That generation is being told that their money is not as important as the money of the older generation, and a new, yet-to-be discovered readership.

  8. says

    matt,

    They DO have a non-white Bat-fam member, and his name is Batwing. He is the African Batman from Batman Inc, and he’s just been given his own book.

    Say bye-bye to Cassandra.

  9. says

    They seem to be making a huge push to use more minority characters, giving characters like Mr. Terrific his own book, rebooting JLI, and announcing that only four of a larger number of the new new new Teen Titans will be Caucasian.

    I guess. I counted up the people who’d be appearing in the new books (at least, those that I could find–which didn’t include Teen Titans), and around half were white men, and a quarter white women, with the rest people of color. Some of those colors being red and orange, mind.

    Of course, there are about half the books left to be announced, so we’ll see how that changes the tally.

    • Maria says

      @Skemono

      That’s typical double-speak. A “huge push” of POC is one or two, when you are talking about a predominantly white medium like comics.

  10. M.C. says

    Babs as Batgirl again? WTF?! Does this mean she won’t be wheelchair-bound anymore? WTF DC Comics?! Having her be a paraplegic superheroine was what made her original, awesome and relateable in the first place!

  11. Charles RB says

    Leigh: That generation is being told that their money is not as important as the money of the older generation

    And a lot of that older generation isn’t going to be too thrilled by another reboot either.

  12. Charles RB says

    Leigh:
    matt,

    They DO have a non-white Bat-fam member, and his name is Batwing. He is the African Batman from Batman Inc, and he’s just been given his own book.

    Say bye-bye to Cassandra.

    Cassandra’s part of Batman Inc too though, so Grant Morrison at least intends to keep her on the books. (There’s also Nightrunner and Mr Unknown from the same title, Algerian descent and Japanese respectively)

  13. Shaun says

    Leigh, you might know this. Is Batwoman the only queer character to have headed up her own title at DC (or either DC or Marvel)? It might be worth supporting if that’s the case and the writing is good. I leafed through Elegy and was really intrigued by Alice, but at the same time I read some of the writer’s notes to the artist elsewhere and was really turned off by him describing her “like a succubus” and generally got the feeling of, straight guy being weird about writing a lesbian.

    Other than giving a lesbian character her own title, I can’t see anything positive coming out of the relaunches, despite DC repeatedly talking about how much they want to be inclusive and diverse.

  14. says

    Shaun,

    Well, Midnighter’s a gay character and got his own series. He’s part of the Wildstorm universe, which is a subdivision of DC. I’ve racked my brain and checked Wikipedia, but I can’t think of any other LGBT characters that have gotten their own solo books.

    Also, DC is apparently bringing back Static Shock with this reboot, so hopefully that’ll be good, too.

  15. Shaun says

    Skemono,

    Yeah, I saw that there are 3 black males heading their own comics, and since I don’t know DC, I don’t know if this is an improvement or not (although I will say diversity is more than just black men). Given that the Justice League is now whiter (and even maler!) than the Meltzer incarnation, all the Robins except the female one get their own books (and they all displace more qualified female team leaders), Tim Drake is apparently getting all the credit for everything Oracle ever did, and the incredible hot mess that is the Batgirl comic, I think it’s ~probably~ safe to say this is a net negative.

  16. Lindsey says

    Shaun,

    The Batwoman comic that did finally come out was fantastic, in art and writing, but it was Greg Rucka who usually at makes an attempt to do strength and character in women. He’s had misfires but he was also partly responsible for Renee Montoya in Gotham Central and other good moments for DC. Of course, he’s out of comics now with strong hints that he was dissatisfied with DC’s editorial direction, so that’s too bad.

    On the upside, the new Batwoman will be written by the artist from the Detective run, who at least seems to get what she should be about and won’t cut the middle out of her shirt.

  17. Shaun says

    Lindsey,

    I did like that Batwoman actually seemed to be a DETECTIVE, something the other Bat characters (to me) seemed to be lacking.

    Can we retired Bruce Wayne yet? Not because I don’t like him, I do (mostly as part of an ensemble cast) but he’s been there for a really long time now.

  18. M.C. says

    Lindsey,

    Lindsey:
    Shaun,

    The Batwoman comic that did finally come out was fantastic, in art and writing, but it was Greg Rucka who usually at makes an attempt to do strength and character in women. He’s had misfires but he was also partly responsible for Renee Montoya in Gotham Central and other good moments for DC.Of course, he’s out of comics now with strong hints that he was dissatisfied with DC’s editorial direction, so that’s too bad.

    Greg Rucka did a great job with fixing Lois’s characterisation in Superman after Chuck Austen had tried to ruin her a few years ago.

    I desperately wish that DC would finally give Lois Lane her own series and let Rucka write that. I mean, why does the most well known female comic book character (and first fictional career woman) not have her own series?
    Sure, Lois can still appear in Superman too, since that title would have only 5 readers left if she wasn’t there, but give Lois her own series already!

  19. Shaun says

    Tristan J,

    Thanks for linking that.

    I’m glad she tried to engage, I really am. But that was a really condescending and obnoxious interview. I really disliked how she acknowledge the percentage of disabled readers who want Barbara out of the chair is a minority, but then kept referring to them like by doing this she was serving the will of disabled people. She’s not–I think that wheelchair users and the rest of the cross-disability community has made that really fucking clear, and she made that clear with her acknowledgement it’s a “minority.”

  20. says

    Tristan J,

    They felt that it was a betrayal that an Asian character, Cass Cain, who was much beloved and tremendously popular as Batgirl, was being replaced by a blonde-haired white girl. There were angry letters and threats of boycotts, the whole thing.

    A year later, look at the love so many people have for Steph. For them, she is the Batgirl, and she’s not replaceable.

    When your defense is “it’s just like whitewashing!” … you have a problem.

    That said, Simone did come across as someone who’d been handed a decision from on high and given an all or nothing choice to comply or walk away. It sounds like the problem comes from editorial interference.

  21. Patrick McGraw says

    Learning that Greg Rucka is no longer working for DC has further solidified my decision not to give the company another chance. His work on Wonder Woman and Superman was phenomenal, despite its flaws.

    I would so, so love to see a Lois Lane series written by Rucka. He’s one of the few writers that I really feel got her personality. There is SO MUCH that could be done with focusing on Lois, her job, and her relationships with the supporting cast. And lots of snark. You can’t really have Lois Lane without snark.

  22. Shaun says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Yeah I got the impression she didn’t entirely agree with the decision–she outright says it was final by the time it made its way to her. She could at least not bullshit and condescend to an entire group of people. I seriously couldn’t believe she used the “inspiring and heroic” trope WHILE TALKING TO A DISABLED WOMAN.

    I’ve also now learned that despite coining “women in refrigerators” she pulled a variant of this trope having a queer guy execute himself over the death of a straight man he had an unrequited crush on in order to give the straight woman he did it in front of lots of angst, and then told complaining fans they were all overreacting and just buy the next comic, sooooo maybe I shouldn’t expect accurate portrayals of any group Simone isn’t a part of.

    As for Cass… I don’t know the character, but if she’s so overwhelmingly popular as even DC is saying, and DC cares so much about sales and ensuring fan loyalty, why the FUCK doesn’t she have her own book?

  23. Charles RB says

    I’m bemused by the interview comment:

    “But beyond that, there are so many stories that can be told with Barbara that are hard to tell with other characters, even great other characters”

    as a reason to bring her back as Batgirl, when the same is also true of Oracle. More true, in fact. There are other teen girl vigilantes, there isn’t another person like Oracle in the DCU.

    And the “it didn’t make in-universe sense for her to stay crippled” argument is a crap one, because it also makes no sense in-universe that so few people work out that Clark looks just like Superman, that Lex Luthor keeps coming back as a respected figure, or that Arkham Asylum has such crap security all the fucking time.

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