Prior to DC’s big announcement I was in the midst of writing an article about the implications of Flashpoint on the DCU. I even complained that some of these allegedly ‘big’ events simply were rendered useless a year later… well be careful what you wish for. The speculation of what will happen after Flashpoint was answered with DC’s biggest announcement since Crisis of the Infinite Earths. The rumors of a massive DC Universe reboot have been confirmed. In August/September, comic fans will be the recipients of 52 #1 issues as the entire line of DC Universe titles gets a re-launch. Everyone from Superman to Booster Gold will be getting a revamp, which includes redesigns and a “younger” continuity, as stated by DC in their press release May 31st.
From what they have announced, it would seem that every single current series will be ending in just a few months. What’s such a shame is that some of these titles are young and barely out of their single digits, and although they are strong there may be no place for these comics in the revamped DC Universe. Even with the promise of 52 initial reboots, the fate of the rest of our favorite series is just unknown.
Just why is DC planning such a large and risky event? According to their press release they believe, “This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.” This, to me, translates into wanting to reach out to today’s younger generation, and accumulate new readers. It’s good that they are attempting to obtain these new readers, but I have to wonder if they have taken their current, and dedicated, longtime readers into consideration. Over the past several years the DCU has had its share of large events; for the most part they have been great. DC has undergone some of the better story lines in the comic industry in the past five years, resulting in a more solid and largely accepted universe. Blackest Night, arguably one of the most entertaining events to take place in the past decade of the DC universe, was a monumental success. Then there was the whole Batman series, resulting in several changes. Dick Grayson became Batman after Bruce allegedly died and he took on Bruce’s estranged son Damian Wayne. Tim Drake donned a new title, Red Robin, while his former gal pal became the new Batgirl! Bruce himself, returning from the past, created an international group titled Batman Inc. This drastically changed the character who once believed he could only trust himself. These events have truly shaped the DCU into a fascinating universe that borders on epic mythology. So I ask, why mess with a good thing?
Geoff Johns, DC’s Chief Creative Officer, and Jim Lee, Co-Publisher alongside Dan Didio, are the two men in charge of this drastic change. Geoff Johns has, for the most part, been one of my favorite comic writers over the past four years. He was responsible for completely altering how I looked at the Green Lantern Corp. From the Sinestro Corp war, through Blackest Night, past Brightest Day and right into War of the Green Lanterns, I have been with him through thick and thin. I have loved every single minute of it. So I have to wonder just why, after all his hard work and dedication, he would create a story arc that completely erases everything he’s done?
It would honestly seem to me that DC is willing to risk alienating their dedicated fans in hopes of attaining an audience that simply may not exist. This type of gamble reeks of desperation for change and a higher income. In believing that newer readers will be more attracted to a less burdened universe, they fail to realize that those very readers will likely grow bored of any new stories they release within six months. However, I honestly can’t make such assumptions now. I can’t even say for sure what will happen. For all we know, this announcement could have been poorly written and we are not looking at a complete reboot. In fact, there are some elements of this reboot that intrigue me.
Take for instance the number of first issues that will be released, 52. As most DC fans know, there are 52 universes in the DCU. It can not be a coincidence that they chose this number! With that in mind I honestly think this reboot could be connected to more than just New Earth, involving the multiverse as a whole. For a while now authors like J. Michael Straczynski have wanted to create an alternate universe for DC; Earth One to be more exact. In this Earth the heroes are much younger, and the initial events of the heroes lives are happening now in the modern world. I found it too coincidental that Superman Earth One had much the same intentions, and that news of more Earth One stories have seemed to pass on. Could this be the start of DC’s own Ultimate Universe? Will this reboot simply spin off into a new Earth? With the cancellation of several past series looming, this may not be so. However, maybe the creation of this Earth One will put New Earth stories on hold. This is pure speculation of course. It is, however, in my opinion a far better idea for reaching out to newer readers than a complete revamp of the main universe. This would allow for their suspected new readers to step into the comic universe unburdened with years of back-story, while not alienating their longtime readers.
Time will only tell though, until then I will remain quite concerned with DC’s planned course. In fact it saddens me to say this, but prior to today I never thought I would reach a point where putting down DC comics for good was a possibility.