Friday, October 14, 2011

Nerd Rage #8: Final Thoughts On the Intitial DCnU

The DCnU does its best to remind you that Aquaman is awesome
We were solidly in Month Two of the Great DC Reboot of 2011.  When I first herd about this big company spanning relaunch I was upset and extremely skeptical, but now after having read a number of the new titles…well, I’m still upset.  Yes I admit that I have read some good comics and I know that there are several comics I didn’t read that have been critical successes as well.   However I still feel like there are a lot of problems with this whole stunt, and it is a stunt.   As of right now I’m sure DC Comics doesn’t care too much about whatever is being said in general (Like, if DC were to read this bog they probably wouldn’t take it any mind) because the bottom line is they killed in sales in the month of September.  Of the top twenty spots seventeen were DCnU books, including all of the top five.  Compare this to Augusts’ sales where things were much more evenly distributed (But Justice League #1 was still the top seller).  Even if a million people went on the internet to declare their hatred of the comics good sales would keep DC motivated to make more of the same.  They’re a business and that’s what businesses do.  Even so these numbers are still in the short term.   Before the new comics came out none of us really knew which ones would be good and which ones would be crap so I imagine most of us just bought what looked good and seemed to gel with our sensibilities.  Not every comic in the top twenty was really all that great after all.  It will be interesting to see what the coming months will tell for DC and whether they can keep this momentum up now that fans have a better idea where to put their money.

Also I’d like to point out that Batgirl #1, Batwoman #1 and Wonder Woman #1, three books I gave positive reviews of, all made it to the Top 20 while Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, which I hated, did not.  I feel somewhat vindicated.

In any event today I want look at the new DCU and discus a bit more on what changed and speculate if it’s good or bad.

More rants after the jump.

Animal Man is supposed to be really good
One of the things that separate the DC Universe from the Marvel Universe is that in DC the world of the DCU was always considerably…brighter than its counterpart.   The relationship between the heroes of DC and the civilian population, for example, has generally been one of admiration and gratefulness for the presence of the protectors.  This is as opposed to Marvel where a large portion of their heroes are not trusted and even in some cases feared (And Lord help them if they’re a mutant).  A lot of fans prefer Marvel for this because they think it’s more “realistic” depiction (Though what’s considered “realistic” about a world whose major heroes all got superpowers through exposure to radiation rather than dying I’ll never know) however I always liked the way DC did things.  I can really only take people throwing bottles at Spider-Man so many times before I get a little sick of it and pick up a issue of Action Comics to see people actually being thankful to Superman for saving their lives.

However one of the major things I noticed about the DCnU is that the atmosphere has drastically changed.  Because superheroes have only been around five years or so there’s apparently a lot of mistrust and tension between the average citizen and their super powered protectors.  The whole affair feels like people only just tolerate heroes for the most part and are actively hostile to younger ones (Though to be fair Kid Flash isn’t helping anyone anywhere).   Adding in all the gun toting mercenaries and antiheroes with solo titles it feels a lot more similar to Marvel than it did just a few months ago.  The violence has been increased in a lot of books, as has the sexuality, and really I have to say a lot of what I said feel very juvenile.  As I mentioned before I’m reminded a lot of early Image Comics where the sex, violence and pretty artwork were the main draws of their books while the writing tended to take a backseat (Not a universal thing, of course).  In general things are somewhat reminiscent of the Dark Age of Comics (Basically the 1990s), which is kind of funny since DC seemed to be trying to bring back concepts and ideas from the Silver Age of Comics during the last ten years.  I’m not sure wich is more offensive to me.  Bottom line though is that the heroes in the DCnU feel more grim than they did before and their world overall seems darker which to me makes the line lose some of its uniqueness.

Barbara Gordon, still slumming it as "Batgirl"
It’s not to say that stories aren’t good.   Yes, some of them have been terrible, but if DC can take any moral victory from all this it’s that they’ve managed to crank out some particularly interesting and well written books. Batgirl, Batwoman, Demon Knights, Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Which I didn’t get to review, sadly); these are good books and DC should be commended on their quality.   I haven’t read them but I’ve heard some amazing things about Animal Man and Swamp Thing as well so I would like to point out that DC is making readable books.  However I don’t like that they threw out so much continuity to do it when most of these books could have easily been released on their own rather than as part of a reboot.   Hell, some of these titles were originally supposed to be that way, actually.

I suppose the bottom line here is that DC’s Reboot is success, at least for the moment. There’s a lot of that I still greatly dislike but I’d b lying if I said there wasn’t good to be found.  The fact is that DC did something drastic and possibly unnecessary but you can find some silver lining.   It’s important to know that anything DC does with their comics is reversible.  If the whole universe was altered in the wake of an event it can be undone as well.  If there’s something you don’t like about the DCnU it’s up to you to not only vote with your wallet but to let DC know as well.

Like me letting DC know that Static Shock gets kind of boring in issue 2

By the way due to semi-professional, non-blog related reasons I now have a Twitter account.  If you also have a Twitter account feel free to follow me at JasonBetaMagnus.

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