I Know I'm A Little Late To This Party, Forgive Me As I Am In Greece

[the first in a series of posts about what I'm looking forward to about DC's relaunch]

I think this business about rebooting the whole DC Universe is exceedingly silly. For that matter, I think canceling Uncanny and putting Steve back into the flag are silly too, but those are things we'll get to later: for now, rebooting the whole DC Universe is silly. Not that I mind; I've never followed DC's events, as I prefer to borrow them later from friends.

Can you imagine, though? Paying all that money? Following those stories just for them to come to nothing? I suppose it all depends how you look at it, though. If you're inclined (like I am) to view superhero comics as a certain kind of modern mythology, then a reboot that shakes continuity in order to bring a character back to their essentials well, that can't really be a bad thing. At the same time, I think I'm in the minority: I think most people are in it for the long-term, continuous serial storytelling.

And that's why I think that this reboot thing is silly, because I think it's going to backfire. DC might get a sales spike for the first couple of months, but, although I would be curious to see what comes after that, I am pessimistic about the long-term viability of this as a choice.

The positive upshot of this, though, is that DC really does have a chance here to revitalize some old properties and to try some new things. If they can, by erasing the twenty-five years of storytelling since the last time they did this, make comics simpler to understand and less worried about continuity, they might bring people who are intimated by comics as they stand now into the fold, and after a spike and then another dip, they might see a nice little increase in readership.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that, among the books on tap, there are these:





Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS

On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

I hate Superman.

But here's the score: if Grant Morrison's writing it, I'm probably going to buy it. And putting Grant Morrison on Superman? That's a stroke of genius, and one that comes with a pretty good guarantee. Grant Morrison gets Superman (in a way that someone like a certain superfan who has the initials JMS doesn't), because Grant Morrison gets archetypes, and that's the sort of writer that Supes needs, a mythographer rather than a fanboy. We know that Morrison is such a writer because the Scot already rebooted the big blue boyscout once, and All-Star Superman is, to my mind, the best Superman comic in decades (and maybe the only decent one in just that long), and it's the best Superman comic in decades because Morrison was playing with expectations and mythology. Grant Morrison is going to write a Superman good enough to wash the taste of Grounded out of our collective mouths-- and that alone is worth the $3.99.



Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG

On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?

It's not that I don't like Wonder Woman, exactly, it's just that I've never thought she was very interesting: the WW stories from the past couple of years haven't helped this perception, exactly. Putting Brian Azzerello and Cliff Chiang on the relaunched book, though, that's crazy enough that it just might work.

Actually, let me step back: putting Chiang on WW was a no-brainer, and someone should have done it years ago. No one, no one, in comics today is an iconographer of the quality that Chiang is: look at the way Diana stands out from the background of that cover, like she's made of halo, separating her from her surroundings as if to say "Yeah, this one's different." And Wonder Woman should be different. She should be a hellraising, badass, Amazon warrior stuck between two worlds, prepared to do what it takes to defend those who need it from forces way beyond their control. And Chiang, if the cover is any indication (and I know it is) is the man for the job.

If Chiang was an obvious choice, Azzerello was a stroke of mad brilliance: at first glance, a man known primarily for his killer crime comics is not the man for this job. But there is some precedent for it: the only Superman comics I own besides Morrison's are Azzerello's and they're pretty good (not great, but pretty good), and they're pretty good because Azz took an old kind of story, a classic, almost a cliche (a man wanders away from home briefly, and comes back to find that everything has changed) and he put Supes in a position he had never been in before, a position for which there was no good solution, no tall buildings to leap in a single bound, no flying around the world backwards. If he could pull the same sort of trick with Wonder Woman, if he can strip off the lasso of truth and the invisible jet, then this book will be an instant classic.

1 comment:

  1. I've always come down more on the serial storytelling side of the debate between mythology and fiction. I grew up on Spider-Man and it all seemed to make sense as a single ongoing story. But whether or not these stories are fiction, mythology, or somewhere in between... none of these newly announced series from DC have me very excited.