So like many of you I picked up last weeks’ Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1. I won’t really recap them here because one you should go read them yourself and two if you’re reading this you most likely have already read them and have an opinion not only on these issues but on DC’s whole re-launch as a whole.
I for one was against the re-launch. But why was I against the reboot? Was it that I felt that the reboot was a desperate commercial grab by DC to just gain quick sales? Was it that I felt that icky feeling of the 90’s decade of comics creeping back from my childhood? Was it my basic human instinct to simply resist and reject change? No the issue was far deeper and it finally struck me as to why after reading Flashpoint #5 and JLA #1. Time for a session.
My insight came via a simple tweet from a fellow comic book fan, which got my gears turning. It read as follows: “@J2Metal: So the Flash is a blubbering mama’s boy that destroyed a good universe and replaced it with a 90s Image universe? Oy vey…” At first I laughed at this but the more I thought about this the more I realized that DC has basically killed the superhero. A mighty bold statement, no? But let’s analyze this a bit here … If we look at the end of Flashpoint and the above statement we can see that DC has done a great disservice to one of the greatest noblest heroes in the DCU. Let’s recall that Barry Allen the Flash made the greatest sacrifice that a Hero can make a selfless sacrifice of his own life to help defeat the Anti-Monitor in the very first Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry Allen died and was remembered for years after as one of the greatest heroes ever. He had made the sacrifice that all superheroes are ready to make, to give their own lives for the greater good. It was Noble. It was Iconic. It was sad but understood as the ultimate good. Now to bring Barry back as a selfish crying child that put the lives of millions at risk just to see his dead mother again, this to me sort of insults the noble place that he had taken among the DCU and its readers. I mean he has the Peter Parker syndrome, of not letting Aunt May go? They brought Barry Allen back only to kill him again. But rather have killed his noble and self-sacrificing character.
And really in the past few years DC has really been a disservice to Flash fans and readers. By continually resetting the Flash title. Not since the Wally West run has there really been a continuing Flash title. There was the quick run of Bart Allen as The Flash that made it to issue #13. Then a small reboot with Wally West and family. Then another Reboot with Barry Allen from the Flash Rebirth mini-series that of course has ended with issue #12 and this week’s Flashpoint.
I can see and agree that DC wanted to reboot for whatever reasons. But rather than turning Barry Allen The Flash into a crying Mama’s boy could they not have respectfully restored him to his noble stature among the halls of the DCU? To end Flashpoint Barry could have once again sacrificed himself once more to set Time back into place, and Wally West could have stepped back in reset in time without the Family that readers did not seem to like. But that’s just me idea.
But how else did DC kill the superheroes? With the new 52 they have and will do this in other ways. The Changes are bigger than simple wardrobe switch ups. In reading JLA #1 yesterday I found myself not liking my most Favorite of Heroes Green Lantern. Why? Well the new Green Lantern that we got here is a cocky arrogant rookie almost. They have killed the Hal Jordon that has through the years become humble, noble, and a true hero. Over the years we have watched Green Lantern and Hal Jordon the Man evolve from that cocky arrogant test pilot to a great Green Lantern, a Villain called Parallax that killed everyone and everything that Hero and the Green Lantern Corps stood for. We saw Hal Jordon seek redemption in Rebirth not only from Parallax, The GLC, but from his friends in the Justice League. We saw him become a humbler but wiser Green Lantern as the Corps was rebuilt, and saw him defeat the emotional spectrum with true willpower. (Side Note: One wonders why Geoff Johns who helped to build such deep and rich mythos for both The Flash and Green Lantern is instrumental in erasing them and rebooting?) Instead we get a cocky Hal Jordon that thinks he can handle anything, with just the ring. We get the stupid rookie Green Lantern that does not use his brain.
Other Changes Superman and Lois Lane are no longer married. Barbra Gordon returns to Batgirl and is no longer disabled and fighting crime as Oracle. Babs was Batgirl once, broken by one of the vilest villains- the Joker, but she said no I am a fighter. I am a solider. I’m still kicking ass wheelchair and all!! Thus Oracle was born.
So to me this is how DC has killed the Superheroes. They have stripped away everything that makes these heroes deep and rich characters. It goes to the understanding that people are the sum total of their experiences. If you remove memories and experiences from a person’s life the sum of that person will in theory be changed. They will be altered as a person to be something different than they were originally. This is what DC has done to some of our most Iconic Superheroes. They have stripped away what made them Heroes. It’s not always the costumes or the powers it’s the Character of the Hero. The sacrifices, experiences, and journey of the hero that makes that character a Superhero. Now depending on how you look at it you can say that in their place we have gotten empty hollow redesigned heroes whom we don’t recognize, and no longer stand for anything because their history has been erased. It is almost a dumbed down version of the heroes. Batman is Bad Ass and Cool, Green Lantern is cocky and dumb. Superman is naive, smirking and sure of himself. It’s the movie versions that we read. But I don’t like to think of myself as a dumb reader, so why are you selling me a dumbed down version for $3.99.
This may ultimately be why the DCnU does not sit well with long time readers. Some of the most beloved characters have been put up on the shelf as relics of an older bygone age. Or you can look at it as yeah all those old stories were great. But now we have a new clean canvas on which to create new stories, new worlds and new characters.
But really in the end you know there will be another reboot down the road. We have “52” new titles, 3 separate timelines shown at the end of Flashpoint folded into one new timeline. A mysterious god-like woman character that mentions an “Impending arrival”. Heroes re-set in time both in age and background. So I say read the new DCU. Enjoy it while it’s here, because I see it as short lived. I smell a CRISIS down the road and thus ultimately another reboot setting time back to where we once were????
Ahh look at the clock that’s all the time we have for this week’s session. Good therapy done today.
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