This weekend at Wondercon, DC revealed the creative teams and synopses for the “Rebirth” (Not-a-Reboot) event this summer. I get the feeling that this is going to be a half measure, a lot like the New 52 was. There’s going to be some characters that start over and some that continue with the same stories going forward. They’re getting rid of New 52 Supes somehow, bringing back the Superman from the previous universe, and introducing a new Teen Supes from Shanghai. For an event that’s supposed to be a good jumping on point for new readers, this is a complicated mess. This got me thinking about how bloated comic universes can become, often times to the detriment of the storytelling.
I think cleaning house is needed from time to time in comics. Removing some of the dead weight of continuity while embracing others. It’s a symptom of having a revolving door of creators on the same characters. Some creators are inevitably better than others. When DC started with the New 52 idea years ago, the idea was that all heroes popped up 5 years before launch. I initially LOVED the idea. We’d be able to get in on the ground floor and creators would be able to get fresh ideas in with some of the most iconic characters. Ideally without having to rehash their origin stories. However, they didn’t want to invalidate all of the characters and history that had come before. This resulted in Batman going through 4 Robins in 5 years. Hal Jordan had become Parallax, destroyed coast city, and Kyle Rayner took over for what, a month? John Stewart and Guy Gardner had their time and then Hal came back for the Sinestro war and Blackest Night. That was a crazy couple of years, huh? And that’s only two characters’ worth.
My question is, does every character in the pantheon HAVE to be active at all times? Wouldn’t it have been better if Tim Drake just hadn’t been Robin in the New 52? Maybe we didn’t really need Spoiler, Cassandra Cain, and Babs all running around at the same time in this fresh universe. What about Superboy, or the rest of the Titans? I can see one iteration of these characters existing, but if heroes have only been around for 5 years, then I doubt teen heroes have been trained long enough for this sort of multi generational group of Teen heroes to exist. What I’m getting at is, if you’re going to streamline a universe, then actually streamline it.
Rebirth has a few titles that I’m actively excited for, I for one love Damian Wayne, and am excited to see what adventures he gets up to running around with the Teen Titans. I know this is a contradiction from the paragraph above, but as long as we’re getting a half measure as far as cleaning up the universe, hopefully there’s some fun stories to go with it. Trinity is going to be beautiful, if not entertaining from the always amazing Francis Manapul. Flash could be fun, and it’ll be good to see Dick Grayson back as Nightwing, but what I really crave is a cohesive universe where we can get back to the fundamentals that make these characters shine.
What do you think? Are Comics getting too complicated? Or do you think they should embrace their full histories? Are you excited for any of the new series?
- Sylverfyst is a writer for TAY, a web developer, and an avid comics fan. He’s often seen being fabulous all around the web, drop him a line at @Sylverfyst on twitter or at his ConTAYct Page