Everybody is talking about it so I'm finally going to weigh in with my thoughts regarding the DC Universe relaunch set to take off in September. In case you've been in Limbo or some alternate universe, DC is relaunching its entire line in September with fifty-two new first issues. Even the old staples like Action Comics, Detective, Superman, and Batman will start the numbering over with issue number one.
As more information is released some of my initial assumptions have been proved innaccurate. I thought maybe the whole universe was going to be rebooted like after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but not so. I thought maybe the whole DC Universe history would start over again from the very beginnning with new origins and the whole bit. That was also incorrect.
But some things are definately going to change. In addition to the relaunch of some titles, others will be cancelled, and some new ones will start. There will be changes to a number of characters. I'm thinking these changes might result from alterations in the timestream brought about by events in the Flashpoint limited series, which I have not been reading, but now wish I had been. After Final Crisis I was sick to death of universe-altering cross-over events. But now my curiosity has got the best of me thanks to yet another DC marketing ploy.
In regard to the changes occurring, Supergirl is described as an unpredictable teenager who does not share Superman's love for the people of earth. It sounds to me like they are ruining the Kara we all know and love. She was recently rebooted in a Superman/Batman story arc which returned her to her roots. I hate to see her messed up again.
Dick Grayson will be going back to being Nightwing with a new issue number 1. He made such a good Batman that I thought the new Batman, Inc. series would allow him to retain the cowl. Too bad that doesn't seem to be the case. Was this Bruce's idea and is Dick happy about it? Bruce will be the only Batman and Damian will remain Robin in a relaunched Batman And Robin # 1. This has some potential.
I hear that Barbara Gordon will return to her role as Batgirl with a new first issue. I'm not sure I like that since as Oracle she was DC's only disabled hero and a strong one at that. If they must do this, I almost hope the time-stream is altered so that she was never shot by the Joker as opposed to some miraculous healing or technology that allows her to swing above the streets of Gotham. I do wonder if the avatar design Bruce Wayne handed her in the one-shot Batman: The Return is some kind of clue. As to where this might leave Stephanie Brown, Bruce assigned her to finishing school in England, which makes me wonder if she might be the U.K. Batgirl when Batman, Inc. begins next year.
The Birds of Prey roster will undergo drastic revision including the absence of Oracle. A new number one issue is in store here as well. So it is with Catwoman who returns to her roots as a jewel thief with another new number one. I hate that. I'd rather see a progression of the Bruce/Selina relationship similar to the Elseworlds story, Justice League: The Nail.
As with Oracle, I wonder if the changes to Catwoman will result from an alteration to the universe or an alteration to her life in the current continuity. If an alteration to the universe, I would love to see a reboot of several other characters in which a lot of the tragedy never occured. I'd like to see a Hal Jordan who never became a killer and a Roy Harper who still has his arm. If DC really rebooted, why not a Barbara Gordon who was never shot, or a Selina who never reformed as opposed to some lame explanations for their changing back to how they were?
Many of the heroes will have new or altered costumes, including Superman, Black Canary, Mr. Terrific, and Supergirl. I typically love Jim Lee's art, which I enjoyed in Batman: Hush and All-Star Batman and Robin. But as far as the new costume designs go, I'm debating as to which term more adequately describes my feelings: hate, despise, or loathe. It reminds me of those horrible redesigns of the 80s which now look so stupid and dated. But if it doesn't work, DC can always change things back.
A couple of other things make the relaunch less exciting. So many of these titles were just recently relaunched or re-relaunched, including Wonder Woman, Flash, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Justice League, Legion of Super-Heroes, Blue Beetle, Birds of Prey, and others. How many relaunches do we have to endure?
Well, the debate with me is now about which new number ones to pick up. I've occasionally picked up the first issue of relaunches in the past just to check things out. But I cannot afford to buy fifty-two issues at once! I think DC is making a huge mistake releasing them all at once since so many fans are on limited budgets in this ailing economy, not to mention the fact that comics are already woefully overpriced. So which books do I want to check out? Here are my first through third tier options:
Justice League - The team of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make this appealing. They are first tier creators even if the new costume designs stink.
Batman; Detective Comics; Batman and Robin - Since Batman is my favorite fictional character and the one who got me into comics, I may be checking into these just to see where the character is going. I'll stick only to the titles that really grab me.
Batgirl - I'd like to see how they explain Barbara's return to this role and if it's too stupid I can drop it.
Superman; Action Comics - I'd be crazy to pass up a first issue of Action Comics even though it will never be worth anything. With Grant Morrison writing one book and George Perez the other, I'm interested. I'm usually not a Morrison fan, but he did a great job with All-Star Superman. So I'd like to see how the Man of Tomorrow is relaunched. I'm curious to see if the marriage of Clark and Lois ever happened in this altered reality.
Supergirl- Just how big a brat will she be, anyway?
All-Star Western - Jonah Hex lead story with other western back-up stories. The 3.99 price gives me pause, but the first issue has Hex in Gotham City, which I thought was on the Eastern Seaboard.
DC Universe Presents - Sounds like a relaunch of the latest Brave and the Bold.
Legion of Super Heroes - Another relaunch? How much more confusing could it be?
Animal Man - I learned to love this character in 52 and Countdown to Adventure.
I won't be buying all of these, not even all the number ones. But these are my thoughts today. I do wonder if the Justice Society, Power Girl, or the multiverse will have any future in this altered universe.