I think at this point of the year it would be a good idea to discuss the re-launch of the DC Universe. Let us first be honest. Although I do like Batman, that is about all the comics I read about Superheroes. Yes, I know a lot about some other series, but I was never a big time buyer; instead I always enjoyed my childhood hero: Batman.
So this little review/rant is just about the DC re-launch from number 1 from the perspective of that particular side. Second, even though I have been reading the comics for a few years now, I am, by no accounts, an expert here. What I expose here is just the view of a casual fan. To be honest, I think most fans are more like me. Although I pick up the comics from one series only, I have not followed all the stories and all the happenings neither in the DC Universe, nor in the Marvel Universe. I just enjoy what I have at my hand. I hope that I least I can share a bit about this issue, though, as a casual reader.
A year ago, I was checking up on my comics again when I heard of the idea that DC would erase the numbers on their comics and re-start them all as #1s. This made my brow raise, so I decided to follow-up on it a bit. The idea was not bad: there would be a few changes to the stories and the numbers were just reset to eliminate the harrowing feeling that you had lost years worth of knowledge. It was not a way to kill everything and begin from point zero.
The changes, back then, seemed pretty exciting, and I was ready to accept them. I already was a bit weary of some details on the stories; a fresh was a great idea to clean the slate and give the comics a fresher look. But, did DC, in my eyes, succeed in this? My answer is no.
After a year of following my childhood hero, I have discovered, to my distaste, that the changes are merely aesthetic: the number of the comic and the look of the characters. Yes, they finally took away the ridiculous over-the-pants underwear of some heroes, and the suits look pretty neat. But what has not changed was the way the stories are told, the character’s personalities and the glaring issues with the world.
Batman, in a nutshell, is all the same: the new Robin, his son Damian, is still there, and each old Robin is in its place. The villains are the same (with the inclusion of three new, interesting ones, plus one that just died). The stories are as confusing as ever, and there was, in fact, no real change at all. I remember that one of the previews treated the Caped Crusader as an outlaw. The police, in a free sample I got in my comic store, was following him, shooting at him. It was as if they did not even know who Batman was. When I beheld the full comic, it was just because of a misunderstanding that they tried to get him. Bummer.
Also the Damian/Robin situation. I know the characters of comics have to grow and all, but I feel like the new sidekick doesn’t fit well into all this. I am always a bit weary to know that the companion to the Dark Knight is, in fact, his own son now. The conflicts portrayed up to now are not bad, I just don’t feel like they are part of the Batman mythos. Maybe I should really let it go, but it always struck me as queer. I was hoping they would eliminate Damian or something similar.
Also a bit unnerving is this whole family exploration thing. When Batman “died” during the Crisis event, a would-be father was revealed, now int he new series I heard about Alfred’s father being really knee-deep stuck in some conspirational mire, Dick Grayson’s parents on a similar situation and a would-be brother of Batman. Now, I know the comics always throw such bombs in the stories to keep them interesting, but if there is something untouchable, it’s the family life of Bruce Wayne. Their death propels Batman’s strive for justice. What would happen if they gave it a twist? I can’t imagine, but I know that this will not turn out to be good, because some things, despite what some say, are better left untouched. They are the essence of the characters, after all. And tradition.
In all the “new” Batman series is as great as before. The only thing that got me down was that the changes of the series were merely based on the looks, not on the content. Maybe a hardcore fan may correct me on that, but as a casual reader, the stories still follow exactly the same line as before. I just felt that DC did that re-launch to draw in more public, that’s all. But they could have left the old numbers (ranging up to almost 900) and it would have been the same.
But do not let this make you desist on keep on reading or not to event try to read the comics. I think the stories are still developing good and there is still a lot of drama to discover and experience. I can’t wait to see the Joker’s new face! I just think that the whole thing was just a bust to get attention.
See ya next time then, and enjoy your days!
May they smile upon your way!