Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Problem With The DC Reboot

Everyone knows by now that the DC Reboot is right around the corner. DC Comics will, for the first time in history, reset their entire comic book line up back to #1. There are more changes to be made in the DC Universe then a simple numerical reset. New titles will be introduced, and old favorites will be retrofitted with a new continuity. New creative teams will be combined for each book and the general business practices of DC as a company are being reconstructed. This isn’t just a DC Universe reboot; this is a DC Comics reboot.

I can admit that I am curious about DC’s direction. They have been chasing Marvel’s success for years now, both in sales and creative pursuits. Marvel has been massively successful in the animation and film departments, DC on the other hand had to deal with the commercial disappointment that was Green Lantern. All in all, DC can’t catch a break. They had to do something to remain competitive with Marvel Comics, and in their eyes, an entire reboot seemed like the best option. I personally agree to an extent.

I do believe that a DC Reboot could in fact be successful. Stories that don’t have endings often get stale and repetitive, so reworking how the company makes comics is an interesting idea. The problem is this; they are not going far enough. I know what you’re thinking fanboy, you’re thinking they’re going too far. Well, that’s not true. Superman is seemingly being drastically changed thanks to the infamous Siegel/Schuster lawsuit, and Batman will be largely unchanged. DC is picking and choosing what needs to rebooted rather than just sweeping the whole universe. Whether you think the reboot is a good idea or not is irrelevant. If you’re going to start over, than start over. Superman is getting reset, but Batman isn’t? That does not make sense and will only lead to plot inconsistencies, retcons, and confusion. I see no problem with either continuing the DCU as is, or resetting completely, but trying to have it both ways is a recipe for disaster.

The other problem is DC is trying to make comic books in a timely manner. How many times has Dan Didio promised comics will finally be on schedule? How many times did that come true? Now, I have heard that DC is restructuring their business practices to ensure that books are always on schedule and on time. Good. That’s a step in the right direction. However, if you look at the creative teams involved, you begin to see yet another recipe for failure. Jim Lee will provide the pencils for the new JLA, but this guy does not have the best track record for being on time. Taking a look, how many books are being written and drawn by the same guy? Six. Six comics are going to written and drawn by the same person. Correct if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t it be more time consuming to have one man doing double the work on one book? Wouldn’t it be faster and more efficient to have an artist and a writer, not an artist/writer? Writers are supposed to write, artists are supposed to draw. On that topic, at least 4 comics in the reboot are being written by artists. Tony Daniel, Dan Jurgens and Ethan Van Sciver are acting as writers on books that they are not even drawing. Hell, Daniels is working on like twenty books. How is any of this working in DC’s favor? David Finch is writing and drawing multiple books. That will in no way slow things down internally for the company right? Considering he has enough trouble making deadlines when he’s just drawing one comic a month. Smart.

But what about the books? Well, JLA with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee looks like a keeper, if Lee can meet his deadlines. Johns will also be teaming with the amazing Ivan Reis to kick start Aquaman. Another potential winner. Johns will also continue working on Green Lantern, now with Doug Mahnke. With the exception of Blackhawks, none of these comics look remotely interesting to me. I’ll give Green Lantern, and JLA a shot, but I’m not huge on Aquaman as a character, so an exciting team isn’t going to entice me here. But what is up with some these comics? Grifter? Voodoo? Red Hood? Batwoman? And why are they dedicating a whole comic to Batman’s plane?! Okay that last one was just a joke, but even the real DC Superheroes look dull. Each Batman comic either suffers from having a lousy writer or a lousy artist. David Finch is not a writer, by the way. His art is over rendered and his writing sucks. A retconned Superman interests me little, but a classic Superman does not do it for me either. None of the Creative teams mesh very well, barring few exceptions like Johns and Reis on Aquaman. The Snyder Capullo Batman intrigues me, as does the Tomasi and Gleason on Batman and Robin. I don’t like the idea of Damien at all, so that puts a hamper on Batman and Robin, and I have not read anything by Snyder. I can’t speak for everybody, but so far these books don’t impress me.

As of right now, DC doesn’t look like they’re relauching their titles or their business. They may talk a big game, but it looks like business as usual. Superman has been readjusted like 95 times this decade, so it’s no surprise there. DC has relaunched most of their titles over past decade too. The same creators are being used, mostly on the same books, and unreliable creators are being packed with far more work than they can probably handle. Overall, DC will probably have great sales for the first few months, experience a dramatic dip, and say this whole event was nothing more than a journey to yet another Earth. In roughly a year, we’re back to the same old DC comics’ continuity. I hate to once again play the pessimist, but more cards are stacked against DC then in favor of. I predict that this relaunch will ultimately create a massive rift between DC and their longtime fanbase, and amount to nothing more than a colossal misfire. Had the reboot been handled more deftly, I would be singing a different tune, but what DC is saying does not match up with their actions, which is a typical turn to make when on the road of failure. Cheers!


JDP said...

Very well put, I could not agree more. I however am an Aquaman and Superman fan. Aquaman has been pretty good, more for the art than the writing, and Superman is really testing my loyalty (the new look is horrible!). Personally I really do hope in a year after the new 52 mess falls apart, that we find out that this has been a visit to one of the "52" Earth's of the muliti-verse. Please bring me back home to my DC universe!

Ryan said...

Thanks for the comment. I actually haven't picked up a DC book since their relaunch. Like I said before, none of their titles really grabbed me. I am happy to hear that Aquaman is doing pretty well. All my friends rave about it.