Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why The New DCU Is Not Floating My Boat

So last time I excoriated Marvel, this time let’s see why the DC New has created problems for me.

First point is what I have already canceled. Static Shock, this was a function of the character. I never enjoyed the character and the first issue did nothing for me. Men of War, I went in with high hopes and it added super hero stuff almost from the jump. It felt like it was a book that had no real direction. Next up is Hawk and Dove all that needs to be said is Rob Liefeld but we can add the de-aging of the characters. Captain Atom, they killed him and my interest in the book with issue #2. Savage Hawkman by Tony Daniel was all I really needed because Tony has good ideas but is not a solid writer from what I have seen. Still I tried three issues and Daniel needs a co-writer to help smooth out his work or at least a strong editor. Fury of Firestorm was just a horrible story that was all over the board and the art was weak. Deathstroke was over redesigned and his armor and sword were a joke, he is a great character and this was a waste of the characters potential. Also the writer played the mysterious game with a briefcase that bored me. The character knows what is in the briefcase, let me know. If your idea is good let the reader know. Blue Beetle felt like a rerun. JLI was so generic I could have written it. OMAC was just too much Kirby homage and not enough willingness to give us a straight story. Legion Lost was a bad idea. LOSH is too much Levitz. This is the new DCU, let’s get started anew and get a fresh voice. Red Hood and the Outlaws was apparently a comedy book. Batwing was tied to Batman Inc, that does not seem to exist in the new DCU or it does but it is a confused mess. Green Arrow was too new; Mister Terrific and Blackhawks were aborted by DC.

All in all Snyder, Lemire and Tomasi are producing great books and others have some hits with Batwoman, I Vampire, Supergirl and some others, but the underlying issue is that this was too hard of a break from what come before and I no longer have a bond with the characters. When you break that bond it becomes easier for me to drop a book. The characters are familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time. Well written and strong art books like Suicide Squad has hooked me back in, but except for Deadshot and Harley Quinn Adam Glass is not using familiar characters. You could say Amanda Waller is, but she is now Angela Bassett and the hard break from the fat body style of before tells us this is a different universe. The other side of that coin is characters like Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake all have a totally different vibe and I was bonded with those characters. Marvel over the years destroyed all the love I had for the characters and stuff like One More Day cut all loyalty I had to Spider-Man, this break has severely damaged the bonds I had with the DCU characters. It has not broken my bond with Batman 100% like OMD, but it has hurt it.

DC thought it would be fun to do a soft reset by changing some things and leaving others alone. The problem is that as a long time reader I have expectations about these characters and you can play with my expectations by taking the familiar and changing it. Bart Allen is Kid Flash, but is he Barry’s time lost grandson – who knows. At this point I say who cares. Red Hood is not the same. How can Roy Harper have been Green Arrow’s sidekick when Green Arrow is so young? Barbara Gordon appears to have never been Oracle and is very much a rookie again, how does that jibe with what else of the old DCU is gone. Barry Allen is in the middle of his career I thought but is still adjusting to his powers, over in JL they said it was five years ago. I think in five years Barry should have adjusted. Nothing is lining up and there is almost zero consistency from title to title. I think Bob Harras and Dan Didio are a bad combination to be running things.

This leads to the biggest problem with the DCNu and that is starting everything in the middle. I have no clue what is what and who is who. I read 100 plus series during the month and can usually follow stories no matter what. Since the norm is starting with action and then flashing back and then coming back to where we started, I can follow stories from the middle, but not every damn one. It is sensory overload and it is like I reading about 52 new universes at once because there is no real coherence between the books. DC should have started from ground zero if they wanted to make a solid break or they should have taken their time to map out what the history of their universe was before starting it over so fast. 

I think we will eventually see an insider story down the road of how fast this was done and we will get more information on why this failed. DC thought they were going to generated new readers and for the massive ad campaign and retailer incentives they did managed to get a sales spike of gargantuan proportions and get some new people to check out their books, but I don’t think any of the number one issues told a complete adventure. I know you are trying to bring them back for next issue, but also people are going to be pissed that they did not get a story for their purchase. After the thrill you are left with the regular comic readers and maybe a small group of new people. The problem is that I no longer have the affinity I had for the characters and I could easily drop a lot of the titles.

Let me end on a semi-positive note. I love Batman, Batman and Robin, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Suicide Squad, All Star Western, Action, Wonder Woman, I Vampire, Frankenstein Agent of Shade, Batwoman, Supergirl and Birds of Prey so DC is still producing some excellent books. I still follow a lot more titles then those listed, but all of the rest could be cut and even what I love is not quite what it once was to me.


  1. AND I LOVE OMAC!!! It's so awesome and I'm really, really irritated that they are cancelling it. Supergirl is great and so is Swamp Thing. Batman is good and I'm still intrigued by the things happening in Superman. However, the instability of creators on books is getting to me. I could walk away on both Batman and Superman (even Swamp Thing), if need be. I do have LEGOs to buy. It does all seem to be falling apart rather rapidly. I want it to get better, because I've invested a lot of time and $$ into the DCnU so far. Now we'll really get distinct universes with Earth 2, etc. It'll be a free-for-all.

  2. I agree with most of what you said. I am holding out that maybe this whole jumbled Universe is just that. I figure that as Barry ran through the Space Time Dimensional Continuum he fractured it and the pieces came back all mixed up. If that is just me being an over thinking geek DC can have the idea for free.

    Still, there are valid points of the characters being easier to drop. I have felt that this entire this was the result of so many of the old Marvel guard now editing the DCnU. The constructiveness is much like the old Marvel. The breaking of characters is like the Clone Saga and forward Marvel. I just wonder.

    Wonder Woman is one of the best of the restarts. It has a focus and a drive that was needed. Aquaman has been really good as well. I look forward to reading it each month.

  3. BDS - I like that idea - I'm going with that now also. The DCU is a jumble that is slowly coming together. My fanboy geek needed some rationale to pull it together. We are probably wrong, but I like it!

  4. Ha ha ha ha ha...! The fact is DC doesn't care whether these comics are any good, they only care if you fall for their marketing scheme and you did by buying this crud. Comic book fans need to stop falling for these tricks and vote with their dollars by buying only quality comics.