DC announces a complete continuity reboot (again) post-“Flashpoint”

DCU rebootWhile I’ve mostly ignored everything from the mainstream DC Universe for some years now (aside from following stories such as “Superman renounces his US citizenship” in Action #900 or reading about horrific schlock such as “Identity Crisis”), this one is too big to ignore: DC plans on rebooting its entire superhero line of books on August 31, following the conclusion of their current mega-crossover, “Flashpoint” (a storyline involving some Flash villain somehow altering the past to create a different modern-day DCU).

The reboot will start with a new “Justice League” (no “of America”) #1, followed by 50+ other #1s (all their titles seeing a reboot). Also announced: DC will also start selling same-day digital titles on the same date as the reboot. All of this is supposedly being done to try to lure in newer readers. More details about this whole thing will come out tomorrow, but for now, here’s this article:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=32563

A lot to absorb, there… I’ll give my initial thoughts in bullet-point-form below:

  • A lot of this sounds like what they were hoping to do with the *previous* multiple reboots (such as “Zero Hour,” where each book got a “#0” issue to “reboot” it for the post-Zero Hour continuity), but this one sounds like it’ll have more in common with 1985-86’s “Crisis On Infinite Earths”, where the entire universe’s continuity was rebooted, with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman changing the most (Supes and Wondy getting all-new origins and complete reboots of their continuity). Given this year marks the 25th anniversary of the end of “Crisis On Infinite Earths”/the Superman and Wonder Woman reboots, maybe another reboot was appropriately timed. Still, I wasn’t sold on the necessity of the original “Crisis” either (I liked Earth-1, -2, -C, etc. just fine, thanks), as it just brought forth its own problems. Though if this reboot doesn’t mention or tie the new DCU at all into the old one continuity-wise at all, it’ll be a step ahead of the “Crisis” aftermath (see: Hawkman).
  • Will the recently-brought-back multiverse still exist here (allowing the option of revisiting the older versions of the characters), or is it back to the dull (and problematic) “only one Earth” setup that “Crisis” introduced?
  • Not that it matters, but I wonder as well about the fate of characters not currently in any of their books (or of obscure ones like Captain Carrot)…
  • It doesn’t sound like the “old” DCU is being given any sort of a send-off or closure, along the lines of what they did for the pre-Crisis DCU just before the Byrne reboot of Superman/Perez reboot of Wonder Woman. Just a quick “reset”…
  • I have to wonder what’ll become of some of the elements recently brought back. For Superman, I’d like to know if Krypto or Superman having a Superboy career will still be around. Superboy and Krypto are two “Super-mythos” elements I’ve always liked—and part of what got me into the DC characters in the first place—but sound like they’d be ripe for disposal in the name of “modernization” or “relevancy” just like in the *last* “Crisis” reboot. I assume, of course, that Kon-El, the modern Superboy, will still keep his title and stay around (given he’s appearing in the “Young Justice” TV series). Which brings me to the next point…
  • Will the elements in this reboot truly be “grounded in their legends,” or will they just tie into the movie/TV versions of the characters? Much as I enjoyed the films, I’d hate to see Superman’s “legend” seen as just being the 70s Reeve movies imported wholesale (I don’t want Krypton or the Fortress of Solitude to be igloo-like, nor Jor-El looking old enough to be Superman’s *grandfather* rather than his father).
  • Speaking of which, I wonder what the rebooted characters will be like if they’re all being “modernized” for “today’s audience.” Does this mean an Aquaman with *both* hands intact (or not doing yet another Namor the Sub-Mariner imitation)?
  • As others will note, rebooting issues at #1 is just a cheap sales gimmick, and a short-term one at that—#2 (or #27, say) doesn’t have the same excitement to it. Plus wonder if they’ll be tempted to revert to the old issue numbering when “Action Comics” or “Detective Comics” (two of their oldest titles) reach the landmark 1000th issues?
  • Part of the problem with modern DC isn’t just being confusing to get into—it’s also the tone of the books. While “increased diversity” is good, if they’re just going to keep the current sadistic writing style (“Joker chainsaw massacres,” “Identity Crisis”-type sexism, etc.) along with the uber-costly/complex crossovers, then I’ll keep ignoring them.
  • I assume their kids’ line of comics (my main DC reading nowadays) will remain unaffected.
  • Finally, there’s also the equally-big news that DC will start selling comics same-day digital as the paper books. Good news for those who don’t want to keep buying paper floppies, though I assume it’ll have the same DRM flaws as their current digital comics sales (a glorified “rental” system basically). I gather DC’s gotten over its fear of cannibalizing comic-shop sales or offending comic shops, a good thing if they want to attract new readers (who’ll never step foot into such a specialized shop, but *do* all have access to smartphones/iPads/computers).

There’s supposed to be more news to come… and I’ll be here to remark on it!

Update (5/31/11): Here’s some more info on what’s coming out from this reboot, including a Grant Morrison Superman title (if it’s anything like “All Star Superman,” it might be worth looking at): http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=32566

However, the Green Lantern blurb noting it follows-up the events of “Blackest Night” suggests “fail” from the start. Making the same mistake they made after “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in referring back to previous issues these supposed new readers they want to attract won’t have read or won’t care about? Not to mention setting up continuity problems from the get-go by not giving *all* the books a complete restart…

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