DC Rebirth: A Superfan’s Reactions

10409702_10204602647689225_9151817959937890043_nWe talked to Mike awhile back, and asked him for his take on DC Rebirth, DC’s proclaimed non-reboot, and with almost a year of publishing, and not having announced another reboot, we thought we would catch up with him, and see what the status is of the DCU.

How are you enjoying Rebirth? I’m loving it! The return to pre-Flashpoint DC has been a breath of fresh air.

Has it reinvigorated your interest in DC? It has. I was reading 3 books towards the end of New 52; now I’m up to a dozen.
Does it feel like a reboot? It’s weird, some of the books do feel that way, but some books (like the Superman titles) have embraced the craziness of the New 52, taken what worked and folded it into the pre-Flashpoint continuity.
Screen-Shot-2017-01-23-at-5.24.36-PMHow much of the pre-Reboot continuity is still around? Is it New 52? Post-Convergence? Post-Flashpoint? Combination of all the above? It’s a combination. Like I mentioned with Superman, they folded it in. I think the upcoming Button crossover in Flash and Batman will uncover more of this.
Is it less or more confusing? Less. They’ve done a very good job of informing readers of what’s going on.
Favorite books? I love Detective Comics; it’s my must read. Action, Superman, Batman, Green Lanterns, JLA, Teen Titans, Titans.
Most disappointing books? Justice League has been disappointing; but oddly my favorite moment thus far was the JL/Suicide Squad crossover. Bryan Hitch has been wildly inconsistent. First three arcs: Bad story, great story, mediocre story. 
Why are there so many super-people? Super-Man, Superwoman, Luthor, etc…? Luthor as Superman is gone already and I think it all tied into the importance of Superman in the DCU. They’ve made him relevant again.
(Ed. Note: #somanykryptonians)
Blue-Beetle-Vol-6-Ted-Kord-1Have there been any “wow” moments? The JL/SS crossover was epic; so many good moments there. The recent Superman Reborn crossover was great. But still the best moment for me is still that moment Barry remembers Wally in the Rebirth special.
Where is Blue Beetle? He’s got his own book. But yeah, I want Ted Kord to suit up! 

 

Is Batman still the best? Always! He’s the central character in this summer’s big event Dark Days. (Ed. Note: sigh. Mike missed my snark. Batman is always more interesting when he is flawed, not just a vessel for writers to channel their wet-dreams of Batman being the best onto paper.)

What characters/ ideas are still missing? The JSA, Legion of Super-Heroes. Booster Gold is still MIA, and I expect he’ll be turning up soon. DC has done a much better job of weaving their books together since Rebirth. New 52 felt like it was a line of independent books that rarely crossed over. Rebirth is much more cohesive, but there’s still room to grow. I just recently reread the first 30 or so issues of the 1980’s Suicide Squad run and I’d forgotten how integral the late 80’s run of Suicide Squad was to the DCU. Spinning out of Legends, tied into Millennium and Invasion, it crossed over with JLI, Doom Patrol, Checkmate, Manhunter, Captain Atom, and Firestorm (those last four in the epic, but often under appreciated Janus Directive). Not to mention the revolving door of villains recently apprehended in books like Flash and Batman. Rebirth has brought some of that back, but it hopefully will add more.

What are you looking forward to? The next big event is the Button crossover which will have Batman and Flash uncovering some of the secrets of Rebirth and hopefully discovering the Watchmens’ role in the Rebirth. I’m also psyched we may be seeing the return of the JSA in an upcoming issue of JLA as teased in the JLA Rebirth issue.

In closing: I appreciate Mike’s renewed love of the comics and characters that had been missing from publishing and thus his life for so long. As a Marvel fan, I wish I could say that post-Secret Wars has done the same for me, but thus far, it has not. I think Secret Wars was a better event compared to Convergence, but post event, post-not-reboot, DC is doing a better job and their sales back this up.

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DC Rebirth: A Superfan’s Hopes and Dreams

10409702_10204602647689225_9151817959937890043_nFriend of Zeist, Mike is barely able to sleep, with DC’s non-reboot event Rebirth coming out next week. To refresh everyone’s memory banks, DC has been in a constant state of reboot for most of the 2000s:

  • 2005- Infinite Crisis
  • 2008- Final Crisis
  • 2011- Flashpoint
  • 2015- Convergence

I won’t get into too much analysis and nitpicking and deconstruction of the DC hype, instead, I’d like to hear Mike’s take on things, because he is pretty much the demographic DC is looking to recapture.

  1. Do you think it will be a reboot? I think certain elements will be rebooted, much like New 52 tried to keep elements from the pre-Flashpoint DCU.
  2. Do you care about anything post Flashpoint? I’ve enjoyed a lot of the Batman stuff.  Specifically Batman Eternal and Batman & Robin Eternal.  Justice League hasn’t been bad, but its reliance on the Big 7 has not thrilled me.
  3. Did DC drop the ball post-Covergence, which hinted at the returns for many characters that have been missing in the post-Flashpoint universe? Yes!  If it had carried through some of the pre-Flashpoint elements.
  4. Guesses on who will die? My gut says a Flash.  A Flash has been killed in Crisis and Zero Hour. In addition Flash vanished after Infinite Crisis, and Flashpoint was all the fault of a Flash.
  5. Which characters will return? Again, my gut says a Flash.  A new Flash appeared as a result of Crisis and Barry Allen returned in Final Crisis. Booster Gold and/or Rip Hunter-you can’t have a multiverse threatening Crisis without Booster.  Also Ted Kord Blue Beetle obviously returns as he stars in the new BB book.
  6. Do you think it will last two years? It depends.  If Rebirth turns out to be another DCYou in New52 clothing, no.  DC will implode in less than two years. If Rebirth is indeed a Rebirth along the lines of Green Lantern: Rebirth and Flash: Rebirth, then yes.
  7. Is the commitment to legacy contradictory to the commitment to the “freshness and newness of the New 52.“? Yes.  I think DC has learned its lesson that legacy is the backbone of their comics line.
  8. Any clues on what the Big Secret will be that tackles the very nature of the DC Universe? Someone has been manipulating time since the original Crisis.  
  9. Batman’s mystery? If they’re smart, they tie it back to the letter from Flashpoint Thomas Wayne that Barry Allen delivers to Bruce at the end of Flashpoint.
  10. The new evil? Some new multiverse level threat on the lines of the Time Trapper, Anti-Monitor, Brainiac, etc.

 

She Can Fly: Is DC You for You?

DC You. Love it or hate it, it’s DC’s next move in a hit or miss scheme that both of the big two have been following (Marvel Now, All-New Marvel Now, All-New All-Different Marvel Now).

Part of DC You has been a continued, and strengthened, effort in advertising that started with the New 52 and has ranged from merchandising and advertising deals with Target to TV spots and full-page magazine ads. While Marvel has stuck to an overall limited advertising scheme, only really advertising their comics subtly through their parent company Disney, and its ABC subsidiaries, and instead really relying on the sales from their major money-earner: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With the official June release of DC You, DC Comics also released a new ad, primarily marketed through Youtube, trumpeting the virtues of the newest DC Universe:

When I first saw the Youtube cut of this ad, something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

Wonder Woman: “the God of War never looked this fierce.”

Harley Quinn is “cheery,” “deranged,” and her gang of women are all “insane!” (Those darn crazy women.)

Starfire is merely a list of physical descriptions for the “alien Princess,” while Prez has nothing more to offer up than “hashtag this,” which some might interpret as the trivialization of a young woman’s use of social media. Honestly, it seems like Batgirl and Black Canary are the only female characters who aren’t addressed by their gender or appearance in the ad.

References to 2008’s Project Runway winner aside, the ad, as a whole, seems to fall short in trumpeting its female-led books; this is unfortunate, considering DC has maintained a fairly large roster of female-led titles since the New 52 inception. The titles haven’t all been good, but almost any female-led title could be considered positive progress.

Furthermore, if the best DC’s advertising team can offer about Starfire is hot body, green fire, and Key West, Florida, it seems like their missing some buzzwords that are big in describing female leads in pop culture today (think Mad Max: Fury Road or Pitch Perfect).

The ad pretty clearly relies on some outdated concepts of how to “sell” female characters. It’s a positive thing that the female-led titles DC is advertising don’t all fall into one category–DC is offering up female-starring comedy, drama, and action titles–but the way the female characters are being sold seems to be markedly different from the presentation of the male characters.

I’m glad to see that female characters other than Wonder Woman are being more prominently focused in this bout of advertisement, but it’s always a little disheartening when the tactics used to sell their stories are focused more on their looks or their inherent “female-ness” than their character.