A little over two weeks ago, DC Comics officially announced their plans to relaunch the DC Universe with 52 new #1 issues, as well as start day-and-date digital release. The news was absorbed quickly by both comic fans and retailers, with reactions differing in and from both groups. Some fans hated the idea of another reboot, stating it was unnecessary and could only harm both the content and sales of the comics. Others thought it was a brilliant plan, one that would not only allow for a fresh new approach in the DCU, but provide a starting point for new readers. Fans were split down the middle on a scale not seen since Marvel’s Civil War story arc. With all 52 titles announced now, it would seem as if the initial anxiety and euphoria has passed, allowing both sides to realize the loss and gain of this relaunch.
Writer Gail Simone summed up the relaunch the best by stating, “There were some painful decisions made, some I disagree with. Some YOU will probably disagree with. Every book is someone’s favorite. Every character is someone’s heart. And that is going to be hard in some cases…almost everyone is going to lose something they really loved…Like every DCU that has ever existed, it is a canvas that has a lot of blank space in it. These launch titles are not the end. There’s more room to be filled in. There will be some growing pains. But we, all of us, get to see the kingdom from a new angle, with new territories.”
I admit my initial response to the relaunch wasn’t a very pleasant one (see my previous article for that bit of nerd rage). Now that time has passed and I have seen all 52 titles, I am simultaneously excited and fearful of the relaunch. There are some truly amazing things that will come as a result of this, however, we’re also probably going to lose something we really loved. With this in mind I’ve decided to list what I think is just some of the good and bad things to come from the relaunch in September.
Justice League International: Words cannot express how excited I am for this title; I’ve always been a fan of the witty shenanigans only the JLI is capable of. Who can forget the time Batman decided to punch Guy Gardner in the face, instantly knocking him out, or when Booster Gold and Blue Beetle stole J’onn’s cookies? I can only hope this series will carry the same charm, yet emotionally charged feel that Generation Lost possessed. One thing that does worry me, however, is the brief description given in the Solicit. “With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International.” Could this mean all previous JLI stories are no longer canon, or just it takes place in the past? We’ll just have to wait until September 7th to find out. Dan Jurgens, the creator of Booster Gold, will be the author, with art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan.
Red Hood and the Outlaws: Jason Todd has always been one of my favorite anti-heroes (some would say straight up villain), and I always wished DC would do more with him. Well, now he has his own series. Jason Todd will be returning, and this time he has a small group of outlaws with him: Green Arrow’s former sidekick Arsenal, and former Teen Titans member (at least before the relaunch) Starfire. The best part? Jason will be receiving a desperately needed new wardrobe. Gone is the ridiculously phallic looking helmet, replaced by a more fitting mask. Shockingly Judd Winick is not the author of this series, instead it is being written by Scott Lobdell (Uncanny X-men) with art by Kenneth Rocafort. You can pick this title up September 21st.
Static Shock: I know this an odd choice, but I’ve been a fan of Static since I was a kid. Artist Scott McDaniel (Nightwing) will be making his writing debut with this title, something that does worry me slightly. Still, if Dan Jurgens can do it, why not Scott? Static Shock will be available September 7th.
The Lantern line-up: When I heard that a majority of the Lantern continuity would stay intact, much of my fear dissipated. With the release of the Lantern line-up, my anxieties started to turn to relief. The titles consist of: Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns, and Green Lantern: New Guardians. The Green Lantern Corps will remain much the same, although its focus will be on Guy Gardner and John Stewart as they protect their sector of space. The two that really intrigue me are New Guardians, and Green Lantern. New Guardians will follow Kyle Rayner as he, and a group that consists of one member from each spectrum, try to make the universe a better place. Now what interests me about the Green Lantern main comic is the solicit given. “The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.” New Lantern you say? It looks like the events of War of the Green Lanterns may just carry over to the new DCU.
Suicide Squad: This was a hard title to place, the actual story sounds amazing. In fact, this title was almost on the good list. As it often has in the past, the Suicide Squad focuses on villains given an offer they can’t refuse. Work for the US government, or continue to live out their lives on death row. The three villains in question this time are: Harley Quinn, King Shark, and Dead Shot. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, all three are victim to the massive costume change (and in the case of King Shark, species change). Gone is Harley Quinn’s fun outfit, replaced now with an outfit that is obviously intended to up the sexy. Dead Shot looks like a robot, and King Shark has been retconned into a hammerhead. I really wanted to enjoy this series, and who knows, maybe the cover is misleading. If not though, I just don’t see it.
Batgirl: Anyone who has read a comic in the past ten years knows that the first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was shot and paralyzed by the Joker. This single event turned Barbara from an average cape-bearer, to the techno-savvy genius that is Oracle. Batgirl is replaceable. Two other women have filled those shoes, both doing excellent jobs. Sadly, after only twenty-four issues the latest Batgirl, Stephanie Brown, will have to step down, forced or willingly, so that Babs can step up (pun intended). Gail Simone, who is in charge of the new Batgirl, has promised that Barbara’s past will stay quite the same, and not be the victim of a major retcon. The fact still remains that Oracle did more for the DCU in her chair, then Batgirl ever could kicking butt on the streets of Gotham.
Birds of Prey: There is just so much going against this series. I guess the first thing to mention would be that long time writer Gail Simone will not be returning. Then there is the cast, and their outfits. With Barbara back as Batgirl, there is no Oracle, which begs the question if there even is a Birds of Prey without Oracle. Huntress also appears to be missing, along with Lady Blackhawk. The combination of these negatives makes the new series feel void of anything that made it, Birds of Prey. To be honest, the real meat of the series has always been the friendship between Oracle, Black Canary, and Huntress. Oh, and to top it all off, I believe that’s Poison Ivy on the cover…Yikes.
De-aging: One of the initial fears of the DC relaunch was that it would de-age several of the main superheroes. The cover art provided for the new Justice League #1 all but confirmed this. However, we now know for a fact that some of the first issues will be taking place in the past, Justice League being one of them. However, recent news has stated that the issues only take place about 5 years into the past. If this is true, then we may have younger heroes indeed.
Batwing: I’m all for adding race diverse superheroes; however, couldn’t they have gone with Black Lightning or even Aqualad (II). Do we really need to add another Bat-title to the DC line-up? I’m not even against him having his own series, but why is he taking up a slot of the 52, when titles such as Powergirl, and Secret Six are getting the axe?
So there it is my friends, keep in mind this is only my opinion. With September fast approaching I suggest you start making a list of your favorites, and saving up your money. There are going to be a lot of comics coming out, and at least DC seems to be sticking to their drawing the line at $2.99.