Over the course of the last two days I did something I hadn’t done in a long while there. I bought a relatively new DC comic book. Many of you know the new status quo at the moment. After the New 52 failed to attract new readers and only succeeded in pissing off the old ones, DC decided to do another relaunch. Under the umbrella name Rebirth they started rebooting the universe once again, bringing in a lot of old stuff, mostly in the usual DC manner that of course attracted the old fans back: fanwank up the ass. I’m not one to scold though. Worked on me.
I gave DC Universe Rebirth a read and that turned out to be pretty okay. As meta as it is, I think the idea of writing the meta element of DC’s history being changed and the backlash against some of the more, shall we say, unpopular elements, into it, was a decent move. DC has always very much been the more pulpy scifi universe of the “Big Two” and it seems like a fitting continuation. Similar to how The Flash and Green Lantern had their acclaimed Rebirths a decade ago and books like 52 garnered acclaim, DC is often very good at wollowing in fanservice and cute little in-jokes. That’s not to say a reboot couldn’t have worked, but as we all know by now, the New 52 wasn’t meant to be that. There were some excellent stories in there, but none that couldn’t have been told in the old universe without some tweaking.
At the same time, I’m still torn on the decision to once again address changes to the universe within the continuity of the books, rather than do what Marvel does and soft reboot every once in a while in a manner that is akin to a murderer sweeping a dead body under the rug while whistling innocently. And while I’m currently very much so in favor of the direction this is going after having read The Button crossover between Batman and the Flash, I don’t think it’s healthy to continue this way forever.
The essential problems of the comics industry remain squarely in place. Detective Comics Vol. 1, the first story arc where Batman recruits Batwoman to lead a new team to defeat teh government conspiracy(TM), was great, the Button had some wonderful character moments, and the framing of the entire story felt very kinetic and big-boy-words. And yet I sat there two hours later and twenty euros poorer and regret started to seep in. Never mind the fact that four issues and a decent story later, once again it feels like little was accomplished. Once again money becomes an object to some great pulpy fun. Maybe I would feel less bad if I read these books monthly. Three bucks here, three there, but if you read more than one or two books you still feel the sting, even if you have a job besides your studies. There isn’t much of a solution here besides the obvious that would leave the industry devastated in a complete shift in how it has operated for seventy years, but a primary focus on the dreaded words that start with d and ends with igital and the other one that starts with c and ends with heaper would go a long way to get picky assholes like me to buy more often than the occasional binge after we saved up literal blood (donation) money.
Overall though, I think I will read Doosmday Clock as it comes out. It seems like an intriguing premise to do something new with Watchmen. And yet, once again, I feel trepidation over the fact that once again we are milking the same two or three stories. It’s my problem with the fanservice-y continuity-gasm