ReBoot: User Lost.

My previous article focused on just how effective large events are on the universes they take place in. I griped about how some events are promised to carry on and eventually hold no true relevance to current events, well be careful what you wish for. The relative silence of post Flashpoint DC was ended yesterday with DC’s biggest announcement since Crisis of the Infinite Earths. “The rumors of a massive DC Universe reboot have been confirmed. In September, comic fans will be the recipients of 52 #1 issue as the entire line of DC Universe titles gets a re-launch. Everyone from Superman to Booster Gold will be getting a revamp, which includes redesigns and a “younger” continuity,” this was stated by DC in their press release May 31st.

From what they have announced it would seem that every current beloved series will in fact be ending in just a few months. Some of these titles are young and barely out of their single digits, and although they are strong these titles too will be subject to cancellation. Even with the promise of 52 initial reboots, the fate of beloved series abroad is still unknown.

Just why is DC planning such a large and risky event? According to their press release they hope to bridge the gap between new readers, and provide a starting point for true digital release. Although it is great that they are attempting to reach new and younger readers, I have to wonder if they have taken their current, and dedicated longtime readers into consideration. Over the past several years the DCU has had its share of large events; for the most part they have been great. DC has undergone some of the better story lines in the comic industry in the past five years, resulting in a more solid and largely accepted Universe. Blackest Night, arguably one of the most entertaining events to take place in the DC universe, was a monumental success. Then there are the Batman events, Dick Grayson taking up the mantle, along with Bruce’s estranged son Damian Wayne. Bruce himself returning from the past, and created an international corporation for Batman. These events have truly shaped the DCU into a fascinating universe that borders on epic mythology. So I ask, why mess with a good thing?

Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are the two men responsible for this drastic change. Geoff Johns has, for the most part, been one of my favorite comic writers over the past four years. He was responsible for completely altering how I looked at the Green Lantern Corp. From the Sinestro Corp, through Blackest Night, past Brightest Day and right into War of the Green Lanterns, I have been with him through thick and think. Loving every single minute of it. So why is it, after all this hard work he seems content to simply erase everything he has done?

It would honestly seem to me that the DC Company is willing to risk alienating their dedicated fans in hopes of attaining an audience that simply may not exist. This type of gamble reeks of desperation for change. In hoping that newer readers will be more attracted to a less burdened universe, they fail to realize that those very readers will likely grow bored of any stories within six months. However, I can’t make such assumptions now. I can’t even say for sure what will exactly happen. For all we know, this announcement could have been poorly written and we are not looking at a complete reboot. In fact, there are some elements of this reboot that intrigue me.

Aquaman the swim suit model, Wonder Woman the Cosplayer, Superman Bieber, Hal Jordan the Boy Lantern, the clunky Flash, bulky Cyborg, and finally Batman.

Take for instance the number of first issues that will be release, 52. As most DC fans know, there are 52 universes in the DCU. It can’t be a coincidence that they chose this number, and with that in mind it could be believed that this reboot has something to do with the multiverse. For a while now authors like J Michael Straczynski have wanted to create an alternate universe for marvel. Earth One to be more exact. In this Earth the heroes are much younger, and the initial events of the heroes live are happening now in the modern world. I found it too coincidental that the superman posted in the teaser image looks alarmingly similar to the one from Earth One. Could this be the start of DC’s own Ultimate Universe? Will this reboot simply spin off into a new Earth? I hope so, because if that was the case then this would in fact be one of the better decisions DC has made in the past years. This would allow for their suspected new readers to step into the comic universe, without alienating the dedicated fans.

Time will only tell though, until then I will remain quite concerned with this recent chain of events. In fact it saddens me, prior to today I never thought I would reach a point where putting down DC comics was a possibility.

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Comic Summer Events: Lasting impact, or gone in a flash?

Indeed the summer of 2011 is ripe with all encompassing comic book events. However, we’ve all seen comic publishers claim their recent issue crossing event will forever change the in universe as we know it, most of the times this is true, to a certain degree that is. Although it does in fact change certain aspects, it’s never quite as lasting as they claimed it to be. Think back to “Millennium” when the Guardians left earth’s dimension, thus calling for the ‘New Guardians’ to take their place. Obviously, this did not stick. In fact the New Guardians was canceled after only twelve issues, and the old blue heads we know waltzed right back into our dimension. Other than a brief mention in the recent ‘Brightest Day’ arc of Green Lantern, the New Guardians have had no lasting impact on the DC universe as we know it.

Remember these guys? No? You're not alone.

We all know the super human registration act was pulled; in fact most of the major events to occur because of Civil War have been reversed. Steve Rogers is alive, Tony Stark has stopped being a douche bag, and people once again trust super heroes (Well, they did until Fear Itself started). The only true lasting impact of Civil War was Steve Rogers deciding to not continue as Captain America, however, that too has come to an end. Marvel has recently announced that Steve Rogers will in fact return as Captain America. So much for impact!

With these examples in mind, think about Flashpoint. DC’s catch line for this intriguing summer event has been “Everything will change in a flash!” With issue #1 already released we can see that is in fact true. But, will these changes have any lasting impact on the DC Universe? Speculation is already growing that the series will in fact be quite the game changer. Recently publishers have grown smart, allowing their large events to have lasting impacts on the universe. We saw this with Blackest Night, an event that drastically changed aspects of the DC Universe. The revival of heroes and villains alike, for example Barry Allen and Maxwell Lord, are just a few of the major changes brought to us by Blackest Night. So with Flashpoint and Fear Itself coming to a start, and War of the Green Lanterns coming to an end will these events leave their mark on their respective universes for some time to come?

Thomas Wayne is Batman now.

For Flashpoint, this might just be the truth. I had my doubts of course; the series is being released completely independent of the rest of the universe. With 15 titles that take place in the alternate time line,  several one shot issues,  and only one main DCU title that interacts with the event (Booster Gold), Flashpoint seems like a summer special to have no impact what so ever, ending with a “And it all went back to normal.” However, this series just might take a lesson from Blackest Night and end with heroes and villains alike coming back, or, perhaps fixing some of the still present issues with continuity. The main reason for the massive speculation that Flashpoint will in fact have an impact is because DC and its writers are staying relatively quiet about anything posts Flashpoint #5.Not to mention the fact that on August 31st, the only DC issue that will be released for that week will be Flashpoint Issue #5. It would seem that they are indeed preparing for something big to come from this summer event.

Marvel has promised that Fear Itself with in fact have lasting ramifications on the universe, and create a road map for events over the next 2 to 3 years. So far, Fear Itself has more than entertained me, and intrigued me as the arrival of the Serpent does seem to promise some serious impact on the Marvel Universe. However, their term of ‘road map’ really caught my eye. Civil War was a road map event, it lead into the Skrull invasion, and Dark Reign. However, the actual changes of Civil War are all but gone. So are comic events turning into nothing more than road maps that will simply lead into new events, erasing the changes of the previous? Doesn’t that kind of seem pointless? Well, yes and no. Although it does start a vicious cycle of continuity eating continuity, is it really a bad thing if you still enjoy reading it?

Relatively little is said of Kyle Rayner post WotGL, will he remain true to blue, or will something worse happen?

War of the Green Lanterns has already promised to remove one of the human lanterns, and replace him. They have not said how this will happen, either through death or that lantern joining another corps. That if it stays true and lasts more than a year, is an event with a lasting impact. So yes, maybe some of these events won’t have game changing events that haunt their universes for countless issues to come, but if it’s well written, and the fans enjoy it, how bad can that be?

Justice League: Generation Lost

The Justice League (International) back together.

For those of you who have been following DC’s maxi-Series, Brightest Day, you might have come across a rare gem in the form of “Justice League: Generation Lost”. Much like its past incarnations, this story revolves around Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire, Ice, and a few newcomers to the team like Jaime Reyes (The third blue beetle), and a new Rocket Red. This epic 24 issue story covered the immediate effects of the Blackest Night story Arc, and its lasting impact on the DC story as a whole, largely dealing of course with a familiar enemy. Anyone who has read previous Justice League International titles, for example the ever hilarious Justice Buddies, you know just how heartfelt this team of mismatched heroes can be. Keith Giffens iconic humor is the perfect starting ground for this brief series, but doesn’t pull away from the recent tragedies that have befallen the former members of this team. This series was able to breathe life back into the former Sunday funnies feeling past JLI stories had, and show that beneath all the pranks and jokes there really was a story of how human super heroes can be.
I don’t wish to give away too much plot for this series, as I hope this brief article will motivate you to go grab the first issue as soon as you can, but I can say that the basic premise of the story is the former JLI hunting down the recently resurrected Max Lord.  In the opening pages Maxwell Lord is currently being hunted by every major law enforcement group on the planet. Booster Gold,however, is the one who finally finds him. However, it’s too late Max Lord manages to render Booster unconscious, and activate a machine that practically erases every trace of his existence, leaving the former members of the JLI looking like foolish heroes who do more harm than good. (A reputation that was slightly already present, for certain member. *cough*Booster*cough*)
From this point on the story dives deeper and deeper into the mindset of the main selection of heroes, and how they are recovering from past events. The series manages to really pull on the emotional heart strings of a reader as these heroes who only wish to do well are ignored and ridiculed. With the past changed, no one, not even Superman will take the group seriously, even thoughthey are the only ones who can prevent whatever dark scheme Max is planning. The series manages to tie up all loose ends, and provide character perspectives that have relatively gone ignored over the past years.Besides Booster Gold and Jaime Reyes, several of the JLI characters are very uncommon characters, whose perception of the current world is often looked over. One of the more emotional parts of the series, and some of the best writing I might add, focus on how Booster is dealing with Ted Kords death.  I have to admit that for the first time in all my experience of reading comic books, this series manages to use the death of a hero in right way. Unlike other heroes who die, Ted Kord has no revival in site, and his death must be accepted by his friends. I’m not ashamed to say this comic actually made me cry at times.

You really don't want to piss off Booster Gold...

Fear not though, it’s not all gooey and emotional, it carries some very powerful action scenes, and some alarmingly bad ass fights with characters you just wouldn’t expect.

Truly, this is exactly how a series should be written. Funny when it’s needed, yet sad in all the right places. If you haven’t read this yet, I can’t express how much you absolutely should. I mean, it’s got Booster Gold, who doesn’t love Booster Gold?”

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