The DC Universe Relaunched…Tonight!

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So tonight’s the night. At midnight, DC Comics releases Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 and the DC Universe as we’ve known it will be washed away to some currently unknown extent and replaced by 52 new titles; many with brand new continuity.

I don’t know what to think about all of this. I’m excited to see what DC has up its sleeves, but I’m sad to know some piece of this universe I’ve loved for twenty years can never really ever quite be the same again. I have a great deal of distrust for DC publisher Dan Didio and his personal tastes. I know they don’t align with mine. But I love the grand ambition behind all of this. This is a giant gamble and I dig that.

So much of this initiative’s success will depend purely on execution. Today I finally got caught up on Flashpoint and its various tie-in series. While the quality varies greatly from the strong (Batman – Knight of Vengeance, Emperor Aquaman and Wonder Woman and the Furies) series to the weak (World of Flashpoint and Secret Seven) with most titles fall somewhere in the middle, what has impressed me most is how well coordinated the event and series have been. A scene in Lois Lane and the Resistance picks up perfectly in Project Superman. All of these support titles were designed to flesh out the world of Flashpoint and to explain how the many chess pieces arrive on the final battlefield for Flashpoint #4 and #5. In fact, I’d say that even the tie-in series that were less well-executed seem better when you step back and appreciate their role in the greater tapestry of Flashpoint. It’s that fairly flawless coordination that gives me hope for the “New 52.”

I cannot wait to see what Johns and Lee have planned for Justice League, or Morrison’s reinvention of Superman, or Greg Capullo teamed with DC’s best current writer, Scott Snyder, on Batman. Those titles are no brainers. Since Jim Lee returned to doing regular art on Hush, he’s yet to be teamed with a writer at the top of his game. This could be his moment to produce a story that really resonates with people. With Morrison, after the delays that his Batman Inc. series experienced over the last year, I just hope he’s working well ahead of schedule. There’s no doubt, however, that I’m most excited right now to read Batman.

Other books I can’t wait to check out include Scott Snyder’s new take on Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing is my pick for the dark horse hit of the relaunch, though it may face competition from Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman revamp. I suspect many of the other “DC Dark” titles such as Frankenstein are going to be strong, but short lived. There are other titles I think have no chance of survival, for example books like I, VampireOMAC, Captain Atom  and Mr. Miracle, yet I’m genuinely curious about these books.

The one aspect of what’s coming next that is most unsettling to me is the use of less proven creative teams to revamp concepts that don’t need fixing. Scott Lobdell’s reinvention of Superboy and the Teen Titans in particular looks like it could be a complete disaster. The thing about both Teen Titans and the Justice League is that they’re just not broken concepts. If you put an A-list creative team on those books and make sure the casts include the typical heavy hitters, they’re going to sell. James Robinson working with a C-list Justice League and J.T. Krull writing Teen Titans is not going to get the job done, however.

We are mere hours away from learning a lot more about the landscape of the “New 52” and the DC Universe. I suspect many of these new series are being prepared as if they were pitches for new TV series and movies for Warner Brothers. Maybe that’s a good thing. Regardless, I’m braced and ready to see what DC has been cooking up for last year. Bring it on.

From the desk of PTB: Midtown Comics’ Times Square location will have Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on hand for the midnight release of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1. Locally, you’ll be able to satisfy your late night comics needs at Philadelphia’s Brave New Worlds in Old City and Showcase Comics in Bryn Mawr. Digital versions of Justice League #1 will not be a part of the midnight release and will be available at 2PM on Wednesday through Comixology. Check with your local comic shop to see if they’ll be open at midnight tonight to usher in DC Comics’ “New 52.”

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