DC Relaunch: The Best, Worst, and Weirdest
Several weeks ago, DC Comics announced that beginning in September, all of their titles would be relauched at #1, with some current titles being cancelled and others being heavily retooled or rebooted. Additionally, all DC titles will be available digitally the same day they hit stores. 52 titles have been announced so far, with more to debut next year.
Reaction was mixed when the news broke. A lot of fans applauded the move as one of the Big Two publishers finally moving into the 21st century, but there was also some apprehension in terms of rebooting some series and erasing stories-and characters- from continuity. Over the past few weeks, the covers and solicits for the new DC Universe have been released, and it’s kind of hit or miss. I’ve collected some of the titles I’ll be picking up, as well as a couple I think will be stinkers and a few which are just plain odd.
ACTION COMICS #1 by Grant Morrison
Superman has received a lot of press during the announcement because of a costume redesign. Basically, they’re dropping the “underwear on the outside” look and (in some titles) tweaking the logo. His backstory is also going to be altered, which is the time period Morrison’s going to be covering in Action Comics. While I’m a bit nervous about the “darker, more grim take” the solicits and interviews seem to be suggesting, Morrison’s All-Star Superman series was a fantastic take on the character, and his Batman Inc. work is something I’m going to miss (although it’s supposed to be back next year). Morrison has proved he can take the best of the past and run with it, so I (like a lot of other people) am looking forward to it.
GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1 by Tony Bedard
One thing about the relaunch is that a lot of the status quos of DC’s more successful books will be left mostly untouched, which this series proves. It spins out of the recent Green Lantern summer events and stars second-banana GL Kyle Rayner as the head of a rainbow team of Lanterns gathered from the various Corps. I like Kyle as a character much better than Hal Jordan, and I’ve always been a fan of team books. I hope that the main GL title moves on from the whole ___(insert color)____ Lanterns plot lines they’ve been pushing for a while since this book is an ongoing, but with Geoff Johns setting the pace for a lot of these stories, that may be too much to ask for.
TEEN TITANS #1 by Scott Lobdell
I think this title has gotten some of the worst, if not the worst, buzz around it of any of them. According to the solicit, Tim Drake (former Robin III) is a computer hacker who dons the Red Robin costume and gets together a team which includes Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Superboy. A lot of the outcry has been related to the use of the Red Robin identity, and by extension the idea that he’s not going to be part of the extended Bat-family in the new universe. I’ll have to wait and see what happens before calling that one, but what I can say is that the character designs are absolutely atrocious. The Red Robin get-up is bad, but the Kick-Me sign/ shoulder tat Superboy takes the cake. It’s a step down from his last costume, which was a T-shirt and jeans. And what is that creature in the lower left corner?
RED LANTERNS #1 by Peter Milligan
Remember how I mentioned that I hoped they would shy away from rainbow Lantern stories? Red Lanterns are a lot like Green Lanterns, except that rather than willpower, their rings are fueled by rage. And their constructs are made out of exploding blood stuff they vomit out. Like the Titans designs, it’s very edgy, 90s anti-heroic, and while Peter Milligan is a quality writer, there’s only so much you can do with a lame concept.
BATGIRL #1 by Gail Simone
This relaunch puts Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl, back in the cowl. The move has come under fire as it undoes Babs’ spinal injury and subsequent development of her super-hacker persona Oracle, which was hailed as a role model for the disabled community. The series is written by Gail Simone, who has demonstrated her love for the character during her run on Birds of Prey, but how she’s going to make what was clearly an editorially-mandated move believable and satisfying is anyone’s guess.
FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1 by Jeff Lemire
This is a new series about Frankenstein’s Monster, who works with other outcasts in a spy organization to stop bad guys. Frankenstein was developed as a character in the DCU during Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers series, and the idea sounds like a trippy Silver Age concept. Will it be awesome? Only time will tell.
Those are a few of what stood out to me from the list. What do you guys think?
(Full list available here)