The DC Relaunch: Deal With It!

My opinions here. Not Hal’s, not Amphibimen Comics LLC, not your Aunt Gertrude’s that I supposedly overheard at work. To disagree is to invite…unpleasant things…upon ye.

The DC Comics line is getting a complete makeover, starting with its September titles. Many storylines will be completely erased, as will some of the faces behind the masks (Batgirl, as an example: Stephanie Brown is dropping out of continuity – unless she’s been demoted to The Spoiler. In her place is Barbara Gordon, the second and most famous of everyone else who’s worn the suit).

I’ve heard all kinds of screaming from long-time readers about how their favorite character is being obliterated, and how they’ll never accept the changes. (My son is in mourning over Kyle Raynor, the Green Lantern he literally grew up with.) And some people feel that DC is being insensitive to their fans by making these changes.

Well, kids, I’m trusting them to do this right. And I’ll even tell you why: This is the fourth time they’re doing it.

Yes, FOUR TIMES. Any in-continuity DC title you’ve been reading during the past 25 years is THIRD GENERATION storytelling. A character like The Flash, for example. The First Generation Flash of the 1940’s to the early 1950’s was Jay Garrick. When the title was relaunched in the 1950’s, police scientist Barry Allen became The Fastest Man Alive. Twenty-Five years ago, the original Crisis on Infinite Earths ended with Wally West, the former Kid Flash, taking on the mantle.

Every twenty-five years or so, DC likes to shake out its dusty linen, and start over. Twenty-Five years of storytelling, with at least as many writers, artists, and editors adding their own layers, can interfere with the basic concept of the character. So, they do a relaunch: they take the character back to its beginning point.
Example: Green Lantern. What ties everyone from Allan Scott up Kyle Raynor together is that they all have a green, rechargable power ring, controlled by their will. They’ve brought Hal Jordan back, and will spare new readers from having to know about Parallax, The Specter, Kyle Raynor as the Last Green Lantern, to Mosaic, to the return of the Guardians…

Here’s a guy with a green power ring. His name is Hal Jordan, and he’s a new space cop. Let’s sit back and see what happens.

I’m a survivor of the Pre-Crisis era. I had to watch Superman and Batman go from old pals to wary allies to respected comrades to old friends. Now my eight year old grandson can watch the same story unfold all over again.

And, c’mon here! Every time they relaunch a character, he/she/it (these are comics, after all) get better.

Another example? Lex Luthor. From annoying red-haired amateur inventor, to fat and bald genius villain, to CEO of a self-built corporate empire. And this time around…?

And some things have survived the turmoil! Grant Morrison’s ‘Batman Incorporated’ is largely unaltered, or at least most of the faces are familiar. John Constantine is back in regular continuity, with his Vertigo background untouched.

And Captain Marvel? The Justice Society? They’re only a dimension-crossing vibration away, I’m willing to bet. We’ve got a quarter of a century ahead of us to fill in the blanks. We get to start all over again, folks!

And it’s probably gonna be a groovy ride, just like the last three times.

“J.F.B.” – K. Torp

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