Saturday, 9 July 2011

DC Reboot

Comic fans it is so soon till the DC reboot I fear that should I not get my thoughts in quick then they shall be lost in a sea of whiny moany conversations where anybody with a blog can pretend to know what they are talking about and I wont be taken seriously... oh wait.

The reboot, like everything to do with comics has both good and bad parts, so I'll focus on the good first off, as one of my main problems with it will take up the bulk of this. I haven't been able to discuss the reboot with any of my comic friends as the three who are strongly into comics all read bloody marvel. One is obsessed with X-men, one with Spider man and than one with dear god anything that isn't DC! That said most of them have expressed interest in reading comics if they don't have to deal with all the continuity which even I find daunting. If the reboot succeeds in making new readers able to pic up the stories then that is a good thing, clearing up a few plot holes for old readers surly can't hurt ether. This however brings out the skeptic in me a little, how long will it truly be before the writers start to draw from things taken beyond the reboot and for the new continuity to become just as messed up.

Titles I'm excited about. Since I don't have the money/downloading/time to spend reading all the issues to the flashpoint event as they come out I've been restricting myself to a few select issues, such as The Knight of Vengeance or Frankenstein.

Frankenstein is one of my favorite characters of flashpoint, he's a very stoic, strong determined character. Who is incredibly noble and willing to kill which is a nice change of pace from the blood thirsty anti hero's who are a response to the 'hero's need to be darker' mentality as well as a change form the boy scout goody gods. You may think I'm attacking superman with that rant, but the supposed darker hero Batman also refuses to get his gloves dirty when so much could have been avoided had he shoved his batarang so far up the Jokers backside he would have coughed up sonics. That said I do love both Batman and Superman. Frankenstein enters the story after being frozen in ice... yeah ok, that's a bit overdone. But he then goes on to join the American forces against the Nazi menace and then beheads Hitler with the sword of the archangel Michael. I'm going to repeat that. Frankenstein beheads Hitler with the sword of the archangel Michael. And this is why I love comics. Once the three issue set is complete I'm planning a full review so more will come.

Knight of Vengeance is a nice twist on the batman origin, having young Bruce Wayne killed along with his mother and having Thomas Wayne survive instead. This leads to a darker Batman, one who will kill to achieve his ends, (see how I'm tying it all together). He's created a casino to draw the crime towards him and control it as well as privatising the police force. Whilst not as good as Frankenstein it is enjoyable and I plan to read the next 2 issues.

Now we look briefly at the problems, first is the issue I have with the reboot of Superman. They are removing the marriage to Lois Lane. Yes, I know that this will probably be rectified and they are doing it so fans can enjoy the romance build up again but the simple fact remains that we are probably going to have to deal with hundreds of issues where they fart around and tease with the prospect of getting together. I'm reminded of the Marvel One More Day, which exists solely because there are some people who don't believe that a superhero can be entertaining if they are happy in their marriage. Saying Superman and Lois Lane will never be together is equally as plausible as saying the sun will never rise, and preceding to try and run around the world in order to out run it.

Now we move onto mine, and many others largest problem with the DC Reboot. Oracle/Batgirl. Now I will freely admit I am new to comics and as such I only know Barbra Gordon through her role as Oracle during the Birds of Prey series. I have since gone back and read some Batgirl issues and of course the infamous killing joke in which she is shot in the spine by the joker and rendered paraplegic. At first glance this could have easily turned into another simple footnote on the webpage of Women in Refrigerators This was made even worse by the likability of Barbara who was popular, spunky and a very chipper character. Determined to follow the crime fighting of her dad commissioner Gordon but never becoming the sad figure of Batman who really just needs a hug and a mummy to tell him he's doing a good job (I honestly do like Batman!).

When a woman is killed or maimed in comics, or even in any entertainment form, it is usually purely for the purpose of emoting a response from the men she is associated with. And this is where Oracle became such an amazing character, she had suffered hardship but overcame them through the sheer force of will as well as the support of her friends; using her strength to then help Black Canary who had also been going through rough character times. See again W.I.R.

I almost feel bad trying to argue that Oracle should not regain the use of her legs, as though I am somehow taking a stab at people who are paraplegic in real life. I certainly don't think anyone who doesn't have the use of their legs should be denied the opportunity to regain it, however Barbara Gordon is not a real person; she is a figure in the entertainment industry and as such has the ability to be a role model. Aside from being a positive role model showing how someone physically challenged can still be a superhero she is a prime example of of sheer human strength. Not only that but her role as Oracle was far more valuable to DC universe than her as Batgirl.

I won't talk about the current Batgirl Stephanie Brown, as I haven't been reading her series but form what I understand after a rocky start she gained popularity and has settled comfortably into the role. Even getting the support of Barbara Gordon. Aside from her getting a bit of the shaft I'll go into the new series with as much as an open mind as I can, after all Gail Simone, the writer of two of my favourite series Birds of Prey and Secret Six has been given the project.

I'll finish this up with one more thing that I only discovered recently, they have also changed several costumes, some I like alright such as the WonderWoman or Supergirl outfits but they have changed Harley Quinn to look like some sexed up reject from Hot Topic who accidentally forgot which hair dye she was using halfway through. Needless to say I count this very strongly in the negative aspects of the reboot.

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