I get a surprising number of hits here because of the thoughts I shared on Tim Drake as Red Robin two years ago. I haven’t had much to say since then because the book started taking a nosedive shortly thereafter. Need I also mention that the book got even worse after Bruce Wayne was recovered from his trip through time? The character has stayed strong throughout, but everything around him hasn’t been worth reading.
Of course I can only say this after having read it, which is unfortunate…
I am beginning to think that this is DC Comics to a T. By that I mean that they have strong characters in stupid and uninteresting storylines. Look at it this way: DC characters are iconic and incredibly well known, but how many must-read stories have they published in the past decade? Aside from Identity Crisis and the epic Green Lantern stories, nothing.
This week I learned of DC’s plans to reboot their entire universe in the Fall. 52 titles will be starting again from issue number 1 with new characterizations and attitudes. Bruce Wayne is once again the only Batman, working with his son Damien as Robin. Dick Grayson will once again be Nightwing. Jason Todd, the Red Hood, will be leading his own team of vigilantes. The biggest deal? Barbara Gordon, crippled for years in the current continuity, will once again be the high flying Batgirl.
Where does that leave Tim Drake? He will be the star and founder of the new Teen Titans in the book of the same name. All of the characters look like they’ll have new characterizations, and the Red Robin costume looks like Rob Liefeld designed it for X-Force. The description I read on Newsarama mentioned something about his stepping away from the keyboard for justice. My opinion on this is mixed.
Or I would say that if I weren’t honest. It’s stupid. Rebooting the entire DC Universe is stupid unless they have a solid plan to reconcile it with the current continuity somewhere down the line. This is especially stupid given that the past few years have been about taking chances and changing things up, even if they told bad stories. I can only somewhat understand the desire to reboot and simplify the continuity, though. There are two big films coming out within the next couple of years that they hope will cause an influx of new readers. Those films are of course Green Lantern and Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film. (Which I will see, by the way, but I hope is less pretentious than the last one.) Unfortunately, it looks like Green Lantern will be releasing at the same time as the finale of the “War of the Green Lanterns” story, which spans three GL books and is the culmination of several years of storytelling. But the rebooted Green Lantern title will be available when the DVD comes out. It would make a great pack-in, too.
This is what I view as the worst message to convey to readers. What the editors and the powers-that-be at DC are saying is that the content is disposable. Collectors will still collect the comics, and the new readers will be a new revenue source. The icons they created, and especially the symbols they use to advertise them (be it the S shield or the bat insignia) are nothing more than variants on the dollar sign. It’s insulting. I know that other businesses do it all the time, and Marvel is not necessarily any better than DC – except that they don’t make it quite as obvious. I could explain how they made sure the slightly rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man title was more than just an adjustment for a better revenue generating position, but reading the title since the change makes it pretty self-evident.
As always, I’ll give it an honest chance before I write it completely off. Another reason I can’t wait for the Fall.