Like many comic fans, I was surprised at the recent news that the entire DC Universe will be starting over, with 52 (FIFTY TWO!!!) new #1 issues to be released in September. And, also like many fans, my first reaction was something akin to this: "I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS!!"
But now that there's a little more information circling about and, more importantly, we've all had some time to process this announcement, my opinions have mellowed somewhat and I now have a more stoic approach.
When it comes down to it, DC Comics is a money-making enterprise (though it could be argued that their greatest monetary value comes as an R&D tool for various other entertainment purposes, not the least of which can be witnessed from the slew of DC-related movies in development), and the company certainly has the right to retool its line of books and its characters as it sees fit. And when you look at the state of the industry, it's no surprise that one of the biggest companies would want to try something different.
I recently found out that Doom Patrol had been cancelled, and for good cause - issues were selling in the 9,000 copy range. When one of the two biggest comic companies in the world is selling a book that has only 9,000 readers, change is bound to happen. (I will say that Doom Patrol, month in and out, was my favorite book that I could barely understand what was going on while reading it.)
Overall, though, I'm not going to worry about, say, Superman's lack of red underwear, because I'm fairly certain that, after a while, the things I like will eventually be reinstated.
Sure, there are things that irk me about this new direction for DC. I hate, for example, every single costume in the above Teen Titans image. Sure, Robin's going for the retro-cool look (that's similar to Firehawk's costume, isn't it? Something like that), but the others...holy moley. Superboy's taped a piece of paper to the back of his shirt? And he has a big Superman tattoo? R...really?
I also hate, with a passion, the renumbering of long-running titles like Action Comics and Detective Comics. It took 73 years for Action Comics to reach issue #900 only to have it dialed back to a new issue #1? Bah.
But here's the thing: there is no way on Earth that Action Comics won't be renumbered by the time it would reach issue #1000. Heck, there's even a chance that Detective Comics will roll over to #900 in the less than two years that it'll take.
Superman will eventually have his classic "S" shield back. Flash will probably lose that weird chinstrap thing he's got going on. The good stuff will stay, the unnecessary changes will change back. It's that simple.
And there are some cool things being solicited for this "new" universe, in fact. For example: A NEW SWAMP THING SERIES BY SCOTT SNYDER!
I am so excited for this book, after reading Alan Moore's fantastic work on the character and Snyder's impressive current Detective Comics run.
Also, DC is taking real steps to reach out to digital readers: it had to happen sooner or later, and releasing digital copies of books on the same day physical copies come out is historic for the medium.
I'll admit, though, that most of what I'm hearing is rather ho-hum. No real big name creators and such seemingly random choices as to which characters get books of their own. It seems like DC is trying to create a lineup of varied books (featuring culturally diverse characters) that, in a perfect world, would appeal to a wide range of readers, new and old. But there's a reason that the Demon, Hawk & Dove, Sgt. Rock, OMAC and Mr. Terrific don't currently have books on the shelves.
The litmus test for this new direction, of course, will come in the months following September. I'm sure that the new Justice League title will sell like gangbusters and that many others will start out strong (the media push has to count for something, after all), but I'm also sure that some of these other new titles will fail - it would be foolish to think otherwise.
The only thing we fans can do is wait and see what happens. I'm willing to let events unfold as they may - I'll buy the titles I enjoy and I won't buy the titles that don't interest me or aren't well done, as I always do with few exceptions.
But really...Superboy's new costume is horrendous.