I'll come up with something in a minute.

I for one welcome the reboot.

When talking about the DC reboot, I’ve heard many, many anti-reboot complaints. The commentary has been almost entirely negative in fact. That is a source of annoyance for me because I welcome rebooting. The DCU is a big, snarled mess of contradictions and retcons, let’s not pretend it isn’t.

There are several good reasons for being for the reboot, like…

1. Giving archetypal characters their archetypal status again.

Quite frankly, you can only see Batman punch The Joker and take him back to jail (or Arkham Asylum) so many times before you start counting the bodies left in the clown’s wake and wonder why someone doesn’t just do the sensible thing and have him “Accidently Shot” 37 times in the head while “Resisting Arrest” in the back of the squad car. There comes a point where proving you’re not as bad as he is must give way to simple survival instinct. I have to think that very few people would question the cop who unloaded his gun into the right ear of someone with as high a body count. The same applies to Lex Luthor, or Sinestro, or Granny Goodness, or whoever it is that The Flash fights. There comes a point where having your hero fight the same damn villain YET AGAIN becomes an exercise in futility. The never ending struggle will never end, and as such, it becomes as dull as dishwater. You know that everyone will be fine by the end, because they’ve all got to come back to do it again next week.

The tale of Odysseus is re-readable because you’re not reading a slight variation every month. Le Morte D’Arthur is always the same, but when new writers take on the story they add their own flares. Bits and pieces are put in by each new writer, but they do not pretend that this is the sequel to Le Morte D’Arthur, but their own take on the tale. So King Arthur remains an archetype. Super heroes have archetypal status, but with a continuing burden that makes repletion and the phrase “Oh just fucking kill him already” inevitable.

While there can be drama in a well written story, those stories aren’t as thick on the ground and some might like you to believe. In truth, the really great stories that come sandwiched inside a dense continuity are rare and wonderful things to behold. They do happen, but they’d happen more if the area were cleared away a bit. When you can start over, and tell the tale from scratch, you can have little variances and let each author bring genuinely new ideas forward.

2. Do you really want it all to be in continuity?
I tried to re-read Knightfall again recently, and I was struck once again at what a lame and lightweight villain Bane was. The whole Az-Bit thing still doesn’t work, and today really strikes me as an attempt to make the DC Universe go a bit EXTREME! For a brief period, Batman became just another Image knock off character without personality or readability. Bruce Wane was promptly brought back at the end of that story line, making it even more annoying. What had seemed like a cynical attempt to cash in on Image, was really a cynical attempt to re-do The Death of Superman. I would like that whole thing to be erased from memory please. Both stories sucked the balls off a dead donkey, and I’d like them removed from continuity and thrown to the dustbin forever.

While I’m at it, do you want the story where The Joker made all the fish have smiles like his to still be canon? Granted, it’s actually a good story, but still. All that Urban battle ground stuff from the 70s? All the downright foolishness of the 50s? Do you want Rainbow Batman to be canon? And that’s just Batman, each character has some really bad things in their past that it would be best to just let go away forever.

More than that though, we must re-jigger the time line at least, otherwise Batman is about 100 years old. He fought crime in the late 30’s, even with the flexible comic book aging system, he’s got to be old. Unless you want to explain how he managed that, rebooting is a requirement.

None of this is DC’s reasoning, at least not as far as I’ve heard it. Their reason is that the labyrinthine stories that have littered the past 20-30 years do get in the way for new readers. Continuity seems to block the path for new readers who are intimidated by the length and breadth of stories they think they’re going to have to look up in order to read issue 847. Actually, they really don’t need much to get caught up. You’d be amazed how much you pick up as you go along and how little the current writer knows about the last 70 odd years of storylines. Sometimes, it can be shocking to realize that they don’t even have much of a grasp as to what happened a year ago, even if they were the writer for those issues, but that’s a complaint for another time.

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July 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment