As I’ve mentioned, DC Comics is doing a huge reboot of all of its comics, starting everything over at #1 and introducing a bunch of new titles. Sadly, the more I learn about the reboot, the less enthused I am about it.
Some of my dismay at the reboot is fairly petty. For example, I really, really dislike the way Superman looks on the two covers that have been leaked. I’m also a bit saddened to see no Justice Society or the Atom, while there is a lot of spin-off bloat: 3 Justice League titles, 2 Legion titles, 4 Lantern titles, 9 Bat-family titles, 4 Super-family titles. DC couldn’t have gone with more variety instead?
Even more of a concern for me is amount of dark imagery and violent characters being featured: Deathstroke, Demon Knights, Grifter, Red Lanterns, Wonder Woman, Blackhawks, The Savage Hawkman–as Gareth Skarka said on Facebook, it looks like the “gritty,” hyper-violent characters of the 1990s all over again. Hell, even Superman is looking overly angry in the image for the new Superman #1.
But the bigger problem for me is how difficult it is to even get a sense of what’s really being “rebooted.” Back in the 1950s, DC recreated a number of their main characters. They took the original Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom and more and made them completely different characters, with different names, personalities, costumes, powers and basic concepts. After 1985’s epic Crisis on Infinite Earths series, DC completely changed Superman, giving him an altered origin, lowered power level and a redone archenemy, Lex Luthor (originally a mad scientist, now a ruthless capitalist). But this reboot seems to be hardly a reboot, more of a reordering with some slight tweaks. Batman still has his past and present sidekicks (Dick “Nightwing” Grayson, Jason “Red Hood” Todd, Tim “Red Robin” Drake, Damian “Robin” Wayne), there are still the “Rainbow” Corps (Green Lanterns, Red Lanterns, etc), Barry Allen is still the Flash, Hal Jordan is still Green Lantern…the changes seem mostly minor and/or cosmetic.
All of this together leaves me pretty cold towards the “big reboot.” If there are only going to be minor changes, with more violence and “grittiness” emphasized, you can count me out. Not enough boldness, too much hype. I’d like to see big, sweeping changes with all-new characters, origins, costumes, powers and storylines. I don’t want old wine in new bottles.