Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bonus G&F: ...And don't let the big gold door hit you where the good Rao split you.

It’s been about twenty-five years since DC Comics’ first conscious effort to revamp, reboot and relaunch their universe, The Crisis on Infinite Earths. For better or worse, it was an exceptional moment of change as DC took what was then fifty years of a publishing history and wiped the slate clean, inviting readers to step into a new - and optimistically - streamlined universe where such disparate characters as Captain Marvel and Captain Atom stood beside Dr.Fate and the Blue Beetle, where the panoply of multiple earths had never existed, and where Superman and Batman had yet to meet and Wonder Woman had yet to set foot in Man’s World.

Considering the depth and breadth of his continuity – both personal and among his extended family – no one required a cleaner slate more than the Man of Steel. Every hero had their supporting cast and in-canon errata, but none so much as Superman, who boasted a bottle city, a quartet of super-pets, a parade of robot duplicates, identical uncles, cousins, emergency squadroneers, a planet of imperfect duplicates, a nightmare dimension of villains, one of the vastest rogues galleries in comics history, an entirely distinct teenage continuity and roughly half a dozen super-teams which counted him among their members – if not founder and inspiration. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Naturally, DC wanted to honor their flagship hero of half-a-century and to say farewell to his many incarnations and spin-offs. Here’s how they did it:

The original Superman of 1938 – with his beloved wife Lois Lane – walks into a luminous, heavenly paradise, arm-in-arm with the rescued Superboy of a vanished universe and the legacy of Luthor, reconciled at last.


Meanwhile, the Superboy of the Legion of Super-Heroes sacrifices his life to ensure that the future which his legacy inspired survives.


In no less a tangible sacrifice, Supergirl buys the heroes of five worlds all-too-precious time, at a great personal cost. She is mourned universally.




Lastly, the Silver Age Superman mythos is put to bed amidst the tears and tragedy with a smile, a wink and a happy ending.





Now let’s look at how modern-day DC is putting the Superman legacy to bed in anticipation of their September relaunch:

Superboy is a mass-murdering madman dressed like a sky-blue Ford Fairlane with gold piping.



The Superman of 1938 is an emotion-manipulating zombie who rips out the hearts of the living (as does his wife, by the way).




And would somebody just rape Supergirl already??




COMICS. They never needed a Dan Didio.

7 comments:

John Feaster said...

I tell myself that I might give it a try, but I don't think I really mean it. I think that I'm just going to do what I did with Marvel after the M-Day/Civil War/Brand New Day period...and walk away. There's a world of fine independents out there, after all...and I'll always have my back issues of the Giffen "Justice League" to keep me smiling...

Al Bruno III said...

While I don't buy as many comics as I used to and I have always preferred DC comics I have to say their decisions of the last few years - pretty much from FINAL CRISIS on have left me pretty cold...

Kazekage said...

I never quite bought Mark Waid's assertion that the first Superman going off to Heaven or wherever in Crisis was a terrible idea or betrayal of the character or what have you. I thought it was rather nice that you could kind of officially retire someone without killing them off by just giving them a happy ending and then leaving it alone.

Of course, comics being comics, everything that ever happened is assumed to be critically important and still relevant, whether it actually is or not, and that's why Barry Allen and Hal Jordan are forever going to bore the living hell out us in perpetuity.

Calamity Jon said...

Along those lines, I've always been of the theory that one of the nice things about superhero comics is that every generation gets their 'own' characters - Kids in the 1940s had Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, kids in the 1960s had Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, kids in the 1990s had Kyle Rayner and Wally West, new faces for new generations. Even Superman and the other stalwarts changed dramatically every couple of decades; the Superman of 1940 and the Superman of 1960 were creatures of a whole different cloth.

Now, though, it's back to Hal Jordan and Barry Allen and Ray Palmer and Ronnie Raymond, et al. Darker (and dumber) I suppose, for all their time in semi-retirement, but it makes me wonder if it's worse when they make big, wholesale, seemingly spontaneous changes to their product line or when they barely make any changes at all...

-Your Humble Editor

Unknown said...

Why couldn't DC leave enough alone? I started following DC after the Crisis. All nice and simple. One Earth, no backstories, all nice and simple. Now, this past five years seems like an Elseworlds gone wrong. With the exception of the Bat titles, I don't see anything worth following.

Wooly Rupert said...

I wouldn't draw the line at comics...

Hal Cromwell said...

It's getting close to a year since the last update. Is this site closed?

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