I don’t feel the slightest bit nerdy writing about the latest pan-galactic shake-up of DC’s comic universe. I know for a fact the New York Times has published not one, but two, Arts front pagers on these mighty developments. The first story hyped the re-numbering back to 1 of all 52 DC titles (because what’s better for a slumming culture editor than putting at top of the page a huge color splash of the Justice League charging off to do justice?). The second reported the stellar sales for the titles in their first month.
DC didn’t just reset the numbers, it reset the stories and reintroduced its caped folk. If you were Batman or Superman, you’d been around for decades and the layers of story, characters and soap operatic turns clung to you like barnacles on a sucken ship. This doesn’t mean DC rebooted right back to the beginning. Superman doesn’t start with baby Kal-El rocketing to Earth, nor Batman with little Bruce Wayne seeing his parents murdered. It was more a cleaning out of the attic and second floor of their story houses.
I was a Marvel kid and so know nothing of all the twists and turns DC made disappear. And I’m aware that with Hollywood rebooting reboots of reboots (see the Superman, Batman and Spider-Man movies), this may not seem novel. But what I liked about the idea is that my ten-year-old and I can start together reading these seminal titles Action Comics and Detective Comics, featuring Supes and the Dark Knight, respectively, without either of us needing the Comic Book Encyclopedia at our side to get the back-back-backstory. (I’m not even sure why the comic book industry uses the word continuity; seems more like discontinuity.) I was also leery. I’ve been let down by Big Comic Events before, on the Marvel side of the wall.
Of the first three titles I bought, I was impressed by two. Action Comics and Detective Comics Nos. 1 both feature great art and decent stories, with a darkening of Superman’s character the most interesting development (darkening Batman now would be all but impossible short of renaming him SatanGuy). Justice League of America No. 1 was weaker, but superhero teams never do it for me. Too much hero banter, not enough smash. Patrick liked them all, of course. I’m now looking forward to lesser titles: Deadman and Dark JLA, and the Nos 2. It’s fun to look forward to comics and feel a part of the start.