Sunday, September 4, 2011

DC Comics Reboot Review

At midnight releases around the country last Wednesday, DC fans (at least those who had not already pirated the issues) were able to purchase the last issue of Flashpoint, and the first issue of the DC reboot, Justice League #1. These two comics were the only ones released by DC this week, in an attempt to symbolize the end of one era, and the commencement of the next.

Flashpoint, which I assume stood for “flashy and pointless,” ended with its fifth issue which demonstrated how unnecessary collecting the entire crossover was. War between the Atlanteans and Amazons, the backdrop for the series and its tie-ins, served only as a high-priced red herring for the main plot revolving around Flash and Prof. Zoom. Although the war finally comes to head in the last issue, it is never resolved, and thus DC leaves us with yet another unfinished plot, wasting great character development. Throughout Flashpoint, DC assured its readership that the events of Flashpoint were critical in the transition to the rebooted universe. This is not the case, as Barry Allen resolves the Flashpoint crisis before the canonical transition to the rebooted Universe occurs. In fact, Barry is headed home when DC interjects the reboot via a deus ex machina, in the form of a seemingly omnipotent hooded woman, who had appeared nowhere in the story previously. Flashpoint 5 is meant to mark the transition from the previously established universe into the newly rebooted one, and instead of inspiring us with confidence and hope for the change; it only demonstrates DC’s lack of foresight and preparation for this transformation.

Justice League #1 provides an interesting perspective by showing us how the superheroes we know so well interacted as they were just starting out, before they were openly accepted by the public. The issue deals primarily with the first meeting of Batman and Green Lantern. Their banter is entertaining and would surely appeal the younger crowd to whom DC is aiming their reboot. However, to older readers, the two heroes’ repartee may appear stale and unoriginal, as the encounter mirrors a similar meeting in another of Jim Lee’s work, All Star Batman and Robin. Good character development is shown in a brief couple scenes starring Vic Stone, pre-Cyborg, and interesting shadowing is shown through the dropping of Darkseid’s name, and the easter egg appearance of the mysterious hooded woman from Flashpoint 5. However, the motivations of Batman and Green Lantern seem paper thin, and Green Lantern’s arrogance and naiveté comes off more as sheer stupidity. The last two pages mark the first appearance of the new version of Superman, and in that small amount of time it becomes apparent that his costume is not the only thing that has changed. Called “dangerous” by Batman earlier in the issue, Superman is presented with a “punch first, ask questions later” attitude, knocking Green Lantern out without hesitation then proceeding to challenge Batman with heat vision glowing in his eyes. Overall, I expected more from a book that marked the first issue of the Justice League, and the first issue of the reboot. I was disappointed that more characters were not introduced, and that the story seemed recycled from Frank Miller. I also thought the characterizations of Green Lantern and Superman seems off. Despite these qualms, I think Justice League 1 will help draw in new fans, and has planted the seeds for a potentially great book, as well as an interesting new Universe.

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