As “Rebirth” draws closer, I’ve noticed a couple of things that have me wondering if DC isn’t about to step on the same bear trap all over again. Now, to be fair, I do not think that the ideas behind the past couple of reboots and/ or special events (whatever you want to call them) have been bad necessarily. DC must realize they have some good things that are long-standing traditions, and the potential for some real interesting changes. The problem is this: DC changes established characters too drastically from out of nowhere.
The last reboot by DC shook up the entire universe to try and give new life to its characters. Ahem. That didn’t work out too well for you guys, did it? So, that being the case, why in the world are you doing the same thing with “Rebirth”? Why is it that Lois Lane is now going to be Superwoman? Not to mention a Chinese Superman.
DC has been looking for lightning in a bottle over the past six years instead of doing things the right way. Dropping shoehorned changes onto their readers out of the blue is a slippery slope. While this might get some initial interest, it sure as heck upsets as many fans as you gain. And if we have learned anything from recent history, it’s that fans favor nostalgia. What DC should be doing is looking at long-term solutions. Getting great creative teams under long-term contracts is a start, but the followup there is that these creators need to earn enough to stick around and steer the universe in a fitting direction. You might remember this as the tried-and-true method of “just making great comics.”
For the record, I am not against change. Progression is a great thing. What I am against is short-term, quick-bang shock treatments implemented to boost sales. They have no substance. When you don’t grow it organically from within, you instantly create a schism between those who liked the old stuff and those who might like the new stuff. If Lois Lane became Superwoman through a well executed storyline, one that the readers could follow, and come to understand, and love along the way, the result would be a smoother transition.
The second thing that has me worried is that DC doesn’t seem to know what they are doing yet. I’m sure they have some idea, seeing that most of the major books and characters are pinned down already, but when all you have to show for your event inside Previews magazine is a list of titles, it shows there is still a lot of uncertainty.
Not to end on a doom and gloom point of view, I will say this much — if anyone can right the ship, it’s Geoff Johns. His track record suggests he is capable of breathing new life into the DC universe in a way that is both believable and natural. What remains to be seen is whether or not Johns has been seduced by the dark side of Hollywood and its mass appeal.