Saturday, February 20, 2016

DC Comics Rebirth - Preliminary Thoughts

Although I normally focus on (relatively) older DC Comics, I figured I may as well join in the chorus of Rebirth announcement takeaways.  No real rhyme or reason to these ramblings, just emptying out my head.


I guess I'll start with my two biggest surprises that came from this announcement.  First, the return to legacy numbering for both Action Comics and Detective Comics, which will resume their pre-Flashpoint numbering this June (Action Comics #957, Detective Comics #934).  I know that in the grand scheme of things, this should not be a big deal... but, it is... to me anyway.  Really can't explain it to eloquently, it just makes the title feel more, I don't know... alive, to me.  I am a big back issue guy, and it was always more satisfying picking up books for a series that still had its "real" numbering.  Being able to reflect back, knowing that in June when I pick up issue #957 of Action Comics it has a history going back over 75 years... just feels right.  

This was actually on my post-Convergence wish list.  I was hoping these two titles would return to their real numbering, and follow the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe versions of Superman and Batman (while the Superman and Batman titles remained New-52centric).  For all I know, this may very well be the direction they are looking to explore this summer.

Second biggest surprise is the price rollback.  Re-drawing the line at $2.99 is great.  Now, I know that many of these books will be bi-weekly, and we will ultimately be paying $6 per month for each of those titles... However, when bits and pieces of this started to leak, the bi-weekly schedule was already part of that.  I feared that titles like Action Comics, Batman, and Green Lantern would remain $3.99 and go bi-weekly.  So, I suppose this is more of a relief than anything.  This appears to be a very good customer service move, as well as perhaps something of an acknowledgement that the $3.99 price point is just too high for a new or lapsed reader to embrace.

What I wasn't so surprised about was the aforementioned bi-weekly release schedule for many of the books, as well as relaunching the rest of the line at yet another #1.  The bi-weekly thing, I could really do without, though, I suppose I understand where they are coming from.  I hate to think of what this may do to creative teams.  I'm doubtful that an artist can put out their top-quality work consistently under such a schedule.  Perhaps they will implement rotational art chores... I'm guessing they'll have to.  I do miss long creative team runs on books, right now the closest thing we have is Snyder and Capullo on Batman.

Restarting the numbering on some 30 titles is a bit irritating.  I have always disliked this practice, going back as far as the Heroes Reborn event from Marvel.  I hate tossing out the old volume for some short-term gain.  It bugs me that we will be on volume three of Batman come June.  I hope there is a legitimate reason for the renumbering, however I am doubtful.

The titles announced all seemed quite interesting.  DC does not seem to be exploring any experimental titles right off the bat.  I think this is a good idea for the launch.  The titles given will hopefully provide a workable foundation for which to build upon.  When the New-52 was launched we had titles like Resurrection Man, Voodoo, OMAC, and Mr. Terrific.  These were going to be challenging sells to a potential new (or even seasoned) reader.  If those titles were launched, say a year into the New-52 (potentially after the characters had already been introduced), they may have found a wider audience.  I was going to go blow-by-blow for each title, however, with the limited information we have currently, it would likely be a waste of everyone's time.

Now, I am pleased with the news, however, I cannot say that I am 100% optimistic about Rebirth.  I am excited, and really can't wait to see how things pan out, however there is something I just can't shake.  During the interview, Geoff Johns mentions that this has been in the works for a long while.  If that's truly the case... Why did we just go through Convergence?  If this is to be a re-melding of the classic and contemporary DC Universes, Convergence would have been the most opportune time to pull the trigger... the fact that they didn't, and announced Rebirth six or seven months later makes me question how much forethought is being (or has been) put into this.  

I just hope that this is a better planned launch (story-wise) than the New-52.  There were so many unanswered questions in late 2011.  Questions that remained unanswered because I don't think even the creators or editorial had the answers.  (Most) Everything just felt so thrown together.  It felt like the heart had been pulled out, leaving us with just empty characters.  I have high hopes that this will not be the case this summer, and DC Comics will successfully bring their classic legacy into the contemporary market.

Not sure anything I just wrote made a lick of sense, thanks for reading nonetheless.

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