Before I get into my article tonight, please say a prayer for my friend Paul. You see last month Paul left my local comic store to begin a new job, working as a sale representative at DC Comics. Which means on the phone and at conventions he has to pretty much sell us on the new post-Flashpoint DC Universe, which prior to his getting the job we were all told were going to be a stand-alone event. Then we were told that changes would occur. Now we’re told it’s a total reboot. If you pity anyone not suffering from a debilitating disease or natural disaster, please let it be Paul. He need your well wishes because he really is a cool guy.
Now then, it’s about 4:37 PM and I have not watched any updates since late last night, when we were told that Cyborg was becoming the token black guy in the new Justice League, Hawkman was back (not that anyone seems to know what to do with him, but that didn’t stop Barry’s resurrection) and Gail Simone would be off of Birds of Prey with no word if she would continue on Secret Six or if it was even coming back. If you watch Linkara‘s show, you can bet he’s warming the laser cannons on his newly acquired starship. (Maybe I should consider storylines so I can get a cool ship?)
What you are about to
suffer through read are my thoughts based on no new information. It is, however, based on what I see in the extended media. You know, cartoons, video games, and live-action shows. What will the event that Snell of Slay Monstrobot refers to as “Flushpoint” change in the DC Universe besides some characters being youngified and other characters coming back? This is mostly stuff I expect to be retconned out, because no or few writers outside of the comics has ever done anything with it.
The end of the Super-Marriage
Oh, I’m starting with the big guns, aren’t I? OK, I realized I did have to go and look, at least for this one since I’m sure it’s a big issue, but nothing. No word on the Super-Marriage. See, I think they want us speculating, even from an angry point, because as they themselves have said “what get them talking about us is fine with us”. That’s all they care about.
If you haven’t heard of “Superman 2000”, it was a plan by some DC writers at the time (guess which year) to end Lois and Clark’s marriage with Mr. Mxyzptlk standing in for Mephisto. Plus it would push Superman’s powers so high that it would be ridiculous to take it seriously. (There’s this thought that Superman has to remain the most powerful being in the DC Universe, even when more powered people pop up all the time.) So someone isn’t happy about the Super-Marriage any more than they were the Spider-Marriage.
And the media backs me up. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman told the legend of Superman from the angle of Clark and Lois’ relationship. It was a romantic piece, so much that when they wanted to get the characters hitched, they forced DC to speed up their own plans because the source material should actually have them wed first. This is one of my complaints against the show, because they were impatient. And then we got frog-eating clones and weird curses that kept them from consummating but that’s another rant.
Besides this show, and maybe the Smallville finale (I didn’t waste my time watching it), the two were never wed. In Superman Returns, he returns (duh) to find Lois dating someone else and has to win her back, or something–I haven’t seen it yet because I keep getting scarred off the more I hear about it. In the animated series to have come out after the marriage, one had Superman’s first days in Metropolis and the other had the pre-hero Superman being drawn into the future. So it makes sense that neither had the marriage.
Then you get into the animated direct-to-DVD movie Superman/Doomsday and his appearance on the Batman and Batman: The Brave & The Bold. In the movie Superman and Lois were sleeping together but not married and Clark hadn’t revealed his identity to her until the end of the movie. In the Bat-toons he was already established but it didn’t seem like Lois and Clark were an item. Have they ever been married in the other DVD films?
My final proof is the reboot’s writer, Grant Morrison. People are all giddy about this choice because All-Star Superman was so well done, but what made it work is that it was out of continuity and could stand on its own. That still doesn’t explain why they weren’t married in All-Star, but his Batman run shows how much he loves the old stuff so he wouldn’t be against using the backsliding timeline to get pre-wed Lois. Which means she goes back to being either a moron or a crazed stalker, just as the Silver Age loved her to be. (Seriously, check out some of the old comic blogs like Comics Make No Sense sometime, even if he hates Superman, or What Were They Thinking.)
Dick Grayson as Robin
With the announcement that the characters were going to be younger interpretations, this one sounds like a lock. And the entirety of the media backs me up. During the days of Superfriends is when the Boy Wonder grew up and took on the name “Nightwing”, but Hanna-Barbera never acknowledged it. It would have made for a good focus episode, much as “The Fear” did for Batman.
Even after that, only once did he ever take his new name, when the Fox series moved over to (then) Kids WB. It was referenced in Teen Titans during a trip into the future, mentioned in passing in Batman Forever and that was it. TT Robin was Dick Grayson as was every Robin since. (Again, The Batman featured early stories and The Brave & The Bold started with Dick as Robin until a few episodes later breaking out Nightwing, which the comic spin-off still has yet to acknowledge.)
Young Justice is my final bit of evidence. That team was formed by Tim Drake, who has only appeared in the DCAU during the days of Kids WB. I don’t know if he showed up in Under The Red Hood, which does use Nightwing (in a cameo), but that would be his only appearance. In the original Young Justice comic it was Tim that was part of the starting team, but here all signs (including the official Cartoon Network site when it first launched) point to Dick being Robin. Writers can’t seem to get over Dick Grayson as Robin and refuse to let him move on as Nightwing. I expect that to follow, even if I am coming off as cynical.
Barbara Gordon as Batgirl
I’m not the only one who thinks this, and of all of them I think is the most likely. The entirety of extended media backs me up, except for Oracle in the Batman: Arkham Asylum game and the Birds of Prey TV show. NOWHERE ELSE has any other Batgirl shown up, even after “The Killing Joke” became canon. In the TV version of Birds of Prey (which only me and four other people liked, apparently) there was no Batgirl, although Barbara was again Oracle. Not in the DCAU, not in the current Batman: The Brave & The Bold, nowhere has Barbara been replaced by Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown, two characters not even acknowledged as existing according to these sources.
There have been hints and misdirections for quite some time hinting that she might get her legs back, either to “test the waters” or just mess with us. However, I see this as a given because these are the people who can’t get over the fact that the DC Universe evolved since the 80’s, which they want to turn into a dark, violent, convoluted mess and call it character development.
Oh, I’m sure there will be more. In the most recent USA Today article, Johns and Lee try to convince us that the changes are a good thing, and that “(t)he recent emphasis on diverse characters such as lesbian superheroine Batwoman, Hispanic hero Blue Beetle and African-American adventurer Cyborg (who will be a core member of Johns and Lee’s new Justice League) also will continue.” (Tell that to the Hispanic Blue Beetle who has all but disappeared, or Ryan Choi, whose dead for the crime of not being Ray Palmer.) This is the quote to end on, though.
“You’re trying to have your cake and eat it, too,” Lee says. “You’re trying to keep the iconic elements there, but at the same time freshen up the look so that people are intrigued by what they’re seeing and hopefully come and sample the wares.”
I would agree, but what you guys consider “iconic” usually means “make it the way I grew up with, only with more blood and ‘realism'”. I would try to stay positive, but these are the guys who caused the troubles in the first place, starting with their first reboot, Infinite Crisis. And all the mini-reboots since.
- More “point”lessness (bwmedia.wordpress.com)