The Upside of DC Comics Rebooting Their Universe AGAIN

DC is doing yet another continuity revamp, but this one could lead to day and date digital comics.

DC Comics ‘canceled’ all of their comic series last month as they prepared for the debut of the new crossover event Flashpoint, issue one of which came out this month and shows a DCU that has been very, very changed. Batman is Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father. Wonder Woman and the Amazons have invaded England while Aquaman and the Atlanteans have sunk much of Europe. And there’s no Flash.

Much like the last big DC event, Blackest Night, which was also written by Geoff Johns, Flashpoint feels like an attempt to solidify a character’s importance in the DC Universe. In Blackest Night it was Green Lantern, while Flashpoint is showing us a world without a Flash.

But it turns out that Flashpoint will be more than that; according to DC it’s a pad from which to relaunch its entire universe. When Flashpoint ends, DC Comics return with brand new #1 issues. Other changes, we are assured, will come, but they’re not really explained right now. Here’s what we know.

From USA Today:

“We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line,” says Dan DiDio, who co-publishes DC with [Jim] Lee. “This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”

So they’re not rebooting it from the start, like after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but are… de-aging the characters?

There’s more, from a letter to retailers  that Newsarama ran:

In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend - but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph.

...

We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.

Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.

I have to admit I don’t really know what much of this actually MEANS. I suspect that it means that DC will revamp the characters as they please, and will throw away whatever continuity they’re no longer interested in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of 52 week event growing out of this, to introduce readers to the changed landscape (and make money).

But here’s what I don’t get: why? DC has been spending so much time fine-tuning its continuity in titles like Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis and 52, as well as bringing back tons of popular dead characters in Blackest Night and Brightest Day, so why just revamp it all now? Half of DC’s recent events have felt more like housekeeping than storytelling, and now they’re just moving into a new house.

There is an upside, though. Every single one of DC’s new #1 issues will be available day and date digitally. I hope this policy extends beyond the first issues, but at the very least this decision will make it VERY easy for the curious to come on by and sample the new universe. It’s unlikely I’ll trudge to the comic book store, but I might very well (hell, I definitely will) try out a bunch of titles on my iPad.

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