Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The DCnU- One Year Later

Since there is no chapter of Curse Of Shazam in JUSTICE LEAGUE #12, I thought I'd take this time to evaluate the DCnU one year after it debuted.

First, there is Captain Mar... er, Shazam.  While I am so far enjoying Curse Of Shazam, perhaps more than I thought I would, I still do not see it as the "definitive" take on Captain Marvel.  Too many changes to characters and plot to make it more trendy and cinematic.  For my money, outside the Fawcett originals, the "definitive" DC version is still a toss up between E. Nelson Bridwell's work in the late 1970s, and Alex Ross' version in Justice and Power Of Hope.

Then there is Batman.  The DCnU reboot has not been good to him at all.  DC pretty much continued Batman from the old continuity without rebooting him. So, we have a very convoluted version of the character that for the most part, is the same as the post-Zero Hour continuity, except for when its not.  Make sense? For my money, perhaps the most enjoyable run on Batman was in the 1980s, written by Gerry Conway, with art rotating between Gene Colan and Don Newton.  They had a serialized soap opera vibe going with a multitude of subplots, and still brought a lot of action and adventure, and was, in effect, a direct sequel to the all too brief, widely celebrated 1977-78 stint by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. The DCnU Batman is just confusing, with all his various redundant sidekicks and replacement Robins and incoherent story lines.  I have really cut back on the number of Batman titles I buy since the DCnU began.  I am contemplating cutting back even more, or perhaps for the first time in my life, just stopping all together.

And then there is Superman.  Ironically, I am really liking the DCnU take on Superman. As with, Shazam, I don't consider it to be the "definitive" take, but I like it for what it is.  Mostly due to Grant Morrison, who has taken aspects of the character's original 1938 run, and incorporated it into a new vision. ACTION COMICS has been really solid, while SUPERMAN has been more hit and miss.  I don't know if I will stick with it once Morrison leaves, but for now, I'm enjoying the ride.

Finally, there is the Justice League. This, too has been interesting, although Geoff Johns seems to be essentially ripping off the movie version of  The Avengers, by making Steve Trevor the DC version of Nick Fury.  Green Lantern's characterization mirrors the awful performance by Ryan Reynolds in the dud Green Lantern movie. Efforts are made to turn Aquaman from a punchline to a real heavy hitter, with mixed results. With Superman being cast as more of a brooding loner, Batman ends up being more of a level headed leader, which is a detriment to the Batman character overall. In JUSTICE LEAGUE #12, Superman and Wonder Woman become a couple.  It seems obvious, but except for some brief teasers by John Byrne back in the 1980s, it never happened in mainstream continuity. We'll see how it plays out.

Overall, I have to give the DCnU a failing grade. Despite some bright spots with Captain... er, Shazam and Superman, I am still buying fewer DC comics than ever before, and generally just do not like the direction the continuity has taken (don't even get me started on how awful the re imagination of the Golden Age Earth-2 is).  Hopefully the next reboot will be soon, and will use Alex Ross' Justice as a foundation.

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