Sunday, January 1, 2017

DC Universe: Rebirth- The Deluxe Edition

 It wouldn't be a new year without some kind of reboot.

 Granted, this is old news, but I've sworn off floppies and comic stores for trades and online stores, so....despite the relaunch being months old, it's new to me!

 First off, I'll say this: DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH- THE DELUXE EDITION is one of the more attractive hardcovers that DC has published in a long time. It's got a larger trim size than their standard hardcover, and the cover art is printed on the laminated cover boards, so you don't get the usual crappy DC black embossed board under a dustjacket. Those black cardboard boards on their standard hardcovers look so damned cheap and unattractive...this is a massive improvement. The interior paper is very heavy and thick, and the colors and artwork look amazing. That said...

 This book was implemented to course-correct "The New 52", which I had pretty much given up on, and was masterminded and written by Geoff Johns, with chapters illustrated by Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, and Phil Jiminez. I consider Johns to be an excellent writer. His DC work appeals directly to my demographic- Longtime readers who appreciate the connection with DC's legacy and storied history, all of which was thrown out the window by "The New 52".

 This is typical Johns stuff, centered, as usual, around a speedster: The time-lost Wally West. Johns uses Wally's attempts to break loose from The Speed Force to frame various vignettes showcasing Batman, a pre-FLASHPOINT Superman, the aged Johnny Thunder, The Atom, Blue Beetle, The Flash, and others. There's a lot going on here, and I'm not sure how accessible this would be to new or lapsed readers, but Johns does a good job of getting his audience up to speed. The end of the book left me wanting more. But that, in itself, is a problem....

 Because there is no more yet. This seems to have been Johns' swan song as a comic-book writer, and there is no next issue to go to for the solution to the mystery presented in this story: Who stole ten years from the DC Universe and changed all of our familiar characters and the ways that they interact with each other? I don't necessarily trust other creators to answer this question, and I don't want to buy and read 50+ DC books a month to parse them for clues and tidbits. Is there an endgame? If so, where and when will it play out? There are a few REBIRTH Books that I'm interested in, so I'll be along for at least part of the relaunch ride, but I'm way past the days where I would buy dozens and dozens of book to follow an overarching story. If this drags out forever, which I suspect that it will, I'll rapidly lose interest.

SPOILERS!!!!!

The big secret here is that DC finally pulled the trigger on the big "FUCK YOU!!!" to Alan Moore that we all knew would be coming eventually, and integrated his WATCHMEN characters into The DC Universe. It seems like a dopey money-grab of an idea, and I have no idea why Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan would want to basically conquer and fuck with an alternate reality, but...whatever. DC owns these characters, and it could potentially make for an interesting story. We'll see. If nothing else, maybe using these characters will fully cement DC's ownership of the characters, and they'll stop doing endless reissues of the WATCHMEN material in different dopey formats every few months in order to keep ownership from reverting back to Alan Moore. And hopefully, Moore and Dave Gibbons will make some decent money from this.

 At the end of the day, a good story trumps everything else, at least for me. This was a good story, and potentially the start of something good for DC as a whole. I remain skeptical.....I mean, this reboot is by the same exact guys that did the last reboot. Will this one stick? Will DC reboot every few years in an attempt to alternately gain new readers and placate disgruntled old ones? Because I'm at a point where, after nearly five decades of reading comics, Marvel and DC have made me give less than a shit about characters that used to mean the world to me. I'm down for a good story, but I no longer give a shit about NEW stories, for the most part. I've been rebooted, relaunched, and retconned out of existence by the big two. This is a good book, and I can appreciate it as such. Is it enough to win me back...? That remains to be seen.