By Seth Miller
Staff Writer, Part-Time Ninja
“Reboot.” That one word can set message boards on fire and inspire soul-crushing depression or white-hot rage (or on the rare occasion it could be a harmless reference to cartoon series from 1990s). With the now infamous DC Comics reboot just a few months away, comic fans everywhere are ranting on message boards, arguing with their comic shop owner, or dreading the day when continuity gets ripped apart again.
I’m sorry, did you miss that last part? I said again; reboots are usually bad things, with very exceptions. Batman Begins rebooting the Batman movie series after Joel Schumacher took his pathological hatred for superheroes out on innocent people is a great example of a reboot done right.
But the reboot for DC is looking pretty bad. Superman’s costume looks like crap, Hawkman is an archaeologist specializing in alien ruins, and Barbara Gordon can walk which I interpreted as DC wanting to fuck with Alan Moore some more. “Hey, we took some of Moore’s celebrated works and made several movies that Moore would rather hang himself with the film used in production than see. What other ways can we fuck with him? I got it will start taking apart pivotal storylines from the comics! That’ll piss him off!”
But just because DC is throwing some of the continuity out the window with this reboot, I say comic book readers should not go crazy. There are plenty of reasons to not get excited positively or negatively for this reboot and here are a few of them…
REASON 1: This Isn’t The First DC Reboot.
DC is rebooting all their comics?! This is unbelievable!! I have never seen anything so horrible!! Unless you count the reboot with the start of the Silver Age comics, the reboot following Crisis on Infinite Earths, the smaller reboots following Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis, or when a creator takes over a title and decides to shake things up (I don’t want to even think about all the retcons). The sad fact is that comics have been continuously rebooted and retconned a hell of a lot times. This reboot is just the latest in a series of attempts to get new readers and expand market. It is usually a bad thing, but we have been through this many times and have come out stronger. We don’t have to go crazy about this one.
REASON 2: The Reboot Could Lead To Something Good.
When someone thinks of Green Lantern, most people think of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. They probably don’t think of Alan Scott and his magic lantern that doesn’t work against wood. But with the dawn of the Silver Age, the character changed to the version comic fans love and has a major motion picture made about him (and if the dark ritual that I sacrificed a goat during worked then it will be a good movie). Many things that come out of reboots are best left forgotten, but there is always something with every reboot that fans will like, i.e. Tim Drake as Robin or Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern as a result of DC “modernizing” their characters in the ’90s.
REASON 3: Geoff Johns.
He may be considered the architect of the whole reboot, but there is nobody else I would want to reboot the entire DC Universe. He has successfully brought The Flash, Justice Society of America, Hawkman, and Green Lantern back to life and has turned them all into successful books with great storylines that not only bring in new readers, but pay respect to the continuity they had built up. This reboot will undoubtedly change most of the characters, but with Johns at the helm the core of these characters will remain the same. Which leads to my next point…
REASON 4: The Core of the Characters Will Stay the Same.
Is Batman going to fight crime by mowing down criminals with a machine gun? Is Superman going to be a hipster douchebag? Is Lex Luthor going to be the nicest man in the DC Universe and play with cuddly bunnies? Is Green Lantern going to be a different color Lantern? The answer to all the questions is no. The surface details, the timeline, the stage of people’s relationships, and costumes are they only thing that will change in DC’s biggest characters. The things that drove us to these characters will stay the same and will continue to drive these characters. Now, I’m not going to deny the fact that there are still some pretty big changes to the DC Universe and some of them suck harder than a black hole, but this brings me to my final point…
REASON 5: If It Sucks, They’ll Change It Back
How many times has a company or a creator come up with a concept that is terrible only for it to be retconned? This happened because the fans were upset and wanted it changed. To some this may seem like blind optimism, but think about it. The goal of the reboot is to attract new readers to the comics that might get interested in them after seeing the movies. But this usually doesn’t work as well as they would hope, so what’s the next logical step? They will start redoing the comics to bring back the things we, the fans, loved; you can already see some of this in the fact that Green Lantern isn’t being changed much and that Grant Morrison’s Batman, Incorporated is only delayed a year and not cancelled. They are preparing for the eventuality of this thing failing, cause they know that the driving force of this industry is us and they know to keep pursuing a reboot that is not working the way they wanted is foolish.
If you take away one message from this column, let it be that reboots have happened, they usually suck but sometimes something good happens, we have creators that care about the material, if this reboot starts to blow up in DC’s face they will change things back. But most of all, the things that made us care about the characters will still be the same and they will be things that keep us coming back to read about a world where wrongs can be righted, good wins over evil, and a man can fly.
Front page image from majorspoilers.com. Images from DCComics.com.