Thursday, June 02, 2011

All right, the serious reaction to the reboot.

J. Michael Straczynski:
When Dan DiDio comes out to the West Coast, we tend to get a bite for dinner to discuss projects, ideas, books and just hang. Dan is a great guy and an energetic speaker, chockful of ideas and aspirations for DC. As part of that, he shared repeatedly on and off for really more than a year his dream of rebooting the DCU and starting over.

So I felt confident that it was coming soon (which is one reason why I felt there wouldn't be a problem in the long run leaving the monthly books, since most of the things done in Superman and Wonder Woman would be erased by the reboot anyway, so ultimately it didn't matter whether I stayed or left. I just couldn't say anything at the time because I wanted to respect Dan's privacy and his desire to do what he thought was right when he thought it was right to do it.

To a degree, I think the success of Superman: Earth One was very helpful in showing that you could reboot a major character in a very personal sort of book and have it become a real hit (27 straight weeks and counting on the New York Times Bestseller List for graphic novels).


Yeah, I feel so much better knowing you planned your big Wonder Woman storyline from the start with the attitude of "It won't count anyway." (That pisses me off more than anything. Who cares if it counts? It needs to be worth reading. I've said some bad things about JMS's writing but I didn't have him pegged for the Cult of Continuity before. I'd assumed he'd at least TRY to do his best work whether a reboot loomed or not.)

In all seriousness, this makes it seem like they're serious and it's not just another mass retcon frenzy in the midst of the continuing storyline. In that case, it is remarkably brave, especially since they've clung to the continuity-focused stories as their main events for so long.

I'm trying to keep an open mind here because it could be pretty good, but really whether or not this works all depends on what they're willing to put in at the beginning through the launch. The DCU started out as an all-white, assumed straight, mostly male universe and slowly evolved to something more inclusive. It didn't become perfect, but it had stuff that we liked and a lot of those characters are dependent on being somewhere down the timeline. We know from the last few years that very few of the diverse characters are prioritized. Unless they consciously try to include them at the starting point, changing the company story to be genuinely diverse from the start and not just giving lip service in the form of one white woman and one black guy (both established as straight) in the Justice League, we're going to have to wait a while until the appeal comes back.

I don't doubt that if characters like Todd Rice, Cass Cain, Kyle Rayner, Michael Holt, Ryan Choi and others are neglected in the first wave they'll all return in some fashion after time passes, but it could take a long while. They'll need writers who remember them and want to use them. Their origins will have to be redone in order to use them and fit them into the universe. More waiting on the part of the fans that see themselves in these characters.

I'm not ready to completely write off a chance we'll have a more diverse universe than we do now, but things look bleak. If Didio had gotten to do this 5 or 6 years ago when they were creating characters like Ryan, Jaime and Kate I'd be more optimistic. I don't know who's pushing what and what personnel changes brought on what we've seen since around Blackest Night, but things aren't as hopeful in this area as before. (Also, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with Geoff Johns having the first word on Star Sapphire.)

Once again, it all comes down to wait and see. This is a tremendous opportunity for them. I'm hopeful for Wonder Woman, I'll check out Green Lantern, I'll definitely look into whatever they've put my favorite writers on, but my expectations aren't particularly high overall here.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Ms Ragnell, first I want to that really enjoy your blog. It was only recently that I discovered it. One of my favorites are your Sentry post where you discussed his "relationship" with Rogue and the rest of the Marvel Universe. Now I just want to ask if you have read X-Men Legacy 249 and what are your thoughts on it.