Comic giant’s New 52 campaign revisits iconic figures’ beginnings.
By Charly SHELTON
DC Comics was never really my favorite. Marvel had Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and Fantastic Four. Why would anyone want to read about anyone else? Batman has no powers, Aquaman has powers but who cares (the Justice League is based on a space station. How much water is there in space? Not much.) and Superman had a new power for every situation so he never was beat.
Superman is like that kid who you would play with and you would say, “I got you!” and he would say, “Nuh-uh, I have invisible armor that protects me from …” – whatever you just got him with, be it lava or snakes or anything. Superman is that kid.
When Lex Luthor finds a weakness, old Supes just says, “Nuh-uh, I actually have another power that you didn’t know about.” He came back from the dead, folks. Why do you care about a leading man who not just defies death, but reverses it? And in the movie, he reverses time to erase a screw-up. There aren’t consequences. I read Superman for a while until I realized he was only super powers with no brain behind it. No personality, no lesson to learn.
Now with more than 600 issues under his blue and red leotard, he is getting a reboot and restarting at issue 1 again, along with every single other DC Comics character in their New 52 campaign.
June of this year saw Flashpoint, a limited issue series set in an alternate timeline where things have gone very awry. Barry Allen –The Flash – is the only one who remembers the way it used to be, but now he finds himself dropped in this alter-universe and he must set it right. Flashpoint puts our favorite characters in a “what-if” situation to see what may have happened. It is set to end with its fifth issue on Aug. 31, released side-by-side with the first of the New 52, Justice League #1.
For those who want to start reading Flashpoint, the way it’s arranged is in three issue sets of individual characters such as Batman, Superman, Hal Jordan and Emperor Aquaman to name a few. There are so many different story lines to follow and at $2.99 each, the issues add up fast. The best ones to read are Flashpoint, Deadman and the Flying Graysons, Emperor Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Furies, and Project Superman.
With my feeling toward Supes, I was very hesitant to pick up his issue, but I thought I could waste three bucks on something worse, so I got it.
It is like no Superman we have seen before. Quiet and afraid, his Kryptonian ship crashes in Metropolis, making Supes a scientific experiment when captured by the government instead of growing up on a farm and learning values. When we see him, he is small and weak. We don’t know if he will be good or evil – a completely new take on his character.
And then there is Batman: Knight of Vengeance. This alternate ’verse Batman is a much darker, more tortured soul than Bruce Wayne. In this reality, it is Bruce that is gunned down as a child, not his parents. So Thomas Wayne dons the cape-and-cowl to fight crime, but in a darker way.
This is possibly the best limited issue series I have ever read. Even those who don’t like comics should pick it up. All three issues are out now. It is worth it for anyone.
At the Comic-Con panel for Flashpoint, I asked if Flashpoint was merely something to bring the Flash back to light, or is it a story that just happened to work for the Flash coincidentally. Executive editor of the DC Comics line, Eddie Briganza answered.
“Geoff [Johns, head of DC] was very happy with everything he had accomplished with Green Lantern and I think he likes Flash even more than Green Lantern in a way,” said Briganza. “I remember going to his house and he just being a fan and pulling out his old Flash comics and being very happy, so I think definitely the next story after he had done all the stuff with Hal (Jordan, Green Lantern) he really wanted to do something big with Barry (Allen, The Flash).”
Sterling Gates, writer of Kid Flash added more to this reply.
“And I also think it was important for Geoff because he did Blackest Night, which is basically a Hal and Barry team- up story, to then take that energy and move Barry into the next phase of Barry Allen’s story.”
Just as school starts up, we see the end of the Flashpoint saga, but instead of returning to business as usual in each comic, everything starts over from #1. The New 52 are the 52 comics lines that will be released in September starting with issue one.
For those who read Action Comics, no more Doomsdays. In Green Lantern, no more Hal Jordan or other colors of lantern corps. No more anything. All starting at issue one. We’ll have to see how it goes.
For now, just head to your local comics shop and see all the tales that are about to be wiped out by DC head Geoff Johns, a writer who this reporter idolized until the New 52 because he did such great work for the last five years on the “Green Lantern: War of Light” saga, with Blackest Night and Brightest Day arcs. Now all of that is gone. But perhaps a new start is what they all need – a chance to relearn, a chance to reintroduce and a chance to make Superman actually readable for a change. If he stays like Flashpoint Supes, that would be fine by me.
Keep an eye out for the New 52, check out Marvel’s new Spider Island arc for the Amazing Spider-Man coming this month and definitely pick up Flashpoint, in stores now.