DC Comics has told everyone that their comics universe would be a very different one after the “Convergence” event ended in May. This past week, we discovered just how true those words were when illustrations of the new costumes for Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were revealed.
As always, reaction to these changes was mixed, reminding me very much of the time before the New 52 hit stores.
Because of the tall “ears” on the Batman armor, I found several folks referring to him as “Bunnyman.” Superman’s outfit was reminiscent of the one he wore in Action Comics, a simple outfit that looked like what a farmer would wear. (He did move to city from a farm, after all.) Wonder Woman has new duds as well, this time designed by David Finch.
WHY MAKE SUCH RADICAL CHANGES AGAIN?
I’ve mentioned previously that DC has returned to the perennial second-place status, losing the “bounce” they enjoyed when the New 52 debuted.
It’s rare when someone proudly declares, “We’re number two!” DC doesn’t want to be behind Marvel any more than any other company does. People get into the business to shine, not just maintain the status quo.
It’s tough for fans to buy books each and every month, though. At some point, reality gets in the way of comics, and one has to choose between paying the power bill and buying books. Once that break has been made, it’s difficult for readers to catch back up or even consider returning to the books. You need to make comics that someone who hasn’t been reading for a period of time can easily dive back into.
That’s why Marvel’s revamping their line-up and DC is trying to make their product as “inclusive” as possible. It’s the Ultimate Marvel Universe all over again – after 10 years, even a line of comics designed to be continuity-free can’t help but build on what has gone before. I often joked that it would cost $10,000 to catch up on the X-Men because at times writers would touch on events that happened decades ago. It would cost that much to buy every issue ever made, if one was lucky!
We haven’t heard yet what Marvel has in mind, but folks at DC have said they want to appeal not just to “new” fans, but to long-term ones as well. “Convergence” is their testing the waters, trying to see what characters, if any, still have traction in the marketplace. If a person or team sells well, they just might bring that book back. Time will tell.
Like the beginning of the New 52, change attracts attention. What matters is changing those things that NEED updating while leaving the ones that don’t alone. That’s a tough call!
Snyder has said in interviews online that the “Endgame” storyline was to be his last on the title, but DC is letting him tell stories we’ve never seen before, including the “wackiest” thing he and Greg Capullo have ever tried. “If I stayed after ‘Endgame,’ it needed to be transformative, where everything was put aside and reinvented,” Snyder said. ”It’s going to be a new cast. I can say we’re going to bring in characters you haven’t seen in Batman before.”
I’m a big fan of both Snyder and Capullo, and will be happy to see what they have in mind when issue #41 arrives. Honestly, at this point, we don’t even know if Bruce Wayne will be involved at all. Could it be a Batman Beyond set-up with Bruce advising from the sidelines? Maybe, but I think that’s been done before both with the Dark Knight and others. I’m looking for something different to happen.
Superman’s New 52 armor never really caught on, I feel. I was always troubled by the fact that a superhero who’s invulnerable needs to wear armor. It looked cool and all, but it didn’t make sense to me.
Recently, Superman revealed a “new” power, one that leaves him powerless for 24 hours or so. It looks like this will continue in some fashion because one of the images of his new duds shows his hands bleeding and battered. Being invulnerable and having super-strength can make you difficult to write about these days.
I’d like to see Superman challenged morally and in terms of power more. I don’t necessarily think one has to reduce his power level like the Sand Superman did decades ago. More sci-fi villains may be the way to go.
I remember being surprised when DC changed Wonder Woman’s New 52 costume before her title even arrived. She previously had dark blue leggings that vanished, leaving her usual bare legs hanging out above her boots. No such problem this time since she’s nearly completely covered!
It’s funny to me that Wonder Woman has become more brutal over time. When she killed Maxwell Lord, that made sense to me. She’s an Amazon, after all, a warrior. This evolution has continued and made Diana much less predictable and more engrossing to read.
Also, as strong as she is, Wonder Woman isn’t as impenetrable as Superman, so armor makes sense to me. Mr. Finch’s new armor harkens back to the red, white and blue (with yellow thrown in as well) she wore in the past although it covers a lot more of her.
Some folks online are calling her “Wondie,” either a term of endearment … or not!
WILL THIS WORK?
Snyder said recently, “I really believe that the audience now is part of a changing zeitgeist. … I think our audience now, on all the Bat-books, is receptive to creators coming in and doing their own work in a way that’s true to the core of the characters, but still visionary, singular or passionate in ways that are progressive or unconventional.”
I have loved many classic stories I’ve enjoyed in the past, but I don’t want to read a re-telling of them. If I really like it, I buy a copy to revisit when I want to! My fear is that the characters will change so radically that I no longer recognize them. If you’re going to turn Batman into Iron Man, create a new hero instead. I think they tried that with Batwing, though, and it didn’t fly!
The story’s the thing, I believe. Tell good, engaging stories, and we’ll be along for the ride. Still, I’m already reading people saying they won’t be buying DC post-“Convergence.” Not everyone will like change, and that’s their right! They need to find the right balance of new and old.
I trust Mr. Snyder’s ability to keep me engaged in Batman and am glad he’s continuing … for now. (Nobody stays on a title forever, after all!) Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the DC Universe I’m also interested in, so I’ll keep tabs on them, too.
Are there books you’ll be buying now that the DCU is changing? Less likely to buy? Feel free to comment below either way!