Crimespree on comics: Jo Schmidt looks at DCnU.

DCnU: Second verse basically same as the first

Well, here we are. The first month of the big DC comics reboot has finished and it’s time for us to reflect on how they did. Overall, second verse basically same as the first. Don’t get me wrong, there are many significant changes to characters, events, origins and whatnot, but everything feels the same. There are two major things DC needed to do with this reboot. One was make significant changes and have them be easily accessible. Second, every first issue needed to be brilliant. Not just brilliant, this-is-Watchmen-level brilliant. How’d it do? Not great, but not a failure.

What’s the best? “Action Comics” launched an interesting, relatable, Superman. Something that, when attempted, has always fallen on its face. Grant Morrison is remaking the Man of Steel in the best possible way. “Batwoman” continues it’s beloved run (sans previous writer) and didn’t drop in quality. “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man” were both weird, wild, and creppy. The latter has cult hit all over it. “Wonder Woman” actually has a point, a strong non-slut female lead, and a drive. One issue in and WW is the best success in a long time. “All-Star Western” suffers from bad name, great creative team disease. Finally, “Justice League International” opens as a fun, well put-together super hero classic type book.

The worst? “Savage Hawkman,” is just too far gone from who he was. An overhaul of the Hawkman’s origin was needed but it strays too far. “Legion Lost” couldn’t seem to find it’s point or plot and “Mr. Terrific” had a point but poor execution.

So many have potential to be great: “Justice League,” “Aquaman,” (yes, “Aquaman“) “Stormwatch,” “Resurrection Man,” Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E,” “Green Lantern,” “Green Lantern: New Guardians,” “Superboy,” and “Flash” They’re starting off slow, but have promise of becoming all-stars of the DCnU.

What’s sad is the sheer volume of books that are just filler. They exist, but who cares? The creative teams are working hard at it, but what’s coming out is boring. Not all of the books that aren’t listed are in this section, but there shouldn’t be any. The DCnU seems like it was put together way to quick with a “we’ll get to the details later” mentality. Well, the first issues have come out. Now it’s time for the details. Who made it with their history intact? Batman and Green Lantern did, but what stories did we lose when they cut 40 years into a 5 year crunch. With new origins books are taking place at different times. Action and Justice League are both taking place around five years previous, but no where does it state that. For an initiative that’s trying to bring in new readers DC is making it quite difficult to know what happens when.

One week in, the numbers say it’s a massive success. Can DC maintain this momentum? There are many problems on the horizon. The lackluster response to so many books will kill a lot of interest. There are a lot of questions to why DC chose many of the creative teams they did. There are superstars sprinkled in with relative unknowns. Which leads to DC already losing many writers, artists, editors and more. The belief was writers and artists have six month contracts. What happens after that? A new “Bold New Direction?” I wouldn’t be surprised. Here’s to getting the books out on time, but if the book sucks, what’s the point.?

I want the DCnU to work. I want DC to once again be a force to be reckoned with. But if they’re going to do that they need to fix things fast.

Jo Schmidt