DC Rebirth: It's About Heart

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven't read DC Universe: Rebirth #1, you'll want to do that before reading on. Besides, it's a great book. You'll thank me later!

The day comic fans have been looking forward to is finally here. DC Comics is saying goodbye to the New 52 and launching DC Universe: Rebirth. Not a full-on reboot (which Geoff Johns really, really wants you to know), but more of a soft refresh of the DC continuity and a return to focusing on what makes their characters who they are. Johns explained the reasoning eloquently in his interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

I sat down and I read everything, and I thought, I don’t feel any sense of history, legacy, hope, optimism, a cohesive universe — and by that, I don’t mean crossovers every week — emotional bonds was a huge one. Over the years, some of this stuff had been lost. Not just characters, but smaller things too, tonal things that are really hard to nail.
— Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer, DC Comics

Wow. Even the CCO of DC admitted that their books were lacking hope and optimism after five years of the New 52. That speaks volumes. I have to completely agree with him. There was a definite disconnect between traditional DC and the New 52 DC.

Since the New 52 launched in 2011, I struggled to keep up with DC continuity, even with the Superman titles which had always been my favorites. Their attempts to deconstruct the characters fell short for me. It seemed as though DC's leadership suddenly felt their characters weren't good enough and needed to be radically different, not only in their costumes but in their demeanors as well. DC heroes are often criticized for being a group of bland, goody-two-shoes guys in spandex  plus Wonder Woman. In my opinion, they went a little too far in the other direction with the New 52. The intentions were noble, but I think in trying to make their characters more badass, they lost sight of the hope and optimism that makes the DCU so special to its fans. 

I should mention there were a number of New 52 stories that I did genuinely enjoy. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's run on Wonder Woman had brilliant writing and absolutely gorgeous art. Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr.'s all-too-brief collaboration on Superman brought my geek heart some much-needed joy. Certain storylines in Green Lantern and Superman/Wonder Woman were also really fun. But overall, the last five years felt like an alternate reality where the DC heroes weren't quite themselves. And Geoff Johns seems to agree. Here's his take on the New 52 interpretation of Conner Kent a.k.a. Superboy:

The emotional tie just severed, and it didn’t sever in the way that made me angry, it was worse than that: I had apathy for it. I didn’t care anymore.
— Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer, DC Comics
 Even the splash pages from  Justice League  #50 (left) and  DC Universe: Rebirth  #1 (right) signal a change in tone. Grizzled warriors on the left turn into smiling, hopeful heroes on the right. It's like a microcosm for the shift that's happening. And both of these books were published on the same day!

Even the splash pages from Justice League #50 (left) and DC Universe: Rebirth #1 (right) signal a change in tone. Grizzled warriors on the left turn into smiling, hopeful heroes on the right. It's like a microcosm for the shift that's happening. And both of these books were published on the same day!

And that brings us to today. Today, DC published Justice League #50, Superman #52, and DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Effectively tying up the major New 52 storylines and introducing the new continuity. And it was everything I could have hoped for.

I haven't been nearly this excited to read a comic in years  maybe even since 2009's Blackest Night. For someone who was obsessively reading and collecting comics for several years, that is a long time to muddle through hoping for something to make you care again. I'm hoping that I can officially close the book on that time now. I absolutely can't wait to buy new comics again next Wednesday.

Rebirth is exactly what it should have been. It puts a bow on the current New 52 stories, but it doesn't set them aside completely, either. It manages to keep the events of the New 52 intact while re-folding the pre-New 52 events back into continuity. We learn that the reason for the disconnect of the last five years was that some unknown force outside of time had been disassembling pieces of our heroes' lives. And now, Wally West has tapped into the Speed Force and is trying to alert everyone to what's happened and remind them of their lost memories. In classic Geoff Johns fashion, the old and the new are married in a way that is greater than the sum of the parts. No need to put one down to raise up the other; old and new enhance one another.

Then comes the big reveal. Fans of Watchmen will recognize the dialogue as it is revealed that Dr. Manhattan is that unknown force behind the trouble in the DCU. This scene beautifully interprets Dr. Manhattan's last lines in Watchmen and explains exactly where he went: to create the universe of the New 52. It's a mind-blowing moment that makes me smile and gives me hope for the direction in which this universe is headed.

It's been a long time coming, but I think I am finally ready to embrace the DC Universe again. If DC can harness this positivity and inject it into their films too, I'll be the biggest DC fanboy once again. I look forward to Wednesdays as eagerly as I did years ago. I find genuine joy in the books I'm reading because they have hope. They have optimism. They have heart. And I couldn't be any happier about it. 

🔗 The Trouble With Superman | The Atlantic

This piece in The Atlantic does a good job of summarizing the way I feel about the way DC Comics has been handling Superman over the last several years. There are some things I don't agree with here, but I think the overall message is pretty on point: they very obviously don't know what to do with the character. The more they try reinventing him, the more disservice they do him.

Behold! I give you the problem of Superman. It’s a problem that has less to do with the character himself and more to with DC Comics, which found itself stuck with a flagship character it thought needed fixing. In trying, it broke him nearly beyond repair.


The Trouble With Superman | The Atlantic

The Road to Dragon*Con 2010

Well, I can't believe it, but it's finally here. Tomorrow night (well, technically tonight), I board a plane to North Carolina. I'm meeting up with friends and driving down to Atlanta for Dragon*Con! I bought my pass way back in November, and already it's time to head South and enjoy a weekend of fun and geekiness!

Dragon*Con is one of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy/pop culture conventions on the East Coast, featuring novelists, comic book creators, TV and film actors in panel discussions, signing autographs, and just hanging out with their fans. I've already been to New York Comic Con and Big Apple Con, but from what I hear, this is supposed to be a very different experience. I can't wait!

I'm looking forward to getting to know my friends Faith and Ky a little better, as well as meeting my friends Chris and Louis in real life for the first time. It's going to be great to hang out with these people who I know from Twitter.

But of course, it wouldn't be Dragon*Con without some good geekery! I've loaded up on comics to read while I'm in line for panels and autographs (10 trades and about 30 single issues on my iPod Touch), and I've got a mental list of people I need to meet before the weekend is out: Summer Glau, Kevin J. Anderson, Timothy Zahn, Veronica Belmont, Tom Merritt, Brian Brushwood, Jeff Lewis, Sandeep Parikh, and a few others. Also, I'm excited about getting to sit in on some panels and enjoy some great parties. If all goes well, it should be a great weekend.

If things go right, I'll be checking in here each night during the convention and throwing up a quick post filled with the latest from that day. Can't wait!

Team Fake Comic Con FTW!

Enemies & Allies

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Fans of Kevin J. Anderson will be ecstatic to learn that the master is at it again. After the much-acclaimed Last Days of Krypton, which told the story of Superman's home planet of Krypton in the days before the Baby of Steel was rocketed off to Earth. This time around, he's telling the story of Batman & Superman meeting for the first time. It takes place at the height of the Cold War. I can't wait to pick it up, and now I don't have to wait quite so long. A 57-page preview has been made available through Harper Collins Publishers. Check it out and enjoy the first eight chapters!

World of New Krypton TRAILER?!

Wow, I certainly wasn't expecting this. DC Comics has put together a video trailer for their upcoming maxi-series "Superman: World of New Krypton." At first I was extremely skeptical about this book, almost to the point of refusing to read it, but NY Comic Con turned that around for me. Now I can't wait to pick it up when it starts coming out!

New York Comic Con Day 1

This past weekend was the most fun I've had since I went to Disney World last summer. New York Comic Con came to the Javits Center, and I was there the whole weekend. Early Friday afternoon, my friends Andrew, Tim, and I arrived at the convention center, checked in, and waited in line for the 1:00 opening. When the giant metal doors swung open, we and thousands of our fellow geeks poured through and scattered across the Con floor. The Con is comprised of two sections: the main floor and the panels. The main floor is home to hundreds of booths for various comic book publishers, retailers, authors, and artists, as well as related media like science fiction print novels, movies and TV shows. The panels are on a lower floor where there are a dozen or so rooms big enough to fit several hundred people. On the same floor is the IGN Theater, which is where most screenings and larger panels take place, seats about 3,000 guests.

Andrew, Tim, and I are especially big fans of DC Comics, so we focused most of our time on the DC panels. Our first order of business was a panel entitled "Superman: Building a Better Tomorrow." The panelists included the editors, writers, and artists currently working on the various titles in the Superman family of comics. We were really excited because we had the chance to meet most of the panelists afterward. The next item on the agenda brought us back to the Con floor for an autograph signing by Geoff Johns, who writes Green Lantern, will be writing Superman Secret Origins this summer, and until January was writing Action Comics featuring Superman. He is my absolute favorite writer right now, so I had to take the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for the great work he does. I feel like he is one of the few writers who understands the character of Superman as well as Clark Kent. At that point our friend Vin joined us for the day. He's not a major comics fan, but he wanted to come along and see what the con was like.

At that point we walked the Con floor for a while, doing some shopping and taking in the sights and sounds from the booths. We met the artists from explosm.net, who were offering free doodles to anyone who stopped by. We took advantage of that, of course. Next, we headed over to the autograph area where we met Peter Mayhew, better known to Star Wars fans as that lovable Wookiee, Chewbacca. It was really cool to meet him and I made sure to tell him how much I appreciated his work. I feel that he is underappreciated just because he didn't speak in the films and wore a costume that obscured his face.

Next, we went off to the Podcast Arena to meet Sean Whelan and Jim Segulin, the hosts of Raging Bullets: A DC Comics Fan Podcast. This is one of my favorite podcasts and I just wanted to quickly talk to the guys and tell them to keep up the good work. They were very friendly and seemed very glad to talk to a fan. At that point, we headed back to the panel area for the DC Nation panel. We sat in on the end of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold panel, which was especially cool because Phil Morris was there. Morris is best known for playing the roles of Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld and the Martian Manhunter on Smallville. We tried to meet him, but he was in a hurry to get to another panel so we didn't want to bother him. I did manage to snap a picture, though. Then began DC Nation. Many the major writers, artists, editors, and staff of DC Comics were present. They discussed everything happening in DC Comics, with a special focus on Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis. There was also an audience Q&A session, which was especially entertaining. At the end of that panel, we were excited to meet DC executive VP and editor Dan DiDio and renowned artist George Pérez. That ended Day 1.