So I guess the Batman books are going to be completely fucked up as a line starting in September. That's the plan?
DC has been trickling out news of their post-relaunch plans for the franchise, and if the TEC/Batman announcement confused and saddened me, these new ones are making me downright turn-off-the-Internet-and-just-ignore-DC-till-they-implode depressed.
1.) Batman: The Dark Knight and Batman and Robin will retain their creative teams but get new #1's, although the latter will now feature Bruce Wayne as Robin Damian Wayne's Batman partner, instead of Dick Grayson.
2.) Dick Grayson will put on a new, fussier Nightwing costume based on Chris O'Donnel's Robin costumes from the first cycle of Batman movies and star in Nightwing, drawn by Eddy Barrows, one of my least favorite artists (and a DC mainstay over the last five years), while Jason Todd will get another new, worse Red Hood costume and star in a team book with former Titans Roy Harper and Starfire, to be written by Scott Lobdell.
3.) Grant Morrison's multi-year Batman arc, currently playing out in Batman Inc., will go on hiatus for at least three months, and finish up sometime in 2012...and creations of his like Damian Wayne/al Ghul and Batwing are still going to be around and prominently featured so...DC's just jumping ahead of the last 12 chapters of Morrison's storyline, or...?
4.) And then there's this news, regarding the "Women of Gotham City." Catwoman gets a third volume of a solo series by perennial DC writer Judd Winick and current DC artist Guillem March; Birds of Prey is going to be written by Duane Swierczynski, feature a mostly-new cast and have the ugliest Black Canary costume in the entire history of the character; the long-delayed Batwoman series will finally launch (and now we know the reason for the latest delay; DC was waiting for this line-wide relaunch) and, the worst news of all, Barbara Gordon will be giving up her Oracle identity to become Batgirl again for the first time since, I don't know, 1988, was it?That's the thing I was referring to in the title of this post.
"Fixing" Barbara Gordon so she can go back to being one of the dozens of lieutenant Batmen seems even dumber than resurrecting Jason Todd or Flash Barry Allen after decades of their being dead (both of which DC has already done). There's nothing about this that makes any sense at all, and nothing about it that can be construed as a positive.
If anything, DC has one Batgirl too many right now, with Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain, characters fans have clearly demonstrated so much devotion to that DC seems unable to kill or otherwise write them off. Barbara Gordon makes three.
In direct opposition to their stated goal of bringing more diversity to the DCU, this would kick their only wheelchair bound character of note out of her chair and into a role that, in-story, the character had outgrown so long ago that she had retired from it long before she was even paralyzed. Now I guess Niles "The Chief" Caulder is the DCU's greatest, most prominent differently-abled hero...?
This also puts Barbara Gordon in a bizarre, regressive position, as low person on the Bat-totem pole. Dick Grayson doesn't have to be Robin anymore, he gets to be a grown-up who has at least semi-emancipated himself from Batman's mentorship. Same with former Robin Tim Drake, now Red Robin. And with DC simultaneously publishing a Batwoman book, Barbara Gordon's Batgirl wouldn't even the primary, adult, female version of Batman with red hair in the DCU Universe and publishing line!
That is so insane I can't even wrap my head around it. (It's interesting to remember that the new Batwoman's costume was based in large part on the original Batgirl costume Barbara Gordon used to wear, and that she was given red hair to fill the perceived need for a red-headed, female Bat-person in the DCU).
Ugh. I don't even want to sift through all the angry and hurt reaction I know this is going to cause among fans, or hear any of the justifications for it. Batgirl retired in the comics 23 years ago. That Batman TV show that prominently featured her, and made her popular in the first place, stopped production 43 years ago.
I can't even fathom what audience this move is expected to attract. Alex Ross, maybe? How many Alex Rosses are there in the potential comics-buying world, anyway? I have a hard time imagining it's any more than currently read the low-selling but stead Birds of Prey, featuring Barbara Gordon as Oracle.
The new Batgirl book will, of course, be written by long-time DC writer Gail Simone and drawn by a pencil artist who has been working on DC for a while now, making it yet another example of a a "new" DCU from the same old folks.
DC's idea of infusing new talent into their seems to be, based on the titles and creative teams announced so far anyway, seems to be hiring long-time Marvel writers e (Lobdell, Swierczynsk) or, in the new Batman artists's case, Image Comics.
Fortunately, I happened to receive a package in the mail today containing a few trades I ordered from an online retailer (Sorry direct market; the nearest shop is a 45 minute drive away!). I'm going to go metaphorically rub this like salves on my metaphorical wounds, sustained from hearing DC's PR today.