Monday, June 06, 2011

I can't think of a single good thing about this.

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.

Ugh.

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.

11 comments:

snell said...

So, DC has Jason Todd starring in a series, but not Tim Drake. That says so much right there...

Nick Ahlhelm said...

I've said it over and over again, but the only Batgirl to ever appear in other media (including three different televised animated series since her crippling, one web series, and at least 2 video games) has been Barbara. In the same way it made sense to introduce Kara as Superman's cousin, it makes sense to have Babs as Batgirl.

Now I hope the book doesn't just magically heal her to complete that goal. Personally I'm hoping for some kind of exoskeleton in the costume alone.

Siskoid said...

Come on now, Black Canary's 80s costume (the one seen in JLI) was much worse.

Granted the bar isn't set very high...

2badguys said...

Well put. Totally agree with this post.
V.

Akcoll99 said...

"have the ugliest Black Canary costume in the entire history of the character"

Really? Worse than the mid-80's costume she wore with the headband and those gigantic shoulder pads?

And I have mixed feelings about Babs as Batgirl again, in no small part due to the fact that I have yet to see Cassandra or Steph's names show up in any capacity in any of these solicitations. Though I'm likely to give the new series a try only because Gail Simone is writing it...

T said...

RE:
"I've said it over and over again, but the only Batgirl to ever appear in other media . . ."
You know what I say to that logic? So the f- what?
People are not going to be suddenly drawn to buy a comic book starring Barbara Gordon from the early '90s animated series, the already forgotten "The Batman," or the Gotham Girls web-series. There is no one picking up an issue in Barnes and Noble and deciding not to get it because Batgirl is blonde, not the red head they recognize from 42 years ago. As a real life person (not a Comic Book Guy lookalike who also plays D&D) who got into comics as a teenager, I'll tell you that what gets new readers is something different. Linda Danvers Supergirl was a hell of a lot more interesting to me than Superman's long-lost cousin. 21st century nerds are going to be much more interested in a "ninja Batgirl" (Cass Cain) than Barbara Gordon.
I've said it again and again... fanboys who hide behind this logic out of fear of change are the biggest problem for the industry, both creatively and in terms of sales.

2badguys said...

Bulletproof Coffin is excellent btw.
v.

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

I said on my blog people would be upset about Barbara and they will be. I at least get my Batman Inc.

Nick McNerderson said...

I personally think that so far the changes to the bat family are the worst (excepting maybe the new "vampires" title). I have been extremely happy with Stephanie as Batgirl because I felt like she captured the Naivete of early Barbara Gordon Batgirl, and we got to see the interaction between batgirl and her mentor Oracle.

We see the same type of relationship with Damian and Dick, but with a different Dynamic. I loved both books, and I have major reservations about buying them going forward.

Kid Kyoto said...

I still don't get this, is the DCU rebooted so now Barbara is 18 or whatever? Or is she the same character in her late 20s early 30s suddenly calling herself Batgirl?

And what exactly can DC do with a Barbara Gordon Batgirl it can't do with the college-aged Stephanie Brown Batgirl it introduced a year ago?

Caleb said...

I've said it over and over again, but the only Batgirl to ever appear in other media (including three different televised animated series since her crippling, one web series, and at least 2 video games) has been Barbara.

Huh. That's actually a pretty good point. Given that, I kinda sorta see why someone somewhere up there in the DC corporate hierarchy would want this, but I don't think DC really missed any opportunities by having no Batgirl or a non-Babs Batgirl on the stands when, say, Batman and Robin came out or The Batman was on.

If DC had to have a Babs Batgirl, I really woulda preferred one set in the past. Or, better, yet, All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder Presents: The (blackbar covering a swear word) Batgirl.

Come on now, Black Canary's 80s costume (the one seen in JLI) was much worse.

No lie; I prefer that one to this crazy get-up.

I still don't get this, is the DCU rebooted so now Barbara is 18 or whatever? Or is she the same character in her late 20s early 30s suddenly calling herself Batgirl?

The biggest question mark I still have about all this, even with most of the titles now announced (I'm typing this reply on Wednesday, June 8), is how much of a reboot/continuity re-jiggering the whole thing is. Some of them seem un-touched—The GL books, for instance--whereas the Teen Titans book sounds like it's starting from scratch.