DC Comics has pretty much always been about changing things up. They rebooted their entire line more than a few times, they have replaced beloved characters with ones nobody cared about, they have dragged their icons through the mud on numerous occassions. They’ve let titles like JLA, JSA, and Teen Titans spend so much time floundering that it should be considered criminal. But there are a few things they’ve done over the years that drove me crazy, and I was able to narrow it down to the 5 most glaring (to me). Keep in mind that these aren’t the 5 worst moves DC has ever made, but the ones that I disliked the most. So, in no particular order….
DC has always had this thing that they do. First, they lose control of how streamlined their universe is. Then, they compound the problem by adding retcons, and new characters replacing old ones, and revamps. Then, realizing that this has left a bigger mess, they have a “Crisis” and come out of it with a new universe. After the first, “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, Supergirl and the Flash were dead (among others), and they relaunched their books (or at least their characters) with new origins, and the previous decades of stories no longer ‘counted’. Then, about ten years later, the same problem had happened. They had lost control of their universe, and the titles were suffering. Rather than doing the Marvel (aka ‘smart’) thing, namely getting top talent on your titles and telling them to go nuts, DC decided the real problem wasn’t the way the books were being made, but rather that they just all needed new blank slates (again). So there was “Zero Hour”, which led to the deaths of a lot of people, most notably the Atom, Hourman, and Dr. Midnite from the JSA. After Zero Hour everything was rebooted (AGAIN). Cut to 15 years later, and DC is doing pretty darn well. Their books are as good as they’ve ever been, they have A list creators working for them, and they’re exploring movie options for a number of them. But still, they decided they needed a clean start (albeit not a complete reboot, more like a… restructuring), so along came “Infinite Crisis”, which didn’t so much reboot everything as it let them fix some continuity problems that they had. It actually made the entire line stronger, but that wouldn’t last…
A few years later DC has squandered almost all of the good will they had built with fans from projects like Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, 52, etc. After “Countdown”, and the mind-boggling handling of the Flash, the Justice League, Superman, and the Teen Titans, DC decided it was time once again to have a crisis. Enter Grant Morrison and Final Crisis, a story about what happens to the Earth when gods from another planet start to manifest here. While that’s a cool story idea, the execution was, to say the least, flawed. Rather than a straightforward story, we got a metaphysical wankfest from Morrison, who had much more interest in writing about the strength of myths and stories rather than any kind of ACTUAL story. It was a huge mess, and really killed any momentum that was left from the Infinite Crisis days.
Not only was the story a mess, but it was completely forgettable. It had no real lasting effect on any of the DC titles, not even Batman, who ‘died’ in Final Crisis. Well, that is if you read Final Crisis. If you were just reading Batman, it was clear that SOMETHING happened to him, but damned if anybody could figure it out. Not that it was some super-well written mystery, but it just didn’t make any damn sense. Finally, the fans started to speak with their money, and started dropping DC titles like they were made of dead babies and AIDS. This led to Warner Bros, DC’s parent company, to do some corporate restructuring, including bringing in Bob Harras as the new Editor-in-Chief. Bob was once the EIC at Marvel, and promptly ran them into bankruptcy. As soon as he was in charge at DC we saw him implement HIS idea for how DC should reboot (again. For the THIRD time in less than 10 years)…..