Thursday, 23 June 2011

Top Ten Best Superman Stories Ever!

Ten not enough? Click here for the Top 25 Best Superman Stories Ever!

Click here for my Top Ten Best Batman Stories Ever!

Next year Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will be hitting our movie screens! You may want to prepare for what will no doubt be a spectacular cinematic event by boning up on some of Superman’s comic book adventures. But where to start? After all, the character’s been around for over seven decades, that’s a lot of catching up. Well, fear not, this article is your guide to the Top Ten Greatest Superman Stories of all time!
Honourable Mentions:

'Captive of the Red Sun'
 Action Comics #300 (1963)
This is a surprisingly grim Silver Age tale of Superman trapped in a post-apocalyptic future. Robbed of his powers, Superman takes a long walk across a dried up ocean in order to reach his Fortress and find a way home. He encounters a variety of bizarre, mutated creatures along the way and is accompanied by a robotic duplicate of his boss, Perry White! The final panel of the story features a brooding Superman looking out over Metropolis and hoping that he will never again find himself the last man on Earth. Considering most stories from this period ended with Lois Lane getting annoyed while Superman winked at the reader, this ending really stands out.

'The Challenge of Terra Man'
 Superman #249 (1972)
This fantastically daft Bronze Age tale features Superman suffering from the annual birthday depression that all Kryptonians must endure.  As a result our melancholic Man of Steel is woefully unprepared for an attack from Terra-Man, a cowboy villain wielding expanding, atomic bullets and killer cigar smoke. Superman is having a super freakout and his powers are behaving unpredictably. In one brilliant bit his X Ray vision is reversed and he is forced to stare in horror at his own brain! I don't know about you but Superman fighting a Super-Cowboy with Killer Cigars while he flies upside down and stares at his own brain sounds pretty entertaining to me.

These stories are both great, but they didn't make the list.  What then, are the Top Ten Best Superman Stories Ever? Let's take a look!

10) The Death of Superman,
 Superman #149 (1961)

This is one of the all time greatest Lex Luthor stories and also one of the most famous "imaginary" stories of the sixties. This story imagines what would happen if Luthor pretended to turn good and then zapped Superman with a Kryptonite lamp while his guard was down. For a start, this story is great because it features Luthor's Lair, which is always a treat. It's in an abandoned museum full of waxworks of Al Capone, Atilla the Hun and other famous baddies. You have to shake hands with a statue of Julius Caesar to get in. The other high point of this story is the nastiness of Superman's death. Luthor fries him slowly under the aforementioned lamp and forces Lois, Perry White and Jimmy Olsen to watch. In Luthor's own words, "He wriggled and twisted like a worm on a hook! He sweated and turned green and the last thing he ever saw was my grinning face!" It’s grim stuff, at least by the standards of sixties Superman comics, but also very entertaining.

9) The Return of Superman (1993)

While Superman's other death is the most famous Super-story of the nineties, it doesn't amount to much more than a big cross country punch up. Superman's resurrection was far more interesting. Following the death of the Man of Steel four Super-pretenders turn up. A Cyborg, a grim vigilante, a super-teen and a man in super-armour. How nineties is that!? Neither the armoured guy (Steel) nor the teen (Superboy) were really claiming to be the real deal but the other two were strong contenders. At the time I was convinced it was the Cyborg. Boy, did I back the wrong horse! Turns out the Cyborg was the big baddy. That was my first shock. The next one came when the Cyborg blew up Green Lantern's home town, Coast City. This was the first time I'd ever read a comic and thought "Did they just do that!?" The story gave us two strong characters that have become important parts of the DC Universe, John Henry (Steel) Irons and Conner (Superboy) Kent. This almost makes up for the fact that this story was also the first appearance of Superman's short lived nineties mullet. 
8) Why Must There Be A Superman? Superman #247 (1972)

 A friend of mine once asked me, why doesn't Superman feed the starving of the world, or end all war? This was the first story to provide anything approaching an answer to such questions. Superman walks a fine line between helpful super-powered pal and scary alien invader, hell-bent on imposing his will on the world. In a way, the fact that he's so powerful is his greatest weakness. If he does too much he emasculates the human race and removes them of their drive to help each other achieve a better world. If he's always there to help them, why should they bother? In this story Superman begins to consider this for the first time, paving the way for the more sophisticated superhero stories of the subsequent decades.

7) Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow, Superman #423/Action Comics #583 (1986)

Beardy comics genius Alan Moore has written three of the most acclaimed Superman tales ever and they're all on my list. This is one of 'em.  Just before John Byrne rebooted the character in 1986, Moore wrote this legendary two part tale to close the book on Superman's Silver age adventures.  The story depicts Superman defending himself and his friends from a final ruthless attack from all his greatest foes.  The whole story has a tragic air of finality about it as Superman sees parts of his myth break away one by one like pieces of an iceberg.  The fact that it's pencilled by Curt Swan, the man who defined the look of the Silver Age and Bronze Age Superman, adds to the poignancy of the whole thing.  This story genuinely feels like the end of an era.  Every legend needs an ending.  Robin Hood was killed by a treacherous prioress, King Arthur was clobbered over the head by Mordred and Batman has Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns.  Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow is a worthy ending to the legend of Superman.
6) The Jungle Line, DC Comics Presents #85 (1985)

Next on the list is another Alan Moore classic.  Superman has caught a deadly Kryptonian virus. He rents a car and drives South to die. There he encounters Swamp Thing while in the midst of huge super-powered fever driven freakout. The reason this story is so effective is that it paints a vivid picture of a god confronting his own mortality and pretty much crapping his pants. Moore does this by contrasting Superman's moments of fever induced physical weakness with beautifully detailed descriptions of his awesome powers. For example, "Once he bathed in the heart of the sun, careless of the mile high geysers of flame that spat at him in frustrated outrage. Now, for his impudence, it cooks him by degrees." Superman's fear at confronting pain, death and helplessness for the first time in his life is tangible. In one darkly humorous moment Clark Kent gets a paper cut and artist Rick Veitch has drawn him reacting with a perfect look of confused horror.
5) For the Man Who Has Everything, Superman Annual #11 (1985)

Here's the third Alan Moore story in my list. Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman turn up at the Fortress of Solitude to celebrate Superman's birthday. Unfortunately Mongul has got there first and ensnared Superman in a Black Mercy, a parasitic plant that grants it's victims a vision of their heart's desire as it drains their life. Moore figures that Superman's heart's desire is to live as an ordinary Joe on Krypton surrounded by family. I love the idea that Superman, the perpetual outsider, the alien super-god, would just want to be a regular normal slob living in a place where he felt he truly belonged. As Superman fights the influence of the killer plant his fantasy world starts to go tits up. Superman's dad, Jor-El is depicted as a crusty old racist who is the laughing stock of Krypton ever since the planet failed to explode as he predicted. Jor-El and his clan are also pretty unpopular due to the protest movement against the Phantom Zone. Moore was probably the first writer to acknowledge that the Zone (an extra-dimensional dumping ground for criminals that was discovered by Jor-El) was pretty cruel and pretty unusual, as punishments go. This was also the first time, at least to my knowledge, that Krypton was depicted as anything other than a scientifically advanced Utopia. As well as all this brilliance the story also features Wonder Woman and Mongul in a huge scrap, a really, really pissed off Superman, and at the end, Robin saves the day!

4) Superman and the Legion of Superheroes,
 Action Comics #858-863 (2007)

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have produced some of the best Superman stories of recent years. This is one of them. Superman goes back to the 31st Century to reunite his old teenage gang, the Legion of Superheroes. While there he battles super-powered, alien-hating human supremacists. This story is very accessible, despite the fact that it draws on decades of continuity to return the Legion to their roots. The getting-the-band-back-together plot and the array of colourful characters would make this a perfect basis for a Superman movie (if you’re reading Zack Snyder, take note). This story is absolutely littered with moments so cool that I literally punched the air with joy while reading them. The best thing about the tale is that Superman is without his powers for most of it but you hardly notice because he's such a badass. Towards the end a powerless Superman pushes the main baddy, Earth Man through the window of a space station in order to battle him while plummeting through the atmosphere. Balls of Steel.

3) Superman: Red Son (2003)

This is the story of what would have happened if Superman's rocket landed in Soviet Russia and Superman became "the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact." It's written by Mark Millar, a brilliant writer that has written depressingly little in the way of Superman stories considering he obviously loves and understands the character so much. Earlier I mentioned that Superman walks a fine line between helpful super-powered pal and scary alien invader, hell-bent on imposing his will on the world. In Red Son, he crosses that line. Despite this Superman is never depicted as an evil power mad Commie. Throughout the whole book he's driven by the same desire to help and make the world a better place that drives the regular Superman. This story shows us what would happen if Superman, removed of the American value for individual freedom, took that desire to its extreme. This is also one of the best Luthor stories ever. Luthor is the Western world's only hope but, like regular Luthor, he is driven by the same petty obsession to rid the world of the one man who could be perceived as superior to him. It also features Russian Batman in an adorable little Bat-eared deer-stalker hat.

2) The Man of Steel (1986)

This is the story that got me, at age eleven, into Superman.  I'd read Superman comics before but I'd always viewed Superman as a bit stuffy and po-faced and I had always preferred Batman.  That was until I read
 Man of Steel.  Byrne took an approach to the character that had never been done before.  He made Superman a bit less powerful and a bit more vulnerable, he could no longer move planets but he could be hurt.  Byrne emphasized this vulnerability by having Superman's cape get visibly torn whenever he found himself in a particularly challenging battle.  This effective little artistic trend continues to this day.  But Byrne did much more than make Superman physically weaker.  He strengthened Superman's ties to Earth.  As a man who was born in England and yet spent most of his life in the United States, Byrne felt that Superman would be proud of his Kryptonian roots but wouldn't constantly pine for his lost world in the way the Silver and Bronze Age versions of the character had.  Byrne also figured that as Superman never wore a mask, then people would have no reason to suspect that he had a secret identity.  This gave Clark Kent the freedom to shed his meek, mild mannered image and live his life without holding back his courage and charm.  To Byrne, Superman was the disguise and Clark Kent was very much the real person. This made for a character that was very easy for the eleven year old me to relate to.  After all, this Superman was much more human than Batman, the aloof millionaire. Byrne's very human Superman was my gateway into the wider world of the Superman myth, and it's for this reason that I've placed this story at number two.

1) All Star Superman (2005-2008)

This is it. The ultimate Superman story. It's written by Grant Morrison, one of the best writers in comics today and it features everything that's good about Superman, and I mean EVERYTHING! Despite this it's not just a greatest hits package. Every aspect of the Superman myth is taken to its next logical extreme.  Morrison's handling of Bizarro World contains a beautiful example of this.  In All Star Superman Bizarro World contains not only imperfect duplicates of Superman and Jor-El but also an imperfect duplicate of Bizarro himself, Zibarro!  Zibarro is the sensitive, poetic and intelligent opposite of Bizarro in every way, trapped on a world of mindless monsters.  Morrison has taken the story of Bizarro and pushed it just that little bit further, just as he does with every aspect of the Superman myth contained in this series.  This is Superman Plus! 

Lois Lane is beautifully depicted as the very flawed human woman who captured the heart of a god.  Under the influence of alien chemicals a paranoid Lois admits to herself that she fears she couldn't love Superman if any part of him was actually like his oafish and bumbling Clark Kent persona.  Seeing this ugly but very human side of Lois exposed makes her seem more of a real person and makes Superman's love for her even more special.

Lex Luthor is absolutely perfect, a super genius utterly consumed by hate, just as he should be.  At one point Clark Kent takes off his glasses and shouts in Luthor's face and yet, blinded by his own -arrogance, Luthor fails to recognise what is literally staring him in the face.  Luthor is contrasted with the character of Leo Quintum, head of P.R.O.J.E.C.T, a lunar-based scientific laboratory performing advanced genetic testing.  With his presence in the story Quintum spells out the tragedy of Luthor, representing what Luthor could accomplish if he wasn't so obsessed with destroying Superman.

The plot of the story revolves around a dying Superman's attempts to perform twelve Herculean super-feats before he passes away.  Like
 Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow it serves as an effective and poignant ending to the legend of Superman.  But it's not all doom and gloom.  All Star Superman is fun!  It contains, among other things, a cross dressing Jimmy Olsen, an arm wrestle with Samson and Atlas and an ape called Leopold in a Superman suit.

There's a lot more I could write about
 All Star Superman, but I just wouldn't do it justice.  The only other thing I can say is READ IT!!!!!!

So there's the list. The Top Ten Best Superman Stories Ever! What do you think? What was left out? Does anything not belong there? Leave a comment and let us know!

(A version of this article appears on

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Paul's Pick of the DC Comics Relaunch

All of the 52 new DC titles launching in September have been announced!  A complete list of them can be found here.  Like every fan with an internet connection, I have an opinion about the list and I'm compelled to share it, even though no one asked me!  There are many on the list that look perfectly good but I just haven't got the money to check them out, or they're just not characters I click with.  What's left can be divided into four categories;

  1. What the Hell? What are they thinking?!
  2. Looks good, I'll get the trade if I hear good things.
  3. I'm gonna get the first couple of issues and may keep on getting it if it's good.
  4. This is on the Pull List without a doubt!

Let's get the moaning out of the way first.

1. What the Hell? What are they thinking?!

Hawk And Dove #1 by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld

"I can't be arsed to draw anything in the background, I'll just draw their faces again. That'll do."

Based on his Supergirl run Sterling Gates is a fantastic writer and Hawk and Dove are interesting enough characters.  I probably would have checked this out if it wasn't for one thing.  Rob Liefeld's art.  I remain absolutely baffled as to why people like Liefeld's work.  He seems to have no clue how to draw basic human anatomy and to be honest he's not that great at drawing anything else.  To be fair he does seem to know this and usually keeps the backgrounds of his panels to a bare minimum.  It's not even as if he's a particularly imaginative artist.  Just check out his recent web-comic, Zombie Jesus.  Biblical zombies should be an opportunity for an artist to have a field day drawing undead rabbis, PhariseesRoman soldiers etc.  Surely part of the appeal of zombie movies and comics is that tragic glimpse we get of the zombies former lives? Liefeld chooses to draw them as vague,muddy looking things that don't even look like zombies due to their trademark Liefeld biceps and pecs.  Those zombies have been working out.  

Suffice to say, Liefeld's presence has made this series one for me to avoid.

Teen Titans #1 by Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund 

Apparently that thing on Superboy's back is supposed to be a sign left by Kid Flash. Er..ok? 

It's the art once again that's putting me off this title.  I'm not a massive fan of Brett Booth's style but it's the costume designs that are spoiling this for me more than anything else.  Kid Flash and Red Robin's costumes look messy and jumbled and Superboy looks like a random street punk in a bad '90s film.  In fact the whole thing looks dated and none of the characters look the least bit iconic.  They look less like the Titans and more like a '90s Image Comic featuring characters ripped off from the Titans.

On the other hand writer Scott Lobdell has a proven track record with teen super-teams.  I remember his run on Generation X being very enjoyable, so maybe this title will work.  I hope so.

2. Looks good, I'll get the trade if I hear good things.

Swamp Thing #1 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette

Scott Snyder has done an absolutely amazing job with his recent run on Detective Comics and I've heard nothing but good things about his American Vampire series.  Yanick Paquette's recent work on Batman Inc has been equally amazing, so I'm sure this series will work.  Unfortunately I share the opinion of my fellow blogger Duy Tano on the character of Swamp Thing.  On his blog, The Comics Cube, he wrote
Alan Moore's SWAMP THING is one of my favorite comics of all time, and it had such a beautiful ending that I can't take any Swamp Thing story that comes after it seriously. I'm even a big fan of Rick Veitch and I still can't read his run. I just can't bring myself to do it.
That pretty much sums it up for me too.  If I hear really great things about this series I might check out the trade but I just can't put it on the Pull List.

3. I'm gonna get the first couple of issues and may keep on getting it if it's good.

Fury Of Firestorm #1 by Gail Simone, Ethan Van Sciver and Yildiray Cinar

I like Gail Simone's writing and, based on his work on Legion of Superheroes Yildiray Cinar is a good artist.  I've never experienced Ethan Van Sciver's writing before but with Simone alongside him I'm sure it'll be fine.  Having said that I've never read much of Firestorm's solo adventures before, my experience of him has mostly been through appearances in Justice League comics.  I'm not sure my interest in the character is enough to keep me regularly following his title.  There are however, two main reasons why I'm considering getting Fury of Firestorm.  Firstly, Firestorm's story thread in Brightest Day was among my favourite parts of the series.  Secondly, I love the new staus quo of high school nerd Jason Rusch merging with high school jock Ronnie Raymond to form Firestorm.  I loved the dynamic between the two in Brightest Day and I think the idea of a nerd and a jock combining to make a super-hero is a simple but clever hook that could make this book a lot of fun.  I'm definitely checking out the first issue.

Flash #1 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul

I really, really want to get this series as I'm a massive Flash fan and have been since I was a kid.  I love both Barry Allen and Wally West equally, so it doesn't matter to me who's the star of the book.  It's the writers I'm unsure of. While I love Manapul's art I've never read any of his or Buccellato's writing before.  Normally I wouldn't be so nervous but the memory of 2006's dreadful Flash relaunch by writers Danny Wilson and Paul  De Meo is still fresh in my mind.  These were two TV writer/producers who were new to comics and their run on Flash: The Fastest Man Alive was tedious, predictable and showed a complete lack of understanding of the character they were writing.  It's totally unfair of me to pre-judge Buccellato and Manapul based on a previous Flash-related disappointment involving two writers whose work I was unfamiliar with.  But I can't help it, I love the Flash and I'm nervous.  I'm still going to give the series a chance however and hopefully it will remain a permanent fixture on my Pull List.

4. This is on the Pull List without a doubt!

Green Lantern #1 by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

Johns and Mahnke are sticking with the title and so am I.  While the title seemed to drag a little bit after Blackest Night, it's picked up again with the latest storyline, War of The Green Lanterns and even during its slight post-Blackest Night dip it was still one of my favourite regulars.  I currently get Green Lantern regularly and for cash flow reasons I only dip into the other Lantern titles during crossovers.  As long as Johns and Mahnke are staying I see no reason to change that routine.

Aquaman #1 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

I love Geoff Johns' writing, I love Ivan Reis' art and I looooooovee Aquaman! This is a no-brainer. I am getting this! 'Nuff said!

Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

Okay, the Jim Lee costume re-designs are a bit '90s to say the least, all seams and chin guards.  At least there's hardly any pouches.  But I've been waiting for Geoff Johns to write an ongoing Justice League book for years and I'll be damned if a bunch of v-neck collars are going to stop me from finally reading it!

Batman And Robin #1 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

I quite like Peter Tomasi's writing and I really like Patrick Gleason's art.  I liked his work on Aquaman years ago and his work seems to have grown tighter and more detailed since then.  But the main reason I'll be getting this book is Damien"Robin" Wayne.  He's the cocky little psychopath with the heart of gold and I love him.  His relationship with Dick Grayson is one of the main reasons Batman and Robin has been so good up until now and I can't wait to see how he gets on with Bruce Wayne as Batman.

Batman #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Snyder on Batman?  That's all I need to know. His handling of Dick Grayson and Jim Gordon in Detective Comics has been absolutely fascinating.  We've seen Dick struggling to wrap his head around Gotham City's craziness and Gordon dealing with a psychopathic son who may or may not be a murderer.  I can't wait to see what he does with Bruce Wayne.

Legion Lost #1 by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods/ Legion of Superheroes by Paul Levitz and Francis Portela

I've been really enjoying what Levitz has been doing with the Legion for the past year and I'm relieved to see it's not getting thrown out of the window with another unnecessary reboot.  The idea of a group of Legionnaires trapped in the present sounds like loads of fun and I'm really glad Pete Woods is involved as I loved his recent Action Comics work. My only concern is that any changes that may be made to Superman will mean that Levitz will once again have to fiddle with the Legion's origins in order to remove Superboy. And the last thing the Legion needs is any more origin fiddling.

Superman #1 by George Pérez and Jesus Merino
Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales

While I'm slightly disappointed that Perez isn't drawing as well as writing Superman it's a very small complaint as Jesus Merino is a perfectly good Superman artist and everything else regarding the relaunching of these two titles is perfect.  Perez has already had experience of revamping one of DC's major characters with his work on Wonder Woman in the '80s and Grant Morrison has already written one of the greatest Superman stories ever, All Star Superman.  Morrison has already proven that he has a lot of love and respect for Superman but more importantly he has proven time and time again that he is a writer who is overflowing with imagination, and that is one thing that has been missing from the Superman titles for a good long while. 

Yes, it's a shame that Action Comics has been re-set to issue one after all these years and yes, the new costume looks dodgy, and yesif Superman's origin is tweaked again that'll be his third origin reboot in under ten years (fourth if you count Earth One). But if what Morrison has planned is even half as good as All Star Superman or his Batman run, then it'll all be worth it.

So there we have it.  At the moment my Pull List from September onwards will include,
  1. Justice League
  2. Batman and Robin 
  3. Batman
  4. Green Lantern 
  5. Aquaman
  6. Superman
  7. Action Comics
  8. Legion of Superheroes
  9. Legion Lost
  10. Flash (hopefully)
  11. Fury of Firestorm (maybe)
They'll be joined by my regular Marvel titles, FF, Invincible Iron Man and Amazing Spider-Man, and next year I'll add Grant Morrison's relaunched Batman Inc. 

What do you think?  Am I leaving out something that could be really good?  Have I included something that could be really bad?  What will your September Pull List look like?  Let me know. 

Monday, 6 June 2011

George Perez on Superman!

Today ran a story that states "according to good comic book industry sources,  (George) Pérez is scheduled to write and draw the new Superman #1".  

Let's just take a minute to reflect on why that is the most awesome thing ever....

And we've barely scraped the surface of how awesome Perez is at drawing Superman.  As for his writing, well I'm not a big Wonder Woman fan but his '80s relaunch of the character is probably my favourite interpretation of her to date.  In the same decade he also co-plotted and drew a little thing called New Teen Titans!

Suffice to say, I'm not going to relax until DC officially confirm this.  This could be brilliant!

UPDATE: DC Comics have just confirmed that while Perez will be writing Superman #1 and drawing the covers, Jesus Merino will actually be on art duties.  It's a shame but I guess Perez would never have hit the deadlines with the level of detail he puts into his work.  That's not a complaint mind you, it's one of the reasons I love Perez' stuff.  Also, Merino's art isn't exactly hard on the eye so I'm still a happy bunny.

It's cool, Merino draws a really good Superman!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

DC Comics Relaunch: My tuppence worth

On the day the news broke about DC Comics' massive relaunch I managed to toss out a quick reaction on the blog, but I hadn't really had time to fully digest the information and decide exactly how I felt about the the fifty two brand spanking new first issues heading our way in September.  So now that a few days have passed, how do I, DC Comics nut that I am, feel about the various rebootings, retweekings and relaunchings in store for Superman and his pals?  Well, it's still difficult to say.  It feels like there's an ongoing battle between optimism and pessimism going on in my brain.  I've decided that rather than try and put this into words I'm going to visually represent it in the form of the ultimate battle between good and evil!  Optimus Prime Vs. Megatron!!!!

The original battle is from Transformers: The Movie Adaptation #1 (1986) with art by Don Perlin, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey.  The font is Deeko Comic Regular and is by d-ko and is found here.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Paul's Predictions for a Post-Flashpoint Universe

Here's how USA Today covered DC Comics' announcement regarding the changes to the DC Universe after Flashpoint.
DC Comics has a new strategy to be No. 1 in comic books: all-new No. 1s.  Starting this summer, the publisher will re-number its entire DC Universe of titles, revamping characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others from its 76-year history for a more modern and diverse 21st century.
The first book to be released under this new era: Justice League No. 1, out Aug. 31, a series by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee that reunites the famous lineup of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
Johns promises a focus on the interpersonal relationships within DC's trademark superteam. "What's the human aspect behind all these costumes?" he says. "That's what I wanted to explore."
In September, another 51 first issues will debut, introducing stories that are grounded in each character's specific legend but also reflect today's real-world themes and events. Lee spearheaded the costumes' redesign to make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old.
"We really want to inject new life in our characters and line," says Dan DiDio, co-publisher of DC with Lee. "This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience."
It's hard not to be cynical about all this.  DC tried a softer reboot a few years ago after Infinite Crisis with their One Year Later scheme.  Sadly the momentum of One Year Later was ruined by delays and inconsistent creative teams.  Also, rebooting long running, popular titles to #1 has met with disastrous results in the past.  Remember Spider-Man:Chapter One? 

Marvel no longer speak of it for some reason.

But it makes sense for DC Comics to try and do something to get them into the mainstream press when all eyes are on the new Green Lantern film, they'd be silly not to.  Who knows, it may actually get some new readers.  I reckon it's pointless complaining about all this until we've seen the creative talent behind the new titles.  That's when I'll be getting excited/worried (delete as appropriate).

What will this mean for the characters?  Based on what Didio said about "a point where our characters are younger" I reckon we can make a few guesses as to what changes might be made.

  1. Superman will no longer be married to Lois Lane, and she probably won't know his secret identity.
  2. Bruce Wayne will be the only Batman again, no more Batman Inc.
  3. Dick Grayson will no longer be Batman, he may even be Robin again.
  4. Wally West will be Kid Flash again.
  5. The Justice Society of America will be back on Earth Two.
  6. Characters like Kyle Rayner, Conner Hawke, Bart Allen and Damien Wayne will exist on a parallel Earth where the original heroes have retired.  On this Earth Wally will be The Flash and Dick will be Batman.

Of course all this is still unfolding even as I write.  By the time I wake up tomorrow I might be proven wrong.  But I don't really mind what changes they make.  Just please, please, please give us some good creative talent who'll stick with the book longer than a few issues!!!


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