Comics: The DC Reboot

So, what does it mean for us lame-ohs? The ones who maybe buy the odd graphic novel collection once in a while? DC’s official trailer doesn’t tell us a lot.

As far as I can gather, DC is rebooting the continuity by reducing it into a five-year time period to simplify the storytelling and introduce new readers. Those seventy years of classic (and not so classic) stories are being condensed into a much smaller timeframe. Some things survive the cut, others do not. We’ll talk about them later. This is all happening at the end of the Justice League mini-series Flashpoint and every issue after this point will be labelled number one and begin anew.

Jim Lee has been key in the redesign of every hero covered by the reboot, that’s over fifty titles in total. First, as you see from the pic, this means younger heroes. Or at least younger ones than we’re used to. Some uniforms undergo small transformations – Batman’s suit appears more armoured like The Dark Knight and Batman: Arkham Asylum versions. This is no coincidence. DC knows the film and videogame were huge, if it can tempt in new readers from them they’ll do it. Superman has a higher collar and loses the red pants. Having seen Zack Snyder’s pantsless version in Man Of Steel, you can understand why. Wonder Woman underwent a redesign last year. She retains the same look, slightly cleaned up by Lee’s hand. The Green Lantern keeps the classic look and is nothing like the recent movie version. I wonder why…

I won’t touch on every embolism-causing change but here’s a few of the more controversial ones –

Superman undergoes a pretty drastic story reboot. No longer is he married to Lois Lane, he’s returned to the version who stalks loves Lois from afar. Both his Earth parents, Ma and Pa Kent have died, and he’s younger and still coming terms with his powers and alien nature.

The most controversial change to continuity (for me anyway) is the reboot of Barbara Gordon. Barbara Gordon was the original Batgirl. The character underwent a drastic change in the late eighties at the hand of Alan Moore. In The Killing Joke Barbara is shot in the back by The Joker in front of her father, Commissioner Gordon. This left her paralysed and in a wheelchair. Did she leave the superhero game? Nope, she became Oracle, a hacker and information broker who worked with Batman and would have her own kick-ass super team called Birds Of Prey. So what is DC doing in the reboot?

Bye bye one of the few strong disabled role models in the superhero genre, hello Batgirl. Yup, the fully mobile Barbara is back, no longer confined to a wheelchair. No longer that voice in Batman’s ear when he’s desperately trying to solve a case. I’m not really shocked by this move, as we know superheroes never die, superheroes always overcome their injuries. It just makes me sad.

DC’s big reboot begins on August 31st 2011 with the end of Flashpoint and the beginning of the first issue of Justice League and continues throughout the whole of September and beyond. And not only that, the comic will be available online on the same day as in the shops for the very first time too.

Let me know what you think on the reboot down below.

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