Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Red Hood and the Outlaws 19, originally released April 17th, 2013.
Patrick: Drew and I were pretty big fans of Red Hood and the Outlaws when we marathoned the first 8 issues to prep for the Night of the Owls. We’ve enumerated our reasons for liking it so much in an alarming number of articles since then, always apologizing for the state the series is in currently. It became a slog – that whole arc with Kori’s old spaceship crew and her sister, the Death of the Family – all of it seemingly worked against our good will for the series. We even went so far as to drop it from the Retcon Punch pull. We gave up on Jason Todd. Which makes Roy Harper a much better friend than we are.
Jason went missing in the Himalayas when his plane was highjacked by… Gengis Kahn as portrayed in Mulan?
We’ll get the backstory on what Jason was doing out there in a few weeks in Batman and Red Hood 20 as explained in the most helpful editor’s note ever. In the meantime though, we can follow Roy and Kori as they comb the mountains searching for an entrance to the Acres of All, the home off the All Caste (who are the ancient order of magical kung-fu monks that trained Jason after his resurrection). It turns out that Roy’s not exactly dressed for the weather, and he’s overcome with fever. Essence, who has been following them, fears that Roy’s oversimplification of the All’s beliefs isn’t going to aid him in finding the entrance to the Acres of All, so she enters his fever dream and forces a revelation of his own character. Fever broken and enlightenment partially achieved, Roy and Kori do enter the realm of the All and find Jason. Only, Jason doesn’t remember them — or anyone — because he asked S’aru to remove all of his memories.
Jason was in need of a reboot, for sure. The zero issue suggested that, not only did Joker kill him, but Joker was responsible for every mundanely crummy thing about his life, from his father’s absenteeism to his mother’s overdose. Jason had been doing his best to deal with the darkness in his life with meditation and occasionally too-violent crime fighting, but this truth (or even possible truth) was just too much for him. Similarly, I felt like I needed a Jason Todd reboot: I love the character, but it’s been personally heartbreaking to see him toil away in this rudderless, and frequently outrageous, series. But the thought of Jason losing all of his memories is too much for me, just as it appears to be too much for Roy. The teaser line at the end of this issue promises us time with “the all new Jason Todd” with the same sadistic glee that normally forecasts some kind of death and destruction.
I could easily chatter on about what this could mean for the future of this series, and what it would mean to maybe take Jason out of the spotlight for a while, but the meat of this issue is really about Roy Harper – Arsenal. Roy’s hardships are unique on this team in that his are realistic. I know, I know, suspension of disbelief and all that – I still find the recovering junkie more relatable than the former alien-slave-princess or the twice-resurrected-former-Robin. Lobdell had treated Roy’s past like a footnote, never digging much deeper than to mention that, yes, this version of the character is still “Speedy.” New series author James Tynion doesn’t seem content to let this dimension of the character go unexplored – not only do we get that fever dream / All Caste vision, Roy states the writer’s intention outright:
Artist Julius Gopez has an almost Gary Frank-esque touch with faces and his nuanced acting caries a lot of the emotional weight of this issue. The action is a little less engaging than I’d like (there’s a fight with a dinosaur that, save for this parenthetical mention, I’m not going to write about), but that just means that the focus is forced to stay on these characters and how fragile they all really are. There’s also this bewitching sequence from Roy’s dream, and I can’t tell if it’s the repetitive art that makes it so striking or just the abstract concept of being berated by everyone you ever disappointed. Either way, bravo.
Spencer, you’ve written about some of those crummy Red Hood issues with us before, what kept you coming back to them? Does the thought of Jason rebooting his memory thrill you or terrify you? Also, what happened to Essence when Roy burped her out?Spencer: Personally, I think that Essence went to take a shower. In all seriousness though, I read all that business with Essence different than you did. See, I don’t think Essence was trying to help the Outlaws find the Acres of All—I think she tried to dissuade them from going at all. I don’t think she helped Roy through his fever dream—I think she caused it. I reread her conversation with Ducra and it’s slightly ambiguous, but she does say that “a dream is more than enough to shatter a man.” Also, at the issue’s open, she masquerades as an old woman and warns the Outlaws of the difficulties and danger of seeking out the Acres of All.
That pretty clearly says to me that Essence is trying to dissuade the Outlaws from seeking out Jason. But why? Does she have insidious plans, or is she genuinely concerned about Roy and Kori’s lives? For once, I’m actually interested in whatever Essence is up to.
You’re right that previous issues of Red Hood became a slog, Patrick—but at its best it was just plain fun, a series with an irreverent sense of humor and a few surprisingly tender moments of emotion. I feel like James Tynion IV knows this, but instead of just throwing jokes into a “plot” full of mindless action, he built the entire issue around these strengths. This book is nonstop funny from beginning to end, and grounded by the very real emotional struggles of Jason and Roy.
Tynion surprised me with the direction he took, actually. When new writers take over established books, they generally follow one of two paths: Either they can get rid of all the baggage and start from scratch—like Jeff Lemire on Green Arrow—or try to remain as faithful to the past as possible—like Christy Marx on Birds of Prey. When it came to Red Hood I fully expected the former to happen, mainly because I always thought that the All-Caste was a weird concept for Jason anyway. He’s a street level vigilante, not a sci-fi kung-fu hero. Instead, Tynion subverted my expectations and kept the All-Caste around in a major way.
I’m okay with that, though, because now they aren’t the center of the plot; the All-Caste is just here to bring Roy and Jason’s inner demons to life. It’s a rather brilliant way to explore the Outlaws’ issues; seeing Roy take on his guilt is much more exciting when his guilt has been made into an actual, tangible threat, and when it comes to running from ones’ past, I don’t think anyone will ever be able to top Jason actually giving his up entirely. It saddens me to see Jason like this too, but I’m not overly worried; we know from experience that S’aru can return the memories he takes. In the meantime, the places this new Jason Todd can go are endless, and he’s got his friends by his side no matter where he ends up.
While she didn’t get as much attention as the boys, I am thrilled with the characterization of Starfire in this issue. Scott Lobdell usually portrayed Kori as aloof and distant, completely contrary to her 30+ year history. The heart of Starfire’s character has always been her love and enthusiasm, the way she feels so strongly that she can’t keep her emotions in check. While Tynion’s Kori isn’t quite that bombastic, it was great to see her actually emotionally invested in her surroundings again. She treats the grandmother/Essence with kindness and respect, her affection for Roy is genuine and not just sexual (where beforehand she almost treated him like a pet at times), and when she thinks that Jason is blowing her and Roy off, she confronts him with a level of passion that we haven’t seen from her since before the reboot. It feels wonderful to have one of my favorite characters portrayed in such a positive way again.
Oh, and did I mention that she’s funny? She had all the best lines.
I wish I was as fond of the art as you are though, Patrick. I do agree with all the compliments you paid Julius Gopez’s work, and it’s growing on me more with each reread, but I guess I just feel like this title needs art that’s a little brighter, more dynamic—honestly, I just really miss Kenneth Rocafort. Still, the only legitimate complaint I have with the art, besides taste, comes down to some very “off” faces.
Gopez’s faces just seem a little too elastic for such realistic artwork, but I’m betting that they’ll get more consistent as he spends more time on the book.
Still, overall, the art is only a tiny quibble. I am just so happy with this issue. From the moment Red Hood and the Outlaws was announced I knew it had the potential to be great, and what we got this month was, at long last, everything I had ever hoped the book could be. If Tynion can keep this quality up every month, I can easily see it becoming one of my favorite comics; for now, I can finally recommend it without a single ounce of hesitation.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?
I feel the same way about this series as you guys. Was great and fun until Rocafort left. Since then the art has been is steady decline and I HATED the art (save a couple of panel – like the first one used in this article) in this book. Kori uniform seemed smaller than normal the faces were wildly incosistant and made the book really difficult to read. I like Tynion, but if the art does not improve this books getting cut.
– The panel I was referring to was the dream one, with everyone yelling at Roy
No love for Genghis Kahn?
Actually – you pointing that out was AWESOME, I never would have noticed that.
I already told Patrick this, but the guy looks like Genghis Kahn, and the name of his terrorist group is the KHANate.
COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT
I wasn’t as big a fan of this issue as you guys, but it is a step in the right direction for sure. I really enjoyed the focus on Roy in this issue and liked that Tynion seems to be giving Red Hood a bit of a reboot. I assume he’ll get his memories back, but I’m hoping not having them for a bit will help him to “keep moving” and “go deeper” (great catch Patrick). Bottom line, I’m going to stay on board with this series as I hope to see it reach the heights we’ve all been waiting for.
Spencer, that image you posted in the bottom right corner of the your elastic faces collage also struck me as sorta goofy. In fact, he almost looks like a Disney prince from a 90s animated feature in that one. (And the Mulan conspiracy theory GROWS.) I don’t really disagree with the elasticity criticism, but I still found the faces to be especially expressive — hence my invocation of Frank’s name.
HEY, speaking of missing Kenneth Rocafort, it looks to me like some of the design of the Acres of All was dictated by Rocafort jangy style. It ALWAYS looks weird to me when people try to draw things he’s designed, and the floating, jagged staircases of All are no exception.
Oh I can totally see some Gary Frank in the artwork–I knew it reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t quite place who until you mentioned Frank’s name.
Some of the faces in this issue were really well done. When Gopez is on, he draws some great facial expressions. But when he’s off, man they’re distracting. Jason’s ugly mug in that “butler” panel being right there on that first page probably didn’t do the book any favors, unfortunately…
Comparing Gopez to Frank seems like an insult to Gary Frank. I mean just look at the panel that were chosen for this article. Only the Dream one is good.
Did anyone notice the fact that the Shape of Kori’s face changes from panel to panel OR the fact that he draws her with Pupils for half the issues and without (the correct way!) for the other half.
I didn’t notice that about Kori’s pupils (although I did notice that Arsenal’s mask disappeared mid-scene early in the issue–I meant to mention that and forgot. Oops!). I wasn’t a fan of how he drew her eyebrows, mostly.
I don’t think Gopez is anywhere near as good as Gary Frank is, obviously. But he is trying to draw in a similar style. The sketchyness of it and even the coloring remind me of the Shazam! back-ups (though the coloring can’t be credited to Gopez or Frank, but still, they’re obviously going for a similar style). Gopez has got a long way to go before he’s as good as Frank, but I think Gopez has got the potential to improve a lot. Still, I’d be perfectly fine with a new artist on this too.
I do like some of his faces, though. Jason’s cocky smirk on Page 1 panel 5. The emotions on Roy’s face on Page 8, especially panels 2 and 4, are great. Roy’s look of determination on Page 11 Panel 5 and his wonder on Page 12, the inset panel, are all nice as well.
Can the good faces make up for the bad ones? They’re both there in equal measures. The art bothered me a lot more than Patrick, but not anywhere near as much as you, Evan. Taste is an interesting thing I suppose.
Yeah, that is what I meant in calling this work “Gary Frank-esque” – it was a comment on style and not on quality. I think this serves as a pretty good example of how hard it is to control these expressive faces. Simpler line-drawings leave less room for error, but there’s also less room for nuanced expression. Frank nails expression every time and maybe the real takeaway from this issue is just how special HE is.
But this is the internet, aren’t we all supposed to agree on everything here? 🙂
This issue was definitely a step in the right direction, but Jason’s complete lack of any memories worries me a little. He’s my favorite character in the book and what kept me coming back even during the bad issues (of which there were many) was the hope to see some of his awesome dialogue (à-la issues 1-9), so if his mind is wiped I’m afraid it’ll mess with his personality too. Time will tell though, I think Tynion can pull this off, I hope he doesn’t dissapoint.
Completely off-topic question: Does anyone know when the 2nd issue of The Private Eye is coming out? It’s been 5 weeks since the first and I haven’t been able to find anything about a release date online 😦
Yeah, no idea. I expect that it will be a while. The letter at the end of the issue seemed to suggest that the first issue was a little bit of a trial run, and they would determine whether they could make the rest of the series with the money from the first issue to start the comic-machine spinning. I’d be surprised if we see another one before June.
Then consider me a sad camper. I figured that with their Paypal crashing and all, demand must have been high enough and since BKV already knows how many issues this will run I kind of figured he’d have issue 2 ready to go and we’d get our hands on it this month.
@Splinx, that’s an interesting question you pose about changes to characters in the new 52, I’m unfortunately not the right persone to answer it since I used to read only Batman trades, but it seems like the basis for an interesting discussion.
@Patrick: I just went and re-read that letter at the back of issue 1 and BKV says he “hopes we’ll follow P.I. adventures in one short month” or some very similar phrase, which almost has me more worried, why would the plans have changed?
I’m taking it as sign that we shouldn’t expect it before the summer. I kinda hope that it just sorta appears out of the blue – it was so cool to just suddenly see all this chatter about it and then jump over to the website to grab it. It all felt very alive and in-motion.
I have to agree with notion that it is a step in the right direction, but for me this title has had so many missteps that it’s hard to believe it had anywhere to go but up. With the advent of a new writer I was really hoping for a retcon(everything up to this point was all in Roy’s head as he’s leaning against a dumpster somewhere with a needle in his arm) or something to take these characters that I used to enjoy in a new and better direction. I have faith in Tynion as a writer and would have loved to love this issue but it just seems to me like he’s playing with broken toys and that no matter what he does with them moving forward at the end of the day they’ll still be broken.
As I side note can anyone think of a single thing the new 52 changed that actually made a character better than they were pre-flashpoint? I’m not trying to be a Dbag about it but since I haven’t followed every title of the new 52 I was just looking for some further insight into the matter.
As a long time DCU fan, I would say that is tough to answer. I love that Swamp Thing and Constantine are back in the DCU as I never read too much of them before but always wanted to. I think they’ve made the DCU a much more interesting place overall.
As for the more classic “superhero” characters though, I want to say no…and yes. A lot of people would argue that the more baggage (or history) a character has, the tougher they are to sell to new readers. As a dude who used to sell comics, I can say that is absolutely true…to an extent.
The easiest comic in the world to sell is one with a big, shiny “#1” on the cover. Part of that is collectibility (which new readers don’t care about), but a bigger part of that is that it’s easier to sell a comic when you can tell your customer that you don’t have to know a thing going into it. In that sense, the New 52 reboot was great for the DC Comics characters because it led to increased readership overall; including people new to comics and current comic readers who had never read DC before.
I go into this a ton more here, but basically what I’m getting at is that I think it’s great that more people read the characters I hold most dear. At the same time though, the characters I hold most dear have at times been altered for the worse (Tim Drake) or are now just gone altogether (Wally West). So, while part of me would love for things to go back to the way they were, I can’t deny the success that the New 52 has brought to DC Comics and the industry in general.
The point I was trying to make wasn’t about the New 52 as a whole. By all accounts it was hugely successful in expanding the reader base and a lot of great stories have come out of it. The question I posed was to whether or not there were anything retconned with the New 52 that actually stood to make the characters better.
I guess it all depends on what you mean by “better.” I responded directly to your question by using Swamp Thing and Constantine as examples. I think their inclusion in the DCU makes them more accessible (for me anyway). I’ve only read a handful of their stories in the past, but now I make sure to read anything starring those characters. That’s just a matter of opinion though (as any response to your question would be). I’m sure a lot of folks are sad that Hellblazer is gone, but I love seeing Constantine mixed up with a bunch of superpowered weirdos!
For the most part though, I think that the best things that have come out of the New 52 could have been accomplished without the reboot. For example, Snyder has stated that he was planning the Court of Owls before the reboot ever happened.
My answer to your question is ultimately yes, even though there are a number changes I don’t like, and a number of positive character developments that could have easily happened without the reboot.
I’d point to Wonder Woman. Taking that character out of the capes-n-cowls of the rest of the DCU and keeping her with her family of gods went such a long way toward giving the character a bold and relevant identity that I don’t think she had before.
I would also argue that simplifying the Flash was a great move. I know there are a lot of Wally-lifers out there that fervently disagree with me, but I found the Flash mythos to be damn near impenitrable pre-reboot.
Both of these example are also just cases where great writers and artists appear to get free-reign to do whatever they want (y’know, within a few parameters). I feel like the Green Lantern world could have used a similar streamlining, but Johns was mostly free to ignore his own creative mandate.
Morrison too, these guys were telling a nearly decade long story so it makes sense to me that they didn’t reboot them. Of course, that wouldn’t have mattered if their books weren’t making any money at the time.
Good point on WW, though they probably just could have said that Zeus was her dad the whole time. That could have complicated older stories though so really, the reboot was probably an easier way to go.
You could say the same thing with Flash. Is the character streamlined and easier to follow now? Yes. That’s great for new readers, and I love that you read the Flash now Patrick. There will always be that Wally-lifer part of me though. Should I have my favorite character taken away just so that some other dude can finally start reading the Flash? Is that really fair? Not at all, but at least it helped the book to sell!
I mean, that’s kind of all part of the “what value to you place on baggage?” question – and we can debate that forever. It’s probably one of the central issues people face when picking up comics and they don’t even realize it.
I was reading Flash pre-Flashpoint, and I like Wally and I like Barry, but their family tree was just so fucking wacky – and yet not really treated like a wacky thing… You know how FF is just insane and knows the FF is a goofy concept? If the West/Allen/Speedforce family was treated like that, I’m sure it could be fun. But especially under Johns’ pen, it was self-serious and was a slog (for me anyway).
THAT SAID, I totally respect you wanting Wally back. Imagine the fist bump you’ll get to do when he finally creeps his way back into the DCU.
It shall be the fist bump that shatters the world!
And yeah, you are spot on with the baggage stuff.
Question though, are you refering to Flash: Rebirth or Johns’ first Flash run with Wally? I only ask because I really disliked Flash: Rebirth and the series afterward while John’s original run on Flash is one of my favorite comic runs of all time. Although, if you want a Flash book that really celebrates just how crazy the Flash family used to be, check out Mark Waid’s run. Wally had it real good for a while there.
I can think of a good number of characters for which I felt a history reboot was highly beneficial: Supergirl (ever since her Crisis death her history has been overly complicated – see the whole Matrix saga. Now it’s that simple concept of Kal’s cousin from Krypton that everyone fell in love with to begin with.); Swamp Thing and John Constantine (This is not meant to be a comment on the quality of their Vertigo books, but these characters were originated in the DCU and having them back is an asset to the continuity IMHO.); Aquaman (We really needed to wipe Death Of Aquababy, Grizzled-Beard-And-One-Handed Aquaman, and Water-Handed Aquaman from the record and just let Aquaman be Aquaman.); Hawkman (‘Cause let’s face it, Zero Hour broke just as much as it fixed.); Huntress (I’ve always preferred the Helena Wayne version – it’s just more comic booky – and with the multiverse back this was an easy fix.); Brainiac (Johns’ explanation that Metal Brainiac was just a drone was completely at odds with the origin issue for Metal Brainiac and never really made sense.); The Demon (The whole Rhyming-Or-Not-Rhyming aspect seemed to change with every writer in the old continuity. It was one of those things we all just kind of ignored or dealt with. It’s nice to have a clean slate and to have explicitly addressed the rhyming situation right off the bat.) I’m sure there are a ton more but those are the few that spring to mind without being near my comics. It’s not that the existence of dense continuity itself was a problem, in fact that was an asset, but there was a snowball effect with how certain characters were mishandled and there were a few fairly iconic characters whose histories were a complete mess IMO
MOGO! Long time, no see!
Yessir! Sorry for the absence, things have been hectic for me in the real world and Injustice: Gods Among Us managed to release just as my leisure schedule began to stabilize!
Another character for which the reboot was highly beneficial is Barbara Gordon, in my opinion. I was deeply sorry for seeing her on a wheelchair without any fault, so seeing her walking again was one of my biggest joys ever as a comic book reader.
Shelby and I were at the DC All Access panel at C2E2 yesterday and someone asked why there aren’t any heroes who are burn survivors in the DCU. The kid was a burn survivor himself and was sorta pissed off that burns almost always lead people to becoming villains (he cited Firebug and the scars on Lex Luthor’s face). It was sort of a sobering moment for the panel – why AREN’T they representing that kid as one of the good guys?
I don’t know what’s I’m driving at exactly: I agree that I like to see Babs and Batgirl, but that does mean we have one less capable handicapped character.
You’re not the first reader missing Barbara’s old version.
Some of them preferred her to be on a wheelchair because they think that she conveyed the message that you can do great things even without a perfect body; some others preferred her pre – reboot version because they think she was a more functional and useful character as Oracle rather than as Batgirl.
I understand both these positions, but I still think that making her walk again and wear Batgirl’s cowl again is a great narrative move. Thank you for your reply! : )
Also, on the topic of Red Hood, I guess I am in a minority position amongst the commenters here of not having read really ANY of Lobdell’s stuff – I stopped reading after the first issue and never touched it again (though I’m aware the Lobdell/Rocafort Red Hood issues are considered by many to be of a high quality if you had bothered to push past the Starfire fiasco in #1.) I gotta say that I found Tynion’s Red Hood to be not only readable but interesting so I’ll be using this run as a good excuse to give Jason Todd a chance – he’s a character I never really cared about except for the emotional impact his death had on Batman’s legacy; honestly, I felt resurrecting him was a mistake to begin with (even if you ignore the retcon punch aspect) but I knew it was coming sooner or later after Loeb and Lee flirted with it to such fanfare in Hush.
Yeah, his resurrection certainly sullied his legacy, and made Bruce’s guilt a bit more complicated, but now I kind of miss psychotic villain Jason. His potential as a villain — one Bruce has a very complicated relationship — strikes me as much more interesting than his potential as an ally. The reboot has really brought Jason back into Batman’s fold, which I think neuters him of his outrage and indignity. He still had a chip on his shoulder in the first few issues, but Night of the Owls, Death of the Family, and Batman Incorporated have really minimized that. Maybe that’s character growth, but I kind of saw that grudge as a central part of Jason’s character.
This is one of the biggest mistakes DC routinely commits. Every time they have a character which perfectly works as a villain, they try to make him/her become good, and the only result they get is distorting the character and making his/her fans less passionate towards him/her. That’s why Deathstroke’s solo series lasted less than 2 years.
Marvel is far more clever in handling these “better as a villain” characters. For example, they never tried to make the Punisher become politically correct, because they know that what makes him special is exactly his ruthless attitude.
The thing is, I don’t think Jason was ever really a villain. MAYBE in Morrison’s Batman and Robin, but even then it’s stretching. Jason is/was an anti-hero. He’s someone with noble goals but not so noble methods. As soon as he returned to Gotham he started attacking mobsters and drug dealers, hitting crime where it hurt. His goal was never to steal money or gain power or defeat a hero–he wanted to fight crime and corruption, show up Batman by doing it better than him, and find out why in the world Batman didn’t avenge his death. The problem was he accomplished this through murder.
If Jason suddenly had a no-kill rule, I’d be pissed, but I don’t mind him becoming closer with the Bat-family again. In the last issue of Lobdell’s Red Hood run, Bruce basically flat out told Jason, “You know I love you, but I can never approve of the way you do things.” And I think that’s cool. There’s no doubt some lost potential in not having Bruce and Jason at odds anymore, but I like that there’s affection between the two of them again, personally. Jason is still the black-sheep of the Bat-family, but if they could work with Huntress or Azrael, they can certainly work with Jason on occasion.
It is evident that you have more experience with Jason than I have, and therefore you caught the essence of the character far better than me, and taught me a lot of of things I didn’t know about him. Thank you for your lightening reply! : )
haha no problem dude! Comics is a huge universe with a lot that can be missed if you didn’t catch one certain book–easy to overlook stuff!
If you want to understand Jason better, check out the DC Animated Movie “Batman: Under the Red Hood.” It will tell you everything you need to know about Red Hood and the relationship between Bruce and Jason. Plus it’s got a hilarious Joker, excellent fights and animation, and Neil Patrick Harris voicing Nightwing. What’s not to love?
(It’s based off a story in the comics, but I wouldn’t recommend reading it. The movie is much better; it keeps all the good parts of the original story, improves upon them some, and cuts out a lot of dumb and unnecessary fat from the comic.)
Oh, Nightwing! Each time I see him in a comic book or a movie, my eyes shine! I’m going to watch that movie, you can bet on it! : )
I’m a little late back to the party but I’ve given that whole New 52 debate some thought, and I realise that most of the retcons I’m aware of (i.e. those concerning the Bat-family) I’m forcefully ignoring as I read the books. I don’t want to seem like a N52 hater or anything, hell I’m reading 12 books from it and some great stories have been written for it, but most of the things changed about Batman and his supporting cast kind of suck. For instance, everything established about Harley Quinn in books not named “Batman 13” have been utter garbage, I’m more confused about Tim’s origin than I ever was pre-relaunch; right now we don’t even know if Drake is his real name or wtf is up with his parents, and he was never Robin.
The 5 year rule I pretend doesn’t exist as well, because it stretches my disbelief way too much that all of what’s still seemingly canon in Bat’s mythos could happen in so little time, even if he never EVER slept. It also makes the closeness of his relationships with Dick/Tim and his grief over Jason less believable; before he’d basically been a father to Dick from like 7-8 years old and that’s what made them so much like a true father and son, now having taken him in at like 15ish and his having only been Robin for like a year just doesn’t justify that closeness. The same goes for Tim whom Bruce had ADOPTED before which goes to show how close they’d grown. In Jason’s case, he was dead for ages in the old continuity so Bruce had tons of time to feel guilty about it, now it’s like he was dead for 15 minutes. I’m on the fence about Barbara, I liked her as Oracle but her series is so good right now that I can’t really fault the change.
TL;DR: the New 52 has cool stories, but I willingly ignore most of the retcons to the Bat-verse because they are (imo) retarded.
Sure, well the problem there is that Batman and Green Lantern weren’t actually rebooted – they kept everything they possibly could in place (except for the Steph Brown and Cass Cain stuff) and tailored only what they needed to in order to basically fit with the idea that everything AROUND them had been rebooted. I consider the non-rebooted books to be the real foible of The New 52, and I believe there should simply have been 2 X-Men Forever type books that continued the pre-Flashpoint Batman and Green Lantern continuities until they came to their logical conclusions, along WITH New 52 reboots of both titles. Nearly every other book, however, recieved a clean slate (a true rarity in comics)
Also, if anyone from DC’s publishing end ever reads these comments: if DC published just ONE comic book that followed the pre-Flashpoint continuity (similar to the The New 52’s Earth-2 comic) then it would sell like hotcakes. You could focus on different characters for each arc (like Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and it would fly off of the shelves. At first people might take it as some sort of sign that the old universe was coming book, and they’d speculate a reboot of the reboot, but eventually they would get the point. In the end the pre-Flashpoint book would do BIG numbers compared to most replacement titles (I gaurantee it) and the speculation wouldn’t effect the New 52 sales in the slightest. In fact, some people who were boycotting DC might even start buying again after seeing some occasional Stephanie Brown, Wally West, or Donna Troy love.
Although if the comic book community believed that the old universe was coming back they might stop getting books on the assumption that the stories won’t matter anymore.
Maybe, but I really believe that if the PR was done correctly then it wouldn’t be an issue. They would just need to stress that there definitely is NOT going to be a reversion to the prior continuity and that the book is the same concept as Earth 2, the recent Age Of Apocalypse ongoing, X-Men Forever, or even the pre-Flashpoint Justice Society. It’s something there is a precedent for, although not to this degree of being hot-button
Being that I’m really well versed in Batman mythos I don’t struggle to understand all the bagage he carries into the N52, although that would definitely impede a new reader, I just find it retarded that the few things they did change are, for the most part, not particularly useful and ranging from kind of bad (Dick coming on as a teen) to downright awful (everything written about Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad). If they were going to keep an insane amount of old continuity going forward, why make those changes which don’t really facilitate the entry for new readers AND piss off current readers?
I do love all of the old stories, but my biggest problem with Batman neither shitting nor getting off of the pot is that, in keeping a lot of Batman’s 30+ year post-Crisis continuity, just think how much of a quagmire the Batman continuity will be in ANOTHER 30 years when the other New 52 character histories start becoming unwieldy… there will be, like, DOUBLE the continuity for Batman and Green Lantern. I feel very certain they’ll have to go all Zero Hour in the middle of the New 52 era in order to “fix” Batman and GL history
Oh ya, keeping all that extra continuity is definitely going to bite them in the ass at some point, all I’m getting it is if you’re going to keep 95% of it anyway, why butcher it and make it less good? If they’d hard reset Bats like everyone else, it might have pissed me off as well just having to go back to square one although I’ve read almost every major story-line post-crisis, but at least it would have had a clear goal; setting the table for new readers. As it is the changes serve no purpose whatsoever.
Yep, you hit the nail on the head
Part of the problem with any hard reset of these characters is that there’s no way to wipe the emotional reactions we had to those pre-reboot stories. Yeah, we can take some comfort knowing that something “didn’t happen” but I sorta believe that a story’s damage is done the second you read it. Gino mentions a couple times that there are aspects of the Bat reboot he just ignores and I feel like that’s the way we have to approach all of this. It gets hard at this scale, but ultimately, your experience with the characters has to be defined by how much you want to accept.
I’d just like to say kudos to everyone for getting this far in this conversation with out mentioning Lobdell. He’s a fairly easy target.
Hah, my mom told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say… Really, it’s just that I wouldn’t want to effect anyone else’s enjoyment of his books. I usually just don’t buy the books I don’t care for, though I did get a bit whiny during Lobdell’s original takeover of Superman and I really hate to be that guy
Can’t say I went high road all the way though, with my twice mention (thrice now) of Suicide Squad…
There are some roads too high to take. You made the right choice Gino.
Thanks for the approval mate!
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