In which I complain about spoilers before getting into spoilers.

§ May 25th, 2016 § Filed under pal plugging, retailing, this week's comics § 10 Comments

In regards to my previous post, pal Andrew had his own take on the decline of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and makes a cogent argument that it wasn’t necessarily Zero Hour what done the deed.

And hey, blogging brother Tim has also opened the floor to questions, so while you’re waiting for me to finish answering what you’ve asked me, why not pick Tim’s brain?

BIG SPOILERS FOLLOWING for DC Universe Rebirth #1 (like you don’t know ’em already) and…well, I don’t really spoil Captain America: Steve Rogers #1

So anyway, about this:

First, I’m not thrilled about full spoilers for this comic getting spread all over the place days before it’s even available for sale. Comics can be a hard enough sell already, without removing yet one more incentive for buying. “What shocking surprises await within? Well, read this website and find out…save yourself buying the comic.” Gee, thanks guys, not like I didn’t order a pile of these for my shelves.

There are a couple of things that keep this from being entirely disastrous, saleswise. It could be that said spoilers might encourage people to pick up the comic, in a “I gotta see this” kind of way. Not to mention, actually reading the comic is an entirely different experience from reading a list of plot points. And there’s the fact that it’s 80 pages of comics for $2.99, which is a swell deal, though I suppose the more critically-minded may be of the “the food was terrible, but such great portions!” opinion on the matter.

Plus, there’s the fact that, believe it or not (and as I’ve mentioned on my site before) some people going to comic shops aren’t plugged into every social network and comic website, and their engagement with comic news begins and ends with walking into the comic shop, looking at the rack and picking out their books, and walking out again. Oh, and reading them eventually, too, I guess.

Anyway, I enjoyed the comic, and hopefully my customers will, too. Oddly enough, it’s actually strangely touching at one point, when a character who’s returned from the pre-New 52 universe finally connects with one of the rebooted characters. It’s probably as emotionally affecting as it is because it’s not just that we’re seeing these two characters reuniting, but that the fictional universe we readers thought was washed away forever may have a chance at coming back. Yes, that’s a silly thing to get emotional over, but I’m not made of stone.

I know DC has tried to walk back, or at least refurbish, revamps/reboots before…Kingdom and “Hypertime” being the most notable line-wide attempt at doing so. That the New 52/Flashpoint reboot was so obviously a last-minute decision, with the cracks showing almost immediately, the overall story premise of “Rebirth” being a pushback against a timeline purposefully inflicted by unknown parties upon the DCU certainly brings all these shenanigans to an almost metatextual level. That these parties appear to be the characters from Watchmen, one of the sources of the “grim/realistic” superhero trend that “Rebirth” appears to be rebuffing…well, no danger of subtlety of theme here, I suppose.

And speaking of which…holy crap, they’re using the Watchmen characters in a DC Universe thing. And not in a dream sequence, either. My guess is the same as when “Before Watchmen” was unleashed onto an unsuspecting world — Watchmen TP sales are moribund, and this is a way of spurring interest in the book again. Or maybe someone figured, hey, what the hell, this will get everyone’s attention, and lo, they were right.

Yes, yes, I suppose I should be angry about the violation of the sanctity of a classic work, but I have to tell you, I laughed and laughed. Partially because I’m amused by the idea of, I don’t know, Batman vs. Rorschach or something, and partially because I love seeing everyone else’s reaction to it. Anyway, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted and I’m sure I’m a bad person for thinking so.

Seriously, though, this whole “New 52 was an attack on the DCU” thing is a weird but interesting way of dealing with continuity issues, and would be quite clever if it were the planned outcome of the New 52 way back when, and not just a way to directly address a rushed reboot that didn’t quite take. This Rebirth one-shot is still an entertaining read for the continuity-minded superhero fan, a snapshot of where the DCU is now, what brought us here, what problems need to be resolved, and the sheer hilarious gall of bringing Watchmen into it. That’s gotta be worth your $2.99.

And you guys had to go and try to spoil this story for everyone, too! CAN WE NOT HAVE NICE THINGS

10 Responses to “In which I complain about spoilers before getting into spoilers.”

  • William Burns says:

    I think it’s time for DC to admit that they are less a comic book publisher than an organization dedicated to trolling Alan Moore.

  • ScienceGiant says:

    We’re we just rick-rolled by DC Comics?

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    Is there a way to trace back the phrase “grim and gritty,” as a description of that style of superhero comic, to its first cameo appeareance somewhere, before anyone knew it would be a star? Was it a piece of DC PR promoting the latter issues of The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen? Something from another publisher trying to draw attention to their own attempts to ape and exploit that style? Drawn from a mainstream press article that associated those books with Maus?

  • Corey says:

    That Captain America thing is gonna backfire so hard.

    There is so much about Rebirth that is so, so dumb–I won’t spoil anything, just in case–but there’re a few things to get excited about, too. So that’s an improvement over how I’ve felt about DC over the last four years.

  • David Thiel says:

    I grew up with DC Comics, and while I remain hypothetically interested in them, I am baffled by their many attempts to re-establish a main continuity. It seems as if every year there’s an event that upends the Multiverse as we know it. My wish is that instead of constantly telling stories *about* the Multiverse, they’d tell stories *within* the Multiverse.

    My understanding was that Multiversity had more-or-less codified the New 52 worlds–literally writing the guidebook–but then Convergence came right afterward and declared that all stories and previously-existing continuities still existed. I think. I really wasn’t sure.

    Then there was a soft reboot with “DC You” until all of that was wiped away due to indifference. (Me am not missing “Bizarro!”)

    Now, another hard reboot, resetting it to…what? Pre-Flashpoint? Pre-Final Crisis? Pre-52?

    Can anyone explain to me how any of this–and I include post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour and The Kingdom–is easier to understand than Earths 1-3, S and X? Sure, Bob Haney couldn’t remember which world Wildcat lived on, but I certainly didn’t have any trouble keeping track of which Batman had a daughter.

  • David Thiel says:

    That said, if Superman gets his pants back, I’ll be satisfied.

  • Tim B says:

    Managed to stay spoiler free so I was pleasantly surprised that the big reveal wasn’t the Joker’s name, that always struck me as incredibly dumb to claim as universe shocking.

    That one of the architects of the New 52 relaunch is now claiming that it was a hostile action by characters created by someone who can make a credible claim to be (the/a) father of modern comics (and DC in particular) if he could be arsed and who then has developed a problematic relation with DC and who they have been trying to ape for the past 30 years is something that should keep several therapists in paying work for years to come.

    Overall at least I got 66 pages of story, a double page poster that seems to indicate that DC thinks their heroes are their own worst enemies and some house ads but I don’t think I’ll be coming back.

  • Arynne says:

    “That Captain America thing is gonna backfire so hard.”

    Indeed. I’ve seen a number of people quipping online that Doctor Manhattan has evidently been *very* busy there.

  • The Mutt says:

    I think I need to start reading Marvel again so I can rage-quit them all over again.

  • David Alexander McDonald says:

    I liked much of Rebirth, but particularly the bit you referenced…I actually teared up a bit, in a manly way. I also went hm, “this will make Mike Sterling happy” at the appropriate point.

    Unfortunately, while it bodes positive for the future, it isn’t a complete repudiation of the nu52. I don’t think they could do that without having another full bore reboot. So…wait and see.

    As you’re all too aware, I’ve been saying that the nu52 was meant to end with Justice League 52, which indeed it will. I don’t think for a second that this was the intended next step…but the twice monthly schedule on certain books makes me think they were aiming to do graphic album style releases, and changed their minds as disaster bubbled up around them.

    So, this is a Hail Mary play…again. Convergence and the aftermath didn’t do them any good.