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DC Universe Reboots

2:33 PM, Jun 4, 2011 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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A couple weeks ago I went into high nerd dudgeon over the decision by the big brains at DC Comics to have Superman renounce his U.S. citizenship. Turns out, that was only the second dumbest thing DC did last month.

DC just announced that they’re essentially rebooting their entire superhero universe. Yup, the whole thing. Beginning in September, they’ll be starting 50 of their titles at issue #1 and changing costumes, origin stories, and team line-ups—the whole nine. Why hit ctrl+alt+del on a universe that’s been delivering pretty good stories and characters since 1938? Here’s DC explaining it in their own words:

In addition, the new #1s will introduce readers to a more modern, diverse DC Universe, with some character variations in appearance, origin and age. All stories will be grounded in each character’s legend – but will relate to real world situations, interactions, tragedy and triumph. . . .

We think our current fans will be excited by this evolution, and that it will make jumping into the story extremely accessible to first-time readers – giving them a chance to discover DC’s characters and stories.

We are positioning ourselves to tell the most innovative stories with our characters to allow fans to see them from a new angle. We have taken great care in maintaining continuity where most important, but fans will see a new approach to our storytelling.

Some of the characters will have new origins, while others will undergo minor changes. Our characters are always being updated; however, this is the first time all of our characters will be presented in a new way all at once.

The big news so far is that Mr. Terrific—he’s one of the few black heroes in the DC universe—will now have tattoos. Previously, Mr. Terrific, whose “power” is that he’s a prodigious inventor and the third smartest man on earth, was characterized as kind of square and diffident, the result of his pregnant wife who died before he entered the superhero life. Now that he has ink, he’ll be more authentic!

This rebooting of the DC Universe is merely the latest in a decade-long series of sad attempts by the publisher’s brain trust to goose sales without having to bother with the hard work of building audiences by telling interesting stories. As such, it makes the Superman-citizenship story even more pathetic—because it highlights how opportunistic and impure the editorial shop’s motives were.

New Coke has come to comics. 

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