As the DC Universe nears it’s latest rebirth, there are still some questions nagging me. Most of them are little things that I am sure will work themselves out to some level of satisfaction. How long has Batman be operating in secret? Who were the original Titans? Other questions are nagging at me a little. What is up with Wally West? Was there an original (or any other) Crisis? Of course, my biggest doubt deals with all thing Justice Society.
It seems of late, that DC has decided to forgo the rich history it has, to focus on the now. In doing that, they are not unlike many other entertainment companies. Youth is king. Why would a 14 year old care about a comic book character created before his grandparents were even born? For that matter, why would a 14 year old care about a comic book? Well that is what this DC reboot is all about. The whole way we digest media has changed over the last 10 years. Digital media that can be used across multiple platforms and is available at an instant. So I don’t blame DC for making a move to a digital format. Comics may find a whole new audience of tablet users. It’s a gamble. But the writing is on the wall for the comics industry, adapt or die. So there is nothing to lose, and only new younger readers to gain.
But I feel that in this rush, the original versions of many of DC’s icons are getting pushed aside. Just last year, DC celebrated it’s 75th anniversary, and now it’s like they want to pretend all that history means nothing. It’s not as if I expected the original Justice Society members to always be there. In my heart, I always knew that it was likely that I would have to say goodbye to these characters. I am just not thrilled with the send off they are being given. They deserve more. Like so much in today’s world, things become disposable, and history is not honored.
Justice Society of America #54 came out this week, without much fanfare. It is probably the last JSA comic for the foreseeable future. It also featured the death of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, again, without much fanfare. Alan Scott actually had a pretty rough year, despite being in possession of one of the most powerful artifacts in the universe. He was paralyzed, and to make matters worse, he was forced to wear one of the most ridiculous costumes I had ever seen. And then to die, without so much as mention on the cover. Not to make excuses for DC, I did get the feeling that this story was rushed to its conclusion due to the title’s cancellation thanks to the NEW 52. But still, this same issue also saw Wildcat, Ted Grant, skewered through the chest, clinging to life. Two of the four surviving elder statesman of DC cut down in the span of 10 pages. Hawkman seems to be the lucky one in all this, not currently appearing in JSA, he is set to star in a new comic, Savage Hawkman, this September, but no mention of a history with the Society. Rather, like most of the books coming out from DC, this appears to be a new beginning for the character, once again Carter Hall, archeologist, discovering his past lives. Jay Garrick, the original Flash also managed to avoid the knife in this book, but his fate is far from certain, as the story in Flashpoint plays out.
Jay Garrick hasn’t played a part at all in Flashpoint. In fact, there are no other speedsters besides Kid Flash appearing at all in any Flashpoint book. And we finally find out why in Kid Flash Lost #3. It seems that it was Bart Allen, running around taking the Speed Force energy from speedsters to give to Barry, who will use the added power to help undo Flashpoint, and make the new DC status quo (presumably in Flashpoint #5). Could this be why there was no speedsters It has been said that in the new DCU, Superman will be the world’s first superhero (again). In World of Flashpoint # 1 Madame Xanadu made an interesting reference, telling of a Golden Age team that did NOT have any of the major DC names, but will allow for some of the legacy characters to still exist. Although not pictured, Starman probably existed, so DC can keep most of the James Robinson Starman series in continuity. That series is great example of how a writer can use the DC Legacy and make it vital and interesting today. I hope that DC, and the powers that be with there remember how to do this.
Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, and Jay Garrick, the original Flash have always been two of my favorite characters. Now it seems that there is no place for the heroes of the past, but here is hoping their legacy isn’t lost. It is still possible that Jay, Alan and the JSA will still exist. The 52 universes are still there, so one of them is bound to be the “Earth-2″ for this new world. ( maybe even with it’s own Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) Even if the original JSA is retired, and/or have passed on, maybe there is a possible Infinity Inc, type team that does exists (Complete with Helena Wayne Huntress and Dick Grayson as the Batman).
It’s the start of a new Age in DC Comics. Geoff Johns has been working towards this for sometime. going all the way back to Green Lantern Rebirth. (Something I predicted back at the end of Blackest Night) So I guess we can look forward to a new Crisis in about 10 years? DC is betting big that new fans don’t want to know about their characters long and storied pasts. Or is it parent company Warner Brothers trying to make this properties more viable for adaption in other media, thinking audiences don’t want to have to read 70 years of comics to know what’s going on in a movie ? Perhaps, but in striping DC Comics of its long history, WB and DC are actually making these characters less unique and less interesting.
(All Art by Alex Ross, except for World of Flashpoint #1 Written by Rex Ogle and others; Art by Paulo Siquiera.