Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Schwappathetic 52

Count me amongst the folks that felt that DC Comics should have relaunched all of their comics back when they did Crisis on Infinite Earths or several of their other events. It would have been well-timed and, I believe, much better received than this new directive.

For some reason, I can't muster much enthusiasm for this relaunch. I think I figured it out.

All of those other moments where they thought about it or could have done a relaunch? They weren't using an Elseworlds story as the launching point. That's what Flashpoint is.

All of the previous events included at least an attempt to give the characters we've followed for decades a last hurrah. They were going out with an epic fight before being started over. We weren't given empty, alternate versions of the characters to follow through an event that hasn't even given us enough time to be made to care about them sufficiently to even be concerned about the stakes. 

With the original Crisis, there was a fight at the beginning of time. We knew all the players, so you didn't have to learn about them and decide if you cared, but just have it demonstrated that the stakes were high. Zero Hour probably made the weakest argument for being used as a huge relaunch starting point, but it did have the plot devices necessary. Infinite Crisis would have been pretty strong, given all the discussion that had come from DC about this being an example of it being darkest before the dawn, seeming to indicate plans at a tonal shift for their entire line. Final Crisis would have been a bit poetic, given that it was Grant's demonstration of the power of a story, being used to end one while starting another.

Flashpoint? Ugh. It is an "event" in name only, as it centers around only one of the DC flagship characters being used to drive this alternate reality...and not one of the most commercially attractive ones, at that. While this is going on in its mini and a bunch of alternate one-shots and minis, the rest of the DCU titles are going on as if blissfully ignorant of the whole thing. So we don't seem to even get much of an opportunity for creative teams in the original titles to give titles or character versions a real send off. 

In that sense, the whole thing stinks of business-first/story-last. I'm not naive: I'm fairly aware that business, push comes to shove, is always first. But it is in the best interests of all involved to make sure that never stands so naked before the customer as it appears to be right now. Which makes it difficult to build up excitement to continue to read the obligatory event that launches the business decision of the year in September. It, also, makes me wonder if they knew they had the OK to relaunch back when they planned Flashpoint or if it came along after this event was already scheduled, making it necessary to turn this into part of the launch, rather than designed that way.