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It’s now been one year since DC Comics announced The New 52 — the relaunch and realigning of their DC Universe continuity — and since that time fans have had a lot of questions about the nuts and bolts of the reality.
A new timeline was established that so far maintains the heroic age truly began about five years ago. The World War II heroes of the Justice Society have been removed from the mainstream reality again and inhabit Earth 2. Superman is no longer married to Lois Lane — in fact, he hasn’t even dated her yet. Barry Allen has never dated Iris West, and Batman had four (or five) apprentices in a span of five years.
While several story arcs seem to be progressing quite nicely, there are still new and lingering questions amongst fans. Some are curiosities about what is being set up to be told in the future. Some are genuine concerns and confusion about where continuity stands for some characters and events. Most of the universe was rebooted, but contradictions have been rising and it hasn’t helped that the Batman and Green Lantern histories are apparently largely unaffected by this universal restart.
SHOULD WE IGNORE PARTS OF BATMAN INC.?
We were told time and time again that the Bat-books are relatively untouched by the changing continuity of The New 52 DC Universe. The idea seemed to be that most of Batman’s adventures with the Justice League never happened and Tim Drake’s career as a member of Young Justice is non-existent, but they still had their own adventures in Gotham.
Batman Incorporated began before The New 52 relaunch, and theLeviathan Strikes one-shot is said to take place months before all the new issue #1′s, explaining why Dick Grayson has not yet returned to his Nightwing identity and why Barbara Gordon still requires a wheelchair. In fact, Barbara’s physical state means that parts of Batman Incorporated need to take place at least 6 months before Batgirl #1.
That’s all well and good, but readers are getting a bit confused when DC refuses to address the continuity/chronology of the many Robins in the new DCU and creators remark at San Diego Comic-Con that Stephanie was not a Robin, yet Batman, Incorporated clearly says that this part of her history remains true. And while we’re told in the pages of Justice League that the team has not had any new members in the five years since it formed, Leviathan Strikes includes remarks of Metamorpho’s “Justice League days.” Was he a member but only for a short time now? Was he just an associate or consultant on a few cases?
WHAT IS N.O.W.H.E.R.E.?
Seriously. What is it? For months now, this shady organization has been present in every issue of Superboy and Teen Titans. It’s a big deal in the new title Ravagers. And yet, nine months into The New 52, we don’t even know what the acronym stands for. On top of that, we don’t know what the group really wants.
N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has an interest in metahuman teenagers and has been forcing them into “survival of the fittest” scenarios. Why? To create some ultimate metahuman army to take over the world? If so, it seems like a waste to just kill the less powerful/formidable teens, surely they would be useful as cannon fodder if nothing else. How long has N.O.W.H.E.R.E. been around and what else is it up to? Is this a private organization or a government project that went rogue?
At SDCC last year, writer Scott Lobdell stated that Superboy was still the creation of Cadmus and that his pre-Young Justice adventures were still in continuity. Yet the new comics have shown this is clearly not the case and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. seems to be responsible for his birth. I say “seems” because in the first issue of Superboy, the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. doctors themselves seem unaware of Superboy’s exact origins and question it. Who’s running this group when they aren’t even sure what they’re working on?
And why would you give Superboy a costume with Superman’s symbol and then act surprised when he realized he must be connected to the famous alien superhero?
WHO KILLED ALEX DEWITT?
You know the phrase “women in refrigerators”? Well, Alex DeWitt was the woman who was literally found in the fridge. A love interest to the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, she was a very strong, opinionated woman who was essential to helping the young man mature into a stronger hero. And then Major Force showed up and, seemingly for the pleasure of it, killed her and stuffed her in the fridge just to show Kyle that he meant business and was a dangerous person.
Alex’s death has been a major part of Kyle’s character ever since. Her ghost has haunted him (sometimes literally) and it’s not an event he’s ever gotten over. It also made Major Force his first archenemy.
But here’s the thing: Major Force was given powers because someone attempted to recreate the project that created Captain Atom. Essentially, he was the evil Captain Atom, with the same abilities. But in The New 52, Captain Atom has only been around for a few months. and there is no Major Force yet. So… who killed Alex years ago?
HOW LONG HAS BATMAN BEEN OPERATING?
The Justice League formed roughly five years ago and Superman made his debut just under six years ago (Action Comics #1 took place six months before Justice League #1, and said he’d been operating for a few months already). We’ve been told that Batman (and Hal Jordan) had been operating as heroes before Superman’s debut and that the world at large was simply unaware.
But just when did Batman begin? If we presume that Dick Grayson became the original Robin after Superman’s debut but before the formation of the Justice League, then Batman was probably operating for at least three or four years earlier (taking into account his solo adventures and the previous timeline). So let’s say Batman has been around for nine years. Well, his son Damian Wayne is 10. When exactly did Batman meet Ra’s al Ghul and Damian’s mother Talia in the new reality? Before he was ever Batman?
Another problem arises when you consider that Batman’s origin is still said to be Batman: Year One. But if that story features the birth of James Gordon Jr., then it must take place almost 20 years ago since James seems to currently be in his late teens, if not older. So has Batman been operating for 20 years now, meaning he was running around for at least 14 years before Superman and the first Robin showed up?
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE GORDON FAMILY?
Previously, Barbara “Babs” Gordon was Jim Gordon’s niece (named after his wife, Barbara), whom he adopted when she was a young teenager, after her parents died. A later story implied that Jim Gordon may have even been her biological father. Later on, Mrs. Gordon left and took James Jr. with her. After a divorce, James reunited with his old partner Sarah Essen, who served in the GCPD and was even commissioner for a while. Jim and Sarah were married, but her life later came to a tragic end at the hands of the Joker.
In the new reality, however, Babs reveals to readers that Jim Gordon’s wife Barbara left on her own, leaving both kids behind. What’s more, Babs and Mrs. Gordon seem to be directly related, rather than an adopted parent. And Babs mentions that Jim Gordon “never” remarried. So what happened to Sarah Essen? Did she never reunite with Jim in the new reality? Did they reunite but never marry? And if Babs/Batgirl is the biological daughter of Jim Gordon and Barbara Gordon, then that brings us back to wondering about the timeline and continuity of Batman: Year One and who that baby is that is being born, and is said to be Jim’s first child.
WAS THERE ANOTHER TALKING GORILLA?
Sometimes, editors and writers appear to just miss something, or perhaps don’t double check with other books. It can lead to a few continuity gaffes. In The New 52, there are conflicting accounts on whether there was or was not a previous group of Teen Titans that existed before the current team. Exactly how much Batman is trusted by the government and law enforcement changes depending on whether you’re reading the Bat-titles, Justice League or Justice League International.
In Flash right now, title hero Barry Allen is meeting the villain Gorilla Grodd for the very first time. This is Grodd’s first encounter with a true human enemy and we can see in the story that Barry is startled to learn that there are gorillas that can talk. He makes it very clear he’s never encountered such a thing before.
Yet “five years ago,” in the pages of Justice League, Barry Allen and Hal Jordan speak very glibly and matter-of-factly about how they joined forces to stop a talking gorilla a while back. Did Barry forget this seemingly memorable case? Was that not Grodd but some other speaking gorilla such as Mallah, or Detective Chimp, or the Ultra-Humanite? All of that’s possible, but then why is Barry so shocked when he meets Grodd and finds Gorilla City? A simple remark could’ve explained this away, such as Barry saying, “Wow, I met one talking gorilla before, but a whole city? Weird.”
WHAT MAJOR EVENTS TRULY HAPPENED?
It’s been nearly a year and fans still aren’t clear on certain things. The Death of Superman seems like it couldn’t have happened now, but if it didn’t, then how did the cyborg Hank Henshaw come to destroy Coast City? Blackest Night is said to have still happened, but what about all those scenes with characters who no longer exist in the new reality and are now said to be inhabitants of the parallel world Earth 2?
Batman’s “death” and time-exile evidently still happened, and we assume Darkseid was still responsible. But that happened in the pages of Final Crisis. If that’s still true, the events of that story must have been very different since Billy Batson and the other Shazam-characters don’t have powers yet, and since a major part of that story revolved around Barry Allen coming back from the dead — which in the new reality definitely didn’t happen since recent issues of Flash make it clear that Barry has never traveled in time, or to other universes before.
Except that for time when he did in in Flashpoint. Wait, if Barry is aware that he somehow traveled to another timeline at the end of that story, why is he so surprised by time travel and the nature of the Speed Force in the pages of his own comic? Huh.
I’ve been reading comics for over twenty years. Teen Titans have always been one of my favorites. Over the course of 20 years, I have continued to follow the Titans through their ups and downs. Mind you, there have been more downs then ups because DC editors, for the most part, are brain dead idiots who do nothing but ruin their characters in pathetic attempts to make them more Marvel Comics-esque.
So with all that said, let’s start another down era and watch as DC Comic editors continue to fuck and tweek with their characters for the thousandth time.
This is only the first five pages of Teen Titans #1, so they still have plenty of opportunities to make it good but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
DC Comics is relaunching their entire line of comics this September with 52 new #1 issues. The Michael Show Podcast has been bringing you the news as it breaks. Now that all 52 #1 issues have been announced, let’s put them all together. A few of these issues I did not report on until now but you can see the first issue cover below:
1) Justice League of America #1
2) Aquaman #1
3) Captain Atom #1
4) DC Universe Presents #1
5) Firestorm #1
6) Flash #1
7) Green Arrow #1
8) Justice League International #1
9) Mister Terrific #1
10) The Savage Hawkman #1
11) Wonder Woman #1
12) Green Lantern #1
13) Green Lantern Corps #1
14) Green Lantern: The New Guardians #1
15) Red Lanterns #1
16) Batman #1
17) Detective Comics #1
18) Batman and Robin #1
19) Batman: The Dark Knight #1
20) Batwoman #1
21) Batgirl #1
22) Catwoman #1
23) Birds of Prey #1
24) Nightwing #1
25) Batwing #1
26) Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
27) Swamp Thing #1
28) Justice League Dark #1
29) Animal Man #1
30) Demon Knights #1
31) Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #1
32) Resurrection Man #1
33) Vampire #1
34) Voodoo #1
35) Hawk and Dove #1
36) Legion Lost #1
37) Legion of Superheroes #1
38) Static Shock #1
39) Teen Titans #1
40) Blue Beetle #1
41) Stormwatch #1
42) Blackhawks #1
43) Men of War #1
44) All-Star Western #1
45) Deathstroke #1
46) Grifter #1
47) OMAC #1
48) Suicide Squad #1
49) Action Comics #1
50) Superman #1
51) Supergirl #1
52) Superboy #1
Ever wonder what goes the mind of a rapist?? Well, wonder no more. Newsarama recently talked to Brett Booth, artist of the upcoming DC Comics Teen Titans raping…er, um…revemp, and the new costumes came up.
Newsarama: First of all, as an artist, I imagine your starting point is what input you’’re given from DC Editorial and your writer Scott Lobdell on what they want to achieve with the looks of this team and these characters?
Brett Booth: The initial designs I did were for the newer characters: the Charcoal Girl, and who we’re calling Bugg right now. I was sort of told they wanted the new designs to be different. Their silhouettes needed to be different from the standard guy or gal in tights. So I took that to heart.
Nrama: Can you take fans into the process of how you were first approached about this version of Teen Titans, and what input you got from Scott and DC to inform your approach to the redesigns?
Booth: Let’s see. I talked with Scott a bunch. Our battles were epic! Scott wanted really different, and so I went about attempting to do that. DC was really open about what we turned in. I have a feeling we could
have done any of the number of costume designs we did. And we did a lot. We even brought Jim [Lee] and Cully Hamner in to help with the Kid Flash and Wonder Girls designs.
Nrama: Is there a particular overarching theme or idea that influenced all of the designs? Or were you given ideas and notes about each individually?
Booth: Each character sort of evolved on its own. We had toyed with the idea of matching outfits but quickly abandoned that. There was a lot of back and forth about everything.
Nrama: How much back and forth was there between everyone before you came up with the final designs and was there anything particularly interesting or memorable about the process?
Booth: Wonder Girl had me, Jim, Cully , Scott, Bobbie [Chase] and Bob [Harras] going back and forth. That was the toughest one. I think I did like 8 or 9 designs or variations on her. Cully did three or four and Jim did two. We then decided to just keep her in regular clothes for a bit to get a feel for the character, so we concentrated on her bracelets and lasso.
Nrama: Can you maybe walk through each character and tell what you were hoping to achieve with each and what stands out for you as either the trickiest or your favorite part of the redesign? Let’s start with Red Robin? I think fans certainly want to know how the wings came to be and why? And what do they do?
Booth: Scott wanted wings; he wanted the character to actually not get left behind all the time. I did a few designs up, more Hawkman-like, but with the cowl he looked like.. well… Hawkman. So then I got the idea
of a cape with notches cut out so it would look like feathers in a silhouette. But I was told, “No capes!” So I toyed around with the ones he has now. They are sort of both cape and wings. They can be both hard and flexible when needed. I don’t want to give too much away.
The wings are more for gliding. He has some small jets on his back that can give him short bursts of power. They can become rigid and deflect bullets if needed — a Batman family staple.
Booth: This was really Scott and I just wanting him to be Superboy, since he’s not into spandex, The gloves are a nod to his 90′s outfit. The “S” on his back is a joke — Bart put it there because on the original, he didn’t
have the tattoo on that side, so it was ambiguous who it was. He’s just wearing a muscle shirt and some pants and boots. Just not the traditional “S” shirt and jeans. I added the tattoo as to his design because of a misread email, but everyone liked it so we kept it. The bar code idea was added a bit later but was genius!
Nrama: Wonder Girl?
Booth: Once we decided to make Cassie not quite the super nice girl her designs sort of popped up. I was told to make the bracelets different. I wanted to keep her ties to Greece to I sort of made a set, the lasso
is more like thorny vines or barbed wire. It comes out of the armband and basically gets everywhere so she ties it off at her waist. Scott came up with the modified version of an older design I did and the star field, a nod to Donna Troy’s Wonder Girl outfit.
And the shin guards are the only part of Jim’s original design that survived. Bobbie Chase and Katie Kubert liked them so much I kept them on.
Nrama: Kid Flash?
Booth: This one was interesting, Jim basically took a design I did and reworked it. I frickin’ loved it. But it was a bit older looking, something an older more adult superhero would wear, so Cully came in and modified the headpiece a bit to look more like Kid Flash.
Nrama: The new characters? What can you tell us about then?
Booth: The Bugg girl was originally supposed to be more tech, but I do like organic, so I drew sort of an exo-skeleton. Everyone seemed to like it so we kept it. She’s got extra legs and arms she can retract to look more
human. She’s in issue #2.
The other one is still under wraps for now. But when Scott mentioned to me what he wanted, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I sort of modified the smoke hair a bit for this image.
Nrama: Anything else you can tell us about designs and characters fans will see in #1 and beyond?
Booth: Bart and Conner have different outfits in issue #1 than these. There are Easter eggs here and there in the first issue so look for them!
Nrama: How do you go about “researching” or finding influences for the way teens dress today, that you think will resonate and feel true to this generation?
Booth: Google helps out. Plus Scott and I haven’t completely forgotten what it was like to be a teen. But TV and movies help. I might have to suffer through some horrible, horrible things, but I will do it, especially if I can’t find the remote.
Nrama: Have you seen the reaction to these costumes from fans?
Booth: I’ve only seen a bit, but man people can be nasty. Most has been positive, so thank you. I think we might have gone a bit farther out there than some of the other books, but the story is strong and fun and not the Teen Titans norm, so I’m hoping the art is up to snuff. But I’m sure I’ll have my detractors.
Nrama: Then to finish up is there anything else you want to tell fans about the image they’ve seen of the new costumes in Teen Titans?
Booth: I just want to give a shout out to my partners in crime on the art side, Norm [Rapmund] and Andrew [Dalhouse]. And note this was originally just a promo piece for a meeting so it hasn’t been inked and Andrew colored this up with blazing speed so this is sort of a rough piece for us.
Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash in TEEN TITANS #1, by Scott Lobdell and artists Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund.
This is lame. I have been a Teen Titans fan for a long time. My first issue of Titans was New Titans #100, the wedding of Nightwing and Starfire. From there, I collected the series from then on as well as buy anything Titans related from the back issue bin of my local comic store. Now, of course, New Titans #100 up, until the series was cancelled, was a rough time for the Titans. Compared to other eras, that era sucked. However, I stuck with it because I really like the characters.
I have seen the Titans mishandled, written wrong, written out of character…I have seen Titans die for no reason…I have seen Titans return from the dead for no reason…I have seen pointless Titans spinoffs…I have tolerated them adding characters to the team for no reason other than to have something “fresh and new.”
Often times, when a “fresh, new” approach comes out it often fails. Just like this will fail. DC Comics needs to stop mishandling the Titans. That picture above can only be described as rape. Yes, you read right: RAPE!!! This abuse DC Comics is dishing out is raping the Titans to the point that they are not Titans anymore. STOP WITH THIS NEW AND FRESH NONSENSE THAT GOES NOWHERE!!!!
“But Michael, give it chance, this might be different.” NO!!! IT WON’T BE DIFFERENT!!!!! Why? Because it is never different!!!! We have seen this relaunch garbage in the past and it has failed.
I have a novel idea DC Comics: HOW ABOUT YOU WRITE STORIES THAT ARE ACTUALLY STORIES AND STOP RELYING ON PATHETIC GIMMICKS TO MOVE BOOKS. If you write a good soild story, give the reader a reason to give a shit about your characters and draw them well…the reader will come and stay and love it.
Marvel Comics is also guilty of this. Marvel Comics is a gimmick wasteland that I refuse to even enter. Sadly, DC is becoming that as well. Wanna sell it book? Write it well and supply it with amazing artwork. Stop killing characters for no reason. Stop lame gimmick like “fresh, new” #1. Stop revamping your history. Stop rewritting history. STOP RAPING CHARACTERS!!!!!!!!
This is garbage. This is a waste of my money. You should be ashamed DC for wasting my time. Get back to a time when you actually wrote stories worth reading.