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Two DC Reboots: One That Works, One That Doesn’t

Graeme McMillan

I haven’t read WONDER WOMAN #600 yet, but thanks to the free preview on the DC App – Look out, honey, ’cause I’m using technology – I’ve read the JMS/Don Kramer story and have to say, I think Hibbs is spot on with his thoughts; rewriting Wonder Woman’s history so comprehensively screws up DCU history in so many places that it can’t be unaddressed for too long, and feels completely temporary as a result. The story itself is… Eh, I guess? I can see the logic on a corporate level for the do-over – and it certainly seems to have worked, at least in terms of getting people to pay attention to the character – but I couldn’t say that I was particularly wowed, or bothered, with the execution. It was just there. Luckily, there was another, much better relaunch of a DC book this week.

ACTION COMICS #890: Sure, there’s no Superman, but god damn if Paul Cornell and Pete Woods didn’t make this issue sing nonetheless. Maybe it’s just me, but Cornell’s script – and, in particular, the reveal about why Lois was there all along – felt oddly… Marvel-esque to me, in a way that DC superhero books don’t normally manage, and in a good way; there was a kind of weird, mad invention and comedy to it that just worked both as a surprise and on a completely logical (and revealing about Luthor) level. Luthor himself got rebooted, as well, with his admitting how he was changed by his Blackest Night experiences – something that didn’t seem to be the case from his recent appearances in the last few Robinson/Gates Superman books, but continuity is for losers, apparently – but the “needy, greedy” Luthor feels nostalgic in a good way, and sets up a quest that gives his run as Action lead a reason to exist. Artwise, Pete Woods continues to be the Superbooks’ secret weapon; his stuff is clear, attractive and just really enjoyable to read, and I am both happy and surprised that he’s not been stolen away by Marvel for some X-Men-related book that I have no desire to read already. Overall, though, this was a Very Good surprise, and a nice antidote to JMS’ overly earnest Superman. Looks like I won’t be abandoning the Superman titles entirely over the next year, after all.

19 Responses to “ Two DC Reboots: One That Works, One That Doesn’t ”

  1. We are just reboot happy these days. they are remaking let the right one in (or have finished). I’m not sure why the original needed to be remaid other than to make them speak english or attach american names to the characters. of course they are rebooting the spiderman movie franchise, so we get to see that origin all over, but hey, they had screwed that up with spidey 3 anyway.

  2. Don’t be surprised if they cover the Spider-Man origin story in the opening titles, ala Louis Leterrier’s HULK.


  3. Sorry, Matt: Rumor has it that the new Spider-Man movie will have the origin as part of the storyline again.

  4. Club scene aside, I actually liked Spider-Man 3. (I also thought X3 was the best of the X-Men movies.)

  5. I said this on Twitter:

    This WW one stinks of the HAWKWORLD Hawkman retcon; trashing all that comes into contact and making unusable for all.

    and Kevin Smith even retweeted it:

    RT @iamjoetate “This WW one stinks of the HAWKWORLD Hawkman retcon” Don’t remind me… #VeteranOfTheHawkworldFuckedUpTheDCContinuityWar

    If made a “permanent” change, this will blow up in theirs and our faces. If it’s just a storyline, it will be fun.

  6. […] Savage Critics: Meanwhile, I finally get back to writing for SavCrit with a short post about the Wonder Woman reboot and the much-more-enjoyable Action Comics debut of Paul Cornell and […]

  7. Thank you for the interesting post, may I ask where you get your sources from?

  8. I’d actually planned to comment and dismiss any worries that this would be anything other than a one-off storyline, but now I think it really depends on (a) public reception; and (b) if DC really is making the steps toward synergy across its media that it says it is.

    I mean, here you’ve got an Oscar-nominated screenwriter rebooting a character the company has been trying to properly launch as a film franchise for years now, and the story is perfectly suited for people with only the vaguest knowledge of the character’s history (since that’s all the character now has as well).

    Plus, it reads like the Bourne Identity with a (suddenly younger) female lead and Greek mythology updated Percy Jackson-style.

    I’ve seen attempts to build franchises with far skimpier materials–and I can see the New DC pushing that version much harder into official continuity if it succeeds.

    So, maybe not quite as likely to all go back in the toybox after all, is what I’m saying.

  9. I liked Action pretty well (I’ll give whatever he writes a shot after his Cap Britain run) but the last page reveal didn’t work for me, so it kinda soured me on next issue. Wonder Woman read like it would work better as an Ultimate/All Star kind of thing. I’m not on board for the singles but may hit up the trade.

  10. It is odd that they do this with Wonder Woman in the ongoing series, when they are very close to launching a line of OGN’s with continuity free stories, like the Ultimate line was.

  11. Characters in different timelines can be merged, so ending Staczynski’s storyline with the new Wonder Woman inhabiting the mainline DC universe is possible. Doing that might keep readers who would drop the series if it completely reverted to the pre-WW #600 state.


  12. “Rumor has it that the new Spider-Man movie will have the origin as part of the storyline again.”

    What a flat-out idiotic decision that is; we need nothing more than the briefest flashback summary version at most.
    If it’s mostly origin-with-one-first-villain-maybe-tied-into-said-origin, I’m not only waiting for DVD, I’m waiting to borrow it off my nephew.

  13. @Jeff: Point of order, J. Michael Straczynski has never been nominated for an Oscar.

    (CHANGELING was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy) Award, and JMS has been nominated for other prestigious awards, but he’s mainly only won in the dramatic categories of the various genre / sci-fi awards.

  14. Steve D: Thanks for the correction! I don’t know why my mental default is that CHANGELING had been nominated. Hopefully it’ll stick this time.

  15. It seems to me that a lot of pople have criticized the premise of a story based on about 15 or so pages. Continuity aside, let’s wait at least 5 issues before we really bag the story, it could be a ripper.

    In terms of continuity, JMS has already said that it’s a type of alternate reality. I’m interested enough to see where he’s headed, and especially where it ends up before I criticize. Even if it doesn’t take the continuity into consideration in the end, it’s always the story telling that rules at the end of the day.


  16. The funny thing about the whole ‘new look’ Wonder Woman is that it proves DC’s amateur, unprofessional shortsightedness beyond the shadow of a doubt.

    Yes, their little stunt got people talking.But just because people are talking about WW, doesn’t mean they are going to be buying WW.

    People stop and talk every time they’re driving and see a car wreck on the side of the road. They slow down, comment ‘What a mess!’, hope no one got hurt and then, they keep on driving.


    That’s exactly the kind of talk the new WW has inspired among the masses.

    Comic readers know the change is only temporary — and many will even buy the book to give it the slight bump in sales but the general public doesn’t know its temporary and most of them are turned off and offended by the dopes at DC.

    Granted, Joe ‘General Public’ and others like him haven’t bought a Wonder Woman comic in ages — if ever — but whether their offense or distaste is justified is beside the point.

    DC did this to appeal to them — the general masses to make Wonder Woman appealing, so she will translate more easily to film.

    Which kind of defeats the purpose if the general public finds the change to be distastefully hideous.

    If DC brass took their heads out of their collective asses long enough to get a breath of fresh air, maybe… maybe, they’d get a clue.

    As it stands, they think and exist inside of a very small box. Not only do they not understand, they can’t relate to Joe ‘General Public’ thinking, if they did they would see the obvious:

    It doesn’t matter that Joe GP hasn’t bought a WW; she’s an american icon that belongs to the world, no matter what trademarks and copyright says. That’s how they feel and these are the people you are making that sales pitch to and it doesn’t appear they like it.

    So good luck on that new costume for the movie. The masses you sought to reach have spoken, as irrational as some of them may be and they don’t like it so chances are, they won’t see the movie.

    BTW, there is nothing wrong with Wonder Woman’s costume. It’s as silly as panty wearing Superman’s and the mask worn by Spider-Man that has no mouth. People are okay with suspending their belief for a couple of hours to watch a movie. And they would rather watch WW in her silly star spangled bikini than have the corporate dopes insult their intelligence with a dumb stunt to get their attention (see: NEW COKE).

    If there was 1 brain between the Three Stooges running DC, they might have realized that by the time they get around to doing a WW film, her outfit will translate fine, especially if it’s done as armor or an armor-like sheen seen in so many pin-ups (see Nicola’s pin-up in WW 600).

    That, and if JMS was as brilliant as he seems to think he is, he wouldn’t need a cheap gimmick to get people to notice his work. Alan Moore didn’t have to give Swamp Thing a new, more urban look to sell the book when he came on. And unlike Wonder Woman, he really looked, and still does look like shit even today.

  17. […] Pants” thing has gone too far. Spoiler alert: Steinem hates it, but just a little more than Bryan Hibbs did. “Just like Superman.” For shame […]

  18. –If made a “permanent” change, this will blow up in theirs and our faces. If it’s just a storyline, it will be fun.–

    So even though both DC and JMS were completely upfront that this is only a temporary change for a story, people still don’t know that it’s a temporary change?


  19. The way I see it with the ever changing news its hard to keep up to date on current facts. Most of these commenters arent taking into effect the change of the global economy and how much of a different it has on news technologies / medical growth / economic / political issues. But anyways nice read, defiantly enjoyed your post. Found your blog on google search engines btw… most people always wonder how people are finding them.

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