As those who have been reading this blog know, DC Comics’ New 52 is a source of persistent frustration for me. As a fan of comic books I have come to really appreciate continuity and history. It always seemed to me that when DC made their big moves, they carefully planned each move so as to keep everything in line with what came before. The New 52 was the end of all that. The guys who came up with the whole concept can’t even keep the sequence straight. What I am referring to is something I saw in a promo sample of the upcoming Superman #32. Perry White is walking through the halls of the Daily Planet with Clark Kent, (So far so good), but then we see some framed headlines on the wall. The one in the middle vexes me most. “Superman dead” it reads. What!? Let’s start at the top. In this New 52 universe, superheroes have only been around for 5 years. That is set by Mr. Geoff Johns in the first issue of Justice League. The superheroes were hidden from sight up until 5 years ago, and after that they came into the spotlight and that’s where the whole thing started. So, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, everyone, may have been around longer, but had not met or made public appearances until 5 years ago. Remember that. It is SOOOOO important to remember that.
Now back to that ‘Superman Dead’ headline. That says that the Death of Superman story did take place. Doomsday came along, trashed half the Eastern seaboard and then killed Superman, which launched us into the Reign of The Supermen story which affected more than just the Superman universe. It led to the destruction of Coast City and an emotional break down for Hal Jordan. It created Superboy, Steel, and the Eradicator as well as Cyborg Superman, who would go on to prove to be one of Supes’ most enduring enemies.
Now, here’s the problem. When Superman died, the whole world mourned him. All the heroes came out to honor him. Now we’re supposed to believe that Superman gained all that love and respect in less than five years? Hard to believe especially since the New 52 issues of Superman showed him in a world where the majority of the human population feared and hated him. When did all of this happen? How does this story fit into continuity, seeing as Superboy and Steel had different origins in the New 52. The whole thing just doesn’t add up. I know it’s stupid to raise hell over this seemingly meaningless issue, but it means something to me. I read those original issues. I walked through those stories and they built Superman in my head with every word. The New 52 tore all that away, and now it seems like the ‘masterminds’ behind it are starting to see the problem themselves and are trying to paint over it, and are doing a rather sloppy job of it. All this catastrophe and chaos just so they could rebrand their characters to appeal to a new demographic, and in the process they have destroyed over 30 years of continuity and stories. Flushed them right down the tube and now they see their error and are trying to reefed us those stories in chopped up, flavorless bites. I personally think this whole thing is temporary, and I pray to god things go back to normal next year, because it seems every time I pick up a New 52 book, I see a new atrocity that flies in the face of logic and story sense. Really surprising considering Geoff Johns struck me as a kind of DC comics history guru. He was putting out successful stories that drew from events and characters from the past. He seemed to care, but now that he’s calling the shots, all that care and concern has flown out the window.