The comic book world was buzzing this week about two big story changes that happened between the Marvel and DC universe. I’m going to talk directly about both of these changes, so if you’re a comic book nerd, and don’t want things spoiled, turn away now and go read either one of these books. If not, feel free to read on and find out what all the hoopla is about that is making the Internet’s head explode.
First up, there was the reveal on the Marvel side about Captain America. For many years Hydra has been a huge influence on the Marvel Universe as a big bad evil organization bent on chaos and world domination. This week it was revealed that Steve Rogers himself has been a sleeper agent for Hyrda his whole life. An interview with the writers confirmed that it wasn’t a joke or a ploy, and that Steve really is a Hydra agent.
Because Hydra has been one of the biggest enemies of everything Captain America stands for, the Internet proceeded to lose it’s collective shit. There have even been death threats leveled against the writers by people who should never be allowed near a keyboard again in their lives. Nerdist.com did an excellent piece that basically told everyone to calm the heck down, and even gave some possible ways that this storyline will resolve itself. Cap won’t stay Hydra forever because it’s not uncommon for comics to use extreme measures to drive readership. Give it a couple months and I’m sure everything will go back to normal, maybe with a few side consequences to build on in the future.
However, I do want to point out one article that shares a bit about why this is such a big deal. Captain America’s introduction to the world was fighting the Nazi’s during the WWII and the Jewish holocaust. By now having him embody an ideal that stands in direct opposition to that, some could feel that it belittles the history of antisemitism that precipitated such mass destruction. That isn’t an appropriate way to do a publicity stunt. Seriously, go read that article. It really puts things into context.
The other big news this week was the start of the DC reboot called Rebirth. Five years ago DC attempted another reboot that resulted in what was called The New 52. This new timeline erased a lot of history that people loved and despite having some decent stories, much of the New 52 didn’t catch on like hoped. Additionally, with the narrative failure of Batman v Superman, yet the success of the DC Universe on TV, some changes needed to occur. Geoff Jones has taken over as the main creative director of the DC Universe, similar to Kevin Feige on the Marvel side.
To kick off a new era, Geoff Jones penned an 80-page book to kick off the new DC Universe. The thread of the story was young Wally West (the Flash) trying to break out of the “Speed Force” where he is trapped. The consequences of the actions of the Flashpoint storyline have left the world wounded. Wally has realized that some unknown force has stripped ten years of time from the world. It means that people have been forgotten, and others have vanished. Wally is trying to keep himself alive long enough to get someone to realize what has happened.
The obvious analogy is that this story is about how The New 52 changed the DC Universe, and the unseen hands manipulating the story could be considered the writers over the past 5 years. In the actual comic though, the biggest reveal is that Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen, a being of immense power, seems to have manipulated time for some unknown purpose. The fulfillment of this story will take place in the solo titles over the next few months.
The mixing of Watchmen with the rest of the DC Universe is going to be polarizing. There is a lot of history around Alan Moore and DC that I won’t go through in this blog (it’s worth Googling about), but it’s going to generate a lot of discussion. No matter your thinking about the Watchmen, the semi-rebooting of the DC Universe is going to be interesting. With a more singular vision around storylines, I’m excited to see where many of my favorite characters will end up.
In particular the Green Lantern arc has been confusing as of late. The explosion of all of the different emotional spectrum corps eventually led to a very convoluted set of stories. Recently everything has been focused on the disappearance of the Green Lanterns, and the void filled by the Sinestro Corps. This means that many favorite characters have disappeared, or simply haven’t been mentioned in many issues. The new Green Lantern arc seems to refocus on some of the old favorites, as well as giving some new lanterns their time in the spotlight. In particular I’m excited to see more from Simon Baz, an addition to the corps a few years ago who never really got the attention he deserved.
I’m excited for the next few months of Rebirth, and hopeful that DC will be able to get it’s act together around movies and TV. There are exciting stories out there, and they deserve to be told.