It’s a Whole New DC Universe – And I Don’t Know if I Care

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  • The new DC is upon us. When it hit shelves on August 31st, Justice League of America ushered in a new era. No need to worry about messy continuity, previous compressions, retcons or city-devastating earthquakes – it’s a clean slate for all DC titles.

    I’ve long had a fascination with Batman – comics, movies, toys, you name it. I had every episode of the 1960s series taped and labeled. For many years, it was an obsession.

    I’m serious about my Batman. I like him to be as brooding, angry and human as possible

    My fascination might have started in 1989, when I was 12 and saw Tim Burton’s Batman film. Or maybe it can be traced back earlier, to the “A Death in the Family” arc from late 1988, where Robin is murdered by the Joker. Actually, I’ve got consecutive issues of both Batman and Detective Comics going back to late ’86 – early ’87 (plus a bunch of late ‘70s – early ‘80s issues I picked up over the years.)

    I’m surprised at how many great stories Grant Morrison was writing back then, not to mention Denny O’Neil and Jim Starlin. Yeah, I had it bad for a while.

    I lost steam in late ’92, coinciding with becoming a full-time skateboarder and spending any money I made on skating equipment.

    After that my interest cycled. Every few years I checked back in with Batman but would lose interest after a few months. Stories would be weak or spread over too many issues. “Knightfall” almost kept me hooked, but I couldn’t dig the silly colored suit the new Batman wore. I came back for “No Man’s Land” in the

    late ’90s but couldn’t justify spending so much money on the books, especially because I would blow through an issue in 10 minutes.

    At some point, Detective Comics was supposed to focus on Batman’s detective work, to be grittier in a sense, while Batman was supposed to focus more on the superhero angle. Sounded like a good idea, but it didn’t really come across in actuality.

    In the early 2000s, I discovered collections of select story arcs, which made more financial sense to me. But so many of the stories didn’t fully grab me. I did like how all the comics were glossy and no longer newsprint. I also liked how the art was getting away from the staid Jim Aparo style and how I could feel the depth in the colors and shadows. Friends recommended “Hush” and “The Long Halloween” as the decade was closing, and man, did I get that old feeling back! But it wasn’t enough to stick around long-term, I guess.

    A few months ago, I heard rumblings about DC rebooting all its titles. My heightened Bat-senses tingled (oops, mixing my comic metaphors.) I’d already heard of a completely new twist that Bruce Wayne was dead or quit and Dick Grayson was playing the Caped Crusader.

    I did some preliminary research and found DC was talking about starting over, trying to get lapsed readers back into the fold. That’s me! I did some soul-searching and decided, yes, it’s time to go back – at least for a few months.

    To prepare for the big New 52 month, I bought the first collection of Batman and Robin and found it decent. Next came the final issues of Batman and Detective Comics. I also perused some of the other Bat-titles in Ye Olde Comic Book Shoppe and determined most of them to be rubbish (Batman Beyond? Don’t think so. Batman, Inc.? Too sci-fi.)

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