I was 10 years old in 1986 when Crisis on Infinite Earths happened, and I remember the older comic readers in the comic store complaining about all the changes they made to the DC universe. Of course, as a kid, I didn't really understand what their complaints was about. I mean, Superman was less lame and Batman was dark and cool. (How little I truly understood.) So we flash forward to today, and now I am beginning to understand what those old comic fans felt like. I wasn't happy with the recent Nu52 changes they've made, such losing the Super-Marriage or the demoting of Stephanie Brown from a role she truly earned... And I really wasn't happy with some of the mind boggling disrespectful directions they're going with, like treating Bette Kane as a underskilled prop to give Batwoman pathos, or turning the entire Earth 2 universe into one dark and rather dreary place where Lois Lane and Selina Kyle is dead, and everyone's costumes looks like they've stepped out of Marvel's Ultimate Universe. But I think it really hit me today just how out of the target demographic I am when I read today that Helena Bertinelli had died (unceremoniously) and was replaced by Helena Wayne. Literally replaced, as in assumed the dead woman's identity. And the first thing I thought was “Well, I can live with it, if Helena Wayne was the Huntress that I've known all these years, and Helena Bertinelli was some mafia princess we never got to know. That Helena Wayne was the Huntress that ran around with Black Canary, Oracle and Zinda. It's a bit of a big retcon, but at least I could deal with it.”
Then it hit me. OF COURSE it's not her. The Helena I loved and cared for is dead, and so is half the Universe I loved and cared for as well.
And what bothers me about all of this is just one day *poof* it's gone. No more Helena Bertinelli, no more action and adventurous Power Girl, no more Atlee, no more Golden Age superheroes, no Alan Scott, Jay Garrick or even Wesley Dodds. No more Booster Gold and Blue Beetle bromance, or fun and happy Jaime Reyes and Paco. No more Martian Manhunter's obsessions with Oreo's. No more Lois Lane being Superman's center of strength, being the woman he held a torch for all those centuries, until he was reunited with her in 853rd century. No more Lain Harper, or chance for her resurrection. No more Stephanie Brown and Kara fighting Dracula movie monsters... No more. All that stuff, that made up the universe we just loved to death... Gone. We never had a chance to say goodbye to the DC Universe as we knew it. I mean, for a few years prior, there were a few real opportunities to do so. Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, even the the JSA storyarc “Thy Kingdom Come.” But it's thrown into Flashpoint out of nowhere, and we're told “Forget all that lame stuff, here's the cool stuff, the way the universe was MEANT to be!” I mean, did they really think the problems with the DC universe was Superman's underwear and Wonder Woman not wearing pants?
(Just as a side note, last summer, DC got a lot of accusations of misogyny toward them, about a lack of female creators working for them. Since then, I've noticed an almost knee-jerk reaction to it all, trying so hard not to be offensive to women. The problem is, the harder you try to not do something, the easier it is to do it, without realizing it. I'm not a woman, but I think I can safely say that most women readers would be ecstatic to trade back to Power Girl's old pantsless, boob windowed costume in exchange for NOT having Themyscira be an island of man-hating seductive sirens.)
Look, I get it. I know I've talked about this many times before, and that I'm not the target audience, and perhaps I've had my fill of dark and brooding comics characters over the last twenty years. And maybe that's what new readers want. I mean, hell... The Twilight movies have done amazingly good, and they're dark, pretentious and utterly horrible. Heh, I'd say Marvel would be worth giving a shot to, but it's not. The AvX crossover right now is one of the worst written comics I've read in so long. I mean, the only way it can possibly work is if you have Captain America and Cyclops act totally out of character and be willing to punch each other first before talking. I don't like being a hater, but man, this is awful. (And don't get me started on Vs. #1!)
I just feel kinda awkward that the only place I can get the DC Universe I know and love is on the show Young Justice and it's companion comic book. (Which is actually pretty good, and I do recommend it.) I understand that superheroes can't always be all fun and lighthearted, nor do I want them to be. But why can't I have at least a few fun and lighthearted books? Why does EVERYTHING have to be so fucking grim and dark? It's like they're ashamed they're making superheroes, and that they're trying to cover it up to pretend it's something it's not.
And that's just kinda sad.