My first recollection of Batman is reruns of the Adam West camp on cable. When I was about 9 years old, my mom left me in a library, where I was totally overwhelmed whe I happened upon Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Later that year, I followed closely as Doomsday fought Superman to the death, and Bane broke the Batman.
I waited in line to have my copies of the Reign of the Supermen signed. I was the same age as Tim Drake when he became Robin. I watched the kid with the bowl cut and sunglasses grow into Connor Kent. Over the years, there have been universe wide Infinite Crises, Justice League Identity Crises, and a new Krypton. In Gotham alone, there has been a contagion, an earthquake, a No Man’s Land, massive War Games, a dead Robin coming back with a vengeance, a new Batman, two new Batgirls, a son of Batman, and a worldwide army of Batmen.
It’s been a good ride.
DC has decided to completely reboot their universe, starting with 52 new number one issues.
Superman is new to Metropolis, wears jeans, can get hurt, and is a bit of a political radical. Bruce Wayne is again Batman, and Joker ismore brutal than ever. Swamp Thing is back and occassionally hangs out with Superman. The Justice League is just getting to know each other.
Then there’s some you wouldn’t expect, like the epic Stormwatch, which gives Martian Manhunter a clandestine team of Doctor Who-like universe-savers. Animal Man looks really intense. There’s Batwing, a Batman devotee protecting Africa. And there’s a lot more.
It’s hard to say goodbye to 50 years of continuity and the characters that I grew up with. My biggest disappointment is not knowing how so many stories would end. Superman has disavowed America, Tim Drake
was burnt out on being Robin, and Batman had a psychotic son to deal with. We’ll never see where those stories would end. But that was also part of the problem. Writers had to
deal with a shared fiction universe that was collaspsing under its own weight.
But you can tell that there is a new energy. The writers seem excited, and the artwork seems fresh. It’s an opportunity for DC to tell really great stories, for kids and adults. It almost makes me feel 9 years old again.