It's the day after Free Comic Book Day,
when comic book stores all across the nation looked as busy
on a Saturday as they do for two to three hours on a Wednesday.
Several publishers, large and small, offered titles most
likely to lure an unsuspecting reader into buying more.
A few days earlier, however, DC released
a book designed to do the same thing, at the low low price
of only fifty cents. For our podcast, we rushed through
DC Universe #0, in order to have something cogent
to say about it, and none of us were too pleased. After
grabbing a little free swag on Saturday, though, I gave
the book a better reading.
Saturday, DC offered Tiny Titans #1
and All-Star Superman #1. Interestingly enough, neither
of those books tie in to the main DC Universe at all, though
both have great charms. They're out of continuity, playing
with either an impossibly kid-friendly set of heroes or
the greatest imaginary story of them all. And if you don't
know what I mean by that latter phrase, you still need to
pick up All-Star Superman #1 for free, or buy the
Again, when I read Tiny Titans #1, I wasn't as impressed
as I wanted to be, but in the past day I've been cute-faced
into reading it to my four-year-old three times, so obviously,
it works for kids.
DC Universe #0 ties directly into
DC's larger universe - well, the title tells us so. And
the company claimed this would be a good jumping on point
for readers, a resting place to understand what's going
Well, no. After reading it a second time,
it still doesn't work if you're not keyed in to the goings
on of the past two or three years.
However, it does better than it
came off while we were surrounded by people trying to have
conversations with us at the comics shop. Really, there
should be some sort of signal to give fans that says "It's
not you, it's just that I'm reading a book written by both
Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns. Please be on standby in
case I need medical attention afterward."
Not so much a jumping on point as a big
ad for a bunch of mini-series coming out in the process
of Final Crisis, the book ties everything together
with a narrator clearly coming back from the dead. This
causes a little confusion, as a few panels seem to borrow
from the last time the character was "alive," mixing in
imagery from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The only truly awkward moment is in showing
the Spectre. In a two page spread, he's fighting the Anti-Monitor,
and then the next page he's the modern incarnation, the
goateed version he has become, killing friend of Fanboy
Planet and Eisner-award winner Carr D'angelo.
The narrator's caption boxes slowly shift
from black to red, and the last page of the book looks suspiciously
like the title credits to the live-action Flash series.
By now, it shouldn't be a spoiler to say that Barry Allen
will be returning from the dead to face down the "Day Evil
Won." I'd like to believe that's all in Final Crisis,
but I'm more certain that will be yet another mini-series.
At any rate, the vignette that reads the
most sensibly is Batman facing down the Joker, a creepy
prologue to Grant Morrison's next Batman storyline,
"Batman R.I.P." It works because it's not the middle of
some other huge storyline. We see Superman and the Legion
of Superheroes fighting shadow creatures, but for over a
year, we've still been wondering how he can remember them
in the first place. Then there's that thing with the Manazons,
which just seems silly, even though Gail Simone will be
writing the event.
Then there's that Flash revelation. So
let's hazard some guesses based on what we know about the
next year for DC. Clearly, Darkseid either survives the
"Death of the New Gods" or gets resurrected; either way,
ultimate evil lives on in the DC Universe. However, the
Source now has this empty planet just waiting to be populated
by a new pantheon.
For the past twenty-three years, ultimate
good has been represented by Barry Allen, the guy in the
Flash suit who sacrificed himself to save the multiverse.
He has appeared twice since his death, technically borrowing
moments from just before he dies. The last time, he told
his nephew Wally West, the current Flash, that he would
appear once more when things were at their darkest for Wally.
An impending second destruction of the
multiverse would count, wouldn't it?
Let me go back to that empty planet, though.
If Darkseid represents ultimate evil, he's got to have a
counterbalance, and that has to be Barry Allen. Yes, one
of the strongest things about the character has been how
his sacrifice has been let to stand. Every hero has remembered
it. And in his wake, we have a strong character called the
Flash. (Most people forget that until his sacrifice, Barry
had grown so unpopular with fans that his book had been
cancelled months before.)
That new empty planet, these new New Gods,
need a Highfather. Who better than Barry Allen? He's wise,
he's super-intelligent, he's super-powerful and let's face
it - he makes a more loving face of good than the driven
Bruce Wayne, rumored for almost a year to be ascending to
Instead, I'd rather that Grant Morrison
get to complete the journey of Bruce Wayne he started during
52. That man, that Batman, has lost his demons. He's
coming full circle and coming back to a sense of sanity,
a realization that maybe as Bruce Wayne, he deserves a life.
I'm hoping that despite the title "R.I.P.", it's not an
Barry Allen, however, figured all that
out and gave it up for everyone. That's a Highfather. Maybe
we can get Bart Allen as the
new Lightray. He deserves it, too.