New 52: Batman

29 May

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Batman was a strange case in the New 52.  When the New 52 launched, almost all of DC history was rewritten, but for some reason, Batman’s popularity made the DC staff decide that Batman’s story can continue where it left off…. but not all of the extended Batman family!

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Batman–In the reboot, the DC heroic age began five years ago, but Batman had been operating for the past six years, having been secretly operating a year before Superman’s debut, being considered an urban legend by the general public.  Batman:  Year One was still considered canon in this new reality.  Most of the previous storylines that were taking place just before Flashpoint were carried over into the New 52.  Batman was now appearing in several titles.  Batman was an action adventure series while Detective Comics was a mystery series.  Batman and Robin focused on the father/son dynamic while Batman, Inc. continued the Batman franchise series that had begun prior to Flashpoint.  Batman was also appearing in Justice League, which was focusing on the team’s origin five years earlier, and in Justice League International, where Batman was now leading a new international version of the League in a world where the JLI had never previously existed.

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Robin I/Nightwing–In this new origin, Dick Grayson still became Robin, around five years before the present, and had become Nightwing around three years before the present.  It was very unclear if the Teen Titans and New Teen Titans had existed.  I’ll talk more about that in another post.  In the reboot, he was in his own title, which kind of continued where his story had previously left off.  Kind of.

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Robin II/Red Hood–Jason Todd had become Robin about three years before the present.  He was killed by the Joker, as Death in the Family was still canon.  He returned from the dead, just as he had pre-Flashpoint.  However, we could no longer blame Superboy-Prime’s super punches for bringing him back from the dead.  Now it was some other kind of thing that brought him back.  He was now starring in his own title working with Arsenal and Starfire, and I’ll talk more about that when I cover the Titans.

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Robin III/Red Robin–Probably one of the things that irked me the most.  Tim Drake had never, ever been Robin.  His wonderful storyarc from the 1990s was no longer canon.  In fact, most of the 1990s stories were the biggest casualty of the New 52 reboot.  Tim Drake was now appearing as a new hero called Red Robin who was leading a brand new team called the Teen Titans that had never previously existed.

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Robin IV/Spoiler–As Tim Drake’s history was erased in the reboot, we lost poor Stephanie to comic book limbo.

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Robin V/Damien Wayne–Damien was the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul who had been introduced just prior to Flashpoint.  His story was almost exactly the same in the reboot.  Lucky him.

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Batgirl–Another tragedy, in my opinion, though her reboot series was wildly loved.  So Barbara had still been Oracle, but only for a very short period of time.  Her legs healed.  She wasn’t paralyzed.  And then she returned to being Batgirl.  Because of the reboot’s compressed time, Batgirl was much younger now, which I guess was part of the appeal.  The New 52 was about taking all the most memorable moments of DC history (memorable to the general public, not to comics fans), and then creating a new universe around that.  So since the general public remembered Yvonne Craig as Batgirl, and not Oracle, that’s what DC did.  Apparently, DC was dying, and so they though they could bring in new audiences by attracting people who don’t read comics.

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Batwoman–This is basically the same Batwoman who was introduced in 52, who was a reboot of the silver age character.  She was now in her own title, and her hook was being one of the first lesbian characters in a more diverse DCU.  Not that there’s anything wrong with having diversity in comics.  But DC did it in a very forced, “Look, we’ve got gays and Muslims” way that was very tacky.

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Catwoman–She got a new title in the reboot.  Her character didn’t really change at all.

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Harley Quinn–She didn’t change much either.  But she got her own title, because in case you haven’t been to a con lately, Harley’s kind of popular.

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The Huntress–Well, this is a complicated one that should wait until I cover the New 52’s Earth-2.

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So while I’m on characters who they tried to continue without rebooting, while at the same time gutting the back story, next time I’ll talk Green Lantern.

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