DC Comics event could be game-changerWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By the end of summer, the DC Comics universe you know and love could be gone forever. The venerable company has no titles solicited past August, and has reportedly put a gag-order on its creators, having them sign confidentiality agreements regarding what’s to come next. Is it a complete reboot of its 75-year history? A re-setting of the numbering on its entire line? What’s up? One word: “Flashpoint.”
Some longtime DC fans aren’t too thrilled at the prospect of change, which puts the company in the precarious position of freshening its material and risking the alienation of older readers with money to burn. It could be all hype, but DC marketing slogans like “Everything You Know Will Change in a Flash” are hard to ignore. Retailers have already found the unprecedented barrage of “Flashpoint” tie-in titles — almost two dozen at last count — to be something of a strain on their traditional ordering practices. So, for them, the event could be a game-changer … or a flash in the pan.
“‘Flashpoint’ is almost completely built around the last few years’ worth of DC Comics continuity,” said Ed Katschke of Monarch Cards and Comics. “Plot twists and character changes which may present wide-eyed shock to the regular followers of DC Comics are going to be difficult for the ‘civilian’ reader to comprehend. The example I would use is that in the world of ‘Flashpoint,’ Citizen Cold is apparently a great hero, while in the regular DC Universe he is the leader of a group of supervillains. I can’t help but wonder how much impact his change in circumstance is going to have on the casual or new reader.
“‘Flashpoint’ gives us an alternate DC Universe that has been apparently brought to the brink of ruin by its super-human populace. Writer Geoff Johns is usually quite good at incorporating obscure bits of DC history into his stories and this plot is no exception. As a reader myself, I must admit I always think that it’s fun to be dropped into these alternate situations where beloved characters are transformed and warped into new and weird configurations.”
Come fall, those configurations may just prove too alien for some DC fans, threatening a backlash for the company. But, with a shrinking industry and characters burdened with decades of continuity, sometimes chances must be taken when a “Flashpoint” has been reached.