Last year, I made a list of the best and worst DC comics of 2011 and I was thinking of doing that again, but the thing is that I already did another list of the best and worst of the first year of the relaunch and I really feel like there is nothing essential that I can add to either of those lists.
So, I decided on a new list that might be a little more interesting
The Top Ten Best and Worst Retcons of the Relaunch.
I have to admit that I have disliked certain aspects of the relaunch but one of the worst of all is the retcons, some have been good and some have been bad.
I have read mostly all the comics that DC has to offer since the relaunch and a ton of other comics before that, and here I present a list of changes that I really hated in this new Universe
BE WARN, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
TOP 10 WORST RETCONS OF THE NEW 52
10- Jason Todd Trained by Monks.
I really love Jason Todd, I think he is a character with a ton of potential, he is the robin that went bad, it is a classic trope but is very well carried out by Judd Winick on Under the Hood, both on comic form and on the animated movie, its just a great story for the character. But if there is a major problem with this character is that DC Editorial has NO IDEA what to do with him.
Look for example Ed Brubaker's Winter Soldier saga which shows a lot of parallels to Jason's story. The reason why Brubaker had such huge success with that story is because he knew where he was going and where he wanted to go with it. He planned the beginning, the middle and the end. On the other hand with Jason it is very obvious that Winick had a plan and the editorial had another one, and then another one, and another one and another one.
This is the perfect example of bad retconning, just a change that is made because you had no idea where you were suppose to go with it.
Less than a year before the relaunch, DC launched a miniseries: Red Hood: The Lost Days, written by Judd Winick
In this story Judd tells the story of the time between Death in the family and Hush and details how Jason becomes Redhood.
Because of this comic and the animated film that came before it one would expect that the new 52 will have the same origin with a just few revises.
Instead what we have here is that after Jason was revived by Talia Al Ghul, she send him to a temple in order to train and become a super ninja or something.
why? what is the point of making this connection?
Nothing, It just makes no sense to take this path because after all Jason has always been a character that is a street level vigilante, being part of a secret cult that protects the world makes no sense and detracts from his entire backstory.
The reasoning of Jason to train on Lost Days was because when he revived he realized that Bruce's way is wrong. He trains, not to fight evil but to destroy evil and finally take revenge against Bruce for letting the Joker live after his own death. It is a travel of anger and revenge.
If the new origin is made to serve a point then that point is to turn Jason from an antihero to a hero again, but it doesnt work.
DC cannot even decide themselves on his hair color much less if he should be a villain or a hero or an antihero and this is the example of a good idea that turns into nothing for way too many rewrites and to much indisposition,.
9- The Amazons, a Race of Rapists and Murderers.
I have to say that I love Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman, its full with a lot energy and just brilliant ideas all over it, but this is not one of those
Basically the origin of the amazons is thatv they go outside of Themisira every 3 decades or so to have a big orgy and breed the next generation of Amazons, the boys are sold into slavery.
Now, the idea of the entire run of Azzarello is to play with Wonder Woman as it was a Greek Myth, and there are certain myths that can back this up, but there are many different other myths on amazons that dont.
My biggest problem is this: what is the point of doing this?
This just basically vilify the entire race of the Amazons, which maybe would be an interesting aspect to explore, If the Amazons actually do anything in the book, but they dont. They all were turn into snakes in an earlier chp, so this entire theme of just tainting the race doesnt seem to have an end or at least one that can come soon. It is very possible that it will be explored down the line but it still doesnt feel right
The original story of the amazons in WW is basically established as a means of female empowerment. This new origin is basically going 180 on that idea by making them into monsters and savages in all the sense of the word but what is really weak of this retcon is that It has a massive plothole on it and is that Wonder Woman had no idea of this evil backstory.
How is that even possible?
One would assume that if she is an amazon then all amazons should know about their own culture and ergo know this story, and one would expect that her being the princess of the Amazons then she would be the first in line for the next orgy/rape/killing party and would be prepared for that.
so on one side it is a pretty gruesome idea and the fact that it was a secret makes no sense at all
8- NO JL:GL.
Justice League: Generation Lost is one of the finest superhero books I have ever read, it is just a great story with great characters and an impressive villain. Maxwell Lord returns to life and erases his own presence from the entire world but only a selected group of heroes remember him and are able to stop him, it cannot have more basic of a premise but its execution is just masterful and the story ends with a cliffhanger:
Who wouldnt get hype after that
Unless the entire storyline lead to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
Justice League International is by far the most disappointing title of the New 52. it just destroys all that character development achieved in the span of years. Characters like Booster Gold who over the course 5-6 years build himself up into an amazing hero and all that experience is gone as well as the developments Ice, Fire and Red Rocket who are just left behind and unceremoniously removed from the book after 5 issues. All the relationships between them just gone.
It is just a real shame, so much potential, so many possibilities and all gone
7- Green Arrow's Guilt Trip.
Green Arrow is just like JLI, one of those properties that got the treatment of a 100% reboot. The result left a lot to be desire and personally I detest the character now. He seems to have lost every single thing that made him interesting in the first place but for me the worst part is his new origin.
Everyone who knows GA knows his origin. He is a jerk, he ends up in an island and he becomes less of a jerk and decides to be a hero.
It is very simple but Green Lantern #0 decided to give an extra weight to that origin.
So he has a party in the most inconvenient place possible and then the place is attacked by cyborg pirates and he decides to play hero and gets everyone killed.
I dont really think I need to elaborate here, it is very easy to understand why this fails. He already had a reason to feel guilty and is because he had an easy life, his travel to the island make him a more mature man. it heals him and he doesnt need the guilt of losing his friends because he still has the guilt of being the arrogant jerk he always was.
6- Lobo, A Generic Alien Invader.
Deathstroke by Rob Liefeld was an abomination on the new 52, Hawkman or Grifter had pros and cons of their own but Deathstroke is without a doubt some of the worst that DC can offer and no other character suffer worse than Lobo.
The story itself is just very confusing because it seems to be made by a bunch of entangling ideas that doesnt really connect on anyways.
For example: Lobo was captured for years on earth and then got free and his first idea is to go after the guy who locked him in, but he doesnt do that, instead plans to blow up a bomb that will destroy the entire planet, this 2 arent the same plot, it is not like he is taking revenge by killing humanity, he planned on killing first guy and then he said "forget that, lets destroy Earth".
What is even more confusing is that he is suppose to be The Last Czarnian, and he is refer as the last Czarnian in the comic but he is not the last one because he has a girlfriend who is also Czarnian.
The story is very stupid and the character is just generic and uninteresting and it all ends with Lobo being blew up by a single bomb from Deathstroke. Quite a change for the guy who once fought on par with Atrocious and Solaris.
5- Helena Bertinelli is Dead
No need for details. This one is a real tragedy, I think that World's Finest is a pretty bad comic however I still believe that the idea of Helena Wayne can has the potential for some very interesting stories but Bertinelli was that version of the character that everybody knew, loved and respected.
Helena Berinelli is the Iconic Huntress, by saying that she is effectively gone DC is just saying that this new persona of Helena Wayne has nothing to do with he and therefore they are losing every single fan of Bertinelli with this move.
The Problem is very simple. Why cant we have both?
4- Batman recruits Jason after he catches him stealing drugs.
Redhood and the Outlaws #0 presents a tons of retcons that imply that the Joker was behind every single aspect of Jason's life which makes absolutely no sense, but they can perfectly be explained by as "Unreliable Narrator" since it shows Joker confessing all of this. It felt like a Deadpool comic where he just breaks the 4th wall to tell a joke so it cannot be taken seriously.
However this part is different.
In my mind there are only 3 really important stories in Jason's continuity: How he died, How he returned and How he became Robin. That last one is not something easy to forget or dismiss.
It follows a very funny comic-book logic in which a young kid sees the Batmobile and decide to steal its tires and because of certain circumstances it works.
Winick did a marvelous job with that same funny idea in Batman 645.
This is a good retcon, an easy explanation to how an event happen, it gives it sense and respect.
compare it to the original
and lets also see the same for Nightwing Year One
Its a little different but stealing the Batmovile's is still part of the origin
and now the new origin
It just there.
In the original car sequence, it leaves a mark, not only in the readers but on Batman, here he is just a random thief and Leslie just tells him to not turn him in. Yeah! that's robin material
I just dont get it.
It is not that this particular origin is bad but is uneventful and unmemorable compared with the iconic car theft. It needed to be equal or better and it failed
3- Danny saves Barbara's Life and other retcons on TKJ.
I Love The Killing Joke, its one of the best written batman books, and one of the things that really calls my attention of it is that is compltely solid, there are no holes, it just a terrible event happen, we get a story about that, and there is no questions about it.
In TKJ, Joker shots Barbara and when he leaves a friend of Barb name Collen Reese finds her and calls the police, its just that simple there is no hole, there is nothing to add or subtract from it.
So I really do not get the point of retcon it like this which does nothing but poking holes on TKJ to make a progression in the story.
it tries to be emotional but it is not, we get a throwaway character who means nothing to us to die and get a redemption by death but such redemption accomplishes nothing.
But the worst part is that it just soils the entire idea of Barbara's shooting, she didnt survived, she was saved and by this guy, really? and Why? just because he felt like going against the Joker and call the police for no reason, it makes no sense.
the issue also establishes that Jim Gordon was never in the room when she was shot which that sole fact is just unforgivable, it focuses the entire point of The Killing Joke into Barb getting injured and that just misses the point of the rest story, it literally transforms her injury into a punchline, she was a victim before, but now she is defined Just as a victim, and nothing else.
It is just completely unnecessary, it adds nothing to the story and just makes another story looks worse and made less sense.
That is the definition of a bad retcon.
2- Catwoman's Origin.
Catwoman is a character that has had a ton of different origins for years, personally my favorite one was the Dark Victory origin which makes her into the secret daughter of Carline Falcone.
And then we have Catwoman #0 by Ann Nocenti which pretty much mixes up a ton of origins of Catwoman culminating in the Batman Returns origin.
It really feels like Nocenti had absolutely no sense of originality, that she just couldnt come up with her own idea for Catwoman and had to copy a movie that is not even that good.
It just blows my mind that editor read this and just said "yeah thats ok"
I dont get it, Why would you do that?
This origin worked well in the twisted world of Tim Burton where the Penguin has trained penguins with rockets on their backs but in the new 52 you would expect a serious story.
The origin is not only stupid, it makes the character look bad, it is the origin of a weak minded woman who is a lousy thief and then her motivations change because she thrown off a building and she is licked by cats, It just fails on every possible level.
1- Tim Drake, Never a Robin, Never Tim Drake.
There is a problem with DC editors.
I wouldnt mind if they just get bad ideas and roll with them until those cant roll anymore, but thats not what happens, they get an idea and implement it and then they say "you know what! I have another idea" which contradicts the first one, I have seen people blame Scott Lodbell for this, but Scott Snyder made the exact same "mistake" of calling Tim Drake a former Robin.
The retcon goes like this: because of the idea of the 5 year compression which is suffocating the entire continuity of the new 52 we had to have a very short and compressed period of time in which Tim Drake was Robin and then became Red Robin in no more than 1-2 years however instead of that some high editor of DC snore this LOAD of cocaine and then thought "Hey! what if Tim Drake was just Red Robin all along" and the other guys were like "yeah whateva" but someone either forgot to tell the writers or that coke party was made later so we had panels which name Tim as robin and despite this they all were like "nah, we fix it later"
Im joking, but this is a serious problem the starts at the very top of DC and sends a sh*tstorm raining down all the other books and you can see it in many other books but the main problem of this retcon goes with this:
IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING!
let me explain.
Tim Drake has been Robin for almost 20 years, he is the robin of an entire generation, hell maybe 2 generations. He has been portray in multiple media including the recent Young Justice Cartoon and he is basically the most important figure of the so called 3rd generation heroes, he is the new leader of the Teen Titans and you can bet that when DC relaunched the title they avoided giving him his own title cause they want TT to be that Tim Drake book.
So now this retcon is saying that he wasnt Robin, now i will ask: Why?, but I do know the reason
The reason is very simple, Damian Wayne was Robin and Tim is Red Robin, by making Tim retroactively into Red Robin it tries to boost the presence of the brand of Red Robin as a character
The problem with this is that it doesnt mean anything. Being Red Robin from the beginning accomplishes nothing because he is still a robin, he is still for all practical purposes the same thing, the same first costume, the same interaction with batman, the only difference is the name.
So, if this change will have such a meaningless and almost inconsequential effect...
THEN WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IT?
Red Robin is not just another costume is pinnacle of 20 years of stories. What Nightwing means for Dick Grayson is what Red Robin means for Tim Drake, It is that next step for him where he says "I am no longer robin, I am my own man" by removing that transition you are basically removing all the character development achieve after 20+ years of history and at the same time pissing off the fans of the character because he was Robin for years. For many he is still The Robin and by taking that away from him DC is making him into something lesser, or at least it is giving us the perception that he is less.
The issue of Teen Titans #0 is actually not that bad, it is by no means equal to "A lonely place to die" but is enjoyable and shows a lot of good ideas that makes the new story of Tim Drake work. But retconning his name and his identity just serves absolutely no purpose to anyone otherwise why are Jason Todd and Dick Grayson robins but not him?
DC gains nothing with this and in theory DC lost nothing either but it changes parameters to result in an effect that no one desires.
End of Blog Post
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