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Friday, December 16, 2005

Crisis and Multiverse: My opinions

Because I work nights during the school semester, I've much, much time on my hands to do nothing but study for my physical anthropology final (egads, osteology), read comics and babble. So I have a good three entries lined up for this blog. Yay.
I've read lots of folks theories on what's going to happen after the crisis and OYL. They're all very interesting. Many involve the multiverse coming back in some form or another, and having Earth-2 and its characters back.

Personally, I don't think that's going to happen. My theory is that Earth-2 Superman will try to remake the world, like Parallax did in Zero Hour (which I, apparently alone among comic fans actually enjoyed for the most part, yeah, it was chaotic, but it did allow for some valuable cleaning up of the timeline) and then will be ultimately stopped in his tracks. Basically, they can't fix things to make the separate Earths exist, there's too much together here.

For example, the JSA. Many theorize some or all of the JSA will be on Earth-2 when this is all over. (Even though Earth 2 is definitely destroyed). But really, would they? I mean, okay, lets look at the JSA-ers that definitely had Earth-2 counterparts:

Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Wildcat, Sand, Atom-Smasher (who's no longer active). Meanwhile we have Stargirl, Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, who are all legacy sorts who are too new to have counterparts in either world.

Okay, lets take them one at a time. Jay Garrick! A prime choice for Earth-2. Except he's raising Barry Allen's grandson. Would Bart end up Earth-1 like his grandfather? Would they really undo that connection?

Alan Scott? He's got less immediate ties, I admit. But then there's Jade, who was involved with Kyle. Alan's been close to the other GLs, especially Kyle, even if he's not a corpsman. And if Kyle does somehow internalize his power, I imagine a lot of that mentor-student bond will rekindle itself. So no, I don't think Alan would.

Sand and Wildcat have no real familial ties to this universe, but I can't really see what they'd have to gain from an Earth-2 like world. They've both settled so well in this one. I can't see Sand wanting to acclimatize to yet another place, and Wildcat seems to thrive on the chaos and darkness of this one.---

Basically, there is no room in the DCU as it is for a split multiverse as it was. AUs are okay, but limited connection to them is best. Like the CSA universe, or Elseworlds. Make them something special. There are two many characters with ties to both, and since crisis, the heavier emphasis on continuity means that these guys can't be resplit like they once were. And honestly, I can't see them going for it. Besides, it was stupid when they had the Earth-1 and Earth-2 guys crossover so often that they had fucking barbecues. This way, they can have all the guys interact because they're on the same world.

Besides, there are a number of good reasons that Mr. Didio and company won't actually want a re-multiverse. 1st, take it from a relative newbie. The multiverse is incomprehensible. It's fun, but there is no way to make it make sense to a newcomer. Not in a way that doesn't take hours of explanation, and who's going to sit through that, besides me that is?

With Batman Begins's success, and the new Superman movie coming out, not to mention Smallville's continued success, DC has to be anticipating new readers. (Smallville, JLU, Teen Titans brought in quite a few after all). New readers will not understand the multiverse. I'm sorry. They won't. I barely do, and that's with quite a few intelligent, patient people spending hours trying to explain it. They're going to want to keep the DCU relatively newbie friendly, which means one main continuity/world. One Clark Kent (with maybe one insane version from a destroyed alternate dimension, but I doubt he lasts through Crisis), one Bruce Wayne, et cetera. It'd be way too confusing for newbies to have a much older Earth-2 Dick Grayson leading the JSA. (one fan suggestion) Not going to happen.

The other reason is simply realism. Guys, the Crisis of Infinite Earths was in 1985. That's *20* years ago. I was *two* when it happened. And honestly, while I respect you old fogies (:-P) the primary comic fanbase continues to be young people in their late teens, early twenties. Which means that while there's always going to be exceptions, the primary fanbase isn't going to really remember pre-crisis comics very clearly. I'm sorry but it's true. And while undoing the Crisis might make a lot of older fans happy, it very likely would alienate a very good portion of fans my age. The fans that have a good few decades left of expected comic buying.

As valuable as we know that the old-school fans are, do you really think they're going to risk alienating people my age, their primary fanbase, with many more years of buying potential, just to "fix" something that happened twenty years ago for a very vocal minority?
Besides, there's another reason they can't make Earth 1 and 2 again. That "right" world Kal-L is talking about, those morals and values and lightness...

That won't sell comics. Modern comic readers would have no patience with that tone. I'm not saying we can't handle light, look at Formerly Known as the Justice League, we could even handle a few old-fashioned characters, as is evidenced by the popularity of Silver Age Kara in David's Supergirl or the Batsons. But the thing is, these characters are popular because of the anachronism aspect.

Even if you got what you wanted guys, you wouldn't be happy, because it would never be the same. I'm sorry, I really am. But the multiverse as you remember it represents a very specific time in American cultural history. But times have changed, it doesn't fit anymore, and even if some aspects do remain, they're going to revamp to suit today's needs and interests.
I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, and the old-schoolers are right. But I doubt it. So please, please guys, let it go. Read your lovely Silver/Golden Age trade paperbacks, get your illegal downloads or whatever, but please, please accept that the modern age is very probably going to stay as it is.


  • At December 16, 2005 11:06 PM, Blogger Melchior del DariĆ©n said…

    I've been surprised by the vehemence of the "bring back the multi-verse" people who have been posting on various boards. (It seems that many a middle-aged American male had their first comic-crush on Helena Wayne, the Earth-2 Huntress.) It'll be interesting to see how they handle it, if things shake down as you predict.

    I agree that, even in comic books, we kind of have to accept that the world has changed since the Cold War era.

  • At December 16, 2005 11:26 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thank you for replying!

    I can't really blame them. I mean, when you love a character and they're no longer around, that definitely sucks. The Earth 1 and 2 characters definitely had their charms and it is really sad that some of them will never exist in any form.

    Though maybe there's hope. Especially if they do start to allow Bruce/Clark and company to actually age. Maybe it'll be Catwoman that's pregnant. Maybe there'll be a Helena Wayne after all. (I wouldn't be completely adverse to the idea, depending on how it's written, of course). But regardless, she won't be the character the original was, just like the current Kara Zor-El isn't really pre-Crisis Kara.

    Basically, there's really no way everyone can be happy. :-( Which sucks, but I guess that's life.


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