JIM DOOM: Well, Doom DeLuise, welcome back. It’s been a while since our last podcast.
I actually didn’t even test out these microphones to see if they still work.
Is mine working?
I said is mine working?
Is mine working?
Is my microphone working?
Is my microphone working?
It’s been in a box.
DOOM DeLUISE: Oh hey, sorry, I was spacing off.
JIM DOOM: Hello?
Is it working?
DOOM DeLUISE: Yes, it’s working.
JIM DOOM: Is my microphone working?
DOOM DeLUISE: [BLEEP], is mine?
JIM DOOM: Oh oops, my headphones were unplugged.
DOOM DeLUISE: Is my microphone working?
JIM DOOM: Yours is working.
DOOM DeLUISE: Yes.
JIM DOOM: Are your headphones plugged in?
DOOM DeLUISE: So comics!
JIM DOOM: Remind me to edit this out before I post it.
[SFX: entrance music fades in]
JIM DOOM: Well hello! Welcome back to the Doomkopf podcast! It’s been a while since our last one — more than two years!
Jesus, is that right? May, 2009?
Remind me to edit that out.
This week the last issue of Flashpoint came out, which we’ll call “Number 5” for the sake of this discussion.
Before we get into any of the New 52 business, what were your thoughts on that?
And let’s take the series as a whole or this particular issue — your choice.
DOOM DeLUISE: I thought that whole series was a big snooze-fest. This issue on its own at least features some emotional stuff — in particular, the note from Batman’s dead dad — that I thought worked well. But, yeah, overall, I’m not sure I see the point in Flashpoint.
JIM DOOM: I don’t know much about the Flash, so I don’t know what history is or isn’t revised, but did this storyline basically begin in Flash: Rebirth?
I don’t remember much of that story because it was so lame, but I seem to recall something about saving his mom from being murdered.
Maybe I don’t like Flash stories because they’re always drawn by my least favorite artists – Ethan Van Sciver, Andy Kubert … maybe John Romita, Jr. could take the next one!
DOOM DeLUISE: Yeah, that’s right. So, yeah, the emotional release for Barry Allen to finally let his mom go works really well here, but it doesn’t say anything else about anything that’ll be changed by the series. Which, if that’s the only change, just reverts things back to the way they were before Rebirth.
JIM DOOM: How did Flashpoint begin? I don’t even remember. Did Barry just wake up one day and the world was different?
DOOM DeLUISE: I think so. I can’t remember either, and it was only a few months ago.
JIM DOOM: Well, the issue of how things changed gets to my next question.
My understanding of this issue was that we had a Crisis-like incident where the DC Universe — which had recently been re-splintered into a multiverse, I think — the Wildstorm Universe, and the Vertigo Universe were merged into one new universe, which I assume is the justification for the New 52 reboot.
Except Swamp Thing and Animal Man, shown as part of their own universe in that two-page spread, have recently been in the regular DC Universe, and the Batman that Flash talks to at the end appears to be the regular old Batman that we know.
DOOM DeLUISE: Is that what happened? I thought that was already happening a little at the end of Brightest Day… ok, yeah, so now it’s all part of the same universe? So the 52 universes of the multiverse will all be one now?
JIM DOOM: I really don’t know. But you know how when Barry is running back to the present, he passes the mainstream DCU, the Vertigo Universe and the Wildstorm Universe, and he says “I see three timelines…” and that hooded lady says “The timelines must become one again … you can help me fix that.”
But if he merged the universes and created the New DC Universe, why was his regular old Batman hanging around? Shouldn’t he have encountered new Batman, who would have been almost as awkward as Daddy Flashpoint Batman, since they have different backgrounds?
Or backstories, I guess maybe is the better way of saying it.
Or wait, now that I look closer — I think maybe that is New 52 Batman.
I lose track of what Batman Inc.’s Batman costume looks like versus New 52 Batman’s costume.
And maybe there is a clue — Batman says ‘But now everything’s back to “normal”?’ and Barry says “As far as I can tell.”
DOOM DeLUISE: So how does Batman know Barry Allen if Barry Allen just arrived in that timeline?
JIM DOOM: I doubt it’s that Barry just arrived in that timeline, and more that Barry’s consciousness just arrived in that timeline, if that distinction makes any sense.
But either way, I’m still not sure he arrived in the New DCU versus the one he left.
DOOM DeLUISE: Ok. Yeah, that’s confusing. For trying to create a new jumping-on point for readers, that seems awfully convoluted.
JIM DOOM: Well did you look at the free book DC put out that promotes the New 52 books?
Some of these characters seem completely rebooted, but others carry on directly from where their books have been going.
And some — like Superman — seem to be doing one in one book and the other in the other.
DOOM DeLUISE: Yeah, Superman has, like, three different costumes, depending on the books.
JIM DOOM: Action Comics, for example, looks like Superman being reintroduced, and Superman looks like Superman just being Superman.
DOOM DeLUISE: In jeans!
JIM DOOM: And I can’t believe they let Tony Daniel write the new Detective Comics. They’re rebuilding Batman! Get someone with an imagination and / or writing abilities!
This isn’t the time to tread water with Tony Daniel!
Plus they’ve rebooted Batman for new readers, and who’s Robin? DAMIAN! So the reboot carried along all of that continuity baggage. What was the point?
DOOM DeLUISE: Speaking of pointlessness, did you see Dick Grayson is back to being Nightwing?
JIM DOOM: You know, I saw that, but the significance of it didn’t even register.
Well and Jason Todd is already the Red Hood. So really, I’m stumped as to what the point of all of this is.
I don’t know why, but I guess I just figured if they were rebooting the DC Universe for the sake of making it easier to hop on board, we’d go back to Bruce and Dick.
But now instead of distilling the characters to their original continuity-free cores, they’ve taken the worst of both worlds — they’ve tied them down with continuity — which will be tough for the new readers — while detaching them to a degree from the significance of that continuity — which is a knock on the old readers.
And Geoff Johns says that Green Lantern #1 is “…building off the Green Lantern stories I’ve done since ‘Rebirth,'” which means it ties in to what was happening in the pre-Flashpoint DCU.
DOOM DeLUISE: Yeah, reading Justice League #1, which is a weird jumping-on point, since it’s set five years ago, I just kept thinking little things like, “Wait, so did Blackest Night happen?”
Did Darkseid die in Final Crisis still? I’m not sure why they’re rebooting the universe if so many things are going to be hold-overs, but, then, I don’t understand how they’re going to pick and choose what holds over and what doesn’t.
It seems unnecessarily complicated.
JIM DOOM: Totally. Like when Grant Morrison would pick and choose what continuity was important for Final Crisis.
But let’s talk about Justice League #1.
DOOM DeLUISE: I thought it was pretty to look at. I’ve always been a sucker for Jim Lee, and I like how he’s the only artist anymore that makes constructs for Hal Jordan’s ring.
Everyone else treats it like a laser ring.
But ending it with the tease that Batman and Superman are going to fight seems silly. Was there any provocation for Superman wanting to fight Green Lantern and Batman, or is this new Superman just a [BLEEP]?
Or, more cynically, is this just a gimmick, since people enjoy it when Batman fights Superman?
JIM DOOM: I don’t know, but that gets to something that really bothered me about this issue.
Geoff Johns can be a really really good writer because he nails those human moments, those little tearjerking things like Batman reading the note.
He’s so good when he’s writing superheroes as people.
DOOM DeLUISE: Is your microphone working?
JIM DOOM: But he struggles when it feels like he’s writing categories of people. Like in JSA, when he’d try to write teenagers. Or in this issue, where Hal isn’t really a person, he’s just Cocky Dimwit.
I felt the same about Batman, and who knows about Superman. Maybe they are teasing a fight. Or maybe Superman is just “Powerful Guy.”
DOOM DeLUISE: Yeah, Green Lantern was Cocky Dimwit and Batman was Smart [BLEEP]head.
JIM DOOM: And I dig Jim Lee’s art too, and I think he’s absolutely perfect for books like this, but all I could think when reading this was “How on earth are they going to keep this book on schedule?”
DOOM DeLUISE: Considering the last time I read anything drawn by Jim Lee, he couldn’t keep up and they eventually just pretended they were never making it, you make a good point.
JIM DOOM: I don’t know, man. I thought The New 52 seemed like a dumb idea, but I definitely kept the door open to enjoying it, because I figured there was a decent chance they’d surprise me and it’d be fun.
But so far this just seems like a mess. Like we’re reading All-Star JLA.
Did you notice that Cyborg’s high school football game was between Ford and Mumford?
I wonder if Buford had a bye week.
DOOM DeLUISE: Yeah, I did notice that.
JIM DOOM: or maybe they played Redford.
Is my microphone working?
DOOM DeLUISE: or … Ford.
I wasn’t disappointed by the issue, because it’s just a first issue, and I’ll give them a chance to get their stuff together, but, as far as first issues go, this one was pretty, well, boring. I swear that little insect thing blew up, like, twenty times, too, which made it hard to care about their fight with that.
Which was the majority of the issue.
JIM DOOM: Oh I forgot what I hated most about it.
DOOM DeLUISE: Is that a band?
JIM DOOM: Dear God, of all the ways to introduce the rebooted superhero team in your relaunched, new-reader-friendly DC Universe, you do it in a battle with extra-dimensional Kirbykrap Darkseid?!
You probably couldn’t tell from listening, but I spelled “krap” with a “K” so it would match with “Kirby.”
DOOM DeLUISE: Oh, no, I couldn’t tell. Nice touch.
JIM DOOM: Anyway, I was really hoping that Final Crisis would be the end of all that.
DOOM DeLUISE: Well, this is 5 years in the past. Did Darkseid still get killed by a God Bullet in this universe? I hope they explain that so the new readers will understand that Darkseid was killed by a God Bullet that Batman shot him with after taking it from the corpse of Darkseid’s son Orion, who was previously prophesied to murder his father.
[more audience laughter]
JIM DOOM: Do you have anything more to say about this issue?
DOOM DeLUISE: Nope.
JIM DOOM: Because I have a fun idea for a game.
DOOM DeLUISE: What’s that?
JIM DOOM: Hold on, I need to flip over the tape.
Join us again tomorrow for part two of the podcast transcript!