Monday 10 April 2017

The Comics Ramble: Young Justice Rebirth

For context: there are rumours out in the wild about the future direction of the DCU now that some of the mysteries of Rebirth are being revealed in the like of Superman Reborn and the upcoming Batman/Flash crossover The Button. Amongst them are the tantalising concepts of Bart Allen returning as part of a speedster themed team book and Tim Drake escaping his current presumed death to lead the Outsiders. Whether this is true or not we'll see. Also, the recent announcement that the Young Justice cartoon would return for its long-awaited third season leads me to ask:

Can the Young Justice kids/third generation Titans get a little of that Rebirth return to form, please?
Of all the characters mangled by the New 52, that particular generation were the worst maimed and for the most part they've just been ignored since Rebirth. Tim Drake, being a Batman mainstay, got back on form pretty quickly. He lost the showgirl wings and returned to being the smartest and most independant Robin in the pages of Deective Comics. Steph Brown and Cass Cain, once written off by a DC editor as the “toxic” Batgirls, have had a massive resurgence since turning up again in the Eternal series. As for the rest of that generation, well...

Bart Allen is now Barr Torr, a mass murderer and part-time amnesiac from an aggressively anti-theist future; Cassie Sandsmark is trapped in a suit of armour that literally tortures her; Superboy is destined to go mad and kill everyone because apparently that's just what happenes to Kryptonian clones now; Solstice was trapped on a horrible future penal colony with Barr Torr but then he returned to the present and I don't think anyone's too sure what happened to her; Mia Dearden, as far as I can tell, no longer exists in any shape or form; nor do Secret, Empress or Arrowette.

As much as people complain about the sexual politics of Red Hood And The Outlaws, to me the absolute platonic example of the New 52 aestethetic is that Teen Titans series. Everything about it was miserable. Every character that survived was transformed into something painful and edgy and somehow more Nineties than the way the characters were written when they were actually created in the Nineties.
I admit, this offends me more than most of the New 52's acts of butchery because that was “my” generation of teen heroes. Peter David's Young Justice and Chuck Dixon's Robin were the first DC comics I ever bought, Geoff Johns' Teen Titans is one of my favourite titles ever and no matter how many Robins DC shoves my way Tim Drake will always be the greatest.

Rebirth is a nostalgia project, something I am usually sceptical of and this is no exception. I am extremely dubious about the idea of introducing the Watchmen characters into the universe they were created to satirise and, as ever, the titles I like the most are the ones that push in new and interesting directions like Simon Baz finally getting his own GL title after six sodding years. Still and all, it would be nice to get a little nostalgia going for what is rapidly becoming DC's “lost generation”.

In a way, I understand it, there isn't much real estate for them to occupyright now. Wally West the younger is Kid Flash, Jon Kent is Superboy and Donna Troy might not be using the Wonder Girl name but she's only just recently returned and they're only just getting into her latest origin story. The first generation of sidekicks is having a hard enough time getting restablished without the their latter day counterparts coming back. Also, as much as all those twice monthly books obscure the fact, we're still very early on in the Rebirth experiment. Its been less than a year and already we've regained married Superman, the Titans are a legacy again, hints have been dropped of the Legion Of Super-Heroes and Justice Society coming back, amongst others.

The thing is, though, that I would like some assurance that the Nineties and early-2000s aren't being left in the dust because those were, at times, good years for DC creatively. Also, not to be too mercenary, but there is a TV series to be marketed here.
And I just miss them. I miss Bart and Cassie and Kon as I knew them, not as the ostentatiously tortured characters the New 52 relaunched them as. Rebirth and its predecessor DCYou brought the fun back to a lot of characters and having this crew back together, especially now the Dick Grayson generation are being treated as experienced veterans again, would definitely fall in line with that.

Plus, pre-Flashpoint Bart is still running around somewhere out there, one of that crossover's lingering plot points that has never been referred to since. Maybe he could jump out of the Speed Force and reawaken some memories. 

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