It all sprang with me trying, again, to pin the tail on why I've found DC to be so disappointing. And mentally, I figure I trace the beginnings of my disappointment back to the end of Infinite Crisis. And the conclusion I think I've come to is this: It doesn't feel like we're getting stories out of DC that could only be told after Infinite Crisis.
Maybe it's just my opinion, but I kindof feel that if you're going to have a massive event for the reason of making massive changes to the status quo then you should follow two fairly important rules:
- Have the changes make sense within the context of the story being told.
- Ensure that the stories following the event are impacted in some way by the event.
The two most recent, completed events we have to look at are Infinite Crisis and Civil War. Of the two, I liked Infinite Crisis better as a story. But in a turnaround, I'm of the opinion that Civil War was a more successful crossover in regards to it's effects on the status quo.
The events of Infinite Crisis had Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime conspiring to destroy the DC Universe to form it into something they felt would be better. The feeling was that the DC Universe had be come too dark and grim, losing sight of the good and hopeful outlook DC has traditionally held. The powers that be wanted the DC Universe to be a place for heroes again. And yet take a look at Bard Meltzer's first six issues of Justice League of America... Red Tornado tears Solomon Grundy to bits... on panel, very graphically. On top of that, there were a bunch of other changes made with little explanation or use. We know that Bullock's a cop again, and that Jim Gordon has been called out of retirement as Commissioner. We don't even know why these things are the case really. Or at least, I don't. Continuity gaffes and sloppy fact checking seem to abound in the current DC Universe.
The Marvel Universe is a pretty stark contrast. Civil War was a decent story, and a really nifty idea that felt to me like it was adapted to fit an editorial mandate to shake things up a bit. There's nothing wrong with that... things need to be shaken up now and again. And while I didn't like the story in Civil War as much, and it seemed to me that several of the key players were a fair bit off character... I do have to say that Civil War has had definite impact on the Marvel Universe. And it's an impact that you feel almost everywhere. Every hero in the Marvel Universe had to choose a side, and it's messed with all of their relationships with one another. And, outside of the X-Men books, the stories that I'm reading could not have happened without the Civil War. Spider-Man's a desperate fugitive because of Civil War. The New Avengers are forced to hide and keep a low profile because of Civil War. Iron Man's the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Cap's dead because of Civil War. The Initiative and New Warriors are directly spun out of Civil War. I just feel a lot more energy and excitement in the Marvel Universe coming out of Civil War than I feel at all in the DC Universe.
I was a DC fan first. I want to be a DC fan. But I have to agree with those who say that the DC Universe post-Infinite Crisis just doesn't make as much sense as it should.