I’ve been collecting comics since 1997. I started off with Superman when he turned that electic blue thing and have carried on with him to this day. Over the years I have added and dropped titles from that list, but Superman has always been the constant. Having Superman as my main comicbook meant that I tended to get dragged into the larger DC Universe stories as well. Being a member of the Justice Leauge, and one third of The Trinity in DC (the other two being Wonder Woman and Batman) meant that DC made sure Superman was in those universe-altering stories so I would keep buying them. And like a sucker, I did.
Almost 3 years ago, right before the New 52 Universe was launched, I lamented to a friend that I was growing tired of DC’s attempts to do these massive changes in the universe in what appeared to be less and less well thought out storylines.
In the 16 years I had been collecting comics it seemed that DC had an event that you HAD TO COLLECT almost every other year. And like a sucker, I did.
Infinite Crisis (published between 2005-2006) was a mediocre story that I still am unsure about to this day. It required a lot of wikipedia work to go back over who a lot of these characters that I was utterly unfamiliar with where, and to this day the only thing it really did was revive the multiverse that had been killed off years before.
Some of the older guys at the comics store I frequent were excited to see characters from their childhood brought back for a series. It was great seeing Alexander Luthor, Superboy Prime, Superman and Lois from Earth-2. These characters that were a relative footnote in a history I dind’t really know, and didn’t have any real bareing on the stories I had been reading to date.
But suddenly we were in a new universe, or rather in one-of-many universes, where anything was possible. For me the best Superman story I think I’ve ever read was written in this time peirod. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank created Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes arc which had Superman brought to the futre, depowered, and still more powerful than any weapon on the earth. It felt like anything was possible at this time.
Well that is until 2 years later.
See 2 years later DC released Final Crisis (published 2008-2009), a series that made very little sense having had characters that I had trouble even Googling, let alone caring about, and a story that I struggled through each issue. Many comic fans will probably remember 2 things:
And again…like a sucker…
I still collected my Superman books, though. And while I was still enjoying them for the most part, I found that I was flicking through them more than reading them. I was still entertained to an extent, but not as much. But then things really changed.
In 2011 DC launched yet another massive world changer, only this one really did change things. I had missed the first few issues of Flashpoint because it was a Flash story and so I didn’t pay that much attention to it. Then I found out that it was going to be basis of a new world for DC. That they were starting from scratch, and it was going to be a brand new day.
I should say that Flashpoint was a genuinely good story. From a comic and hero perspective it played on a lot of great ideas, and I really think that it’s worth reading in trade format.
But the result of Flashpoint was The New 52, or DCnU (DC new Universe), which landed with thud amongst long time collectors like myself. First, some of the characters, like Superman and the Super universe got reset, but other characters did not. Which made for some interesting discussion when you were trying to figure out which stories were part of the universe and which weren’t. (How can No Mans Land not be part of Batman? That was awesome)
Over the 2 years since Flashpoint I have grown more and more frustrated with the writing of Superman. Once described as The Big Blue Boyscout of DC he had become less and less interesting. The stories got worse, and seemed to lack any direction at all. He had gone from a strong leader to more of what felt like a sidelined character. Someone just there, in the background, doing stuff, but nothing really important.
But then there was a glimar of hope: Convergence. I had no idea what it was, other than yet another world changing storyline, but I had hoped that we were going to see a return to the Superman that I knew.
It started out somewhat promising. All these other universes had been brought together by Braniac, and left on this planet. The guardian of the planet decided to have them all fight to see which timeline would survive and be dominant.
Granted this wasn’t the strongest of storylines, but if it got what I wanted out of it I’d be happy.
As I read through each issue though, what seemed clear was that there was no real story here.
Each week begs the question as to why this series had to exist or how Convergence warrants 9 issues. This is outside the idea of multiple weeks of sales. With many readers confused and overwhelmed by the event, issue #5 will do nothing to squash their reserve. Save your money and your time.
-Zac Thompson for Bloody Disgusting’s review of book 5
Zac was exactly right, but what’s sad is that first sentence could have been written for each book after book one. But like a sucker I kept collecting.
In issue 7 I finally saw him, at least I’m guessing it was him. My Superman, the Big Blue Boyscout. Older than the current guy, in the old spandex costume rather than the one that looks like battle armour. He seemed imposing yet approchable the way Superman should look.
Maybe there would be something good that came out of this giant mess of a story. Maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with a Sueprman that felt less and less like the hero he was supposed to be.
That’s not what happened. Convergence ended by bringing back the multiverse yet again, and nothing else really. I can’t honestly even tell you what the overal universal ramifications are for The New 52. They just decided to change the universe for no apparent reason. Convergence really didn’t have any actual effect on the planet the editors just decided to change everything.
So I went back to start reading my post Convergence Superman stories and I’ve found that Superman has actually gottne worse. Now his identity is out, though we haven’t actually seen that happen because…that’s the way they’re telling this. He’s got less power than before…again we’re not exaclty sure what’s going on. He’s been kicked out of the Fortress of Solitude which if you didn’t see the sneak peak issue you kind of missed that entire thing so he’s in the Arctic for no real reason.
This whole thing is my way of saying that I think I may be done. After all these years, and after everything… It wasn’t Doomsday that killed Superman, it was DC Comics.