I can’t be the only one who noticed this.
Last week saw DC launched the first full week of their Convergence event, which will feature formerly rebooted timelines squaring off against alternate universes. The initial barrage of 11 books (including the main series, Convergence) brings back the pre-Flashpoint/post-Crisis DCU. And over the course of ten comics, we get to see a more diverse cast of characters than we saw in the New 52 combined.
Okay, that’s hyperbole, but let’s start by looking at the books that came out just on a surface level:
Convergence #1 – Featuring Earth-2 Superman (who’s black) and Earth-2 Green Lantern (who’s gay)
Convergence Batgirl #1 – Starring Stephanie Brown, co-starring Black Bat aka Cassandra Cain, who is both a woman and Asian
Convergence Batman And Robin #1 – Two white dudes, sure, although technically Damien’s grandfather is Arabian
Convergence Harley Quinn #1 – Not just Harley in the lead role, but joined by Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Oh, and Catwoman basically outs Harley and Ivy as a couple.
Convergence Justice League #1 – There’s only one guy on this team and he’s a gorilla, which I think is hilarious.
Convergence Nightwing Oracle #1 – Narrated by Barbara Gordon, who is once again in the wheelchair (and still a bad ass)
Convergence Speed Force #1 – Wally and his kids
Convergence Superman #1 – Superman may be the lead here, but Lois gets an integral new role
Convergence The Atom #1 – Is it a spoiler if it ultimately won’t matter? I don’t want to give away too much.
Convergence The Question #1 – Renee Montoya is a woman, a Latina, and gay. The book also features Huntress and (eventually) Batwoman.
Convergence Titans #1 – This version of the team is made up of Donna Troy, Starfire, and Arsenal.
Let’s do the math on this. Six of these books either star women or feature ensemble which are majority female. That’s six out of eleven, people. Three out of eleven feature gay characters. Five out of eleven feature non-white characters.
Now try to remember what the response to the New 52 was.
DC Comics actually had some diversity within its shared universe, it just didn’t know what to do with it.
So they erased it.
And we got the New 52, with 10 out of 52 books that could generously considered diverse.
How did this happen? How did a single week of pre-Flashpoint comics show us a more diverse DCU than three and a half years of the New 52 or, to be honest, decades of DC history? And without including a Wonder Woman book?
Perhaps it’s Marie Javins, brought in to edit this event while DC’s regular editors take a break to move to the west coast. To a certain extent, it has to be Marie Javins, if only because she was responsible for the total output, output which rendered the entire pre-Flashpoint DC universe into 10 books. The question, then, is who chose these ten titles? And how did the ten that were chosen happen to be the ones that felt the most modern, more modern than the current versions?
It’s not hard to see that part of the impetus behind the books that were chosen was the righting of wrongs. The final page of The Atom rights a very big wrong. The final page of The Titans may fix another. Then there were the titles that DC had to give us or the whole thing would have been pointless. They had to give us Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. They had to give us Barbara Gordon as Oracle. They had to give us Wally West and Donna Troy.
This is where it gets a bit disconcerting, because you begin to see a pattern forming. DC is revisiting the comics that, in some form or another, needed revisiting. These stories feature characters that either left a hole in the modern DCU or needed laid to rest. These comics are only really necessary, these stories are only really the ones that were chosen because DC fucked them up to begin with…and they all happen to feature non-straight, white dudes.
Look at the list. Cassandra Cain was turned into the head of a group of assassins and then stripped of the mantle of Batgirl. Harley Quinn was turned into some disturbing fanboy fantasy. Oracle was miraculously healed, reversing one of the greatest character arcs in comics history. The worst of the bunch was probably The Atom, but I won’t spoil that for you.
So, yes, these were the 10 titles DC chose because these were the titles that needed to be told (plus a Batman book and a Superman book).
Just imagine if DC had given this much thought to these character pre-Flashpoint or, hell, even post.
The bottom line is that DC always had the universe they claimed they wanted, they were just too blind to see it. Maybe that’s what this is. Maybe this isn’t two months of fill-in comics while they move or a final farewell to unceremoniously rebooted characters. Maybe this is DC, at long last, apologizing for decades of screwing it all up.
This isn’t closure for the characters or the fans, it’s closure for DC.
Let’s hope that this time they’ve actually learned from it.