DiDio’s Plans For The Post-Final Crisis DCU

Batman Battle for the Cowl

Normally, I stick to simply reviewing and critiquing comic books. And, this week I did not get to even publish my normal four to five reviews. But, I have a good reason for that as I am working on something new and special for The Revolution. Hopefully, we will be able to unveil it in a week or so.

At any rate, I felt compelled to publish my take on some news from a few interviews with Dan DiDio and two rumors connected with the scatter-brained EIC of DC. The LA Times blog, Hero Complex, posted a a great interview with Dan DiDio. It appears that DiDio is intent on “shaking” things up in the DCU in the wake of Final Crisis.

DiDio confirmed that DC will be bringing back Adventure Comics and it will be done so with a new No. 1 issue. DiDio hinted that the new Adventure Comics will star a variety of characters including the Legion of Super Heroes. I have to say that my initial reaction to this news is less than positive. It seems that the Legion is going to regress even further as they have been stripped of their own title and are now forced back into appearing in Adventure Comics as a running side-story.

As a long-time Legion fan, it is so depressing to see the Legion once again becoming the unloved and unwanted stepchild of the DCU. The Legion had grown and evolved so much. They broke out of Adventure Comics and Superboy’s title to finally get their name on the cover as Superboy was re-titled Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes. Then the Legion finally attained their very own title after decades of being featured in Adventure Comics and Superboy. I hate to see the Legion regressing in such a fashion. Despite DiDio’s claims that DC has huge things planned for the Legion, I remain utterly unconvinced.

DiDio also addressed the future of the Batman universe. Now, it is not any breaking news that Birds of Prey, Robin and Nightwing are all getting cancelled in February. This will clear the path for the Battle for the Cowl which starts in March. Evidently, DiDio is billing this as a brand new beginning for the Batman universe.

There was also the confusion over who will be writing the Battle for the Cowl. Morrison has denied that he will be writing it. It was then rumored that Winick would be the writer. However, DiDio finally came out on Newsarama and announced that Tony Daniel would be writing and drawing the Battle for the Cowl.

Now, I love Daniel as an artist, but I never knew that he was a writer as well. Has Daniel ever written anything before? I have extreme reservations about DiDio tapping a relatively unknown and untested writer in Daniel to handle such a huge event in the Battle for the Cowl that DiDio has stated will outline the future for the Batman universe. I would have thought that DiDio would have wanted a big name writer to handle this important task.

Personally, I am less than optimistic about the direction of the Batman franchise. Batman is pretty much the only DC franchise that consistently performs well in the monthly sales charts. And I believe that if something ain’t broke then you don’t fix it. DiDio would have been better served tinkering with other parts of the DCU other than his one sales monster in the Batman franchise.

I also find this move of having Bruce Wayne walk away from being Batman to be unoriginal and a bit of a ret-tread story. We already saw Bruce Wayne walk away from being Batman after Bane broke his back. Having to see Bruce Wayne walk away again even if it is for a totally different reason just does not interest me that much. I will probably take this opportunity to join Bruce Wayne in taking a break from Batman. I will twiddle my thumbs patiently for the inevitable “dramatic” return of Bruce Wayne as the Batman probably in two years or so.

DiDio then turned his attention to Superman and revealed that Superman will not longer star in Action Comics. As a fan of comic book history, I must admit that I loathe the idea of anyone else starring in Action Comics other than Superman. Superman has been the star of Action Comics since the beginning with the only exception being when Superman was “dead.” Having said that, I am willing to reserve judgment on this move until I learn exactly who will be writing the title and what character(s) will be starring in Action Comics.

DiDio continues by stating that Superman would continue to appear in Superman. DiDio also said that Superman is going to be leaving Earth for what appears to be for good. DiDio plans on have Superman showcase Superman’s adventures in space instead of on Earth. At first blush, I have to say that I hate this idea. Again, DC is reaching into the past to recycle another story. We already saw Superman’s adventures in space during the Exiled in Space story that began in 1989. I have no desire to read this recycled story.

Also, part of what makes Superman so interesting to me is the wonderful supporting cast. And that is why I have enjoyed Johns’ run on Action Comics so much since he has made a concerted effort to give plenty of panel time to the great supporting cast that Superman is blessed with.

Now, let’s couple this news with the the rumor from Lying in the Gutters over on CBR that “Morrison is not the only person having difficulties with DiDio’s direction. I understand that James Robinson and Dan had a stand up argument that led to Robinson quitting the Superman books and the DCU in general.”

I find the combination of this news of the direction of Action Comics and Superman coupled with the rumor of Robinson disagreeing with DiDio’s direction and quitting Superman and the DCU in general to be incredibly distressing. Robinson is a fantastic writer and I have enjoyed his work on Superman immensely. And I was greatly looking forward to Robinson returning the JLA back to greatness in the new Justice League title.

I found all of the news from DiDio concerning the “exciting” and “new” direction of the post Final Crisis DCU to be massively underwhelming. All these “new” ideas from DiDio are nothing more than older themes recycled with a different spin on them. I am concerned that the Legion of Super Heroes, Batman and Superman will all begin to regress under DiDio’s direction.

Now, let’s address another rumor that I found incredibly distressing if it is in fact true. Lying in the Gutters posted a yellow light rumor that the last issue of “Final Crisis” is further delayed as it is suffering from serious rewrites. Evidently, DiDio was unhappy with the way the story concluded and the implications for the DCU.

DiDio ordered changed from Grant Morrison, who was obviously angry over such orders. Especially since it is being reported that Morrison clearly included the ending for Final Crisis when he wrote the pitch for the book.

The rumor continues that as a result of this re-write that the creative teams working on a number of spinoff and affected books have also had to stop work while the “Final Crisis” ending is reworked. Lying in the Gutters warns for readers to expect more lateness in the Final Crisis event as well as the possibility that Morrison may not be doing any work on the DCU in the near future.

Now, it must be kept in mind that this is a yellow light rumor. Having said that, if this rumor is true then I am completely stunned and flabbergasted over DiDio’s latest gaffe. How in the world can an EIC be so unprofessional? DiDio knew how Morrison wanted to end Final Crisis before DC green-lighted the title. And if DiDio wants to claim that he did not know then he should be fired immediately. An EIC should never green-light a massive event like Final Crisis and not be privy to how the event is going to end.

DiDio wanting Morrison to re-write the ending to Final Crisis merely emphasizes what we have long known about Didio. The man runs around like a chicken with its head cut off. DiDio constantly changes his mind. DiDio is always flip-flopping and overreacting to criticism.

An Editor-In-Chief needs to have a strong commitment to his decisions and a coherent vision of the future. DiDio posses none of these abilities. DiDio’s weaknesses as an EIC are a large reason why DC continued to gets absolutely thrashed by Marvel in the monthly sales charts.

It is incredibly alarming that DiDio would order a re-write of the ending for Final Crisis. After green-lighting Final Crisis, DiDio should have lived with his decision and trusted Morrison to do his job. Last minute re-writes usually are a bad sign and lead to a butchered story. I feel bad for Morrison and wish that he would be able to tell his story free of DiDio’s manhandling.

I was enjoying Final Crisis. At this point, if it is going to be delayed and re-written then my interest and enthusiasm for Final Crisis is going to be completely killed.

I am also inclined to blame DiDio for DC’s current problems given the evidence of all the blow-ups between DiDio and DC’s talent. When I first heard of DiDio having a blow-up with Shooter, I took into consideration that Shooter has a bad temper and a reputation as a rough person to deal with. Then we get the news of DiDio and Morrison clashing. I kept in mind that Morrison can be a difficult person to deal with.

Now we get news of DiDio clashing with Robinson. You know, at some point DiDio has to take the blame for all of these disagreements. I have to look at the common denominator in all these blow-ups and that is Dan DiDio. Clearly, DiDio does not know how to properly handle or interact with DC’s talent. And that is a fatal flaw for an EIC.

Didio is making it extremely difficult for me to be a fan of DC Comics. DiDio seems to have a lack of creative and original ideas as it appears that DiDio’s idea for a “new” and “different” future involves recycling older story concepts. And DiDio’s inability to work with talent will only continue to harm DC. I will openly admit my bias in that I am a fan of Shooter, Morrison and Robinson. Having said that, I do not think that DC can continue to alienate writers of that quality and pedigree and still expect to be competitive with Marvel each and every month.

19 Comments

  1. Great commentary and I couldn’t agree more. I am just getting angry with the direction of the DCU and the way he has treated his creators and changes his mind every five seconds. And it is not just Morrison, Robinson, and Shooter – You’re forgetting Chuck Dixon, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid have all made public their disputes with Didio.

    The worst of all is he never admits his mistakes, in a recent interview at Newsarama he said it was the plan to bring back Barry Allen all along – that is a blatant lie to his fans and the readers as Waid has stated that the whole thing with the Flash was just him changing his mind all the time.

  2. Huh. This is the first place I have heard about this. Dark days for DC. Hopefully Morrison will continue to write for Vertigo.

  3. I think that there must some power struggle between Johns and Morrison, and that Johns is favored. You can see that through DC’s publications right now. Final Crisis is supposed to be a main event, but it is more closed to an Elseworlds story. On the other side has three major story arcs in every book he writes and an actual main event to be published. In my opinion Didio is just to afraid to deal with the outcome of the Final Crisis as was initially written by Morrison so he will probably force the Crisis into having no effect on the DCU. Concerning the Battle of the Cowl, probably it will leave a bad taste when it ends.Since Morrison isn’t writing it sure will be something unoriginal.

  4. Tony S. Daniel apparently wrote a shitload of The Tenth ages ago. It was a minor success for image.

    I don’t really don’t think he’s untested or unknown as you are making him sound. Tony’s been drawing long enough to have a general idea of how a comic book works. I don’t know if he’s going to be great, but don’t make it sound like he’s hired some bum off the street.

  5. I would imagine the Superman ideas came from Johns and Robinson not Didio.

    And frankly I. as a reader, am not going to worry about the rumor unless they are actually verified.

    It wasn’t too long ago that we were all absolutely sure that Jimmy Palmiotti would be EiC and the end of the month.

  6. Are you kidding me? Taking Superman out of Action Comics? Come on! That’s almost sacreligious. Also, I agree that his plans for the Batman universe sound terrible. “Battle for the cowl” just sounds awful. Cancelling all those titles just doesn’t make sense. They need to focus on just telling good stories rather than shaking up the universe like this. Ugh!

  7. Well said Rokk. This kind of stuff just makes me more and more cynical about modern corporate comics …

    Plus Superman not starring in Action – if that is indeed what will result – is just plain stupid.

  8. While i completely agree that didio’s direction of the DC universe is really misdirected, i cant help but celebrate at the thought of Morrison not writing my favorite DC heroes. He is overrated and has done the almost impossible task of making me hate CRAZY/INSANE batman and making the meh new gods lame.

  9. Both “Action” and “Adventure” would seem to indicate DC is making a major bid revive the anthology title; that dog hasn’t caught a rabbit in a couple of decades (Marvel’s most recent attempt, a new run of “Marvel Comics Presents”, died after completing its initial arc), so I’ll be interested to see how that goes. At least in the case of “Action”, the high numbering will probably give it a decent baseline audience to work from, though I’m really not sure what would convince them that that would be more worthwhile than having Superman in it.

    The story directions don’t grab me at all; particularly in the case of the Bat-books, seems like a whole lot of shaking up something that was working well.

  10. Honestly, I don’t understand why DC is messing with Batman. With The Dark Knight’s release last summer, Batman is as popular as ever. To me, now would be the perfect time to elict new readers who were interested by the movie by writing solid Batman stories, but instead DC is totally destroying the Batman Universe. I just don’t get it, but it won’t last…I’m also kinda upset about Barry Allen’s return. I know he was this great superhero, but the only Flash I’ve ever known was Wally, and I’m a little upset that Barry is edging him out.

  11. It’ll be a real tragedy if DC undo the good they’ve been doing.
    Cohesive consideration has been a big part of that, I think, but there’s been a sense of experimentation that’s enfused their books with a new sense of excitement.

    Committing to “promises” [changes] that can’t be kept threatens to repeat the mistakes of the past, but if any consideration is there, Didio’s shake-up could be a landmark occasion for the company.

    It would be a real shame to lose Morrison, (and others), in that type of atmopshere, though.

  12. I actually would think more of Final Crisis if it was an Elseworlds story, and I’m not a big fan of bringing Kingdom Come so close to “real” DCU continuity.

    The job of mainstream books and heroes is to be the bright, shiny victors over the darkest adversaries. Let evil win, whether it be internal evil or the Anti-Life Equation, in a setting outside of what it comments upon. If perhaps heroes fail, if they are more trouble than they’re worth, explore that possibility in independent books, or clearly non-canon stories. The Watchmen could not have been done with DC’s trinity, it had to be done “from the outside”, so to speak.

    The writers of Mad Magazine probably came up with a hilarious parody of Schindler’s List, but that isn’t how the movie should have originally been made.

    Seems to me that too much of the “post-modern, post-hero” approach we’ve seen in much of DC belongs on the outside, looking in. Destroy the mainstream itself, and what do you have left?

  13. Rokk, I think you are dead on with your assessment that Didio is the common denominator in many of these problems. I don’t know about the alleged power struggles between Johns and Morrison, or if there is such a thing, but Johns definitely seems to be the golden boy AND he is doing some very good stuff, although I’m not sure about the Superman/LSH directions – Green Lantern is going great guns, though.

    My first impression of the Action, Adventure, and Batman changes is: ewww. Yuck.

    With all of the confusion, etc. coming from Countdown to Infinite Crisis onward, despite the good bits that have appeared, I’d almost be happier with a simplification (of sorts) whereby the old multiverse concept comes back, you have separate Earths that roughly correspond to Earth 1, 2, 3, etc. (which some books i.e. JSA seem to imply are still around) and then SIMPLIFY things as much as possible while allowing the occasional crossover.

    And get a new EIC for DC.

  14. What would you reaction to the Superman/Action Comics news and the Adventure Comics new if Geoff Johns was the first person to announce this?

    BTW, according to the Superman Homepage, Matt Idelson says Robinson is no going anywhere.

  15. I’m with you on your sentiments about DCU, Rokk. The current management in DC is acting like a bunch of Enron executives and I seriously think that a regime change is warranted.

    Hearing about delays in Final Crisis and forced changes hearkens back to the old “Armageddon 2001” fiasco where Captain Atom was originally supposed to become Monarch until it was leaked out and then suddenly they changed it so it would be a second-string ex-Titan who goes batty after his partner/girlfriend was murdered by his future self. Pathetic! And then what happens? They change things up AGAIN so that Captain Atom becomes Monarch, fulfilling the pathetic failed prophecy from 1991.

    And it gets even worse…

    Hal Jordan is evil. No, wait, he’s dead. No, wait, he’s the new vessel for the Spectre. No, wait, he really was possessed by some universal embodiment of fear. No, wait, he’s alive again and he’s sharing his job as space sector policeman with John Stewart. Oh, and the grey on his temples that he originally had? That was just that “fear” embodiment.

    Jason Todd is dead. No, wait, he is alive. No, wait, that’s just Clayface. No, wait, he was resurrected when Superbrat-Lame knocked the walls of reality. No, wait, he is Red Robin. No, wait, he’s not. No, wait, he is. No, wait, he was given the costume in an alternate universe before it blows up. No, wait, he was so disgusted by the hero biz that he ditches it in some alley. No, wait, someone else is Red Robin.

    Can someone PLEASE find Superbrat-Lame and have him knock the DCU management? No, wait, he dead. No, wait, the Time Trapper found him and dropped him off in the 31st Century. Hey, wasn’t that guy written out of the canon a while ago? No, wait…

    And then we have Action Comics WITHOUT Superman in it? Superman leaving the planet… FOR GOOD? AGAIN? Whatever happened to that intergalactic conviction where he would have to spend the rest of his life on Earth fighting for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”? This is about as credible as Jimmy Olson going toe-to-toe with Darkseid. No, wait…

    Can someone call up Gsptlsnz in the 5th Dimension and get her to seal off DiDio from the entire DCU please?

    Oh, wait, I know! DiDio must really be a Marvel sleeper agent, slowly destroying the walls of credibility of the DCU until all of the fans desert it for the Mighty Marvel! That explains why Marvel has been bringing in a lot of those Sentry stories and why Wolverine now wears grey and black… No, wait…

  16. ..

    @David2:

    ROFLMAO.

    YOU need to write for DC.

    Funny stuff. It’s FUNNY cause it’s TRUE.

    ..

    @Rok:

    I agree totally. It’s almost as if Tom DeFalco changed his name to Dan Dido and went to work at DC.

    Hmmm….?

    ..

  17. Before anyone blames Didio for the Batman’s uncertain future, It’s was Morrison’s idea to conclude RIP with Bruce abandoning his alter ego. In an Interview with IGN, Morrison revealed that Batman: RIP emerged from two stories, Doctor X (Black Glove) dealing with the ultimate Batman villain and lighter RIP where Bruce would’ve emerged broken but still Batman. After discussing the plot with Dido, Morrison asked if he could kill Batman and the project was green lighted. Even in the wake of Dark Knight, Morrison stands by his decision to replace Bruce Wayne because the film’s success hasn’t improved the sales of any DC title.

    I love Tony Daniels, but he’s renowned for incredibly lateness especially on a team book. Looking back on his tenure in Teen Titans, I can’t remember an arc that didn’t have least one fill in artist. If Daniels is writing and drawing Battle for the Cowl, expect a co-writer or artist halfway through.

    Battle for the Cowl’s rumored to be a bi-weekly, replacing both Dect’ and Batman. I really, can’t see that happening with one person on art and writing.

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