Robot 6

DC’s Crisis crisis: In New DCU, those major events never happened

Crisis on Infinite Earths #5

DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio triggered a minor crisis of his own Saturday when he announced on Facebook that, “after further review, there have been no Crisis events in the New DCU.”

The proclamation sent blogs and message boards into overdrive as fans grappled with the ramifications of no Crises — no Infinite Crisis, no Final Crisis, and no Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 “maxi-series” whose impact was so profound that DC history became defined by “pre-Crisis” and “post-Crisis,” comics’ answer to B.C. and A.D.

But clearly in the universe of the post-Flashpoint New 52 there was a Final Crisis, as Bruce Wayne “died” — or, rather, he was hurled back through time — and was temporarily replaced as Batman by Dick Grayson. There are undoubtedly other loose threads that are best not picked at, but that’s the one that springs immediately to mind. It’s one of the pitfalls of leaving the continuities of some characters, like Batman and Green Lantern, essentially intact, while sending dozens of others back to square one.

Noting the tumult his announcement created, DiDio returned on Sunday with clarification. Sort of: “For those in crisis over Crisis, let me clarify. The topic of Crisis was much discussed among the editors and talent working on The New 52. With so many characters and histories restarting, major events like Crisis are harder to place when they work for some and not for others. (that was one of the problems coming out of the original Crisis). While we are starting aprx five years into our heroes’ lives, we are focused on the characters present and future, and past histories will be revealed as the stories dictate. Yes, there have been “crisis” in our characters lives, but they aren’t exactly the Crisis you read before, they can’t be. Now, what this means for characters seen and unseen…… well, that’s the fun of The New 52, infinite stories, infinite possibilities, with the best yet to come. [...] P.S. that’s the last time I try and answer a Facebook question before rushing out for dinner.”

That should clear things up! Right?

(via DC Women Kicking Ass)

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106 Comments

They REALLY didn’t plan this relaunch out did they? There’s been a very “seat of our pants”ness for an event this large.

Hmm…it always seems that when Didio says “It’ll be fun” or “let’s see what happens,” it means they’re going to half-ass it or just out and out ignore it. Mixing the future and the Silver Age has created more uncomfortable twists and contortions with the Didio DCnU than is fun.

Boy, they should have just gone with a hard reboot instead of trying to pigeonhole certain events into continuity.

I wish someone would just come out and say, “Listen, if you liked the Crises, they happened in some sort of compressed form. If you hated them, they never happened. It’s fictional, we may reference it, we may not, and if you don’t like it, COMICS!”

It’s not a matter of liking them or not. It’s a matter of Batman’s current storylines are all built upon what happened in RIP and Final Crisis in one way or another. So, to say Final Crisis didn’t happen is to say that Grant Morrison’s current run with the character, which is still happening, didn’t happen. Guh?

DC is such a fustercluck. As a new comics reader about 3 years ago, I consciously avoided DC because their continuity was already a mess with all the legacy characters I didn’t care about whose very existence demanded thorough research into their intertwining histories.

Now they’ve taken a confusing, inaccessible mess of a universe and made it even more convoluted.

Time will tell if this “new” DCU appeals to new readers, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that as DC’s pool of mostly mediocre writers starts to expand on the backstories of these characters, they’re going to create more of these problems for all readers, including those who may have thought they were getting in on the ground floor.

If they were going to do this, they should have rebooted all titles, and actually anticipated these questions beforehand. Clearly they are making it up as they go.

They kept Batman INC and the GLC items intact because a lot of work went into those and those were the two most recent major events prior to Flashpoint. The current DCU readers most affected (read invalidated) by Flashpoint would have been the readers most likely to have invested in those events.

Flashpoint would invalidated the books read by most readers, but not as much to those who invested in the most recent events.

Unfortunately, both of those events, Blackest Night/Brightest Day and Return of Bruce Wayne were both based on other major events.

Blackest Night most referenced the original Crisis and Final Crisis (Anti-Monitor and Superboy Prime), the death of Superman (Cyborg Superman) and a host of prior Green Lantern lore.

RoBW referenced Final Crisis and all of Morrison’s prior Batman work.

Certainly, these prior events can be generalized and belittled.

What Blackest Night/Brightest Day really needs from Crisis/Final Crisis are the characters of AntiMonitor and Superboy Prime who could easily be retconned into some sort of parallel earth-type beings and be given some other origin form, as needed. The same with Cyborg Superman – he did not necessarily need to be created from the Death of Superman / Doomsday. He doesn’t really require that.

What RoBW needs is Batman dying and being sent back in time, with a clone body dying in his place, then coming back. This doesn’t require all the events of Final Crisis; for the purposes of Batman, he was just held as a prisoner “somewhere” and cloned, and the person who sent him back and placed the trap in time doesn’t even need to be Darkseid, just some form of placeholder character. Heck, the whole Time Masters side-adventure didn’t even have anything to do with Bruce’s return, no matter how much anyone might want to think it did, but even then the characters used (Superman, GL, Rip Hunter and Booster) were not specific or beholden to any given iteration. You could probably easily replace them with their post-JL, 5-year iterations.

Just my long way of saying these events could be ret-conned simply and easily if needed, but haven’t yet as far as we know.

I just hope this doesn’t screw up Morrison’s final Batman issues too much.

We are approaching the end of THE BEST Batman run ever and Didio has to stick his mustache in and say Final Crisis never happened now. GREAT.

I bet Grant has a lot of rewriting to do…

This sort of thing was inevitable once they decided to avoid a complete reboot.

I keep hearing this complaint: “They REALLY didn’t plan….” Why is going by the “seat of our pants” such a bad thing? Sales are up. Storylines seem cleaner. The writing and art has been great. They are getting their books out on time, instead of taking the artsy approach (take your time, they are going to be collected anyway and you are drawing & writing for trade). They are making plans for those who can’t make deadlines, etc. Plus they are doing all of this while keeping the price down to $2.99. I don’t see why saying 3-6 months ago – “we are going back to square one to save the DC Universe line in this economy” – is such a sign that things aren’t planned. Honestly, writers and artist need more than 3-6 months notice of changes to produce a good story?

Cole Moore Odell

October 3, 2011 at 9:03 am

This isn’t that big of a deal, except for those fans whom DC is self-evidently trying to grow beyond. The reboot is all about looking forward, not about looking back. The stories that “have to” have occurred in order for the new comic in your hands to “make sense”? Just assume they happened in one form or another with the details smudged and don’t worry about it.

This is how serial superhero comics have always worked. Reed and Ben no longer fought in World War 2. Tony Stark no longer got injured in Vietnam. And now, this is a different DC timeline where things like Barbara Gordon getting shot did happen, but the Red Skies and Anti-Monitor did not. Batman went missing for a while, possibly due to Darkseid (or not), possibly lost in time (or not) but either way, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Seriously.

Actually, Cyborg Superman’s origin really has very little to do with The Death of Superman, other than Hank Henshaw appearing as Cyborg Superman there for the first time. So long as you can have a “Fantastic Four gone wrong” story coupled with some remaining Kryptonian technology in one form or another, you can have a Cyborg Superman.

I think Squasha is confusing Blackest Night and Sinestro Corps War. The Anti-Monitor is clearly necessary to both, but more necessary to SCW than BN; fortunately, that story doesn’t particularly require him to be anything other than some sort of threat Sinestro found in the Anti-Matter universe. Unfortunately, the whole Green Lantern relaunch pretty much needs Death of Superman to work; if Superman didn’t die, Mongul and Cyborg Superman wouldn’t have destroyed Coast City, Parallax wouldn’t have possessed Hal, there would be no GL: Rebirth, and thus no Sinestro Corps War. However, I’m not aware of anyone saying Death of Superman didn’t happen; indeed, if it happened only a year or two after his first appearance, when he was at the height of his popularity, the raw emotions that make that story a classic would only be more visceral.

What DC needs to do and accept is that they can have parallel universe characters without having a need for continuity reboots. This reboot, as I understood it, is relatively “soft”. But you can have Crisis without needing confusing continuity and characters jumping from Earth to Earth. Infinite Crisis, less so. But I would think Final Crisis would be pretty much immune to claims of confusing continuity, being as it is the supposed “last” story ABOUT continuity (yeah, that lasted).

But you can have evil Supermen; they’re practically a tradition of Superman. Imagine a team up between Zod, Bizarro, Cyborg, Prime, and Ultraman called “The Conspiracy of the Counterfeit Kryptonians” or something. Time travel, alternate Earths; all of these things are part and parcel of the DC stories. DC shouldn’t be afraid of them; they’re not what makes superhero books impenetrable by themselves. Look at something like Fringe, which delves into all of these issues in a clear, concise manner that nevertheless leaves fans entertained. It’s rebooting the line vs rebooting the continuity that creators need to tread carefully around.

I’m with you, Cole, but I don’t understand why Didio plays into continuity wonks’ worst fears and makes blanket statements like this, which inevitably leads to the Internet cracking in half.

If someone’s really interested in connecting the dots, go ahead and have some fun creating your own theories on how it all fits together. That’s what fans do. But I think DC should move on and focus on telling some good stories, not providing checklists of which TPBs do and don’t “matter” anymore.

+1 @Squashua:

“What RoBW needs is Batman dying and being sent back in time, with a clone body dying in his place, then coming back. This doesn’t require all the events of Final Crisis; for the purposes of Batman, he was just held as a prisoner “somewhere” and cloned, and the person who sent him back and placed the trap in time doesn’t even need to be Darkseid, just some form of placeholder character.”

If only DC actually went to utilize their multiple Earths, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Superman can be on a new Earth-1, while Batman and Green Lantern continue from pre-Flashpoint on Earth-47.

Hopefully, though, this means that the next event, whenever it happens won’t be a story about continuity. That’s where DC’s problems come into play. They turn continuity into a plot point. While it was fine for COIE, it wasn’t needed after that.

“I wish someone would just come out and say, “Listen, if you liked the Crises, they happened in some sort of compressed form. If you hated them, they never happened. It’s fictional, we may reference it, we may not, and if you don’t like it, COMICS!”

Honestly, this is the best way to do it. The old way of doing things was just to not mention it for about a year and let the fans move on. A passing reference on an occasion was fine because you could use bits and pieces of continuity without having to acknowledge everything. Use your imagination when you read. Dick Grayson was Batman for a while when Bruce Wayne was “away”. Fine.

“Clearly they are making it up as they go.”

As comics always have been and should be. When we start asking questions about how this happened and how that happened and need a mini-series to fix it, we’ve overcomplicated the stories.

This should not matter. Getting a fairly clean slate for new or lapsed readers into the DC universe. If they have only been around for about 5 or so years then things could not have happened the way they did in the old Universe. Barry is not married to Iris the way he was during COIE. Have the heroes of the DCnU gone through world wide crisis’s? Yes. That is what DD is saying but again they couldn’t have happened the way they did. To clean up continuity and give the DCnU its own legs it can’t. This isn’t a big deal but it was handled poorly by DD. Time to take his social media privileges away as damage control. For the most part the books have been very good and that is what ultimately matters.

Of course they all happened. We read them. We remember them. That’s all that matters. (Well, OK, Genesis never happened. No one can prove it did. No one wants to prove it did, either.)

Yes, DC’s still a mess. Yes, Didio seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth and also out of his ears and maybe his left knee. But it’s like the new Star Trek film. Everything we knew is still there, with Nimoy’s eyebrows and Shatner’s pauses and the rest. You don’t like the new? The old is still there.

Good. Get rid of them.

They just axed everything to do with Bruce Wayne becoming an arch-type in the Fifth World? Shit. That was a lot of work for nothing…

@Simon DelMonte
The new52 really has that new Star Trek movie feel. It involves time travel leading to a new reality. Accept that things cannot have happened the same way,
Loved Nimoy as Spock saying “So you’re not the Captain?” and talking to his younger self explaining mentioning time paradox to young Kirk.

As for Didio, Harras and Berganza, they have put their foot in their mouths by mentioning events happening and then “upon further review” they can’t have happened. Many fans saw this continuity problem coming. Good thing they got rid of it before it caused any damage.

Oh, DC, don’t you see that there’s little point in your efforts to rearrange furniture on the Titanic?

Screw continuity….just give me good stories to read.

This doesn’t answer my biggest question: Is Danny the Street still in continuity?

I guess it makes sense if everybody’s only been active 5 years.

Is it really “clear” that Final Crisis happened? Haven’t read Dark Knight, but the only reference to Wayne’s “death” that I recall reading in the other Bat books is an offhand mention by Grayson in Nightwing that he spent a year as Bruce’s replacement. He never says what the circumstances were. In the rebooted continuity, it could well be that Wayne’s absence from the role was due to a completely different set of circumstances having nothing to do with any “Crisis.” Or it could well be that it doesn’t matter one way or the other.

“I wish someone would just come out and say, “Listen, if you liked the Crises, they happened in some sort of compressed form. If you hated them, they never happened. It’s fictional, we may reference it, we may not, and if you don’t like it, COMICS!”

You just said it. As have many other fans in many other forums. Repeatedly. Will DC ever come out and say it officially? Probably not. But then, they shouldn’t have to. No one should. That falls squarely under the heading of something a reasonably intelligent adult should be able to figure out without instructions.

I think it’s far simpler than anyone cares to admit.

They somehow underestimated the number of questions fans were going to have about the reboot. They honestly thought they were going to get away with the same level of nebulous “Some are, some aren’t” that they did when Crisis first happened.

They figured people would be happy with the idea that they’d just have to read and find out.

They didn’t realize that these questions were going to be the rope the fans would use to hang DC with. Every question that was met with any answer they didn’t like, be it a decision they didn’t want or a wishy-washy answer that said nothing was going to be taken as further “proof” they the whole thing is doomed to fail.

So Dan makes a hasty statement on Facebook, and is IMMEDIATELY besieged with hundred of people wanting to PROVE that he’s wrong, which would, of course, require him to step down and the DCU returning to the state that will make them personally the most happy.

It ain’t happening, folks.

little firestar

October 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I obviously didn’t go through all the 52 titles, but, between my own comics and the ones of friends and of my brother, I red few of them, and I have to say, I’ve been left with impression that authors hadn’t worked together too mcu. there’s no trace of a deep inside continuity between all the series…
and, by the way, Hawk’s words-his brother died during the biggest crisis ever faced, or soemthing in that line.. what do you say?

So no Identity Crisis? GREAT! So as one who stopped reading majority of DC titles, are the Dibnys alive?

@Bon faire – Yep, Ralph and Sue are alive, but they, like everyone else in the DCStorm universe are no longer married. Ralph is a down-on-his-luck mystery novelist playing at the private eye business. Sue is his scatter-brained former secretary/girl Friday that secretly harbors romantic thoughts about him. They operate out of Central City and will probably encounter the Flash at some point. In an effort to boost Ralph’s morale, Sue will dress up as a flash dancer burglar, after her apartment is blown up, and have violent relations with Ralph in an alley. Or, I could be completely wrong and they never existed.

@Bon faire – Based on the way the current DC Comics are treating their female characters, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sue Dibny got ret-conned into being Dr. Light’s consort/sidekick, “Socket”.

@Squashua

“Without these, you’re a lightbulb, just waiting to be screwed.”

@ussescort,

If that were the plot of an Elongate Man mini, I’d buy it.

I think DC should have created a basic five year time-line along the lines of: characters A,B, and C and the JLA debuted in Year One, D,E, and F debuted in year two, etc… Teen Titans debuted in Year Three, Barbara Gordon was shot in Year 4, etc… Just broad strokes, not hugely detailed, but enough to give a framework to the universe. Put it online at DC’s site, and update it as needed. Easy to do, and it would give some background for new readers and resolve some lingering questions from older readers.

OK… WHY does Final Crisis have to have happened to affect the Batman Inc material? Couldn’t Dick have just replaced Bruce in Gotham while Bruce was out travelling the globe in research mode? Nothing references directly to Bruce kicking the bucket in the new books. Remember these are for new readers, forget the old continuity and it all makes sense if you accept it as nothing counts until it is referenced.

@nathan daniels

Now that is the best idea and is what DC should have done.

This soft reboot will cause nothing but issues as the stories go on. Some titles treat stories as happening and some don’t. This will make the stories get worse and worse (and let’s face it, the majority of the new DC stories were just mediocre to begin with) as writers have to do retcon after retcon to make all the connections that happen in a shared universe work.

Without a strong hand in editorial keeping all these books on track it’ll end up as just one giant mess which is what led to this problem to begin with.

This is leading to exactly the problem that Crisis was created to deal with in the first place.

“Everything you think you know about (insert character here)…is wrong!”

DC’s been screwed-up since 1984.
They couldn’t follow-through with CoIE or any of the other soft reboots…and now this.

At least, there’s the old books…

Wow. why so serious. I’ve been reading the new 52. Are they they new reader friendly? Some are, some aren’t. Are the long time reader friendly. Some are, Some aren’t? Are they good stories? Some are, some aren’t. I’ll keep reading the ones that are good stories and enjoyable by thier own merits. Who cares what has happened before and what hasn’t. I just want to read a good story. Who gives a rats patootie if there is any continuity thread to stories I may or may not have read in the past 30 years. Just give me a good story, period.

My take is this: For whatever DC wiped away in continuity, there will be fans who read those events and will roast them for resetting what they enjoyed. For whatever DC kept, there will be fans who read those events and will roast them for keeping what they did not enjoy. Young radical Superman? Too different. Older reserved Superman? Too similar. Wiped the Crises? Why’d they do that? How’d such and such happen without the Crisis X? Kept the Crises? Why’d they keep those? They were so convoluted and unnecessary.

“After further review”? Hilarious!

Enjoying all of this, for those who don’t, I’m sorry.

DC has won me over to their side. And if the Crises sort of didn’t happen, that’s fine with me. I don’t struggle with the NEED to know 100 percent of a character’s history.

Meh. Whatever. I think I’ll pick up the new new 52 ten years from now:

‘New JLA’, featuring only Batman in issues 1 and 2;
‘New Batman’, which stars the old Batman fighting The Joker in every issue;
‘Action Comics’, in which Superman goes full on emo and carves up his arm with Kryptonite;
‘The Wonderful World of Women’, written and drawn by Frank Cho, and featuring 8 pages of double-page spreads of women on Paradise Island;
‘Martian Ladykiller’, in which Jonn Jonzz poses as Alec Guinness;
‘Black Aquaman’, in which DC show their sensitivity towards creating ethnic heroes by simply changing the skin colour of the hero;
‘Latin Lantern’, see above;
‘New Flash’, starring Jay Garrick;
‘Justice League Fables’, in which hit Vertigo series ‘Fables’ is dropped into the DCnewerU, and Bigby Wolf becomes the latest top cop in Gotham;
‘Agent of THUNDER’, in which Billy Batson is a technological genius, like all the kids are now-a-days, and ends up working for THUNDER, an agency working for the mysterious government agency ACRONYM, who force him to become a God amongst men by enslaving Gods and binding them to him;
‘Horror Man’, in which a mystical British hitman becomes a horror themed hero, and spends all his time in London because that is the only place in Britain;
‘Tween Titans’, in which the future Teen Titans audition for the role in a superhero pagent, and find that the greatest villains of all might just be their parents… or Simon Howell, the cruel judge on the panel (nudge-wink);
‘Legion of Europe’, in which all the Legion characters are relocated from the future to present day Europe, in order to “streamline continuity” and makes crossovers “easier” because “our new CEO doesn’t believe in parallel Earths and is worried that our idiot readers will moan about it on a message board”;
‘Dial C For Cancelled’, written by Kevin Smith, and drawn by David Finch';
‘Superman Corps of the Eighteenth Parallel Hyper-Time’, in which a fledgling British writer whacked out of his head on cheap mescaline-3000 writes down his subsequent coma dream, and is commended for being edgy, original, and deconstructing the superhero genre;
‘Frank Miller’s 9/11-Man';
‘Batgirl’, in which Power Girl is now Batgirl, and she is the daughter of Kang the Conqueror from an old DCU/Marvel crossover, before it is eventually revealed that she is actually a robot created by Brainiac, who is really Barbara Gordon gone insane after being shot in the spine by a heroic version of The Joker who works with Booster Gold, who got confused by the time-lines;
‘Blue Beetle’, in which Jamie Reyes and Ted Kord use their Beetle-Bracelets to unite and become the Blue Beetle – but how can they keep their relationship a secret when one owns a company, and the other is a penniless high school student, and they are both gay, and totally into one another, as, you know, we get points for gay characters, don’t we?;
‘Sex Pot’, the new female hero that all women readers are going to be talking about! strong, independent, and wearing next to nothing, how can she juggle her desire to have babies with fighting crime, and being a stripper who is also a lawyer?;
And, finally, the first thirty issues of our new daily web-comic exclusive series, ‘365’, in which our indentured servants… sorry, staff, create 365 new character for us to plunder for movies at a later date! Featuring, Barf Bag, Captain Tea-Leaf, Tea Party Gal, Tea Leoni, Spider-Lad, Blond Girl, Sparky the Super-Wire, Spanky the Punisher, Lord Maximum, Young Booster Gold, Kid Ambush Bug, Madam Wheels, The Human Blender, Colonel Kool Aid, Paolo the Mexican Character, Black Skateboard, and the return of [REDACTED PENDING SUPERBOY LAW-SUIT].

And a week after launch, they announce that any comic that had the letter “X” in it is now no longer part of continuity, because X-Men suck, so suck it, Bendis (new Marvel CEO or something).

I wouldn’t worry to much about it, DC will just reboot it all again in another 20 years or so! :-P

First, it should be BCE and CE, not BC and AD, as the later denote delineation as defined by religion, which is clearly not the point here. BCE and CE, that is Before Common Era and Common Era, are more applicable and more suited to the function of separating the pre-New 52 and post-New 52 eras.

Second, if we are chucking out the old continuity, in a manner as random, or as DD states, “as the stories dictate,” it is difficult to imagine this reboot will have anymore weight than the original Crisis. The great lament of many involved in the 1986 reboot was the inability at the time to re-launch the entire universe at once, instead addressing it book by book. This method created a haphazard approach to the process that undermined the entire intent of the project. They have achieved a clean new start this time, but if they are telling me some of my back issues will have happened and others have not what is the substantive difference from the original reboot? In 1986 the old was flushed and we started fresh, an approach that worked for some things (the new Justice League and Wally West becoming the Flash spring to mind) while damaging others horribly (Hawkman and Legion took years to recover). If DD, a$$hat that he is, wants to reboot the whole universe, do that and chuck the past en masse. To hunt and peck back issues will only cloud the entire project and lead to another reboot down the road. It really seems that DC’s new creed ought to be “Live and Don’t Learn.”

JD Hetherington

October 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Well are they going to release a new DC Comics Encyclopedia, or a series of books revealing the new history of the DC Universe? Cause I’m getting a little fed up with trying to read all my favorite characters with an open mind when they don’t seem to know things they should know, or don’t even exist in some scenarios; Ravager, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Supergirl just don’t feel the same, and Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and Power Girl don’t even get represented in this “new universe” despite being the leads in their own critically acclaimed ongoing comic books, in Cassandra Cain’s case a book that was the 6th most popular DC was putting out back in 2001.

Who cares. Worlds are meant to live and die. ;) Some of them were crappy stories anyway and maybe people can just READ a comic now .

Why care anymore? They clearly don’t, rebooting a great universe because they have no idea what to do instead of retelling the same old story. A lot of these new books are amazing from what I hear, but I still only care for the universe before and not this #1 cash in.

If anything, it just feels like I’m being given re-imaginings which was great in the case of BSG.

Since they’re going from rebooting every ten years to every five years nowadays…

One more reason to stay away from DC post-Flashpoint.

@Cforshaw67220

(Standing, clapping)

Chanciusmaximus

October 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm

The statement, “You can make everyone happy some of the time and some people happy most of the time, but you can’t make everyone happy all the time.” comes so mind.

I always had a problem with CoIE even though I liked it. Great creative team on that book and classic story, but the outcome wasn’t as thought through as it should have been. If your interest is to clean up continuity and you have the opportunity (or make your opportunity) then why not start over each comic with a #1 AND re-start continuity? It just NEVER made any sense to me! It’s a sure sign that their editorial department wasn’t the strongest or best suited for the job.

Fast forward to Flashpoint. Why? Why would you blow an opportunity twice? They finally manage to re-start each comic with a #1, yet they botch up the entire thing by holding on to certain story lines and elements. What for? To hopefully satisfy both the old and new crowds. This always ends up with muddled results because you can’t please everyone, which is what DC was trying to do. Now it’s more screwed up than EVER!!!

To all those who think, “Well don’t concentrate too much on the past.”. New readers will be confused and confusion or any negative reaction is not what a company wants when trying to sell a product. We live in a time now that fans thrive on continuity. Why do you think so many get upset with the new (episodes I-III) of Star Wars or why Buffy has such a strong fan base or why the Battlestar Galactica re-make did so well? All three have top talent working on them. All three have characters that people love. Only two maintained a strict and luscious continuity.

And now I’m even happier I didn’t pick ANY of the New 52 up. In my view, the only times where continuity matters is when there’s a long story going on. Maybe Marv Wolfman was right in the recent interview he gave. He stated that things like COIE should have only been done in order to ‘clean house’ where necessary. But because the series was a financial success, everybody wanted to do something like that, and then we got the event mess. Maybe they should’ve done what Wolfman said.

Well, this is just bollocks. I wasn’t crazy about the reboot idea to begin with (though I’ll admit it gave me a couple new books to pick up outside of the GL-verse, including Wonder Woman), but continuity isn’t the real problem with comics nowadays.

Marketing (or the lack thereof) and availability are the problems with the industry. Let’s face it, the only places you seem to see ads for comics are in OTHER COMICS. How are we going to get new readers in when we don’t try and actually FIND them?

Yeah, DC had some commercials for the New 52, but did they ever actually air on TV? I never saw ‘em.

And while I think day-to-date digital is a good idea, who’s going to download the DC Comics/Comixology/Whatever app that wasn’t planning on buying comics anyway?

As for Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis, I’ll still say they happened because they’re awesome. Final Crisis, however, can go rot for all I care. It’s probably my least favorite story of all time. Bleh.

The One and Only

October 3, 2011 at 4:58 pm

While the post-Crisis DC had some bumps and glitches along the way. Hawkman being the biggest one. But for the most part everything ran smoothly. However, Dido with his constant rejiggering of continuity since his reign at DC has started has done the most damage. Trying to keep track of what happened, or didn’t happen depending on what his mood is at the current convention. Hippolyta being a member of the JSA. The Daxamite being no longer involved in the INVASION. Now the JSA not existing. Come on man. Pick a lane and stick with. The kids are tossed around like lottery balls back here.

Nitzan Rotschild

October 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

@Squasha,
Do we know for sure Death of Superman didn’t happen?

Who the heck cares if Crisis happened or didn’t happen? Sheesh, that comic was written 25 yrs ago. Let it go. It’s not like the series just vanished from our comic collects, they’re still there if we want to read them.

“This is an Imaginary Story … Aren’t they all?”

Not happy with DC’s changes? This is a great time to check out titles from other publishers. I really enjoy the resurgence of crime comics on the market.

IMHO Scalped is the best written book on the market.

I’m still trying to understand how batman went through 4 robins in 5 years

I’m tired of this. Continuity isn’t important to DC. They will erase it all (exceptions: Batman and Green Lantern) What will happen with Superman’s death? Where’s Wally West? I respect their New 52, but what makes me angry is the DC timeline

Pencillers as writers. “For teens” signs in books with clearly a focus on adult material. “This story is set in the past/present/future…maybe”. The characters start from the beginning/The characters are continuations of their previous lines. First issues that have way too few pages for any new reader to understand, any returning reader to get excited once more, and in general any reader to feel like he has read a story worthy of a brand new beginning…or a brand new continuation that is sort of a beginning.

I really hoped this initiative would be something special. A move to bring quality and ascitement back to the mainstream-comics world, at least for DC. But, this is more like a mess than a brilliant launch, and not that good creative mess, but the lets-throw-stuff-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks kind of mess. I really hoped this would be better planned and executed, as well as being more bold. If you are going to start over, really DO start over. Don’t settle for half-measures. Either accept the lore of the DC universe of the past and move accordingly, or state that all is new again and make new lore. This way no embarassing and uite confusing mistakes like that will happen.

Personally I would prefer if all the different Earths just dissapeared. Multiple versions of the same subject is one of the most boring ways to create stories in my opinion, and a sign that in most cases, there are no new ideas for stories. I am not interested in the tenth different version of Batman, one is more than enough for me, not to mention that having multiple versions of stuff, in this case superheroes diminishes the uniqueness of the characters. How can Superman “feel” amazing when you have a few dozens of him all around?

And that’s why I hate DC….

I’ve been reading comics for about 33 years now. Many of my favorite comics have been published by DC, both pre and post Crisis. I have lost all faith and confidence in DC as of late. I didn’t read a lot of the new 52, but the ones I read told me that I didn’t have too. Sure, Swamp Thing was good, Animal Man was almost what Morrison’s run on that title was…..almost. Justice League, I wasn’t impressed, mostly because Hal Jordan is Green Lantern, but was fired in his own title which is confirmed in the new title where Sinestro is the Green Lantern. WTF? What? It doesn’t make sense. And while I did like Swamp Thing, Superman appears and mentions a passing line like he knows what it’s like to die and come back…..but that didn’t happen in this new DC. Aquaman is by far the best title of the bunch and only because he wasn’t a fan favorite character so nobody really cared much about him. (not me, I’ve always liked him, don’t know why, just did) Bottom line, DC has lost a long time reader. I hope they read this and figure out this mess they created. I wish them well, but something tells me that in a year or two from now there will be a massive storyline that has the old DC universe invading the new 52 universe, thereby creating a new status quo that replaces everything that has gone on before and a complete reboot of what has been done. It’ll probably called “Flashpoint Crisis of Infinite Earths of the FInal Night caused by Genesis in the 52″. Good luck all, you’ll need it.

Many of these new 52 titles have been terrific. And, sorry to say to you naysayers, they’re selling like gangbusters. Maybe things will die down in a few months, but as of now the reboot is a tremendous success.

i agree with dan.
a hard reboot would have been better.

A cohesive, collective past tying together 50-odd superhero fantasy series IS UNNECESSARY. I don’t care anymore that the Green Lantern Corps’ history might recognize the last X number of issues pre-“new” DCU, or that anyone remembers Batman’s death and resurrection, or that Superman is a clean slate. It just DOESN’T MATTER anymore. And wishing for a tidy conclusion to an deceased era as a new one is born is a huge frippin’ waste of time.

It’s over. DC is moving on. Adapt or perish.

Just do away with Identity Crisis and you’ll be fine.

Dear DC you just can’t erase history…enjoy the temporary new cash flow and let’s hope you have a lot of newcomers that will stay, while the loyal fans start to walk away – in disgust – from you due to your mismanagement…

@ Brian

Adapt or perish? More like now I’m pulling about half the books I was before, or perish.

Pawel Targonski

October 3, 2011 at 10:45 pm

But there will be…

over 75 years of events and crisis’, you fans just can’t suspend a little belief? That’s ridiculous. If DC did not relaunch in 1959, there would BE NO Silver Age, and thus no Marvel, and definitely no Stan Lee.

So do you want your cuddly old lame DCU back? Or can you let a few EVENTS that you bitch about anyway go, and enjoy that these creators are breaking their backs to entertain you.

It’s a comic book.

Things are already nebulous as it is with the new launching of Justice League. I’m just thinking right now, either start really fresh and do away with all the bags accumulated through the years in one fell swoop or live with it. But indicating the CoIE may not have happened/ may have happened but not the way we thought it happened… that is pushing me away… broke my heart when Supergirl and Barry Allen Flash both died then. I was 17 then.

Yes this reboot has been pretty half assed, but in the end, most of the books I have been reading I am liking so far, so I am not going to really complain about what is going on behind the scenes.

Someone said it before and I agree – the New 52 can be viewed in a similar light to the new Star Trek timeline. Did all the Crisis’ occur? Of course they did – I was there reading about it when it occurred. But that was a different universe/ a different timeline. This is a new one in which the timeline has diverged and new histories and situations have occurred and are still occurring.

The crisis’ happened – I’ve got the books to prove it. But this is a new universe where some of the things have remained the same, but a lot has changed. As it progresses we’ll see more and more how things have remained and changed. But the previous Universe still exists – DC just isn’t focusing on that timeline for the foreseeable future (but it will only be a matter of time before the inevitable limited series confronts the issue).

I’m not getting all angsty about this – I’ve been reading comics for 37 yrs – it’s always been like this.

I can’t say I’ve liked the last ten years of non-stop events from DC. But if you’re going to spend all that time evolving your characters, and pushing them to be more current and interesting, it seems like a big admission you’ve been doing it all wrong.
It feels like Heroes Reborn DC!
Only most of the creative teams seem to have had no warning this was coming.
I haven’t seen such uninteresting characterization since Image launched.

Does it bother anyone else that a handful of us “fanboys” and “fangirls” seem more qualified to foresee potential problems and what to do to correct them than some of the people who actually get paid to do it? Uggh.

One of the things I really liked about DC was the rich history and the Legacy characters. It was a selling point and a draw for me. Now I see characters who seem like truncated, or even unrecognizable, versions of themselves. It’s almost like if Marvel had replaced the regular Marvel Universe with the Ultimate Universe. How many of the “new” readers are even going to stick around remotely long term, and how many are going to completely bail in a year or two?

Honestly, how many people think DC could have accomplished their goal of attracting new readers and tweaking certain characters though good in-universe storytelling. Barbara could have struggled with not only getting out of that wheelchair, but of giving up being “Oracle” to return to a field adventurer. I see a lot of these good ideas that could have been implemented without this mess of a reboot.

Is DC inherently flawed in some way that they have to rewrite the book on their entire universe every few years? Crisis on Infinite Earths was NOT supposed to start a trend.

Someon said that Morrisons run was one of the best Batman era’s…. must have been reading something else then as what I read was a load of old shite. And this whole “starbucks” Batman nonsense carrying on is just terrible.

Batman has now been around for 5 years and is already on his 5th Robin?

Year 1 = No Robin
Year 2 = Dick Grayson trained (for a month?), in action & fired
Year 3 = Jason Todd (for a month?) then killed almost straight away by The Joker
Year 4 = Tim Drake trained, in action, fired, replaced with Stephanie Brown, in action, killed by Black Mask, Jason Todd back to life, Hush, Red Hood etc etc
Year 5 = Batman zapped back in time (in a non-crisis kind of way), Grayson as Batman & Damian Wayne as Robin, Tim as Red Robin, Stephanie Brown back to life, Bruce Returns

In all honesty I think Dick Grayson only survived being Robin through sheer luck!

So where in that 5 years does the events of Knightfall occur or is that now scratched? Killing Joke scratched? No Man’s Land?

I’m never normally get emotional over a piece of paper with drawings on but reading the new issues of Batman & Robin just made me angry, I think the anger was mainly born from confusion. How is it that all of that stuff that went on could have happened in such a short time, why have they not gotten rid of Damian? It makes no sense that he’s still around. Why is Tim Drake dressed as a gay Condorman?

After all of the BIG TALK coming from “Dildo” and his cohorts they should have just bitten the bullet & started from scratch, as it is this is just a half assed attempt to drag these heroes in the present & they’ve stuffed it up.

As usual I’ll give each title I’m reading a year, I quit in the 90’s I can do it again if need be but so far (yes yes it’s only been one issue) I’m not loving what they’ve done.

Man, DiDio ought to just leave all the talking to Jim Lee…in fact, what is it that DiDio is doing at DC now that Lee has designed the new universe and is providing general direction for all the books?

This Crisis snafu is a bit worrisome, as are Kombat Wombat’s points about the Robin timelines. You would think that when doing a once-in-a-generation universe reboot, some of this stuff would have come up in a meeting…

Crisis is the ultimate DC Comics story, in my mind, and was the first book that got me interested in DC books. They would do well to find some way to weave it into the DCnu. However, condescending the history of DC comics into 5 years seems absurd…I feel like they should have gone with 10 years or something. 10 years ago only takes us back to 2001, not exactly ancient history, and a decade would make a lot more sense for the not-really-rebooted characters like Batman.

Steven E. McDonald

October 4, 2011 at 5:10 am

So…Crisis 52 in 2013, then?

Think of the new status quo as “Earth 0,” but instead of observing bits and pieces from Earth 1 or Earth 2 perspective, your perspective has been forced into the new frame, all or nothing. The other stuff (i.e. your comic book memories) is out there *somewhere* but it doesn’t matter right now. It may never matter again. Doesn’t mean those stories didn’t happen, only that they happened in a different universe. … Gotta try to stop making a translation from one to the other, because you simply don’t know ANY of the rules yet.

I’m confused. I’m just going to pretend this whole article didn’t exist and enjoy my comics if thats ok.

@Brian

I tried to think of it that way but it still doesn’t make any sense.

This is a case of DC wanting their cake & eating it too. They so desperately wanted to start fresh but at the same time it’s obvious they didn’t want to lose characters like Nightwing, Red Robin, Damian Wayne & that shitty new Blue Beetle.

New Earth, new stories, new start, that’s the way it should have been played out. DC were just too scared to really make a go of it (IMO)

Hmm…it just seems to me that DC really geared this whole thing with more of a “new reader” approach than “old reader” approach.
I think DC knows what they are doing, the negative remarks on that they don’t always makes me chuckle, but having read all the Batman titles in the Batman Reborn phase…I have to say the Batman New 52 issues were confusing. Have to see how they unravel the mysteries here, hard to be critical with only 1 issue to go by.
I am sure Grant Morrison will have a brillant/bizarre way of tying it all together in the next arc of Batman Inc, that’s his way, starting with pasts and weaving into the future.

Chanciusmaximus

October 4, 2011 at 6:55 am

What’s really tough is that DC got it ALL wrong! There was NOTHING wrong with their characters, it was their CREATIVE staff that was wrong! I’m not the biggest fan of Hal Jordan or Barry Allen (they are both very bland), but in capable hands (Johns) their new stories are entertaining. Morrison could make ANY character interesting to read, which is why he such a well known writer. He respects the characters he’s given to write and tries to do something new with them. Slapping a new costume on a character and putting a #1 on their book is only going to drive sales in the beginning, but it’s only masking the real problem.

oh i don’t mind us just moving forward. maybe we can have a flashback to the time when the skies went red, but we don’t really have to get into detail about what went on in there and how that affected everything else. i’m good with how things are now, especially with regards to Red Hood and the new Starfire!

History repeats itelf – first as tragedy & second as farce.
A repeat of that great DC explosion which was followed very quickly by the even greater implosion. A lot of craetive talent suffered & DC are doing it all again.

This is a desperate land grab by DC – flood the market with no #1’s and watch the punters buy multiple copies and drive the sales up and screw the quality ‘hell it’s a number #1 – what more do you want!’.
But that trick only works once – piss enough times in the well & soon even the village idiot stops drinking.

Any character with regular stories will eventually either repeat itself or break it’s own internal logic. What teh current crop of editors are mssing is the ‘young hero’ – who the hell wants to identify with a character created for your grand-father?? Hence the reset and selective engineering to tell more relevant stories.

As much as Marvel disappears up it’s own backside occasionally (Spider-man Brand New Dat) they at least have a semi-coherent universe.

The DC approach of “yes this story is cannon coz this writer today needs it be” disrespects the fans, the character and the talent who told the original stories. & it’s complete and utter bullshit!

And to those who keep saying – just enjoy the story – do you care about the stories in ‘Elseworlds” or “What If’s”? I don’t – because they have no impact on that character; they’re just mental writing exercises.

When you take away so much of a character’s history it leaves them less than they were.

I think this kind of stuff is a big factor that keeps me from starting to read DC books since it all sound way too complicated sometimes… Something in the past issues happened and somethings didn’t happen… how am I supposed to read these stories when they are being rebooted every ten years or so…? Atleast Marvel doesn’t do things like this… It gets too complicated sometimes to start reading DC book. Where’s the fun in this?

I just wonder if this whole relaunchboot was even DC’s idea. It seems so rushed and unplanned. The “New 52″ is the Microsoft Vista of comic events. Was this something DC editorial dreamed up on their own, or did get handed down by fiat from Warner Bros. for legal and movie marketing reasons? The whole affair seems so slipshod that I keep expecting it to fall apart under its own weight.

Whatever. Maybe DiDio is saying COIE never happened because they’ve just decided the mystery woman pervading the DCnU is actually a reimagined Harbinger. Pretty soon she’s going to report back to the Monitor about all the changes the Anti-Monitor’s hidden yellow towers are effecting on reality. A year from now it will finally be revealed that the reason for the rebootlaunch was so Geoff Johns and Jim Lee can recreate panel by panel the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Except this time, Barry Allen lives.

Personally, I’m hoping Booster Gold saves us all before then.

“Agent of THUNDER’, in which Billy Batson is a technological genius, like all the kids are now-a-days, and ends up working for THUNDER, an agency working for the mysterious government agency ACRONYM, who force him to become a God amongst men by enslaving Gods and binding them to him;”

Funny thing. I’d actually consider buying that.

Better still if 8 issues in his slacker sister Mary gets ahold of the process… :-)

Someone mentioned the Killing Joke above. Is it me or is Barbara in the chair the only thing left in continuity about it?

It’s my understading that in the reboot Bats has never caught the Joker before. So the beginning with the faux joker in jail didn’t happen, the ending where he catches him never happened…

What we need is a a “Get a Life” moment like The Shat on SNL. Have Morrison or one of the other DC Architects come out at a convention and tell everyone to get a life.

“Get a life” and stop buying their products?

I don’t think they’d be that stupid…. oh no, wait… New 52 *face palm*

Crisis Events. No Crises Events. Who cares? On the whole, the 52 books have been mediocre.

After reading too many comments all I can say is …….Fuck It! Its comics, they’re ludicrous and off the wall and entertaining, it you let them be. How many reboots have there been in the last 20 years. Hell the last one was only like 5 years or so ago. I accept the “if its not broke don’t fix it” attitude of the NewDC. Of course I wish somethings didn’t change but ultimately we were given a whole new slew of books to read so enjoy it as I am, and quit your bitchin!

If You Let Them Be :)

I really don’t get the New 52 relaunch. I completely understand why DC might want to reboot the DC universe and unscramble the continuity. After all they already did this in a very good way in 1984 with CoIE. That was pretty well handled, and the continuity was updated in a sensible way with all the infinite earths replaced by the single one, (and they published the Wolfman / Perez “History of the DC Universe” to help people understand the new history). A nice simple model. Then Zero Hour tried to do the same for the multiple timelines. Less successfully, but again a streamlined model. Everything DC have done for the last decade seems to have been an attempt to undo that and make things as complex as possible. Infinite Crisis, bringing back the multiple worlds, the Red Circle and Wildstorm characters being shoe-horned into continuity, and then Final Crisis which I just didn’t get, (I’m sure it was a great story, but I couldn’t make head nor tail of it).
So the DC Universe was a mess. Great, lets relaunch it and make it easy to understand for new readers but still fun for old readers. Surely the best way to do this would be to start again from scratch? Week 1, Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #1 launch Bats and Supes, closely followed by GL, Flash, WW etc. over the next few weeks. Month 2 brings JL #1, and you just build from there.
Instead now no-one has the first idea of the history of the character they are reading about. I know that it’s all fictional and maybe I should just go with it, but part of why I love comics is that I have a good idea of a character, where they have come from, who they are. If it’s a new character then you grow with them. Now there are just characters with random histories.

I’ve seen better planning in Somali Highway Departments.

But… the Crisis did happen. Right after The Flash ran really fast and help save the multiverse, but having to merge certain timelines together. Somehow The Spectre forgot about the Legion of Superheroes (did he know about them?), and DC had to place a few fixes over the years.

Then 25 years later, Flash saves his mother, but ends up killing almost everyone else.
So he runs really fast again, using 1/2 Crisis plus Astro City 1/2, and repairs the multiverse, but of course it’s not perfect. (Hence the New 52.)

So, those previous events DID happen, just not in the current New 52 timeline. But… DC has this thing called “Hypertime”, where different versions of superheroes exist. Flash, trying to fix his Big Mistake, combines three Hypertime “rivers” into one big one, resulting in the New 52 line going forward. Meanwhile, while Flashpoint was going on, everyone else was doing their things over in their regular titles. Those hypertimeliines continue to exist… there was no cataclysmic event which ended those comics and folded them into Flashpoint or the New 52. Those “tributaries” continue to flow, we just don’t see them as we’re floating down the New 52 river.

My theory? Someone goes back in time and prevents the Flash from being struck my electrified chemicals. The Anti-Monitor wins, the DC Universe ends, and the lone survivor is Lex Luthor, who manages to sidestep into our reality, affecting a Scottish accent.

Oh, and would DC *PLEASE* produce the “Kal-L” alternate ending suggested by Chris Claremont? “Superman Without A World”, perhaps?

Nice try Torsten, but Hypertime was ditched a while ago.

I’m a longtime DC reader, and I would have preferred it if DC had dropped all the Crisis-type events right from the beginning with this reboot. But DiDio has once again proven that DC cannot be given even the slightest crumb of faith now.

It’s not because the Crisis-events are gone.

It’s not because at first the Crisis-events weren’t gone.

It’s because this sudden about-face is yet another indicator that DC is just randomly throwing stuff at a wall to see if it sticks, and then using half what sticks and half what doesn’t anyway. That something as significant as whether to include the major DC events is a decision changed mid-stream — after the reboot has already begun — is worrisome, and disheartening. It doesn’t speak well for the rest of the decision-making process attached to the reboot.

“Reboot” You keep saying that word. Hi do not tink it means what you tink it means…

Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya, you keeled my DCU continuity, prepare to die….

In all seriousness (since we are talking about comics, of course, we must be serious) I predict that in a few years there will be a universe wide BAD EVENT in which all the heroes and villians will realize that their memories and the passage of time and the flow of history itself has been altered by an otherworldly agenda. By that time, the woman in the red hood will have lost all her hair and have instead a gotee…She will be the Editor in Charge of time and space…

congrats, DC! You wanted to start over because new readers had a hard time jumping on because of your convoluted history. Now you’re not even 2 issues in to the New 52, and your continuity is already a clusterf*ck. Well done!

“Of course they all happened. We read them. We remember them. That’s all that matters. (Well, OK, Genesis never happened. No one can prove it did. No one wants to prove it did, either.)”

“Yes, DC’s still a mess. Yes, Didio seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth and also out of his ears and maybe his left knee. But it’s like the new Star Trek film. Everything we knew is still there, with Nimoy’s eyebrows and Shatner’s pauses and the rest. You don’t like the new? The old is still there.”

Didn’t Geoff Johns say something very similar like that a few months ago? (sorry, just a observation.)

Wipe it all clean and start again from square one. First thing to do, like after the first Crisis, is to published a renewed edition of the History of the DC Universe (make it in the prestige format too). that way the past of your current continuity is set. Then you can use that continuity for a few years, have your universe/continuity ending Crisis event, reboot said continuity, publish a new edition of the History of the DC universe containing what ever changes/tweaks that you want to make for the current round. and start again.

To the folks that criticize DC for screwing with continuity all the time, I can sympathize. But when you bring up marvel as an example of how to do continuity…come on. So we are supposed to believe that Peter Parker, a teenager in the 1960’s is now only in his 30’s or 40’s in the 2010’s? And explain why Wolverine looks younger now then when he debuted in Hulk? These are comic books for blank’s sake. You can’t expect them to be all that logical. Try explaining how heroes can defy the laws of physics on a regular basis, or how they don’t age at all. In my opinion what ruined comics was the resurgence of “collecting” around them in the 80’s. Companies, especially the big two, began to focus more on sales, producing issue #1s or issues #0 (yeah that makes sense) then on stories.

I’ve said it before in the DC blogs: The best solution that may have pleased everyone is to continue to have multiple parallel realities, but let the characters age, and every five or ten years put the focus on a “newer” reality to make the stories more contemporary, but in a couple of comics KEEP THE OLDER ONES ALIVE, and let us see how they age gracefully, and how each world differs as time goes on.

Sry for the Nerdrage

May 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

DC suckz, SOOO complicated, why not just reboot the timeline? Start with the origins for ALL characters. I love the DC heroes, but i cant find a good jumping on point, i finally hear that they are doing a reboot, i get excited, then find out only TWO comics are reboots, the rest take places FIVE years into their lives? WTF!? thts not a reboot. thts just stoopid. It annoys me so much becoz i want to read them so bad, but nothing makes sense. you cant just start a comic 5 years into the timeline and then hint at all this stuff that might have/not happened.

what if marvel done that with the ultimate universe. Peter parker has been spiderman for 5 years now, Gwen stacy might have died but she might not, the clone saga might have happened? but were not going to tell you if it did or not. ARRRGGHH!

Marvel would not do that tho, coz they GET it. jeez.

P.S multiverses < HAVE NEVER BEEN A GOOD IDEA. stop it.

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