The GeeksverseIs The DCU Overcrowded?

Is The DCU Overcrowded?
Published on Thursday, May 31, 2012 by

The DCU was already overflowing with characters, but now with Wildstorm added, is it too much?

The New 52 DCU contains the full DC Universe, which already contained multiple universes (Shazam’s Earth S, Freedom Fighters Earth X, the Carlton characters, the Red Circle characters, Milestone and Earth 2), and now the Wildstorm universe is part of it. That’s alot of characters. And it also has a sizable number of new ones like Lady Godiva, Ridge, Starling, Bunker and some of Stormwatch.

There are alot of new concepts thrown into the mix as well, to go along with those brought in from the combined universes. Things like the All Caste (from Red Hood and the Outlaws) and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (from Teen Titans) add to the melting pot.

Good integration or forced?

Is the new DC Universe too crowded?

Alot of the characters are undeveloped. The Teen Titans annual threw over a dozen new characters into the universe. But for the most part they are name only, there’s no substance to them.

Take Fuji for example. He was a fairly popular B-Lister in Wildstorm, now he’s one of over a dozen Ravagers in the Culling storyline. Getting away from the lack of respect given to the established character, he’s now just basically a recognizable name.

What is the point? Shouldn’t characters be introduced with some meat to them? Especially existing and established characters.

And there are so many characters in the only ten month old DCU that it’s almost borderline ridiculous. These aren’t brand new characters being introduced. These have established fanbases. It’s one thing to re-imagine a character, it’s another to just treat them as throwaway.

At least Icon and Rocket got some attention in Young Justice.. kind of...

Instead of throwing hundreds of new characters and Fuji-like established but not just name only, why not spend some time giving substance to those already in the books? A lot of these introductions seem to be just for the sake of using the name to draw in readers. And with the New 52 being only 10 months old, or so, there are too many characters being added. The ones we have have barely been introduced, fleshed out and we’re being overloaded with so many new.

How are all of these characters supposed to interact with eachother? The New 52 comes off feeling like seperate universes. The events of Titans doesn’t relate to whats going on in Superman. Wonder Woman doesn’t even feel like the same character that appears in Justice League. With 5+ universes of concepts meshing together, it’s overwhelming and comes across feeling underdeveloped.

These guys are back at Archie

Shouldn’t the Green Lanterns realize that there are Daemonites on Earth and do something about it? Wouldn’t the other super heroes be a little worried about vampires roaming around? Why did Andrew Lincoln need the Blackhawks when he had the Black Razors?

These established characters, and concepts, have fans, and it seems like DC is trying to reach out to all of them at once by given each of them a little something. And some of them feel forced together.

Even before the New 52, the DCU had the same problem. When they took on the Red Circle characters (who are now back at Archie, so one less group to worry about), they introduced a government organization that ran the Crusaders. Why did they need that government group when there was already one in the DC universe that used the Freedom Fighters as it’s operatives? Now they want to throw the Wildstorm groups into the mix? How many government super teams are needed? How many redundant concepts can one universe support?

Some cool characters are now throwaways in the New 52

Why create N.O.W.H.E.R.E. when you could have used the existing foundation that was from Wildstorm with International Operations, Gen 13 and DV8? With Fuji being introduced as one of the Ravagers, his presence in the new DCU is already established and he can’t be used again in any other way. Want to introduce a more WildCATs like concept to the new DCU? Can’t use Warblade because he’s already been established as a Ravager. Same with Fairchild, Grunge and many others. They are now locked in and established. Wouldn’t it have been better to hold onto them for when a better concept came around to use them in?

A hard reboot could have made the integrated concepts work, this soft reboot only makes them incompatible. But a hard reboot wouldn’t have solved the overcrowding issue. Too many characters, not enough time.

8 Responses
    • I think there’s a certain point where a publisher can have too many monthly books, particularly in a case where you have multiple publishers vying for a slice of a finite, shrinking market like in print comics. There are only so many readers, and only so many dollars up for grabs that continued expansion can’t be realistically sustained. 

      On the creative side of things, you can only have so much reduplication of roles in a shared universe setting. With Image, Dark Horse, Oni, IDW, Dynamite, etc., where there’s a wider variety of genres and most books exist in their own self-contained “worlds,” books with overlapping and similar premises aren’t so much of a problem. In a shared universe where a book’s existence has to make a certain kind of sense when viewed in relation to other books set in the same universe, the issues you mentioned arise.

      •  DC needs multiple worlds and realities to spread these characters out. Then an Exiles style group could surf between the realities for a little bit of connection without getting in the way.

        •  An Exiles concept in the DCU would work so much better then in Marvel. 
          Marvel invents other worlds for there exiles to jump through.  DC
          doesn’t have to do that.  A team of adventurers that jump around the
          various worlds could really work, and throw in some new ones now and
          then.   But it gets pretty redundant when you have 3 or 4
          Superman-archetype characters running around.

          •  An Exiles style team would allow for a return romp to various Elseworld tale worlds. Then they could revisit a few of the darker Superman versions like the one that landed in Russia instead of Kansas.

    • The last Red Circle revival was okay. I didn’t like them being redundant in the DC universe. The earlier Red Circle revival, !mpact Comics, was better because they were in their own world and didn’t get in the way of the Justice League. I’m curious to read the new Red Circle run penned by Ian Flynn for Archie. I don’t read digital comics often so hopefully they will be collected in print for dinosaurs like me. The teasers look good for that run. 

    • […] Columns Leaving Proof 122: The Weekly Digression June 1, 2012 Is The DCU Overcrowded? May 31, 2012 The Reading Meter #2: May May 30, 2012 Leaving Proof 121: The Weekly Digression May […]

    • The Milestone characters worked better in their own world than when they are dragged in to an overly crowded New York. Luckily Static Shock didn’t interact much with any other heroes in his corner of New York. 

    • I’ve said this since the 80’s….

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