Will Clark Kent survive DC Comics’s controversial relaunch?

Derek Chezzi
Daily Buzz

He will still be able to leap tall buildings, but will the "new" Superman soon be able to fly?

That's just one of the many questions fans are asking since DC Comics recently announced its controversial reboot, to use entertainment industry parlance, of its entire line of books beginning at the end of August.

With industry sales in general on a slow, steady decline, the storied publisher is eager to find ways of attracting new readers at a time when movies based on comic books dominate at the box office. Even if this means rattling the cage of dedicated fans.

Few details about the new stories have been revealed leading to widespread speculation about the upcoming changes. Will Superman's marriage to Lois Lane remain intact? Will his human alter ego, Clark Kent, be retired as the man of steel is reborn for the 21st century?

While comic book collectors concerned with continuity are up in arms, others have warmed to the impending tweaking of well-worn storylines. Although the same can't be said of the always touchy subject: costume redesigns.

New images are being released almost daily building the hype around the upcoming relaunch. Some costume tweaks include Superman no longer wearing his red underwear as outwear, Supergirl no longer sporting a skirt, and Wonder Woman officially giving up the star-spangled shorts for pants (or so it seems).

One of the people behind the new looks is co-publisher and artist Jim Lee. While a successful, respected comic book creator and business man, his Wonder Woman redesign last year was largely seen as a flop.

Meanwhile, we've been able to glean the following controversial changes from what's been announced thus far:

  • The slate could be wiped clean on the convoluted "return of Batman" storyline wherein Bruce Wayne was presumed dead
  • Barbara Gordon, who was shockingly rendered paralyzed by Joker in a classic story, returns as Batgirl with full use of her legs
  • Aquaman never died
  • The new Superboy —the cloned offspring of Kal-El and Lex Luthor — now also appears to be a cyborg
  • Some teams from the imprint Wildstorm — where Jim Lee was publisher until its recent closure — officially join the DC Universe adding a whole new mix of characters to the pot

Read also: Canadian superheroes Alpha Flight return comic book shelves

Not surprisingly, DC has put its creative heavyweights behind the marquee titles. Grant Morrison, the man who killed (and brought back) Bruce Wayne and fresh off a widely successful run on the Batman family books, is penning the new Action Comics starring Superman. In a seemingly counter-intuitive move Brian Azzarello, creator of the award-winning noir crime book 100 Bullets, will be taking the helm of Wonder Woman. Fast-rising star Scott Snyder has been pegged to tackle the new Batman. And Geoff Johns, who breathed new life into the Green Lantern franchise — Warner's big bet among this summer's comic book blockbuster movies,  is tasked with re-imagining the Justice League origin story. There will also be contributions by creators who hold legendary status, such as George Pérez on Superman: The Man of Tomorrow.

Called the "ballsiest move of the decade" by some in the comic book press, this may be the tonic the publisher needs to salvage declining sales.

(Photos courtesy of DC Comics and Twitter)