As Infinite Crisis began, it was announced that the same month issue 5 released, the entire line of comics would skip one year. It was promised that as the series concluded, the reason of this leap would be explained while a weekly series, 52, would show what happened during the missing year. Every regular DC book that month picked up with a new status quo, having little to nothing explained. Being a sucker for this mechanic, I was all in.
At the end of the event, DC’s Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) agreed that this Crisis was mostly their fault due to infighting and bickering. They needed to become better heroes, reclaiming their iconic status that other heroes aspired to. Plus, Superman flew through a red sun to defeat Superboy Prime and was without his powers. One year later, the three returned to active duty, but everything was different (not really).
For Superman, little changed. He was Superman again, yay. After Crisis concluded, an 8 part story, “Up, Up, and Away” showed what Clark did for that missing year. Powerless, he needed to learn how to become a real journalist, something briefly touched upon in 52. Batman and Robin (Tim Drake), returned to Gotham after training for a year in “Face the Face.” Batman wanted to try being positive and happy. It was weird. A reformed Harvey Dent watched over Gotham in his absence. Cracking under fictitious scrutiny, Harvey went back to being Two-Face. This jump also featured the return of Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Finally, Wonder Woman became a metahuman liaison, with former Wonder Girl Donna Troy taking up the mantle of Wonder Woman.
A few other interesting changes were made: Dick Grayson and Jason Todd were running around New York separately as Nightwing, Oliver Queen was Mayor of Star City, not having been Green Arrow for a year, the Flash was now Bart Allen, Power Girl and Supergirl were hanging out in Kandor, Birds of Prey changed their line-up, Hawkman was MIA, there was a new Aquaman, and Cassandra Cain (Batgirl) was now a villain. This is only half of the new changes, the interesting half.
Many of these shakeups ultimately fizzled out. “Face the Face” tried to showcase different d-list villains, unsuccessfully. The story ended with Bruce adopting Tim, big whoop. Wonder Woman, who hadn’t had a good book in years, was still boring. Birds of Prey swapped Lady Shiva and Black Canary to prove to each other that they could walk a mile in each other’s shoes. Most of the changes were undone within a year. One that truly proved unpopular was Bart Allen as the Flash. Twelve issues later, he was killed, setting up Countdown.
Two that really didn’t work for me, leading to me to stop reading the books, was Nightwing’s and Batgirl’s. Jason Todd masqueraded as Nightwing, only he killed. This was the first thing I read by Bruce Jones, making me hate the writer. In hindsight, I don’t really blame him. Months before EIC Dan Didio teased plans to kill Dick Grayson. Fans lost their minds, causing DC to change theirs. Now they didn’t know what to do with the character, or the freshly resurrected Todd. Not entirely Jones’ fault.
Before the leap, I loved Batgirl (Cassandra Cain). Her series was one of my first reads when it released. Apparently they didn’t know what to do with her either, changing her into a villain. This completely broke the character, undoing everything that came before. She’s been a mess since then, and is currently non-existent in the New 52. Probably for the better.
There were a handful of standouts in the pack, but not many. Holly Robinson had taken over for Selina Kyle as Catwoman, who was in hiding after giving birth. This was on of the best stories for my money. Teen Titans, suffering from the loss of Superboy, was also a good read. Finally, JSA relaunched with Geoff Johns writing. This is easily the best JSA stories, period. Though a few books were cancelled (Batgirl and Gotham Central), a Secret Six mini, The Shadowpact, and Checkmate were all launched. Each a great series.
While the initial concept was fun, One Year Later was full of more misses than hits. DC has admitted after that this was mostly a gimmick. Though DC was firing on all cylinders with Infinite Crisis, it’s preludes, and 52, this was clearly a slip.
What was your favorite OYL story? Least? Comment below!
One year ago today…