DC: Mismanaged Multiverse
Okay, so, I’m not one of those people who thinks every single comic property needs to be connected. I’m certainly not one of those people who thinks that unless every DC movie is cueing up Darkseid turning Superman evil by killing his girlfriend, the DCEU “has no plan” or is “dead.” Yeah, they only have four movies coming out next year, clearly dead and buried.
But we’re not here to talk about the sheer mental gymnastics it takes to be part of the Snyder Cult, we did enough of that in my Snyder Cut post back when. No, we’re talking about how DC has gone nuts with the Multiverse of it all. Let me attempt to list every timeline/universe that DC currently has going:
- The DCEU films (Shazam, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Suicide Squad, and every Snyder movie, the SnyderVerse isn’t a thing, it’s just a harassment talking point)
- The Matt Reeves/Robert Pattinson Batverse; unless The Flash has that surprise twist I’ve hoped for but don’t expect, The Batman and its TV spinoffs are in their own continuity
- The Arrowverse, or at least Arrowverse Earth Prime (currently The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Superman and Lois, Batwoman, maybe ultimately Naomi)
- Stargirl (Arrowverse Earth-2)
- Titans (Arrowverse Earth-9)
- Doom Patrol (Arrowverse Earth-23)
- Pennyworth (who even knows)
- Whatever Earths the two different Black Superman projects in development are on, probably a fresh Earth each
- Vertigo stuff, which like Vertigo comics in its heyday is all self-contained stories not meant to share a universe (Sandman, Sweet Tooth, the proposed DMZ adaptation)
That’s a lot. It’s a lot of separate universes. And when they make announcements like the in-development Gotham Knights series for the CW “will not be a Batwoman spin-off” it sounds like they plan to just keep making more and more self-contained worlds. Which they shouldn’t. New shows should either tie into the movies, the Arrowverse, or the Battinson-verse, because they are terrible at sharing characters. There is no continuity with all the DC characters, because no continuity is allowed to use them all. Sure the films and Arrowverse each have a Flash…
…but in general it feels like each world gets a handful of characters, and if Corporate Daddy decides the film-verse needs someone specific… like, say, John Constantine… then any TV show that’s using him… like, for instance, Legends of Tomorrow… better wrap him up and write him off, even if they have no desire to drop Matt Ryan from the cast. It has been three seasons since DC’s Legends of Tomorrow introduced a character who’s actually from a DC comic. Every season they get further from a DC show and closer to a generic time travel action/comedy. The Arrowverse still has Flash and Superman, but their access to iconic DC characters is drying up, and nothing underlines that like what they have in development.
I’m sure Ava DuVernay has a great vision for Brian Michael Bendis’ Naomi, and Bendis sure is trying to put her over as a DC character, so fine, do that. But trying to make a show out of the new Wonder Girl, Yara Flor? Yara, the Brazilian Wonder Girl, was introduced during Future State, a several-month event showing possible futures for DC’s lineup that was such an “Oops All Dystopias” train wreck it is impossible to think anything good might come out of it. It could be I’m handing the whole of Future State the bill for how fast I got sick of the Batman-based Future State arc, but in fairness, given the amount of Batman-adjacent books, the Batman arc was 35% of the event and it got old in under four issues. Maybe Yara Flor’s fun, I haven’t read her book, but trying to pitch a TV series about her before said book had launched, when all we’d seen was two Future State Wonder Woman issues and two Future State Justice Leagues, was… a choice. Feels like the kind of choice you make when you know all the big-name characters are being hoarded for possible HBO Max projects. And Gotham Knights sounds like they said “Who doesn’t Matt Reeves want, let’s just use all of them.”
For a better example, let’s look at Batwoman. Yes, I eventually got on board with the iconic Batwoman, Kate Kane, being replaced with original character Ryan Wilder, because in season two, Ryan worked. But season three is almost making me regret getting back on board, because suddenly this is their whole thing. Season three opened with various weapons of classic Bat-villains leaking into the general populace, so we had some nobody using Mad Hatter’s tech, a different nobody getting infected by Killer Croc’s tooth (Killer Croc’s condition has never been contagious, Batman would have been infected 100 times over)… and then Kate’s step-sister Mary became Poison Ivy somehow, and Ryan’s half-brother she never knew was suddenly revealed to have been brain-damaged by Joker, and is becoming the new Joker, and I’m supposed to be excited for this? For the back half of the season, an OC cosplaying as Batwoman will be fighting an OC cosplaying as Poison Ivy and a different OC cosplaying as the Joker so they can do a miniature, generic, store-brand version of 2020’s Joker War story, and I’m not into it.
The proper Poison Ivy apparently shows up, and not only in flashbacks, but by the fall finale the only actual Bat-villain to show up was Professor Pyg, and they butchered him so bad they needn’t have bothered. He’s not a caterer with a grudge, he’s an insane surgeon obsessed with a twisted version of perfection, you can’t just slap a pig mask on someone and decide he’s Professor Pyg now. Jesus, Gotham got this one better, stop losing to Gotham, Arrowverse. (Oh right they also did Zsasz but it’s almost unfair to compare any Victor Zsasz to Anthony Carrigan’s take from Gotham, Anthony Carrigan’s Zsasz was Gotham’s greatest accomplishment.)
And also this points to a larger problem.