*This article will be heavily based on DC Future State, which I explain in a companion piece, found here. Knowledge of DC’s latest reboot will be generally assumed, so please read my aforementioned article if you are unaware of what DC Future State is and what’s happening in it. Please also note that the following analysis contains spoilers.
DC is having an identity crisis. In the middle of a pandemic, in a year lacking in mainstream superhero content, the company decided that now is the time for a radical reboot with a Justice League primarily comprised of new characters. A very radical reboot. Yes, the reboot is only set to run for two months, but the point still stands. Why?
As a hardcore superhero fan, a lot of what DC Future State is doing seems intriguing. Flash and Green Lantern’s loss of the Speed Force and Central Power Battery, respectively, are interesting concepts. The idea of a speedster with prosthetic legs is quite clever. The Suicide Squad looks like a really fascinating take on the team. I am excited to see what DC Future State will bring. However, DC Future State, along with a lot of what the company is doing outside the reboot, has an overarching problem: DC has fully embraced “wokeness.”
Across all its brands, DC has decided to push “diversity” over beloved, cross-generational characters and exciting new characters, such as Punchline. DC is shifting the focus of its universe to new, untested characters instead of the beloved icons of the traditional League in Future State. It appears that, in the process of pushing these new characters, DC has lost sight of what heroism is. This is occurring across all three of DC’s major mediums: television, film, and comics and books.
DC was developing a TV show around Yara Flor, the new Wonder Woman, but this development has since been halted. Instead, they are currently developing a show centered around Naomi, a character who, according to ComicVine, has appeared in a total of 32 issues. And they are canceling Black Lightning and Supergirl, in order to possibly replace Black Lightning with a show centered around Painkiller, a side character on Black Lightning who was a very minor comics villain. Thus, DC is replacing shows centered around iconic characters with little known characters. Why are they choosing to make these changes? Because these new shows fit better within the left’s “diversity” standards.
DC had been developing a Plastic Man movie, centered around a C-list superhero who is known for being funny. However, they are now centering it around a female lead, which hasn’t led to much positivity from fans. The only reason DC would decide to change the character so fundamentally like this is to push “diversity” standards.
Comics and Books:
By the left’s standards, the new Justice League is far more “diverse” than the original team was. This in itself is neither a flaw nor a strength of the League; I don’t care about the immutable characteristics of the characters. However, I am highly suspicious of the political motivations behind this change, specifically with regards to the new, non-binary Flash. When talking about making the new Flash non-binary, the character’s writer has been quoted as saying, “[w]hy don’t we do something besides what we would have made up if it was 1965?” Moreover, he stated that “if someone has a problem that a Flash from an alternative universe is nonbinary, there’s a lot of other comics they can read.” This gives me very little confidence in the character. Someone who introduces a new character primarily based on their supposed gender, and then insults anyone who disagrees with the decision—specifically under the negative assertion that they are old-fashioned—is not someone who I want creating the character.
And as if DC’s political bias weren’t apparent enough, Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story is also inherently political. The story is centered around Jessica Cruz, a character whose primary trait is her anxiety and how, using her willpower, she is able to overcome it (tying in with her being a Green Lantern). However, the new novel isn’t really about Jessica’s mental health and ensuing superpowers. While the importance of rising above personal struggles should be the focus of Jessica Cruz’s character, DC chooses to twist her narrative, in order to promote illegal immigration. Jessica, in Unearthed, is a part of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program whose constitutionality has been questioned. Jessica’s parents are illegal immigrants—or, as the book’s description says in politically-correct terminology, they’re “undocumented.” In the book, Jessica’s father is detained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And there is a mayor “with a strong anti-immigration stance.” The fact that Jessica’s father gets detained will undoubtedly be portrayed as negative, even though he’s being arrested for breaking the law. The book also massively overhauls Jessica as a character, connecting her to Aztec gods and making her the daughter of illegal immigrants, instead of being centered around her comic book origins. DC decided to fundamentally change Jessica’s character, in order to push a political agenda. And as a result, the story and characters will most certainly suffer.
Likewise, a book about Starfire’s overweight, lesbian, goth daughter called I Am Not Starfire is coming out in August. By virtue of the title, this is a book which instantly characterizes its protagonist as a victim. The main character hates that her mother is Starfire—and she struggles to find her own identity. DC obviously intends for Starfire to contrast with her daughter. The legendary Teen Titan, Starfire, is described as “bright, bubbly, scantily clad, and famous.” Meanwhile, her daughter, Mandy, is goth and overweight. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the story of a superhero’s child trying to escape the mantle of her parent, whether that is to forge her own super-mantle or to escape the realm of superheroes altogether. However, this requires that the character is interesting outside of her lineage. And, from her first presentation, Mandy is not. She is presented as a victim of her parent, not as an independent entity. If the title were “Mandy, Daughter of Starfire: Forging Her Own Path,” I would be more interested in reading the book, despite its thinly veiled propaganda status. The problem here is that the title opts to develop a victimhood narrative, instead.
Imagine if Bruce Wayne/Batman just wallowed in self-pity, after his parents were killed. Rather than avenge his parents and fight evil, he could have just focused on his terrible circumstances and complained about it. However, there is a reason that he is not written like this, because then he wouldn’t be a hero. Heroes are not victims; they overcome hard circumstances and stand triumphant, because they fight for what they believe.
Heroes are not victims; they overcome hard circumstances and stand triumphant, because they fight for what they believe.
Imagine if the Avengers just gave up after Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War. Imagine if the paragons gave up, after the multiverse was destroyed in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Imagine if the Power Rangers gave up, after Zordon’s death in Power Rangers: In Space. Would these characters be heroes? No, they would be crippled by their circumstances. And heroes don’t embrace victimhood. Instead, heroes rise above and conquer their circumstances, and that is why they are so inspirational.
A Summary of DC’s Partisanship:
In summary, DC has insulted fans who dislike the direction they’re heading with their characters, developed virtue-signaling shows around completely new characters, and taken a niche-yet-iconic superhero and gender-swapped him, among other partisan actions. To top all of this off, they are now publishing a book centered around a pre-existing character, completely changing her identity and origin, and using it as a piece of political propaganda to support illegal immigration. None of this will appeal to fans.
Sadly, this means that DC is likely to “go woke and go broke.” In the company’s frantic rush to push political doctrine, DC appears to lack an understanding of heroism; rather than champion engaging heroes, DC is choosing to develop characters centered around victimhood. This is disappointing, coming from the company that once told the story of Oliver Queen in the Arrowverse; that was a true story about a hero rising above and, quite literally, becoming something greater. Now, DC wants to tell me that Mandy is heroic because she does not like her mother. The same company that once published Superman’s great American immigrant story is now publishing a book that celebrates illegal immigration. And the company that has inspired generations with its heroes no longer appears so uplifting.
The world needs more heroes, not more victims—and I hope that DC, the company that has inspired heroes for generations, can remember this.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.