Ramble: Who’s The Most Mature Person in the New 52?

If comic books are about identification – and there are countless people online who insist that they are – then DC have covered a lot of ground. They have male characters, female characters, white characters, black characters (fewer soon, though), asian characters, tall characters and short characters. They don’t have many disabled characters, but expect Geoff Johns to start ripping off arms at some point soon. Amanda Waller has lost weight and her attitude in the process, but maybe it’s a robot or something we all live in hope. But generally speaking? DC have covered a lot of ground, and are certainly leaps and bounds ahead of Marvel. Except in one area.

While DC have attempted to diversify their line as part of the reboot, they have left one group of people wondering what’s wrong with them. And that would be people aged over thirty. Almost every single one of the main DC characters has been made younger after the reboot, with several of them losing their ‘baggage’ in the process. The Flash and Superman have both become younger and, simultaneously, single. Aquaman remains married, but the years of bearded spinsterism have vanished and he’s inexperienced. Wonder Woman… well, we’ll get to her later. Cyborg is a young character, Green Arrow has lost years of his life, and Alec Holland was never Swamp Thing! Everybody across the DC line appears to have been made younger, which begs the question: why?

A recent poll conducted by DC showed that only 2% of the readership were under 18, and somewhere in the region of 48% were older than 35. Considering the high age of their readership… DC certainly haven’t provided many characters for them to empathise with. If we look across the line, maybe we’ll be able to get into this a little further, and spot any characters who are over, let’s say, 35. Where are they, and how are they being treated?

First off, we’re going to arbitrarily cut off any character who is centuries and centuries old. Somebody like Wonder Woman or Vandal Savage may well be extremely old – but they don’t wear it. Madame Xanadu is probably the only long-living character who actually ages, and she holds that off with a magic potion. She’s actively working to keep herself young. These characters who are meant to be very very old are actually currently portrayed as young. Vandal Savage only appears in Demon Knights, set in the past, while Wonder Woman is experiencing life from a fresh perspective, going out into the World to see what’s going on. She’s probably the eldest member of the Justice League, but that’s only because everybody else has dropped about ten years. Bearing that in mind, we can also cut off the ‘Young Justice’ group of titles, for fairly obvious reasons.

Most everybody in the Batman titles have taken an age cut, including Alfred and Jim Gordon – who has his ginger hair back. Nightwing and Batwoman haven’t changed much, but they’ve always been pitched as the young alternatives to Bruce Wayne anyway. Their point is to be young and fresh-faced and out in the World. And while Bruce still has a son, he’s certainly lost several years from his face. Batman & Robin is the only title which deals with Damian anyway. Catwoman is also a little younger, but not by much. The title which properly showcases slightly older central characters is actually Birds of Prey, with a cast of women who are probably pushing thirty. Remember – this is all about IMPRESSION. It doesn’t matter what their age actually is – the point is to seek out characters who are portrayed as old, dealing with situations which appeal to an older demographic of people (and it’s ridiculous to call thirty an old age, we know), and therefore *represent* that section of DC’s audience.

The Green Lantern titles are all about aliens and Alan Scott has vanished, so let’s ignore those. The Superman titles feature two young characters in the shape of Supergirl and Superboy, with the other two titles concerned with the ages of Superman. The eponymous Superman series features an older Superman (still single, still young), while Action Comics sees a Clark Kent who’s only just come into existence. Perry White is still a long way out of the picture.

The Edge is an interesting line, because it features obscure characters whose age isn’t a factor. Somebody like Deathstroke isn’t going to appeal to more people because he’s been de-aged, and so many of these characters are actually a little older. But they’re all still dealing with simple issues. The Suicide Squad are acting like excited teenagers in a snuff film (which is basically what they are), while OMAC is young and the cast of Stormwatch are only just starting to form. Good ol’ Jonah Hex is still going strong over in All-Star Western, though!

Everybody in Justice League Dark is younger than they used to be. Constantine and Zatanna in particular are far more fresh-faced than they’ve been in the past – the book is apparently taking place years before the current Hellblazer stories. Of the other books, most concern demons or vampires or people living in the past, while Alex Holland – the current star of Swamp Thing – has been brought back from the dead younger, but with all the memories of Swamp Things past. So we’re left with Resurrection Man, and Animal Man. Which isn’t that bad, actually. The Dark titles are certainly pitched at an older audience, so the characters here seem to be more mature. Animal Man has a family to look after, and the main storyline concerns his daughter. The family are one of the main selling points for the series, really. If they had been rebooted into non-existence, the title would’ve been cancelled by now due to low sales. The family are vital to Animal Man’s existence.

So I suppose there’s that. Among 52 new titles, you’ve got Jonah Hex, Buddy Baker, and a load of immortal people. Identify with any of them?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: