The DCEU is in seemingly dire straits. The recent WB-Discovery merger has led to many cancellations, some of which were DC projects such as Batgirl. Regardless of what these projects’ quality would have been, fans do agree that it’s a terrible situation for all the creative talents involved.
Still, these cancellations have reignited some old arguments. After all, the DCEU has had a bit of an identity crisis lately. Mostly because DC fans can’t seem to agree on what DC should be, whether it’s in comics, movies, or video games. So much so, that some talking points have been repeated over and over.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
"Superman's Boring Because He's Overpowered"
Superman is the de facto strongest hero of the Justice League. When all hope seems lost, it’s the arrival of Kal-El that turns the tide. His power is an integral part of his character. However, some fans have taken that to mean that he’s boring.
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They argue “Why even care about stakes at all when nothing affects them?”, which Superman fans respond with “Superman may be able to save himself, but he can’t save everyone”. In truth, both do have some merit. When poorly written, Superman is a status quo button. When done well, he’s the climax of the story and furthers his own development.
"The Snyder Films Don't Understand DC"
There’s no denying that Zack Snyder’s films have reached a massive audience, and no doubt generated a strong fanbase. One need only look at the flame wars online to see how passionate Snyder fans can get. However, one of the biggest criticisms from comics fans is that Snyder doesn’t understand the characters.
Batman’s controversial debut in the DCEU with no qualms about killing criminals, Superman’s general lack of “Blue Boy Scout” qualities, and Wonder Woman being introduced with no real buildup rubbed fans the wrong way. In contrast, fans claim that the introductions were unnecessary, as the Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman character arcs were already established. Still, the DCEU characters are incredibly different from their source material in important ways, and so a lot of the character development feels light if not nonexistent, as critics claim.
"Can A Prepared Batman Be Beaten By Anybody"
Batman has been jokingly termed “Batgod” because of his absurd ability to have a plan for everything. At least, that’s what many fans claim. Batman manages to survive in storylines that, for all intents and purposes, should have killed him. All because he had contingencies upon contingencies. While Batman has definitely been defeated by mind games, it's often when he's emotionally manipulated.
People often argue about how much is too much when it comes to Bat Prep. Many critics point out that, after a certain threshold, Batman’s paranoia borders on “Anti-Shark Repellant” levels of cartoonish. To counter that, Batfans say “This is comic books, who knows what could happen, he probably spends his free time just work-shopping ways to beat himself”. In either case, it’s a fun exercise in discussing Batman’s core qualities: his money and his mind.
"Marvel Is Grittier Than DC"
The brand rivalry has been a core pillar of comic book arguments. It’s not something either publication dissuades either. Both brands, whether playfully or harshly, have parodied each other’s most iconic superheroes. One talking point Marvel fans like to toss DC fans’ way is that Marvel is more “gritty”.
If the discussion is purely for the main universe, this is mildly understandable. After all, Marvel heroes, for some reason, tend to have a lot of infighting and mutant-related controversies. In contrast, DC’s threats have been external for the most part. Not a lot of street-level heroes in their big six either. But as Dark Nights: Metal, The Dark Knight Returns, Hitman, and Kingdom Come prove, DC can get gritty when they want to be.
"New 52 Was Mid"
One of the more unique aspects of DC Comics is that they’ve had significantly more universal shakeups than Marvel has. Crisis of Infinite Earths would streamline the DC multiverse and there was much love for that entire arc. However, the next reboot, New 52, would be far more polarizing.
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Several fans praise it for trying something new. Younger, less proven heroes, and a much grittier tone than its light bright predecessor. There were some truly amazing runs in the New 52. However, the flip side reveals dozens of ill-advised changes, one example of which was changing the brutish, cuss-heavy bounty hunter Lobo into a suave pretty boy. Eventually, New 52 was folded into the Rebirth event, but its effects are still argued about to this day.
"Damian Wayne Is Annoying"
Controversial Robins are nothing new. After all, it’s really, really hard to beat “DC officially having a poll to spare or kill Jason Todd” when it comes to Robin-related discourse. That hasn’t stopped Damian Wayne from trying really hard to spark up those old embers though. Damian Wayne, whether loved or hated, is best described as a snobby brat with a chip on his shoulder and a mildly concerning lack of regard for the “no-kill” rule.
His personality has fans divided. Many believe him to be the “Scrappy Doo” of Robins, and that any of the older Robins is a more fun alternative than him. On the other hand, his fans love that he gives Batman a taste of his own medicine. Like Batman, Damian is brooding, incredibly skilled, and most importantly, arrogant as the night is dark. Damian’s just more honest about these things than his father is. While he’s mellowed out in recent issues, the arguments definitely haven’t.
"Evil Superman Is Interesting"
The Boys is far from the first to have an evil Superman, and it certainly won’t be the last. Whether it’s Brightburn, Invincible, or even DC’s own Injustice, “Beware the Superman” is a trope that is ripe with horror potential. However, some fans argue that it’s gotten oversaturated these days.
Cynicism was an interesting contrast for Superman when it was fresh, but now, it often feels like a mouthpiece for writers to vent their own grim beliefs. It’s often at the expense of Superman’s best qualities, rendering him down simply to his powers. Worse, some people believe that evil Superman is more “realistic”. Considering the number of genuine heroes in history, it’s a little more than irrational to claim a good Superman would not be realistic.
"Barbara Should Have Stayed As Oracle"
One of the more sensitive but ultimately needed arguments in recent DC canon is Batgirl’s sudden recovery. One of the most horrifying things about The Killing Joke was the paralysis of Barbara Gordon. Instead, Barbara took on the role of Oracle, Batman’s eyes and ears for all the crime that occurs in Gotham. Even disabled, Barbara proves she is an important hero in her own right. She also helps build up the new Batgirls, Stephanie, and Cass.
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Eventually, because it’s a comic book, Batgirl recovers from her paralysis. This alone would not be too big of an issue, as Oracle was crucial to making Batman as “omniscient” as he is. Barbara even admits she’s done more good as Oracle than as Batgirl, making it all the more confusing why she put the mantle on. Some fans loved to have the “OG Batgirl" back (technically, the real OG was Betty Kane, but that’s a long story) but others felt it was a backward step for her character.
"Wally Or Barry?"
There have been almost as many mainline Flashes as there are Robins. Still, it always boils down to the big two. Comic fans argue which Flash is more iconic, though to be honest, more out of fun than genuine anger. Barry was a corny jokester, but he was methodical, smart, and socially aloof. In contrast, Wally is the Flash most fans outside of the comics are familiar with, a snarky jester who acts as the heart of the otherwise dour Justice League.
Wally West’s popularity is best attributed to his main cast role in the Timmverse Justice League. People loved that despite being comic relief, he was one of the most genuinely dangerous members of the team. However, the most iconic Flash storylines in the comics are firmly thanks to Barry Allen. The entirety of Flashpoint is core to shaping what the DC Universe is today.
"Should Batman Kill The Joker?"
Without a doubt, the biggest argument in Batman’s history, the question of Batman breaking his no-kill rule for the mass-murdering Clown Prince of Crime continues to rage into the modern day. If anything, each passing year when Joker lives makes Batman look more and more like the problem. Critics of Batman point out that his refusal to kill The Joker has filled countless graveyards. In fact, DC itself calls out its Dark Knight through Jason Todd.
Under the moniker of Red Hood, Jason Todd challenges Batman as to why he didn’t avenge him. He asks him why he let all those people die for his code. Batman, for his part, says the same counterpoints that his fans often have. He’s not worried that killing Joker is wrong. He’s worried that if he crosses that line, then he won’t be able to stop himself from becoming the very things he swore to destroy. This moral balance, and its active discussion to this day, showcases how amazing comics are at storytelling.
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