Major comic book publishers pride themselves on the comic universes they are able to create. The more characters they have, the bigger the world feels. When a superhero battle erupts, you expect there to be some mention of other characters or a sign in other titles that these other battles have occurred. Cameos and crossovers are expected and they add to the feel of the vast comic book world.
Since DC started "The New 52," we've seen new and familiar events unfold in the updated DCU. We have already seen some crossovers but overall there is something missing. Each title has a separate feel from the others, even when they involve the same characters. There are definite pros and cons to this but the question remains whether or not there should be more cohesion in the DC Universe.== TEASER ==
In the past, when characters appeared in other titles, they usually retained the characteristics present in their individual titles or seen in other guest appearances. In "The New 52," it's a different story. It's completely understandable that each title should have its own unique feel. With each having started with a new #1 back in September, each book and character needs to find their own voice. Who they are and where they fit in this updated DCU needs to be figured out.
The problem with allowing each book to have a separate feel is when characters are shared, they don't feel like the same characters. Rather than have one giant world, we're almost getting 52 separate ones.
Tim Drake was present in BATMAN #1 yet blowing up his penthouse and nearly being caught by a secret government organization doesn't grab Batman's attention. Perhaps, off camera, Tim has asked to be allowed to handle everything on his own.
Speaking of Batman, there are some similarities but between the four Bat-titles and his appearance in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, it doesn't feel like the same Batman. Alfred is ready to kick all sorts of butt in BATMAN AND ROBIN but is barely able to eat his ice cream and is on medication in BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. Wonder Woman also popped up in issue #4 and doesn't feel like the same character that Brian Azzarello is writing.
It was great to see Superman allude to his death in SWAMP THING #1 but the character in SUPERMAN feels like someone else completely. Even though there have been some crossover elements between SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, even these Supermen feel different. The one in ACTION is younger so we have to assume something has happened in the years between that affected Superman's personality.
There are many other examples. Where did Kyle Rayner's appearance in VOODOO #3 fit in with what's going on in NEW GUARDIANS? If there are hundreds getting killed by vampires in I, VAMPIRE, how come John Constantine is the only one that has stumbled upon this?
Let's be clear, I'm not asking for company wide crossovers. Over the years, this idea has almost gotten out of hand. There is something great about being able to read BATMAN knowing other story elements most likely won't get in the way of whatever Scott Snyder has planned. I'm perfectly content with books like WONDER WOMAN, AQUAMAN or THE FLASH dealing with their own stories in their own corner of the DCU. The problem is when shared characters have a different feel in each title.
With the recent revelation of the name of the mysterious pink lady that appeared in each #1 of "The New 52," the fear is that there will be a major crossover. This isn't something that we need. Readers have expressed that there are some books they love and others they had to drop after being unsatisfied. No one wants a major crossover that forces readers to read multiple books they normally don't in order to get the complete story.
We might have a slightly new comic universe and each writer should be able to figure out how their characters will develop since the relaunch. There just needs to be a little more consistency. Characters being in their own corners of the DCU is great but if there is a major earth-shattering event taking place, it makes sense for other heroes to be pulled in. When this happens, great effort needs to be taken to ensure the guest appearances feel like it's the same character appearing in other titles.
We don't need major crossover after crossover. We just need there to be a little more consistency, especially when it comes to characters appearing in several titles.