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What Does the DC Comics Reboot Mean for Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman — and Beyond?

As you may have heard, DC Comics just relaunched its entire line of comics with 52 new first issues featuring fresh story lines meant to entice new readers. The new DC titles start from scratch, with younger heroes unencumbered by decades of backstory. But in comic books, the only constant is that everything changes and nothing changes. So it’s no surprise that DC Comics has changed several characters while also keeping much of the status quo.

Many of DC’s changes have been made to attract new readers who might be drawn in by upcoming movies like The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel. (Several characters are now closer to their big-screen counterparts in both appearance and story line.) Let’s take a look at how the new Superman, Catwoman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and more could be reflected on the big screen. (Spoilers ahead for those who aren’t caught up on their comic books.)

DC relaunched Action Comics,
a series that began way back in 1938, with a nod to Superman’s roots. A
hotheaded champion of the working class, the new Man of Steel dangles
corporate bad guys off buildings and wears jeans with his cape. He’s a
(Super)man of the people! Reminiscent of the Superman from the original
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster issues of Action, the new Clark Kent has just arrived in Metropolis and isn’t married to Lois Lane. (He also leaps tall buildings in a single bound as he hasn’t been exposed to Earth’s sun long enough to fly.) Over in the Superman comic, which is set a few years after Action,
Clark is older and sports unnecessary red and blue armor. De-ageing
Clark Kent and undoing his marriage to Lois is clearly a way to make the
character closer to the version we’ll soon see in 2013’s big screen
Superman reboot Man of Steel.

wonder-woman-chiang-125.jpgWonder Woman
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman
is the most exciting comic to feature the Amazonian princess in
years. It also settles the debate that has been raging throughout fandom: pants or no pants? The new Wonder Woman ditches the jeans
jacket and hotpants of her recent Jim Lee redesign in favor of the
classic star-spangled underwear and tiara look. So far, the new Wonder Woman series
gets back to basics with a healthy mix of mythology and superheroics.
(She protects a woman with ties to Zeus from
centaurs and other mythological creatures.) Even better, artist Cliff
Chiang gives us the best-looking Wonder Woman in years. Hopefully Warner
Bros. will take notice and jumpstart the movie (preferably starring Christina Hendricks.)

turning over the cape and cowl to former Robin Dick Grayson for a time,
Bruce Wayne is back as Batman. Dick has gone back to his post-Robin
persona Nightwing, while Damien Wayne (Bruce’s son) is still Robin and
Tim Drake (Robin number three) goes by the (dumb) moniker Red Robin.
(Robin number two Jason Todd is back from the dead and running around as
the antihero Red Hood. Comics, where no one ever really
dies.) Not surprisingly, Bruce Wayne is back as Batman in time for next
summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. Otherwise it’s business as usual
in the Batman universe, with far too many ancillary characters. (DC
should have taken this opportunity to clean house at Wayne Manor.) It
will be interesting to see if the rumors of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin turn out to be true. If so, will he be Dick Grayson or Tim Drake?

The new Catwoman
adds one huge wrinkle to the character: She has occasional
one-night stands with Batman. Yes, the dreams of many a fan-fiction
writer came true when Batman and Catwoman engaged in a racy (and controversial)
costumed sex scene at the end of issue one. Visually, the new
Catwoman’s sleek black leather bodysuit and mask are pretty similar to
the outfit Anne Hathaway sports in the just-released Dark Knight Rises set
photos. (Though movie Catwoman remembers to zip up.) So will Bruce
Wayne and Selina Kyle be as intimate onscreen as they are in the DC
Universe? With fans speculating that Selina Kyle makes her mask from pieces of Batman’s cowl, it’s a good bet that they’ll be more than friends.

animal-man-125.jpgAnimal Man
he’s a C-lister in the DC hero ranks, Animal Man has long been a cult
favorite thanks to writer Grant Morrison’s acclaimed take on the
character from the late ’80s. The new Animal Man series, by
writer Jeff Lemire and artist Travel Foreman, catapults Buddy Baker into
the big leagues thanks to a creepy first issue that mixes domestic
drama with supernatural chills. If Warner Bros. is smart, it will
watch how this series progresses for screenplay fodder. If nothing else,
Animal Man could be an excellent addition to Warner Bros.’ growing
lineup of DC Comics being developed for television. (TV shows for The
Spectre and Deadman are reportedly in the works.)

sinestro-comic-125.jpgGreen Lantern
failing to make much of an impression at the box office, it’s no
surprise that Hal Jordan is no longer wearing the green tights and mask
in his own comic. (Though he does star in Justice League #1, set prior to the events of the new Green Lantern series.)
In his new series, Hal Jordan has been stripped of his Green Lantern
status and is back to being a regular guy. Meanwhile, his arch-rival
Sinestro is part of the Green Lantern Corps. With the recent focus on
Sinestro in the comics (he’s become a complex villain thanks to writer
Geoff Johns) and Mark Strong’s excellent performance, it’s safe to say
that he will be a major part of the next Green Lantern movie. And with
Warner Bros. promising a “darker” and “edgier” sequel,
we’re likely to see Sinestro fully embrace his evil side. For now,
it’ll be interesting to see how he evolves from hero to villain in the
pages of Green Lantern.

Perhaps the most controversial change of the new DC Universe occurs in the pages of Batgirl
. Original Batgirl Barbara Gordon is back in the costume and, even
more surprising, is no longer in a wheelchair. Fans of Alan Moore’s
classic 1988 Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke remember that
Barbara Gordon (daughter of Commissioner Gordon) was confined to
a wheelchair after being shot and crippled by Joker. In one of the few
changes in comics that actually took, Barbara remained in a wheelchair
and took on the persona of tech-guru Oracle for more than two decades. Now
she’s cured and swinging around Gotham. While it makes sense to restore
Barbara Gordon to Batgirl in the event of a future movie appearance (she’s the most well-known Batgirl thanks to the 1960s Batman TV series and Batman the Animated Series),
fans are mixed on such a major change to a character who has become a
positive role model for physically challenged comic-book readers.

justice-league-125-comic.jpgJustice League
years of changing rosters, DC’s premiere superhero team is back to a
(mostly) classic lineup. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern,
Aquaman, and Batman are all present, with Cyborg (a fan favorite from
the old Superfriends cartoon) representing the Teen Titans. The
first issue, by comic book giants Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, sets up a
team of new heroes slowly coming together in a world that fears them.
(Sounds a bit like the X-Men, no?) After several false starts on its way
to the big screen (remember when Common was going to play Green
Lantern?), the sold-out Justice League #1 just might reignite
interest in a DC superhero team-up movie. The strong sales and fresh-start story sends a clear message to Warner Bros. — put the heavy
hitters together, and the fans will come.

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