My Thoughts On......The Other History of the DC Universe

Whether it’s movies, TV shows or even comics, modern DC tends to focus more on Batman, Superman or the more well known heroes. Even when it comes to telling unique and out of continuity stories under their Black Label, those are the characters they tend to lean on. But now - an anthology mini series focused on heroes from minority groups - this is the kind of story and the kind of characters that should be more focused on.

It did take a moment for me to get used to the story and page layout of this series. Comics have always been an unusual entertainment medium, being both visual and of the written word. But this leaned more on the written word. Not to say there is little art or that it is bad. It just took a moment to adjust to the different execution.

As for the stories told…they stuck with me. Personally, I genuinely do believe we live in an infinite multiverse. And the stories of fictional stories in our universe, like the Rocky movies or the Harry Potter books and all the rest, live in their own parallel universe. The way the stories are told really make it feel like the DC Universe was becoming even more real and fleshed out. Now, we can put together the behind the scenes reasons why certain comic stories happened the way they did or why certain characters fall from the spotlight. The reasons tend to be something along the lines like telling the story this way helped developed this idea or this character wasn’t used as much because they were never received that well. But what would the reasons be from a real world perspective? If we were living in the universe where all of these characters were real? That’s what this story does. It tells us the often times ugly reality based reasons why things happened the way they did. And it isn’t easy to hear.

Some of the bigger characters are still mentioned in these stories. But the way the main focus characters talk about them or offer thoughts on events surrounding characters like Superman may rub some readers the wrong way. And I can understand that. But keep in mind, we have read plenty of stories in the main DC universe where those characters themselves often admit to having flaws and not realizing how some of their actions or words might be perceived. It’s important to remember that anything said in this mini series regarding the bigger heroes isn’t coming from a place of hate or disgust. Everything said and written is meant to force us to look at characters and some iconic events from a different perspective. Help us understand some characters like the vast majority of stories never get a chance to explore. There is a lot of complexity in what is laid out on the pages of this series. And it is meant to be a celebration of these heroes and many others like them that often go overlooked.

Now, my brief thoughts on all 5 stories. Black Lightning’s was direct and showed how someone as stubborn as Jefferson can change throughout the years. Mal & Karen’s was arguably a bit tougher to get through because they genuinely tried to connect with their superhero team but never felt like they were treated on the same level as the other times. But knowing they found a way to build a better lives partly because they used their complicated history with the team to grow and mature did have a sense of bittersweet closure. Katana’s felt a little haunting, but also did have a sense of bittersweet closure. I was really looking forward to Renee Montoya’s and it didn’t disappoint. Her’s really did focus on the existential pondering of characters like her and helped shine a light on how religion can make a person’s journey like hers even more complicated. And finally Thunder. That one really did show how all of these struggles aren’t isolated and it is a fight that spans generations.

At the end, I think this is one of the most important stories DC has put out in recent years. And it should get more recognition in the future.

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Thanks for your thoughts. I also read this series recently. It definitely made me look at things from a different perspective, which I appreciated. I thought both the writing and the art were very well done as well.

I was only able to buy Katana’s and it was beautiful(def reading the others on DCUI when I get the time) but I just want to shout out to bit about Terra and how validating after years of being disgusted by deathstroke to have someone finally call him out on his BS(no hate if you like slade, I just find his actions unforgivable)