Something occurred to me while reading the blog post by Flash editor Brian Cunningham at the end of last week, when he announced that Barry Allen was now no longer a married man in the New 52 – Well, something besides “Wait, wasn’t Barry essentially single in the last Flash series? I mean, there was some kind of flirting/dating with Iris potentially, but were they supposed to be married?” – namely, what the hell does DC suddenly have against matrimony?
After all, it’s not just Barry Allen who suddenly finds himself de-married in the New 52-verse; Lois and Clark are famously in the same boat, and from the looks of pre-release interview, solicits and other material, Mr. Terrific and The Savage Hawkman have gone from being widowers to being swinging bachelors without a care in the world that isn’t related to fighting crime and looking good doing it. It goes even further, of course; if Ryan Choi really is the Atom in the new 52, then it’s not just the Ray Palmer/Jean Loring marriage that doesn’t exist anymore, it’s all of Ray Palmer. In fact, in the new DCU, I’m having trouble thinking about a marriage that has actually survived… Ralph and Sue Dibny, perhaps, but they’re potentially dead if Identity Crisis and 52 still happened (Seriously, aside from the Legion of Super-Heroes relationships, am I missing a marriage that’s made it through the New 52 unscathed? I mean, even Ma and Pa Kent are dead now).
This all has the aim, of course, of making the characters seem younger and more relatable to readers. After all, no comic readers are married, and no young people ever get married, so… success achieved, DC! Congratulations on making One More Day seem restrained.
(A stray thought: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if, in the middle of these announced de-marrying of characters, DC quietly retcons in a marriage? I’d love it if, in the middle of Green Lantern #1, Hal Jordan casually mentions that he and Carol have been married for years without his superhero identity causing any problems.)