"I say, we will have no more marriages..."
-Hamlet Act III Scene i
Of course, Hamlet said that while feigning (?) madness. DC? Apparently, it's now corporate policy.
We already knew that the New New (New) DC Universe is going to "One More Day" Clark Kent and Lois Lane's marriage--never married, nope, not even really dating. Apparently, it's too tough to write a married Superman--Lois gives him "too much support," they need Superman to "struggle" more and be more "isolated" and "broody."
Jim Lee said Friday that the marriage had made writers "complacent." You'd think the answer to that would be to tell your writers to write better, rather than toss the relationship, but the inmates are in charge at DC.
Lee went on to say "[Superman] had this love of his life that he couldn't necessarily obtain, and that's something that was kind of missing from that mythology." Which kind of proves that Lee never actually read a Silver Age Superman story, because that's not how I remember things: Superman could have "obtained" Lois anytime--he was the one playing hard to get.
But yesterday we found out that was just the beginning. New Flash cowriter and penciller Francis Manapul told a panel "[Barry Allen] and Iris were never married. He's dating someone, but playing the field a bit. He's fast enough for all the ladies."
First, you have to wonder why DC was so insistent on bringing Barry back, if they were going to change his background, get rid of his friends and family, and change his personality--"playing the field"?!? Barry Allen?!?!
Second, I've opined in this space before about the wondrous storytelling possibilities Iris Allen presents. She's a time traveling, body-shifting Lois Lane, with Superman's origin, and everyone she touches becomes a God of Speed. To claim that she somehow makes writers complacent or limits storytelling possibilities is just foolish. But no, all that is outweighed by the fact that the pre-adolescents in the DC He-Man Woman Haters Clubhouse think marriage is icky.
But aside from all the relationships now fiated away with a hand wave, and aside from all the currently existing characters who've never been born because of DC's "our heroes must be younger and not married to be more relatable" policy, here's the problem:
If DC's not going to have any married characters, doesn't that ruin the (melo)drama of having their heroes date? If this policy means that Lois and Clark can never marry, what's the point of watching them date, if you've already declared that their relationship can go no farther? Having Barry Allen "play the field"--aside from projected wish fulfillment by the creators, how can that provide better storytelling possibilities, if you've already declared a large set of those possibilities out of bounds? Isn't removing the possibility (and even the desirability) of marriage just as likely to lead to complacency by writers, just as limiting to character growth?
Sadly, DC has seemingly and unironically taken Hamlet's rant to heart:
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go.
Buddy Baker, you'd best be watching over your shoulder...