- A total reboot is when the history of a character is completely started anew, with no leftover continuity from the previous incarnation. (i.e. Superman: Man of Steel)
That can be good, but it can also throw out a lot of history that people don't want to let go of.
And there's no guarantee that the new story will be pursued consistently. The Crisis on infinite Earths should have rebooted everybody, but many characters just ignored the "universal" reset button being pressed. That was very bad.
- A 'Fix-It' job is when a controversial story element is covered-up with a story that resolves the issue in question by giving it a botch-job resolution so to the untrained fan, it's as though it never happened (for example, when they brought Doc Ock back to life in the nineties using a *******' witchdoctor! Or, when Harvey decided to become Two-Face again, so he cut his face causing 'irreparable damage' so he's Two-Face forever, no matter what Jeph Loeb decides.)
This is what I voted for, as being usually
(not always) best, even though it's often an ugly solution.
Suppose you have a good character, Sam Wilson, upright social worker. He's building up fans slowly on the basis of a good, growing history of solid, low-key stories. In other words, if this was torn up, there would be no quick way to reconstruct the basis of the character's appeal. The character concept itself is not that exciting, rather it's how he's been shown relating to people over a long time.
In one story he gets retconned in a degrading way as having always been a criminal.
I want that retroactive history to go away, without taking Sam Wilson back to what he was, that is a character who was not likely to work out well, till he beat the odds. I'm willing to not look back much or skeptically on how the stupid thing got fixed. I just want the writers and editors to make the problem go away.
Also, which is worse: serial fix-its, to repair characters who other writers maul over and over, or serial reboots?
Endless Crises on Ultimate Infinite Earths 19
Hawkman: Ultimate Final Reboot IV: the Unknown Tales: Everything You Know About the poor drug addict who in Reboot III was imagining he had hawk powers is Wrong!!
Followed by: Hawkman: Ultimate Final We Really Mean It This Time Reboot V: Wings of Cyberpsychosis: Year -1!!
If I had more faith that people would take reboots seriously, do them right, stick to them, follow through and not have to do them again, I might feel differently. But history has not made me optimistic on this. Especially DC's history has not made me optimistic on this.