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DC Rebirth One Year Later – Batman

Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And, with this one, I’m not looking forward to it. I COULD put it off to the end, but…no. I should do this now. And I could sugarcoat how I feel about it, but the truth is, and I have to give my honest opinion on this, Tom King’s Batman, while having its good points, is probably the most disappointing book of DC Rebirth. And now, I’m not just saying that because I was a big fanboy of Scott Snyder’s run. I’ve pointed out in the past when I thought Snyder’s run with Batman disappointed or fell short in some way, so I will not pull any punches here, either. So, let’s take a look at Tom King’s run on Batman.

First off, while there was the occasional head-scratching moment, I actually did like the opening arc, I Am Gotham. Batman interacting with and having to bring up to speed essentially Gotham City’s version of Superman and Supergirl is an interesting scenario, one that we don’t see very often. And here, Batman’s seniority over Gotham…erm, the man, not the city. He calls himself Gotham. The girl is named Gotham Girl. For simplicity, though, I’m just gonna call them Henry and Claire. Anyway, Batman’s seniority over the two makes perfect sense: They’re new. They haven’t been heroes for very long, and while they’ve lived in Gotham for a while, they don’t know it as intimately as Bruce does. So him taking lead and mentoring them makes sense. It’s also interesting to see how their backstory could have been like Bruce’s, but Batman was there to save them from that fate, leading them to a different scenario. And because they come off as genuinely good people, it’s all the more tragic what ultimately happens to them, with Henry turning bad and Claire being forced to ultimately bring him down, all while going more than a little bonkers herself.

The arc also had some awesome moments…even if a couple were complete horseshit. Let’s be honest, people, Batman surfing a plane out of harm’s way and flipping Solomon Grundy one-handed were both completely improbable. But then, that’s symptomatic of a problem I’ll get into later. Other moments, however, like the confrontation with Henry after he’s been driven mad, complete with Alfred in a Batsuit (which was both cool and hilarious), and Batman actually doing the one thing no one would’ve expected and CALLING THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, were pretty damned badass.

After that…Oy. I don’t know what to say, folks. King had me, and then he lost me. I think what did it most for me was the I Am Suicide arc. First off, lemme make this clear: The suggestion that Catwoman would kill over 200 people is absolutely stupid. The thing you need to understand is that Catwoman likewise has a no kill rule. Granted, when I found out the people she supposedly killed were terrorists who took out the orphanage she once stayed in, I felt such actions would’ve at least been understandable, but I still didn’t really buy it. I knew it was one of two things: Character derailment, or a deliberate twist in the making. Turns out, surprise surprise, it was the latter…and kind of the former. See, it wasn’t Selina who killed those people, she was just covering for the person who actually killed them: Holly Robinson. So, in other words, instead of Selina’s character being turned into a Goddamn murderer, it was Holly’s. Um, yay? Am I supposed to feel happy about that?

Besides that, though, the crowning moment of stupid had to be when Bane broke Batman’s back AGAIN, but then Batman proceeded to somehow pop it back to normal and walk it off… … …I will repeat that. Bane broke Batman’s back for the second time, and then Batman managed to somehow fix it on his own, with no medical equipment whatsoever, and then went back on his mission like it was no big thing. And I remember watching a video where Tom King was very excitedly talking about this sequence of events, also fanboying over this moment that he wrote, and all I could think of was “…Tom, you DO know that Batman is human, right?”

Yeah, that’s something that’s been bothering me for a long-ass time now, and it really got highlighted in that one sequence of events. To put it bluntly, hardly anyone writes Batman nowadays to have actual human limitations. We constantly have seen him defy what should be humanly possible for going on two decades now. Granted, some of us online have guessed that Batman might be a low key metahuman, but the thing is, when you look at the founding members of the Justice League, Batman is supposed to be the ordinary man who doesn’t possess superpowers of any kind, and is equipped with human-made tech, meaning he doesn’t even have the advantages of a Green Lantern. However, the truth is that, if he tried to accomplish half the stuff he did with the actual limitations of a human being, even one at the peak of human physical conditioning and mental prowess, he’d have been dead a LONG time ago. Now, that’s not to say that his position on the Justice League is completely unjustified or anything. It’s important on a team like that to have multiple heroes of different power-sets and power-levels, so as to deal with any kind of situation that might get thrown at them. But again, if Batman isn’t going to be written as having human limitations, and is CONSTANTLY the one who has to be at the center of attention and bailing the rest of his team out, then it kinda ruins the idea. And, I’m sorry, but seeing Batman somehow fix his broken back on his own is absolutely stupid, as are him surfing a fucking jet liner away from Gotham City, flipping Solomon Grundy with one hand, surviving a beating from Professor Zoom, walking out of a fight with Darkseid with barely a scratch on him, that bullshit he pulled in Batman R.I.P. with the coffin, and probably most insane of all, surviving the mother fucking vacuum of mother fucking space for 24 mother fucking seconds! And no, I will not get over that!

…Okay, the entire sequence at Batburger was stupid as shit, but I WILL admit to laughing my ass off the whole way through. 😛

And then there’s a moment I absolutely detest as it pertains to what it does to the character of Batman: When Bane returns to get his revenge on Bruce, the latter decides that the only way to ensure victory over Bane is to force Bane to run the gauntlet of the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery. How does he do this? HE LETS THEM ALL OUT OF THEIR CELLS AT ARKHAM AND PUTS THEM BETWEEN HIMSELF AND BANE! Now, on the one hand, this is a clever subversion of how Bane first defeated Batman, by arranging to have the Arkham inmates escape, let Batman tire himself out physically and mentally by catching them all, and then attack him when he was at his weakest. It’s the thing a lot of people forget about Bane: That while he DID beat Batman in a one-on-one fight, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight. He essentially beat him in a chess match that Batman didn’t even know they were playing until his king was in check and all of his other pieces had been taken off the board. So yeah, clever subversion. On the other hand, though, HE LET HIS WORST ENEMIES GO FREE FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING THEM MEAT SHIELDS! AND HE ARMED THEM!!! This is downright villainous behaviour! Yes, he’s doing this not only to save himself but also Alfred and Claire, but my God, Batman, did you even take two seconds to think about all the ways this could’ve gone horribly wrong?! What if your other rogues had killed Bane?! You would’ve been an accomplice to murder, and then you would’ve had the much harder task of rounding them all up!

Oh, but as it turns out, small chance of that, because not only does Bane curbstomp his way through ALL of Batman’s worst nightmares (sans Joker for reasons I’ll get to in a later article), he then proceeds to beat the living hell out of Batman, and Batman just BARELY manages to win in the end! So we’re supposed to believe that Batman has the means with which to take on Superman and Wonder Woman in one-on-one fights, people with Godlike strength, and possibly even beat them in said fights, but he can’t handle one roided-out jock who just fought a bunch of other guys! What a fucking load of bullshit!

Anyway, having mentioned the thing with Zoom earlier, let’s talk about The Button, which is actually where things started to pick up a bit for me. I’mma leave the bulk of what happens in that book out for when I talk about The Flash, but for now, let’s just discuss the biggest thing to happen in that book that directly affects Batman: Meeting his father from the Flashpoint timeline. Having somehow managed to arrive there, despite there being no real reason they should have been able to that they could figure out, Flash and Batman meet up with Thomas Wayne, AKA Flashpoint’s Batman. The meeting between the two is sadly short-lived as Flashpoint is slowly erased from existence, but Bruce relays to Thomas that he has a son, making Thomas a grandfather, and while Thomas has a chance to escape death, he stays behind. As he does, though, he has the following advice for Bruce:

…Yeah, I won’t be doing the fail thing here, because holy shit, is this some powerful stuff. And while I have my doubts that Bruce will ever truly quit being Batman, as well as something else I’ll get into in a bit, this DOES have significant follow-up, as Bruce, deciding to find happiness, finally mans up and does something he should’ve done YEARS ago…

Now, I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I have been waiting for this moment for-fucking-ever! Outside of Earth 2 or otherwise Elseworlds stories, this moment has never happened. DC has teased it for decades, but they never pulled the trigger. Well, it seems like the trigger is now officially pulled. And, speaking of Earth 2, one thing of note in Bruce and Selina’s interactions in this book is that they remember two different versions of their first meeting: The Golden Age version, and the one from Frank Miller’s Batman Year One story. Hell, the diamond in the ring Bruce uses to propose is actually the same diamond she stole during their meeting in the Golden Age version, suggesting that this is the actual way they met in this timeline. This COULD be interpreted to mean that, when the ten years of history taken from the DCU are restored, Batman’s Golden Age roots will be brought back, and possibly even his marriage to Catwoman and her giving birth to Helena Wayne, AKA Huntress. These things could finally be made canon to the mainstream DC Universe. There is a great opportunity here to do this. Of course, that would also mean that, when Batman was starting out, he killed people, but I could buy the idea that the no kill rule was actually something he developed over time as a means of keeping himself more grounded. It wouldn’t be the worst thing they did with the character.

On the other hand, though, for reasons I hope I’ve made clear in this article, I don’t know that I trust Tom King with this. Characterization of these two has been passable at best and downright insultingly bad at worst in this book. Oh, and I don’t care if you think them calling each other Bat and Cat is cute or not, it got annoying REAL quick. But just beyond that, I don’t know that I trust DC to actually DO this. I’ll talk more about this later on, but in Nightwing’s book, Dick recently found out he was gonna be a father, and it was a huge deal to me and a lot of readers. Granted, some people hated it because the mother was neither Barbara Gordon nor Kory, instead being a reformed crook he’d met as Robin named Shawn, but it was still a huge deal: Dick Grayson was gonna be a father. This was major character development for him. However, sadly, it was a fake-out. Turned out Shawn got a false positive. And, if current events and future solicits for his book and Batgirl’s are to be believed, it looks like this relationship is doomed to failure. What makes that worse is that even those of us who loved the idea of Dick becoming a father and wanted it to be true…kind of knew they weren’t really gonna do this, because DC pulls this crap ALL THE TIME. I’m STILL amazed that they not only got Lois and Clark back together, but gave them a son to boot. So yeah, there’s a great opportunity here for Batman, his stories, and his legacy in the future, but I don’t trust DC to actually do it. If they do, GREAT. I honestly hope this happens and it’s done right. But I’m not necessarily holding my breath, either.

And that leads me to where the book is going. Well, right now, it’s The War of Jokes and Riddles, a flashback story narrated by Batman to Selina after he proposed to her that takes place during some sort of war between Joker and Riddler. Apparently, Batman did something terrible during this event, and is telling all of this to Selina because he wants her to know before committing herself to marrying him. Of course, there are a couple of problems with this. One, this story has Joker and Riddler being in a state of mind that makes them very morose, AKA wildly out of character and uninteresting. And two…well, if the final pages of the opening issue are to be believed, Bruce is telling Selina all of this after they had sex. Man, and I thought Zayn from One Direction made pillow talk sound unappealing.

But, then there’s one other thing I gather Tom King will get to at some point. Basically, at the end of the I Am Gotham arc, we got some narration from Claire that took place in the future, wherein she is not only married to Duke Thomas, but also apparently killed Batman… … …Okay, I’m just gonna get this out of the way right now: Can we please get a writer on the main Batman book who DOESN’T try to boost sales by teasing killing Batman off? And both Morrison and Snyder were quick to reveal that said deaths of Batman were fake-outs. Why should I have any reason to believe that isn’t the case here? Goddammit, DC, get Tom King off this book pronto and get someone who understands the character and won’t resort to trying to kill him off to write it. Sorry, King, but you’re just not the man for this book. But I do legitimately hope Mister Miracle works out great for you.

Anyway, that’s it for Tom King’s Batman. Leave your comments below on how you felt about the book, and be sure to check back in next time. And, rest assured, if there’s trouble, you’ll know who to call. Ja né!

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Jyger’s Rant – Injustice 2 Story Mode Review (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

…So, I don’t own this game. Just throwing this out now. Not available for any systems I own, don’t have the money to get a new one, and so here we are. That said, I really wanted to give my thoughts on the story in Injustice 2, especially since I DO own the original and have given my thoughts on it in the past. Luckily, plenty of people, like Maximilian Dood and Kwing, have posted playthroughs of the Story Mode, so I’m thus able to give it my own review. Just remember, though, that as I’m doing this review, I’m speaking strictly about the story, not the game in terms of how it plays and whatnot. Although, I will get this out of the way right now: So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a really good game, haven’t heard much wrong with it from a technical perspective yet, and on a personal note, NetherRealm Studios seem to have HUGELY improved on their facial designs and animations with this game. In fact, over all, I think this is their best LOOKING game of all time. Whenever they wanna make Mortal Kombat XI, they need to take inspiration from this game when it comes to the graphics.

But yeah, the story. So, this takes place a few years after Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman is in a red solar prison for taking over the world, and his former Regime buddies are either planning to break him out, working to make up for what they did under his rule, or joining Gorilla Grodd’s new group, the Society. However, pretty soon, it becomes clear that the Society are just pawns in a much bigger game, as Brainiac arrives to capture Superman, add a few Earth cities to his collection, and then blow the planet up. Eventually, the situation devolves so much that Batman and his allies have no choice but to release Superman and work with the Regime to try and stop Brainiac and the Society before they destroy the world.

So, right away, I have a bit of a complaint to make. If you didn’t play that game…well, there’re a few details that this game tends to completely either ignore or glance over. Specifically, the heroes of the mainstream DC Universe were brought over to the world primarily presented in these games and the comics to stop an evil Superman who had pretty much taken over with a new group made up of former heroes and villains called the Regime. And while this game takes place on that world, I think there’re maybe one or two passing references to the fact that Batman had help from good Superman and the Justice League in taking down Regime Superman (as in they did most of the work and he got all the credit), and the player is otherwise left to assume Batman was bad enough to bring down Superman all by himself. Also, no mention of the super pills they took last game, which are meant to explain how people like Batman, Harley, and other characters without superpowers can go toe-to-toe with superhumans, get tossed around in outer-fucking-space, and survive without so much as a scratch on them.

Another issue with the story is that it has a bit of a…complicated relationship with the tie-in comics. Nowhere is that more clear than in the first chapter of the story, which is actually set during an operation that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were pulling on Arkham Asylum. Basically, some events that happened in the comics are considered canon, others aren’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern as to what is or isn’t, nor is it made 100% clear what all is and is not canon anymore. One thing we DO know about what’s been changed is that, while Damian did apparently still kill Nightwing by accident, it didn’t happen during the operation on Arkham. Instead, the thing that tears him and Batman apart is Damian killing Zsasz…who, in the comics, survived way longer than that, and was actually responsible for killing Alfred. So, right away, we’ve got a double retcon, and that’s not even taking into account certain details mentioned by Cyborg about the deaths of Starfire and Beast Boy.

Before I get to the two biggest things that bother me about the story, though, let’s talk about some positives. First, you know I’m a sucker for stories that involve a ton of characters, and this has a lot of different heroes and villains with a wide range of abilities, from Harley Quinn with her dynamite and mallet, to Doctor Fate, sorcerer supreme of the DC Universe. From Captain Cold, a former bank robber with a freeze gun, to Supergirl, the last hope of Krypton with almost God-like strength and powers. Even Dex-Starr, who is quite possibly the avatar of everything stupid-yet-awesome about comic books, plays a minor role in the story. Characters from all walks of life in the DC Universe have various parts to play in this crisis, and all prove their worthiness to be involved in such a tale. Sadly, the majority of them are taken down a few notches at best by the last two chapters, which I’ll get to, but it’s still awesome to see them all here. Even Joker makes a return via Scarecrow-induced hallucination, which leads to the awesome sight of Harley, in a somewhat close approximation of her classic costume, giving him a good ass kicking.

 

 

Another positive to the story is not quite something I suggested after playing through the first game’s Story Mode, but close and still appreciated. Several chapters of the game give you not one but two characters to play through with, and you choose which one to play as before each fight in that chapter. As such, you can mix and match who fights whom, or you can have your favourite of the two do all the ass kicking. It’s totally up to you. And I appreciate that. I personally suggested classic Marvel vs Capcom 2v2 style fights, but whatever. Still cool, and allows not only for different dialogue and scenes depending on who is involved in the fights, but for more characters to take center stage in each…at least until the end, but again, I’ll get to that.

So, now for something that annoys me to no end, and if you’ve played through the Story Mode and know me and the characters I like, you should be able to figure this out. Simply put, I am NOT a fan of how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Poison Ivy are written in this game’s story, especially the last two (although that could simply be that nothing Superman does could top what he did to Shazam last game, who is a CHILD). In particular, there is a scene where Poison Ivy uses her pheromones on Harley Quinn to turn her against her allies. Now, first off, I’d just like to point out that Harley is supposed to possess immunity to most poisons, toxins, etc., due to injections given to her BY Poison Ivy. But, let’s just ignore that for now, because that’s not what really aggravates me. Instead, after inhaling too much of Ivy’s pheromones, Harley starts going into shock, and Ivy’s reaction is to roll her eyes and show complete and utter apathy over her former lover lying on the ground dying five feet away from her… … …Linkara, I need you again!

Thank you!… … …Look, here’s the thing: I can see a situation where Harley and Ivy could be on opposing sides, sure, maybe even having to fight each other, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that Harley could be dying two feet away from Ivy, and Ivy would be on that level of not giving a shit. This is HARLEY we’re talking about. Regardless of if you subscribe to the idea of the two as a couple or not, the fact is that the second she saw her convulsing like that, she would have dropped EVERYTHING else and tried to help her, because be it in a romantic sense or not, Harley is one of the few people left that Ivy truly cares about. But she doesn’t. Why? Because Ivy is, in this story, irredeemably EVIL, as are Wonder Woman and Superman.

Now, I’ve brought this up in videos before, and they’ve brought up the defense that this is an alternate universe, so of course characters are gonna behave in ways we’re not used to. And yeah, as I said before, that was a thing in Injustice 1, and other than going to the extreme of Superman killing Billy Batson, I didn’t mind. So, why does it bother me here? Well, I thought about that, and I came to the following conclusion: It was easier to watch and deal with characters I knew and loved acting in such a manner in Injustice 1 because we had the versions we knew and loved going up against them. Hell, it actually made for interesting contrasts between them to see how they were so different, and yet had a starting point they could both be linked back to. Here, though, we don’t have that. We just have them acting like…well, MONSTERS. And, for that matter, why is it that we have characters who behave in a way that’s completely removed from the core of who they are, and then some who aren’t? Why are Barry and Hal able to realize the error of their ways in the previous game and try to redeem themselves, but Diana isn’t? You have to remain constant to the rules of how this alternate universe works, otherwise you’re inviting people to bring up these comments when stuff like this happens.

And then there’s my last issue: The end of the game, and if you don’t wanna know, then sorry, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. This is your only warning…Okay, so Superman and Batman go up to the Skull Ship to stop Brainiac, save Supergirl, and restore the stolen cities. Unlike in past chapters with multiple characters, the final two fights of this chapter have you fighting Brainiac twice, once with Superman and once with Batman. Personally, I would have changed it to where you choose which of them fights him the first time, and then Supergirl takes him on in the final battle. After all, not only does the Story Mode start with a flashback to her escape from Krypton after Brainiac invades, but we frequently see her side of the story as it unfolds even outside of her chapter, plus she gets a good shot in on Brainiac just before the last fight, AND she plays a big role in the ending of the game. So, clearly, the story largely centers around her, meaning it makes logical sense for her to be the one to take Brainiac down in the end. However, what’s a bigger issue is…that’s NOT the final chapter. The final chapter involves Superman and Batman, having successfully stopped Brainiac’s ship from crashing due to Superman interfacing with it, as well as managing to restore all of the Earth cities sans Metropolis and Coast City, coming to an argument over whether or not to kill Brainiac and take control of his Skull Ship, thus risking the remaining cities that haven’t been restored yet, or keep him alive long enough to restore the cities. And guess what? The story ends with them fighting AGAIN, leading to you choosing which one to play as in fighting the other and their allies. So the story ends with either Batman defeating Superman with a Kryptonite-enhanced armor and then banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then inviting Supergirl to take Clark’s place on a new Justice League, or Superman defeating Batman, bonding with Brainiac’s ship, imprisoning Supergirl in the red solar prison, and using Brainiac’s tech to turn Batman into his slave…Oh, and I’m assuming (don’t know this for a fact) that you get the special armor shown in the ending for the character you chose.

So, what’s my problem there? Well, it’s two-fold. The first reason I dislike it is because I would’ve personally ended the game with Brainiac’s defeat…then I would have had Superman DIE trying to use the ship’s systems to restore the Earth cities. Yes, I would have KILLED Superman. Barring that, I suppose he could’ve been left critically injured past the point of being able to recover quickly from solar rays, thus leaving him comatose or the like. Either way, I would have had the story end with him making that sacrifice, and then, as he lies on the floor, surrounded by friends and family, he looks back on how everything that went wrong stems from his decision to kill the Joker, and finally realizes his mistakes. It wouldn’t have magically taken away everything he did, but it would have at least let him go out saving the world and acknowledging that he did wrong. And then, from there, I guess you have Supergirl taking his place on the new League, the Regime all either surrender, go into hiding, or likewise realize their errors and join the new League, and so on. Oh, and I also would’ve added a teaser at the end for Darkseid deciding to try his hand at attacking Earth next, since…well, let’s be honest, that’s probably where they’re going.

The other reason I don’t care for the end of this game, either one, is because… … …Well, because I don’t care. I don’t care that Superman and Batman are fighting AGAIN. I’m too numb to it now. Why should I care that Superman and Batman are going to fight for the 11,311th time?…That’s one for every day since The Dark Knight Returns #4 came out, btw, and oh dear lord, I just now realized I’m two days removed from being exactly one year older than that comic. My God, I’m old. But the point still stands, I’ve just seen it too often, and I just don’t care to see it ever again. So ultimately, the ending doesn’t impress at all. It literally leaves me going “Oh yay, this again…”, and that’s not how a story should end. Like, it really says it all when, the first time they fight in the game during Chapter 1, all I can think during this scene that’s supposed to be really dramatic and sad is “Wow, I love the gold trim on Superman’s cape in this scene. Looks really good, and adds some much-needed colour balance between the red, blue, and yellow”.

So, as a result, for the ending leaving me so disappointed and for everything else that went wrong…I have to unfortunately give the story a thumbs down overall. There ARE moments I like and even love, like Harley beating down Joker, Hal Jordan fighting off the urge of the Red Lanterns’ rage, Cyborg vs Grid, the reveal that Batman kept the old round table for the Justice League, and so on. But it’s just overshadowed by a story that is infuriating at times and just unenthusing at others. Sorry, NetherRealm, but this is one story I just couldn’t give my approval to. Better luck next time, though.

Anyway, what did you think of the Story Mode? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s hope that Mr. Boon and DC listen to what we have to say next time. Ja né!

Still Making Expies On Deviant Art! Who’s Next?! Previews + Polls!

Yup, I’m still doing this. lol That said, compared to what I had up, I’ve made quite a few new Captain Ersatzes on Deviant Art, and I owe a lot of that to my readers who voted on who they’d like to see me make expies of. I’m still going through the list, but here’s a look at what I’ve posted since I started taking requests…

…BUT, as anyone who has been to my Twitter knows, I’ve still got maybe one or two left to go. Specifically, I decided to go ahead and make counterparts for the Justice League. And, because you guys went ahead and helped me out with this, here’s an early preview…with appropriate music. lol

the-league-of-superhumans

Zenith Woman, The Blue Bubbler, Cybertaur, Ultimatum, Green Defender, Outrun, and The Stellar Savior

Anyway, with that outta way, there’s another poll I’d like to present. Basically, now that I’ve done a few counterparts of Batman’s rogues gallery, I was wondering which group of villains I should do next. So, by all means, vote below on which rogues gallery you’d like to see expies of next, and we’ll see what happens in a week’s time. Ja né!

How To Drop The Ball In Comics – The New 52

…Well, we’re finally here, folks. It’s been five years, but at last, the New 52/DC You is dead. Granted, a few of its titles are still finishing up their runs, and the new books still take place in this universe, but it’s a changed one, and, quite frankly, a VASTLY improved one in my opinion, but I’ll be going over how when I look at DC Universe Rebirth #1 (the reason I haven’t yet is because there was still some fallout from it that continues into the other Rebirth one-shots). Before that, though, I think it’s time to look back on exactly what happened with the New 52, where it went wrong, and some of the worst titles that I personally have ever read from this era. So, welcome once again to How To Drop The Ball In Comics as I, for one last time, let it all out about the New 52.

What Is It?: The New 52 was basically a way to bring in new readers who might be intimidated by 70+ years of history, likely as a means of competing more with Marvel by upping their numbers. Sound familiar? It should. It’s something that DC has tried to do a few times now. However, they never tried anything quite like this: Following the event Flashpoint, the DC Universe was rebooted to where most of the heroes of the world had only been active for about 5 years. Most of the history of the characters were either gone or changed, thus creating a blank slate to start over from scratch with new talent to tell their tales in a modern setting. Now, DC was no stranger to reboots and retcons. But, as I said, this went a bit above and beyond anything they’d ever done before. So, the question one has to ask themselves, as has been done since the beginning of this new comic universe, is the same singular word as it’s always been: Why?

How Did It Have Potential?: Really, when you get down to why DC felt the need to reboot everything, it usually leads to a common question: Are there really that many people who want to read comics but don’t because of so much continuity to go through? And the answer is…complicated. I’ve had this talk before, and as I said then, this generation is actually the luckiest when it comes to stuff like that. We have the internet, with which we can read up on all this information. Sure, we might not get EVERYTHING, but the most important details will be waiting for us. That said, there DO exist people who either don’t know where to get this information, or don’t feel obligated, for whatever reason, to read up on it, but would STILL like to get into comics. Now, personally speaking, nowadays, I’m more of a subscriber to the theory that the best way to get new readers isn’t to sweep everything under a rug, but instead to give just enough allusions to these old stories and make them sound super exciting and interesting, thus making the reader want to know more. If you wanna know where I figured THAT out, read JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative. Or, if you can’t find it, watch Linkara’s review of it. However, I’m not blind to the views of those who would implement this strategy to get more people reading.

On top of all of that, though, there is one thing people have to consider. And I know that there are people who have forgotten this, but…there ARE some heroes who kinda got screwed over LONG before the New 52 happened, and who have since gotten a new lease on life as a result. Want an example? Okay, VIBE. Vibe was considered the worst member of the Justice League EVER. His name was practically a punch line, and he likely either would’ve remained that way or completely faded from everyone’s memory, were it not for the reboot giving Geoff Johns a chance to do something new with him. And after seeing how he worked in the New 52, I gotta say, I really like Vibe. I would gladly have him on my Justice League team. I hope he comes back again. And, likely as a result of his being brought back in the New 52, the character was also adapted into The Flash’s TV show, which has another new interpretation of him that I really like. So, yes, the reboot had potential when it came to characters like him. Also, while I’m not necessarily a fan of how Donna Troy was brought back in the New 52, I will say that I’m glad it finally gave her a definitive origin that didn’t require a road map to understand…I think, anyway. Not sure exactly how her origin works in terms of how she could’ve been a member of the Titans, but whatever. Something I’ll get into another time.

Finally, though, we have to be honest: The New 52 had good books, many of which I listed before. Also, some of the books which were of actual good quality would not or could not have worked in the old continuity. Not without their own share of heavy changes, anyway. And some of these books were so good that, when the word got out about them, they brought in new readers. You know how I know that? BECAUSE I WAS ONE OF THEM! Yeah, I was one of those people who was on the fence about actually buying comics. Sure, I was a fan of many of the characters long before that, but that was mostly via their TV shows, movies, video games, stuff I learned through Atop The Fourth Wall, and just word of mouth. But when the reboot came, I saw it as an opportunity to get into comics, starting with Scott Snyder’s Batman, and I’ve been buying comics ever since. And a few characters DID eventually get put over as new stars. Harley Quinn is one of the top characters in DC right now, and has been outed as bisexual in her own book, meaning she is one of the most high-profile LGBT characters in comics. Speaking of, Batwoman got her own monthly title. Granted, she was already the star of Detective Comics for a while, but here, she had her own self-titled story. So, yes, we have to accept the fact that, in some ways, THE NEW 52 DID SEE SUCCESS… … … … …Now for the half-to-three-quarters empty.

How Did It Drop The Ball?: Well, before I get to that, I wanna show you something. Before writing this article, I went out on Twitter and asked a few people, if they could sum up exactly what went wrong with the New 52 in about 10 words or so, what those words would be. Let’s see what they had to say, shall we?

To be fair, though, one person I asked also had THIS to say…

…And yeah, that’s a legit concern to have, one that I’ll address when I get to DC Rebirth. Regardless, I can’t help but agree with the other responses, too. So, let’s start with the obvious one: What the loss of the past continuity cost us. Well, for starters, at the beginning of the New 52 (so the first 52 books printed), there was no Wally West, Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, the VAST majority of the JSA, Aqualad (either of them), and several other legacy heroes. Dick Grayson was back to being Nightwing. Bart Allen was the only Kid Flash. Cassandra Sandsmark was the only Wonder Girl. Barbara Gordon was the only Batgirl, was only in a wheelchair for a couple of years (give or take), and was suggested to have never been Oracle. There was no Young Justice team. The Outsiders were forced underground and were ultimately forgotten for a time. Cyborg was never a Teen Titan, instead taking Martian Manhunter’s place as a founding member of the Justice League. Martian Manhunter was more or less made into a hero everyone had trust issues with and would freely mindwipe others at a whim. Aquaman and Mera weren’t married, although no one apparently thought to tell Geoff Johns that while he was writing. Also, the Teen Titans never existed before Tim Drake’s new team, but again, apparently no one told Scott Lobdell. Roy Harper never had Lian, nor did he ever become Red Arrow, and instead became an anti-hero working with Jason Todd. Batman never revealed his identity to Catwoman, and instead the two were just having sex on rooftops. No one knew where the frak Renée Montoya was. But probably the most damning of all, Clark Kent and Lois Lane were never married, nor in a relationship.

But even beyond stuff that no longer happened due to the loss of past continuity, there were other retcons passed around throughout the New 52 that either didn’t make sense, came outta nowhere, or just served to piss people off. I’ve already gone over stuff like what happened to Wonder Woman, Starfire, and Martian Manhunter, but it didn’t end there. The Phantom Stranger was made to be Judas Iscariot. The Question was… … …I have no idea what the hell the Question was supposed to be, honestly. Tim Drake didn’t find out Batman’s identity and become Robin out of a need to help him, but instead failed to figure out who he was and instead forced his hand by messing with Penguin and almost getting his parents killed. Supergirl’s dad became the New 52 Cyborg Superman, which apparently is still canon in Rebirth for some reason. Billy Batson was turned into a little asshole who never shuts his gob. Roy Harper got a STUPID trucker hat that he refused to take off for some reason. Jason Todd’s back-story was changed to where Joker apparently set up his life to turn out exactly as it did to where he was killed and brought back. Mr. Freeze was never married to Nora, but instead was obsessed with her because of stuff relating to the cold and his mother that just makes my skin crawl. Overall, though, most of these changes and several others served for a single purpose: To make the DC Universe darker, and the stories were more often than not reflective of this, oftentimes filled with lots of sex and violence.

More than all of that, though, where I think the New 52 fails most in terms of stories is just on a sheer conceptual level. You’ll recall that I said the reboot was meant to put everything back to a clean slate. Here’s the problem: Some events in the past continuity did still happen. Several moments in DC’s history were condensed down into a much smaller time frame that made less sense the more one thought about it. Supposedly, events like Hal Jordan becoming Parallax, Blackest Night, and Batman being sent through time and believed dead still happened, but several key people involved weren’t, and the exact details of how it happened were changed. All the male Robins still exist (though Tim Drake was apparently never Robin and instead was always Red Robin), all within the span of 5 (later changed to approximately 10) years. Barbara Gordon was still shot by the Joker. Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend was still murdered and stuffed into a fridge (which, of all things to wipe away, why did THAT have to remain canon?! o.O). And, on top of all of this, some things happened, others didn’t, and not only was DC quiet about what did and didn’t happen, but they failed to give memos to the people WRITING THE STORIES about what was and wasn’t in canon. Like I said before, guys like Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell, who were given high-profile books, weren’t informed of certain details. The first issues of Red Hood And The Outlaws and Teen Titans clearly made reference to past Titans teams, only to later learn that, supposedly, there were no previous Titans. I honestly have NO idea if Superman being killed by Doomsday is still canon or not. Heroes like Plastic Man and Miss Martian were referenced in the first issues of Justice League International and Teen Titans, only for it to be retconned that they never existed. George Pérez had to quit after six issues of Superman after repeated failures of being informed of details about Superman’s new status quo in this new universe. And I’m sure there are other instances of stuff like this that I’m not thinking of.

If you haven’t put it together by now, a major problem with the New 52 was mismanagement, and it wasn’t just a problem with the stories, either. Ask any of the talent that have left DC within the past five years, and you’ll probably get a similar story of broken promises and last-minute changes. Many left their stories unfinished as a result. In particular, Andy Diggle left the company before the first issue of his run on Action Comics ever even hit the stands. I think probably the one that still gets me is the controversy involving Batwoman, and I’ve gone over this before, but here’s as quick a summary of what happened as I can do. In September of 2013, J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman went public with the fact that they were leaving Batwoman, starting with issue 26. Why? Well, because of last-minute changes to stuff they had planned, specifically that they were told that Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer, who had just recently gotten engaged in the book, would never be allowed to get married. According to Dan DiDio, superheroes shouldn’t be married because being happy would undermine their angst and turmoil, and would compromise their commitment to being superheroes. Now, apparently, DiDio claims this is only to do specifically with the Bat-related characters, but if you’ll recall, neither Superman nor Aquaman were married, either. In fact, the only superhero seemingly still with a family was Animal Man. So while DiDio says it was only a Bat Family thing, I think it’s more likely that he doesn’t like the idea of superheroes being married, for one reason or another. This is evidenced further by notes of his going back as far as Infinite Crisis, where it’s clear he wanted to break up Clark Kent and Lois Lane for YEARS. But hey, I’m not in charge of DC Comics. I don’t have any say in what goes on. So maybe Dan DiDio DOES know better than me. But, if that’s the case, can I ask a simple question? And it’s one I’ve asked for years now and never gotten a good answer for: If Batwoman getting married was such a problem, then why was it ever given the green light to begin with? Why were they ever allowed to get engaged? You could’ve avoided all of this and the controversy that followed if you’d simply suggested against this move to begin with in a calm and rational tone, and instead worked out something different with Williams and Blackman.

Speaking of the controversy involving Batwoman, that leads me to another issue: The women of DC. And that’s not just the characters. That said, here’s a list of just SOME of the examples of violence and fridging towards women in the New 52 (though PLEASE be aware that these are horribly graphic in many cases, so read at your own discretion): Link. Beyond that, though, there was an overall lack of female creators working for DC at the beginning. I think the official figures were that the female creators at DC had dropped from 12% to 1%. And we’ve got more now, but it’s still a rather small number. And probably the most high-profile among those at the beginning was Gail Simone. Only, guess what? There’s controversy there, too, not only because Secret Six, a best seller at DC before the reboot, was cancelled, not only because the book she’d be working on, Batgirl, had Barbara Gordon taken out of the wheelchair and claimed to have never been Oracle, a move that ticked off a LOT of people, but because she was, in December of 2012, fired from Batgirl via e-mail (which was later suggested to be inaccurate or untrue, but who knows at this point), despite the fact that she’d made the book work and be a top-seller in the face of everything working against it. Granted, she was hired back 12 days later, but I honestly feel that’s only because her firing got SO public that DC was basically becoming a lightning rod of hate. But again, guess what? She eventually left the book AGAIN, and then went on to write a rebooted Secret Six, which is, again, getting cancelled. Maybe it’ll be back in Rebirth someday down the road, I don’t know, we’ll just have to wait and see.

And lastly, I was GOING to include a list of my 5 Least Favourite Books of the New 52. However, I’ve decided not to because, at this point, you should probably have a good idea as to which books I didn’t like and which ones outright pissed me off. Maybe I’ll go back and do it later if I REALLY feel the need to, but for now, here’s just a quick rundown of the books I didn’t like, hated, or just had problems with.

Batman The Dark Knight: A horrible and nonsensical opening arc, and then later, the AWFUL killing of Batman’s love interest at the time. Even excluding those, though, it just wasn’t good.

Action Comics/Superman: The character was just not as likable or inspiring as he could be, even with the reboot, and later became crossover event after crossover event.

The Fury of Firestorm: Sorry, Gail, but every great writer’s gotta have at least one bomb, and this was just terrible.

Detective Comics: The book started off with Joker getting his face cut off just to set the stage for a story written one year later in another book…Do I even need to SAY anything else after that? Even when it was good, it always felt like it was just the other Batman book.

Teen Titans: Even if Scott WASN’T a sub-par writer, the lack of communication with editorial over what was and wasn’t canon ruined it in the beginning. The second volume started off promising, but later delved into being just bad. Overall, both volumes have kinda ruined Tim Drake as a credible leader. Still, I really like Bunker and hope he returns in Rebirth.

Wonder Woman: Massive retcons to Wonder Woman’s origins and the Amazons, and was later given to the Finches, who frankly just do not get the character.

Justice League of America: Existed solely as lead-in to Trinity War, and was later scrapped and reworked into the superior Justice League United. There’s also a JLA book going on right now that involves the seven main members of the Justice League going up against Rao, but I haven’t been following, and apparently, the book has been outright plagued with delays and cancellations.

The Movement: …I DID mention that I really like Gail Simone, right? 😀 …Okay, to be fair, I actually really liked the characters, but the overall story structure seemed problematic. Maybe it was just me, though. I’d actually be fine with this title coming back someday, or maybe the characters making comebacks, especially Vengeance Moth and Virtue.

Superman/Wonder Woman: Would’ve been fine if it was just about the two teaming up to fight bad guys, except it was far more about the two’s relationship that many were sick of already, and later existed solely to further the crossover events involving the other Superman-related books.

Birds of Prey: Started off okay, and had a new fan favourite bisexual character in Starling and put Poison Ivy on her more heroically inclined path, but it quickly fell completely apart, particularly when both aforementioned characters had heel turns and left the group.

Nightwing: While I personally enjoyed the book, it had a problem that a lot of other books frequently involved in crossover events had, in that there was rarely if ever a status quo to become invested in.

Red Hood And The Outlaws: The only reason I can fathom as to why this book is being brought back for Rebirth is as a means to keep Scott Lobdell away from anything else. That said, at least it won’t involve Starfire and Roy Harper anymore, who are returning to the Titans books.

Earth 2/World’s End/Earth 2 Society: Earth 2 started off promising, but then Dan Wilson took over, and the ship was pretty much sunk in every conceivable way. Dan Abnett’s actually trying REALLY hard to make Earth 2 Society good, and you can tell he’s a good writer, but I just don’t know how or if you can save this outside of another reboot, and that’s what got us into this mess.

Harley Quinn: If this was a book that was just about Harley, that’d be one thing, but they include Poison Ivy and just do strange and stupid things with her at times (though they DID at least make it canon that these two are bisexual), and did an amnesia arc with Power Girl where the latter was utterly humiliated and degraded in more ways than one.

Futures End: Brought Terry McGinnis into the mainstream continuity just to kill him off and replace him with an alternate future version of Tim Drake. Also, was FULL of body horror, dark twists, and ultimately proved to be pointless as the future presented never happened. Still, it DID have some good tie-ins, like the Batgirl one that I’ve brought up before.

Martian Manhunter: If anyone can tell me just what in the hell happened in this book without giving me a headache, that would be much appreciated. lol

Catwoman: I don’t even. I just don’t even. The first issue has her having sex with Batman for no reason, and has gone through multiple writers and arcs, none of which seemed to be written all that well.

Black Canary: I wouldn’t call this BAD, it’s just weird seeing Dinah in a band. But, let’s be fair, that could just be a problem with me.

There’s almost certainly more I’m either not thinking of or didn’t read, but that’s enough for now. Honestly, at this point, I’m sick of ranting about the New 52. And really, this is why I decided to do this article: Just to get this all out one last time so I can move on. Because, if you’ll look back on my blog and read my DC-related articles, it’s clear that I need to move on. I can’t live in the past, especially THIS past. I need to look to the future, and while DC Rebirth has a few things I could pick out as problematic, I will say that it still looks like a VAST improvement over the New 52. In the end, all the New 52 was was just a poorly managed era of comics history, one that even those behind it have figured out was a failure, and one that I am more than happy to leave behind for brighter horizons.

So, that’s pretty much the New 52 in a nutshell. Got any stories about this era of comics or details I might’ve left out? Lemme know in the comments below, and come back later this month when I finally take a look at DC Universe Rebirth #1, and my overall thoughts on the new era going forward. Ja né!

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 Review #PoisonIvyLeague (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

Well, I’m sure, after last time I reviewed Poison Ivy, that everyone was wondering what I’d think of this issue. Would I like it, would I hate it, would it further the problems of the last one or recover from them? Well, let’s not waste any time and dive into Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 to find out.

So, right off the top, I do need to make mention of the fact that, yes, Poison Ivy apparently kills someone. However, this issue, it didn’t bother me NEARLY as much. In fact, I actually thought it worked perfectly within her personality. The details are kinda spoiler heavy, though, so I’m gonna write this in white within brackets. If you don’t wanna know what happened, don’t read it, but if you do, highlight the whole thing to find out. [Okay, so long story short, Pam finds out that Victor in the lab was the one who stole her notes, was the murderer all along, and used Pam’s research to try and create his own human/plant hybrids. The thing is, there was only ONE successful test subject, who was able to call out through the Green to Ivy for help. All of the others, who numbered in the dozens, maybe HUNDREDS, of fetuses? Not so lucky. Between that and the fact that Victor was going to threaten her and her children, Pam lost it, destroyed the lab, and damned near took herself, Catwoman, Darshan, and the girl with it in a rage, though it’s implied she killed Victor as the lab was brought down around him.] Suffice to say, after that? I don’t blame Pam for killing him. It’s something I wouldn’t expect Batman or Superman to do, but that’s strictly because they’re the people that don’t cross that line except in the most extreme of circumstances, because they’re the ones who HAVE to maintain that line between justice and vengeance, to show we don’t have to go down that road. To see Pam cross the line because someone did something so horrific? Not that big a big deal to me. Hell, I might’ve killed that guy, and I’m someone who values all life!

Other than that, the issue is relatively solid. I will say that, while I feel like Catwoman could’ve been used a bit better, seeing her and Darshan play off each other and show one another up back and forth was kinda fun. One minor nitpick: Because Clay Mann is doing Trinity for DC Rebirth, he had to take off early, and while those that replaced him are all good (or even great in the case of Ethan Van Sciver), they didn’t necessarily gel together that great at points in this issue. I guess the only other problem is that the murder mystery is over, but we’ve still got two issues left, so other than an insane amount of just throwing everything at us, I’m not sure where we go from here. I’m kinda hoping for/expecting a Gotham City Sirens reunion by the end, and the giant plant monster that’s been teased, but how it all ties together? I don’t know. But in terms of this issue on its own and judged by its own merits? Can’t complain too much.

 

Anyway, that’s all I had to say about this one. Big improvement in my eyes over last issue. Let’s hope it keeps up for the last two issues. Until then, lemme know what you think in the comments, and I’ll see you back here for issue 5. Ja né!

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 Preview

At this point, I’m just hoping they can go one issue without killing anyone. Also, gotta admit, this IS kinda making me wish we could get a new Sirens book. Anyway, here are the preview pages for Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4!

  • Catwoman and Poison Ivy—reunited! As the body count rises at the Gotham Botanical Gardens labs, Ivy needs Selina’s help to solve the puzzle…a mystery that seems to involve Ivy’s blossoming children!

http://uproxx.com/gammasquad/poison-ivy-cycle-of-life-and-death/2/

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #3 Review #PoisonIvyLeague

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody! And in the spirit of green, we got a Poison Ivy comic review, and…well… … … …Pinkie Pie, you wanna field this one?

Thank you. Look, I know I’m gonna get a lot of people angry at me, but overall…I have to say that this comic left me feeling not so great. That’s not to say there aren’t good things still present with this comic, but…well, let’s just get into it. Here are my thoughts on Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #3. And please keep in mind, these are just MY thoughts, so it could very well be that the problem is simply me, I don’t argue that at all.

So, lemme just start off by saying that I personally find the babies kinda adorable. I know some people disagree, but I think they’re cute. I don’t know why, I just do. I’m kinda worried we’re gonna see them eventually die and/or turn heel, though. It feels like that’d be the most likely scenario in the end, and I’d much rather they not go down that avenue. However, I will say exactly why I feel that to be the most likely ending: Because that would otherwise be a great storyline to do for the long-term and see how it affects and changes Pam, and I’m pretty sure that, as of right now, they have no plans to do stories starring Ivy in the immediate future after the end of this mini-series.

But now we gotta talk about something I know is gonna be a hot button subject: Poison Ivy seduces and kills a man from work that was hitting on her a lot, and then feeds him to her plant monsters. And as soon as I was done reading that scene, I thought to myself “I don’t know that I wanna review this comic, because I’m pretty sure I’m gonna piss somebody off, namely a good percentage of the Poison Ivy League”. And this is a group I’ve been supporting for a long time now, advertised on my blog, spotlighted however I could, and now I’m scared that, once people read this, I may need to kiss my membership goodbye. But…at the same time, this is the life I’ve chosen for myself: Writing, blogging, giving my thoughts. And if I held back on how I really felt, you wouldn’t be able to respect me. So, I have to be honest.

I did NOT like watching Poison Ivy kill that guy. Not just that she killed him, but that she then fed him to her plant monsters. I mean, it was when Ivy fed a guy to a plant that I had to call it quits on the Harley Quinn book, and I can’t say that it’s any better here just because I like one book and its creative team better than the other. I get that she is not a superhero. At times, I wish she was, but she’s not. Regardless, this is supposed to be behaviour she’s beyond. At one point in this comic, she talks about how she’d LIKE to kill two detectives (who were freaking morons, by the way), but that she’s turning over a new leaf (pun likely intended). And then 7 pages later (ads not included, and yes, I counted), she kills this guy. There’s having seasonal affective disorder, and then there’s being just plain psychotic and murderous. And yes, this is now at least two people she’s killed, the dog abuser included. And like I said before, comeuppance is one thing, and both people deserved as much. However, this is murder of two people who, while both were utter assholes and just overall terrible people, and one was technically a criminal as animal abuse is illegal, the other one was just a jerk. Why do I make a point of that specifically? Because I can see her breaking her word and killing if she really and truly felt she HAD to, or if the person was a dangerous criminal and she knows the justice system would screw the pooch on dealing with them, because she’s not a hero. But this, as I said last issue, was unnecessary, and comes off as being done either to hammer in the point that she’s not a superhero, or to come off as some kind of power fantasy for those that wish they could do something about people like this. And keep in mind, I said PEOPLE, not MEN. The fact that they’re men and she’s a woman? Has absolutely nothing to do with this. If either side had their genders reversed, or both, wouldn’t change a damned thing. So if you disagree with my opinions, that’s fine, I fully expect people to. But don’t ANYONE come at me saying that I don’t like this because of my gender or the genders of the characters involved.

So, does this mean I officially hate this series and am not buying anymore?…No. I thought this one issue was problematic at best, I have concerns for the series overall, but things can still turn around, and I wanna have faith that it will. And frankly, if I abandoned the book at the first sign of trouble, after I and so many others yelled from the rooftops for DC to make this happen, then they’d never give us anything we demand ever again. Plus, I’m interested to see where this goes with the ending, with Catwoman showing up and knowing the two will team up next issue, as well as Darshan finding out about all of this. And hey, I’m still legit curious to know the answer to the mystery and who is responsible for what’s going on. So I’m gonna stick with it. Just letting you know, though, when issue 6 comes out, I WILL be giving my thoughts on the series overall, and if I feel generally negatively about it in the end, I’ll tell you and I’ll say exactly why that is. I just hope for the sake of myself and everyone that wanted this book and all but begged for it that I feel generally positive about the book.

Anyway, those are my thoughts in general. Again, agree, disagree, go ahead. Just remember this, though: I am not someone that went into this book expecting and wanting to hate it. I wanted this as much as anybody, and I remain optimistic about the series for now. Ja né!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Batman and Catwoman – Wrecking Ball by Madilyn Bailey

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! And, in honour of that, let’s look back to the days when a bat and a cat as a couple was the most romantic thing EVER. ❤

DC Comics’ Convergence + Characters and Concepts I’d Like To See Make a Permanent Return

DC Comics recently announced the event that is clearly intended to be the Crisis On Infinite Earths anniversary event, and it’s not exactly what I was expecting, but I’ll nonetheless take it. The event is referred to as Convergence, and it follows up on plot hooks going back as far as Justice League International’s finale, and heavily involves recent revelations from Superman Doomed and Future’s End. Long story short, Brainiac (or rather A Brainiac) has been bottling people and cities from various worlds across different universes in the Multiverse. In fact, some of these universes don’t even exist anymore, meaning that this version of Brainiac managed to survive the Multiversal reboot of The New 52, as did the people he’s captured.

According to what I’ve read up on, the current New 52 books will be taking a two month break in April and May (so I guess I’ll be saving a bit more money than usual, lol), which explains why all the current arcs in the storylines are ending at the same time. During this break, there’ll be a weekly series for Convergence, as well as a number of two-part miniseries that’ll cover different worlds involved in Convergence. Basically, seeing what these characters have been up to since the last time we saw them, and probably tying into the greater events of Convergence. And since I’m seeing worlds based on the last year or two of the pre-Flashpoint New Earth, the pre-Flashpoint Earth 2, Superman Red Son, Kingdom Come, and several others, I would imagine there’ll at least be SOME comics in this event that’ll catch my attention.

So, a common theory among fans right now is that, following Convergence, the current reality of The New 52 will be adjusted to include a number of characters and concepts from past continuities. Others are suggesting that this is the end of The New 52, and the restoration of the previous continuity. Honestly, I’m hoping for the former, since there has actually been some great stuff in The New 52 that I would hate to see wiped away. Plus, if that happened, what the hell would’ve been the point of the past 3+ years? It would’ve just been a complete waste of our time. With that said, there’s plenty of the previous continuity that I would like to see integrated into the current one, and plenty of BAD stuff we’ve seen in The New 52 I would like to see done away with. So, with that said, here’s a list of changes I’d like to see after Convergence is over, be it returning characters and concepts, or the end of current ones…

#1 - The Return of the Classic Superman Costume

#1 – The Return of the Classic Superman Costume

This is actually something that is possibly being teased for before Convergence, if I’m correct, that is. Basically, I took notice of the fact that solicits for Superman #38 promised a new costume for the Man of Steel, and that his pelvic area was hidden or otherwise obscured on the cover of every book he was on that month. My theory is that he’s either returning to the old tights, or his current costume is being adjusted to resemble it and its colour scheme. Honestly, either one works for me.

#2 - The Return of the Justice Society

#2 – The Return of the Justice Society

Now, there ARE a ton of heroes on Earth 2, but they aren’t really so much a team. Bringing back the Justice Society would be a huge benefit to the Earth 2 books. But beyond bringing back the JSA, I would also bring back some of its members, like Jade, Wildcat, Doctor Mid-Nite, Liberty Belle, possibly even the Kingdom Come Superman, and so on. That said, I think I would wanna keep the newer costumes for those that have been around in The New 52. No offense to the original designers, but I just think the newer costumes look a bit better.

#3 - Lois and Clark Back Together

#3 – Lois and Clark Back Together

I’m sorry, but the romance between Superman and Wonder Woman needs to end. Like, NOW. This was doomed to fail from the beginning, and I think reader response has proven that it did. It really says it all when even Man of Steel knew well enough to have Clark and Lois together. I don’t even care if they’re married or not, I just wanna see them back together. That said, wouldn’t necessarily have to cancel Superman/Wonder Woman, just make it about them teaming up to fight supervillains instead of ‘the fauxmance’. Speaking of Wonder Woman, though…

#4 - The Restoration of Wonder Woman and the Amazons

#4 – The Restoration of Wonder Woman and the Amazons

Seriously, we need the old Wonder Woman back. Badly. Beyond the obvious, having her be the compassionate diplomat once again, her back-story and the history of the Amazons needs a change from the current New 52 version. What bothers me most about the changes to her back-story isn’t so much the fact that I mind her being the daughter of Zeus. That much I can live with. Rather, it’s Hippolyta bending over backwards for Zeus (or was it forwards? I honestly can’t remember), and the HORRIBLE changes to the Amazons, making them pirates and rapists. That, above all else, needs to be undone. If you wanna keep Diana as a demigod, fine, but fixing the situation with the Amazons is a must, and the circumstances surrounding the tryst of Zeus and Hippolyta need to be changed to make her look better. Finally, just a cosmetic note, I think I’d want the silver on the Wonder Woman costume made gold again. Gold just looks better on Diana than silver, to be honest.

#5 - Bring Back Proxy (and several others)

#5 – Bring Back Proxy (and several others)

Beyond some of the more obvious heroes to bring back (Blue Beetle, Donna Troy, Plastic Man, Renee Montoya, Cassandra Cain, Elongated Man, the Blue Lantern Corps), one that I would like to see make a comeback is Proxy, AKA Wendy Harris. Seeing as how Babs is currently Batgirl, and I actually rather like what they’re doing with her nowadays, bringing Proxy back to fill her role as Oracle would seem like the best option. The loss of Oracle, as someone who helped to coordinate the various heroes on Earth, has been significant, and is still being felt nowadays.

#6 - Reform the Birds of Prey

#6 – Reform the Birds of Prey

I cannot frakking believe I forgot to mention this before, but bringing back the Birds of Prey would be amazing after this, and here’s why: In the final issue of Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl, we learn that Babs has the means by which to get ahold of pretty much EVERY SINGLE SUPERHEROINE ON EARTH. That means she could conceivably form a team out of ANY of these women. You wanna see a team-up of Strix and Katana? Catwoman and Batwoman? Zatanna and Raven? Misfit and Vengeance Moth? Starfire and Bleez? Any and all of these are now possible. Heck, she’s also in touch with Helena Wayne, so she could conceivably call in help from Earth 2 superheroines like Power Girl, Red Tornado, and Aquawoman someday. The Birds could actually succeed the Justice League as the greatest assortment of heroes on Earth at that point. People, just TRY and tell me you would not read a book like that. 😀

Anyway, that’s all for now. Leave a comment below on stuff you’d like to see change following Convergence, and we’ll see if we get any of these wishes. Ja né!

My Own Answer To My DC Multiverse Questionnaire – The Villains

So, as you saw in an earlier post of mine, a few days ago, I sent a number of people on Tumblr a sort of questionnaire, asking what they would do with their own world in the DC Multiverse. I guess with Multiversity being out (and being AWESOME, btw), with the possibility of the return or integration of the previous continuity on the horizon, and with other stories involving multiple universes being told in other books across DC and Marvel, it’s just really hitting me the mass potential that can exist in stories like these. But, just because I sent the questionnaire out in the first place does not mean that I am exempt from giving an answer myself. As I said before, I’ve done stories with my own take on the DCU, but that was more-so becoming my idealized versions of the characters. So, I guess this is how I would do my own world in the DC Universe, who would its heroes be, and who would its biggest villains be (besides alternate Earth villains or singular entity enemies like the Anti-Monitor or Darkseid). And since I did the heroes already, let’s take a look at the villains, starting with arguably the most memorable of all, Batman’s rogues gallery.

Batman's Rogues Gallery

Batman’s Rogues Gallery

Of course, I’d want the big names like Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Black Mask around, but I’d also wanna introduce lesser-known villains and tweak some of the more well-known ones. For example, what if Victor Fries was actually an ally of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s, and the man to become Mr. Freeze was none other than Joe Chill, the man who killed Batman’s parents? What if Roxy Rocket, originally conceived for the 90’s animated series, was the one who played cat and mouse with Batman the most in Catwoman‘s absence (we’ll get to her in a bit)? What if Mirror, from Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl, was trying to kill Bruce Wayne for surviving when his parents didn’t? And then there’s the Joker. I think I’d want him to be more akin to Heath Ledger’s Joker in terms of, rather than having his skin bleached and hair turned green by falling into chemicals, he’s just a guy in make-up with no traceable fingerprints or identity. Also, I think I’d give him a bit of an Alex DeLarge Clockwork Orange twist on him in leading the Jokerz, though perhaps toned down a little from that in terms of…*ahem*, ‘Singing In The Rain’. After all, Joker should still keep that part of him that you can laugh at and/or with while still being frightened of him.

Poison Ivy's Rogues Gallery

Poison Ivy’s Rogues Gallery

For Poison Ivy, who I envision as being akin to Greg Pak’s interpretation of Storm in this world, her villains would be a mix of wealthy tyrants (Veronica Cale and Knightfall in particular come to mind), other elementally-based baddies (Volcana, Killer Frost, and Livewire), and general villains for hire (mercenaries and assassins like Deadshot or Bane). And of course Floronic Man…’Cuz, duh. And, just for the hell of it, SNOWFLAME! XD Otherwise, though, most of what Ivy would do is just help people out and get into conflicts with governments that either distrust her or don’t want her involvement, even though she’s just trying to be of assistance to people that could use it.

Doctor Fate's Rogues Gallery

Doctor Fate’s Rogues Gallery

For Doctor Fate, since Khalid hasn’t really been around long enough to earn a Rogue’s Gallery, save for Wotan, I’m thinking he would fight a lot of the mystical/paranormal threats to the world. Mordu, Enchantress, and Morgaine le Fey were easy choices, but I also wanted to bring in villains that hadn’t necessarily gotten much in the way of attention. Then I remembered an old enemy of Batman’s, one that even pre-dates Joker, that was vampiric in nature, and hadn’t been seen much in years: The Monk. Surely someone like that could prove a sufficient threat to the newest person to claim the Helm of Nabu.

The Rogues

The Rogues

Yeah, not much of a shocker, huh? Of COURSE it’d be The Rogues. They’re pretty much THE trademark villains of anyone carrying The Flash mantle since just a little while after Barry Allen took up the role. All the really great ones, like Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Golden Glider, Mirror Master, and so on. Also, as a sort of take-that to how he was portrayed in Countdown as unapologetically homophobic, I think I’d want Trickster to be gay (seriously, suck it, Countdown). I’m thinking they could perhaps take a bit more directly antagonistic role with the female Flash, in that she has little time for their quirks and wants to shut them all down. And of course I’d need to include a Reverse Flash, and other villains like Gorilla Grodd.

Green Lantern's Rogues Gallery

Green Lantern’s Rogues Gallery

In addition to other ring-bearers like Sinestro, Black Hand, and Atrocitus, I’d like to see some of the classic Green Lantern villains come back. Solomon Grundy is of course a great pick, and a fairly well-known baddie, what with his appearances in the Justice League animated series, Batman: Arkham City, and Injustice: Gods Among Us. Doctor Polaris is another good one, since he’s pretty much Magneto, only in an even dumber costume. Although technically, I’m pretty sure neither one is a rip off of the other, since they both made their debuts a couple of months apart from each other. Not really enough time to cheat off the other person’s test sheets, if you get my drift.

Wonder Woman's Rogues Gallery

Wonder Woman’s Rogues Gallery

Since Diana would be Queen not only of Themyscira but of Atlantis as well with Mera, I’m thinking her rogues could be a blend of her usual enemies and Aquaman’s. So, on one hand, you’d have the typical Wonder Woman enemies like Cheetah, Circe, and Giganta, and on the other, you’d have people like Ocean Master, Black Manta, and King Shark. Of course, as a result of that, Mera would naturally get in on the fun of taking them down from time to time, because hey, she can’t just stay behind sitting on the throne ALL THE TIME, right? 🙂

Superman's Rogues Gallery

Superman’s Rogues Gallery

And finally, we come to Superman’s enemies. Of course, Superman has some of the most powerful opponents, as well some weaker-yet-varied ones, which makes sense. I mean, let’s say you’re Lex Luthor, calling in villains to kill Superman. Sometimes, when you’re evil and you’re trying to bring down a man as powerful as Superman, you gotta just throw random shit at him to see what works and what doesn’t. I think I’d wanna bring Ultra-Humanite back as one of his primary enemies, since he was his arch nemesis before Luthor came around in comics. Others would likely include Mongul, Brainiac, Atomic Skull, Metallo, Parasite, Bizarro, Toyman, and so on. As for his most notable and recognizable enemy, though…well, we’ll get to him in a sec. One thing I’d probably change is that Brainiac in this universe DID cause the destruction of Krypton. Why? Because otherwise, it makes the Kryptonians look REALLY stupid for not being able to tell (save for one or two scientists that they considered babbling madmen) that their frakking PLANET was about to blow. Seriously, why is it that in every single continuity, they NEVER believe it?! They never for one second suspect that the world is about to end…until right before it ends?! At least in the Superman animated series, we were given the semi-believable excuse that Brainiac lied to them about it!

Justice League's Rogues Gallery

Justice League’s Rogues Gallery

I’m thinking Justice League level threats, bad guys that are so powerful that they require the League’s attention instead of just one member’s, would be ones that are so powerful and dangerous that no single member of the team can take them down. Amazo‘s a good example, since it can replicate the abilities of anyone it interacts with. Mongul’s another good one, as he’s been shown to be able to be a match for even Superman. Starro would of course be a must, as the first villain the Justice League of America ever battled. And I think I’d want to re-establish Doctor Light as a credible threat to the team, minus…erm, certain things they did with him over the years (see Identity Crisis, unless you have a weak stomach). I suppose, depending on the situation, you could see supervillains like Brainiac, Grodd, and Black Hand as being League threats, and of course groups of villains would require the team’s attention…speaking of whom…

The Legion of Doom

The Legion of Doom

The Legion of Doom are typically recognized as being the ultimate group in opposition to the League. As such, I’m thinking that only the most dangerous, powerful, and brilliant villains of the DCU would form its inner circle. Lex Luthor, Riddler, Grodd, Vandal Savage, those kinds of villains that are a tad bit more devious, diabolical, and dangerous than the average rogue. Also, to round it out, I think I’d want people like Enchantress, Floronic Man, and Lion-Mane to be members, as villains with personal vendettas against members of the League.

Task Force X

Task Force X

Task Force X I think would basically be a mixture of Secret Six and Suicide Squad, in terms of some of the people that have been on both teams. Also, I think it’d be a well-balanced team of strength, speed, and varying skill-sets. In that case, I think Catwoman would be a must for the team. Also, I think I’d want to include Yo-Yo. No, not the one King Shark ATE that time, but the one from Flashpoint who, I’m not 100% sure, but I think was supposed to be Harleen Quinzel in the altered timeline. Again, not certain, but would certainly explain a bit. Otherwise, the obvious members include Deathstroke, Deadshot, King Shark, Scandal Savage, and possibly Bane at some point.

Whew! That’s the end of that! Got your own ideas on who would be the heroes and villains of your own world in the DC Multiverse? Lemme know in the comments below, and I shall see y’all next time. Ja né!