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My Thoughts On Convergence (WARNING – SPOILERS) + #PoisonIvyLeague

…So, I’ve gone back and read some of Convergence. Specifically, I bought the issues of Convergence: Superman (because like hell if I’m not gonna buy a story involving Lois and Clark having a baby) and Convergence: Detective Comics (because recent events have led to me wanting very badly to read pre-Crisis Helena Wayne), and read what happened in a lot of the other two-part tie-ins and main story. I might also go back and check out Convergence: Titans and Convergence: Batgirl, but honestly, from what I’ve read, it kinda retreads some character development we had with her long beforehand. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, what are my thoughts on the event overall? Well, I think the tie-ins are a LOT better than the main story, and that’s not the first time that’s happened. I think the main reason this time is because the tie-ins focused on pre-Flashpoint versions of beloved characters and were written by people who did their research on the characters so they knew what they were doing and how these characters would behave. And, as a result of that, the tie-ins come off as GREAT for the most part. Conversely, the main story seemed to focus a lot on the New 52 Earth 2 cast, who… … …Okay, here’s the thing. I fucking HATE what has been done with Earth 2 and its cast as of late. Really, from the moment I dropped the book with the reveal that Superman was working for Darkseid (who admittedly turned out to be Bizarro, but let’s not go there). Thomas Wayne being brought back to be Batman was a terrible idea. Likewise, having Dick Grayson take his place when Thomas died (which we all knew was coming) when that version of Earth 2 Dick Grayson had no connection to the Bat Family prior was a terrible idea. It supplants Huntress’ position as Bruce’s successor. Instead, poor Helena has been subjected to character assassination, body horror, and now, following Convergence, is apparently turning heel. NOT FUN READING. Whereas, in Convergence: Detective Comics, Dick becoming Batman made a ton of sense, and even with him in such a position, Hel isn’t taken down at all in terms of importance. Also, for better or worse, the New 52 Earth 0 cast don’t even become active in the story until long after the bulk of the story. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s worse, because that’s the world we’re still primarily following post-Convergence.

However, with all of that said, and more (fuck whoever’s idea it was to have pre-Flashpoint Helena Bertinelli turn heel and die), there is one MASSIVE silver lining that I all but got on my knees and begged, nay, PLEADED for. I said going into this that I wasn’t gonna buy any of Convergence if it turned out the pre-Flashpoint worlds were all just going to vanish and that everyone would die. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, something that is ultimately kind of a messy situation, but one I am more than willing to let them try to sort out, happened: Crisis On Infinite Earths was averted. The Multiverse has been restored to its original format, consisting of an infinite number of worlds, but most likely with the New 52 Multiverse at the center of it. That means that every single version of the worlds seen in DC Comics throughout its LONG history is now a canonical world again, every story you’ve ever read that got pushed aside in reboots (Crisis On Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, and Flashpoint) means something again, and the door is open to tell new stories about those worlds, and others if someone wants. That is EXCELLENT, and upon learning that, that’s when I realized, they could technically say that the great, GREAT digital first books like Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman ARE canon now, just taking place in different worlds in the expanded Multiverse, which people have already referred to as the Omniverse…which I approve of. lol

Now, obviously, this is something that not everyone is gonna agree with, but personally, I love this decision. And frankly, it’s a decision that offers plenty of great storytelling opportunities in the future. While the new DC YOU branding continues to follow the universe established in the New 52, the door is open for anyone in DC to tell stories about any of the other versions of the characters we love. We can see Superman married with Lois Lane again. We can see Stephanie Brown as Batgirl again. We can see Lian Harper ALIVE again. And while I wasn’t a big fan of how Mera came off in the all-female Convergence: Justice League titles, I’d LOVE to see more of that team in the future. And DC Comics can make a ton of money from all of this. Now, I refuse that bringing all of the old universes back and having Lois and Clark back together with a baby and all of that was Dan Didio’s idea. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if he only conceded to let that happen because everyone else at the office told him he should do it. I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of Dan Didio’s usual ideas and story plans. This is the man who wanted to break up Lois and Clark at LEAST as early as Infinite Crisis. BUT, I will say this: If nothing else, Dan Didio has proven to the world that, if enough people ask for something, he will put his ego and what he personally believes is right and wrong in comics aside to make people happy and, probably more importantly to him, make money.

So, let’s switch tracks a bit to something that people will think is unrelated to Convergence, but comes around back to it. Anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr knows that I am part of a group/movement known as the Poison Ivy League. In a nutshell, we are trying to convince DC Comics to publish a Poison Ivy solo title. Personally, I would prefer one written by Gail Simone (who proved to have a great handle on the character in Batgirl Annual #2) and drawn by Stjepan Sejic (who did Ivy’s story in Secret Origins, and you can look at more of here). Recently, we actually gained endorsement by MTV, which we consider a big victory for us. So, the word is now officially out that people want an Ivy solo, meaning anyone who wants such a thing but was maybe a bit nervous about jumping onboard with the movement should feel more than welcome to do so now. In fact, I think this is now the time where anyone who felt it was pointless to voice their opinions and ideas over Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and any other form of social media on stuff that DC Comics could do in the future should feel entitled to do so now. And I say that because Convergence is proof that Dan Didio WILL eventually listen to people if they get loud and numerous enough that they can’t be drowned out. And while we don’t have a Poison Ivy solo title in the works just yet, what we DO have is her being part of an expanded Justice League United that is investigating anomalies and incidents caused by the changes to the Multiverse at the end of Convergence, and will even be leading a mission in the near future with the team. Thank you, Jeff Parker. I haven’t read any of your work prior to this, but it looks like we’re gonna get along just fine. XD

Anyway, those are my thoughts regarding Convergence, and the possibility for future changes to DC Comics. Of course, I may be way off base regarding the majority of fans who read it and their opinions of things going into DC YOU (which I do understand, since we’re going into a universe where Superman is losing his powers, Lois Lane outed him as Clark Kent to the entire world, and Jim Gordon is running around in a Batman mech suit). As such, feel free to leave your own thoughts and opinions below, and we’ll see what becomes of the DC Universe following all of this. Ja né!

My 10 Favourite DC Villains

So, Villain’s Month is coming up in September, which will lead into Forever Evil, and that’s got me thinking about who some of my favourite DC villains are. And while I’m on the subject, while the idea of a month-long event followed by a multi-month event dedicated to villains over heroes is VERY strange, I will say that for Villain’s Month at least, several of my favourite villains are getting spotlighted. Now, of course, since Batman and Stephanie Brown are my favourite superheroes, naturally, a ton of their villains would be among my favourites of all time, especially since Batman’s rogues are among the most interesting and tragic of all DC villains. However, I’m gonna try to keep it from being a COMPLETE Bat-fest in here by instead limiting it to two Bat villains that I like the most and then later doing a 10 Favourite Bat Villains list later. So for now, let’s get the list underway, and just so I get them out of the way, here’s the two Bat villains first, starting with…

#1 – Pamela Isley, AKA Poison Ivy

Yeah, you knew she was gonna be on here. To be fair, though, even my girlfriend finds this woman impossible to resist. lol Anyway, Pamela Isley was one a young and ingenious botanist, until her mentor betrayed her and used her in his experiments. Left for dead, her sanity was forever shattered, and she since has been a dangerous eco-terrorist named Poison Ivy. She’s able to animate and manipulate all plant-based lifeforms though a connection to The Green, and is immune to all forms of toxins, bacteria, and fungi. She can also use specialized pheromones to become completely irresistible to helpless victims, and can make them do whatever she wants. By utilizing Kryptonite, even Superman is unable to resist her mind control. Her most dangerous form of attack, however, is her kiss, which she can make lethal. One lip lock, and you can kiss your life goodbye…but hey, I suppose there’re worse ways to go. ^_^

#2 – The Joker

Y’know how I said I was glad to see a lot of my favourite villains getting books dedicated to them in Villain’s Month? The Joker…is not one of them. Now, he IS one of my favourite villains, but I don’t wanna see a book dedicated to his origins because I DON’T WANT TO KNOW HIS ORIGINS! The Joker works better as a character when you don’t know who he is, what he wants, or what he’s going to do to get it. His speeches in The Dark Knight about how he got his scars are basically him making a joke out of how something so simple could drive him to do the things he does. Telling his origins kind of ruins the character.

…Anyway, getting back to the character, Joker is generally is armed with a lethal laughing gas called Joker venom, which he himself is immune to. He also wields nitroglycerin cigars, cyanide pies, bladed playing cards, BANG!flag harpoon guns, and even joy buzzers that shoot lethal amounts of electricity through a person. That said, he sometimes prefers to stick to simpler weapons, particularly knives he keeps hidden up his sleeves. The Joker is also a master manipulator and chess master, and he is capable of doing ANYTHING to achieve his goals. He even allowed his own face to be cut off as a way of sending a message to Batman. What’s bizarre, though, is that for a seemingly crazy person, his plans are usually so well thought out that even Batman has trouble keeping up at times, thus leaving it up to the reader to decide if the Joker is really an insane lunatic, or if he’s simply a parody of an insane lunatic.

#3 – Lex Luthor

Okay, this could technically be considered cheating, since Lex Luthor has fought Batman a number of times. However, while he’s not the original Superman villain, he has established himself as his arch-nemesis over the years. And it’s not hard to tell why: Superman, who is not human, yet represents the best of us, would naturally find himself at odds with a man like Lex Luthor, who IS human, yet represents the WORST of us, at least from a moral and ethical standpoint. Otherwise, he’s at the peak of human physical conditioning, and is the most brilliant human being in the world. In fact, one could say that aside from being morally bankrupt, he really only has a single weakness. The only problem is that it’s so glaringly obvious that it has cost him dearly on several occasions. This weakness: His obsession with Superman. He is bound and determined to prove himself Superman’s superior, even to the point where he believes himself to be good and Superman to be Earth’s greatest evil. It has cost him his freedom, his billions of dollars, even his once-held presidency over the United States. Yet, like any good villain, Luthor continues to come back as a more dangerous threat to his enemies every single time. Though nothing could compare to the greatest crime he’s ever committed… … …those forty cakes he stole. I mean, that’s as many as four tens. And that’s TERRIBLE.

#4 – Sinestro

It’s always bad when you’re a superhero and the man who oversaw your training turns to evil. Case in point: Sinestro. One of the most powerful Lanterns in the universe, Sinestro was the mentor to many Green Lanterns, the last of which being Hal Jordan. However, Sinestro eventually turned to evil, and with that turn, he became one of the most terrible forces of evil in the universe. Now wielding a Yellow Power Ring to counter the Green Power Ring, he’s committed many crimes, not the least of which being that he manipulated events to result in Hal’s own fall to darkness. While he recently had a chance for redemption, he threw it away in a last-ditch effort to stop the First Lantern, merging with Parallax to gain even more power. He then took the Sinestro Corps. far away, out of the reach of the Green Lantern Corps, but if he should ever return, it could spell a whole new crisis.

#5 – Darkseid

Y’know, while Darkseid’s motivations can at times be a bit more simple than I like in a villain, Goddamn it if I don’t like to see him show up sometimes. He is one of the New Gods, but unlike the peaceful New Gods living on New Genesis, Darkseid rules over the Hell-like world of Apokolips with an iron grip. He seeks the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical formula that can apparently prove the futility of life and bend anyone to his will, and has crushed whole planets across this and other universes to find it. In the New 52, however, he has added motivation for his rampage across the stars: He has a daughter who has disappeared, and he will destroy all that gets in his way of finding her, seemingly unaware that she’s actually being held by A.R.G.U.S. on Earth. He has raw power rivaling that of Superman, and possesses a genius-level intellect, but most dangerous of all in his arsenal is the Omega Effect. The Omega Effect allows him to pass effortlessly through time and space, and fire Omega Beams out his eyes that bend and warp to hit their determined target, either teleporting or destroying whatever they hit. His only vulnerability is a toxic substance called Radion, which ultimately led to his demise when Batman broke his no-guns vow in order to shoot Darkseid with a Radion bullet. Normally not something I’m okay with at all, but since he saved the universe, I’ll let it slide…this time. lol

#6 – Cheetah

I don’t care what anyone says, I like what the New 52 did with Cheetah. Suddenly, this solo villain of Wonder Woman‘s has become a force to be reckoned with among the entire Justice League. Her speed, durability, strength, and senses are beyond most mortal men, and her claws and fangs are enchanted, meaning she can wound even Superman. But above all that, what made her so hard to bring down was that she was SMART with her abilities, hitting Batman first, then cutting Flash at the legs, and then infecting Superman with her curse. Of course, she’s not invincible, as Wonder Woman was able to exploit her far more vulnerable state in the water by throwing her into the lake where Aquaman could finally take her down, but just the fact that it took so much to finally stop her pretty much cements her presence as one of their most dangerous foes.

#7 – Prankster

Giving Prankster a MASSIVE revamping and then making him a Nightwing villain was actually an excellent choice in my opinion. Dick Grayson, who has just left Gotham City for Chicago, needed a major intellectual villain to prove his mettle against in this new setting. In much the same way that Joker or Riddler tests Batman on a psychological level, Prankster has been doing the same since his initial appearance in Nightwing. Sick and demented, he gets his name from pulling horribly sadistic pranks on his foes, oftentimes testing their desire to live and what they’ll do to do so. He’s also a master hacker, even able to hack the systems in Nightwing’s suit. However, his overall confidence in himself and his traps may be his ultimate downfall, as anyone with the skill to overcome them will find Prankster dumbfounded and vulnerable.

#8 – John Corben, AKA Metallo

A villain so powerful that even the World’s Finest, Superman and Batman, can find themselves struggling to take him on as a team. And with good reason: Metallo’s sheer power, surprising agility for his size, and the ability to morph his metal body can make him an easy match for Batman, and his Kryptonite heart is one of Superman’s greatest weaknesses, powering the Man of Tomorrow down to the point where he can take him. His only real weakness is that his Kryptonite heart not only powers his body, but it keeps him alive. If it’s removed, he’ll die. Otherwise, the only other way to beat him is to just power through with enough sheer force that even he can’t counter. It’s not easy, but Superman HAS done it before with enough willpower.

How do you stop a man who cannot die and has endless years to hone his skills, train his body, and craft his plans for the world? That’s the problem that heroes (and on some occasions, other villains) face when they find themselves confronted by Vandal Savage. Now, as I understand it, the majority of his appearances in the New 52 have been in Demon Knights, where he’s actually a somewhat heroic barbarian. However, seeing as how he’s led many lives throughout his immortal existence, it wouldn’t surprise me if he turned to good for a short time before becoming a villain again at some point. He does have one weakness, however, that I only recently found out about and am kinda surprised wasn’t brought up in Hereafter: When Savage was made immortal, he had already contracted cancer. Now, the cancer won’t kill him, but it will cause him irregular intervals of pain, and there’s no way to remove the cancerous cells from his body. As such, he’s cursed with an immortal body that will NEVER completely stop screaming in pain…which probably goes a ways to explain the whole evil thing, and is kinda disturbing to think about…o.O

#10 – The Anti-Monitor

This is THE villain of the DC Universe, at least as far as the DC Universe as it was before Crisis on Infinite Earths. This was THE foe that destroyed entire universes, leaving death everywhere he went, and I daresay that no single villain, be it Darkseid, Superboy Prime, Brainiac, the First Lantern, or Trigon, has possessed the sheer destructive power that the Anti-Monitor possesses. He can also fire antimatter waves that can utterly destroy matter itself, something that shouldn’t normally be possible. He could also absorb whole universes into his being, but in his appearances since his rebirth, he has yet to use this power. Ultimately, he only has a single exploitable weakness: His overconfidence. He was so sure that he couldn’t be stopped that he was caught off-guard by Supergirl, who damaged him so badly that by the time he finally hit her with a lucky shot powerful enough to kill her, he was forced to retreat. It happened again when he was ultimately defeated by, oddly enough, some assistance by Darkseid, finally reaching his end when Earth-Two Superman shattered him into mere molecules of disjointed energy. While he has been brought back since, it would seem his once near-unstoppable power is at a small fraction of what it once was.

And that’s it for my 10 Favourite Villains of the DC Universe. Check in next time as I instead focus solely on Batman’s rogues gallery and list my 10 Favourite Batman Villains. Ja né!

What I’d Do With New 52 – Part 01: The Gang’s All Here

A while ago, a poll was posted by DC Comics on their Facebook page asking fans what they would do/what they wanted seen done with the New 52. One of the options was to reset back to the old DCU in a Crisis on Infinite Earths-type storyline. Now, I personally didn’t vote for that, but I’m unsurprised that most fans did. In fact, it was kinda overwhelming just how many voted for it.

Shortly afterwards, like MAYBE a day after it was opened, the poll was closed, like it never existed. My own theory on that is that DC didn’t like how the poll was going and decided to axe it. Kind of a dick move, DC. And frankly, if you didn’t wanna undo the DCnU, you shouldn’t have made that an option. Then this whole thing wouldn’t have happened.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the DCnU undone. Sure, there’s been a bit of bad, at times REALLY bad, but with the bad came the good. The Court of Owls storyline emerged in the DCnU. Hal Jordan and Sinestro‘s badass war emerged. Talon is becoming a new book. And yeah, while I wish Stephanie Brown‘s book was still around, I love Gail Simone‘s Batgirl title too. So I don’t want the DCnU undone, and that’s why I didn’t vote for that option. What I want is for some of the bad to be fixed.

So for the next little while, I’m gonna be discussing some of the changes that I would make to the DCnU if I had the chance. And to start off, following up on my rant regarding Stephanie Brown, let’s talk about some of the old heroes I would bring back.

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Wally West, AKA The Flash

Why: Now, I don’t personally take issue with Barry Allen, but I know of a lot of people that do in that they find him to be boring, and I do have a personal preference to Wally West. He was wisecracking, intelligent, and often-times represented heart of whatever team he was on, be it the Titans of the Justice League, and for a time both simultaneously.

How: This one would be tricky since he obtained his powers when was introduced to Barry by his aunt Iris, who was romantically linked to Barry and would later marry, except that in the DCnU they were never involved. They are still friends though, so that would be a means to bring him in. If he did get his powers again, that would create a new issue of what to call him since Kid Flash is taken by Bart Allen (weird that he exists since originally he was Barry and Iris’ grandson, but whatev), but then that does leave the alias of Impulse unclaimed.

Stephanie Brown, AKA Batgirl

Why: Read my previous posts regarding the character. Otherwise, she would especially be a welcome addition to the Bat Family now, given all the really horrific, bleak, and dire storylines that have gone on as of late.

How: I’m thinking she would have to be Spoiler again, though I think I’d want to redesign her costume a bit. Maybe as a hybrid of her Spoiler, Robin, and Batgirl costumes. Aside from that, I’d have her be either a Titan, a supporting character in Batman Inc., or a partner to Batgirl.

Donna Troy

Why: Donna Troy was one of the original members of the Titans, she was at one point a stand-in as Wonder Woman, and she even later became a member of the Justice League. She was kind, compassionate, sisterly, and even motherly, although if you ever got on her bad side she knocked the shit out of you.

How: Here’s the thing, I’m guessing that Donna Troy was dropped because her backstory had become so freaking complicated that no one knew how to make it work in the newest reboot. However, there is one comic where she would work and be a welcome addition: Earth 2. Have her appear as the sister to Earth 2’s Wonder Woman who was hidden away and then have her join the JSA as the new Wonder Woman.

Cassandra Cain, AKA Black Bat

Why: First off, I’d just like to point out how much it’s bothering me that a lot of these are women. Just sayin’. Anyway, Cassandra Cain was probably the most unique and, dare I say it, most badass of the Batgirls. She’s not my favourite, but I still like her. Her character kinda got put through the ringer with the heel turn from hell that made NO sense when you actually think about it, but they did manage to restore some dignity to her by making her Hong Kong’s representative for Batman Inc. as Black Bat.

How: This is actually the easiest one, and that’s showing her doing pretty much what she was just prior to the relaunch: Operating as Batman Inc.’s representative in Hong Kong. Heck, I think they’re kinda hinting that at some point we’re gonna see a massive all out brawl involving Batman Inc. vs Leviathan, so even just showing in a few panels being badass would be sweet. The other option I had in mind is that World’s Finest are currently hanging out in Japan, which ain’t that far from her. She could cameo.

Ralph Dibny, AKA The Elongated Man

Why: Ralph Dibny was a prominent member of the Justice League that clearly everyone on the team had a lot of care for, along with his wife Sue. They were both killed off and essentially made into ghost detectives (which is actually kinda awesome sounding now that I think about it). However, given that Identity Crisis is no longer canon, it would be safe to assume that both could still be considered as alive and active in the DCnU.

How: Well, the Justice League is currently down a member (possibly two, I’m not sure), so why not bring Ralph in to fill the empty slot? Or heck, have him and Sue exist on Earth 2 and join the JSA.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. Next time, I’m gonna talk about the actual line-up of comics currently in the New 52 and what changes I would make, either as far as changing some titles, or swapping out current titles for new ones.