Jyger’s Rant – Wonder Woman (2017 Film) (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Well, I went to see Wonder Woman yesterday as part of my birthday present. And honestly, I can say it’s one of the best experiences in the theater I’ve had in quite some time, and is easily the best DC movie I’ve seen since The Dark Knight. In fact, I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to admit this publicly or not, but…
…Yeah, I like this film better than The Dark Knight. I know that might cause disbelief in some, but I can’t help it, it’s how I feel. As such, this is gonna be a little different. I was gonna put the word “review” in the title, but honestly, there’s not a lot I’m going to be reviewing with this, especially since I want people to go see it themselves. Actually, there’re just a few points I wanna make about it, including one that’s not even really an issue with the movie…but I’ll get to that later.
So, first things first: Goddammit, does Gal Gadot nail this character. Diana in this movie is beautiful, smart, strong, and sexy. She is compassionate to a fault, yet a powerful and deadly warrior to all who cross her and leave her no other options but to fight. And to anyone confused about that, allow me to explain: Wonder Woman technically does not have a no-kill rule as Superman and Batman are SUPPOSED to. However, her willingness to kill is born out of her compassion. It’s a matter of “This person is leaving me no other choice but to do nothing, and innocents will die if I choose to do so, so if I have to take on the burden of killing someone to protect the innocent, then so be it”. And in all-out war, it’s a little easier to understand that mindset. She’s naive about how the world off her island works, but that’s understandable for obvious reasons, and in the end, she learns to accept and love humanity for both the good and the bad.
I’m still a little sour about the fact that, just like in the New 52, it turns out Diana being sculpted from clay is a lie and that she’s actually the daughter of Zeus. However, here’s the thing you need to understand about that: The lie actually makes a bit more sense here, both in why it was told and how it was revealed. Honestly, my problem was never really with Wonder Woman being a demigoddess. My problem was with the hows and whys of that change, as well as what it did to her as a character, and how it made her supporting cast look in retrospect. Here, though, it doesn’t really change much of who Wonder Woman is, and the lie is only perpetrated by Hippolyta to protect her. So it works better than it did in the comics. Would I have preferred her original origins be kept intact? Yes, but again, it still works as is, so I can’t be TOO sour about it.
One thing I actually wasn’t so bothered by, but have kind of become a little bothered by, is the race change to Doctor Poison. If you don’t know, Doctor Poison in the comics is Japanese. In fact, she was a princess in disguise, and was a character with her own agency. Here, she’s played by a Spanish woman, and it’s revealed that at least one or two of her breakthroughs in chemistry were inspired by Ares. So, yeah, that’s a problem. However, on the flip side…Look, I’m just gonna admit this: I barely knew who she was going into this movie. And that’s mainly because a lot of Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery usually get pushed aside for Cheetah, Ares, and Circe, with the occasional Veronica Cale and Giganta. I’ve heard she’s actually appeared in Wonder Woman’s new solo title, but I’m still reading through that. So one reason it actually doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should that they changed Doctor Poison so much is because now, with her appearance in this movie, I’m inspired to do my research and find out more about her. Still, it probably would’ve been better to just do the character more correctly in the first place.
I’ve pointed out to my friends in the past that I wasn’t sure if I really considered Wonder Woman’s theme in Batman v Superman to be the most fitting for the character, but I still liked it. The reason I liked it, primarily in BvS, was because it was the only freaking song in that entire Goddamn movie that got me amped for ANYTHING going on in it. But, again, wasn’t sure how well it fit the character. Hearing it again, along with some of the remixes present in this movie… … …Yeah. Yeah, I just have to accept the fact that this is this Wonder Woman’s theme song, and that I really do love this song. lol
And I suppose I should bring up a bit of an elephant in the room as it pertains to this movie. Specifically, as it turns out, Erich Ludendorff is actually a real person. And, it probably won’t shock anyone to hear that he did not die in 1918 via a sword running through him on a roof. In fact, he died of liver cancer in 1937. And, he was among those who specifically suggested the armistice in the first place. So, yeah, the movie obviously takes more than a couple of liberties with history.
But yeah, you might have noticed that all the downsides I’ve mentioned about this movie are all pretty much nitpicks. That’s because there’s really nothing about this movie that ruins it in any way, shape, or form. Really, the biggest issue I have isn’t even with the movie, but rather the studio. And if you’ve looked on comic book news sites, you probably already know this, but if you don’t, let me just explain this right now: There is a scene where Wonder Woman is going through the trenches with Steve Trevor and his team at No Man’s Land, and the whole way there, Diana is seeing the suffering the war is causing. Men, women, children, animals, all are harmed in some way, shape, or form by this war, and all the while she’s told there’s nothing she can do about it, that No Man’s Land can’t be crossed. So what does she do? She strips out of the clothes Steve got her down to her armor, and just WALKS across No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets, until she gets into a run and finally hunkers down behind her shield as the Germans start laying down fire from their multiple machine guns. This is so much gunfire that it’s left even her immobile…but that’s the point. By taking their fire upon herself, it gives Steve and the other soldiers a chance to charge the grounds and take down the Germans keeping them at bay.
So why am I bringing this scene up in such detail above all others? Well, for two reasons. One, it’s the most memorable and important scene in the movie to many who saw it, and I’ll explain why in a sec. The second is because, according to Patty Jenkins, that sequence of events almost didn’t make it into the film’s theatrical release. In her own words, “I think that in superhero movies, they fight other people, they fight villains. So when I started to really hunker in on the significance of No Man’s Land, there were a couple people who were deeply confused, wondering, like, ‘Well, what is she going to do? How many bullets can she fight?’ And I kept saying, ‘It’s not about that. This is a different scene than that. This is a scene about her becoming Wonder Woman.’”…If I may be allowed to go off on a tangent here…WHAT. THE. HELL, WB?! She had to CONVINCE the studio it needed to be in. Why didn’t they understand from the beginning how important this was? This is why I think they’ve failed with these movies up until this point, and why this scene is so important: Not only is it a scene showing Wonder Woman doing what needs to be done for her to accomplish her goals, but that one act completely turns the tide, and so Wonder Woman’s actions inspire others to do what they must. THAT is the point of DC superheroes, Superman especially: To inspire. To show the world how to save themselves. Ultimately, it comes down to something a vampire once said:
THAT’S what DC superheroes are supposed to be! Hell, it’s not even just superheroes. Even Poison Ivy, someone who is really more of an anti-hero and, even at her best, cares very little for humanity, does what she can to stop people from destroying the world, and will protect the people she DOES care for to the death. Wonder Woman is in this movie is someone who is out to save humanity, and in the end does so regardless of how bad we can be, because of how good we can be. Her actions inspire us to be better. THAT’S what Superman was once upon a time in movies. Even Batman, as tortured and clearly human as he was, could be seen as an inspiration for how a man can take that torment and darkness and turn it into something positive for humanity. Granted, it also helps a lot that he’s filthy stinking rich, but you can still see the building blocks there for how a person can take the worst of themselves and do something good with it. And I hope to God that this is the direction they take from now on, and that they don’t try to ignore the critical success that this movie has made. Hell, I’m pretty sure they’ve already learned their lesson, since despite resisting that scene, they’ve put snippets of it in every trailer I’ve seen for the movie thus far. And if they have, MAJOR kudos to them. You were late to the party, but at least you made it. And, with any luck, Justice League will be all of what made this movie great and MORE.
Oh, and lastly, I wanted to make something clear. I know I’ve given Zack Snyder a lot of hell for these movies. But, let us not forget that he was a producer on THIS film as well. He deserves credit for it, the same as his wife Deborah who was also a producer for it, the same as Patty Jenkins for directing, the same as Gal Gadot for physically bringing the character to life, the same as Chris Pine for Steve Trevor, Lucy Davis for Etta Candy, and everyone else in this movie for their performances (seriously, I can’t think of one bad performance in this movie), and the same as Geoff Johns and everyone else who worked on this movie. And, on a more personal note, I just wanted to give my most sincere condolences to Zack and Deborah for the loss of their daughter. No matter what anyone has to say about them for how they perform at their jobs, we can all agree that no parent should ever have to go through what these two have. And that’s all I have to say on the subject.
Bottom line, Wonder Woman is a great film, and if you haven’t seen it, for the love of God, it’s well worth the price of admission to go see it in theaters. And if you HAVE seen the film, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. Play us out, 331Erock.
12 Essential DC Titles That Must Be Part Of Every Line-Up/Reboot/Etc.
Y’know, in comics, when you’re setting up line-ups of different titles to try and sell to your customers, say as part of a reboot or relaunch or whatever, it’s a good idea to keep it varied. After all, you never know when something different might stick with someone. But, at the same time, there are certain books that have a certain name value to them that need to be kept in, no matter what you’re doing. DC Comics, in particular, seems to have several of these high name value books. But which ones are the ones that I feel are the ones that MUST be kept in, regardless of what they’re doing? What books, no matter what kind of universal reboot or retooling or new direction, do I feel are the titles that should be kept around? Well, strap yourselves in, because I’m about to go over them now. These are the 12 essential DC titles I feel should be a part of every line-up. So, let’s start with an obvious one…
If for no other reason, Action Comics needs to be kept around for DC’s entire life-span because it’s the book that started this whole incredible ride. And because it’s been around for so long, it can provide for great anniversary moments. Hell, at this moment in time, we are coming up super close to a legitimate Action Comics #1000, and it’s frigging awesome. I would keep Action Comics running from now until the end of time if I could, and I would NEVER attempt to renumber it ever again.
Same deal as Action Comics. Detective Comics has been a major staple of DC (right down to the frigging name), and is likewise creeping up on 1000 issues. This needs to keep running for as long as DC Comics does. Maybe even longer, if say someone like Marvel or whoever bought out DC and kept their characters and stories going.
They are the three pillars of DC Comics. Let’s just be clear about that. No matter how big anyone else gets, and there are plenty of big freaking names, these are the ones that best define DC: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You do not have DC Comics if you don’t have these three characters, and they MUST have their own solo titles. Admittedly, though, Action Comics and Detective Comics of the modern day are pretty much just Superman and Batman books respectively, but at least said books also feature plenty of their supporting casts. Hell, for a time, Detective Comics primarily starred Batwoman. But yeah, these three HAVE to be around.
Okay, I know what I just said about the Trinity, but if there was anyone else in DC that I can’t imagine the books existing without, it’s The Flash. This is probably because of the fact that he’s been central to so many major events that revolve around the Multiverse and the central continuity of the stories. Think about that: Any time there has ever been a major shake up, Barry or another Flash was in the middle of it. As such, Flash is very much a central part of DC’s legacy, and needs to continue to be as much moving forward.
It’s the A-List group of superheroes within this universe. There is no shared universe of any sort without the Justice League. And I don’t care what you call them, be it the Justice League, Justice League of America, JLA, Justice League International, or Justice League United, there MUST be a Justice League of some sort no matter what is going on. That said, there are maybe two other teams that need just as much focus…
With so many great superheroines in the DC Universe, it’s hard to imagine there ever being a time when the Birds of Prey didn’t exist. I mean, I know there was, but I can’t imagine how or why. It’s bizarre. That said, one thing that the Birds of Prey books need to stop doing is introducing whole new male characters that no one cares about. Specifically, Condor from the New 52 version and the new Oracle in the Rebirth version. It’s infuriating. lol I would also probably use this book as a means of getting the Gotham City Sirens (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy) involved in major storylines if they didn’t have their own books. I mean, I would probably make sure they did have their own book, but again, I’m going specifically for the bare essentials here.
Again, with so many younger heroes, there simply MUST be a Teen Titans (or just Titans) book at all times. Even if you rebooted back to square one, to where Dick Grayson is Robin and so on, there are still plenty of options to go with. You still have Kid Flash, Aqualad, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, so many younger heroes that would be welcome in a Titans book.
Granted, this hasn’t always been the case, but Green Lantern, more than any other hero, helps to unite the events on Earth with the events throughout the universe in DC. So many cosmic heroes and villains that are brought into what goes on with Earth via connections to the Green Lantern Corps. I don’t even care which one you use (I personally prefer John Stewart, but whatever), but there MUST be a Green Lantern with their own book at some point. Hell, there are so many, each with their own unique stories, you could give the vast majority their own books.
Of all of the characters who have rotated in and out of the Justice League, Aquaman is one of the few that has stuck around the longest. For all the jokes people STILL sling at this guy, none of which are warranted, he remains one of DC Comics’ signature characters. And dammit, he needs to remain as such forever. He’s earned it.
So, that leaves us with #12. And, I’ll admit, this is the hardest one to decide, because whoever gets in, that means everyone else is left out as being one of the essentials, which I feel is a slight against all of them. No matter how I spin it, I’m purposely leaving out each one of the above characters who aren’t chosen as #12 as being one of the most important characters with the most important stories. And it doesn’t help that my own personal bias affects this, too. And yes, my personal bias makes me want to say Gotham City Sirens or a Stephanie Brown book. But, in the end, I have to choose what I feel would be the most important to DC’s line-up and its legacy. So, with that in mind, and I KNOW I’m gonna piss someone off with this, here is my pick for #12…
I think that one thing that’s been universally agreed upon in terms of what was lost with the New 52 was the DC Universe’s legacy. Not just where it’s headed, but where it came from as well. Both the legacy heroes who came before and are yet to come. No matter what kind of reboot or reset that happens, it’s important, for the sake of those that continue to keep up with DC, to have something that speaks to its legacy. And no team better represents DC’s legacy, where it’s been, and where it’s going, than the Justice Society. And it can be either a book set on an alternate Earth, or a book about a team that existed back in the days of the Golden Age of comics, but there MUST be a Justice Society. Ironically, at this time, Earth 2: Society has finished its run, and a Justice Society book is still in the works. Hopefully, though, DC doesn’t leave us waiting for too much longer with the latter.
And, just to be clear, if I was running DC Comics, I would of COURSE have books like Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Martian Manhunter, Gotham City Sirens, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Secret Six going at the same time as the other twelve I’ve mentioned. They’re all important characters and stories to me. But this isn’t just about me. And besides, with the choices I gave, there’s still plenty of room to involve all of those characters and more. And, like I said at the beginning, it’s good to throw other, varied options around for the reader to pick up and see if they like it. Give different heroes and stories a chance to shine. But, at the end of the day, these are the twelve that I think NEED to survive above all others from now until whenever this crazy age of comic books comes to an end.
… … …BUT, I’m sure you all have your own picks and selections, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. 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!
Jyger’s Favourite 5 – 5 Favourite Series From DC’s New 52/DC YOU
Well, the New 52 is just about at its end, with DC Rebirth coming up next week and the last of the New 52 books ending over the course of the next few months. And while the New 52 has become something of a punchline for many fans, let’s not forget the good times that came with it. Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that there WERE good books, as well as the bad. So, with that in mind, I’ve decided that, before I seriously rag on the New 52 one last time, I should really take a look at some of my favourite comics from this era. Now, keep in mind, these are JUST the ones that I read. I’m well aware of the fact that there were other good comics that came out during the past five years under the DC banner that won’t be on this list. As such, if your favourites aren’t on the list, by all means, feel free to place your own in the comments. Also, keep in mind that there are books that, while good, just weren’t the overall greats of this list. So, books like Justice League, while having arcs I liked, also had a bunch of arcs I DIDN’T like, so they just missed the cut…though I DO have a bonus round for them. lol And, of course, books that are not a part of the main line, like Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman don’t count. Why we couldn’t have more books like it and Legends of Wonder Woman in the main line, I dunno, but for now, let’s start with one that’s probably kinda obvious to anyone who’s read my blog for a while…
Yeah, not shocking anyone with this pick, I’m sure. Most definitely my favourite of the books starring the New 52 Superman, and it’s one of the reasons I’m actually sad to learn that he’s dying. Yes, he is arguably the most inherently flawed of the mainstream Supermen, but when you have a good writer with a good story writing him, those flaws are used in good ways. We see how this Superman is still an inspirational figure in spite of these flaws by never giving up and continuously trying to do the best he can for the world. So yeah, while I’m obviously overjoyed to see the pre-Flashpoint Superman return to active duty, along with his wife and son, there will always be a little part of me that gets nostalgic for the Superman who didn’t always get it right, but nonetheless kept trying his best, for truth and justice.
I actually feel bad because I initially was unwilling to give this book a try. Why? Because they’d seemingly undone Babs’ past as Oracle as a means to make her Batgirl again, thus taking the position away from Stephanie Brown, who was nowhere to be seen for a long time. But while all that is true, I can’t deny that this book has had some great moments. Granted, I HATED the Batgirl Wanted arc, and Black Canary’s characterization in the beginning of the Stewart/Fletcher era rubbed me the wrong way, but the rest of it has been highly enjoyable. Some of my favourite moments are probably Alysia’s wedding, the end of the Simone era when Babs called in damned near EVERY superheroine on Earth, ALL of her annuals, the tie-in to Future’s End, that time she and Strix took on vampires, it’s just been a hell of a ride, and I hope that the next volume is just as fun.
For those that never read this book, I’ll keep the recap brief: Shortly after the collapse of the government sanctioned JLA, which was secretly meant as a fail-safe against the Justice League, three of its members, Stargirl, Martian Manhunter, and Green Arrow, found themselves teaming with Supergirl, Adam and Alanna Strange, Animal Man, and newcomer Equinox, to form a new Justice League: the Justice League United, set up in Canada, and meant to protect the world from extraterrestrial and paranormal threats. Of course, right off the bat, I was excited, since…well, do you know how long I waited for my country to get their own Justice League? Was awesome. But beyond that, getting to see some of the character interactions without the dread present in the JLA book that came before it was great too (Green Arrow and Animal Man playing off each other made for some decent comedy), and there was a lot of more traditional superheroing. In the later stages of the book’s existence, the team began rotating members in and out in order to deal with different situations, regardless of which side of the law they were on. Anyone from Batgirl to Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing to Vandal Savage, and so on could be brought in depending on what the situation called for. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long before the book’s cancellation, but the JLU has since appeared during the Truth story-arc in the Superman books, giving me hope that they’ll one day return to action.
I should probably note that, when I say Convergence is a favourite of mine, I’m not talking about the main series. This is primarily because…well, I didn’t read it, and from what I’ve read, there’s not really much of anything that good, other than the restoration of the Multiverse. Oh, there’s some stuff involving the New 52 version of Earth 2, but unfortunately, that’s been a SERIOUSLY mixed bag. You wanna know more about that, go check out the blog Helena Wayne Huntress for more details. But no, what I’m referring to as one of my favourites of the New 52 is all the tie-in stuff. Granted, that could be seen as cheating for one simple reason: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NEW 52. The Convergence tie-ins are about giving resolution to stories that happened before the New 52, letting the heroes of ages past get one last hurrah, and even setting up for maybe a few of them to return later on. And they’re all awesome! Nightwing and Oracle get married and kick ass (not necessarily in that order, lol), Lian is brought back to life, Stephanie Brown suits up as Batgirl again, Lois and Clark have a child, the JSA return, it’s all amazing! Hell, even Scott freaking Lobdell turns in a good Blue Beetle book! I didn’t even think it was possible for him to put out anything of quality, but I guess mathematically speaking, it had to happen EVENTUALLY.
…Yyyeeeaaaahh, suppose this isn’t much of a surprise to anyone. lol While I wasn’t a fan of the story where Jim Gordon was Batman, and I found Joker to be WAY over the top in terms of unstoppable villainy is concerned, it’s really hard to not consider this book one the best of the past five years. Snyder and Capullo have simply been on fire for this era, and it’s sad to know that, at least for a while, that team of theirs is over. Although as hard as it is for me and other readers, I gotta imagine it’s even harder for them. But yeah, you guys should all know all of my favourite moments from this book, and if you don’t, I made a list of them just before the Superheavy story-arc. Point is, if you’re a Batman fan and you’ve been avoiding this book for the New 52 branding, don’t. It’s at least worth your time to check out.
So those are my favourite books of the New 52 in terms of overall quality. And now, the bonus round for all the arcs of books that I liked.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Huntress and Power Girl fighting a giant Irradiated Man in a Japanese harbour! All it needed was for Godzilla and Dragonzord to show up to make it the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen! XD
…Not to self: Review Darkseid War once the entire storyline is finished. It is easily my favourite story of the New 52 Justice League. Also, I thought Origin worked as an introduction to this new timeline, and the Amazo Virus was pretty awesome, too, and marked the point in which Geoff Johns finally found his groove with writing Wonder Woman’s character.
Cross World was great, and presented one of my all-time favourite images of Wonder Woman, and the stuff with Mongol and Toymaster is admittedly dumb fun that resolved in an awesome team-up involving Supergirl, Batgirl, Steel, Red Hood, and Krypto.
Y’know, DC, right after the engagement, I was totally gonna stick with this book. Then you called it off, the creative team left as a result, and then you did the stupid vampire thing. Just saying, you had a great thing gift-wrapped for you. I sincerely hope, though, that since Rebirth is apparently nixing the whole heroes-can’t-be-married thing, with the old Superman who is married to Lois Lane being back and Aquaman and Mera being engaged, that Batwoman finally is allowed to get married in Detective Comics.
Ultimately proved to be hit and miss, but I liked it for the most part. Could’ve done without Casey being damned near torn apart, but watching her make her badass comeback with a cybernetic arm-cannon was awesome. I mean, yeah, it’s another case of extreme violence against women in a comic, but it’s hard not to watch her in the hospital bed right after losing her arm and eye and not grin ear-to-ear when she’s still being like “Aw, fuck it, just put a giant arm-cannon on me, and I’ll fuck these guys up! And Calvin, you better make sure you haven’t completely screwed things up by the time I show up, or your ass is grass!” XD
I unfortunately can’t really justify putting Nightwing on the top 5, but that’s less to do with the quality of the stories told in it and more to do with the constantly changing status quo that was really only a thing strictly because of stuff happening in the other Bat Family books before ending due to events in Forever Evil. Oh, and as a side-note, SO glad to see that Nightwing is in blue again, but not sure where this is going with him as a member of the Court (or Parliament, I guess) of Owls.
I can’t say enough how much I adored the team-up with Power Girl. Was just great.
I feel like I MIGHT’VE put this on the list if I’d read through the entire thing and it didn’t delve into the cheesecake quite as much as it did, soooo…Eh, call it sixth, I guess. lol
Again, DC, you had me right up until Evil Superman working for Darkseid, and Thomas Wayne as Batman. Then you completely lost me. And THEN you pissed me off with World’s End and the first arc of Earth 2: Society. Seriously, like I said before, go read Helena Wayne Huntress’ blog for more details, but suffice to say, it’s been a MESS, one that I hope gets cleaned up soon. I DO recommend the Tower of Fate arc, though.
Problematic for me personally at times, but still enjoying it, and glad it’s here. 🙂
And that’s all my favourite stuff of the New 52. Like I said before, if you’ve got a book that you really liked from this era that wasn’t on here, by all means, leave your own list in the comments, and be sure to check back in the future when I go over the worst of this era. Ja né!
An Idea On How To Shake Things Up In DC Comics
So, I’ve been thinking lately about ways DC could keep things interesting in their comics. More often than not, their ideas include reboots or big epic crossover events or stuff like that. And not to say that plan doesn’t work, but I don’t really think it’s necessary all the time. Instead, I had another idea on how to shake things up: Rotate villain rosters a little. Add variety to the different antagonists that show up in the books. Give us some new dream matches of heroes vs villains we either haven’t seen before or don’t see often.
For example, let’s say that some of the villains in Gotham City actually wised up and realized “Hey, this city sucks and Batman is always kicking our asses! Let’s leave this shit-hole!” Like, what if Poison Ivy decided to find her own home away from everyone to continue her research and whatnot, only to accidentally end up on Themyscira and become a recurring character in the Wonder Woman books? Or if Penguin realized he had an opportunity to become the kingpin of crime in Star City and thus became a villain in the Green Arrow books? Or Bane could go to Detroit to test the power of muscle (with illegal strength enhancement, lol) against metal by fighting Cyborg in his book? And none of these would HAVE to be permanent, so those worried that Batman would lose some of his precious and continuously expanding villains roster wouldn’t need to panic.
But hey, Batman’s not the only hero with villains to go around. And maybe everyone could just kinda swap one or two with another. Maybe Parasite could go try to absorb Flash’s connection to the Speed Force or Shazam’s incredible strength. Perhaps the Injustice Gang could try their luck at their enemies’ teenage counterparts, the Titans? Conversely, what if the Justice League had to engage in a battle of wits and strategy against arguably the devil himself, Trigon, to keep him from rising? What if Nightwing was forced into a situation where he’d have to occupy space with the man who killed him, Lex Luthor? Or hell, why not have Deathstroke, a guy with a healing factor, fight Cyborg, an old enemy from pre-Flashpoint and a guy whose body was saved by technology?
Lastly, there’re a few villains that haven’t appeared in a really long time that could be brought back under the right circumstances to fight new heroes. What if Composite Superman returned to fight the Super Sons, Jon and Damian? Perhaps Roxy Rocket could decide to try her luck at becoming a Green Lantern and become a rogue for Jessica Cruz? Or hey, Wally West is back now; how about bringing back Inertia as a rival for him?
Anyway, that’s all I got for now. If you think of any other good ones, lemme know in the comments. Ja né!
Who Should Be On The JLA Rebirth Team?
So, of the books that were revealed for Rebirth, one of them hasn’t had anything in the way of details revealed, and that’s JLA. I’m pretty sure it’s because they haven’t chosen a creative team yet, or it could be because of major game-changing events that’ll happen in the book that they don’t want put out there yet. Regardless of why, though, there’s no info, not even if it will continue to be a book about the primary seven members set in a non-specific point in time during their existence, or a brand new team altogether. If it’s the latter, though, I’m sure there are several at DC who are adding their two cents as to who could be on the team. With that said, because I am an opinionated blogger with a big mouth, here’s a list of heroes that I think would make for good members of the Justice League of America, should it prove to be a completely separate team. Please note that these suggestions are based around the individuals, not how they would operate as a team, and they don’t ALL have to be part of it (duh).
Honestly, though, any of the Earth-born Green Lanterns that don’t have their own books could work here. I just picked John because he’s my favourite. The thing is, though, that I could always justify his non-presence on a Justice League team nowadays because he was one of the main characters of the Green Lantern Corps books. However, now that book is being taken over by Hal Jordan, while Hal’s position on Earth is being given to Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. As such, it really doesn’t feel like there’s a heck of a lot for John to do, which is a real shame. So, I would personally advise putting him on the JLA, possibly even as the leader.
Well, you’re not doing anything else with him once the Legends of Tomorrow book ends, so why not? Especially now that casual viewers of the Flash TV show have been exposed to the character. It’d be a nice way to get more people to read. That said, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on with Jason in the LoT book, but I hope he isn’t being tossed aside completely.
I would imagine Steel will likely be part of Superman’s Super League, but no reason he can’t pull double duty, especially since that team isn’t getting its own book, at least not yet. Plus, since Superman is gonna be busy elsewhere, and Supergirl already has her own book, it’d be good to give the inheritor to the title of Man of Steel some more exposure by having him be the member of the Superman Family to represent them on this team.
Again, I suppose either Ted or Jaime could work in this situation. Really, the reason I went with Ted is because I figured, since we’re getting him back anyway, might as well make the most of him, right? Plus, since I think this team could stand to NOT have Batman on it, you need someone who is smart, adaptable, strategic, and tenacious, and Ted fills that role well while also being more light-hearted than the Dark Knight. That said, much as I like the two working together, might be a good idea to not pair him with Booster Gold and have him slacking off and making get-rich-quick plans.
Can someone please tell me why Mera is not an official member of the Justice League? How many times does she have to stand beside them and bail them out of trouble before she gets her own official membership? And that’s just in the New 52 alone. And to anyone who thinks her powers are lame, lemme spell this out for you: How much of the world is made up of water? Better yet, how much of the HUMAN BODY is made up of water? If you don’t know why that’s terrifying, watch the episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender that deals with Bloodbending. lol
Like Ronnie, this would be a good character to add to the book for the sake of getting the attention of those who were introduced to him via the Flash show. And frankly, I don’t understand why this character was benched after Forever Evil. I really liked the New 52 interpretation of Vibe. I actually held it up as an example of the reboot changing a hero up and doing it right. Vibe went from arguably the worst member of the Justice League to someone I would honestly want on my team at all times.
Seriously, after this whole thing with Mars invading Earth is over and J’onn can be free of whatever nonsense was keeping him away from the other heroes of the DCU, he needs to rejoin the League. He needs to reconnect with his fellow heroes. I’m honestly a little worried about him from a psychological standpoint of being away from them for so long. Also, what is up with DC wanting to give people arm blades nowadays? It’s just so odd an aesthetic alteration to make for both J’onn and Wonder Woman.
…Let’s be honest, there’ll be a Bat on this team. And do we REALLY want Batman on EVERY team? Meanwhile, we’ve got Luke Cage, who isn’t doing anything outside of being an ally/love interest of Batgirl’s, and I don’t even know that he’ll be keeping that position in Rebirth. So why not include him here? Plus, he was one of the best parts of the newest Batman animated movie, so it would make for a nice cross-promotional move to add him to the team. Lastly, though, if he gets on the team, we totally gotta see him working with Steel. Just sayin’. 😛
Anyway, those are a few suggestions DC could go with. Got any I didn’t mention? Leave them in the comments below, and we’ll see what happens with the book in the future. Ja né!
DC Rebirth Reveal – Some Art And Quick Reactions
…SO, today was kinda nuts. Before I go in-depth on all of the big announcements, since I fully expect more news to come out soon enough, let’s instead take a look at some of the art revealed for the new books and a few quick notes I took for the different titles.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll go more in depth soon enough, though. Lemme know your own thoughts below, and we’ll see how things pan out from now to May 25th, 2016. Ja né!
Early Predictions/Desires For #DCRebirth – The Justice League And Related Characters
So, I’ve talked about some things I’d like to see from DC Rebirth back before we knew really ANYTHING about it, and I gave general thoughts on the books announced to be part of DC’s new line-up during Rebirth and beyond. Now, it’s time to look at the individual books announced and/or characters involved and talk about what I either expect to see happen as part of this movement to bring back the elements of the books and their characters we and the creators love. Keep in mind, I might’ve discussed some of this already in the aforementioned articles, so I may be repeating a few points. Still, let’s start off with…well, a book I’m a little disappointed to hear something about…And by a little disappointed, I mean my first words upon hearing about it were, and I quote, “SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!!“…I might’ve overreacted slightly. lol
Then again, though, when you consider the quality of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s work as of late with Justice League, can you really blame me for that reaction? Well, regardless, with Justice League and Justice League America, what I would recommend doing is having both books be about different groupings of the same team. Like, one book could focus on the original big seven of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter (who I am hoping to God is returning to the League now that his book is ending), and the other can focus on some of the newer members, like Shazam, Cyborg, Jessica Cruz, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda. I’ve actually heard for a while now that there might’ve been a planned crossover between Justice League and JLA, but unless they had this planned with whoever was taking over for Johns, I don’t see that happening right away. And frankly, I’m a little sick of books doing crossovers before they hit 12 issues anyway, so holding off on that might be in order.
Assuming he retains the memory of it from the events of The Darkseid War, something tells me that a future arc of the new Batman title might revolve around him looking for the Joker now that he knows his identity. I just can’t imagine him gaining ahold of that information and not wanting to use it to maybe put an end to the Joker’s threat before anyone else gets hurt. Still, I’m a bit…leery of that idea. See, for me, the Joker works best when you DON’T know all the details of who he really is and what his past was like, and I can’t imagine DC actually going through with that. As Joker himself once put it, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice”. Then again, they’re apparently telling his back-story in the TV show Gotham, which I dislike for various reasons on top of that, so who knows? Like I’ve said before, though, I hope that they decide to make Joker a little more fun in the future. He’s more than capable of being a terrifying villain AND the occasional goofy clown. Other than that, since I don’t see any books involving Robin in the line-up thus far, one has to wonder what’s to become of Damian and the members of We Are Robin, in particular Duke Thomas. Will Damian become Bruce’s full-time partner again in one of the Batman books, or will he step aside and become his own individual while Duke takes his place? Or perhaps Duke will instead take on the identity of Lark, like in one of Bruce’s nightmare scenarios brought on by the Scarecrow’s fear toxin? And what of Jim Gordon? Will he continue to take up the mantle of the All-New Batman? Only time will tell for sure, but we’ll talk more about Batman’s supporting cast and related characters later.
So, after the newest issue of Action Comics, it looks as though Superman is no longer dying. I could be wrong, but that appears to be the case. He’s also been fully revitalized. So, doesn’t look like the Super League is being built as a possible replacement for the Man of Steel. However, I would be willing to suggest that he’s instead putting it together due to the events where his powers were drained, his identity was leaked, and so on, and that there’d need to be someone who could stand in for him if something like that should ever happen again. Speaking of, though, I’ve got this sneaky suspicion that the public may not remember that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same post-Rebirth. Why? Well, like I mentioned before, the Spyral satellite has the ability to remove the public’s knowledge of Dick Grayson being Nightwing, which is likely how he’ll return to the role as I’ll get into when I talk about him. If I were one of the heads at DC and decided that Clark’s secret identity being exposed was not a good idea for the long-term, that seems like it’d be a good way out of it. With that said, though, if I may make a request, if that happens and they do that…?
Keep Lois’ memories of the ordeal intact. This isn’t even me wanting to see Lois and Clark as a couple again (although I do, a LOT), but simply because ever since she found out Clark Kent is Superman, she’s been even more actively involved in stories, for better or worse. Married or unmarried, couple or friends, ultimately, I think history has proven that there are more stories that can be told with her in the know about Clark being Superman than with her being kept out of the loop. But, with that said…yeah, I really do wanna see them together again, especially since the book about the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark is ending. In fact, who knows? Maybe they’ll do some kinda merger thing where the Superman and Lois Lane of both worlds blend into one, and both become a balance of their counterparts? Not sure where that leaves little Jonathan, but it could happen. But, for that to happen, obviously, something’s gotta go…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s time to call it quits on the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship. Above all else, the reason I’m just plain sick of it is because the two are rarely, if ever, treated like equals when it comes to their relationship. Wonder Woman is pretty much just Superman’s girlfriend in a lot of stories they’re presented in as a couple. Beyond that, my standard requests are as follows: Restore the Amazons to the compassionate protectors of mankind, and for the love of God, pants or no pants, I don’t care anymore, just give us a brighter colour scheme for Diana. In fact, I’d actually be fine with the design Jason Fabok uses for her in Justice League, but with gold instead of silver. Also, I keep hearing that the movie will be rebooting to the old school Etta Candy, and if I can make a suggestion? Do the same in the comics. You don’t necessarily have to undo making her black. Hell, you don’t even need to make her as overweight as the original. Just something similar, and above all else, make Etta the ninja tackling badass sidekick I remember.
…Okay, not really much to say about Aquaman, other than it’s great to see him back to his old look and kicking ass like normal. I will say, though, that the writers really need to make up their minds as to whether he’s gonna be King of Atlantis or not for the foreseeable future, though. No, my biggest concern for the Aquaman books is something…different.
…OH, GOOD GOD, WHY?! I got into a little bit of a rant about this on Twitter when I saw this, as you can read here. Suffice to say, no. Absolutely not. Whatever the writers of Aquaman are thinking, NO! BAD writers! Don’t make her Aquawoman. You make her Aquawoman, and I will violently murder the first fish I see. Oh, and just saying this? If they DO make Arthur King of Atlantis again, can we PLEASE have these two be officially married again? Or maybe they already have been when I wasn’t looking, I don’t know, but if they aren’t, please don’t listen to Dan, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to superheroes being married, especially with these two. It makes no sense for them to not be married when all evidence points to her having served in the capacity of Queen of Atlantis at Arthur’s side at least at one point. Also, I’m sorry, but one of these days, we gotta make Mera an official member of the Justice League. How many times does she have to accompany them and their various divisions into action and show just how easily she stands among them before she’s given a seat?
Again, not a lot to say about The Fastest Man Alive, other than that I hope that this whole mess involving him being Central City’s most wanted and being hunted by the Rogues doesn’t last long. I AM interested to see what role he plays with Rebirth, however. As Geoff Johns himself has pointed out, nearly every time there’s been a massive change to the universe, a Flash (usually Barry) was at the center of it. Speaking of, I wonder if we’ll ever get follow-up on exactly why Pandora used Barry to reboot the universe at the end of Flashpoint. The whole thing about Pandora’s Box being the reason seems kinda minor when you consider what that turned out to be. I mean, she really needed to reboot the universe just so we can get a Boom Tube that led to Earth 3? But yeah, once again, my bigger concern is with a certain other Flash…
Seriously, I don’t care if he’s black, white, yellow, red, purple, green, or fuchsia, we need the FUN Wally West back. The Wally West who is cracking jokes and being the far more fun-loving Flash. And I don’t care if he’s The Flash, Kid Flash, Impulse, whatever, it’s time to pull the trigger on him suiting up and working with Barry. With that said, a lot of people were against the new costume we saw him in during the whole Future’s End tie-in, but honestly, I thought he looked good. The silver DOES stand out in a very dramatic way and makes him look very distinct from the other Flashes.
Again, I’d kinda like to see Hal Jordan and John Stewart, and maybe even the other Earth-born Lanterns rotate on the Justice League and JLA. Beyond that, though, I get the feeling that Jessica Cruz will be switching out the Ring of Volthoom from Earth 3 for a Green Lantern Ring. There WAS a silhouette of a female Green Lantern in the image for Rebirth, and Jessica seems like the logical candidate. And frankly, I would just be happy to see her conquer her fear and give Volthoom the boot. Still, kinda hope her Green Lantern costume, if I’m correct, incorporates some elements of her Power Ring costume. Oh, and can we PLEASE have a sense of stability in the Green Lantern Corps for at least a year? I don’t think I even need to point this out, but life has been hell for the Corps as of the past few years. The Guardians finally came out as evil, there’s been a shit-ton of members dying left and right, they got better Guardians who still managed to screw the pooch in the end, and now most of them have been banished to another dimension or some shit. But as for Hal himself…he’s gotta lose the jacket. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work for him. To be honest, when he and Parallax had their fight recently, Hal looked more like a villain than Parallax did…y’know, until Parallax pulled the whole fangs thing, which still looks fucking stupid. lol
What in the HELL is going on in J’onn’s comics as of late?!?! No, seriously, someone please explain this shit to me! It turned out he was a bio-engineered weapon the Martians were going to use to take over Earth, and that he was hiding that for years, and that might’ve been why he was kicked outta the League during the gap between the first two story arcs of Justice League, but he doesn’t wanna hurt anyone, but he’s not willing to stop the plan, but then he wants to die, and then he does die, but somehow he’s got different aspects of himself that converge into a new Martian Manhunter, who looks…well, I’m not gonna say BAD. In fact, as far as radical redesigns go, at least this keeps some aspects of the old look intact. But still, he tries at first to lead the martian invasion, but then he decides not to, and now he’s got some kinda giant mech, which is both awesome and stupid, I don’t even know, and oh God, my head… … … …So yeah, please DC, just put him back on the Justice League and scale this nonsense down a bit. I had to check my ear a second ago just to make sure there wasn’t blood seeping from my brain and out there from all that.
Okay, is it just me, or does the storyline of the government being untrusting of Cyborg actually make WAY more sense than when they do the same thing with Superman? Maybe it’s because we’ve seen that Vic’s control CAN be overrode, and thus it’s less about trusting that he’s a good guy, but rather concern that it could happen again, especially when he can be plugged into EVERYTHING. Plus, there’s the whole matter of Victor having cybernetic enhancements to benefit him after he lost most of his body, and yet amputees have to deal with ordinary prosthetic parts that don’t work even a tenth as good. I’m not saying everyone should be decked out with his stuff, and it was established from the beginning that the tech used to make him into Cyborg was experimental and very easily could’ve backfired. And yeah, none of this is actually Victor’s fault, he’s just as much a victim in this as anyone else. Still, I can at least understand the conflict here WAY more, and if they wanna continue with that arc post-Rebirth, I wouldn’t mind. However, I WOULD suggest maybe adding more to his rogues gallery. We need his version of the Joker or Lex Luthor, someone who is his opposite in nearly every way, but can challenge him on an equal footing despite his natural advantages.
If I haven’t made it abundantly clear by now, allow me to do so: I HATE THIS VERSION OF CAPTAIN MARVEL! And a big part of why I hate him all revolves around the mass changes to Billy Batson. He was supposed to be a sweet, innocent, giving, and (for the most part) selfless individual. It was why he was chosen to gain the powers of Shazam. But when we meet him in THIS universe, he’s a little punk shithead who cons people and is mean to his adoptive family for no reason other than he wants to be! And even after all that, when he finally becomes Shazam and learns more about being a hero, he STILL acts like a little twerp who swears a lot to sound adult and cool, which is at its most jarring when he’s transformed into Shazam, has the wisdom of Solomon, and therefore should know better! But then, I KNOW why they made those changes. It’s the exact same reason they made so many changes to Superman: It was to make him SO much more identifiable and realistic. But, just like with Superman, it was done in a manner so poorly that he no longer resembles the hero he once was in any way. Hell, he doesn’t even have the same NAME! Seriously, DC, if you are serious about this, look back at what made the old Captain Marvel a beloved character and try reintroducing those elements.
Anyway, that’s all when it comes to the Justice League. Check back in next time when I look at the Bat Family and what I hope and/or expect to see become of Nightwing, Batgirl, and the returning Birds of Prey. Ja né!
My Thoughts On The DC Rebirth Line-Up
Yeah, this is kinda late, but I thought I’d wait at least a little bit to see what news emerged before giving my thoughts on the current line-up. There were a lot of rumours going into Rebirth, namely what exactly it was. Another complete universal reboot, a soft reboot, a changed line-up to better reflect the shows and movies going right now, etc. In the end, though, what it appears to be is basically taking the concept of books like Green Lantern Rebirth and The Flash Rebirth and applying it to the DC Universe as a whole, as Geoff Johns explains here:
So, it doesn’t seem to be a universal reboot, but rather a soft reboot to reintroduce certain aspects of the characters that we love, as well as re-establish certain other heroes. We can go more in-depth about what that might entail, as well as the cryptic words of the mysterious narrator, later, though. For now, let’s just look at the actual line-up of books that have been confirmed thus far, which looks like this:
• AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1
• BATMAN REBIRTH #1
• THE FLASH REBIRTH #1
• GREEN ARROW REBIRTH #1
• GREEN LANTERNS REBIRTH #1
• SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1
• TITANS REBIRTH #1
• WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• AQUAMAN #1
• BATMAN #1
• THE FLASH #1
• GREEN ARROW #1
• GREEN LANTERNS #1
• SUPERMAN #1
• WONDER WOMAN #1
New Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• ACTION COMICS #957
• DETECTIVE COMICS #934
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY REBIRTH #1
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS REBIRTH #1
• THE HELLBLAZER REBIRTH #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH #1
• NIGHTWING REBIRTH #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
• NIGHTWING #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATGIRL #1
• BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
• THE HELLBLAZER #1
• RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1
• THE SUPER-MAN #1
• TITANS #1
• BATMAN BEYOND REBIRTH #1
• BLUE BEETLE REBIRTH #1
• CYBORG REBIRTH #1
• DEATHSTROKE REBIRTH #1
• EARTH 2 REBIRTH #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1
• SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1
• TEEN TITANS REBIRTH #1
• TRINITY REBIRTH #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):
• CYBORG #1
• DEATHSTROKE #1
• HARLEY QUINN #1
• JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #1
• SUICIDE SQUAD #1
New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):
• BATMAN BEYOND #1
• BLUE BEETLE #1
• EARTH 2 #1
• GOTHAM ACADEMY: NEXT SEMESTER #1
• SUPERGIRL #1
• SUPERWOMAN #1
• SUPER SONS #1
• TEEN TITANS #1
• TRINITY #1
…So, let’s go over my thoughts for now about some of the announced books, starting with…
Looks like the Superman titles are undergoing a major revamp. While Action Comics is going back to its old numbering, Supergirl is returning with her own title (about time), and we’re also getting the new books Superwoman, Super Sons, and The Super-Man. If I had to take a guess, and I suppose at this point that’s all I can do, I’d wager that this all has to do with the upcoming Super League storyline that’ll wrap up the current Superman titles, with Superman enlisting several other superheroes as a team of Supermen (and Superwomen, it seems). Why is he doing this? Well, recently, Superman was able to regain his powers, but at a price, and he’s potentially dying, so he might be trying to pull a Batman and have the Super League act as a contingency should something happen to him and the world still needs Superman. Also, Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman seem to be getting dropped in favour of a Trinity book, which I am 100% okay with, especially since both books have been telling the same story as the other Super titles anyway. Might as well just put all three in a single title where they all get top billing. Also, I can’t help but notice that Superman: Lois And Clark is disappearing, but I’ve heard that the pre-Flashpoint Superman who appears in that book will both be involved in the Super League story as well as Rebirth, so not crossing them out just yet. Lastly, the one book that got me to raise an eyebrow most in this whole line-up was “The Super-Man”. However, I’ve since been directed to a cover for Justice League #51, where Lex Luthor is shown to be in a Superman-esque costume. Perhaps an attempt to cast Lex Luthor as the evil Superman that was originally conceived before Action Comics #1? We’ll see. Oh, and just saying, PLEASE DC, put Superman in a costume that at least balances out the three colours better. There’s just too much blue and not enough yellow in this equation.
I’m a bit interested to see where Batman goes now that he’s been back from the dead…again. lol I mean, the last time he came back, he created Batman Incorporated. Right now, it feels like a similar idea isn’t far off, with Jim Gordon apparently keeping his Batsuit, Batgirl starting a new Birds of Prey team, and Dick Grayson evidently going back to being Nightwing. And, if you’re confused about that, well…Batman And Robin Eternal #20 kinda revealed that Helena Bertinelli set it up to where Spyral’s orbital little satellite has the ability to make everyone forget about his unmasking and ‘death’ in Forever Evil, thus allowing him to go back to his old life if he so chose. And, I gotta admit, when I first heard about that, it actually sounded like an intriguing moral and ethical dilemma: Should Dick use this technology, essentially mind wiping the entire planet’s population, so he can go back to being Nightwing? Or should he continue to work for a group of secret agents who are CONSTANTLY bending the rules of what is and isn’t ethically sound or legal in order to get the job done? It’s not an easy situation to figure out… … …Too bad I know for a fact that they’re not gonna explore it much and instead it looks like he’s just gonna flip the switch and damn the consequences. I’m not saying that’s necessarily WRONG, just…kinda feels like the easy way out. Frankly, at this point, I just hope they put him back in blue this time around. I’m also interested to see what Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey will be like, and I kinda hope that Gail Simone ends up writing it eventually. Ask nearly anyone, and they’ll tell you that Birds of Prey was at its best when Gail was writing it. No sign of a Robin book yet, which is a little concerning, and it looks as though Gotham Academy is continuing on. And lastly, yeah, I remember what my initial reaction was to Red Hood And The Outlaws coming back, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that, as long as that book is around, it keeps Scott Lobdell away from anything I actually CARE about. 😛
SONOFABITCHMOTHERFUCKINGSHITMASSAGINGCOCKGRINDINGMONKEYFACEDCLOWNFART!!! Just when Justice League had become AMAZING, Johns and Fabok are both off the book! Didn’t I specifically say I wanted them to stay on the book going into Rebirth?!…Well, hopefully, Fabok can find work on one of the other titles. I’m personally hoping for Wonder Woman, because I fucking love how he draws her. Speaking of, I’ve been hearing rumours (so take this with a grain of salt) that Marguerite Bennett could be the new writer for Wonder Woman, which is actually funny because she’s Scott Snyder’s old pupil, and I was requesting Scott Snyder’s Wonder Woman a while ago, so…Yeah. lol Anyway, Justice League of America is apparently just gonna be Justice League America…’kay. Why we can’t just call it JLA, I dunno.
So, I’m guessing that since there are two Titans books right now, Teen Titans and Titans Hunt, and there are two Titans books post-Rebirth, Teen Titans and just plain Titans, that plain Titans is probably gonna be about Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Roy Harper, and the other older Titans. With any luck, we’ll see Starfire join that team, since her book is ending (not cancelled, though, as it was apparently always planned for 12 issues), and otherwise, I fear she might end up going back to RHATO, which I would LOATHE. Other than that, not much else to discuss.
Like I said earlier, the team of Marguerite Bennett and Jason Fabok on Wonder Woman would be awesome if it comes to be. The silhouettes for the official image for Rebirth suggest the return of Wally West as Kid Flash, which could prove interesting for The Flash, and there looks to be a female Green Lantern, which could be Jessica Cruz, and after recent events with the Green Lantern Corps, they could use the new recruits who are already a little experienced with Power Rings. It’s looking like Earth 2 might be reverting back to a more traditional look and feel, especially if I’m right about who that is second from the left behind the curtain of the Rebirth image. And I couldn’t help but notice both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes appeared in the video, so seeing that there’s a Blue Beetle comic involved raises some questions, like are they going to be working as a duo of sorts. And Hellblazer…Look, I don’t really care about Constantine. I find him to be a major horse’s ass, personally speaking. But, I know a lot of people DO care, and were pissed when his show got cancelled rather quickly, so I will say that I’m glad those people are getting their fill of Constantine, both with this comic and with his appearances in Arrow. Oh, and lastly, I’ve heard that Rebirth will apparently include what Dan Didio calls his most controversial moment ever…Dear God, save me. -_-
Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. If anything else comes up that I’m personally invested in, I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts on it. Be sure to leave your own thoughts below, and we’ll see what goes on from now ’til June. Ja né!
…Oh yeah, and expect a How To Drop The Ball In Comics: The New 52 in June. ^_^
How To Drop The Ball In Comics: All-Star Batman And Robin (It’s Miller Time)
Sometimes, comic book companies will try different ways of getting new readers who might be interested in their characters and stories, but are a little intimidated by years, even decades, of continuity to go through. One method that seemed to work pretty well for Marvel was the Ultimate Universe, which was basically taking those same characters, distilling them down to their core traits, and retelling their origins in a modern setting. DC attempted something similar with the All-Star comics, and the greatest of them was All-Star Superman, a story that, while possessing elements that one could criticize, nonetheless presented the main protagonist and his greatest elements in a story where the reader didn’t need to know everything that ever happened in his history. This…is not that comic.
Welcome to the newest installment of How To Drop The Ball In Comics. Say… … … It’s Miller Time. ^_^
With the final issue of All-Star Batman And Robin reviewed on Atop The Fourth Wall, and the adventures of Crazy Steve and Dick Grayson (Age 12) forever put away, I figured now’s a good time to discuss my own thoughts on the comic and exactly what went wrong. So…yeah, this is really just me giving my own thoughts on ASBAR, after having watched reviews of every issue on AT4W, on my blog as opposed to filling up poor Linkara’s comment section with my ramblings. lol But, for the sake of those who have never heard of this book, let’s do a quick recap of the concept.
What Is It?: As I alluded to earlier, DC was trying to cash in on the same success that Marvel was having with the Ultimate Universe. As such, they laid out a plan wherein they would do something similar with the characters of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl (the latter two series being cancelled when the All-Star line ultimately went belly up). For reasons that are best illustrated within the pages of All-Star Batman And Robin, though, I’m not sure that the intent was for these books to all exist in the same universe, but to each be their own unique take on the characters in question without being bogged down by three-fourths of a century’s worth of continuity. And while the All-Star line did eventually become cancelled, we now have a similar line-up of books entitled Earth One, although these ones are graphic novels only. And while I haven’t read them, I will admit that at least Superman Earth One addresses certain issues I’ve had with Superman’s back story (namely how the Kryptonians were seemingly so advanced and yet still died with their planet), and is clearly popular enough that it warranted not one but THREE graphic novels.
How Did It Have Potential?: Well, like I said before, there DO exist people who would like to read comics, but because their stories have gone on for so long, there’s so much information to go through. Granted, most of us on the internet can look this stuff up, which makes the necessity of stories that have all past continuity stripped away a little pointless if that’s the point behind doing it, but not everyone has that time. And while some of us might scoff at the idea that retelling the same origin story with a few tweaks will result in a well-selling story that people will buy, let me again remind you of the success of Ultimate Spider-Man, a story that set off a chain of events leading directly into stories that are STILL being told to this day, nearly 16 years later. However, the thing is, that’s because the overall quality of the books and the storytelling in them was so good that the success far exceeded anyone’s expectations…which of course leads to…
How Did It Drop The Ball?: Well, for one thing, because Jim Lee’s schedule is kinda funtastic, the book was outright PLAGUED with delays. In four years, they only managed to release TEN ISSUES. However, whereas that would usually be enough to kill a book, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what went wrong. The rest? Two words: FRANK MILLER. Yes, Frank Miller has written some great works for Batman that, while having points one could take issue with and point out as being problematic, were at least well-crafted takes on the character. However, that was a while ago, and since then, Frankie’s pretty much become one of the most sexist, bigoted, racist, appalling, homophobic, classless, and downright moronic HACKS to continue to get work within the comic industry to this day. The same man who once had Batman rescue a cat in the middle of a firefight was now using words like “retarded”, taking glee and beating up thugs and damned near (if not outright) killing people, was cruel to the people who cared for him, and was pretty much Batman in name only. Or, as the memes refer to him, “The Goddamn Batman”. We who watch AT4W prefer to refer to him as “Crazy Steve”, crazed hobo/escaped mental patient/potential pedophile with homicidal delusions who found Batman’s costume and a winning lottery ticket, and decided to become the Dark Knight. But, as horrible as that is for anyone who considered Batman their childhood hero, that’s not all that went wrong. The pacing is awful, the dialogue repetitive and stupid to the point of hilarity, every single female character is written to be either over-sexualized or inspired by Batman to the point of near-cultism, and the Justice League are included and written as being completely ineffectual so that Crazy Steve is the only seemingly competent superhero among them, even though he pretty much, in every way, violates what it means to be a hero, or more specifically, what it means to be Batman.
See, here’s the thing that Frank Miller has clearly forgotten about Batman, and I know I’m getting on a soap box for the sake of a fictional character, but just hear me out. Yes, the phrase “I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!” can make him sound harsh, dark, and cruel, but the real Batman knows how to temper those things with the ideals of justice and compassion. Yes, he is the man who engages in brutal, bloody fights with thugs, recruits teenage sidekicks over and over even after one of them got killed, and keeps hidden contingency plans for shutting down the other members of the Justice League, his friends and allies, if need be. However, he is also the man who is always there for his city and his friends when they need him most. He is a man who fights day in and day out, pushing himself past his natural limits, not for the sake of inflicting pain, but for the sake of a world where no other 8-year-old child will ever lose his parents because of a punk with a gun. And, and this is the big one for me personally, he is a man who once sat on a swing next to a little girl who was dying, and held her hand until her time came. Above all else, for his faults, Batman is not just a crusader, or a detective, or a ninja, but ultimately, he is a hero. Crazy Steve is not.
So, what would I have done differently? Well, the heart of this story was very clearly supposed to be about how, in a city that was so cruel and corrupt that it took a young boy’s parents and didn’t care, there was one man who was there for him. One man who, while tortured, was compassionate for that boy, saw himself and his own trauma in him, and offered him a chance to join in his crusade, while also letting the boy’s youth and optimism keep him grounded. If you are seeking to distill Batman and Robin to their most basic formula, THAT is the story of the Dynamic Duo to me, and what should’ve been the heart of the story. And there ARE times when it delves into that. See, while issue 9 is overall abysmal, with Batman and Robin painting themselves and a room yellow and making Green Lantern out to look like a complete tool (and even I don’t think Hal Jordan is THAT big a moron), the ending of that issue, where Batman recognizes he never gave Robin a chance to grieve over his parents’ death and takes him to see their graves, was perfect. Even the last few lines of the book, which usually is badly written in nearly every way, perfectly captures the moment: “We mourn lives lost. Including our own”. If we had more of that from the very beginning, and the book focused on Batman and Robin without adding the Justice League, Batgirl, Black Canary, and a bunch of other mischaracterized characters, it’d be a much better story. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind the change of making the Joker the man behind the Grayson killing if it kept to the themes and character motivations of everyone involved. Towards the end, you could see how it was at least building towards SOMETHING, that there was a point they were trying to reach. The problem was, by that point, nobody was left to care, and the reason is that, if that WAS the heart of the story, then clearly, Frank Miller forgot that. He forgot WHY Batman is, as he once put it, “as good and pure a superhero as you can find”.
But, I have to be completely fair on this. If I’m gonna judge Frank Miller for what went wrong, I have to be equally judgmental of Jim Lee. While his artwork in this book is gorgeous at times, except when he has to depict stuff like Vicki Vale seemingly literally talking out of her ass, his schedule ultimately hurt the book as well. He seemed to get back on schedule after a while, but much of that came from making splash pages and two page spreads that, while a visual marvel, could’ve been used for advancing the story, or what story there was. And I suppose I should also point out that Bob Schreck, the editor for the All-Star line, was seemingly all too happy to let most of the content of the books through, with the only exceptions being stuff like swearing…which is hilarious, when you consider what happened with issue 10. lol
Bottom line, for various reasons, this series is pretty much the epitome of what it means to drop the ball in the realm of comic books. Or, if I may borrow a phrase (and why not at this point), as we say in my favourite corner of the internet, “This comic sucks!” If you’ve got your own opinion on the book, feel free to leave it below. Or, if you wanna know more about the book and what went wrong with it, as I’ve said numerous times, Linkara has now officially reviewed all ten issues, so feel free to go to his website and check ’em out, plus his reviews of similar Frank Miller titles like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Holy Terror. Ja né!