Friday, February 24, 2006

Allan Who?

I'm very tired tonight, and didn't get much reading done. In fact, I hadn't even intended top post, but by way of Respendant Beard I found out some important news.

They've announced the Wonder Woman writer finally.

Allan Heinberg.

Who the hell is Allan Heinberg?

Apparently he writes Young Avengers, which I have never read.

I know there's a featured character named Wiccan. This means that Heinberg is aware of non-monotheistic spiritual movements. I'm afraid to find out, however, if he's going via Buffy-route of Wicca. A superhero named "Wiccan" will almost certainly have mystical powers (to be fair, one named "Christian" will probably be able to turn water to wine), and to me that would indicate Hollywooditis and a total lack of respect for this spiritual path.

I suppose I could pick up Young Avengers and make a final judgement, but don't think I could get past the name to judge the quality of writing. So you know what? I'm not going to.

I'm goign to let Allan Heinberg remain a mystery. I'm going to approach the next Wonder Woman relaunch with a clean slate or, at least, one of minimized negativity). Let the writer surprise me.

I have a unique opportunity here, to form an opinion of a writer based entirely on how he handles the most difficult character in comics, and I'm not going to squander that by reading something I expect to offend before he even picks up the book I'll probably like a lot better.

So, this summer, I meet Allan Heinberg. I'll judge the writing then. (Shame it's going to be side by side with Terry Dodson's art. Dodson has talent, sure, but all of his women look alike. Not a welcome thought for a book that traditionally features a majority female cast)


  1. Young Avengers is top notch. It's one of those rare cases where a really dumb idea (teenage avengers team!) turns out AWESOME.

  2. ditto - also the girls are the coolest characters and two of the main characters are gay teen boys!

  3. Young Avengers is one of the books i look forward to the most from month to month. Its got a great New Teen Titans feel to it, and the dialogue is fantastic.

    The codenames in the book are, for the most part, hillarious. I'm pretty sure its intentional. You don't name a character "Hawkingbird" without expecting some laughs.

    As for Wiccan, I dunno about all the spirituality issues, but when another character suggested he go by the name "Warlock" he rubuked it--not cause the name is taken, but because "Warlock" is an insult amongst witches.


  4. I agree - Dodson is a bit sketchy, and I fear it's going to swing to T&A.

    I completely trust Heinberg, though. Young Avengers is the best thing Marvel's publishing, and shows a depth of characterization past about any other superhero book I can think of. And he writes strong, yet complex women.

    In YA, though ... he did go to "rape as motivation". I think it's one of the few cases where it was handled well, hiowever.

  5. Heinberg is also a Hollywood guy--was a producer and writer on Party of Five, Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, then went over from GG (along with actor Adam Brody) to become co-Executive Producer of The O.C. Based on his TV resume, I'd say he has pretty extensive experience writing female characters.

  6. I personally love Young Avengers. Also Wiccan is just a name of what seems to be a scarlet witch powered gay guy.

  7. I can't believe nobody's pointed out Heinberg's DC work, too. He cowrote "Crisis of Conscience" with Geoff Johns, which formed the bridge between Meltzer's "Identity Crisis" and the events of "Infinite Crisis". It was the story where Batman deals with the fact he's been mindwiped by the JLA.

    As far as Young Avengers, it really is a great book, but not knowing much about Wicca, I can't tell you if the character's portrayal is accurate. After all, his original name was "Asgardian"; he didn't adopt the name "Wiccan" until later.

  8. Allan Heinberg? Damn, DC actually managed to pick one of the few names that could bring me back to Wonder Woman. (I enjoyed Rucka's run until Infinity Crisis.)

    As for Wiccan, the character's powers and spirituality hasn't been so well defined, yet...but he's a cute, magic-weilding gay guy in love with a skrull -- there's plenty for me to love right there.

  9. (Checking in from the road. Or from an apartment in DC. Whichever.)

    Heinberg wrote the OC when the OC was awesome. I may have stopped reading Young Avengers with the sixth issue (which seems to've been a mistake, honestly), but he gets the benefit of the doubt if just for writing that one episode where Jimmy Cooper punched a dude to get Hailey out of being a stripper.

    ...yeah, so I've got a thing for the OC. Sue me.

  10. to be fair, one named "Christian" will probably be able to turn water to wine

    I have a superhero called Mister Christian in my roster. He can't do that particular least, not that way 'round...

    I saw the sequence where Asgardian changes his name to Wiccan on a LiveJournal somewhere. It was by far the most juvenile and specious rationalisation for changing a great superhero name into a not-so-great one that I've ever seen.


  11. I like Young Avengers quite a bit, to the point where I bought the cheap hardcover of the first six even though I already owned the issues. But still:



    Also, I was very disappointed with Heinberg for using the time-tested unreported-rape-fuels-vigilante plot device in the Special, but I'm not sure if it would've rubbed me the same way had I not just finished reading Spider-Man and Black Cat #6 before I read it. Still, pretty annoying.

    But beyond that, it is a solid book, and Heinberg's dialogue has that feel of what Brian Bendis's wants to be, in that it flows conversationally but people are actually saying something and not just repeating "Yeah?" for three pages.

  12. Amy and I both really like him...I have a tendency to refer to him as "our buddy Allan" which is really funny to me, but she usually forgets who I'm talking about and I have to remind her of the joke. Feh.

    Frankly, there are a lot of things about YA that have bothered me. I was most bugged by the fact that the Kate Bishop rape backstory perpetuated the "rape means dude jumping out at you from the bushes" myth. Also, the Wiccan name change and the treatment of Patriot made me go "Allan, buddy, why are you doing this?"

    But in the end, it's still one of my favorite books out there right now. I think the reason people are upset by these points is because they stick out in what is otherwise a terriffic series. It has snappy dialogue, interesting characters, great use of Marvel continuity (SUPER SKRULL, people), and a freaking letters column. And happy good time portrayal of gay teenagers! Yayyy!

    Um, that said, I have no idea how he'll do with WW. But I will definitely read it.

  13. I wouldn't watch The OC if you shoved live kittens down my throat and made me smuggle them through customs, but I do enjoy Young Avengers. It's well written and it's fun. Thus, I look forward to the man's Wonder Woman.

  14. Has the Super-Skrull suddenly become cool? Young Avengers is using him, Ultimate Fantastic Four is using him, and even Runaways had a version of the character a few months back. I'd suggest he's being reintroduced for Annihilation, but Marvel isn't being run nearly that well.

    And Wiccan is merely the second-worst codename ever. How can you forget Statute?

  15. "(Shame it's going to be side by side with Terry Dodson's art. Dodson has talent, sure, but all of his women look alike. Not a welcome thought for a book that traditionally features a majority female cast)"

    Well, some comic buyers may WANT an-all woman cast, who bear an uncanny resemblence to Brandy (in Frank Cho's LIBERTY MEADOWS). Marketing people high-five. Cha-Ching!

  16. Before I slam you, Rich, was that sarcasm?

  17. Maybe I should have said ...

    Marketing People: High Five!
    SFX: Cha-ching!

    I believe there are certain readers who love to see the entire Wonder Woman cast "Cho-ized". Or "Brandy-ized". Not me.

    I'm in no hurry to be slam-dunked by you, Ragnall. I like WW, too.

  18. Just making sure. I have my defensive days. :)