Saturday, June 11, 2011

Only you can stop Donna Troy.

All right, DC, we do have a big problem with the reboot so far.

You started out strong and took care of Hawkman right away. That was good. Thing is, most of us saw the cover to Justice League International and assumed that was Donna Troy in the black.

Turns out we were wrong.
Jurgens: Some have speculated that it's either Wonder Woman or Donna Troy.

Both guesses are wrong.

Since this interview, Donna Troy has not been mentioned in any of the reboot announcements. It is entirely possible that they have put her on the shelf because she is too confusing. A number of people have suggested, based on Cassie's Teen Titans costume, that Donna has been folded into that character.

I think this could be extraordinarily dangerous.

Now I'm not fan of Donna Troy. (In fact, I despise the character.) But a lot of people, including your writers, are. And if you don't settle this character's origin immediately, you are setting yourselves up for failure.

Seriously, this woman is a menace. Donna Troy is a reboot killer, more powerful than the combined willpower of your creative directors. You absolutely must have her origin established with the opening salvo of the reboot. If you do not, you are sowing the seeds of your own destruction because she will pop up and it will lead to several "Who is Donna Troy?" stories that will grow in complexity and number until they have eaten both the Titans and Wonder Woman franchises and threaten the whole universe. And all this could be averted with a simple cameo on Paradise Island in Wonder Woman #1.

You only have one shot at this. Her one weakness is actually making sense in continuity, and in order for that to happen she must be a contemporary of Dick Grayson and Roy Harper. Your window of opportunity will be short, and you must grasp it if you are to avoid another reboot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I had a thought.

This is a big strange, but I'm going to go ahead and put it out there. The Action Comics solicit says "their first super-hero" and some of the speculation on Twitter is that means the JSA is erased.

Certainly, they that team didn't get a reboot book. But that doesn't mean they were erased.

I've been talking on and off to people on Tumblr and Twitter over the last few months about Wonder Woman. One thing that keeps getting brought up is how cool it'd be if Diana was REALLY old and actually had been the WWII Wonder Woman. She's basically ageless and immortal, after all.

Well, Superman's an alien with enhanced physiology. Morrison has him survive within the sun until the 853rd Century. Maybe the huge, radical change for Superman is that they're going to backdate his first appearance to 1938 and make him have been active that long.

It's a longshot, but it is something they can do with Superman and Wonder Woman that allows them to bring in any flashbacks they want for their stories, and any supporting cast members they want. It also lets them keep their inspirational status and their WWII cred. And they made one thing clear to the press:
Among the top heroes, none of them will change more than Superman and Wonder Woman.

That's a pretty big change without actually changing Clark's personality, and it is the same sort of change they could make with Wonder Woman. I'm not going to commit to this as my Grand Theory of What They Are Doing, but I do want to put it out there now that I've had the idea.

It would be gutsy, creative, change the way we look at the characters without truly changing how important they are or dropping all of their character evolution, and it works within the rules of their world. I wouldn't be too upset with it.

Do I think they are brave enough to do this? I don't know, we'll see what happens when the interviews start. I do think it's a possibility, and it has not been a possibility to have Superman and Wonder Woman as themselves in the JSA for years now so that right there is a big change.

Big Changes. Right.

I'm going to crosspost a little bit from my Tumblr because it's pretty much in line with stuff I've been posting here. Skip ahead to the Superman stuff if you've already read it.

I was answering this dcwomenkickingass post:

The reveal of the cover of Action Comics #1 was accompanied by an article where DC executives talk about the DCnU. This one stood out.
One thing that is clear: Among the top heroes, none of them will change more than Superman and Wonder Woman. The changes, such as a notable but still-secret shift in the status quo at the Daily Planet, will be met with fan ranting, but of course that’s part of the relationship here. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy, and DiDio and his team will be more worried when fans aren’t debating comics and their true or proper mythology.

In a reboot that has Barbara Gordon going from Oracle to Batgirl, the idea that there an even bigger change for Wonder Woman makes me nervous. And “still-secret status quo at the Daily Planet”? We see it looking destroyed on the cover of Superman #1, is that what they mean or is something else?

We've known a reboot was coming to Wonder Woman for a full year now. They've been hinting at bringing Steve back as a steady love interest, and that in itself is a HUGE change. Perez took out so much of the pre-Crisis elements that returning the jet and tech to Paradise Island would be a huge change too. We've got two worries:

1) They overemphasize the warrior side so much so that they cut out saving the pilot and replace it with her coming to the US on a mission other than "Return this injured party to his home" because then we won't get the merciful aspect of her personality coded into her from the start. The absolute worst case scenario (which they pretty much did in the animated movie even though they kept a bit where she saves him first) is if she captures the pilot rather than rescues him, like in Flashpoint. Since Flashpoint is supposed to be a perversion, I'm hoping this means the decided upon origin will be the normal one.

2) They lose themselves in trying to make her relatable by adding the trappings of American culture and forget that she was created to be a visitor from a foreign land free of our cultural (sexist) hangups who can COMMENT on our culture's weirdness.

Fingers crossed the big change they refer to is just a full reversion to classic origin/setting and not yet another JMS-style way of making her more like an average woman. No being raised in the states, PLEASE.

All that said, I don't buy for a second Superman's personality is changing much. They're mucking with the setting to revert to something Pre-Crisis (the marriage is probably gone), which will mess with the franchise as much as it does with Wonder Woman's. But Superman as a character? Too iconic to mess with his behavior too much. In fact, that Action Comics #1 cover?

(I'm going to make you sit in the corner with a dunce cap if you think that's his new costume. We've already seen the dumb without-red-trunks costume all over the place.)

Half Clark Kent farmboy clothing, half Superman clothes. A visual that focuses on his down home roots is exactly like the sort of thing to emphasize Superman's humanity and his connection to the Earth. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the focus of this issue.

This September, New York Times bestselling writer Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) joins with sensational artist Rags Morales to bring you tales of The Man of Tomorrow unlike any you’ve ever read before in ACTION COMICS #1. This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero.

Oh, so the whole issue is the world changing their attitude about Superman... and him trying to continue acting like he always does. Huh. Sounds like a pitch that explores Superman's relation to humanity, and his own humanity in turn. That's cover and solicit, and the sort of thing Morrison would write.

Out of today's books, I'll try out Action Comics, going to pass on anything George Perez writes and not too interested in Superboy yet. I'm iffy on Supergirl. Sounds like they're doing a just-arrived from Krypton and must learn to connect to humans thing. Don't know those writers, don't know if I care for that story.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Reboot.

I understand that this blog has gone quiet since Monday, but that's because DC's Tuesday announcements contained an amazing and unique book.

A book that left me so giddy I couldn't bring myself to write a longform reaction to anything since.

A book I read when I was in High Scool.

A book that stood out among all of the DC offerings.

A book that couldn't even be saved by the main character's involvement in DC's best company crossover.

A book that I haven't even seen referenced in a very long time.

A book that I never dared hope to see again.

A book that is weird, and morbid, and seems to be written specifically with my dark sense of humor in mind.

A book that justifies the entire reboot. No matter what they do to Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Teen Titans, Sgt. Rock, Lois Lane, Superman... all of it is worth it even if this book is cancelled at the six-month mark because even then for six sweet, sweet months we'll have all been able to enjoy...


That's right folks, this September a character from the above image will DIE!

And then again in October... and then again in November...

Monday, June 06, 2011

They decided not to even TRY to top Grant Morrison here.

So DC's posted the Big Franchise, the Batman books for September, and I am beyond underwhelmed this time. The sad offerings for their flagship franchise make the Green Lantern announcement seem rather optimistic and serve to soothe any anxieties I may have had about Azzarello's Wonder Woman.

Because damn it, even if he goes totally over the edge to make her edgy at least they gave Wonder Woman to top notch talent.

The Batman franchise announcements are weak.

They've said that Morrison is involved, but I suspect his involvement stopped at making a list of everything he'd created for the Batman universe and circling one random item. Then the editors instructed the other writers to undo everything but that item.

The good news is, we've gotten to keep Damien. Thing is, he'll be Bruce's Robin. I think Morrison established quite nicely that the two didn't quite work out together and I really liked the dynamic with Dick, but there are unexplored avenues with his real father. Also, Batman and Robin will be the Tomasi-Gleason series making it the second most interesting title to me and putting it on the maybe pile.

The bad news? The three other books starring Bruce Wayne don't look the slightest bit distinctive or intriguing. They seem generic and none of the writers appeal to me.

The next announcements were the female-led books. Now, it is a good idea to have as many female-focused Batbooks on the market as you can because Batman has a huge female fanbase and they love Extended Gotham. This announcement was where the one must-buy book came in for me: Batwoman by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder.

It seems that the last push-back was to coincide with this reboot, so finally we will get our promised Batwoman solo series, five years after the first rumors spread about a Rucka-penned series. But who cares, we finally get Batwoman.

The Catwoman cover was annoying but not a turnoff on its own. She's leaning backwards, unzipped to the navel. BUT since she's wearing pants, apparently she's tastefully done. Ugh. Still, I freaking love Catwoman even though they cheesecake her up all the time so I was intrigued... until I saw Judd Winick was writing it, and it had the following solicit:
Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in CATWOMAN #1, written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Guillem March.

Yeah, screw going from the Robin Hood of Gotham to that. I'll be rereading my old Catwoman comics instead.

Batgirl I knew I wouldn't want at first look. The cover was a redhead. Now, Barbara Gordon has always been a fine character even thought she's not one of my favorites. I'm not even half as interested in her as Batgirl as I am in her as Oracle though. Oracle is a unique and powerful character that serves as Batman's chief lieutenant. Oracle is one of the few disabled superheroes in comics. Batgirl is just another martial artist on the level of Nightwing and the Robins.

Other writers have covered the wheelchair better. She's a disabled hero, and that means a lot more in terms of diversity than another female Bat-sidekick.

I speculated that it might be an origin story, and someone on Tumblr is suggesting she'll be Oracle again soon but... Gail Simone is writing. Read that post, that excitement. And we all know from every interview she's wanted this since she did WiR. I really think the intention in this case is to keep her as Batgirl.

Disappointing. Not enough to chase me out of the DCU, but I've no reason to pick up this book, or the revamped Oracleless Birds of Prey, which interests me as much as... something so uninteresting I can't even call it to mind. I don't even care who the creative team is there. Nor do I give a damn about 3 characters I have no interest in or more Judd Winick writing.

Last, and actually the least, Nightwing #1. The initial cover leak had us all asking "Could it be Dick Grayson?"

Yeah, it's Dick Grayson.

These are the worst offerings yet.

ETA: Fortunately, they're continuing Batman, Inc in 2012 as Batman: Leviathon and I'll read it, but really, that doesn't make the September Batbooks any less pathetic.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Damn: Green Lantern Edition

DC announced the Green Lantern creative teams for September and to be honest, I've spent the last couple days in stunned disappointment.

It was my fault for getting up my hopes. I thought a reboot would bring in a new set of creators who haven't had a chance to mess with Green Lantern since all of Johns sweeping changes, but it seems that the writers will be the same as before with the addition of Peter Milligan. (Who is paired with Ed Benes, and nothing on Earth could make me want to see how Ed Benes draws Bleez.)

It will also take place a few months in the future, after the completion of the "War of the Green Lanterns" storyline.

Fortunately, we won't see a clumsy attempt to fit everything created in the past few years into the origin story again.

Unfortunately, we won't see a creative attempt to fit everything created in the past few years into the origin story again.

Really, this is wise because it is one of the best selling titles, and there is a lot of appeal to it that would be lost in a reboot. We won't have to wait as they slowly roll out Guy, John and Kyle again, after all, and they have no excuse to run through the Blackest Night and War of the Green Lanterns crossover plots again. We can start at the status quo, with four Earth Lanterns and seven Color Corps.

I'm just disappointed, because I was getting the impression that Johns had run out of interesting stories to tell in this franchise. I was hoping at least he'd be moved to a character other than Hal, and someone else could give us their interpretation. I loved Johns's Hal right after Rebirth when he was reviled by everyone. Once he became the golden boy again, he lost his shine. There's an excessive masculinity in Hal Jordan that's hard to sympathize with unless his personal life is somehow in the crapper. Johns keeps pushing home how exciting his life is and how much he gets laid along with the impression that he's the go-to guy on the superhero world. The text supports his macho character flaws rather than mocks them, when Hal's character is best when the writer makes fun of his alpha maleness. Basically, he needs a good humiliating conk on the head every issue or so and he hasn't been getting that enough from this writer.

The other irritation of course is that Carol Ferris, the main Star Sapphire, will remain under Johns's dubious control. Honestly, I don't like a thing he's done with the Star Sapphires other than give us an excuse to make thousands of them. This whole angle on love is just mean-spirited and cynical. There's a spark of a chance that the energy is good at the core of it, but things have been set up so that it completely takes over a woman's mind. She turns into a nightmare stalker. She lives only for love and captures others in crystals. They brainwash villainesses into becoming this way. The name of the Violet Entity is The Predator.

And oh yes, this is all based on taking every bit of continuity into account and explaining away Carol, Debbie, and Dela's behavior as Star Sapphire. And using the Predator, which Englehart used to explain why Star Sapphire's behavior was so completely over the edge, to explain that the violet energy is difficult to control. All in the canon, after all.

Carol is presented as the good Star Sapphire because she resists control and has the most experience. That way she can be a hero now but have been a villain then, and the Violets can be a menacing threat.

What I don't get is why the Violets must be a menacing threat overall. Why can't it have been a problem with Carol or even a problem with EARTH as a location somehow causing the violet energy to be unbalanced? Why is Miri the exception of the ones we've seen for being noble and helpful? why is Carol played as special for having some control? And why couldn't the Predator have been the red entity taking control of Carol and mucking with the violet energy like Parallax took control of Hal and mucked with the green?

Why is Love bad in Green Lantern?

And why are they all scantily clad women, except the dude who gets some armor? What the hell? Do you just not want women reading Green Lantern?

I suspect Johns thinks this is a creative, fascinating take on things since Love is supposed to be a virtue. Except that since the Star Sapphires are conflated on every level with sex (another aspect I hate about them) it's not a new take. It's an old take on sex as all-consuming, addictive, and dangerous. It's an old take on women as the wicked temptresses who would distract the hero from his noble duty.

And it's an incredibly shallow view of Love.

Really, the only thing that even mildly redeemed this take on Star Sapphire was Tomasi and Gleason's Miri. She should be the template for Star Sapphires. Carol should be like Hal, someone who messed up badly.

I had some hope in a reboot that we'd see the Star Sapphires revised to something less horrible, but seeing the exact same writers on the books kills that.

Though maybe we can count on losing the pink nightmare outfit if the Pants for Everyone! trend continues. That's something I suppose, even if it's a wrongheaded something.