Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Post-IC Commentary with Reviews

There's been a lot of blogging going on re: Infinite Crisis 7 and the bit of retconning that went on. I must admit that to me it's not a big deal since for me, that's the way things have mostly been, no matter what's been written in the last 25 years in the DCU. That's partly what happens when you stop reading something like the DCU for a decade or so.

There was only about 4-5 years where I didn't read comics at all, when I gave up the last title I'd been reading, Teen Titans/Titans, around 1991. But in 1985, after the first Crisis (when Supergirl was killed), I stopped reading just about everything else. And when I picked up DC Comics again in the mid-'90s with the Nightwing mini and the Arsenal one-shot and slowly added titles, I didn't look back. There were big gaps in my DC knowledge that slowly got filled in by talking to people, reading the DC message boards, and from the tidbits dropped into the comics I was again reading.

I never read the Year One books, except for the Robin/Dick Grayson mini (I tried the Nightwing one, but thought it pretty dull). At least, I think those were Year One books, albeit a bit late in the game.

Gradually, I learned that Ollie Queen had died and his son, a new character, was the then-current GA. I learned about Hal turning bad and Kyle being GL. I couldn't ignore those changes, but others, the ones dealing with backgrounds or who founded the JLA (which I wasn't reading and hadn't read since pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths) were either unknown to me or were of no consequence since they didn't make a difference in the stories I was reading. So hearing that Wonder Woman again is a founder of the JLA isn't a big deal. She always has been to me.

I pretended the post-Crisis DCU was simply another alternate reality. I don't really buy the bit about realities converging. Sure, maybe for that moment, but I'm a big fan of the science fiction construct that realities are created at every decision point. As soon as the first decisions were made in the then new DCU, reality splintered once more. So the planets of the DCU were similar to the one I'd lost, just enough so that I could read and enjoy the stories without dwelling on Kara's death, or Ollie's, because I knew they were alive somewhere and anything I liked that happened to my favorite characters probably happened in those other unseen versions of the DCU, too. So seeing the Earth-2 Clark and Lois wasn't out of left field for me. More like a bit left of center.

It's hard for me at times to keep track of all the versions of a character. I grew up with the Silver Age and soon thereafter, the multiverse. Retconning of retcons makes me dizzy. In many things, what we learn when we're young tends to stick with us, sometimes more than what we learn later. It's hard to forget some early lessons, even misconceptions. So when I can't remember the current details of Batman's origin, I fall back on the version I've read the most: the old one.

And now, once again, realities have converged and I know, it's only for the moment. What the DCU is now, the stories we're reading, are just one version of reality, because one nanosecond after, someone made a decision and reality splintered once again, only the characters populating the DCU are unaware of it. Perhaps, they'll never find out, if that's what the writers and editors decide.

Once you accept that alternate realities can't help but exist (okay, I take this on faith and have no idea if they exist for real, but within fiction, I aim for consistency with this concept), you then can look to the future as being flexible in that millions of possible futures exist for each reality. So the future where the LSH exists is but one future. The future Booster Gold knows is but another future and if 52's first issue can be a guide, he's about to learn just that.

So, my reviews here are based on this view of the DCU.

Nightwing 120
Somewhere, the real Nightwing lives. This isn't it. If ever a character has been screwed over so quickly and completely, it's Dick Grayson. As bad as Devin's last arc was (and I'm a fan of her writing in general), as angst-driven as he was, at least I could recognize him. This version of Dick bears no more than a physical resemblence to him. And the story is just bad. I can't see why Clancy was brought back. I like her, but she's serving no purpose other than as someone Dick knows from before. She could've been anyone from before. The fashion show stuff was just crap. Cheyenne is a meta? Ho-hum. She's already been established as boring, immature, and idiotic, so why should I care about her? Where is Babs and why aren't she and Dick still together? That's what I care about. First, Tarantula, now Cheyenne? What is this need to surround Dick with out-of-control women? And I'm not going to get started on Jason, because I'm one of those people who was happy when he died and wished he'd stayed that way. The art is serviceable. The only reason I'm reading this book, still, is the hope that the next arc will be better. Well, I can dream.

JSA 85
The pace is a bit slow, but I'm enjoying the history of the Gentleman Ghost. Unlike the JSA Classfied arc featuring Vandal Savage and not much of the JSA, Levitz is weaving the Ghost's story in nicely with the JSAers. And I liked Jade's ghost visiting her father and trying to get him to fight to live. It was probably one of her better appearances. And nice art from Rags and company.

Checkmate 1
I never read about this group til the Crisis Countdown series. The concept intrigues me and the political aspect of the new series has a lot of potential. The art is nice, but I can't always tell some of the characters apart.

52 Week 1
Wow. I'm impressed. By ticking off the days, they really gave this a real-time feel. The cover is stunning, as good as the preview promised. The writing, especially the dialogue, is crisp and the art is wonderful, very evocative in places. The characters are full of life. Ralph's pain was palpable, even moreso than in Identity Crisis when so much else was going on and was distracting from the personal aspect of his loss. As with any good story, a lot happened, but not too much, giving a hint of things to come.

I suspect things to come includes the death of many beloved characters. One of the managers at the comic shop where I keep my pull list said a "ton of characters" will die in 52. I still suspect Roy "Arsenal" Harper will be one of them. If no, I don't know what DC hopes to gain by not giving us a hint of what's to come for him. And if he does die, the surprise in that is gone for many of us who are convinced he will die. If he doesn't, there will be no surprise, just enormous relief. With Dick playing boy toy and idiot du jour, if I lose Roy, I'll be hard pressed to find a new fav. Although, WildCats is supposed to return with a new book. There's no one quite like Cole "Grifter" Cash. It will be odd to have a fav comic character outside the DCU. Very odd. But unless Roy returns, or Dick shakes off the funk he's in, or someone else steps up and makes me take notice, Cole it will have to be.


  1. Babs is far away from Dick, and long may it remain that way. He deserves far better than a frigid witch who treats him like the dog shit on the bottom of her shoe.

    He's a twenty-something year old man. His sexual behavior at the present is normal. Quit reading bad Babs/Dick fic, and get over it.

  2. Just because some writers do a piss poor job writing Babs and/or Dick doesn't mean they aren't a great couple. I'll like what I like, thanks anyway, and you can like what you like.

    I'm not sure what you mean about bab Babs/Dick fic. I read Birds of Prey and Nightwing, and I'm not sure how long I'll continue to read Nightwing. I did read all the Bat books pre-1986, tho.

    As for his current sexual behavior, acting like a 18 year-old with raging hormones instead of a 25-year-old, and letting himself be pressed into service as boytoy/eye candy/model might be normal for some guys in their 20s, but it's totally out of character for Dick Grayson.

    But thanks for commenting. Gotta wonder tho about someone whose Blogger name is about hating someone.

  3. CH Andrews12:06 AM EDT

    This is the first time to your site. You've definately got this blogging thing down pat. I think that I'm going to borrow some of your ideas--like placing my pull list on my blogg--I think that is a great idea! Thank you for such a good and informed comic blog!

  4. Thanks. I'm glad you like the place. I designed it a lot like my book blog. Since I put my current reading there (an idea I got from other book blogs), it seemed to make sense to list my pull list here.