Friday, May 29, 2009

Justice League without McDuffie

McDuffie's off Justice League of America. I first saw the news here.

First off, unlike many other people, I enjoyed Brad Meltzer's run on the book. He gets the characters -- well, most of them -- and he actually wrote about them doing stuff.

Second, I get that McDuffie didn't get to decide who was on the team. It's a team book, it's one of DC's main titles, and while I can understand wanting to tweak it to your own liking, my feeling is that not being happy about the characters you're writing on a team book isn't that much different than being given Batman to write, then not wanting Batman in it. He had to understand going in who he'd be writing about. Right?!

He certainly wasn't inspired by the group he was writing. He seemed to do all he could to avoid writing about them. Oh, sure, he started out with them, sticking them in situations and having them deal with that. But in the last couple of arcs, other characters took precedence. The guest stars were taking over, never a good thing. When a book's stars become marginalized, the book loses focus and alienates fans of the starring characters, thereby making the book largely irrelevant, something JLA should never be. Even when dictated to by Editorial, there are good ways of handling things and not so good ways. The author still gets to write the words.

I do fault DC for coming up with their alternate JLA to be led by Hal and Ollie, but still, McDuffie dropped the ball in dealing with that. Instead of having Dinah's group take on the challenge, he wrote her acting out of character (more petulant shrew here than emotionally and physically strong and capable), fragmented the group that remained, and basically told us readers he didn't care, anymore, because that's how it felt reading the last couple of issues.

This quote from McDuffie is troubling:
"I’m distressed by where I left Black Canary, as my intention was to use the current subplot to strengthen her character and relationships with the new membership, and instead I’m leaving her at the bottom of a hole I’d intended to rebuild her from."
Uh, hello... Dinah isn't really yours to rebuild. Not that she's in BoP -- or that there is a BoP, anymore -- but that book left her in a very strong place when she left, meaning, she was someone who wouldn't plunge into that hole by what he wrote happening. Then there's that book she stars in -- Green Arrow and Black Canary -- that has more influence on who and what she is (not that she's perfectly in character there, but that's another discussion for another time).

He says he was fired for revealing back scenes info rather than for sales or creative issues, which is a shame, actually, because I thought the creative quality of the book took a downturn in recent months, and I think a dismissal should be based more on the merits of the book, not statements made by the talent. A warning should have sufficed if his indiscretions were really the reason for the dismissal. I do wish him well. I hadn't read his stuff prior to JLA, but I've been told he's a good writer. This book clearly wasn't the best fit for him.

I was seriously considering dropping the book, but now I think I'll keep it on my pull list in hopes the new writer will find the members of the Justice League an inspiration.

In a bit, I'll be off to collect my 2 weeks' worth of comics now that I'm back home. Reviews will be delayed while I try to catch up. I did see the new Star Trek movie while I was away, and all I can say is that it rocked. Just awesome, and I have to see it again for all the little bits I missed (seeing it in IMAX really blew my mind), such as the tribble on Scotty's desk (a friend mentioned it to me after).


  1. I've been disappointed in Mr. McDuffie's run for the most part, which is sad, because I think that he's a very good writer. But for some reason, it just never seemed to gel. He did have some disadvantages from Editorial demands, but still...a shame really.

  2. Yeah, Sally, I could see that he could write. There were definitely enough moments to give me that impression. But the stories felt so disjointed. It's not like other writers don't have to deal with editorial control.