Thursday, December 14, 2006

Random Comic Thoughts

Just a few things that have been bothering me of late as I read my weekly comics:

The last JSA Classified was about one of the most under-used characters that still has tons of potential since his original mini-series, Dr. Midnight. While I applaud his being featured, I'm a little disturbed by the background of the story: a villain is stealing the body parts of living superheroes and selling them on the black market. The villain is revealed in a nice acknowledgement of DC history, but it is the use of the superheroes in this fashion that bothers me.

There was a tremendous hue and cry about the number of deaths in Infinite Crisis and it was pretty clear that every hero is someone's favorite. But most of the complaints also involved the "needless" violence that was read as an end to itself rather than seeing that violence as integral to the story-telling. In a lot of cases, the violence was used to make a point, at least as I read it, but if the point was made with someone's favorite characters, of course that someone complained.

In JSA Classified, the writer, Scott Beatty, used characters lower than C-list in order to avoid offending the readers. Seriously, how many people care about Argus, Loose Cannon, or Lady Godiva? But it is this point that gives me qualms...why not just use brand-new characters instead of dredging up any characters with DC history attached to them? These characters were so unused that a lot of readers probably have no idea what their powers are so saying "He took the eyes of Peripheral Vision Man" has exactly as much impact as "He took the eyes of Argus." I suppose, the hero being Dr. Midnight, he'll put all of them back together again, but it all seems so pointless to me.

If you ever have a daughter, don't name her Supergirl and don't let her grow up in the DC Universe. I can't think of a character who has been more poorly handled. There was a great deal of fondness for the original Kara Zor-El, but she got killed off in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Then she is brought back as protoplasmic slime called Matrix, and she is doing pretty well as a back-up character in the Superman titles. Then, in the highlight of her career, Peter David starts a Supergirl title, with an entirely different origin and little interaction with the mainstream DC universe. The stories were good and the art by Gary Frank was quite fine. But she got tossed aside for this new Supergirl, who was sent to Earth to kill Superman and who is having trouble adapting to life on Earth (once she is dissuaded from her original mission). Her current title is filled with teenage pathos, and I suspect I may not really be its primary audience, since I have trouble sympathizing with the trauma of being a teenage girl. To add insult to injury, she is now being drawn by Ian Churchill, and while it is certainly stylized, it's not that good (to my tin eyes). I rather wish they had never brought her back from her noble death in Crisis if they are going to continue to treat her this way. I certainly hope her new relationship with Apokaliptian badboy, Powerboy, works out. (Why do the cute girls always go for the bad boys?)

Joss Whedon wants to do a Captain America/Jenny Sparks crossover? Be still my fanboy heart.

DC is sponsoring a survey for the best DC comic cover ever. It's a fascinating idea that will require some thought. My first thought was Crisis 7, where Supergirl dies and we have the iconic image of Superman holding her broken body drawn by George Perez. I also like Flash 123, "Flash of Two Worlds", the first Golden Age/Silver Age crossover. But I am left wondering if I like the covers because of the stories behind them or if the covers themselves are really that worthy. At least I can be certain that Eclipso 1, the cover with the plastic Eclipso diamond stuck on it, should be out of the running. I'll have to give this more thought. Any suggestions are welcome (and if you want to see the world's greatest cover gallery, go to

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