Monday, July 05, 2010

Two WTFs and a Why Not - Or Vampires, Mutants, Walking Superman and the new Wotta Woman

Marvel and DC constantly release news about “major” changes and events going on in their books and try to tell us why they will be great, so I believe it is fair to form an opinion on material even without having a had a chance to actually see much or any of the actual material. I’m really just offering my early viewpoint on three concepts impacting major elements of DC and the MU.
Two truly sound like poor ideas and one sounds like it is at the very least a needed change.

Let’s start with the positive first. The do over of Wonder Woman is a great idea. Wonder Woman has been mired in boring for years. Heck even George Perez’s great work on the character in 1980’s never really saved her.

I have always felt that Wonder Woman has been approached with too much reverence for the character. Also I believe any love interest for Wonder Woman who is anything less than a formidable super hero in his own right becomes emasculated. Just look at Tom Trevor in her book and he comes off as less of a man then he does in his own mini-series that recently came out. For better or worse the fawning girl-friend still works better in a comic, then the fawning boy-friend because it is not a masculine trait.

The idea of JMS blowing up Wonder Woman’s origin and doing a radical change to her character is perhaps the only chance he has of making her relevant or at the very least salable. By creating an alternative timeline JMS carves out his own section of the DCU that he does not have to worry about continuity or any other issues. Any other books she is appearing in or other characters derived from her can continue on as they have yet to be or may never be affected by these changes.

In fact this storyline can go on for two or more years and then when Wonder Woman sets things right she can be the one who is impacted by the changes because she remembers her other life. Certainly this is a convention that would work in a comic book and has the charm of not invalidating all that went before, yet still giving us a brand new Wonder Woman.

This type of resets always occur in comics and of course some elements will have to be ignored and just carried forward with little mention. I’m specifically thinking of the poor convoluted Donna Troy character as well as Wonder Girl. DC can just move forward with those characters and if the changes in WW invalidate them somehow, just ignore it.

The bottom line is that based on the short prologue I saw of this I will be continuing with Wonder Woman and look forward to this series again and I was just about to drop it. Another fan I know of the book had dropped this book and is now willing to give it another look.

To all the naysayers about her costume change; your opinion only means something if you are buying the book. I’m willing to bet 90% of all the people bitching about her new costume never even read the magazine, so who cares what you think.

Onto the two ideas that I think are bad ideas.

The whole idea of Superman Grounded just sounds lame. Add into the idea that if you write a good letter that Superman will appear in your town makes it even worse.

I long for a Superman who has a life and adventures again. Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheo came closest recently to getting this right again. Johns and Frank were doing a great job with Superman in Action. Still no one has really crafted out a long term plan on where this character is going.

Who is Superman, who is Clark Kent, who is his supporting cast, what is his mission, who is his rogues gallery, what threat can scare him and make him sweat? Superman has not had a solid direction and a firm guiding hand for many years. John Byrne was the last creator to really have a grasp on the character and he did a reset of him to make him work. Johns has undone many of those changes and we had hints that his ship crashed on Earth in 1938 after the one year later jump. None of these continual inconsistencies and changes to his origin has really been addressed.

So instead of all of that we are getting Superman taking a spiritual journey across America to reconnect with the people on the ground. I get the idea, I just disagree this is the way to go. Superman can’t solve every single problem. Elliott Maggin years ago did a good one shot story that tried to address Superman trying to solve a famine or whatever. This is a comic book super hero, trying to anchor it to reality destroys what makes super heroes work. We have to accept that people still need to solve their problems and in super hero worlds the super powered people save us from super powered menaces.

JMS is a good writer and has good ideas, so maybe this will work, but I doubt it.

Finally we come to Marvel’s idea of mixing Vampires into the main MU and specifically with the X-Men. I think they should preemptively just say this is an alternate reality because what they have advertised will frell up the MU big time.(I have been watching Farscape again, so frell and dren are again part of my vocabulary). If, as they advertise, some of the mutants have been turned into vampires and if they have yet to resolve the 198 issue, then everything is really screwed up.

The frustration for me is that I was getting slightly interested in the Xverse again and this stuff is just turning me off. For whatever reason Marvel is giving this a big push as they are launching a new X-Men series and having all sorts of one-shots and mini-series built around this theme.

I know we have had Dracula, Werewolf by Night and other horror/supernatural elements always floating around, but adding a race of vampires is too much. Instead of generating excitement from me if this impacts the regular continuity like it looks like it will, then for me I’m walking away from the mutants yet again. Time to re-read my hardcover of Claremont/Byrne era and the Grant Morrison run, this stuff looks like total dren.

If this crap spreads out even further into the MU it could turn me off their entire line. I guess they are hoping the tweens and teens into Twilight will run and buy the comics, but I don't think it will work.

Seriously I know I’m not the target market anymore but you have to wonder how far out Marvel and DC is thinking with some of their choices. Wonder Woman is not the issue, because the book has nowhere to go but up. Superman and the X-Men are huge franchise characters that each company needs to maintain their market, if you frell one of these franchises it could be a big impact. Of course the magical reset button is always available.


  1. I'll have more to say about WW in my Saturday Post, but I think if JMS had been able to do a clean reboot that would have been better. If this were truly an alternate reality then the whole universe should be different. Let her be part of Earth-W or something, but this mix of alternate with regular really isn't much different than selling your marriage to the devil. I'm still interested in how it will play out and will probably get the next few issues at least.

  2. Matthew - I do not think this is even close to the HORRID Spider-Man reboot. No deals are being made with any devil. I'm willing to give this a chance before I cry foul. Also we have yet to see how much has been changed and at this point I don't care as it should remains WW centric.

  3. "Horrid Spider-man" -- that's funny, considering it was Aunt May that was saved from OMD.

    I wasn't necessarily meaning it was as awful as OMD, but I was making the comparison of a timeshift/reboot in the midst of a regular comic universe, which is exactly what OMD did.

    The art on the new series is certainly good.