You can catch up on our faceless hero by reading my last post on The Question.
So now The Question has made a more fleshed out appearance so to speak in the pages of Phantom Stranger #5.
While The Phantom Stranger battles The Spectre over the disappearance of Stranger’s adopted family. The Question appears mysteriously in the lab of Dr. Terrence Thirteen. Thirteen actually calls him The Question and says that the only thing he knows about him is that Question was part of The Trinity of Sin along with Stranger and Pandora. Meanwhile Dr. Thirteen has amassed dossiers on the other two. Thirteen contacts Stranger and implies that he has information about his family. He says he doesn’t have an answer but more like a question. Heh.
This version of The Question maintains his 1930s detective like trappings along with his lack of a face. Whether or not this is a mask or his face has been permanently made this way by the Council of Wizards remains to be seen as. Also unknown at this point if he will be going by the name of Vic Sage or not. However he does speak all in questions which is kind of neat in an Etrigan sort of way.
As I’ve mentioned before this is a big departure from The Question’s roots. In the 1960s he was intended as an objectivist by his creator Steve Ditko. In the 1980s he was reimagined as a zen detective always looking for knowledge as written by Denny O’Neil. So a 2010s New 52 Question based more than likely in magic may not be a bad thing. I say that with trepidation because other things that have appeared in the New 52 era have looked promising and turned out to be a let down. Red Hood, I’m looking at you.
But Trench, didn’t you bemoan the fact that The Question gained new magical powers in the 2005 miniseries, asked no one. Yes I did, but that was different. That was still in the pre-New 52 universe where The Question did not have magical powers, was never explained how he got them and was never spoken of again. In this incarnation The Question starts out in the realm of magic.
So I’m still hoping that The Question will be a decent character this time around much like he was in the 52 series.
***NO QUESTION ABOUT IT, THERE ARE SPOILERS***
I know. I haven’t been blogging about comics in a while. There’s a couple of reasons for that. The first is that my regular crime readers aren’t that interested in comics. That’s cool. No worries there. The other is that because of my real world responsibilities I no longer have the time. While I do some comics stuff over at my G+ page for the most part I’ve been reduced to a weekend blogger and comics were the first subject to get cut.
However, something happened this week that filled my geek heart with glee but then a sense of dread and it happened in Justice League #0. Not only did this issue finally have Billy Batson finally get the powers of Shazam but it marked the return of my favorite comic book character of all time. It’s the character that inspired my original internet pseudonym of TheTrenchcoat. I am of course referring to the fedora and trench coat wearing and no face having, The Question.
While I’m happy to see his return the lack of elaboration in the issue has me worried a little bit. In the New 52 The Question was one of the Trinity of Sin along with the Phantom Stranger and Pandora. It hasn’t been made clear what his sin was but he was punished by the Council of Wizards to be always questioning his identity and they removed his face. Yes, you read that right, wizards. Our intrepid faceless crime fighter may have magical powers although I hope he doesn’t. I was really hoping for a return to his original objectivist ways as was intended by his creator Steve Ditko. I would have even been happy with his 1980s zen outlook from the Denny O’Neil run on his comic. There is a glimmer of hope though. In this incarnation it was briefly alluded to that he may be written as his Justice League Unlimited animated counterpart. The conspiracy minded detective who can see commonalities that even the great Batman can’t.
Will his character be a New 52 success or will it be just another failed reboot? That my friends is the question.
Hey guys, did you know Batwoman is a lesbian? Seriously DC, do you need to beat us over the head with the blunt end of Kate Kane’s sexual preference every single issue?
Now again don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with Batwoman being gay. I thought the character was great in 52 even having a previous relationship with Renee Montoya, the lesser and 2nd Question.
This is all being done now solely for the purpose of titillating readers and adds very little to nothing to the storyline. I mean you don’t see Bunker of the Teen Titans kissing every guy he meets. As a matter of fact you don’t see him kissing anyone at all, ever.
I haven’t been doing these posts in the past few weeks because there was really nothing to talk about.
However since this is week 26 that marks the halfway point in the year for The New 52 and I wanted to do sort of a brief state of the union kind of post on The New 52 so far. In a word disappointing.
The Superman and Batman titles have been a disheveled mess. It’s sad that the cursory Bat and Super titles (Nightwing, Batgirl, Supergirl, etc.) have been better than the flagship titles.
Justice League was another mess that basically wrote off Darkseid as a throw away character. They didn’t need 7 issues to tell that story.
There’s already continuity issues. Is the Red Robin version of the Teen Titan’s the first incarnation or was Nightwing’s?
I’ve gone over the gratuitous sex and violence before in titles like Deathstroke and Catwoman. Again, it doesn’t offend my sensibilities or anything like that. I just think that sex and violence for the sake of it is just pandering.
I despise Green Arrow’s new look.
And still no Ted Kord, Vic Sage or Captain Marvel. And from what I understand about Cap I’m not looking forward to his return.
There has been some good. The Green Lantern titles have been quite entertaining. Aquaman is interesting since the first time in forever. Stormwatch got off to a sloppy start but it just started getting much better and more coherent. And lastly Batwing has been an amazing title.
But the bottom line is was a reboot really necessary to update some of the characters? Did they really need updating to begin with? Could they have not done an ‘Ultimate’ line instead of alienating long time readers?
If you want new readers write good stories and don’t rely on gimmicks.
***ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO WISH TO NOT SEE SPOILERS***
In their effort to gain new readers it seems that DC is going after a more female market with titles like Justice League Dark and I, Vampire. It looks like their pandering to the True Blood, Charmed and Twilight market. I don’t think it’s going to work. The last time DC had a large female readership is when Sandman was still being published but these current titles aren’t being written by Neil Gaiman and it shows.
Another thing that bugged me this week was Superman #1. I get it that they want the comics to reflect more of real life so it makes sense that The Daily Planet would be bought by a huge media conglomeration. However do we really need to have ‘ripped from the headlines’ parallels in these comics. I mean do we really need to know that The Daily Planet’s parent company was once involved in a phone hacking scandal? Not exactly what I would call subtle.
And lastly do we really need a comic about an alien stripper?
***PARENTAL ADVISORY: SPOILER LANGUAGE***
Apparently it was sex and violence week for The New 52. We had Batman and Catwoman getting it on, Starfire being turned into a bubble headed space slut and more gore than you can shake a Batarang at.
Now don’t get me wrong. My sensibilities weren’t shaken and I could give a rat’s ass on what the children may see. I’ve been reading comics on and off since the 70s. Even back then there was sex and violence but only when it was germane to the story. This week’s comics seem to have it just for the sake pf having it. To me it’s being used to cover up bad writing and boy was a lot of it bad.
I’m tired of the origin stories already. Especially the ones that haven’t really changed like Supergirl and Blue Beetle (not Ted Kord).
Lastly I was very disappointed with Red Hood and the Outlaws. Jason Todd is being written as a misogynistic douchebag, Roy Harper has his arm back which is good but he’s no longer a junkie which is what made his character compelling to me. If this is the same staff of writers that was writing for DC prior to the reboot then I lay the blame with the editors.
They have turned DC Comics into the Spike TV, Axe Body Spray and Dane Cook of comic books.
***HERE THERE BE SPOILERS***
Don’t call it a reboot. It’s been here for years.
OK, so this week we find out more that it’s not actually a reboot. For example the Green Lantern storyline of Hal Jordan losing his ring after the Green Lantern War picks right up where it left off. In Batman and Robin it’s mentioned that Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake have all been Robin and that Damian Wayne is the current Robin. Again not much of a reboot.
My theory behind this is that it’s all about tweaking Superman just enough to make him different from the original creation so that the heirs of one of Superman’s creators will have no legal claim on him. From what I understand DC Comics has been more than generous when it came to the heirs.
However there was a glimmer of hope in this week’s comics at least for me. Renee Montoya was mentioned but not as The Question. I know it’s a long shot but I’m holding out hope that Vic Sage is once again alive and will be The Question.
I’m still waiting on what the future holds for Captain Marvel. The real one, not that pretender from Marvel Comics.
***CHOCK FULL O’ SPOILERY GOODNESS***
In a word it’s a jumbly mess. In another word it isn’t a reboot.
Instead of starting everything from scratch, which is what a lot of people expected, it seems that they’re picking and choosing what parts of previous DC history are still canon and changing others.
For example it’s implied that the original Dove died in the Crisis yet The Killing Joke has been revised to where Barbara Gordon is not only walking again but she’s once again Batgirl.
ALso it feels like there’s no continuity between titles at all. In one instance Superman is dressed like Jethro Bodine and is just starting out in Metropolis and in another title released the same week he’s been around for ages and is wearing some type of armored costume. The same with Batman. In one title he’s green and making mistakes against the Joker and in others he’s already a well established icon in the new DC Universe. It also seems that Ted Kord and Vic Sage are still dead and Green Arrow has no beard. That’s just wrong.
If DC meant for this to be a chance for new readers to jump on then so far they are failing as this is even confusing to longtime readers.
Besides the way to learn comics has always been the same. You jump in head first and pick it up along the way. With most of The New 52 they seem to be alienating both new and old readers. Granted it is only the 2nd week.
When I first read about Batwing being a Batman in Africa I honestly thought it was going to suck. Usually when super hero comics are set in Africa they tend to be very ‘unga-bunga’ if you know what I mean, and tend to come off as racist.
Batwing is none of those things. I thought the geo-political climate as portrayed in this issue was pretty spot on. So far Batwing is the shining jewel in the otherwise lackluster New 52.
My only issue is with the costume. It should be more Batman and less Iron Man.
I like this new direction for Daredevil. More swashbuckling and less angsty while still retaining the core of the character. I’m so tired of angsty superheroes.
I also read The New 52 which showcases the 52 titles of DC’s impending reboot. I’m torn because some of the titles for the lesser known characters look great but a lot of the titles for well established characters has me extremely worried.