I just wanted to do a quick blog post about DC Comics’ new universe reshuffling called DC Rebirth. I know it’s only been happening for two weeks but I’m really enjoying it so far. It seems that Rebirth is correcting a lot of mistakes that the New 52 created. I mean I still get choked up every time I see Barry Allen pull the original Wally West out of the speed force. It also seems that we’re going to get some good storylines out of the new reboot as well.
I’m also intrigued to see not only how they’re going to bring the Watchmen characters into the main DC Universe but what they’ll do with them once they’re there. I’m not one of those people who thinks that Watchmen is some sacred cow that can’t be built upon. I actually enjoyed a lot of After Watchmen.
So far two of my three wishes for the reboot have already been granted, the original Wally West is back and Ted Kord is alive. Now if only we can get Vic Sage back to being the non-magical Question.
As an aside since DC’s parent company, Warner Brothers, came into ownership of the Hanna-Barbera properties I thought that they could make an interesting comic book universe with such characters as Space Ghost, Birdman and a few others. Not only is DC Comics now doing this with the title Future Quest but they’ve also taken the old Wacky Races cartoon and made it into an adult post-apocalyptic Mad Max style comic.
As a continuity crossover reboot crisis Convergence felt kind of underwhelming. It didn’t pack the gravitas of a Flashpoint or Crisis on Infinite Earths. It felt just kind of ‘meh’. While it was nice to see characters from various pre-New 52 universes it felt like you had to know around 40 years of DC Comics’ history to get all the references and plot points. I felt bad for younger readers who may not have known a good majority of these characters.
The one good thing about Convergence though, as I mentioned in my first impressions, is that the concept behind the New 52 reboot was a sound one. A lot of characters from before the New 52 did feel old and out of date and a fresh new take was needed. The problem was that the New 52 didn’t have a lot of good stories for these new youthful heroes and the new DC You doesn’t appear to be too promising yet.
While I haven’t been wowed by the Convergence storyline as a whole yet I really did like this issue.
Pre-New 52 Renee Montoya, the 2nd Question, had to watch the original Question, Vic Sage, suffer and die slowly of cancer. Now her father is close to the death because of cancer and he hasn’t talked to Renee since she came out to her family.
After having to deal with Convergence plot point she rushes to his side, they reconcile and Renee tells her father that everything is going to be ok and it’s ok to let go now.
While there was no reconciliation needed between my mother and myself when she was in bed dying of cancer and unable to respond I remember telling her that my brother and I would be ok and that it was ok to let go. She passed within the day.
I don’t think I’m dropping any spoilers but just in case you’ve been warned.
I Know it’s only the first week of DC Comics’ latest continuity crossover reboot crisis whatever but I’ve come away with two things from it so far.
The first is that the concept reminds me a lot of 2013’s Deathmatch by Boom Studios which is one of my favorite series of all time.
The other thing is that after visiting with pre-New 52 characters that we haven’t seen in 4 years maybe the New 52 isn’t so bad after all. A lot of the old characters felt just like that, old and out of date.
In my entire life I’ve never cried at a movie or about a book or any work of fiction for that matter, until this past week. Believe it or not I was legitimately moved and almost got choked up over a comic book. But I’m getting a head of myself.
For those of you not familiar with the Future’s End storyline permeating DC Comics this month it takes place 5 years in the future after a war with an alternate Earth (Earth-2) has changed the world for the worse. Superman is among the missing however an incorporeal being grants three different people an aspect of Superman’s powers to see how they would use them and then how they would continue their lives after they were taken away again.
I started getting choked up for two reasons. The first is that two of the three people had issues that I have had to deal with in various stages of my life. So screw you to all the people who say a Superman story can’t be relatable. The second reason is that the ending left me with the most amazing feeling of hope. Not just in comics but in the real world. Call me immature or childish if you want but what’s wrong with a grown man being inspired by a funny book?
Overall the Future’s End issues this week we’re all very good and inspiring. Usually when a comic depicts a future it’s usually dystopian or apocalyptic. Very rarely is it this hopeful. It’s been so good I even took to reading titles in the story I don’t normally read. In the series that was out this past week I also recommend Phantom Stranger, Green Arrow and Swamp Thing.
Comic books keep making the mainstream news lately. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but we’re going to take a look at the latest development.
In the final pages of Batgirl #19 Barbara Gordon confesses a lot of things to her roommate Alysia Yeoh. For some time Alysia has been concerned about Barbara’s erratic behavior. Barbara tells her about being shot and paralyzed by The Joker but stops short of telling Alysia that she’s Batgirl. Alysia then confesses to Barbara that she’s transgender.
The one thing that I like about this is DC Comics did not hype this prior to the release of the issue. If they did I didn’t see it so I was generally surprised by this outcome which comics need a lot more of. What I didn’t like is that felt forced. It reminded me of the episode of Law & Order where Elisabeth Rohm’s character, Serena Southerlyn, is fired by the D.A. and she replies was it because she’s lesbian and it had never been mentioned in the show prior to that. It feels like that DC Comics did it just for the sake of doing it.
For the most part I have no problem with the Alysia Yeoh character and her sexuality. What I would like to see is Alysia just be portrayed as a normal person that happens to be transgender. What I hope they don’t do is make her a caricature or have her be the victim of some uber-violent hate crime. That would cheapen the character and even a lot of main characters in comic books feel cheap already. You know, with the temporary deaths and all that.
However I have a bone to pick. A lot of people are saying that Alysia Yeoh is the first transgender in a mainstream superhero comic book and I beg to disagree. 20 years ago in the pages of Sandman, Neil Gaiman introduced the character of Wanda, a pre-op transgender woman who plays an integral part in the Game of You storyline.
You can’t argue that Sandman wasn’t a mainstream comic considering its impact on the comic community at that time. And while it may not be a superhero comic per se it did take place in the DC Universe proper and Dream did interact with the likes of Batman, Superman and Martian Manhunter. Wow, I sound like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.
Anyway all in all I feel like it was just there. Just not any reason to pick up or drop the title.
So another comic has made it into mainstream news again and once again it is involving the death of an iconic character. This time it’s Batman’s ever-present sidekick, Robin. But before we get into that here’s a little comic history lesson for those of you who either don’t follow comics or haven’t followed in a while.
The original Robin that we all know and love as portrayed by Burt Ward on the 1960s Batman TV show was Dick Grayson. In the late 1970s he grew up and became his own hero Nightwing.
His replacement was Jason Todd who was infamously killed by the Joker and DC comics readers. He came back to life as the gun-toting Red Hood.
Jason Todd’s replacement was Tim Drake who relinquished the mantle of Robin to his successor and became Red Robin, at least in pre-New 52 continuity.
Which leads us to the current Robin, Damian Wayne. Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul.
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.
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.