Thursday, June 8, 2017

DC Should Stand for Delightfulness Coming (back)

I believe I may have complained a bit about the DC Universe movies and the Nu52 comics.

OK, maybe it was more  “in a continuous ranting stream” and less of “a bit,” but things are finally looking up!

I’ve said this multiple ways, but it applies here again. 

Marvel is most famous for Characters. They have flaws and idiosyncrasies we identify with, and we admire them because they still choose to do the heroic thing.

DC is most famous for Icons.  We admire them for being something to aspire to. 

That’s why Legacy and supporting casts that act as families are so important in the DC Universe.  It allows them to have Characters that aspire to be the Icons, are inspired after interacting with the Icons, and remind the Icons of the worthiness of humanity.

Someone in the DC Movie department has finally woken up and remembered how to be iconicly awesome.  

They let us know this with subtlety by having an alley shooting that references Superman the Movie.

Additionally, they let us know this without any subtlety on the full reveal of Wonder Woman’s costume and powers.

Diana is shown as the perfect mix of innocence and wisdom to present a typical fish out of water story in “Man’s World.”  It’s handled in ways that are clever and cute.  They show us a peek at Amazon martial skill on Themyscira, but in Europe, Diana’s abilities and costume are only hinted at for a while…

Until innocent lives are at stake in a no win scenario, where the only practical and real world solution would be to ignore them, in order to address the big picture problem.

It is here that the Icon of Wonder Woman arrives. 

Throughout the tale she faces villains that are a match for her power levels and have varied ways of attacking her physically and mentally.  Though there are some dark turns in the story, and not every moment is a victory, DIana rises to and above the challenges. 

Because Wonder Woman is an Icon.

Sadly, they did not let us know about the return to Icons and Legacy with a cameo by Linda Carter this time.  She had a scheduling conflict, and has showed tremendous support, joining in on the red carpet and so forth.  Here's hoping for one in the sequel.  We did get Diana's Aunt and combat trainer played by the Princess Bride...Cool!

Steve Trevor is a dyed in the wool movie hero, but his victories pale in comparison to hers and he is inspired to be better by Diana’s actions.  On the flip side, good- non iconic- people like Steve prove to Wonder Woman that the world is worth saving.
While he and his crew help out in multiple battles, he still needs rescuing as befitting his not quite Iconic status.

We can put Etta Candy as a non combatant, yet still awesome, member of that helpful and inspirational group.

After years of trying to make “realistic” movies about their heroes (who fly and shoot laser beams out of their eyes) DC finally gets it.

What is the explanation for Christian Bale’s character having a short lived career, and requiring long periods of extensive rehabilitation?
Or what is the explanation of Ben Affleck’s character employing lethal force and firearms? (So I’ve heard.)
Because reality imposes restrictions on what a normal man in a suit is capable of regardless of Batman levels of training, focus and drive.

What is the explanation of Henry Cavill’s character having to snap General Zod’s neck to save that family?
Because reality imposes hard and drastic scenarios that force those like Superman who should be the most honorable and altruistic of individuals to choose from the lesser of two evils.

And what is the explanation of Gal Godot’s character protecting a town full of civilians while taking on vastly superior forces wielding automatic weapons while she is sometimes armed only with a glowing rope, and blocking bullets with her bracelets in ways that imply a combination of precognition and the law of conservation of momentum vacationing in Hawaii.

Because she’s freakin’ Wonder Woman!

Before I get called on for being inconsistent:  Wonder Woman was raised in a warrior culture, and will honorably slay foes in battle if she has to. She’s also been using a sword for a while in the comics.

Superman and Batman have different codes that define their particular Icon-ness.  I don’t want to spoil the awesomeness, but the fact that she dispatched so many enemies without lethal force at her most enraged moment proved she doesn’t take lives needlessly.  She's primarily an ambassador sent to "Man's World" to teach ways that will prevent war, nicely demonstrated by having her fluent in every language, to ease interactions with anyone she meets.  She nicely retains her somewhat oxymoronic yet still Iconic status as a hero who believes in peace, but will unconditionally fight for it to protect the innocent.

At first, I thought the World War I setting was an odd choice.  The obvious reason was the inclusion of the “No Man’s Land” reference.  This made the above Iconic reveal into the greatest female middle finger to the fanboy genre “he man woman haters club” in history, just edging past Eowyn.

The clearest reason came later on, as it was the ideal time in history to have Wonder Woman on horseback while Steve Trevor rides a motorcycle with as little explanation as possible.

In 2017, it shouldn't be a big deal that there is a successful blockbuster starring and directed by women.  But it is, and my daughter called it the most awesome and greatest movie ever made.  YAY!

I am excited about the Justice League film for the first time since the end of the Krypton scenes in Man of Steel.  YAY!

I can honestly say, more than any DC movie ever, grab the family and go see it!  YAY!

Hey, all the normal people reading this,  you can go enjoy the movie now.
The rest of the post is about comic books. (with spoilers)

Because, along with the outstanding cinema adaptation, the real DC universe is also returning to greatness, and I am returning to it.

The fact that I completely ignored a film in the theater and home release with two heroes whose logos are tattooed on my arm was minor compared to what happened in the comics world.

The point is, after a continuous run (counting back issues and fill ins) stretching back to the 1980’s; I stopped reading DC cold after Flashpoint.


Except for Grant Morrison’s run on Action, since he ignores everyone’s continuity but his own.

And for finishing up Geoff Johns's Green Lantern story, because, as creative director he could ignore most of the reboot to tie up the ends.

And for finishing up Grant Morrison’s Batman story, for a combination of the two reasons above.

And for the associated Green Lantern and Batman titles by Peter Tomasi, another of my favorite writers, because they tied in to the Morrison/ Johns stuff and he shines at characterization.

And for Demon Knights, since it wasn’t set at the time of the rest of the universe, and who can resist Paul Cornell writing Etrigan?

And Gail Simone’s triumphant return to Secret Six, which was clearly done with a focus towards the tone of, and delayed to reach, the latest reboot instead of the Nu52 universe it started in.

OK, fine. I’m full of crap, we’ve established that before.

The point really is:  I was ignoring the core titles, corssover events, and anything relating to the younger, dating Wonder Woman, betrayed by Lois, Superman of the Nu52.  

Superman is the key Icon in a pantheon of Icons, and he sets the pulse of the DC Universe.  Even when I wasn’t collecting Clark’s adventures, I’d be grabbing a tie in issue or team book here and there to check in on the Big Blue Boy Scout.

Since Secret Six, the only DC comic I was buying at the time, got cancelled with Rebirth, I continued not paying attention to DC at first.  Though I did applaud the return to the proper numbering of Action and Detective.

In order to see what happened to my version of the character, I picked up the Lois and Clark trade, by Dan Jurgens – the key writer of Superman comics during the Death, Return and Wedding of Superman, and my heyday of collecting.  It spun out of the Convergence event, trying to give closure to all the plot lines that the Nu52 cut short, or just plain pooped upon.

The trade was rebranded as “Road to Rebirth” and showed my Superman and Lois still happily married, with a son Jonathan, living in secret on the Nu52 world.

When I saw that Jurgens went on to write Action, starring these versions of the characters, and Tomasi was on Superman I picked up my first “Rebirth” trades.

And found out they weren’t kidding about the Rebirth thing.

It’s the rebirth of Hope, Fun and Legacy into the DC comics’ worlds.  YAY!

By the time the second collection of each came out, I had already filled in with “floppies” and was buying both titles monthly for the first time in years. Normally I like the extras and ease of handling of the trades, but I have every anniversary number of Action back to 650, and 1000 is due out in around a year.  I also added in Tomasi’s Super Sons, pairing the optimistic Jonathan's Superboy with the latest and darkest Robin, Damian Wayne.  Tomasi is the only writer in any DC universe that I found made that character come off as likable.

Not only is all the goodness coming back, but a bit of Superman Red/ Superman Blue, Mxyzptlk Fifth Dimensional Magic wiped out most of the dumb stuff about Nu52 Superman (including the Wonder Woman romance), combining him with the real one. Can underwear on the outside be far behind?


The understanding of Icons is at the forefront of the Rebirth stories.

With Superman as the first superhero, essentially the founding father, it is logical to have part of his Iconness include him being a good husband and father. Especially in comparison to the non-standard, but still Iconic father/son relationship between Batman and (any) Robin.

Bonus points for it allowing (slightly higher on the not quite Iconic scale than Steve)  Lois Lane’s strength and history shine as well.  Plus, it gives us moments of comedy gold of her demanding Batman stop sneaking around and meet in the kitchen like a normal house guest.

“Batman doesn’t eat pie.”  Hee Hee.

Batman’s “perfect straight man” appearances in the Superman comics have all be done amazingly.

But oddly, I’ve had no interest in going back to my mainstay comics, the Batman and Green Lantern franchises.

It's primarily from my "follow the writer" strategy.  However, I think a large part is because both of those lines ended up overly complex via getting through the Nu52 relatively unscathed.

Speaking of “follow the writer,” it still works for other titles, though.

I was a fan of Dan Abnett (and his partner Andy Lanning) from my early days of Marvel collecting (Iron Man), his later cosmic works with the Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy, and some recent incredibly cool Aliens Vs. Predator stuff on his own.

He’s writing Titans now, the gathering of the original sidekicks from the first iteration of the Teen Titans.

Seeing Dick, Wally, Garth, Roy and Donna together and acting as a family again in the first trade is one of the greatest signs of the return of Legacy and Hope to the DCU.

To lead into that story I went back to find the DC Rebirth special about a year late.  I had to, because red headed “real” Wally was my Flash, since I got heavily into DC after the first Crisis.  Part of the Flash Icon is proving, no matter how fast you are, there are never enough precious moments with the ones you love, the most important treasure in any universe. His relationship with Linda Park was an “Amy and Rory” level epic romance.

Both Titans and Geoff Johns’ Rebirth special are filled with panels of Wally asking how the characters (but framed toward the reader) could have forgotten him, and directly stating that the fun and optimism had been taken out of his universe along with him and many legacy characters.

Apology accepted.

Side note: I also started to collect the trades of Abnett’s Aquaman rebirth run.  But that’s just me coming to an understanding that I’ll eventually collect any Aquaman run. (Nu52 not included, of course.)

In that respect, Aquaman is a lot like Ghost Rider, but soggier.

Abnett handles Arthur fantastically as well, combing the superhero and king roles.  He also makes Aquaman as awesome as he should be, without being brutal and pointlessly violent.  Yes, the sea king can and does (briefly) stand toe to toe with Superman to defend his people, yet he defeats Black Manta by talking to him.  In addition, he’s back with Mera.  As one of the first married Superheroes, and possibly the first DC wedding they should be together.  Both the DCAU and Brave and Bold versions showed that they only add to each other’s awesomeness.


With my Rebirth excitement building I tried to exhibit some control, and passed on Wonder Woman, pointlessly ignoring the fact I enjoyed Greg Rucka’s earlier run.  
My resolve held up until the previously mentioned awesome movie, and I snapped up the first volume at Funnybooks’ Wonder Woman day celebration, along with a cardboard tiara for my daughter. The quality, history, and respect for the Icons continued there.   The connections to the character as portrayed in the movie are obvious, and the Wonder Woman awesomeness looks ready to continue for a long while on paper and screen.
Plus it’s always nice to have the first chapter be another, “sorry Nu52 pooped on everything hopeful” section. 

DC thrives on multiple universes, and they’re graciously providing us an in story reason for the pooping. Along the way it sounds like both Multiple Earths and Hyptertime are back, paving the way for, “If it’s a good story, tell it, 'cause they all count now!” YAY!

What started as hints in the special, have been expanded in The Button, a Batman and Flash crossover, highlighting the friendship between Barry and Bruce due to their scientific detective methods.  (Once again, YAY!)

It’s looking like Doctor Manhattan of the Watchmen is responsible for stealing time, hope and legacy from the DC Universe.

First- to all those irate that DC has writers who didn’t create the characters dare to use Alan Moore’s creations in a way that wasn’t intended.:

I got two words for you:

Second- How fitting is it that the classic and outstandingly executed deconstruction of Superheroes that paved the way for years of substandard, pale imitations that didn’t understand the original and only succeeded in making the comic universe darker, grittier and less fun be blamed for the loss of hope in that realm?

The “real original Justice Society Jay Garrick” had a cameo, in  The Button, looking full of smiles and readiness to bring Legacy back to the forefront of the DCU.  Here he echoed Wally’s, “How could you all forget about what made the DC Universe awesome in the first place?” 

I believe tha's yet another indication the good times are gonna keep on running!

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