For now, I'm interested in the opinions of our regular readers. I must confess, I myself was a bit taken aback by a certain half page in the issue, in which Phil Jimenez issues a stunning indictment of the post-Crisis world with two simple, kaleidoscopic panels recapping some of the most unpleasant events of the last 20 years. I hadn't forgotten any of those events; they didn't shock me. However, the fact that I was no longer shocked by such events DID shock me. And, for a minute, I saw the "modern DCU" just as the Original Superman does ... with displeasure and disapproval.
Without realizing it over the last 20 years, have I become slowly jaded and accustomed to the "Dark Age" of comics, I, who look for joy and amusement in every panel? If you drop a frog in a pan of boiling water, it will jump out; if you put it in a pan of cool water, and slowly heat it up, the frog will boil to death. Am I a boiled frog?
I'm not ready to embrace the Original Superman's "final solution"; no way! But I applaud DC for giving this character the guts to represent the feelings of some fans; kudos to you, DC, for embracing such self-cricitism!
Let me, at least, take this stance on what's happening -- a viewpoint that DC can NOT have one of their characters take, specifically:
DC is finally rejecting the post-Crisis Marvelization of the DC Universe.
Monthly deaths.These are the things considered "wrong" with the current DCU and they happened because DC tried to copy what made Marvel popular. Those things have their place in the Marvel Universe and can make for interesting and powerful literature. But in the DCU, it's like watching the King of England take a crap. Yes, it's a legitimate and realistic take on the character, but it's not really what people tune in for, ya know?
Heroes overwhelmed by personal issues.
"Bad-ass" good guys.
Conflict among heroes as a main course instead of a spice.
Fans who missed the point of "The Dark Knight Returns" and "The Watchmen", fans who'd grown up with a steady diet of Marvel melodrama, fans who wanted comics to merely reflect our world instead of illuminating it: in the post-Crisis world, DC gave them what they asked for. And, lo and behold, almost everyone, it turns out, is dissatisfied with the result.
Perhaps Captain Atom's little trip through the Wildstorm Universe is DC's way of reminding us that they are offering us a world like that if we want it, but that the DCU proper is going to be something else. Not the silliness of the Bronze and Silver Ages (which, despite what you may think, is not something I want to see return) -- but at least something that will inspire and not depress us.
What do YOU think?