I’ve been slowing let the new DCU sink into my bones before I sink my fangs back into it (um… except for the two posts where I already did). For the record, I support DC’s decision, I think they are doing the right thing in principle, and in practice most of their continuity have the whiff of commonsense about them. Some decisions are certainly not consistent with my tastes (Darkseid? Deathstroke? Eyeroll.) But that’s to be expected. No version of the DCU is going to be entirely to any one fan’s taste; if it were, it would probably only have one fan, which is not a good business model.
That said, it’s time to comment on some of things I’m not liking, spewing forth my carmine bile like Dex-Starr the Red Lantern Cat.
Mr. Terrific. Gainluca Gugliotta: put down your pencil… step away from it slowly and keep your hands in the air; you are under arrest for crimes against art. Usually I’m not fussy about art (at least I do not think of myself as being fussy), but the art in Mister Terrific is, frankly, unacceptable. No one should be drawn with a neck that looks like I could personally crush it in one of my tiny little hands. How much worse is it when that person is Karen Starr? At times many of characters have an odd, warped look, something like those caricatures that street artists draw; I had to double check to make sure that this work was paid for by DC and not the WPA. It was as if the artist had been possessed by the ghost of Gene Colan, then fell down drunk with inspiration and drew everything from the perspective of someone who can’t get up off the floor. I thought Mr Terrific was supposed to be hip, not FULL OF HIPS. HIPS EVERYWHERE. Giant hips. Thrusting at you, shattering the Fourth Wall. Great Shades of Elvis! Of all of the art styles I might have encouraged to be used for Mr Terrific, Pelvic Transquartomuralism was not on the list.
Static Shock. Hey, the new Spider-Man is black! And by that I do not mean Miles Morales in the Ultimate Universe. I actually mean DC’s Static, who is so annoying with his” juvenile patter while fighting in the Manhattan (and not Dakota) skyline” routine that I wanted to jump into the comic and expose myself to some dangerous chemicals or radioactive experiment, just so I could become a supervillain long enough to punch him in the face. This saddens me. I liked the cartoon show a lot; I really wanted to like this new Static and his book (particularly if DC is sacrificing Black Lightning from continuity just to give this kid breathing room). But honestly, I do not anticipate continuing to play money to subject myself to this comic. Although recent developments suggest I may wish to delay that decision.
Suicide Squad. DC, I call you cowards: that is NOT Amanda Waller. Part of the reason I loved Amanda Waller was precisely because she wasn’t an aerobics instructor wrapped in spandex. As I’ve said before: there are fat people in the real world. Many of them are accomplished, powerful, interesting, influential; just like “normal” people. Once upon a time, DC had a place for those people in its world, too. But fat people must now be condemned and cannot serve as positive role models, because, well, gosh, any decent person simply doesn’t get fat. So long, Etta Candy the Solid! Good bye, Amanda Waller the Hefty! If we permit you to exist, it’s only after a trip to the same Fat Farm Alfred Pennyworth got sent to, all those years ago.
Stormwatch. I was so curious how the Wildstorm Universe characters would be come across as integral parts of the DC universe, rather than being stuck in their other dimensional shtetl . And now I know: BADLY. Suddenly, they all seem… ridiculous. Most of them have absurdist hypostatic powers that are pretty much just like the magick-y style powers of Golden Age heroes that let them do whatever the heck the writer wanted them to do. When J’onn J’onnz is most normal, realistic character in your book, your book has a problem. Or perhaps I should just say, “I have a problem with your book”, which is trying so hard to have been written by Grant Morrison I can see the strain on every page. It will be a shame if comics only gay-male couple + the freakin' Martian Manhunter isn't enough to keep me interested in a comic. But a shame it may have to be... .
Batwoman. Okay, I have nothing bad to say about Batwoman. So what if I can barely follow her zany backstory, even though I read all her previous issues and should know her backstory already? Batwoman is just … beautiful. It is what comic book art should be: it is stylish, uses the medium fully, and does so in service of the story. And Batwoman herself? Pretty much the best character design ever. Long after DC’s new found obsession with kneepads, functionality, and collars is forgotten, Batwoman will still look exactly as she does now: Red and Black and Fabulous all over.