Monday, May 21, 2007

52 Fixes

I was happy to note in the final issue of 52 that Rip Hunter was going to check on whether anything in the past of New Earth had changed as a result of Mr. Mind depredations.

Let's hope so. DC's already quickly and subtly put both Black Canary and Wonder Woman in the original JLA.

I can think of a few things that deserve to be fixed or eliminated. At least, 42 of them, in fact; I ask you to supply the remaining ten!

1. Donna Troy. Please, DC, stop trying to be so metatextual with Donna. If there must be a Donna Troy, keep it simple. Hippolyta wanted a sister for Diana, and the gods let her make one; end of subject.

2. Jason Todd. Let's just say Jason, who was older when he was Robin than we remember, survived his brush with 900 numbers, retired from Robinhood, then got ticked and came back when he found out Batman had gotten a new Robin.

3. The Rolling Heads of Ganglords. While you're taking the cosmic whiteout to Jason's past, make sure you dab the scene where Jason brings a duffel bag of severed heads as trophies to a gang meeting. If you want to use him as a "Black Sheep" hero, that's fine, but we don't really need heroes (in the DCU) who kill people and cut off their heads.

4. Hush. You don't really need me to explain that, do you?

5. Aquaman. It occurs to me I may have mentioned this one before. This is about the third reality-altering event in the last few years to provide a perfect opportunity to return Aquaman to a version recognizable to the public, both in appearance, powers, and behavior. You blew it the last couple times; don't blow it again.

6. Lex Luthor. If there's any concrete reason that Luthor's presidency needs to remain in continuity, I can't think of what it might be. Let's go right from CEO Luthor to Project Everyman Luthor to Mad Scientist on the Loose Luthor and leave it at that.

7. Black Lightning. Let's lose "Education Secretary" Pierce, Dead Niece, and Young Adult Daughter Who Sprung Full Grown from the Head of Judd Winick. While you're at it, consider losing the Head of Judd Winick as well.

8. The Joker. I think we could all struggle along just fine without having to remember Last Laugh.

9. Bizarro. Likewise Emperor Joker. Stick with the simple and more traditional "failed clone of Superman" backstory. It's more consistent with his usual portrayals anyway.

10. The Slab. Almost forgot, Last Laugh is what moved the Slab to Antarctica. Either (a) forget about "the Slab" entirely (b) re-place it wherever it originally was.

11. Gorilla Grodd. I have no idea what writer was stupid enough to change Gorilla Grodd into a carnivorous primitive generic monster, but he's already cashed his check, so let's just forget it happened and move on.

12. Catwoman. Most people ignore the absurd, insulting, and out of character idea that the freaking Catwoman was ever a prostitute. Let's just make that official policy, shall we?

13. Knightfall. Really. What would it hurt for this whole thing to have happened on some other earth? We can forget Bane, Azrael, and Shondra Kinsolving in one fell swoop; I find that an irresistible trifecta.

14. Obsidian Age. No one understood it, no one liked it, and it didn't do anything.

15. Millenium Giants. See "14. Obsidian Age".

16. Booster Gold. I think we can all agree that remembering that Booster saved President Ronald Reagan from assassination is no longer in our best interests. Same with his sister, "Goldstar".

17. Extreme Justice. I mean, who's going to argue against that? Dan Vado? The Wonder Twins Fan Club?

18. "Slideways" and "the Kitchen". After all, why waste any time?

19. Black Canary. Let's put "Dinah gets raped and has her throat cut" in the same trash bin as "Dinah dates Ra's Al Ghul and falls in the Lazarus Pit". Then we can all be happy.

20. The Sea Devils. The Sea Devils are not, and have never been, environmental terrorists; the Sea Devils are, as everyone knows, superior beings. Have them be just as they originally were, but hosting an underwater "Josh Bernstein" style adventure series on TV. Because you know they know how to work the camera!

21. Plastic Man. No, not his illegitimate son; Fernus. Send Fernus to the furnace, wrapped in, well, pretty much anything else Joe Kelly's written for DC. This one, by the way, works well with forgetting Emperor Joker (#9), which is what gave us "Scorch".

22. Vibe's death. I mean, can't we just say he got really really sick for a while? Please?

23. The Sword of the Atom. I'll say more on this later. A lot more. But let's just keep "Ray and Jean break up" and jettison the part about the Littles living in the Amazon jungle.

24. Lana Lang. Oh, where to start. Lana is pretty much a one-person generator of Stories That Need to Be Retconned/ Erased by Hypertime / Punched by Superboy / Eaten by Mister Mind. Starboy; Insect Queen; Lana the Manhunter; Conduit. Those are all safely gone, so let's send Mrs. Pete Ross, Vice-President and President Ross, little baby Clark Ross, and Luthorcorp CEO Lang to join them. Lana is most meaningful when she symbolizes the wonderful small-town life that Clark had to give up in order to be Superman.

25. Wonder Woman. Bana-Mighdall, and all that that implies (including Artemis The '90s Extreme Wonder Woman).

26. Green Lantern. At this point, is there any really reason to keep the "Hal Conquers the Universe/ Becomes the Spectre" baggage? Corrigan died and the Spectre created trouble before finding a new host. Pretend Hal got killed by Sinestro or a falling ceiling tile or venereal disease. Or never died at all.

27. Green Arrow. Oh, yeah, and Green Arrow, too. Connor Hawke isn't worth screwing up with Ollie's age/timeline. No, really; he's not. He's just part of the failed '90s experiment of replacing Silver/Bronze Age characters with Iron Age hipsters. It's enough to show that Ollie's a jerk every time he opens his mouth and give him an ex-prostitute for a kid sidekick; he doesn't need an ex-junkie ward, an illegitimate son he intentionally ignored, and Kevin Smith's revivification of Ollie Queen that managed to "rape our childhood" by turning Stanley & His Monster is a typical Alan Moore/Vertigo tale of incestuous child molestation/satanic worship.

28. Red Arrow. Speedy was hooked on cocaine for ONE ISSUE, people, thirty years ago. "Beloved" as that atrocious story is supposed to be, it's crippled the character ever since. Brad Meltzer can force real JLAers to say how wonderful he is every issue, but he'll never be more than the Drug Addict Leaguer as long as that story remains in continuity.

29. Hawk & Dove. Not just the two female ones; the previous versions, too. Vietnam, the Lord of Order & Chaos, Monarch ... face it, folks, everything they touch goes straight to Heck.

30. Matrix Supergirl / Australian Alexander Luthor/ They Stole Luthor's Brain. Sure, it was fun while it lasted, but it seems to already be out of continuity or part of a general consensus of silence.

31. Brainiac. This one's rather a mess, so everyone's left it alone for quite a well. But we could have our cake and eat it, too, I think: Brainiac is a renegade Coluan genius who augmented his intelligence by incorporating AI directly onto his skull, and has lost his humanity (or "coluanity", I guess) as a result. This works with his three main character points: "freaky alien collector", "evil computer", and "ancestor of Brainiac 5".

32. Kyle Rayner. I like Kyle; I have always liked Kyle. He's sexy, fun, clever at using his powers. But he's in the way and his absurd near-deification as Ion is a pig in a dress no matter how they spin it. Kyle; enjoy Earth 8.

33. Leslie Thompkins. I have literally not heard of anyone who approved of "what they did to Leslie Thompkins." If you want her out of the way, let her stay abroad doing missionary work. But let's just say that Spoiler died from her wounds and Leslie wasn't able to save her, despite her best efforts.

34. Captain Marvel. Do we really have to wait until Trials of Shazam is over before we declare it null and void?

35. Nightwing. Okay, it's not really a retcon per se, but I think that "Nightwing" as a brand, is badly damaged (and in many ways, never really flew). Despite the resonance with Kingdom Come/Earth 22 (which I hate), let Dick Grayson become Red Robin. Maybe then writer can write him as Robin Grown Up rather than a confused Marvel-lite member of the Legion of Super-Emos.

36. The New Guardians. I think I'd pay to forget the New Guardians.

37. Primal Force. I'm one of the few people who actually bought and liked Primal Force, the doomed "Shadowpact" of its day. But that time is over now.

38. Hawkman. Hm. That's hard to narrow down, isn't it? Pure confusion eliminates most unpleasantness from Hawkman's backstories already. But Golden Eagle's betrayal of Hawkman was a big waste of the character (and, like everything Hawkman, very confusing). Scratch that.

39. Firestorm. I'm pretty sure there's only one thing I'd change about the current Firestorm: the cancellation of his series.

40. Dr. Thirteen. I don't want a world without Dr. Thirteen in it, and I don't think the Phantom Stranger would either. Making me unhappy is one thing ... but you really want to tick off the Phantom Stranger?

41. The Penguin. Can we ignore all the "Penguin as punching bag" stories? For pete's sake, the Penguin was Burgess Meredith, not Peter Lorre. I want to see him start to kick some tailfeathers.

42. Two-Face. As long as we're forgetting the Hush thing, let's forget Vigilante Dent and the whole clumsy "I'll rip my face open" thing.


Anonymous said...

I realise I'm in an almost imperceptible minority, but I liked Obsidian Age. I agree that it didn't have any long-lasting impact except provide a flimsy jusification for changing up the Justice League roster, but I enjoyed the idea at least behind it.

Plus it all started because people wanted to save the real Aquaman. A bit poignant given what's going on right now.

Kavonde said...

Great post, but I have to disagree about Lex Luthor; having grown up with the DCAU, I can't imagine Lex running around, cackling and building kryptonite guns to take revenge on Supes for making him bald. I think a whole generation of geeks now sees CEO Lex as "the" Lex Luthor, so changing him back to the old-school mad scientist would kind of alienate a lot of us.

His presidency can go, I s'pose, though the irony that he was elected the same year as Bush Jr. will forever be hilariously appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Yow. Is there anything published in, oh, the last 25 years that you do like? Strip all these stories out of the shared backstory and you'd be left with a present-day DCU that's both (A) unrecognizable and (B) incoherent. (Even more incoherent than the current editorial PTB want us to swallow, that is -- and that's saying a lot.)

About the only ones I could agree with are 33 (Leslie Thompkins) and 34 (Trials of Shazam), and in both of those cases a good writer could fix things without having to resort to a retcon. Beyond that, is there any rationale for most of the list beyond the fact that you, personally, didn't care for the stories?

Scotus said...

Mr. Mxyzptlk--Breaking the fourth wall now and then is fine, but here they've gone way too far. His self-awareness about being a comic book character isn't funny or post-modern, or whatever it was DC was shooting for. It's just stupid, and should be dropped.

Poison Ivy--I can't even remember when she made the transition from crazy chick with poison lipstick to a female Swamp Thing, but I miss the old version.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone think of a way to delete the entirety of Identity Crisis? Having just finished reading the Showcase Elongated Man reprints, I am really not in the mood to go back to a continuity where Sue Dibny gets raped by Doctor Light and dies with Jean Loring's footprints in her brain.

Much too likeable a character to be snuffed by Brad Meltzer...

Scipio said...


Want to know a secret?

Most of the things I listed are already being ignored for the most part. And still the DCU remains recognizable.

NONE of it is the case in the animated universe of the comic JLU; is that unrecognizable and incoherent?

CalvinPitt said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Jake and say I also liked Obsidian Age. Of course, I won't like it any less if DC did take it out of continuity, so if you really feel it has to go then I guess I won't quibble.

And I'd prefer we eliminate the part where Jason Todd comes back to life, rather than the part where he died.

Caleb said...

I liked Obsidian Age (Like, 40 times better than JLoA). And Emperor Joker had it's moments.

I think "Anything Written By Jeph Loeb" is a good thing to feed Mr. Mind, Erik Larsen's run on Aquaman (remember his mom being brought back to life? No one ever mentions it!) and the nonsense with Batgirl being evil all of a sudden and eloquent and bad at fighting too. And I guess Risk being evil for no reason now too.

collectededitions said...

Yeah, here's another vote for Obsidian Age. No one but Grant Morrison could write Morrison-ian JLA, but Joe Kelly came close with this time-twisted tale. When Kyle Rayner says (I parphrase), "We're coming back from the dead to save the world," it's good stuff.

And while the original Artemis-Wonder Woman storyline might've been too 1990s, I do like how they've used the character since. Leslie Thompkins, though, I too wouldn't be surprised if that one went away.

Trying to think of some ...

Doctor Polaris said...

I believe your list is missing a certain scene from Infinite Crisis. You know what you must do.

Scipio said...

43. Doctor Polaris. I don't care what Earth we get one from; New Earth is not complete if it doesn't have a Doctor Polaris.

Anonymous said...

I disagree on the Two-Face point. Vigilante Dent kind of fell apart as the focus of 52 changed, but it was a pretty good idea. Plus, Two-Face is back after a few years and now he has the extra bonus of being able to last in a fight with Batman.
I also don't know what you're specifically talking about with Gorilla Grodd. His last appearances in The Flash emphasized how powerful and monstrous he could be, but this always came second to his mental powers.

Here's something else to eliminate, The Outsiders. There's never been an interesting character created there, and characters who end up on that team always end up worse for wear.

Billy said...

Any version of the Penguin written by Jeph Loeb.

I dont really understand the whole Metal Men arc in Superman/Batman. Take that out too.

Steve Niles Creeper mini. Just get that out of here.

Black Canary's late 80s/early 90s costume.

Anonymous said...

I hear from the rumor mill than manhunter's Marc Andreyko is going to soon be involved in a high-profile project. That might help fix something, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat to my surprise, I agree with just about everything on this list, without even a lot of minor quibbles. Nightwing is the one I'd strongly disagree with. I don't think there's anything wrong with Nightwing that can't be fixed by ignoring Devin Grayson and Bruce Jones.

"President Luthor" can certainly go. It was an idea that *had* potential at the time, but just about all of that potential was squandered, and it's past in any case.

I do like the trajectory of "Evil CEO Lex Luthor driven to Mad Science and criminality by his own obsession." That's a cool, almost mythical outcome.

The only other quibble I have is that a lot of these items (like, say, Millenium Giants) really had no lasting impact *anyway*, so might as well just keep ignoring them instead of drawing attention to them by banishing them, if you know what I mean. (We don't need to waste time fighting "Save Millenium Giants!" fans, do we?)

Joe - said...

I nominate Team Titans. And the New Titans. And also Young Justice becoming Teen Titans. Pretty much anything with the word 'Titans' in it published after Zero Hour.

Also: the Lobo miniseries where Ambush Bug becomes an outer-space character. Let's get Irwin back in his old Metropolis Private Eye business where he belongs. (OK, fine, you can make Jonni DC a Monitor in disguise.)

Also: Martian Manhunter losing his weakness to fire, then gaining it back, then finding out that all martians were allergic to fire. It's psychosomatic, it's just him, and IT'S GONE.

And is Earth-C one of the 52?

Anonymous said...

Ohh, Scipio, you just pushed one of my buttons.

There are two reasons to keep Hal's Spectrehood in continuity, in order of importance:

1) The fact that Hal spent a considerable period with both Parallax and Wrath in his head, and still managed to turn against the violence that Parallax had tempted him into. Even if Hal's entrance into evil wasn't exactly his fault, it's important to show that he will resist and prevail in the end. That's what brings him out of the Parallax phase as more of a hero and less of a victim.

2) Helen Jordan. Hal's niece, who may or may not currently be in continuity. Helen was the best part of Hal's Spectre phase; the ghost of Abin Sur and the Phantom Stranger himself used to hang out with her. Helen even got the Phantom Stranger to play Candyland with her ... tell me you don't find that charming enough to justify Hal's entire Spectre period.

Tom the Bomb said...

As someone who is still kind of a newcomer to DC, I find conversations like this interesting. There were more than a few items on the list I don't recognize, and it doesn't seem to be hurting my understanding of what I do read. A few sound fascinating/awful.

And this is, I think, my favorite continuity fix. The collective agreement of "let's just all forget this ever happened." Because the alternative - Crises and universe-shuffling and timeline rewrites - get exhausting.

Anonymous said...

Regarding #9, Bizarro, they've already gone back to the "failed clone of Superman" origin as evidenced in the recent Action annual.

That's fine, but I, for one, thought "Emperor Joker" was one of the best arcs of its time.

Gerry (who posts anonymously since he has no time or inclination to establish a blog).

Jon Hex said...

If Countdown is yet another way to fix DC's continuity (the second or third in two years), I don't think I can support DC anymore. They just don't know what to do with themselves. At least when Marvel has a bad idea, they stick it out until it bleeds to death.

Anonymous said...

I liked Emperor Joker & Obsidian Age as well, particularly the B-team Justice League.

I'd undo Impulse becoming Kid Flash, then the Flash. DC took one of its best characters and made him unrecognizable.

I'd keep the Hawkworld continuity, bring back Hawkwoman, and keep the Golden Age & '90s Hawkmen distinct from each other. I realize I'm in the minority here, but that was my favorite Hawkman series.

I'd put Swamp Thing, John Constantine, & Tim Hunter back in the DCU. (maybe Vertigo continuity is Earth 51 or something)

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters, but "the Slab" was originally in New York.

acespot said...

44. Get rid of Millennium.
45. Get rid of Zero Hour too.
46. Get rid of Argent's Teen Titans.
47. Get rid of saying that Mxyzptlk comes every 90 days. That's just stupid, and it continually throws the timeline into flux. Just let him come whenever he wants to.
48. Get rid of anything Bruce Jones has ever written.
49. Get rid of Superman Red/Blue and Electric Superman.

50. I like the portrayal of many of Batman's rogues gallery as individuals having a difficult time keeping their hands clean, as opposed to homicidal psychopaths. Keep Ivy (not to mention Woodrue) the champion of mother nature, no matter the costs. Keep Harley out on her own. Let the Penguin continue to operate his enterprises just this side of shady. Let Two-Face be a district attorney who occasionally resorts to dirty tactics to get convictions. And please, please, please, let Riddler remain the celebrity detective he was born to be.

51. I agree that evil Batgirl has got to go.
52. Likewise, Identity Crisis has got to go...while we're at it, how about forbidding Meltzer from writing anything for the DCU ever again?
53. Anything beyond the initial arc in Superman/Batman has got to go.
54. I agree that DC should get rid of Bart becoming the Flash. He's just not ready, and neither are we. Bart needs to be a kid. That's part of his charm.
55. I agree that the Steve Niles creeper needs immediate erasure.
56. Likewise the "New Skrull on the Block". J'onn is too rich a character to relegate to second rate stupid plots.

57. Speaking of J'onn, figure out his origin already, for God's sake! I'm going with Ostrander's. Make fire for J'onn sort of like yellow for Green Lanterns - dangerous, but only if cannot overcome his fear of it.

Emperor Joker did have its moments. It was a cute story.

Of course there's a Doctor Polaris, he's Grant Emerson's "uncle"!

Constantine and Swamp Thing aren't denizens of the DCU proper any more? What? Why? Does that mean that we've lost Constantine's relationship with Zatanna as well? Noooo!

acespot said...

Addition to 48: Don't let Bruce Jones write anything else in the mainstream DCU ever again.

58. And one more thing: undo War Games so that we can have Stephanie back. She was, like, my favorite Robin...ever!

More notes on Scipio's list:
2. ...if Jason must be around. Otherwise, let him stay dead. Better yet, erase him altogether.
8. ...but Barbara should remain in a wheelchair, or at least a chair. She's indisposable as Oracle.
39. Firestorm hasn't been as good since Dan Jolley left the new title.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what writer was stupid enough to change Gorilla Grodd into a carnivorous primitive generic monster, but he's already cashed his check, so let's just forget it happened and move on.

Er...I think that was Geoff Johns.

No one understood it, no one liked it, and it didn't do anything.

Quite a lot of people seem to have liked "Obsidian Age", as it turns out. Including me.

Let's put "Dinah gets raped and has her throat cut" in the same trash bin as "Dinah dates Ra's Al Ghul and falls in the Lazarus Pit".

Er...she wasn't raped. At least not accordng to Mike Grell. 'Course, his definition of rape appears to be awfully narrow.

Pretend Hal got killed by Sinestro or a falling ceiling tile or venereal disease.

I'd go for that. Especially the falling ceiling tile.

Speedy was hooked on cocaine for ONE ISSUE, people, thirty years ago.

I thought it was horse?

Vietnam, the Lord of Order & Chaos, Monarch ... face it, folks, everything they touch goes straight to Heck.

Before you blame the Vietnam debacle on Hank and Don Hall, maybe you should read their too-brief series?

Unknown said...

I liked Obsidian Age.
It was just balls to the walls awesome epic.

Jon said...

I'll 3rd the call for Steve Niles Creeper mini. Ugh.

Vigilante (Adrian Chase) needs to be not dead, and he didn't really kill a cop in issue #37.

Jason Todd needs to go back to being dead.

John Byrne's Blood Of The Demon didn't really happen.

Morrison's Mister Miracle was a dream (how the hell can you have two different characters be the same superhero?)

Scipio said...

"Helen even got the Phantom Stranger to play Candyland with her"

I must
see that.

Can you send me a scan.

Just when you think the Phantom Stranger can't get any cooler...!

Doctor Polaris said...


Victory is mine!

Scipio said...

"Speedy was hooked on cocaine for ONE ISSUE, people, thirty years ago.

I thought it was horse?"

It was; my mistake.

And, I assure you, I had EVERY issue of Hawk & Dove!

Anonymous said...

Lots of Excellent points.

Minor quibbles:

6. If George Bush can be president, Lex Luthor can be president.

12. The prostitute angle plays well in Frank Miller’s Year One. Catwoman’s backstory works if she had to pull herself up from the gutter, as a counterpoint to Bruce Wayne’s millions.

23. Not necessarily the content, but Atom in the jungle was a great idea. I ties nicely into the current where is Ray Palmer mystery, and the lack of concern from other heroes. Where’s Ray? Dunno, gone back to the jungle maybe. You know Ray.

24. Fair point about the symbolism, but people move on. If Lois and Clark can be married, Lana can have some kind of development of her own.

30. John Byrne has done some crazy contrary stuff at DC, but his Time Trapper Pocket Universe still stands up. Along with his Hyppolita time travels into the JSA on Wonder Woman, it’s a whacky but charmingly inventive way of solving continuity gliches, and would be a shame to lose, although most of the Matrix Supergirl stuff that followed was garbage.

36. If anyone reading this doesn’t know who The New Guardians are, DO NOT GOOGLE. You don’t need to know.

I can’t think of ten but…

43. Doom Patrol. And some of things John Byrne did….

44. Darkstars.

45. Zero Hour.

46. Power Girl’s pregnancy. And her 90s headband.

Jacob T. Levy said...

Fate. Primal Force was harmless; it was self-contained, gave a couple of people who now have bigger roles (Nightmaster, Red Tornado) something to do during their long dry spells, and didn't screw anything up.

Fate-- which, let's recall, had an internal continuity reboot-- portrayed a magical order wildly out of synch with anything else we've ever seen, from the Order-Chaos stuff to the Conclave to FUBARing Gemworld. The character was a creep. The design is comically (so to speak) 90s-dated. Symbolicaly wiping him out and declaring him irrelevant was the very first thing Geoff Johns did on JSA; let's make it official.

Siskoid said...

The smart thing to do would be to reboot/retcon everyone to their best known origins/histories/looks, whether that's the general opinion of the public (for icons) or that of the fans (for the rest).

For example, bring back the real Aquaman who talks to fish a lot. Wonder Woman can indeed have a sister, and an invisible jet, and the Diana Prince identity. Yes, it even means Superman had to be Superboy (perhaps more of a Smallville Superboy?).

Jason Todd should be dead, same for Barry Allen, and Speedy should be a junkie and have that part of his backstory always (retcon to have done heroin FOR A LOT LONGER). Too much has been made of these events either in the media or by writers in the last 20 years or comics historians, so these are "accepted truths" (in a way that electric Superman is not, for example).

I think the animated series did all this very well, keeping what were accepted truths about characters and still managing to surprise us with original takes (Brainiac turned into a dynastic villain, for example).

Ignoring specific storylines long since forgotten may just be a waste of a retcon, since as you say, they're already being ignored.

Anonymous said...

Definitely get rid of anything Devin Grayson has done.

Can we get rid of Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow having slep with just about every female character in the DCU, including Huntress (for some reason, that one really bothered me... guess that's what happens when you get your writers from The Real World).

Can we get rid of the whole idiotic "Parallax is a sentient evil creature possessing Hal" thing? That was absolutely ridiculous. If you want to keep Hal going insane in continuity, then just have it be the evil ring that he took from Malvolio's body slowly taking him over, and leave it at that.

Can we have Deathstroke, who slowly over year became a villain but with his own sense of honor, and who would still do things for the greater good, provided it didn't get in way, back? I hate the way he has just become pure evil in recent years, with no morality of his own. The best villains are the ones who don't think that they are evil, just doing what needs to be done.

On a related note, can we get rid of everything that's happened with Vigilante since her first appearance? She was being set up in Deathstroke to be a cop who lost her way, and a single mom. Then, she became a female Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow (no morals, sleeping with everybody, negligent parent).

While we're at it, let's get rid of this last Vigilante miniseries, which was awful and a waste of money (only bought it to show my support for Vigilante in SOME form in the DCU) and bring back Adrian Chase. Marv Wolfman was building a mystical/cult/healing factor into the character before he left the book: let's go with that. Adrian healed in the grave, has been hiding out, now comes back.

As much as I like the recent Adam Strange miniseries (a lot!), can we get rid of the Darkstars being destroyed? I liked knowing that they are somewhere out there as a counterpoint to the Green Lanterns, and, though they shouldn't have a regular presence in the DCU, are available to be brought in briefly if a story calls for it. Why can't we do more of that? Can't use a character now? Leave them alone until a story calls for them. You don't need to kill them off.

Can we get rid of all rapes in the DCU? There is enough horrible news in the real world; I don't need it in my comics too (at least, not this much of it).

Please bring back Hawkworld! Bring back the Thanagar that existed in Hawkworld, as it was really interesting, and not this waste that we have now. And bring back Katar Hol and Shayera Thal. 2 of the most developed characters ever when written by Ostrander, then wasted and killed off. Find a way. Make him the new Golden Eagle instead of that ridiculous non-sensical farce we got a couple years back, but just bring him back.

Finally, can we just have John Ostrander write the DCU? Compare his Suicide Squad, Hawkworld, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, with all the retcons he was forced to do and still managed to make work, to the mess we have now with similar characters and books...

Marcos said...

I don't think we need to erase Obsidian Age since it didn't really have any impact. Whether it happened or not is sort of irrelevant, and it was an interesting story. The thing I hated most about it was the art. But Batman's transition from "I hate magic" to "I love magic" was classic.

Could do without the whole "Plastic Man spends a thousand years at the bottom of the ocean" bit, though. Let's just lose any and all instances of "character is trapped for decades/centuries/millennia without taking up any current comic book time"; I'm looking at you, Clark and Diana. (And I'm sorry, but not even Superman could spend a thousand years alone with Wonder Woman and never once get it on. Even if he were completely gay, you can't tell me he wouldn't at least try it once.)

Scipio said...

"Can we get rid of Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow having slep with just about every female character in the DCU, including Huntress (for some reason, that one really bothered me... guess that's what happens when you get your writers from The Real World)."



acespot said...

Speedy must have been hooked on heroin for much longer than one issue. It's just that Ollie didn't notice until that issue. Then, of course, there's withdrawal and rehab. Nobody quits the smack cold turkey. That will certainly kill you. That's why methadone was invented.

verification word: hoaxehah - insert your own snark here

Jacob T. Levy said...

Let's just lose any and all instances of "character is trapped for decades/centuries/millennia without taking up any current comic book time"

This wouldn't bother me so much, if not for the fact that the characters emerge compltely psychologically unchanged. They have a couple of panels of angst, maybe, but they remember everyone they used to know (do you remember the names of everyone you knew twenty years ago?), they still act like the same people, etc. The only traditional exception was Mon-El, who really was traumatized by his thousand years in the Phantom Zone.

The degree of not-change in Plastic Man is ridiculous; the degree of not-change in Superman and Wonder Woman is positively insane. Telling us, once or twice, that they now have an even deeper bond doesn't count.

The minimum here should be set by, say, Angel in Season 3 of Buffy-- his hundred subjective years in Hell really screwed him up for a while.

Brushwood said...

The Flash: get Bart back to the 30th century and have him join whatever Legion ends up in continuity next. Like Superman, he trained in a different time period, now he's read for a career and to get his personality back. Also, Wally returns from Earth-39 or whatever, with his personality closer to the JLU version. Barry can stay dead, it's still a good plot device.

Bill D. said...

The regular DCU should be able to get to play with Swamp Thing, Animal Man, John Constantine, or whomever (within reason) without some sort of papal dispensation from the Vertigo side of the room.

Trials of Shazam definitely needs to go bye-bye.

Your ideas for Brainiac work well, so long as it's made explicitly clear that the whole Marvin Flum thing from the Byrne reboot never happened.

Anonymous said...

43. Get rid of Millenium
44. Get rid of Bloodlines or whatever the annual event was with the aliens. The only good thing that came out of it was Hitman and he can stand on his own.
45. Pick a Legion and stick with-it, perhaps just saying that everything after the first LSH premium series started never happened.
46. Titans Hunt; 14 issues and did it bring us anything? Other than the roling head of Pantha
47. Bloodhound
48. Bring back Lazarus Man, Aztec and Chase
49. Force a strong editor upon Brad Metzger if he wants to write DC anymore. Very good writer that has great ideas but he needs an editor to rein him in and keep him focused. Three issues of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman looking at pictures says it all.
50. Tachyon, hasn't been used in a while and probably won't ever be used again but let's make sure he is eliminated.
51. Extreme Justice
52. Keep Steve Niles Creeper. I for one have never had any interest in the character but playing the split personality and physical change makes him more interesting.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I think could stand a tweak at this point is Black Canary's history. In 2007, saying that the Black Canary of the JLA is the daughter of the Golden-Age Black Canary is just about as implausible as it was to say that she actually was the Golden-Age Black Canary in 1983. How old is the current Canary supposed to be? 30, 35 tops? Even if Dinah and Larry Lance waited awhile to have children, I doubt they'd have waited until 1972.

Anthony Strand said...

Re: Black Canary - I think, at some point, "The Golden Age" needs to be not the 1940s but some indeterminate time in the past. Too many Golden Agers have unrealistically young children running around.

Anonymous said...

43. How about just leave Jason Todd dead or have Joker do it again or maybe a Monitor. Or have his return just a dream or something...

44. Kid Flash/Impulse - deage him, its was just a dream or again just something to give us back the fun character aspiring to be an adult, not a whining 20 something. Bring Wally and Linda and the twins back to Keystone and tell great stories. Mix in Kid Flash it would be great. And leave Barry an honored memory.

45. Nightwing - see Chuck Dixon before the character was destroyed.

46. Aquaman - complete agreement with the blogs of late and keep the sub Diego subbed.

47. Burn all history/continuity involving Judd Winick. I don't think I have ever enjoyed anything he has written.

48. I thought Supergirl was more interesting when she was dead. Or can't she just been sent into the future to do Legion things.

48. Hawkman/Hawkgirl - I didn't really have a problem with the series pre-Superboy punching. Ignoring everything else it seemed to make sense. Eliminate all issues that Howard wrote. Also, what's with the Power Girl hook-up?

49. Couldn't DC have an "Adventure Comics" with good writers that would cover B and C listers that probably can't sustain their own titles?

50. Include Shazam - Monster Society of Evil the one true Shazam and toss the Winick

51. Keep Captain Atom over in the Wildstorm Universe and then wall it off. Authorityism does nothing good for the DCU. Good in Wildstorm, bad in DCU. I would rather have the Zombies.

52. Could we have secret identities be secret again? At least some of them, maybe?

acespot said...

Are you saying to bring Bloodhound back or retcon him away? If the former, I agree. If the latter, why bother? Also, it would create problems with the first run on Firestorm's most recent title.

It's not "Lazarus Man", it "Resurrection Man". And he isn't gone...he is, and always HAS been, one of the "Forgotten Heroes".

It's not Metzger, it's MELTZER!

It's not Tachyon, it's TAKION. He's currently the leader of the New Gods, which, since they don't get used very often, doesn't really impact the rest of the DCU that much. It was a cute little book. Did it really traumatize you that much? Or were you just mystified at his recent appearance in JLU?

Bloodlines was DEFINITELY stupid, but as far as larger impact upon the DCU in general, it didn't really have one. The idea for this contrived series was to create a mechanism for the introduction of a new crop of Superheroes. Very few ever got used beyond the annuals: Anima, Loose Cannon, and Hitman were the most persistent of the new characters. Others used for a time were Edge, Nightblade, Prism, and Joe Public. Ballistic, Geist, Mongrel, and Razorsharp were also headliners of the Blood Pack, a cute four issue series, and appeared elsewhere in the DCU...but not much. So, although the crossover was AWFUL, it was mostly because of the writing. The events within didn't contradict anything within the DCU, and really haven't been referred to since.

The purpose of this exercise isn't to delete all bad stories from the DCU without any selectivity. It's to selectively delete stories which have, over time, posed massive continuity problems within the DCU and contributed to the sense of muddled history that plagues it today.

For instance: the first of my recommended deletions? Millennium. It posited that there had been Manhunter agents hidden throughout the DCU for years, just waiting for the proper time to strike. What made no sense about this was that many of these agents were characters who had been established for YEARS, with no hint of such motivations. Even worse, DC didn't stick with it following the event. Everyone pretended it hadn't happened. One of the more famous failures here was Lana Lang. Even stupider was the fact that the Millennium event had a Legion of Super-Heroes crossover...IN THE FUTURE! That's right! The manhunter agent in that book waited 1000 years AFTER the utter DEFEAT of the Manhunters to begin her machinations. STOOOOOPID. However, the Millennium event did, unfortunately, have larger and more persistent ramifications throughout the DCU. One of the most atrocious was the creation of the "New Guardians", some of whose members were most recently seen in the pages of Green Lantern (vol 4) as members of the Global Guardians. Others, thankfully, are dead.
Also, the Millennium event changed the status of the Green Lanterns and the Guardians for quite some time. And the Manhunters have kept on showing up from time to time.
So it needs to be taken care of.

My second recommended deletion? Zero Hour. Zero Hour threw the entire chronology of the 30th century into flux, erasing all Legion stories up to that point, creating severe continuity glitches throughout the 20th century due to all of the stories where time travelling Legionnaires played a pivotal role. Booster Gold's history got messed up due to this. So did, once again, Superman's. Not only did Zero Hour mess up the Legion, it messed up the (incredibly lame) Team Titans by positing that they'd been agents of Monarch or the Time Trapper. Dumb, poorly written, and best forgotten. However, the Team Titans had many crossovers in their short-lived series with other, more enduring characters, two of which are Donna Troy and Damage. Also, don't forget that the most persistent character in that series was the original Terra. They actually worked for the US government for a time. So when Zero Hour hit, it messed up all these stories. Zero Hour also served as the catalyst for the Warrior-ification of Guy Gardner, something which is also best forgotten. And it removed the death of Joe Chill from continuity. Or did it? The final issue of Zero Hour featured a fold out timeline of the DCU, many of whose elements were incorrect, and even more of which were IMMEDIATELY contradicted. The ONLY positive thing to come out of Zero Hour was Starman.

In other words? Be more selective. Just because something was a bad idea doesn't mean it should be erased. But if said bad idea affects the rest of the DCU and has lasting impacts on future stories, or features prominently in later contradictions, not to mention if the story made NO sense in relation to anything which had been established previously, it should DEFINITELY be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Speedy must have been hooked on heroin for much longer than one issue. It's just that Ollie didn't notice until that issue. Then, of course, there's withdrawal and rehab. Nobody quits the smack cold turkey. That will certainly kill you.

I just have to recommend some old fanfic that does a pretty neat job sorting this out -- I wish Superboy Prime had punched it into continuity:

And the sequel, for those who are interested:

Matthew E said...

acespot: I'd add one thing to what you're saying. In addition to being a bad idea that constitutes continuity problems, we should require that something be a bad story before removing it from continuity. I am (of course!) thinking about the reboot and threeboot Legions when I say this. The way I look at it, it may have been a mistake to reboot the Legion both times, and it may be causing continuity problems, but it also resulted in some good stories that I would not want to lose, no matter how inconvenient it makes things for old-school purists.

acespot said...

Wouldn't it be easier to just integrate each of the Legion's incarnations as opposed to trying to fix the messes their crosstime appearances made of continuity? Sure, they can basically be ignored during The Final Night, but what about Booster Gold, Superman, and all their other downstream adventures?

Matthew E said...

I'm not sure what you mean by 'integrating' them.

If you mean to sort of smoosh them all together into one Legion, I think you create more problems than you solve that way, because they're mutually contradictory in a lot of ways. I think you lose more than you gain.

I prefer an approach utilizing either parallel Earths or multiple futures to have 'em all around at the same time.

ticknart said...

Give Black Lightning his hair back. Just because a man is black doesn't mean he has to be bald.

The Ray - Either tell me that all the good the Priest did in the ongoing was punched out of existence, or give me a mini that fills in what happened between taking in Joshua, freeing Happy, and finally hugging Nadine as his Mom and the time he joined up with the Freedom Fighters, which I guess was around Our Worlds at War. I want some Jazz, I want some Hank, and I'd like him to run into Black Canary again. Hell, if Ray makes it into her mini this summer, I'll buy it.

ticknart said...

Oh, and Steel - Like The Ray, let me know if all the good that Priest did was punched out of existence because it was way better than the crap the Loeb did to him.

T said...

Concerning #13 and #42: Batman sure isn't good at picking replacements, is he? Next time he'll probably get the Red Hood and Damien to sub for him. Oh, and Bat-Hombre:

Speaking of the Red Hood, I think #2's a cool idea, but perhaps the Joker still should have beat him up (woo, that came out wrong). That way, Batman would still have that strong sense of guilt, and it'd give Jason a reason to reemerge and wage his violent war on crime once he's healed. Because if he had returned upon learning that Batman got a new Robin, then he would have come back years ago.

Anonymous said...

Nice, intelligent post; however, I think I disagree with the majority of it.


Marcos said...

Matt said...

"Nice, intelligent post; however, I think I disagree with the majority of it."

Foul! This is the Internet, sir. You are not allowed to disagree in a civil manner. Where are the flames, the aspersions cast on Scipio's parentage, the comparisons to historical fascists of yore? Step it up, man!

Nate said...

fooey! why are you trying to devalue my complete Booster Gold run?

Unknown said...

There's plenty to fix, but it would really be great if Katar Hol and
Shayera Thal were rehabilitated.

As much as I liked it, forget Hawkworld. Forget the Hawkgod. Make them the Silver-Age members of the JLA instead of the Halls and a Thanagarian spy.

Sure, it might require a couple more superboy punches to make it work, but wouldn't it be worth it?

acespot said...

I just reread Damage #6. I was wasn't the Team Titans, it was the New Titans. The fact that those teams are so completely interchangable, in retrospect, though? They probably BOTH deserve deletion!

Anonymous said...

43. HAWKMAN. –Just declare Hawkworld and the subsequent Hawkman series were unlabeled Elseworlds series. And the current Hawkman is the Golden Age Hawkman (sans the whole combined memory explanation). The Silver Age Hawkman died in COIE (or in an unpublished story nestled between Hawkman v2 #17 and Hawkworld LS #1).

44. ATOM. –Palmer was never a kid. That was stupid beyond stupidity.

45. AQUAMAN. –After Sword of Atlantis ends, the next issue should be Aquaman (no ‘SOA’) #40 and go right back to the Sub-Diego storyline.

46. FLASH. –If DC can bring back the SA Supergirl, then there’s no reason to deny Barry Allen. Wally had a good run, now give the title back to the greatest Flash of all. The new approach, Bart as a grownup, really stinks.

47. GRAYSON-GORDON ROMANCE. –The current revisionist story that has Dick Grayson and Babs Gordon getting it on for the past 30 years is a crock of s**t. I was there. It didn’t happen, no matter how much we fans might have wanted it at the time.

48. SUPERBOY. –I hate the whole concept. Dump it forever, or let it be Elseworlds-only. Except keep the clone version. That was a good idea. Too bad he’s dead.

49. GREEN LANTERN. –Hal Jordan wasn’t a drunk. Emerald Dawn was a lie. So was Emerald Twilight.

Scipio said...

"The smart thing to do would be to reboot/retcon everyone to their best known origins/histories/looks, whether that's the general opinion of the public (for icons) or that of the fans (for the rest)."

Siskoid: it always is. it always is.