Thursday, August 30, 2012

Things That Made Me Happy...

... in my comics this week.

  • Actually, the kiss kind of makes sense.  I'm okay with it.  But it will, of course, never work out between them.
  • Now the Flash is almost as fast as it used to be slow.
  • Well, that's the most interesting Black Mask has ever been.  Although certainly not the most comprehensible.
  • I'm looking forward to seeing David make it up to Hartley. Yeah, I'd rent that.
  • Wow, Dr Elias is pretty much Luthor without, you know, conscience.
  • A-a-a-and there's the wind up for Justice League of America...
  • After what feels like ten years of trying,  Geoff Johns finally make me like Hal Jordan, and in only two pages.
  • See? I told you Aquaman should lead the Justice League.
  • I now need more than two hands to count the number of times I've seen Aquaman make the "I'm going to kill Black Manta" speech. I'm thinking of turning them into a collage.
  • Power Internalization!  Smart move, a logical development, and efficiently handled, Mr Manapul!
  • "And don't call me Monkey!"
  • Okay, Mera lied to Aquaman for years about who she really was, so I thinks it's quite fine that he never told her about his old war buddies.
  • Wait, did I just see Titano poop out a piece of red K in downtown Metropolis?
  • The Rogues' second rule.  Nice repudiation by Manapul of a bad misstep by Johns.
  • Lois fixing Clark's hair.  She totally knows.  She just doesn't care.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vibe in the Justice League of America

As Absorbascommenter Kevin Trudeau kindly pointed out in my previous post, the inevitable has, indeed, come to pass.

I speak, of course, of the Inevitable Return of Vibe (as I have spoken of before).

Vibe is part of the re-branding of the Justice League.  More accurately, the diversification of the JL brand.  There are a lot of comic book supergroups, but none has the power and Q rating of the Justice League, which ushered in the return of superheroes as a genre in the comic book medium, forged the Silver and Bronze Ages, and inspired the creation of the Marvel superhero line.  In 1980s, DC experiment with the brand, diversifying with the Justice League International, Justice League Europe, television's Justice League Unlimited, and more regrettable experiments like Extreme Justice, Justice League Elite, and Justice League Antarctica. 

The original Silver Age Justice League of America was, of course, an experiment to begin with. Let's put all our most popular heroes in one book and see what happens.  It was (as I have said 100 times) the opposite of the editorial philosophy behind the Justice Society of America (which was, "let's put all our heroes together who CAN'T sustain titles on their own, have them operate in coordinated solo missions, and see if we can generate a breakout character). The experiment succeeded.

The next level of experimentation came with the Bronze Age Justice League of America, which widened membership beyond the traditional Seven Icons (sacrificing also-ran Martian Manhunter in the process) and introduced some occasional internal conflict in the formerly oh-so-chummy group. On the whole, that experiment succeeded and many readers still remember the Satellite Era fondly.

The next experiment, meant to modernize the Justice League when its icons were deemed to have grown musty, was the Detroit-based Justice League.  That experiment, it is fair to say, did not succeed.

Further evidence not required.

Vibe, as a character, certainly had some flaws-- he was just a bit too brash, too irascible, too obviously a cultural reach-out.  In short, he was a tad too "Marvel'.  That's what DC had been going for and what they thought their readers wanted; a Marvel-style group of troubled misfits on a Marvel-style group with lots of internal conflict.   It's a valid editorial direction, sure...but it's not "the Justice League", and the readers rejected it rather strongly.   DC tried to recover, but big ships turn slowly.  By the time they started guest-starring the 'real' Leaguers to keep the boat afloat it had already run aground, and the Detroiters were done for. 

Again, Vibe had his flaws, but his biggest sin was being part and parcel of the failed Detroit League.  Of the three characters created specifically for the Detroit League, only one survived, no doubt by turning invisiblish and running away on her nearly-invulnerable feet.

Yet, as the linked article shows, Vibe will retain many of his core elements.  The vibration power.  The Detroit.  The "Low-rent" hero, um, vibe.  The connection with his brother.

But there are subtle changes calculated to make Vibe more viable.  Old Vibe was held back by his elder brother.  New Vibe is encouraged by him.  Old Vibe was over-confident and disrespectful; new Vibe is
more understated (as is his outfit).

I have high hopes for New Vibe.  Is he the brave and bold stroke he was in the Detroit League?

No.  But then again... this isn't the '80s.