Thursday, September 22, 2022

The War for the Soul of the DCU

With the release of DC's December solicits it's increasingly clear that (as previously mentioned) the winds of change have blown through the editorial halls of DC and, as my great-grandmother would have said in heavily-accented English, "blowed der stink out". 


Tim Drake is back as Robin in his own solo comic.

After rescuing the Cheetah from the clutches of the evil International Milk Company, Wonder Woman must set her sights on the real monsters behind it all…the gods of fear and panic, Phobos and Deimos. Wonder Woman, Cheetah, the evil International Milk Company, Phobos and Deimos. The only thing that sentence lacks is ETTA CANDY to make it perfect.

One Panel #634: Big Milk
The Evil International Milk Company.
With that phrase, DC just won back my heart.


I want to see Flash dealing with villains and threats like a superhero, not fussing fetidly with "speed force" and internal personal legacy nonsense like a Regency novel character.

Two Tom King comics are ending, one in which he kills a Wayne family member and the one where he killed a Green Lantern.  The ending of Tom King comics is always a good sign.

Two-Face is back menacing Renee Montoya at the GCPD. Or is he on her side...? Regardless, it's old school comics.  

Never count Two-Face out; he's VERY well connected.

DC: Mech is ending. If you don't know what it is, just be glad.  So is DC vs. Vampires (ugh).

Geoff Johns is bringing back the Justice Society (again).

Geoff Johns Launches Justice Society Of America and Stargirl Comics
Which he's been trying to do since 2016, if you haven't been keeping track.

Jaime Reyes is back to Blue Beetling.

Kal-El is back on Earth and here to stay.  

Lady Cop is back (although she's in the hands of Tom King, so expect her to be kicked to death by the Killer in Boots).

And perhaps most dramatically:

Nightwing in Dark Crisis #7 Leads To The "Dawn Of The DCU"
The Sensational Character Find of 2022

Gone are the remnants of Dan Didio's 5G plan to Kill Everyone's Childhood and replace all heroes with replicants containing only his DNA.  His crisis-driven/Crisis-driving style gave us a mess of messes for nearly two decades before the backlash overwhelmed his momentum two years ago and he was removed as swiftly, completely, and mysteriously as if he were a victim in a '70s Spectre story. 

"I can't find Dan; anybody know where he is?"
"Last time I saw him, he was... headed out."

Big ships turn slowly. Since that change was a sudden one, there was no real plan in place to follow it and it showed.  Various unpleasant initiatives with Didio's sticky DNA all over them--darkly cynical gigantic crossover events like DCeased and *snort* Dark Crisis--have had to wind their way to a close, like dying automata from a passing steampunk era. 

"ZOMG THE JUSTICE LEAGUE IS DEAD and now they're going to replace them with legacy characters!"
Uh-huh. Yes. Yes, I'm sure they are.

One of those unpleasant initiatives is Damian Wayne, a character who truly personifies Didio's approach to things.  "Robin is currently a super-competent, well adjusted guy named Tim Drake.  He's been Robin for over 25 years; as long as Dick Grayson had been when the Batman '66 TV show began. Let's dump him for Batman's illegitimate son from an Elseworlds story, who's an unlikeable murderous little ****." Didio didn't come up with the idea but he supported it 1000% percent. 

In the old days, that would have been a one-issue "fear of being replaced as partner" story,  and the kid would have been revealed as a fake by the end, AND redeemed himself by taking a bullet for Dick from  some random gangster and dying on the spot, with a few final words of regret. Instead, we've been trapped in a 15-year-long "Ransom of Red Chief" scenario.

Maybe Damian can pair up with Nightman:
"Nightman and Red Chief".

Batman versus Robin is pretty clearly about taking Damian out of the Robin role with Tim Drake going back into it.

All of the above is part of the real-world internal war for The Soul of the DCU, one that's been raging for 20 years. If Crisis on Infinite Earths issued in (or at least coincided with) the beginning of roughly 15-year Dark Era in the DCU (with its '90s exxxtreme badassery and antiherohood), the following 20 years has been a grand Zoroastrian battle between Dan Didio's forces of Darkness and Geoff Johns' forces of Light.

Action Philosophers Tpb Part 1 | Read Action Philosophers Tpb Part 1 comic  online in high quality. Read Full Comic online for free - Read comics  online in high quality .
Look, just read Action Philosophers, okay? All of it. All. Of. It.

For 20 years, Didio was pushing his vision for the DCU and Johns another and they were, at heart, as completely opposed as Uxas and Izaya. At one point, Tom King (Didio's Desaad) had Wally West going insane and murdering other heroes at the very same time Geoff Johns was bringing him back as the Personification of Hope in the DCU.  Johns eventually fell back and distanced himself from DC, given how entrenched Didio's forces were... but all that changed two years ago.  

And now Johnsian apostle Mark Waid is writing the comic that's shuffling Damian off and making way for Tim Drake, as well as bringing back to life Alfred, whom Tom King gratuitously killed with Didio's permission (or at his insistence).  Didio's plan to replace the original and legacy characters beloved by Johns with creations from his own stable was struck down by a corporate thunderbolt. Johns has returned and is bringing back the Justice Society, which he was blocked from doing properly six years ago during Rebirth, his last big push to de-darken the Didioverse.  Really, the biggest target left would be to pry the Legion--DC's ultimate symbol of an optimistic future of heroic legacy--out of the cold dead literary hands of Didio's Granny Goodness, Brian Mumblecore Bendis.  

Yes. It seems increasingly clear who has won the war for The Soul of the DCU.

Nightwing in Dark Crisis #7 Leads To The "Dawn Of The DCU"
The Sensational Character Find of 2022


Jeff McGinley said...

I was so excited about the JSA returning I missed over half of this other stuff. Good news indeed. Thanx for the fun recap.

CobraMisfit said...

The "Two-Wally-Wests" moment was, for me, the most public schism of this war. As you pointed out, it was light and dark at the same time and readers were having none of it. There was huge outcry against Murder Wally, which seemed to fall on the continually deaf ears of Tom King. It smacked of Cullen Bunn's "Your King is Pissed" moment. Tone deaf to the character, ignorant of the history, and hubris to mold a character into something they think is more interesting than decades of fantastic stories.

Comics might not be for kids, per se, but folks like Dido, King, Bunn, Bendis, etc, who break your toys and mock you for being mad about it have run the show for far too long. Stop attempting telling "your" stories in the skin of DC icons. Instead, tell the story of the icons and trust that readers will enjoy it. Or, at the very least, mesh a believable concept for the icon into the mix. If anyone should go to rehab and accidentally murder people, it's Barry How-Am-I-Still-Married-to-Iris-When-Patty-Exists Allen....

Anonymous said...

This probably sounds like a hopelessly simplistic take on comics, but I swear it makes sense to me: just write good stories about your characters. Now I realize we can have different opinions over what constitutes "good", but when your approach to everything is just to shake things up (the harder the better), that's easier to dissect. "Good stories ABOUT your characters" can't mean just shoving them out of the way or trying to break them.

Breaking it down so simple that even DiDio can understand it: write stories where there is a problem that the hero has an appropriate skill set to solve, in a way that most readers would agree is consistent with the hero's nature. If your approach is to say "okay but hear me out, suppose Superman wants to try mass murder as a solution?" then you are not well-suited to the assignment.

Scipio said...

STILL simping for Patty, eh, Misfit?
While I may agree about Patty, I have to disagree about Barry. Nothing stands as a greater testimony to Barry's ability NOT to crazy and to resist killing somebody than the fact that he's still married to Iris.

Dave said...

With all due respect, for me, the Sensational Character Find of 2022 is Mark Waid's Kid Thunder, whose real name is one letter away from my own.

Scipio said...

And I thought "Kid Thudder" was just a nickname!