Egad, Ryan!Care to elaborate on this, for someone who retired from DC (and modern comics in general) because the type of storytelling, along with TOO MANY continuity shifts, made them something I could no longer enjoy. DC: DROPPED? Been there, done that! …Just remember, you always have your older comics to enjoy. That’s how *I* approach it. …So, what’s the deal!
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Joe (et al),SPOILER ALERT!(To those who don't mind being spoiled, scroll down!)................................................................................................................................................In the final chapter of the Justice League/Justice League of America/Justice League Dark (I ended up liking that last one, and the character of John Constantine, a lot more than I ever thought I would), Cyborg (in the New 52, not a Teen Titan, but part of the Justice League A-team along with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the lot) is killed. This was the work of the Earth 3 (the "evil" one) evil, female version of the Atom, who had recently been accepted for League membership by pretending to be cute and nice when she was actually a double-agent. At some point, she stealthily, without detection, planted some sort of computer virus on a time delay inside Cyborg. At the climax of "Trinity War", within a couple panels of her revealing that she'd done so and the reveal of her true nature, we then see Cyborg's flesh parts being ripped apart from his robot parts and blown to bits, all in full, gory detail. Then, the mysterious, elderly, gaunt, formally-attired figure who we've only known as the mastermind behind the anonymous Injustice League opens the dimensional rift allowing said Society -- the evil Earth 3 versions of the Justice League A-team -- to cross over. He gushes about all he has done all this (including the orchestration of Cyborg's grizzly murder) for his beloved "master" -- who turns out to be Earth 3/the Injustice League's Batman. We've been looking all along at the Earth 3 Alfred ... an Alfred who exalts in facilitating malevolent, heartless, backstabbing murder out of fealty and reverence for his Bruce Wayne (who, of course, condones and encourages such activity). To find out what happens next, September is "Villains Month" for the entire New 52 line, which will largely be a divergence and entail many extraneous pages; and then, in October, the Forever Evil mini-series will kick off, which I believe is where the rest of the story is really going to play out. Thanks, but no thanks. Rather than wait to see how the rightful order of things are restored, I'll just keep mysel busy with those Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age DC "torrents" I've downloaded. There's enough there to keep me busy for the rest of my life. As you said, Joe, "Just remember, you always have your older comics to enjoy" ... and though they're old(er), most of them are new to me, so why wait for DC to get it right again (which they probably never will)?Something I've been considering, as a result of the violent pornography that was Cyborg's murder: I read "Knightfall" in trade paperback, so in just a few sittings, I saw Bruce rebound and make his "comeback", and justice ultimately being done. But if at that time, I'd been reading the comics from month to month at that time, would I have stopped reading out of revulsion, as I've just done, when I saw Bane break Batman's back and then throw his crippled, dying body off of a rooftop? I do remember thinking, at that point in the story, that in part it was for gratuitous shock value. But in the long run, the story held up. So might ultimately be the case this time around ... but THIS tastelessness being the culmination of the first two years of the drudgery that's been the New 52 (how time has flown...), my confidence isn't there. -- Ryan
Another thing to consider, Ryan, is that, at the time of “Knightfall” (and “Death of Superman” as well) was DC going (to invoke the old STAR TREK cliché) “Where No Publisher Had Gone Before”! That is, take out the two stars / big guns, and explore what happens. In each case, I found it fascinating! Batman and Superman were defeated, as they had NEVER been before. Superman dead and Batman with crippling, near-mortal injuries. Batman was replaced with a psychotic, Image-Comics-Version of himself. Superman with characters that cleverly personified various PHRASES associated with the character over the decades: “The Man of Tomorrow”, “The Last Son of Krypton”, “The Man of Steel”, and “Superboy”. (Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t a phrase, so let’s try “The Adventures of Superman when he was a Boy”!) From this, TWO good characters remained in Superman continuity for a long while (Heaven only knows what “Superman continuity” is THESE DAYS!), and one damned amazing villain emerged. The feeling reading these (both Superman and Batman’s tales) in weekly installments is almost impossible to describe to anyone who either read Trades or collected issues WITHOUT the mandatory “Seven-Day Waiting Period” between Issue-Chapters! It’s a feeling even *I*, with my decades of reading comics – before and since – had never experienced (again, before and since)! The closest I would ever come to that singular excitement was watching LOST or THE WALKING DEAD… but even there, I did the first FOUR seasons of LOST, and the first THREE seasons of THE WALKING DEAD on DVD, so the “agony of delayed gratification” was never truly the same. With DC having “done that” so magnificently “back then”, and with collections of these epic tales presumably still available for all to read, what you describe here is a primary reason I dropped DC in early 2012 – Too much change for the sake of change, and damage to iconic characters for the sake of damage. …Your thoughts?
Joe,My thoughts are ... well, really, what is there to add? You've given a great historical and critical assessment! One thing that I think merits consideration is that you're looking at that era in the past tense and in terms of "the big picture", which is different than writing about a still ongoing storyline (or blockbuster comics "event"). I'm not sure where DC's going with this ... but then, that might be part of the problem: I've almost never gotten a sense of direction with the New 52. Perhaps that's the difference: in the `90's, the readers trusted that the editors and creators knew what they were doing.I don't know that "waiting with baited breath for the next installment!" feeling. I, too, went through it with Lost, as well as the early issues of BOOM!'s Darkwing Duck, and, going a bit further back (though you won't relate to this one), Gargoyles. When reading continuities like "Knightfall" in a trade paperback, that sense of exhilaration is still there, much like in reading a gripping novel ... it's technically an adrenaline rush, I believe. (And when I read a story for the first time in a trade, I'm well-aware of the divisions between issues. Many people aren't, including people I've lent books to.)-- Ryan
Ryan,Thanks for reminding me WHY I ultimately decided to cut loose from superhero comics!I do think that the DC editorial staff of 20 years ago was far more "ept" than the people in charge today. Even when they took what seemed to be crazy risks, it soon became apparent that they had thought out what they were going to do. That confidence started to slip later in the 90s, and, well, you know the rest...Chris