Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Trinity War’ is testing the old ways

Pandora holds that evil skull like my daughter holds her stuffed bunnies

Pandora holds that evil skull like my daughter holds her stuffed bunnies

The first part of “Trinity War” (in last week’s Justice League #22) relied rather significantly on the changes the New 52 relaunch facilitated: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Billy Batson/Shazam (hereinafter “Billy/Shazam,” or maybe just “Captain Marvel”) each acted in ways incompatible with long relationships.

In the old days, Superman and Wonder Woman would have been close friends, Superman and Captain Marvel would have had a unique (almost mentor-protegé) relationship, and Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel would at least have had some Greek mythology in common. However, the main conflicts of “TW” Part 1 depended on Wonder Woman being more of a warrior than an ambassador, Superman trusting her hostility, and Billy/Shazam not knowing either of them that well. As such, it appeared to exemplify the freedom a relaunch confers, specifically to ignore the restrictions of previous developments to put these characters quickly on opposing sides.

In other words, one might reasonably have seen Part 1 as a) realizing the New 52 allowed for a particular Shocking Event and b) working backward to create the conditions that would lead to said Event. “Because we can do this, how do we do it?”

To be sure, other forces were at work behind the scenes of JL #22, manipulating at least a couple of players. This story also might have been possible, at least in a broad sense, under the old regimes. After all, writer Geoff Johns famously put the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman at odds in Infinite Crisis. That required months of steady, dedicated groundwork. Similarly, Johns has spent most of the past two years laying the foundation for “Trinity War,” and spreading that foundation across an array of characters, from new versions of the Atom and Green Lantern to the rebooted Captain Marvel and Doctor Light, and the coupled-up Superman and Wonder Woman. Last week, many of those characters combined with volatile results.

However, this week’s Part 2 (in Justice League of America #6, co-written by Johns and Jeff Lemire) takes a couple of necessary steps back from the brink. It feels very much like the fulfillment of Ye Olde Trope “first they fight, then they team up,” but after decades of Justice League team-ups and crossovers, criticizing such general story structure is almost beside the point. The Shocking Event hasn’t gone away, but at least the aftermath looks more promising.

Before getting further into spoilers, I will say upfront that penciler Ivan Reis, inkers Joe Prado and Oclair Albert, and colorist Rod Reis did a really good job on JL #22. Characters and backgrounds were detailed without being over-rendered (although I wondered if some of the news-clipping headlines were really uncorrected placeholders) and the issue flowed nicely, building suspense as much through layout and pacing as through the script. The 34-page story included two double-page spreads illustrating super-combat, and two other spreads where the panel layout used both pages. There were also three splash pages, two of which were wordless. I felt like the splashes and the double-page spreads were there for emphasis, in a “worth 1,000 words” sense, and as such they didn’t seem showy or gratuitous. (Color was also used well to denote both flashbacks and emotion. For example, when someone was hit by a particular magic weapon, the panel went mostly gray, except for a particular object in red. Indeed, reddish tones dominated the issue, amping up the anxiety level.) Since the whole issue was concerned with getting to a particular tipping point, it was on the artists to do a lot of heavy lifting, and they didn’t disappoint.

Likewise, I thought artist Doug Mahnke and his cadre of inkers (Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, and Tom Nguyen) were better-suited for the more subdued JLA #6. Mahnke drew a great Wonder Woman in his previous stint on the old JLA, so it’s good that she gets a spotlight in this issue. The issue’s 24 pages feature one double-page spread and two other spreads where the panel layout used both pages. Those latter two were the title page (where the layout featured “roll call” inset panels) and a two-person establishing scene in a laboratory, where each page was dominated by a single character. Accordingly, there was less spectacle and more character work in Part 2, which did a lot to offset both the headed-over-cliff pacing and the reliance on shock in Part 1.

With all that out of the way …

SPOILERS FOLLOW

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Again, if you have fond memories of the pre-New 52 DC Universe, you may well enjoy “Trinity War” a lot less. Much of this comes from the way JL #22 sets the stage. For example, at one point Wonder Woman tells Superman firmly that her rogues gallery isn’t as big as Batman’s or the Flash’s because she “deals with” them — not necessarily by killing them, but still. No doubt this shows how hardcore she is, and gives her credibility with today’s readership, which is ostensibly more demanding when it comes to such matters.

As you might expect, I have a couple of reactions to this. First, Wonder Woman does have a decent-sized rogues gallery, including Cheetah, Dr. Psycho, Circe, Giganta, Veronica Cale and any number of mythological figures. Second, the Golden Age Wonder Woman had her own version of Arkham Asylum, a few decades before everyone’s favorite madhouse debuted. This was Transformation Island, where female supervillains went to get rehabilitated. It involved something called “loving submission,” which may be NSFW, but was definitely “dealing with” her foes. Still, Johns’ portrayal of Wonder Woman in Part 1 seems to leave little room for reform. (Part 2, co-written by Lemire, gets off this track to put Diana in a more investigative frame of mind, as she interrogates Hephaestus and tracks down Justice League Dark.)

In contrast to Diana’s pragmatism, Pandora’s more optimistic view of Superman sparks Part 1′s first big plot point. She’s looking for the Man of Steel because she claims there’s no evil in him — but those of us who remember 1995′s Underworld Unleashed know that writer Mark Waid made Captain Marvel the “purest” superhero. To be fair, that may still come to pass, particularly since Billy/Shazam spends a lot of Part 2 wondering why he needs to stick around. Regardless, given Pandora’s history with the wizard Shazam, and the relative obscurity of the New 52 Shazam, it’s understandable that she’d go for Superman instead. In this respect “Trinity War” benefits from the New 52 setup, but again, it may not go over well with longtime DC readers. (Similarly, they may not enjoy a frustrated Billy/Shazam asking “Who gives a crap?”)

Speaking of Billy/Shazam’s relative obscurity, the League in this issue acts like they’ve barely heard of him, but I got the impression that he was part of the “Grid’s” list of potential reserves. This issue pretty clearly takes place after the events of the all-Shazam! #21, which means that the rest of the “Shazam!” backups happened more or less concurrently with League arcs like “The Villain’s Journey” and “Throne of Atlantis,” which seems to make those earlier mentions/cameos into mistakes.

For that matter, while Billy/Shazam may not be as unblemished in the New 52, he still comes across fairly sympathetically in Part 1. He flies to Kahndaq to scatter Black Adam’s ashes across the sands of his homeland, which is a good thought. However, it violates international law, and the Justice League takes it upon themselves to bring him back. That, in turn, brings in the JLA, tasked with getting the main League out of trouble. Mix in a couple of outside complications and you’ve got a big superhero fight.

Part 2 could easily have gone much darker, with a possessed Superman lashing out at the JLA (and the JL too, maybe) and everything descending into chaos. Instead, Superman pulls himself together and surrenders. Considering that he spent a good bit of Part 1 all fire-eyed, this is a welcome development, as are the eight pages the JL and JLA spend trying to figure out calmly what’s going on. Those scenes make JLA #6 a good tonic for the craziness of JL #22. They are not without flaws, including yet another “any superhero scientist can do an autopsy” scene, but at least they’re giving the reader time to breathe.

Indeed, Part 2 contains some intriguing mysteries. The first could simply be a mistake: Hephaestus tells Wonder Woman that Pandora found her “box” outside his temple, but we know from Pandora #1 that she found it in the woods, 8,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. Perhaps more importantly, though, Hephaestus reveals the Greek gods didn’t make Pandora’s box, and that “[n]o one knows where it came from. … Zeus [and the other gods] used Pandora to open [the box] because even they were scared of [it].”

So where’d it come from? As Rich Johnston points out, Vibe notices “something beyond our world” when he tries to disrupt the Flash’s connection to the Speed Force. Given the Flash’s traditional ability to travel between parallel universes by adjusting his vibratory frequency, it’s not much of a stretch to start thinking about other Earths. Combine that with Volthoom — an evil deity from the evil universe of Earth-3 — showing up in Johns’ final Green Lantern arc, and the rumors of Earth-3′s Crime Syndicate playing a part in Forever Evil, and it starts to look like an invasion from another reality. Johnston thinks the Outsider (the Secret Society of Super-Villains’ mysterious leader) is actually the Earth-3 Alfred Pennyworth, since waaay back in 1964, Alfred was killed and revived as a villain with that name.

Of course, an Alfred-less Outsider also appeared in Flashpoint’s altered timeline, and the one in “Trinity War” seems a lot closer to that guy than he does to a diabolical butler, regardless of how hypercompetent Alfred is in any reality. Regardless, it makes sense that Earth-3 is some cosmic wellspring — wrongspring? — of everything that’s bad, and between Volthoom and Pandora’s box, it keeps creeping into the main-line universe. I wouldn’t be surprised if the various Leagues ended up having to fight their way off Earth-3 while Forever Evil rages across the rest of the superhero line. (In Madame Xanadu’s apocalyptic JL #22 vision, Batman talks about having to “escape” and “save him” — perhaps a newly evil Billy/Shazam?)

But see, all that’s informed by my pre-New 52 knowledge. It is getting tricky to chart a course between those kinds of expectations and the possibilities the relaunch offers. Naturally, Johns and his colleagues come to these characters with decades’ worth of their own fannish desires. However, apparently they’re also guided by the need to create something new, and specifically something which doesn’t feel predictable or familiar. They risk alienating longtime readers, but they’re probably used to that by now.

Ironically, there’s a lot in these two parts of “Trinity War” which does feel familiar. It’s only been a few years since the Crime Syndicate fought the Justice League, but they’re the kind of high-stakes foes you expect the League to face. If future installments of “Trinity War” find three sets of Leaguers recombining into smaller squads to tackle specific missions, and/or switching opponents to take advantage of particular strengths and weaknesses, I won’t be disappointed.

However, the rules have changed. Our predictions don’t necessarily come out of a well-used knowledge base. “Trinity War” Part 1 showed what can happen when the old ways no longer hold true. While it created tension quite well, its plot didn’t flow organically from what we knew about (even the New-52 versions of) the characters. In showing these characters trying to act more rationally, Part 2 chose wisely. Regardless of background, characterization shouldn’t depend on prior knowledge.

I just realized I haven’t mentioned the new version of the Question, who serves mostly to tie various scenes together (and who only starts to drive the plot at the end of Part 2), but he embodies the “deductive” side of this crossover. So much has been focused on who would win in a fight (not least because of the rationale behind the JLA) that it’s nice to have an entire issue devoted to looking at what’s really going on.

This may be Lemire’s influence, because Part 2 feels less busy than Part 1 did, even accounting for Part 1′s breakneck pace. At the risk of overgeneralizing, a lot of Johns-driven crossovers are high-concept (an evil Green Lantern Corps! An evil Superboy! Intergalactic zombies! A demented alternate timeline!), and they tend to revolve around big dogpile-style fights.

There’s certainly room for “Trinity War” to end up like that. Maybe not this time, though. Maybe the rules really have changed.

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Comments

22 Comments

It always amazes me, how two people can look at the same piece of art, & get totally different things from it. I just never thought that comics would be one of those things, though.

I can’t help but feel that your bias is based on your preference for the “Old DC”. You (& others) need to face the reality, that the Old DC simply isn’t coming back, & that it’s a complete waste of time, trying to make those comparisons between the two. Otherwise, you come off like the “old guy” (& yes, I realize that’s supposed to he your schtick here) who always talks about “you whipper-snappers don’t realize that back in my day, we had to walk to school barefoot for 5 miles in the snow…” Nobody’s trying to hear that, especially when, week-in & week-out, you’re using this approach to color people’s perspective of otherwise enjoyable books/stories.

For instance:

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Shazam (will you please get over the fact that he’s no longer called “Captain Marvel”?? Besides, am I the only one that thinks it’s kinda dumb to call someone a “captain”, of they are not in the military??), as he’s been introduced in the New 52. What Mark Waid did in decades past, while enjoyable, bears no relevance here.

Also, WW does not have a huge rogues gallery. Nor did she ever, according to your own listing, which was about a half dozen characters at best. That somehow equals “huge”??

Batman has 4 or 5 times that many, the Flash at least twice that number. In fact, that’s probably one of the thing that makes WW a struggle to maintain, let alone bring to greatness, is the lack of a distinguishable rogues gallery. It ends up putting her in the same boat as most of the Marvel heroes, with a buncha 2nd-string villains.

This is something that I’m hoping that the New 52 will eventually fix; lord knows, your precious Golden Age certainly didn’t.

I disagree with your assessments overall of the story thus far. Your critiques are based on oversimplifications on one hand, & biases on another. Case in point for both, Geoff Johns is capable of far more than “dogpile” stories that you accuse him of, al a TT & JSA… Or are those books too recent for your “grumpy old” sensibilities?

Also, I wanna bust thru your myth once & for all, that “the New 52 alienates long time DC readers”. I’ve been consistently reading since the mid/late 90′s. Or is that not long enough of a time for you? Do I need to have been reading the Golden Age to qualify as a “Grumpy Old Fan”?

As I said in the beginning, if the New 52 isn’t for you, well that sucks for you.There are plenty of other comics from other publishers you could be enjoying. I myself am as much a New 52 fan, as I was of the DC that preceded it.

It’s called being open minded; you should try it sometime.

Andrew Allenpeat

July 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

@SAMURAI36

That was a very militant reply to a very even handed post. Tom’s review made me *want* to check out “Trinity War”, something I wasn’t interested in doing until now.

Also, I doubt that Tom’s old enough to have read DC during the golden age. Most of those guys and gals are probably in retirement homes by now. Just my 2 cents.

And at the end Pandora’s box opens..death and destruction happens and Wally West and Stephanie Brown come out last and restart the entire DC line again.

I have to agree with Andrew Allenpeat — I found this post very even-handed. I’ve been reading Tom for a few years now, and I look forward to his posts. A lot of what he likes, I like. I’ve also been reading DC “new” since the early 90′s, but I pillaged my father’s collection to get to a lot of older stuff (particularly the Grell Green Arrow, the Byrne Superman, and the Perez/Wolfman Titans).

Not all the New 52 has done it for me, but I’m finding the shakeup is causing me to read things I never would have tried before. For the first time ever, I’m reading Wonder Woman. I’m enjoying Dial H and I’m already missing Amethyst. Different people like different things — and that’s ok.

But to get back on point — I found Tom’s post very even-handed. It didn’t hate on Trinity War at all.

Jake Earlewine

July 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm

“Also, I wanna bust thru your myth once & for all, that ‘the New 52 alienates long time DC readers’.”

And I want to bust through your ILLUSION, dude. The New 52 alienated the hell out of me AND many of my friends who used to read DC. Prior to the assinine reboot I was buying 20-25 DC comics per month. Other than about two decent titles, I don’t see how anybody would pay money to read “the new 52.”

@Jake:

That’s just you. Just like it’s just me. For every person you can count that was alienated, I can find a person that wasn’t. And that’s the point. I don’t get the need that comic fans seem to have, to try to speak for everyone, or even the majority. The only people anyone should speak for with any level of certainty, is themselves.

If you all think this article, & any of the others from this writer, are “even handed”, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Him saying that “WW had a huge rogues gallery” I’m the GA, is not even close to even handed. It’s just down right false.

Saul Goode aka Anonymous2

July 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm

@ SAMARAI36

Look, I like your enthusiasm for DC (it’s nice to see someone else on this site who doesn’t honestly believe all but one of the New 52 titles isn’t tripe) but I’ve been reading GOF for over a year now – this guy is probably the most pro-New 52 blogger on CBR, and we need him, because otherwise I feel like an outsider here.

Maybe he wasn’t 100% positive, but ultimately the tone of this piece was “Check out Trinity War, it looks promising.” He doesn’t always like what DC is doing, but he seems to be way more positive than anyone else. And a lot of his articles are basically him trying to get people who gave up on DC after the relaunch to give it another shot. He’s coming at it from their viewpoint, of someone who misses the old DC but is willing to give this new DC line a shot. And he has. And he’s said it’s led to a good bit of decent stuff. No one else on CBR is close to being that positive of the New 52.

If you want to go after someone for being overly negative about the relaunch, go spam the comments on Kelly’s blogposts on CSBG. At least she’ll respond to you. Plus she’s fun to spar with, take it from me.

So what is this Trinity War all about? Can it be summed up in 1-5 normal length sentences?

I could barely get through the first part of this storyline.

Why is every so-called superhero ready to punch the other in the face at the drop of a hat? There is ZERO voice of reason in the group of characters. FFS, SUPERMAN is a hotheaded brute! New 52 Superman is the biggest tool on the planet. Are they trying to resurrect Superdickery?

And then this second part, which starts with our “heroes” just jumping at each other with potentially fatal blows. And Superman just loses it and surrenders without giving anything a second thought, not even thinking that, hey, maybe those billions of enemies I’ve made may have made me do this. And even though nearly everyone knows that he couldn’t have done it on purpose, they have him hooked up to what looks like the same machine Darkseid used to try to copy Batman in Final Crisis and Waller wants Kryptonite made.

Even Cap—er, Shazam, is kind of a dick, but I guess since he’s a kid, I’ll give him a pass. Well, I would, except Billy Batson isn’t a dick.

It’s a good thing this terrible event isn’t spilling over to Batman or Batman and Blank.

Andrew Allenpeat

July 19, 2013 at 1:09 am

If you all think this article, & any of the others from this writer, are “even handed”, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Him saying that “WW had a huge rogues gallery” I’m the GA, is not even close to even handed. It’s just down right false.”

I’m not going to debate whether or not WW had a “huge” rogues gallery. First, because that’s in the eye of the beholder. Second, because I don’t know enough about WW to comment. Third, because it’s not the kind of debate that keeps me up at night. (I worry more about who would win, Superman or Wolverine. :-) )

However, if you find Tom’s comments about Wonder Woman to be insulting…Then I’m not seeing it. At worst it’s inaccurate. I don’t see a mistaken opinion (assuming it is mistaken) as dismissive, insulting, or belittling. If you find the comment offensive, I’d very much like to hear why. Just assume I’m not very bright (you might even be right ;-) ) and please explain, because I’m at a loss as to why you’re offended.

Well, in the Golden Age (the BEST AGE of Wonder Woman!), Wonder Woman kinda DID have a huge rogue’s gallery: Dr. Poison, Dr. Psycho, The Cheetah, Paula Something Von Nazi-Lady, Roman god of war Mars and his little spirit guys (Deception, I think one was?), Giganta, Hypnota, The Blue Snowman…many of ‘em even joined forces to form Villainy, Inc.

And that was during a time when most superheroes DIDN’T have recurring rogues in their one-off adventures, instead fighting generic gangsters, mad scientists and saboteurs who were never to be seen again. The Joker and Lex Luthor were exceptions to the rule back then.

Wondy’s added some recurring villains over the years, with Ares eventually replacing Mars and Circe becoming her archenemey, but for much of the post-Crisis the focus has been on her as a mythological warrior lady fighting Greek stuff, not supervillains, .

And, in defense of her rogues gallery’s low Q-Rating versus that of, say, Batman, she’s also been rebooted far more often and far more thoroughly than Batman, Superman, The Flash and pretty much every character this side of Supergirl, so plenty of those characters have disappeared from her continuity, and rarely or barely returned.

She’s ALSO also had fewer books to fill with conflict over the years: As recurring, name villains became more and more of a thing, Batman was appearing in somehwere between 2 and 14 times as many books as Wonder Woman , so, um, mathematically, they kinda HAD to keep inventing new villains for him more or less constantly.

The problem with The New 52 specifically as it pertains to Batman, Flash and Wonder Woman villains, Batman has had over a dozen titles or so, and his continuity is almost completely unaltered, so when they show him in Arkham or whatever, all his guys are still there.

The Flash, like Wondy, only has one title, but his writers turned to Flashes Rogues almost immediately as a team of villains for him to fight.

And, as for Wonder Woman, Brian Azzarello hasn’t used ANY character outside of Greek mythology as an antagonist for her yet, or even mentioned them, so it’s unclear if she even HAS any villains (Well, a Cheetah’s shown up in Justice League, and I thought I saw Dr. Psycho’s name…somewhere).

So yeah, in the New 52iverse, Wondy doesn’t really have any enemies. But that’s like two years out of her seven decades in comics.

Circe, Dr. Psycho, Cheetah, Ares, Duke of Deception, Dr. Poison, Angle Man, Baroness Von Gunther, Dr. Cyber, Deimos, Phobos, Blue Snowman, Giganta, Silver Swan, Queen Clea, Maxwell Lord (does he count? She did kill him but he came back), Minister Blizzard, Egg Fu, Red Panzer, Baron Blitzkrieg, Kung, Cyborgirl, Veronica Cale, Genocide, Hypnota

Saul Goode aka Anonymous2

July 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

@nWoJeffDW

(btw nice name, WWE would be smart to bring that brand back. nWo 4 life!)

Maxwell Lord, when done right, is nobody’s villain. Just because Johns fucked him up with the overrated Rucka (yeah, if he helps fuck up a great character, he’s overrated!) and DC decided to run with it when they brought him back doesn’t mean he should be seen as a villain. Hopefully when he does show up in the New 52, he won’t be the incredibly-limited-in-story-potential villain version CtIC gave us.

That’s actually another reason I’m enjoying the New 52 – there’s a good chance characters that got butchered in the DiDio era of Pre-N52 will get a second shot, characters like Maxwell Lord and Ted Kord. There’s still all of these characters who haven’t shown up yet that could pop up in the New 52 minus all of the baggage and continuity they got from shitty DiDio era stories. Combine that with the fact that the new 52 books aren’t anywhere near as bad as some people make out, and you can see why I personally think this new universe has so much more potential.

If the current DC books have a problem, it’s that median level of quality isn’t very high. Don’t get me wrong, most of the books sucked pre-relaunch; I think I was picking up the two Justice League books coming out at the time plus Action comics. One I was getting out of habit, the other was because I like Judd Winnick and the JLI, and the third was purely for Kenneth Rocafort. There may have been one or two decent Batman books, but otherwise the line was shit. DC’s problem is that instead of replacing those books with good books, they essentially replaced them with mediocre books. I’d still say they have more good books post relaunch, and the number of shitty books is pretty low now, but they have a glut of mediocre books that they need to do something about and soon.

They’re essentially the 90s X-Men line of books – mostly mediocre stuff, but somehow they’ve gotten the reputation for being mostly terrible. Also, just like how people assume the 90s X-Men had the “Image look” the whole decade yet really that look was pretty much gone by 1993, people just lump the art style of the whole New 52 line in with mid-90s Image. i’d say some of the books look like that (not even a quarter have that kind of art though), and honestly some of Marvel’s and DC’s books SHOULD have that kind of art, because it brings this little thing I like to call VARIETY to the table. Not everyone can be a Bryan Hitch or George Perez clone, nor should they be.

Right now, I’m reading like 15 DC books, give or take a couple depending on impulse buys and what-not, and that’s not counting Vertigo. I’m probably going to pick up like 15 or so of the Villain one-shots in September, mostly because either I follow a lot of the artists on them, or the writer, or I’m genuinely interested in the New 52 versions of some of the villains.

If I’ve been dropping DC books, it hasn’t been because I didn’t enjoy them it’s been because Marvel’s started putting out more decent X-books, and the X-Men will always be my first love (Bendis aside, BotA should be AMAZING). That said, I’m now regretting dropping some DC books because honestly these new X-Men books haven’t given me the same level of satisfaction. I was really looking forward to CaXF as a Cable fan, but it’s been a bit of a chore to read ever since… issue 2. UXF hasn’t even been a pale shadow of Remebder’s book (despite the great art team this current incarnation has). Bendis’s books have been better than I thought they would be, I’ll admit that, but my bar was set incredibly low to begin with (honestly, the only reason I’m getting UXM is because I LOVE Bachalo’s artwork; otherwise the book is terrible). Wood’s much hyped X-Men has been decent plot-wise despite Coipel’s overrated pencils, but so far he’s been writing cyphers, and when it comes to the X-Men I’d much rather have good characterization with a bad plot than what Wood is doing (although I think he’s trying to start with a bang, which would require character stuff to take a back seat; once he gets a groove with the better David Lopez and get’s the voices down, it should get WAY better). Astonishing is getting cancelled because it’s so bland. All that leaves is WatXM as honestly the only good X-Men book (i’d argue great, but wutevs). As someone who’s a hardcore X-Men fan, I’m probably going to drop these books and buy more DC; I’ve never felt buyer’s remorse after getting a New 52 book, while WatXM and Scarlet Spider are the only Marvel books that don’t give me that feeling.

Wow, I kind of went off the rails there, starting out with Maxwell Lord and ending up here, huh? Well, I’ve been meaning to say all of that stuff for a while, and I guess that tangent made sense (to me at least). I guess my point is that I’m glad DC has given this reboot a chance, because I’d say it has worked. Has it been smooth? Hell no, but after relaunching an entire line of books, hoping for everything to go smoothly would just be greedy. As a DC fan who started out as a Marvel Zombie, I look at the line and I’m honestly happier with what’s being put out now than two to three years ago. This doesn’t mean they should stop working at making the books better – they could improve A LOT. but what they’ve accomplished in two years deserves some accolades. while Marvel… eh, they’re marginally better over that time span than they were before, in my opinion, but the X-line at least has only gone from 0 decent series to one good one and one that MAY be good in the coming months.

He said she had a decent rogue’s gallery. Not huge, not gargantuan, not insanely epically infinite. Decent. As a mainly Marvel reader, I am thinking much more about checking out Trinity War than I was before reading this article. A few of the author’s joneses for the old ways aside, it seems to me that he is saying the story has holes, but is worth a look. Seems like someone needs a “Stay calm, and enjoy your comics” shirt for Guy Fawkes day this year.

Man, DC’s current crop of fans is about as classy as its current crop of comics.

Saul Goode aka Anonymous2

July 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm

@ irwin schwab

Wow, one guy shoots his mouth off and suddenly we’re all scumbags right? Y’know what, you’re more right than you think you are. DC is pretty classy, which must mean I’m classy (I’ve always felt classy).

Whatever. Kiss my ass.

‘Trinity War’ or “The pathetic reign of Geoff Johns”.
DC is aiming for the “lowest common denominator”

Grease piece, Tom. I get the impression you’re not reading Vibe’s book, which has already shown him looking into other Earths. As for the Outsider, his depiction at the start of this week’s Justice League simply screams Alfred. An Earth 3 version sounds about right.

@Saul, the New 52 Maxwell Lord has already appeared in OMAC, written by … Dan Didio.

@samurai, If you make your points less belligerently, people are more likely to listen.

@SAMURAI36
“Case in point for both, Geoff Johns is capable of far more than “dogpile” stories that you accuse him of, al a TT & JSA… Or are those books too recent for your “grumpy old” sensibilities?”

You DID notice that Tom specifically talked about “a lot of Johns-driven crossovers” and that he himself said “at the risk of overgeneralizing” right? So TT and JSA has little to do with his “complaint”. And just because Johns has written some good books that doesn’t mean he can’t be following the same kind of formula for a lot of his crossovers. I don’t really see it as an accusation but more a personal observation that others can agree with or not. Even a good writer can put out formulaic material. And even if it is formulaic that doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad.

As for the Wonder Woman discussion I’d say that her statement would have had a lot more weight to it if it had actually been backed up by her stories. So far how many of her villains have we actually sean her “deal with”? She has “killed” a number of dead people in Hades, crippled Hermes (for as long as that’s going to last) and shot Hades (which didn’t really have a lasting effect). And Cheetah… well, she was definitely “dealt with” as well I guess :-)

@ Mart Gray

DAMMIT! Uuuuuuughhhh, now I need to do some research and PRAY that they haven’t already screwwed Max up…
Well, at least there’s still hope for guys like Ted Kord, Stephanie Brown, Wally West, etc. – we may not see them under DiDio, but he can’t run the New 52 forever. I guarantee we’ll see a lot more of the positive potential in this reboot universe being utilized to its fullest once DiDio’s gone, Lee and Johns are taken out of leadership roles they shouldn’t be in anyways, etc.

Good column.
I”m a long time DC fan who has felt alienated by the New 52.
I think that jettisoning the history and relationships in many ways has actual limited storytelling possibilities.
That being said…
I do love the Justice League as a concept, particularly when it has all the major characters on board.
What I’m trying to do is treat Johns’ New 52 relaunch as a Justice League movie.
As a long time Avengers fan (I’m talking around 30 years) I really enjoyed last summer’s film and had no problem watching it without constantly worrying about whether any of it “fit” the published history of the team.
That’s really the only way, I feel, that long time DC readers can enjoy some of the New 52.
So that’s what I’m trying to do with Johns’ Justice League.
And actually I’ve been really intrigued by the rumors about Forever Evil and some sort of invasion by Earth 3.
That’s a really cool high-concept that was never really done in the old DCU.
Having this be the first “conflict” between our League and an alternate Earth 3 League has a lot of great possibilities.
Again, it’s kind of like a widescreen Justice League movie.
Is this ideal? I’d still prefer DC had gone with a “soft” relaunch, like Marvel NOW! Just get solid creators on your books with new storylines, but let them use the history if they want. I see no reason why Johns/Lee still couldn’t have taken on Justice League and made it a top seller.
But for now I can make some lemonade out of the lemons…

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