Thursday, August 25, 2011

No repsect for Oracle

Batgirl is coming back.

No not Cassandra, or Stephanie.


THE Batgirl.

One of the big announcements that shows up with the New 52 is the return of Barbara Gordon to the mantle of Batgirl. I'd like to sum up my initial thoughts on this in one word.........but I try not to swear on this blog.

Despite assurances from the woman who's been doing a sensational job of building Barbara's character and value as Oracle in recent years, I'm having a hard time taking Gail Simone at her word when she says "we’re doing everything we can to be respectful to this character’s amazing legacy."

Like Barry Allen, Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan before her (amongst numerous others) Barbara Gordon's character was rocked to its foundations in what many people consider to be a seminal moment in comics history.

Since being put in her wheelchair, Barbara has grown and evolved as a character and her value to the DCU as Oracle far exceeds any value I ever saw in her as Batgirl.As Oracle she became the lifeblood of the Birds of Prey, and the information power broker of the entire super hero community. Beyond that, she represented in my mind, a powerful image of the physically challenged and how they can impact our world.

Apparently DC didn't think that was an important role for her.

Sometimes when a character is killed, crippled or deeply altered there is an eventual necessity to find an 'out' from the events that created that situation because the book, or the character, are dying under the weight of it. I don't see that as the situation with Barbara (much as I don't believe it was the situation with Barry Allen and the Flash.)

The changes in Barbara's character grounded her in my eyes. They made her more genuine, as though she could move herself out of the books and into the real world. Now that they're taking that away from her, I have to wonder why I should care about her instead of The Huntress or BatWoman or The Question or any of the other 'street level' heroines that have gained exposure in the time that Barbara spent as Oracle. Without reading a single page of Gail's new series, my concern is that Barbara becomes an interchangeable spare part that isn't so dissimilar to any of the other Batman family members.

She is no longer unique.

And to me, that's not respectful to her legacy at all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dick Grayson: Doctor Fate


I've been reading some Flashpoint.

I've already explained why Flashpoint is something that has me more interested than Marvel's summer blockbuster Fear Itself, but as I get a little deeper into the story itself, I'm finding some really terrific reasons to like the creative concepts brought forward in the twenty spin-off series that make up the Flashpoint timeline. One of the ones I really enjoyed is Deadman & The Flying Graysons.

Followers of the blog may have picked up on the fact that I'm a big Dick Grayson fan. Robin. Nightwing. Batman. Call him what you will, but Dick Grayson is a terrific character that, in my opinion, has always had lots of depth and is seemingly ripe for more interesting and challenging scenarios. Maybe the one thing that DC did get right with the New 52 (even though it is, in itself, wrong) is the return of Dick in his own series as Nightwing.

Still, in the Flashpoint world, where nothing is the same as its supposed to be, Dick and his parents are still traveling with the circus. They were on a tour of Europe when the Amazonian-Atlantean War broke out and ravaged that part of the world. Trapped there, they continued to tour, sticking mostly to small towns, trying not to get caught up in the war itself.

Fate had other plans.


Flashpoint is the story of a world rapidly racing towards total annihilation, and I wonder if I'm going to be satisfied when it is concluded, or if I'm going to be left with a keen interest to read more; to hear an author's take on how that world will ultimately play out. Specifically, will anyone find the opportunity before the final issue of Flashpoint wraps up, to tell me whatever became of Dick Grayson in his new role as Doctor Fate?

Which is very cool.

My congratulations to J.T. Krul, the writer who dreamt up the story, which includes Deadman, The Flying Graysons, elements of the Secret Six, Doctor Fate, Count Vertigo and in the final panel The Question, Kid Devil and Brittania.

I definitely would have read more of this series.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

If I could get serious for a moment...

For a brief moment I'd like to take a break from comics and talk about something totally unrelated.

In conversations with friends in the past I have often lamented that fame is wasted on the famous, because so few of them understand the wonderful power of it. It isn't the money, or the ability to walk into the best restaurant in the world without a reservation, or the opportunity it provides you to rub elbows with other famous people. Those things are all selfish experiences that while, perhaps, exciting for you are nothing more than the accessories of fame.

The true power of fame lies in the ability to connect with, and impact directly the lives of others.

It would be easy for me to list off the countless ways in which famous people have an opportunity to change our world for the better, but I don't want to turn this into a lengthy blog. Five minutes ago I read this article "Bautista calls dying fan to wish her Happy Birthday" online and appreciated somebody who understands the only true value of fame.

I know Jose isn't alone.

I know other actors, athletes, musicians, etc. are out there showing the same type of appreciate for the power that has been blessed unto them, but honestly? It's not enough. Given how many people have Jose's influence, and more, in this world.....our news should be overflowing with reports like this one. 

Monday, August 08, 2011

Legacy Heroes

Great article by Chris Sims over at Comics Alliance: Ask Chris #67

Perhaps I should have thought of the topic before I read his, because I find myself with absolutely nothing to add on the topic of Barry Allen and his disappointing return to the DCU. Chris expertly sums up the value of Barry's death and the incredible ways in which so many authors leveraged it to turn Wally West into something more than just a temporary stand-in.

He also references my favorite Flash story ever: The Return of Barry Allen.

If you don't know it, you don't appreciate just how good Waid's run on Flash was, or just how much the character grew over the next decade. Your loss.

All of that said........any Spider-Men reference definitely weakens the argument, because of how much he sucks. 

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Tonight my son told me he thought the Princess Bride was "stupid."

I've never felt more like a failure in my life.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Random find: Byrne love

Check out this post (and the work in gerenal that's being done over at Nerdage) from last year.

It got me thinking about a guy who's work I really, really admire.

60 Comics By John Byrne That You Should Read

I stumbled on it by chance while referencing the cover of X-Men 141 for a friend, and it lead to quite a conversation about Byrne.

For the record, I cannot imagine skipping his Alpha Flight run, and I think his FF work was sensational. His current Next Men work is a real thinking book. I'm always rereading, and trying to extrapolate out where the series may be going.


I have submitted my order for September and it does not include weekly DC titles.

In the end, I just don't see the point. The entire venture has, in my opinion, been a slap in the face to current/ongoing consumers for the sakes of the untapped consumer. It's like a bank that offers people who don't do business with it a better rate than people who've been there 10 years. It's just stupid. I can't bring myself to be the guy who's loyal to a brand that isn't loyal to me.

Additionally, while not enamored of the idea of moving out of weekly books and into trades, it will mean more money in my pocket during golf season. That's a plus. And if any of the NEW 52 turn out to be terrific, they can, as Randy points out, easily be picked up in trades later on.

Plus I'll bet money we'll be back to regular numbering and the original universe by.......April.