Friday, October 26, 2007


Countdown ArenaIn an interview with, Keith Champagne talks about the comic COUNTDOWN: ARENA that he's writing. The purpose of the book is that Monarch nee Captain Atom is scouring the multiverse to build his army. In doing so, he realizes he has several versions of different characters to choose from. It's not a matter of picking Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but which Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. Nevermind that the smart thing to do would probably be to pick as many Supermen, Green Lanterns, and Flashes as possible and let fly. Anywho, in order to pick the best ones, Monarch is going to pick 3 likely choices of each and let them fight it out. What potentially makes this book is fun, the modern DC multiverse is made up of all the elseworlds and variations that DC has come up with in the past. So, it's the Victorian era Batman of GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT vs Batman of a JSA of the JSA: THE LIBERTY FILES and vampire Batman of RED RAIN. And so on (sadly, some battles like Superman and Green Lantern feature alternates never seen before this series). And for Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, readers get to vote for the winners.

But what gets me in the interview and indeed leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth (other than this being part of COUNTDOWN which I've pretty much avoided) is in the interview Champagne twice invokes the word "sacrilegious" in regards to the fact that he would have liked to use THE WATCHMEN Nite Owl in the Blue Beetle battle and the DARK KNIGHT RETURNS Batman.

Excuse me? What's the difference in using those characters and the ones from GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT, RED RAIN, or RED SON? How is Moore's characters or Miller's version of a character which will have zero impact on their mini-series more sacrilegious than the others? How the heck is it more sacrilegious than DC actually killing off both Ditko's Blue Beetle and Question to make way for lame politically correct versions? More sacrilegious than killing of Kirby's Fourth World characters? For actually having in a book that stars the Justice League characters, the rape of a long-time supporting character by a stock super-villain and then having her killed off by another long-time supporting character? Or how they killed off half of the JSA years back only to now have a book made up of mostly carbon copies and "legacy heroes", making a book that should be about celebrating the original heroes into a book about the generation of heroes. You know just like you can get in the Outsiders, Teen Titans, Justice League... Want to talk sacrilegious, you cannot get mores o than what they've done to the DCU already.

What's really funny is that as they are running roughshod over their heroes and histories, one of the things that made THE WATCHMEN work is the fact that it's not really the Charlton heroes. DC at the time wisely realized to let THE WATCHMEN actually be the Charlton characters it would render them largely unusable in the future, it would take them too far from their starting points. By letting Moore use the characters as templates for his cast instead, it allowed Moore to take his story as far as he wanted to. DC got to have their cake and eat it too. So, DC wants to somehow hold these duplicates sacred now, while they have killed off and ruined the originals, which was something creating THE WATCHMEN was to protect against.

Seems to me, it's a little late to worry about sacrilege of using certain characters. DC has gone far past and done far worse to their classic characters already.

Another thing that bugs me a little is how the multiverse is being used. The multiverse originally had very few duplicates and those were done deliberately. Instead it was to incorporate the various companies' characters. You had Earth-1, 2, and 3 as being the one with the most duplicates due to the way history organically unfolded. Fandom posited an Earth-B for The Brave & the Bold stories and a few others that didn't really fit into continuity because Haney didn't really bother with Earths 1&2, it was all the same Earth as far as he was concerned. But Earth-X didn't have another Superman, Batman, etc. Neither did Earth-S. And up to CRISIS, neither did Earth-Prime. But, right into exploring the new Earths, we now have a Green Lantern on Earth-5 (more or less Earth-S). Why? Why not explore the characters that are already there that can be used such as Ibis or Diamond Jack. We don't need MORE Green Lanterns, there are hundreds to choose from. Each Earth had a pretty clear delineation and purpose to it. And the characters were far more unique. Captain Marvel and family was on Earth-S, nowhere else. Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters didn't have counterparts on S or 1. And so on. Now, the multiverse is almost more like hypertime before it, a fail-safe in case the mainstream-verse gets screwed up too much.

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