Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brightest Day?

So, in spinning out of the Blackest Night mini's DC announced a brighter future and even have a series called "Brightest Day." But, to show that this is really just meaningless lip service and it's standard business as usual, Green Arrow has become even more violent, again eschewing trick arrows and using maiming and disfiguring shots. Remember the last time he did this, the book was actually labeled "For Mature Readers Only" and it started the downward spiral that lead to the character being killed off? The whole point of his resurrection and relaunch was to turn the clock back a bit to when the character was actually a viable superhero within the rest of the superhero community. What's next? Hal Jordan going nuts and massacring the whole GL Corps? Superman getting killed and replaced by four others? Hawk going nuts and getting enough power to kill off half the JSA?

Also, as part of this supposed focus on the heroes and brighter future, we have a new Titans book starring villains. First order of business, kill off the Ryan Choi Atom! Ok, I was a bit surprised that he hadn't died already since his book was canceled. And, once Ray Palmer started making appearances again... Still, of all the "new" One Year Later titles, his was the only one that had any legs to it, lasting for 25 issues. Part of what made it work was it didn't invalidate previous continuity nor build up the current character at the expense of the previous one. Of course, it is what ultimately doomed poor Ryan as the back door was always open for the return of Ray Palmer.

Meanwhile, the writer Eric Wallace defends the killing by talking about how much he likes the Ryan Choi Atom and what a great character he is. Just as Scott Beatty and Alex Ross talk about how much they love the Phantom character which obviously translates to not actually wanting to write the character as is but changing him. Geez, with friends like these...

Stories like this and James Robinson's JLA mini and ongoing book likewise built on a bunch of corpses are what are keeping me away from the majority of the titles by Marvel and DC. Even when they say they are going to focus more on the heroes and a "brighter day", their deeds show that it's all meaningless hype. It's an attempt to lure back lapsed readers, hoping that they won't notice that the majority of the line is still the exact same morose and dreary writing that drove them away the first time. If they really wanted to focus on producing brighter, more accessible and more heroic comics, they'd just do it.

Thought the recent promo of the new relaunched Avengers title was interesting in that the conversation between Wonder Man and Steve Rogers, if you substitute "Bendis" for the word "Avengers" and it pretty much sums up my feelings.

Iron Man 2: Saw the movie last night and I really enjoyed it. Sure, it's not a Tony Stark that I remember, but it doesn't seem out of kilter with the way the character has been portrayed in the comics in the recent past. I was happy to see Happy Hogan with significant screen time and actually doing stuff. His scenes are funny but they show that he has a heroism to him even if he's not of the same caliber as Iron Man or the Black Widow. The movie did a great job at really playing up Stark's intelligence and drive, even when he's not in the suit. At times it's unclear just how much of his personality as a egotistical shallow genius is really that or a show. There's one point after he really makes a complete jerk of himself that it's implied that he engineered the whole debacle so that Rhodey would steal the suit and become his replacement.

Only a few things bothered me in the movie. One, the armored threat. It seems to be the tact of the movies to make the hero and villains too much of the same cloth. He fought an armored villain the first movie, it would have been nice to see a different kind of threat. The Hulk movies went the same route, where the villains were just reflections of the hero.

I thought Hammer was too lightweight of a bad-guy as well. If not for Sam Rockwell's performance, he would have been a complete joke. I never felt that Stark or his business was ever in any actual danger from Hammer as he was completely shown up by Stark in every single situation. He was never a credible or serious threat, just an annoyance. In fact, Stark's enemy was really only himself and his own shortcomings and not Hammer. This backfires a bit as it distances Stark from us. It's a role reversal of the Doctor Doom and Reed Richards relationship in the first FF movie. Stark and Doom are the arrogant and more successful men and who come out on top continuously throughout the movie, their undoing more from the worse parts of their nature. The difference being that at the end of the day, we know Stark will redeem himself, while Doom will ultimately pay the price for his arrogance.

Census: I'm temporarily working for the census and it really amazes me the resistance and anger to it that I've been seeing in the field and online. How does the line go? I like individuals, it's people I can't stand. And, it's not in the places you'd expect. I am in a rural county, lots of nice subdivisions alongside mobile home parks and farms. The people in the nice homes, the ones that benefit the MOST from the information gathered are the ones that are the most resistant, rude or won't even answer their doors. The simple fact is that government is only a small part of who makes use of that data.

Unless you live in the woods in a house that you built yourself by chopping down the trees, dug your own well, have no power and grow all your own food, you benefit from the information gathered. A recent news story talked about how whites were moving from the suburbs into the city, guess where a lot of that type of statistical information comes from? When businesses look to locate, it's based on demographics gotten from the local governments. Your roads, emergency services as well as local services such as power, water, trash pickup, schools... all based on statistics gathered from the census and which drive the value of your property. The building you are living in exists because some builder made a decision based on local demographics, largely built from census info.

Ironically, by not filling out the census, it causes the government to spend MORE of taxpayers' money in trying to get that info, the going door-t0-door is the most expensive part. And, it only guarantees that someone is going to come to your front door, and keep coming to pester you. If you seriously have something to hide or don't want to be bothered, the smart thing to do was to actually mail it in and the government won't come snooping around your door trying to get or verify the information.


Wooly Rupert said...

Where did you see the Avenger's promo?

cash_gorman said...

Should have mentioned it in the post but my time at the computer has only been in little batches thanks to the highly irregular hours with the census. It's at

Chuck Wells said...

I don't believe that anything done by either Marvel or DC is an effort to lure back "lapsed readers".

I just don't think they care that much, Cash.

Most of the mature, darker modern bullshit spins in comics are done to appeal to Hollywood-types or industry pundits who've turned a bit anal in their pursuit of "one-upmanship".

These days it's all egotism, swiping and back-scratching among the well-placed butt monkeys who run things. Nothing at all is done in the best interests of maintaining the classic characters, because they're all just "brands" to be "marketed".

cash_gorman said...

I think that they recognize the problem on some level, hence the lip service of "Brightest Day" and "Heroic Age" initiatives. However, they are unwilling to truly commit to it, to do more than just providing lip service. Hence, it's really business as usual. It's the trained-killer Bucky that's Captain America while Steve Rogers is running around carrying a gun, and at DC we see more character deaths and darkening of various characters by creators lifted up in various circles as loving the Silver and Golden Ages and being the "saviors" of such characters.