Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Real Didio-Johns Conspiracy: Whose line is it anyway? (a.k.a. Base Pairs of Evil)

Three  or four years ago, if you googled Geoff Johns AND Green Lantern, a good third of your results would be of the ‘Johns mistreats Kyle Rayner to prop up his dreamboat Hal Jordan’ variety. While there is some merit in such assertions of conspiracy, those speculations were in reality mere misdirection.

The truth is that everything that’s happened over the last four or five years is part of a much bigger (misguided and ultimately doomed to fail) conspiracy. Call it slight of arc, if you will.

Now, I’ll keep this brief. To understand the conspiracy, you must follow these steps:

1. Close your eyes. Note: Only do this step if your Zen is strong!

2. Picture three different JLA group photos (the original line-up; the Big seven roster; and a mash-up between the original line-up and the Big seven roster). There’s considerable overlap, right? Also note: keep legacy characters “generational secret-identity neutral” (for the Big seven and Mash-up pictures).

3. Now focus on the two or three heroes at the centre of the Big Seven and Mash-up pictures.

4. Now focus on the blond guy with the green pants front and centre of the Original line-up.

5. Now focus on the two heroes just left or just right of those heroes referred to in Step 3 (in the Big Seven or Mash-up pictures).

6. Now focus on the same two heroes. Again, take note of their positions.

This is the essence of the conspiracy....drum roll please:

Medium Term: Didio and Johns want to move the heroes referred to from Step 5 and 6 (Barry Allen and Hal Jordan) to where the heroes from Step 3 (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are standing. Basically, it involves removing those standing at the centre of all 3 photos as well as those who might organically slip into those spots or steal the show (as we see below).

Green Lantern: Rebirth (It began)
Identity Crisis (Step 1 in Ralph’s downward spiral, because the conspirators galled by the fact that he has a rather surprisingly prominent spot in the Original line-up. If you got outshined by elongated man...Well, you couldn’t come back from that)
Flash: Rebirth (It continued)
Countdown (Killing a hero who was popular, independent of Baal...er...Barry and Hal)
52 (Another Step in the removal of Elongated Man)
Final Crisis (Getting J’onn and Aquaman out of the way temporarily)
One year later (We need the Trinity! What? Out to lunch?)
New Krypton (I wonder where Supes is? He was supposed to be on monitor duty...)
Batman (gone)
Wonder Woman (not in the picture anymore – excuse the pun)
Cry for Justice (temporarily discredit the only other remaining [read: not dead or not missing/displaced] senior member – a guy who actually doesn’t feature much in as many JLA photos as you’d think...Travelling hard is for suckers, anyway.)
The New JLA line-up (Who are the only senior guys left here? Hmmm, lemme think...I give up)
Blackest Night (The Hawks out of the picture for most of it...Another opportunity for Baal...er...Barry and Hal to shine.)

Before I tell you why, here’s the low-down on my classification system:

In terms of this particular classification system, there’s a first string and then there’s second string of heroes. Nothing new here.

First string are your top heroes, your JLA and some JSA, and be divided into first line (basically DC’s Trinity) and next line and sometimes even line after next (the latter two subcategories are the rest of the first string or top heroes).

There are no subcategories under second string, because once you’re second string, your life is over :)

Okay back to the conspiracy:

Barry and Hal (or rather Flash and Green Lantern) are the next line, but the conspirators think “next line” would sound better if there were no other candidates for that subcategory.

Although the Long Term objective was never to replace the Trinity (in terms of heroic status), it was to make the “next line” (Barry and Hal) more elite in the minds of readers. That’s easier to do with no competitors for next line slots or, put differently, a greater divide between next line and the line after next.

It is doomed to fail in the long term, because three regimes down the line there may very well be people at the reigns of DC who don't worship Hal and Barry quite as much. In fact, such a scenario is extremely likely.

Transmission over.


  1. I gotta say, Mr. Sage, I love me a good conspiracy theory, but I had a little trouble reading #2 with my eyes closed. (But I managed.)

    In all seriousness, though, didn't Marvel do something like this, where they decided to set up some teams without any A-list characters? And didn't it fail? Or am I thinking of something else?

    I thought the original intention behind GL: Rebirth and Flash: Rebirth was to pave the way to bringing back the glory days of the Silver Age Justice League. But, with the whole Brightest Day thing plus the current JLA roster, I'm starting to doubt that theory. My conspiracy theory is more focused on Plastic Man and Elongated Man and how the former got de-powered and the latter killed and not resurrected. 90's JLA had The Trinity, Aquaman, JJ, Wally, Kyle, and occasionally Plastic Man. Good times, for the most part.

    But why get rid of BOTH stretchy guys? Are they too "goofy?" Not iconic enough? Not recognizeable enough? Was Geoff Johns attacked by bullies bearing rubber band guns as a child? I don't have any valid reasons for why Plastic Man AND Ralph Dibny are both out of the picture, but I smell a rat. The only thing I can think of is that they're systematically getting rid of fan favorite B-list heroes who have a "cult" following: Blue Beetle, Plas, and Elongated Man all fit in that category. It fits your theory of eliminating the next-next line to elevate the next line, but the reasoning behind this remains a mystery to me.

  2. Richard Dragon has taught me much. Step 1 close your eyes was of course a test of your Zen Fu ability. By the way, you were also supposed to see three hidden images and my Zen Fu tells me that you were unable to see them...So, your Zen is not as strong as mine...Still, being able to read my post with your eyes closed shows that you have some - albeit limited - ability, grasshopper.

    Wow, I noticed Step 1 later but decided to let slide. If you keep this up I’m gonna have to propose to you again...

    Anything is possible with Marvel. They’ve done it with The Avengers way back with greater than expected success, but that was to set the tone for that team as one with a variable roster like the JLA. There was also West Coast Avengers and later Force Works – mixed reviews if I recall.

    I think Plas and Ralph are viewed as watchtower spotlight-stealers. In other words, when the JLA aren’t fighting a villain, they tend to steal the limelight away from Baal* with their goofiness of funny remarks.

    The ‘cult following remark is right on the money.

    I like Barry. I like Hal. I even like Barry and Hal together. I don’t like the Johns handling of Barry and Hal together, because that’s when they become Baal.

  3. I shall concentrate harder on seeing the three hidden images, O Wise Sensei Dragon. Wait...I see a squirrel...

    Scene-stealers. Hmm. So the Johns conspiracy is to bring all the limelight back to Baal and the Big Three? This could be worrisome. The mere fact that Martian Manhunter even mentioned rebuilding Mars is freaking me out thinking that he'll be shipped off and out of the picture.

    I like Barry, too. But I have to read more pre-Johns appearances. He seems like a nice guy.

  4. Well, if this is indeed a conspiracy, then I'm totally on board with it. :-)

  5. Liss,

    "Scene-stealers. Hmm. So the Johns conspiracy is to bring all the limelight back to Baal and the Big Three?"

    Stretchy necks are visually attention-grabbing and add some funny dialogue originating from the heads on those stretchy necks and the speechifying of others seem to fade into the background.

    Not so much the BIG THREE. Hence Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, and Mon-el's appearances...

    I'll take both Barry or Hal as Flash. I have more experience with Wally as Flash, but Barry played a big role in getting me into DC Comics...

    Sea, you're on board with which parts? The "Barry and Hal together" part OR making the “next line” (Barry and Hal) more elite in the minds of readers? Or is it that you secretly dislike some of the "line after next" heroes (who are still First String)?

    Since your ZEN FU is strong, I cannot hate you for your preferences. I can cry, but i shall not hate. :D

    Just to be clear:
    I like Barry. I like Hal. I even like Barry and Hal together. I don’t like the Johns' [EDIT: SOMETIMES CREEPY] handling of Barry and Hal together, because that’s when they become Baal.

    Yes, yes, I know EVERYBODY loves Geoff or EVERYBODY should...

    Just remember this blog is called The One True GL and it doesn't refer to Hal...

    On the other hand, I could be TOTALLY wrong and my conspiracy theory may be yet another level of misdirection and all of it could be aimed at obscuring their true aim: retconning / rebooting G'nort out of existence...

  6. I'm not familiar enough with either Wally or Barry. (Except from the cartoon, but I'm not sure if Wally's the same in the comics.) Barry seems scientific and intelligent...I'm interesting to see how the new Flash series will play out, but again, I never have high hopes for anything.

    Donna Troy, Dick Grayson....sigh. Make them go away. Please?

    Which preferences are you referring to? Squirrels? Or Geoff Johns?

    Verification word was "oxieshag." I have no idea what that is.

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