Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some Post-Blackest Night observations

I’ve purposely waited a week to make any comment on the Blackest Night finale and the series as a whole. But now that I’ve gathered my thoughts, I can reveal my major peeves about the crossover:

1] Hal Jordan is the ultimate hero of this piece.

I saw it coming before Blackest Night started, but I had hoped Geoff Johns would surprise me. However, he still views Hal Jordan as the coolest guy in the universe and probably has several t-shirts to prove it. At this stage Johns needs a Hal Jordan blow-up doll really bad and I might spring for a hotel suite so he can it out of his system.

2] Deputizing Lex Luthor and co into the rainbow corps.

Disliking Lex as a Lantern isn’t surprising to me, since I hate most of the non-green ring-wielding variety of corps. There, I said it. I only like the Red and Yellow lanterns, but I think there should only one red ring and one yellow ring. Maybe red and/or yellow rings could it seek out different wearers on different occasions. The red lantern story could not only be a ‘who is the angriest hero/villain in the DCU at a specific moment in time’, but could also explore ‘why hero/villain is so angry’ and that’s already two sides of a story. Ditto the Yellow ring. Alternatively, maybe DC could make The Quest for the One True Red Lantern their next big event and then The Quest for the One True Yellow Lantern could follow that.

Back to Lex: I thought they tried to make him relevant to a story that was a bit beyond his circle.

The other deputies? The thing with Scarecrow becoming a Yellow Lantern is perhaps an interesting idea, but it could cause DC more problems than they can handle if made permanent. The Star Sapphire Wonder Woman seemed really unnecessary.

3] They didn’t resurrect Ted Kord.

This was also predictable since bringing Ted back would reverse what That Writer has done and whatever That Writer does is considered DC canon the instant he does it. Johns is smart enough to not undo anything That Writer writes or suggests to others to write, because that would be heresy and threaten to split DC in two.

Also, while alive Ted Kord was one of the heroes who spent the least amount of time on-page with Hal Jordan EVAR. Go back through your back issues. You’ll see I’m right. Now, if Ted had begged to be on Jordan’s JLE way back and sucked up to Hal, Hal would’ve talked to him more and in turn Johns might’ve liked Ted more. Since Hal is the cool kid and doesn’t talk to Ted, Ted must not be cool enough to resurrect in Geoff John’s opinion.

Although, Ted is back in some form in Booster Gold...

4] The whole Kendra-Shayera thing

I’m not going to say a lot here. I shall however say this: I love Kendra and have always sort of hated Shayera. Don’t ask me why, because Shayera isn’t anywhere as annoying as Donna Troy. Kendra's got so much spunk while (for me) Shayera is just sort of there.

Here’s hoping Brightest Day pans out well.


  1. While I disagree with you on 1 and 4, and sort of on 2, I can't agree with you more wholeheartedly on #3. I had assumed everyone was coming back at the end of Blackest Night. Well, I didn't see Ted in BN #8 and I thought, "That's okay. He'll show up soon."

    Until I saw this:

    Only 12 characters brought back? For a purpose? Sigh. Can't they all just come back and everything go back to "normal?"

  2. Could you a bit more specific about what you don’t agree with regard to peeve number 1 (Hal as hero OR Hal blow-up doll?) and peeve number 2? In terms of peeve number 2, I get that I’m in the minority about the other colour corps or their sheer numbers. Was it my Lex comment or any of the other specific examples?

    Okay, so you’re a Shayera fan...I know it is strange to not like someone so well-liked, but I just “got” Kendra.

    DC missed a HUGE opportunity and not just for Ted Kord, but I know there are small cult followings for many minor / b-list / c-list / less well-known heroes that have died. There’s not a lot you can do with dead heroes, except afterlife stories or flashbacks.

  3. I'm glad you asked, because I had meant to explain myself and must've been short on time. The whole mental image of Geoff Johns with Hal Jordan the blow-up doll aside, there's just something about Hal Jordan that I like. I really can't explain it. I think Hal Jordan is a character that appeals mainly to the female readership, because I have yet to find a guy who likes him. I really can't explain why I like him, other than he reminds me of Han solo. He's kind of a swaggery jerk who takes matters into his own hands and he's always fighting with the Guardians. I like the not-following-rules bit, becuase I don't like unnecessary rules myself, though I do believe in justice. So I guess that makes him a bit of a rebel? I'm not really sure. Plus, my introduction to him was in DC: The New Frontier, where he wasn't a jerk, just a little cocky. Then again, I like all the Earth GL's, even Guy. John Stewart is okay, (though I kind of can't forgive him for disobeying J'onn in Cosmic Odyssey), and Kyle's just the good soul who deserves more credit.

    You're not alone when it comes to not liking the rainbow corps. (Or Skittles Corps. I like the sound of that better.) It is a little gimmicky, I admit. But I read some blogger somewhere that said that Geoff Johns's writing is so stupid it's good. Meaning, I guess, that's it's just so obvious and back-to-basics that it works. I definitely did NOT like Star Sapphire Wonder Woman, and Yellow Lantern Scarecrow was a bit of a reach. (Just in general, the Star Sapphire uniform I find ridiculous.) Lex Luthor didn't really do anything to contribute to the story, but I do like Larfleeze and his backstory. I like the tribal/spiritual/mysterious Indigo Corps, and the hopeful/spiritual Blue Lanterns. The best part about the Red Lanterns is that there's a RED LANTERN CAT!!! I find that hilarious. Even though I like cats.

    So, here, you need to read this:

    The Captain Planet reference made me sit back and say, "Hmm. Maybe this is all a little too goofy." :) And poor Firestorm.

    I don't think I'm so much a Shayera fan as just a purist, and I like seeing things go back to where they started from. The only thing that bugged me about Kendra was the whole thing she had with Roy. I don't like seeing heroes randomly hook up like that. Granted, that was the Meltzer League that also passed over J'onn, so maybe it's not her fault, but the author's.

    I was really, really ticked when I read that article on IGN about Ted Kord not coming back. WHY?! This is insane!! Give the readers what they want!! I mean, are they trying to make Ted into the next Barry Allen/Saint Who Sacrificed His Life And Died Before His Time? Or are they just trying to torture us? (I think it's the latter.) I assumed that EVERYONE dead was coming back--Scarface, Ch'p, Ted, the Dibnys. I guess they think seeing Ted in Booster Gold's time travels is enough for us. People really, really like Ted, myself included, and DC just doesn't get it.

    The fact that they only resurrected twelve characters "for a reason" just reeks of artificiality. The only reason they're "special" is because the writers told us so. Way too contrived in my book, which is why I have low expectations for Brightest Day.

    Though, I gotta say, my favorite ressurection was Maxwell Lord. I didn't think I'd miss him so much...

  4. Don’t get me wrong, I like Hal. I just don’t think Hal is quite as good as Hal thinks he is and he’s definitely not as cool as Geoff Johns thinks he is (which is 20 times cooler than any other GL fan thinks Hal is).

    I have a theory on why Hal is so popular with female readers: Hal’s a bad boy. Not in JLI-Guy obnoxious way, but in the breaking rules/disobeying orders sense (and also in his relationship with Carol to a degree). I suspect that it’s an evolutionary artefact as this “bad boy” behaviour is recognised by some women as the modern human equivalent of ancient animal alpha male behaviour.

    At one time of their lives, many women have liked bad boys (Hal) who typically don’t treat their partners very well (e.g. not interested in long-term or inconsiderate or emotionally neglectful) over nice guys (Kyle) who are sweet. “[Insert nice guy name here] has no edge. Meh...Ooh, but [Insert bad boy name here] is a little dangerous.”

    The “bad boy instead of nice guy” preference within the human female population has even inspired a hit song! Apologise by One Republic...or so I've heard.

    Guys who dislike Hal are possibly reacting to his image of being somewhat of a grandstanding hypocrite at times. I think guys like behavioural consistency in their heroes (which hypocrisy almost by definition excludes). You can be a gun-toting bad-guy-wasting lunatic, but be a consistent gun-toting bad-guy-wasting lunatic (Punisher). You can have zero interpersonal skills in a team context, but you must consistently have zero interpersonal skills in a team context (Batman). You can be a total dick, but be a consistent dick (Superman). Also, grandstanding and random flakiness isn’t a particularly great combo for guys (who see superheroes in the same way they see potential buds / friends).

  5. Well, I think you've hit the nail on the head about female readership and Hal Jordan. From Han Solo, to James Cagney, to Sawyer on Lost (whom I actually don't like THAT much), women do like rebels/bad boys. You've got a point with the whole subconscious alpha male thing, and it works the other way, too: when Hal Jordan gets rejected/slapped/whatever by a woman, I find some justice in him getting put in his place. I have a friend who is head-over-heels for the Joker, and I love Two-Face, and we were having a similar conversation about why we like murderous heartless villains so much, but if we met either of those two in real life we'd probably go running to the nearest Police Station. But in real life, we both appreciate nice, sweet guys, who, like Kyle, get passed over in fiction for flashier guys like Hal.

    "You can be a gun-toting bad-guy-wasting lunatic, but be a consistent gun-toting bad-guy-wasting lunatic" I find that really interesting. Do women need more varying characteristics to make a character believable, and are guys more likely to accept a two-dimensional character as realistic? I'll have to explore that further. Then again, I like Batman a lot, so maybe my theory is incorrect. But the Batman I really like (Timmverse) is the compassionate (but still tough) one who believes that some villains are capable of reforming (e.g. Two-Face.)

    Yeah, I couldn't imagine being a guy and being friends with Hal Jordan. Not only is he a showoff, but isn't he always asking to borrow money? Barry, bless his soul...

    That's pretty much how girls see superheroines, too, I think: as potential friends. (And super villianesses.) Hanging out with Harley Quinn sounds like a blast.

  6. Personally, I’ve always been a Ra’s fan. I like the fact that he’s smart enough to keep Bats off balance and lures him out of Gotham City on occasion. Gotham is almost part of his costume – he knows the city too well (better than any of the Gotham villains).

    “Do women need more varying characteristics to make a character believable, and are guys more likely to accept a two-dimensional character as realistic?”

    No, guys like three-dimensional or multi-dimensional characters too, but every character leads with a unique mixture of his/her most salient traits and (for the guys who dislike Hal) his salient trait mix screams inconsistency. Now, guys who LOVE Hal are probably thinking: This guy does all of those bonehead / horndog moves and he still gets much love. I’ve only done like 80% of the crummy stuff Hal’s done...There is hope for me! Okay, I’m exaggerating...I honestly don’t have a clue why guys LOVE Hal (instead of JUST LIKING him like I do).

  7. I'm wondering if that same logic of inconsistency can be applied to Booster Gold, too. He seems contradictory to me in some regards, though I can't help but liking him becuase he's one half of Blue and Gold.

    Maybe guys who love Hal are just jealous of those luxurious auburn locks.

  8. I forgot to comment on the Blackest Night Comics Alliance link you gave me:

    Hilarious from the Didio problem and Johns solution to Captain Planet reference to Death is not an emotion bit.

    The “entirety of human experience can be broken down into an emotional spectrum of exactly seven parts” bit reminded me of a scene from the movie Donnie Darko where a teacher tries to preach her self-help guru’s teaching that all human life experience can be divided into Love and Fear. Well, troubled Donnie gets up to rant about it’s ridiculous to divide life experiences into Love and Fear. Of course the teacher tries her best to defend her ‘everything fits the love-fear categories’ teachings.

    Abruptly, the next scene cuts to the principal’s office where Donnie, his parents, the teacher and principal are having a meeting to discuss the unseen end of the previous scene...At first, the teacher doesn’t say much, but after the principal does all talking, the teacher blurts out, “He told me to insert it into my anus!”

    My favourite part was the scene with Hal and Firestorm.

    I love all of Chris’s events in 60 seconds stuff. Always funny, but often really really accurate.

    Have you ever read Chris’ KGBeast post. He’s mentioned the villain a lot on his blog, but there was this one post (it may have been called Red Scare) that is totally hilarious and features your superhero fashion sense. I can’t remember if it’s on his Invincible Super Blog or at Comics Alliance.

  9. The part with the t-shirts was perfect. And the whole "Handsome Geoff"--which I think should have a (TM) and exclamation point after it: Handsome Geoff!(TM)

    I never saw Donnie Darko. A certain coworker said I should and that I'd like it, but she often says I'll like things that I wind up not liking. Actually, that happens in general quite a bit, usually with books. "You should read this. You'll love it!" No I won't.

    Poor, poor Firestorm fans. There seems like there just can't be a winner with that situation. I feel bad for Firestorm fans.

    Was it Chris who did "The History of DC" in 60 seconds? That was hilarious. I'll have to find the link...

    No, I haven't seen his post on KGBeast--I'm going to hunt that down. I'm guessing that's why KDGbeast makes an appearance in the Blackest Night in 60 Seconds one.

    Verification word is "omentyr." A very prophetic kind of tire.

  10. A certain coworker said I should and that I'd like it, but she often says I'll like things that I wind up not liking. Actually, that happens in general quite a bit, usually with books. "You should read this. You'll love it!" No I won't.

    That's why I don't listen to movie critics...

  11. Funny you should mention Firestorm...