Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Why's DC hatin' on my peeps?

I've outgrown the need to get extremely attached to properties or characters. These intelectual properties are the mythology of our era, and this mythology may be owned and operated by large corperate entities that are there to make money and not necessarily protect or enshrine said mythology.

I've just kind of come to accept that whatever's going to happen in these little fictional universes that I invest myself in are going to happen, whether I start having insane panic attacks about how Sydney should really be with Dixon or not. Mostly I want someone to tell me a good story. I'm willing to indulge writers in weird character journeys, I'm willing to let them destroy situations that I've grown to really enjoy... pretty much anything. Just keep me interested.

And I'll admit, Identity Crisis has been interesting. It's kept my little ADD self interested and looking forward to each issue. I get the concept, it's not just heroes that are vulnerable; it's their loved ones too. I even think it's a swell twist that we get at the end (intellectually, at least). However, I'm kind of ticked at who they killed.

Sue's been around forever and ever. Everybody LOVES Sue (all the more reason to kill her off, you say). Sue and Ralph had a stable, long term, loving marriage. She helped him, she helped the Justice League, all while just being plain old Sue Dinby. That's just horrible and cheap (at least that's how I feel about it). I also don't feel like we were through telling Sue and Ralph stories. They were INTERESTING. They were DYNAMIC. When you get into a situation like that, where you really wern't done telling stories with a character that you kill off, it starts to feel like a stunt.

The other death that made that story line leave a bad taste in my mouth was Jack Drake. I liked Jack. He was a dad who worried about his kid. He wasn't a perfect parent, and I LIKED that. I also liked that he'd recently found out his son was moonlighting as Robin. I chuckled myself silly when he pulled that gun on Bruce (good times, good times). However, the minute he knew Tim's identity, I knew he was marked for death. It's one of the oldest super hero cliches. Why the hell did they have to give in to it? Isn't it more interesting going against type? Did Tim have to be just like every other member of the Batclan who'd had their parents taken from him? I won't hold Meltzer responsible for sending Tim's stepmom to the loony bin, but while I'm at it, that was cheap too. There were a lot of stories to be milked out of Jack Drake knowing how his son, Tim, spends his nights. Lots of issues to overcome, hardships, long and uncomfortable silences when stories slip about Dick blindfolding Tim on top of a moving train while people're shooting at 'em. I could have spent YEARS in that setup. It was DIFFERENT than what everyone else in that town had, and tha tmadde it interesting to me.

And making Jean the villian. I don't know. I thought that Ray and Jean being divorced, but still in love and still talking to each other was interesting. But it was an underutilized. It seemed like they took three interesting but underused situations and just got rid of them, and replaced them with three very typical setups (that are perhaps easier to work with), Ralph the lonely widowed superhero, Tim the angry orphaned sidekick and Ray, tormented over what the ex-wife that he still loves has done.


It's aggrivating. The whole story line leading up to this outcome was extremely sophisticated, and comics are find new, intriguing ways to tell some very in-depth stories. However, it's typical setups like this that leave me wondering if I'm not too old for the medium. There's something I want so badly out of it, something that I can touch, but can't quite reach or grasp. And every time I see it, and can touch it, they snatch it away.

Talk about giving you a snake when you ask for a loaf of bread.


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