Cancelled Comics Commentary for 2011

January 2011

The Authority #29 vol. 3 (Wildstorm/DC): I'm not sure if this was part of the hardcore reboot of the Wildstorm line, but who cares? This third incarnation (or maybe the fourth, if a 12-issue miniseries produced in 2005 called Revolution counts) is decidedly just as wretched as the rest, and we could honestly do without this series too. The second issue focused on the team's landing on a clone of planet Earth far less developed than the real one. It should've stayed there.

Unknown Soldier #25 (DC/Vertigo): this was a new take on the WW2 spy first created by Robert Kanigher in Our Army at War in 1966, a US agent who suffered disfigurement but was still very adept at disguises. Here, it was a new character operating in Africa set during the war in Uganda when Idi Amin was reigning. And unfortunately but rather predictable by today's standards, there was some kind of leftist bias bogging down this new series too. So it'd be the umpteenth entry from these modern times that was probably well on its way to failure deservedly.

February 2011

Gen 13 #39 Vol. 3 (Wildstorm/DC): Attempting to do a hardcore reboot of this series once considered edgy did not work out well in the long term. But even when it began, there was a problem: Gail Simone, who took up the writing when it first started, did something rather ill-advised: she insulted earlier costumes and stuff like that from the previous volumes. Now maybe the older material wasn't so great, but that's still no justification for making a mockery of what came before.

After Simone left, it pretty much fell into obscurity, and it's cancellation was clearly a quiet affair.

As some may know by now, the Wildstorm universe is basically no more, with most of its protagonists later forcibly shoved into the DCU proper for a brief amount of time. And that only shows just how little value the people in charge saw in the Wildstorm line as a stand-alone world. Never mind that its creations were a mixed bag of differing qualities, they certainly don't belong directly within the DCU.

March 2011

As empty as a vacant lot.

April 2011

She-Hulk #38 (Marvel): this volume came to a close pretty quietly. But it's probably just as well. By this point, Jennifer Walters had been treated so shabbily by the Marvel higher-ups, that her solo series couldn't have worked out at all. I think Peter David took up the writing during this run, but he's gone downhill so badly since the turn of the century, I won't be the least bit surprised if he doesn't provide much of anything to be impressed by. And yes, this series too was a big victim of crossovers like Civil War, which don't help matters one bit.

May 2011

Batman Confidential #54 (DC): another series in the vein of Legends of the Dark Knight and even Gotham Knights that could tell stand-alone stories, something that's becoming increasingly impossible under the people running DC these days. Unfortunately, what was told in this series was surely even more padded out for trades than past efforts were! In that case, its impending failure was surely self-inflicted.

June 2011

The Outsiders #39 (DC): The people in charge of DC today have never had any true respect for this series or its central characters. After a while of restoring some of the original team members like Metamorpho and Katana as the leading cast, they destroyed this book further when Dan DiDio himself took over the writing chores, and when he came on board, sales went down the drain, as most retailers must've realized that almost nobody would want to read a book scripted by the very man who engineered much of what's wrong with DC's output today.

It's disturbing how someone so awful can even force his non-existent writing "talents" on a book that was once pretty good, and should've been retired long ago in 1995.

July 2011

The Flash #12 (DC): the horrible Geoff Johns' so-called run on this book could've been called a joke if it weren't for how unfunny his retcon of Barry Allen's background was. As seen first in Flash: Rebirth, Eobard Thawne/the Reverse-Flash came back from the dead, and Johns' idea of how to set him up again as the archnemesis was to have Thawne change Barry's history into the very sickening darkness that's taken up much of superhero comics today. What happened? Thawne traveled back in time to when Barry was a youngster, and framed his father Henry for murdering his mother Nora in a story turn that was basically just a rip-off of the premise Johns used for his other creation he clearly tired of, Hunter Zolomon. He even wrote that Thawne set their house on fire and knocked Barry down the stairs, among other ideas that reek far too much of juvenile fanfiction.

It was chilling enough how Thawne murdered Iris West Allen back in 1979 at a costume party (this of course was changed when, as seen in the series finale from 1985, her own parents in the future saved her by transferring her mind/body/soul into a new one in the future). Turning Thawne into more of a sadist than he was years before, under the apparent assumption that this is what'll make him a real "badass" and give Barry motivation does not guarantee any good storytelling or make for anything entertaining. Nor will it give Barry a real personality and motivation anyway, or guarantee that anyone will consider him anything other than a cypher. If they didn't think he had a personality before, there's no reason to assume they would even now. And indeed, judging from overall sales, not many cared, and when Johns broke up Barry and Iris' marriage very shortly after this was published - which contradicts any true fandom he supposedly has for Barry or even Iris - well, it's clear that he didn't set out to give the book any serious character development or relations. They say this is what they're doing but they don't really mean it.

This was canceled in part due to the Flashpoint crossover, which rebooted a lot of the DCU, and took Wally West and Linda Park with it, by the way. That's another dishonest and insulting thing Johns and company have been going about doing lately - supposedly setting out to entertain (which the violence prevalent in much of Johns' consecutive writing contradicts), but then throwing much of what they've written out the window anyway as though it never even mattered to begin with.

JSA All-Stars #18 (DC): not really. This franchise lost its way long ago, and with the "New 52" reboot, it's become a total disaster.

August 2011

Green Lantern #67 (DC): if there's anything I can really think of that renders the return of Hal Jordan to the spotlight a botch job for starters, it's the connections this had to Identity Crisis. And there's more. This includes some of the self-referential nostalgia that plagues Geoff Johns' writing, and his overuse of elements that should've been put to bed long ago, such as Carol Ferris being turned into Star Sapphire yet again, all just for the sake of seeing her that way again. This only had the effect of making me feel sorry for Carol, that she'd be forced back into a brainwashed role that, after the disaster that took place in Action Comics Weekly, would've been best left forgotten.

Sinestro also came back at this time, and Johns had the blatant gall to rewrite the story where he'd been wiped out by the Corps in 1988 to make it look as though that hadn't exactly been the case. As if they couldn't have come up with another archnemesis, if Hal needed one. I see no reason why Lord Malvolio couldn't fill the role left by Sinestro.

Perhaps the silliest part of this volume was the introduction of a "Rainbow Corps" that being Blue Lanterns, White Lanterns, Red Lanterns, Black Lanterns, Yellow Lanterns, Orange Lanterns, etc. UGH! It's enough to turn me off of Dunkin' Donuts. Such ideas are merely style over substance, and add little to the mythos of Green Lantern.

Then of course, there was the violence that took place in this overrated shambles, particularly in the Blackest Night crossover, and the idea that the Red Lanterns would vomit blood didn't help matters. Nor did the addition of "daddy issues", a notable problem in the screenplay for the disastrous movie released the year this volume was canceled. If they're going to go so far as to make Hal Jordan seem plagued by sad memories of his father's death in a plane crash, then that only defeats the whole purpose of the story of a guy who's supposed to be noted for his courage, as aerial pilots are some of the bravest folks you can meet.

Overall, I'd say that the comeback of Hal Jordan, something I'd really look forward to under the right circumstances, was tragically a failure and embarrassment thanks to the people now in charge of DC like Johns and DiDio, who can also be blamed for the failure of the movie.

September 2011

Zero items available.

October 2011

Action Comics #904 Vol. 1 (DC): The longest running series in DC history was canceled and relaunched all for the sake of Dan DiDio and company's attempt to create another entry in their cottage industry of publicity stunts, no thanks to Geoff Johns' alterations in the Flashpoint crossover, which, in contrast to Crisis on Infinite Earths, was one of the most contemptuous stories ever to litter the DC output.

Since then, Grant Morrison has been exploiting the spinoff Superman series for turning the Man of Steel into a liberal tool, and this main series has shedded Superman's red tights in favor of mere blue ones, not to mention body armor; can you believe it? Basically the franchise has become another victim of political correctness, to say nothing of trendiness. Costume design changes alone do not make a series entertaining.

Adventure Comics #529 (DC): a revival of the anthology series that ran from 1938 to 1983, and several issues in they restored the numbering of the older volume, the downside was that it was helmed by Geoff Johns, the one and only. One of the story segments run here focused on Superboy, but with such a repellant writer as Johns in charge, this is not something I'd want to waste time with. Better to try out the older volume from better days, when much more respectable writers were in charge.

Batgirl #24 vol. 2 (DC): first, the good news: yes, they reversed the death of Stephanie Brown and the villification of Leslie Thompkins, seen at the time of the War Games crossover and a story in Detective Comics in 2005 called War Crimes, and the latter was a most horrific story written by Bill Willingham, who really let everyone down, particularly with the cynical response he gave on the Fables forum at the time.

Now, the bad news: I think it was pointless to make Stephanie into Batgirl in place of Cassandra Cain, who just quit the role at the time Bruce Wayne got lost in Grant Morrison's time-travel nonsense. If the idea was to placate fans of the teen heroine, I think it would've been better done by just keeping her in the Spoiler role and outfit, and not going out of their way to do what could've amounted to a minor publicity stunt.

Dan DiDio's presence could explain well enough why this didn't get much attention - he had managed to alienate people that badly - but the worst part is that, with the Flashpoint reboot, Stephanie may have been retconned out; they had been doing their absolute worst to get rid of several characters Chuck Dixon introduced in the past 2 decades, not the least being Stephanie herself. And this time, who knows, they might've succeeded, the best efforts of the Stephanie Brown fans notwithstanding.

Batman #713 Vol. 1 (DC): And there's another long-running volume that's been sent down the drain of editorial mandates. Sigh.

Batman and Robin #26 (DC): the latter part was not Tim Drake. Rather, it was Damien, the son Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul once bore in the pre-Crisis era but was dropped in 1986 for a time. Now, Grant Morrison brought him back, though I have no idea why he would if he was going to depict him even more annoyingly than even Jason Todd was post-Crisis.

Batman Incorporated #8 (DC): another relaunching. This title was hardly worth it, since it was built upon the premise of Bruce Wayne informing the world that he's keeping his alter ego well supplied, except that this is Batman we're talking about, not Iron Man and Tony Stark.

Another problem with this book is that a British leftist named David Hine, with the approval of the editors, came up with an Islamist as one of the recruits, in France, no less, in what was basically an insult to the French after all they went through over the years culminating in the riots of 2005. Given that the writer's British and how far down the PC-toilet that country is today, I guess that's why we can't be too surprised that he wouldn't think of say, making the recruit a boy or girl of Armenian descent. Whatever, the dirty trick they pulled didn't help sales any, and aside from all that, the whole notion that Batman would form a whole crimefighting enterprise out of himself was just silly. If there's any spinoff I sure wouldn't bother about if they're going to politicize it, this would be it.

Birds of Prey #15 vol. 2 (DC): the relaunch was even less successful than the previous volume. It featured the resurrected Hank Hall from the Hawk & Dove duo, but even that was royally botched. The reteaming of Gail Simone and Ed Benes did no favors this time either.

And "Brightest Day"? That was already proven false after Aquaman's nemesis Black Manta went on a lethal rampage in the second issue of the main series by that name.

With the reboot of this series, Babs has been largely written out, as she's been reverted back to her walking status and her career as Batgirl, with Gail Simone doing the writing there too. Some way to keep a strong stance there on whether she actually stood behind what this series was originally about. Now it's basically running on fumes.

Booster Gold #47 vol. 2 (DC): If Dan DiDio and company thought they could placate fans of Blue Beetle Ted Kord by featuring him in series like this, forget it (and indeed, plenty did). Booster was a hero who came from a future time, and debuted in 1986 when the DCU was first being reworked. His first series didn't run that long, but he did enjoy quite a role in the Justice League during late 80s-early 90s.

And it's too bad that this series, which pretty much sank into obscurity by the end of its run, suffered from serious shackling of editorial mandates. Hey, if they're going to grow it out of Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis in any way, then such a series is only bound to tank.

Detective Comics #881 Vol. 1 (DC): The second longest running series in DC history was also ended and relaunched, with one difference being that this wasn't exactly rebooted the same way Superman was. But that still doesn't make it worth reading, and with the shock tactics that have turned up in this title of recent, that only enforces the decision I've made almost ever since Identity Crisis not bother again for a long, long time.

Green Arrow #15 (DC): and so ends another volume of this series that featured Ollie all but exiled from Star City's remnants after the abominable miniseries Cry for Justice, by ways of the forced, obnoxious circumstances in the previous one that even tied into Blackest Night. This has since been rebooted, with GA now clean-shaven, but not well-handled at all.

Green Lantern Corps #63 (DC): A spinoff of Geoff Johns' own relaunch of the GL series, and just as undeserving of an audience as his own. Like his own work (the writing here was done mostly by Dave Gibbons), this too was plagued with unpleasantness, and the aforementioned Red Lanterns may have littered this book with their belching as well. Even the relaunched-at-number-one series contains more than enough of that. And that's one more reason why one need not bother.

Jonah Hex #70 vol. 2 (DC): another take on the notable western series starring the horrendously disfigured ex-Confederate soldier created by John Albano and Tony deZuniga who worked as a bounty hunter after the Civil War. The hero had first debuted in All Star Western #10 in 1972 and acquired his own title 5 years after. It ran for 8 years and during the Crisis on Infinite Earths was replaced by a series simply called Hex where our hero was thrust into the future 21st century, in a kind of Mad Max inspired scenario. That direction, unfortunately, proved the series' undoing at the time, and it was canceled altogether in 1987. While Jonah may have eventually returned to his own timeline, to my knowledge, it was off-panel and may never have been explained.

Later on in the mid-90s, there came a few miniseries for Jonah published under the Vertigo imprint. But by the turn of the century, DC were slowly beginning to abandon the imprint - at least for the cast of characters who'd originally appeared in DC-labeled titles - and that's why this volume was launched under the regular. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray wrote this volume, which was meant to detail more tales from Jonah's life in the old west.

However, one could figure it came out at a very inconvenient time, as the movie based on the series from 2010 became such a disaster that even the Hex series from 1985-87 looks like a masterpiece by comparison. It's enough to wonder if that's part of what led to the discontinuation of this series and shoehorning it back into a newer volume of All-Star Western soon after. Megan Fox's character in the failed movie, by the way, was loosely based on a character named Tallulah Black who appeared in the Palmiotti/Gray series, which makes me wonder - how much of the movie was based on any of their contributions? Palmiotti told the comics press that a lot of the film's disastrous screenplay drew from their run, and that could've been a mistake. In fact, with storylines in the newer comics titled "Face full of violence", the name of the first arc Palmiotti and Gray wrote for their series, I'm not sure they were guaranteeing it much success in the first place either.

Jonah Hex is a worthy western story, but as I've argued before, with people like DiDio running the store, the full potential will not be realized.

Justice League of America #60 vol. 2 (DC): When this was relaunched in 2006, what really angered me then was that Brad Meltzer, the pretentious writer behind Identity Crisis was assigned - or should we say, allowed - to helm this series. And that's why the beginning 10 issues or so definitely aren't something I'd want to waste money on. Interestingly enough, there was one storyline featured that one could argue was like a fanfiction Mary Sue injection - an affair between Roy Harper and Hawkgirl, the former who was being called Red Arrow here.

But even after Meltzer left, this series did not improve. Dwayne McDuffie, the late creator of the Milestone line of comics that he made a mistake selling to DC in full, took over and if there was anyone really suffering from editorial mandates making it impossible for him to write something relatively enjoyable, it was him. He even admitted this once on his own site, and it resulted in his being fired by Dan DiDio. As of now, I can't recall who succeeded him as writer, but it doesn't matter much; this long misused team book was already well on its way downhill.

The real nail in the coffin for this volume of the Justice League was when James Robinson penned the abominable Cry for Justice miniseries that saw Roy Harper getting his arm gored off, and Lian Harper, his daughter with Cheshire, being wiped out in an explosion caused by Prometheus, an adversary of Green Arrow. Oh sure, Ollie Queen did shoot down the supervillain at the end, but by that time, the reader's intellect had already been insulted beyond belief. As this storyline bled into the Justice League title, the main members fell out with each other, with Black Canary and even second Flash Barry Allen turning against GA. So in the end, they all split up and several other minor superheroes took over, like Jesse Quick, Jade, and a few members of the Titans like Nightwing and Donna Troy, who was killed again towards the end of this volume. A total disaster that makes any mediocre storytelling towards the end of the Justice League in 1987 before the relaunch at that time look very decent by comparison.

Alas, there's no chance DiDio and company will ever admit they screwed the pooch big time with this series, which even now as it's being rebooted doesn't look to be any better.

Justice Society of America #54 (DC): another once decent series that was run into the ground, and was just running on fumes by the time this was launched. It featured more predictably sensationalized bloodshed when Geoff Johns was writing the beginning part, and didn't get any better past that. Even after Bill Willingham took over the helm, it didn't improve (as though that were really possible with the horrible people like DiDio running the store), and his sleazy response to fans of Stephanie Brown and Leslie Thompkins in 2005 after the horrific way he villified the latter clearly didn't help his reputation. That Willingham failed to actually apologize for his part in War Games and Day of Vengeance clearly must've had an effect on people's perceptions, and that's why sales were no more impressive than before he'd come on board. Today, Willingham is mostly washed up in superhero comics, and has gone back to working on his Fables series. I can't remember the name of the writer who took over after him, but Obsidian, already abused enough after being turned into a closet case just like Northstar, ended up in some embarrassing storylines here too.

The JSA series has been basically canceled as part of the Flashpoint reboot, and all that remains now is "Earth 2" with whatever cast still appearing turned into younger - but not better - versions of themselves for the sake of political correctness. Another once mighty team has fallen.

Legion of Super-Heroes #16 (DC): Paul Levitz may have once made a name for himself as a leading writer for the Legion during the 70s and 80s, but today he's lost it in a really big way. He's turned to leftism and dhimmitude, and if this didn't make big sales, well, Levitz was just one of many sell-outs at DC who caused the drop in sales. This too was another casualty of the forced reboot of DC's whole line, but given how weak it all was, the cancellation of this volume is no loss.

Power Girl #27 (DC): The former Earth 2 counterpart of Supergirl had potential, and it's too bad it had to be tried out under the awful editorial still in charge at this time.

Karen Starr, the name PG often went by in her civilian guise, first debuted in 1976, the brainchild of Gerry Conway, as the Earth 2 counterpart for Supergirl, who in that alternate dimension would be cousin to the Earth 2 Superman. She got her first big break as a member of the Justice Society (in All Star Comics #58), which was resuming their teamwork at the time, a few years after the original Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton, had been rescued from the ancient timeline he'd been stuck in for a while, as seen in one of the Justice League of America stories Len Wein wrote in the mid-70s. PG was written as a humorous take on feminists during the time, and over the years, she'd also become famous for her colossal bosom. If Supergirl of Earth 1 had the longer mane of hair, PG had the bigger bosom.

As time went on, Karen would also make for a great comedic character in the Justice League titles published during the late 80s-early 90s. One of the origins she got at this time was being a descendant of the Atlantean sorceror Arion, who appeared in several backup stories in the early 80s, a series that ran during 1982-85 and a miniseries in 1992. I do think this was surely the best origin they could give her post-Crisis, and is far better than Geoff Johns' rewriting her as literally a survivor of Earth 2 in another timeline. There was also a storyline published around 1994 where she became pregnant, but in the end, the son she ended up bearing in Zero Hour named Equinox ended up vanishing and hasn't been mentioned since. It's probably just as well, given how horrible that crossover was. In 2000, she again became part of the JSA in the series first started by David Goyer and James Robinson, the latter who's gone downhill since along with Geoff Johns, and I'll say in fairness that she did have her moments there, so more's the pity she otherwise got botched by the latter part of the decade.

And in the latter part of this series' run, Judd Winick, who'd taken over the writing from Justin Gray and Jim Palmiotti, the writers who'd first begun it, wrote some gallingly politicized trash, which only has the effect of making me figure its cancellation couldn't come soon enough. Karen Starr deserved much better than what she ended up with towards this series' end. But honestly, I don't see any improvement even now, not even when Paul Levitz, who came up with her fellow Bronze Age JSA member Huntress, is doing the writing on the reversion they've done in the forced reboot to Earth 2.

Red Robin #26 (DC): just one result in the destruction of the teen hero whom Chuck Dixon once made very enjoyable; one of the last products of the 1990s that really worked out well.

Secret Six #36 (DC): this is a series I certainly won't be sorry to see go, if only because it cheaply sought to make a bunch of supercrooks the stars instead of using the kind of minor, simpler characters who comprised the cast when it first appeared at the tail end of the Silver Age, and later when Martin Pasko was writing some stories featuring the bunch in Action Comics Weekly in 1988-89, at which time it was a simple espionage series that was suitably stand-alone.

Series where villains are the stars is something that's getting way out of hand too.

Supergirl #67 vol. 4 (DC): after all these years, I'm honestly beginning to wonder if bringing Kara Zor-El back to the forefront instead of Linda Danvers was such a good idea. Then again, if it weren't for an editor as bad as DiDio, it might've worked. But this series and take on the original Maiden of Might was one of the most embarrassing ever seen, and by the time any direction was established, it was too late.

First problem was that they over-sexed the artwork, making it seem as though they were more interested in emphasizing Supergirl's bare midriff costume than serious characterization. Then, there was the stories. Initially, the problem there was how some of the first issues featured guest stars too often, including the Ousiders as depicted at the time.

And then, there was the incredibly sloppy way Eddie Berganza, eventually removed from the book, promoted a story featuring Power Boy, apparently a male take on Power Girl who unfortunately turned out to be crooked and a onetime lackey of Darkseid's who fell in love with Supergirl but became so abusive and possessive that she ended up having to fight him away. The story in itself could've had some potential in making a message about abusive relationships, but the way it was promoted most certainly didn't, and sabotaged even that much.

After that point, we got an attempt to tell some background for Kara in her new rendition, but even that was botched: why was it made to look as though her father Zor-El was conducting ludicrous experiments involving the injection of kryptonite crystals into humanoid guinea pigs, and implied that Kara was involved in this too? That too was something most utterly foul, and a modern classic example of going miles out of one's way to make a character's backstory dark all for the sake of it. Thank goodness it was dropped soon after.

And another serious detractor was that they wouldn't even establish a secret identity civilian guise for her, not at first anyway. There was one issue that may have been written by Joe Kelly where it looked as though they were going to do this, but it was immediately abandoned, apparently because they couldn't seem to think of anything better to do than make her look like an outcast. This was also symbolic of how many superhero comics today lack supporting casts and the writers/editors do virtually nothing to create them.

One other matter that may have been more trivial was the complaint that Kara looked anorexic, but while some of the artwork may have indeed tried to make her look that way deliberately, which just shows how the people in charge have an apparent hatred for the character they're working on, beyond that, I think that was the least of the problems, and besides, there are plenty of artists who can draw a lady looking sexy in the cartoony way without making it look literally as though they're anorexic. A funny thing is that there was one story published where they supposedly placated the audience by drawing Kara looking more plausible, but the coverscan for that issue was one of the more sexualized, and sabotaged everything, undoubtably a deliberate move on the editors part.

The series did eventually find a form of improvement, but that's still faint praise. Some of the characters who appeared here, including the son of Capt. Boomerang seen in Identity Crisis, were embarrassing. And by the time it seemed as though they were doing it better, it was too late. And, the series did suffer from those awful crossovers, here being connected to some weakly reintroduced elements from the Silver/Bronze Age, like New Krypton, and War Against Superman.

Superman #714 Vol. 1 (DC): I think this was merged with the sans-adjective series that took over for it between 1987-2006 (and is referenced in the 2006 files), and during that time was usually known and published as Adventures of... But as seen during Dan DiDio's reign, it was totally botched, and even now that it's been relaunched, it still is.

Teen Titans #100 vol. 3 (DC): this did not deserve to reach a hundredth issue, and it's a disgrace that it did. It was already pretentious enough when Geoff Johns launched it in late 2003, having built itself out of the premise used in Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, that bottom of the barrel miniseries in which there wasn't a real menace, only a robotic clone of Superman that served to wipe out both Donna Troy (and even after she was resurrected 2 years later, she was killed again in the aforementioned Justice League volume seen above) and Lilith Clay/Omen. And aside from that, the series itself was a tedious excuse for self-referential nostalgia, including a visit by Deathstroke, a brand new, youthful version of Brother Blood, and perhaps the nadir being an appearance by a few members of the Fearsome Five, yet the clash with them was so brief, it fell flat on its face.

Johns' attempts at humor were very weak too. He put in this absurd joke seen in the second trade paperback where the new Brother Blood appeared, where Starfire, upon seeing the mostly mind-controlled Beast Boy calling out that "Raven belongs to Brother Blood!", commented that "Garfield [Logan] does seem to be acting strange". To which Wonder Girl replied, "You mean the bird calls". To which Kory responds, "That. And he usually stares at my chest." (WG bumps Superboy's side as though to signal she'd better not find him doing annoying things like that, and the former Impulse give him a goofy look while shrugging shoulders). But this joke bombed because Johns made Kory sound like a bimbo with no intellect. Indeed, some of the characterization seen here made her seem more like a vapid plastic doll than the intelligent alien girl she came to be since her debut in 1980, and if he thought he was being clever by writing in some alien language dialect for her in a few scenes where she complained to herself about Krypto making messes, I'm afraid it was just as dreary as the rest.

Raven's return was also pretty limp, and spoiled the ending Marv Wolfman gave her when he ended his run on The New Titans series in 1996 (spoken about here). She too, alas, became another example of the weak self-referential nostalgia that was largely a trademark of Johns' next to the alienating violence and downright unpleasant storytelling that's marked much of his writing career (he even had her sporting a tattoo on her back at one point! How odd, since her character never seemed that lacking in self-respect). And her resurrection ultimately amounted to nothing but extra dismal writing at the hands of Judd Winick later on.

Another embarrassing moment of course, was the story he wrote tying into Identity Crisis where he brought Dr. Light in as a nemesis to battle, all just to prove he was a formidable supercrook. To which I would argue that it all depends on the how well the writer can convey this, and in Johns' case, it was pathetic. His approach all smells of a problem he's got of technically blabbering to everybody, "hey look, it's the Teen Titans, and they are the greatest superhero team around! C'mon, don't you think so? Huh?" That's what he's like, so desperate to prove to everybody that whatever he touches and turns from gold into straw is the greatest thing on earth. Ahem. We can figure that out for ourselves without his badgering us. Furthermore, after Brad Meltzer turned Light into a rapist in the contrived, forced manner he did, there's plenty of people out there who you can be sure would find his presence beyond that point too embarrassing to care about.

Dr. Light has since been killed off in one of the crossovers DC foisted upon the world in 2008, and it wouldn't be the least bit surprising if DC's staff knew they had tarnished the character so badly, getting rid of him was the best option they could think of.

Since 2005, the series became caught up in crossovers galore in its own way, and after Johns left, that's when the series really fell into what I'd call double-decay and destruction. One of the most notorious moments was when a new take on Wendy and Marv Harris, the two teen characters originally seen as the Wonder Twins in the Super Friends cartoon that was produced between 1973-86, were mauled by a demonic version of Wonder Dog, the mascot they had back in the day. Johns had introduced them towards the end of his run as caretakers around the Titans Tower set up near San Francisco, and never really made positive or inspiring use out of them. And in this case, it was the succeeding writer, Sean McKeever, who really went overboard with a story where Marv was mauled to death while Wendy was seriously injured. The nadir was when he put in an allusion to the Women in Refridgerators site, basically meant as a tasteless insult. It makes little difference even if Wendy survived the assault; the shock tactics were uncalled for, and even if this was an editorially mandated story, it still doesn't put McKeever in the clear. It also seemed pretty pointless to reveal that Wendy and Marv were related to the Calculator, for what reason I have no idea.

At one point Superboy was killed off. Because this particular name was not used at the time (he was only referenced for a while as Connor), it was assumed that legal battles with the Siegel/Shuster estates prevented the official use even for the character. Whether that was so, however, the real problem was how Wonder Girl kept lamenting his loss in such a way as though she couldn't move on. Superboy did come back, but even then, it was already too late to care.

And then the series really went limping along with no real purpose for being. Some new cast members were introduced, such as a young cousin of Zatanna who bears the name of her father Zatara, Miss Martian, an apparent fellow member of the Martian Manhunter's race, Little Barda, a junior version of Mr. Miracle's well-trained wife, and a few others whose names I've since forgotten. I guess one could easily say that this volume of the Titans franchise really sank into an obscurity it was asking for. It's since been rebooted with even more embarrassing takes on the cast members (Superboy with a tattoo?!? Good grief), plus other elements that really help drive away potential readers, not the least being family audiences.

If there was ever a series that should be remembered as a truly dreadful, tedious, disgusting and overrated item that only served to tarnish a once proud legacy, this would be it.

Titans #38 (DC): and so too the series starring the first Titans goes down the drain. Most of them were shifted into the Justice League of America series after a short while, and the series was taken over by guess who? Villains like Deathstroke! Well actually, there was a time when he'd tried to reform after what went down in the Judas Contract storyline from 1984, but political correctness and over-obsession with nostalgia decreed that he be reverted to older status, not unlike the hack job John Byrne did with the Sandman in Spider-Man's series back in the late 90s. Under the writing of Judd Winick, this series began pretty badly, spinning out of events that took place in DC's abortive DCU: Decisions miniseries that was an absurd political pastiche. And it also saw the presence of Jericho, whom Geoff Johns brought back in Teen Titans for nothing more than pointless nostalgia with the most bizarre part being that after all these years, Slade Wilson's son Joe could suddenly talk! Even if he now existed as a disembodied spirit of some sort, this idea was pretty lame. Especially when they resurrected him completely later, and he would end up being put in the grave again. He then turned up in this volume of Titans to cause more trouble for them, and the story was just riddled with bad puns and horrid writing by Winick.

And as mentioned before, they killed off Donna Troy later on towards the end of the prior Justice League volume. Absolutely awful.

Wonder Woman #614 (DC): the reason the numbering was rearranged as it was here following the 44th issue of this volume was because of yet another publicity and sales stunt in motion. Yet it's nothing compared to the hack job done with the Amazons after being relaunched: Brian Azzarello turned them into savages even more chilling than anything seen in the original Greek mythology tales. If that's how DC is going to treat its properties, that's why it's better to give the volume that followed this one a complete miss.

Zatanna #16 (DC): Wow, another superheroine - or certainly close to that role - whose potential for an ongoing was squandered big time by the horrid editors running the store. Zee first appeared in 1964, the brainchild of Gardner Fox, who created her magician father Zatara way back in Action Comics #1 in 1938; one of the best stories to accompany the Man of Steel in his debut. She was looking for her father, who'd gone MIA thanks to the trouble being caused by a rival magician, and after a few appearances made between 1964-67 in different books like Hawkman, Atom, Batman, Detective Comics with Elongated Man and Justice League of America, she succeeded in finding and rescuing him from the dire predicament he was in. She would go on to make more appearances over the years as her crimefighting career expanded while her father would all but retire to the sidelines. It was Len Wein who really brought her to prominence in short stories and the Justice League's pages, and eventually, she joined the Leauge full time in the late 70s. She also got a new blue costume at one point which would last well into the end of the 80s.

During the 90s, she made appearances in Vertigo titles, including Hellblazer with John Constantine, the sorcery specialist Alan Moore introduced in Swamp Thing during 1985. And in the early part of the 21st century, there was even a special one-shot where she starred prominently.

Unfortunately, this was the time when things started to go downhill with Identity Crisis, where she was one of the victims of demonization, and this solo book for her didn't salvage anything. Though it's probably nothing compared to the "revelation" in Catwoman that Zee altered her own mind too (see the 2008 files for more on that), just like with Dr. Light. Oh yes, that too was another strike against plausibility.

November 2011

Haven't found anything, and too dispirited too really try.

December 2011

Uncanny X-Men #544 Vol. 1 (Marvel): This was put to an end as part of the erstwhile House of Ideas' own publicity stunts, and it wouldn't surprise me if they got the idea from DC's own rebootings. The difference, depending on how you see it, is that they didn't reboot continuity like DC did with 90 percent of their own characters and series.

But splitting the team into 2 different factions that could war with each other, that sure isn't helping.

Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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