Thursday, September 15, 2011

All In All, It's Just Another Diss Of "The Wall"

Charles Dickens' classic "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" line could apply very well to DC's recent reboot books. In the 3rd official week of the revamped DCU, some books I've seen hit the shelves have been examples of everything that's right with modern DC comics, while others have displayed everything that's wrong with modern DC comics.

The good? Jeff Lemire hit back-to-back home runs with Animal Man#1 and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE#1. Paul Cornell's Demon Knights#1 was every bit as good as expected -- ESPECIALLY since it gave us a NON-RHYMING Etrigan. Batman & Robin#1 was so well-done it washed the foul taste of Tony Daniel's Detective#1 book out of my mouth. Batwoman#1 FINALLY came out..... and blew me away. Morrison's DCnU Luthor impressed.  Resurrection Man#1 not only came back strong, but has introduced a very intriguing new wrinkle. In Green Lantern#1, Doug Mahnke was at the top of his game and Hal was....pure Hal. Even Superboy#1 gave us some sweet RB Silva visuals. And wait, I actually give a damn about Grifter again? How did THAT happen?

But the peaks were matched by some major valleys. Justice League#1 was a big decompressed "meh". Batgirl#1 was a rare Gail Simone misfire. The aforementioned Detective#1 which badly mimicked "Spawn". Superman's new armored V-necked costume.... the horror! And...Liefeld.

And then there was what happened in Suicide Squad#1.

Luckily, I didn't actually waste money on this comic. I just skimmed it. The first red flag for me was the artist change from Marco Rudy, an up-and-comer whose past work has shown JH Williams-like potential, to someone named Federico Dallocchio, who wasn't bad but kind of generic.

As for writer Adam Glass, this book was everything I expected it to be based on seeing his Flashpoint: Legion of Doom mini: A doubling-down on the edginess and gore of Simone's Secret Six but with none of its humor, panache, or distinctive characters. Glass went especially heavy on the torture-porn with this issue. This was a comic only Dick Cheney could have loved. All that was in service to an unoriginal "twist" at the end and a last-page surprise reveal.

*****SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!*****

The mystery character pulling the team's strings is....

Amanda Waller´╗┐.

Who, in DC's rebooted "New 52" universe, now looks like this.

The problem? Well, before the reboot, she looked like this.

Somehow she's gone from a short, stubby, heavy-set middle-aged black woman to a slender statuesque 20-something woman with the same hourglass figure sported by 99% of the adult female characters of the DCU.

Maybe this is just a fakeout. Maybe this is some kind of "Surrogates"-esque alter ego Amanda is using for yet-to-be-revealed purposes. But if it's for real, I'm not sure what the hell DC was thinking with this change. Were they trying to sexualize her in an attempt to pander to younger male readers? Were they trying to make her conform to Angela Bassett's look in the Green Lantern movie? If so, why de-age her as well?

Whatever the cause, the effect was to strip away a major piece of what made Waller unique. She could just as well have been Vixen in that first panel above. And for what? Whatever new readers this may gain will be offset many times over by longtime readers repelled by this new sexualized Amanda. Many of them will be female readers, a demographic that DC's given some recent lip-service to but has yet to fully engage.

Essentially, DC gave Waller a substantial coolectomy.

Older DC fans have had to face more sacrifices and concessions from the DCnU than from an Obama-Republican Congress negotiation. Not only has Superman received the "One More Day" treatment, but so has Barry Allen(!). Secret Six and Stephanie Brown Batgirl? No more. Wally West? Limbo. Longtime curmudgeon Ollie Queen has been traded in for the Justin Hartley version.

And now we have to accept a young and thin Amanda Waller to boot.

Not cool, DCnU! Not cool!


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