Greetings from the Odinson,
Last week the big announcement from DC Comics started a barn fire of discussion and debate (see article DC Renumbering All Titles). I made my stance on the subject matter very clear (see article The Odinson Talks about the Big Announcement: The New DCU). New beginnings are exciting. Just imagine getting to discover all the nuances of the New DC Universe, exploring every corner of it from Paradise Island to Apokolips and remembering why it is you as the reader love this playground. One of my favorite things about a fresh start is the excitement of feeling like it’s all building toward something of epic proportions that will bring together all the intertwining storylines with a pay off.
For instance, Infinite Crisis was the culmination of the Post-Crisis DCU. Now it took twenty years to get there but nevertheless, it was a satisfying end to an epic journey. They don’t call Homer’s The Odyssey an epic for no reason. Now that is an extreme example, I admit, but the point I’m trying to make is that I hope everyone doesn’t lose sight of how fun a fresh start can be by cocooning themselves in a force field of stubbornness.
Sometimes I see longtime comic fans get so jaded that they are overly critical about every single change that the industry throws at them. But then after the change takes hold and shows itself to be viable, those same jaded comic fans complain when the change is changed. For instance, Bucky-Cap… I heard the jeers when the Winter Soldier was revealed to in fact be Captain America’s long dead and never-to-be-resurrected partner from World War II - Bucky. Then, after the assassination of Steve Rogers, not only was Bucky back from the dead but he was now going to be Captain America. And guess what…Ed Brubaker made it work. Now in the wake of recent events we will probably see the return of Steve Rogers as Captain America and guess what…there are those who are complaining about that.
Sometimes as fans we get so caught up in these characters that we forget that writers and editors don’t always give us what we want. No, most of the time they give us what we need. Drama, controversy, thought-provoking moments, change… I as a fan am not immune to falling into the jaded trap. I have never been madder at a fictional person more than I was at Buffy in Season Six when she slept with the soulless Spike. But that was the point. Though I absolutely hated it, the writers were trying to drive home the point of just how low the heroine had fallen. She needed to hit rock bottom before she could pick herself back up and become the hero again. And since then, look at all the wonderful drama, comedy, and debate that came from that one little controversial moment. It’s actually a huge debate among Buffy fans right now as to whether she should be with Angel or Spike. For me, Angel and Buffy will always be the star-crossed lovers and soul mates. Nevertheless, the debate goes on.
Another huge change that rocked the comic world and sparked the fires of debate was Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane (see Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21). Again, in the beginning there were those that hated the idea. But for twenty years the wall-crawler was a married man. This particular tale reached its climax in the controversial tale One More Day, where in order to save the life of Aunt May, Peter Parker and Mary Jane made the hardest decision of their lives. So, as the characters moved forward into a Brand New Day, Spider-Man was once again a single man. And guess what…many people hated it. They jeered the fact that they split the two up. But look, Amazing Spider-Man, since One More Day, has been better and more entertaining than it has been in a long, long time. The book is now less about the soap opera drama and more about being a hero whose creed is “with great power comes great responsibility.” He was married for twenty years. They’ve told all those stories there can be told. Now Spidey feels fresh again and besides, won’t it be all the more triumphant when these two meant-to-be-together lovers finally find each other again?
The death of Jean Grey during the Dark Phoenix Saga; the Death of Superman; the deconstruction of super heroes in Watchmen; Magneto ripping the Adamantium from Wolverine’s bones in Fatal Attraction; Wally West becoming the Flash; Hal Jordan becoming the Parallax; Iron Man’s Demon in a Bottle; a sidekick’s drug problem (Speedy); the death of Gwen Stacy…. These are all very controversial moments in comics history that at the time they happened were highly debated and quite often jeered. But as time has shown, these are the very stories and changes that make our beloved medium one of the greatest sources for entertainment in the world.
I bring up these other big controversial moments in comics history because often time jaded comic fans forget that change isn’t always a bad thing. Now with the announcement of the New DCU hitting stores this fall, the boo-birds are in full effect. But I say those longtime comic readers have just forgotten how exciting new beginnings can be. Yes, they don’t always pan out, but sometimes the journey is the best part.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell