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Friday, October 10, 2008
The Real Problem
So, I've been amused by DC Universe: Decisions, and not particularly in the "wow, this is a really good comic" sort of way. Now, this comic series isn't as bad as you've been hearing, not by a long shot...but it's not any good either. I've been enjoying it as "stupid DC fun", and since it's been coming out during the Final Crisis skip-month, it's also filled my "DC heroes team up and bicker" quota for the month.
But it's still hard, even as someone who is finding some enjoyment in it, to see what the point of the series is, other than to give people on message-boards something to complain about. To be sure, there are the usual complaints about the writers, Bill Willingham and Judd Winick, mostly of the fan-anger and fan-entitlement varieties. I was hoping for more overt attempts to alienate fans from characters by revealing previously unguessed at abhorrent political beliefs of various super-heroes, like finding out that the Question is a Libertarian with Objectivist overtones (oh, wait...), as I joked about in this post. So far, the closest we've come is the laughable revelation that Lois Lane is a Republican:
I mean, this characterization can sorta work...if this is the hateful, emasculating shrew Lois of the Golden and Silver Age Superman comics. But the modern Lois is a muck-racking journalist with an emphasis on exposing corporate crime, and her background consists pretty much of rebelling against her hard-line conservative military father. I mean, the whole reason that the Lois Lane as Bill O'Reilly bit works in Trinity is that it represents a complete inversion of the character's personality:
And we can tell this is what Busiek is going for, because the same issue gives us mobster Dick Grayson and nerd Donna Troy. But Lois as a Republican in the mainstream DCU? That's just laughable. That's making a character a Republican just to do it. It shows no thought or creativity.
Which is the big problem with Decisions, it's lazy. For a book that's supposed to tell us the political opinions of super-heroes, all we've really been told is that Green Arrow and Guy Gardner are jack-asses. We don't know anything about the politics of the candidates, which makes the endorsements from the various heroes utterly meaningless. We can infer something about their policies based on who endorses who: Green Arrow's candidate is probably a far left liberal activist who is more than willing to pay lip service to progressive politics, and then ditch them when they become politically inconvenient, because that's just the kind of candidate old Ollie would gravitate towards. And we can presume that Guy Gardner's candidate is just shy of being a fascist because it's inconceivable that Guy would support anyone else. That Hawkman, who pretty much is a fascist, supports the same candidate would seem to support this, except that Power Girl, a militant feminist, supports the same candidate as well. Which leads me to the real significant problem with this comic:
You see that? That's Wildcat and Power Girl supporting the same politician. And this is how I know the book has lazy writing, because it's painfully apparent that neither Willingham nor Winnick has ever read a book with Wildcat or Power Girl in it before. Ted and Karen...agreeing on something? No, never, that's simply not going to happen. Since Power Girl was first introduced, she and Wildcat have never agreed on anything, and they will pointedly disagree on things just to get a rise out of the other. I mean, come on...let's get on the ball here and at least write Wildcat correctly, guys.