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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.
"Best episode" and "worst episode" is one of those personal preference things that you're unlikely to find more than two Who fans to agree on. For years, I'd say that The Power of Kroll was probably my least favorite episode of the original series, with Tooth and Claw and Gridlock as close ties for least favorite new series episodes. (And yes, that does mean that I'm the one person who doesn't mind either Love and Monsters or Fear Her.) However, that being said, and I really do hate to say it, Stephen Greenhorn's The Doctor's Daughter is easily, bar none, my least favorite episode of both old and new Who combined. And, here's the thing, I can't talk about why I so strongly dislike it without spoiling big chunks of it, so you may want to come back on Saturday to read past the nice fish-man thingie.
Let's get the fanboyish nonsense out of the way first. As appealing an actress as Georgia Moffett is, and as promising a character as Jenny could be, she is not, in fact, the Doctor's daughter. She's just a clone of the Doctor. Here the producers of the show had a chance to do some real meaningful work on the Doctor's back-story, and instead they chicken out and give us a fake-out. It's frustrating, as it's the kind of cop-out that seems calculated to appease both the "the Doctor must never have any kind of a hint of a sex-life" old-school fans and the "Rose is the Doctor's one true and only love" new school fans.
But, even setting all that aside, there are serious flaws in both structure and concept in this episode. The notion of a colony destroyed by warfare is fine, the notion of the war only lasting a short while is fine, but the notion of the war lasting only a short while, and the colonists not realizing this because they're all clones and the original colonists are all dead doesn't hold up. If all the soliders we had seen were in their apparent twenties, but when the leader of the human forces is obviously approaching middle age, he's either deliberately lying about the length of time the war has lasted or no care was taken in the casting. Martha is also completely wasted in this episode, doing little more than providing an excuse for the fish-like Hath to reach the central colony ship at the same time as the humans. The one good thing in this episode is the infectious joy that Georgia Moffett brings to the role of semi-Time Lady Jenny. Watch it for her, and try to blot as much of the rest of the episode from your memory.
BIRDS OF PREY #109 A consistently fun book, and I'm curious to see what Bedard brings to it.
BLUE BEETLE #18 The best Spider-Man book on the market.
COUNTDOWN 36 Screw you, I like it.
GREEN ARROW YEAR ONE #4 (OF 6) Diggle and Jock, so a guaranteed sell. And Ollie doesn't come off as a complete tool. But that mischaracterization aside...
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #15 "Sinestro Corps War" is such a stupidly good idea.
JSA CLASSIFIED #29 Uhm, no idea...buyer's inertia? The overall ratio of "good" to "bad" is better than on JLA Classified.
OUTSIDERS FIVE OF A KIND WEEK 4 METAMORPHO AQUAMAN Is it wrong of me to hope that New Wave will show up in this new version of Batman and the Outsiders at some point?
SHOWCASE PRESENTS WONDER WOMAN VOL 1 TP These are dreadful, but in that semi-charming Silver Age nuttiness sort of way. Plus, you know, blogging fodder for dozens of people for weeks.
SPIRIT #9 Not sure if I'm going to stick with this past Cooke's departure.
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #33 For Pete. I don't like this new version of the Legion at all.
SUPERMAN #666 (NOTE PRICE) I really like what Busiek has been doing with the Superman books. Between him and Morrison, the books are the best they've been in decades.
ANNIHILATION CONQUEST STAR LORD #2 (OF 4) That the presence of Rocket Raccoon is apparently enough for me and other people to pick this book up makes the odd lack of a trade for Mignola's Rocket Raccoon mini even more puzzling.
FANTASTIC FIVE #4 (OF 5) Consistently, I find myself liking the MU2 stuff more than the regular Marvel comics. They're slight, but they're good fun, and it's nice to see the Marvel heroes acting heroically.
THE ORDER #2 CWI Still on the fence. The first issue didn't suck, but neither did it blow me away. And why are all the female characters exposing their belly buttons?
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #45 After that interminable Thanos story, there's been a noticeable uptick in quality.
INUBAKA CRAZY FOR DOGS VOL 4 TP Cute girls and cute dogs. It's almost like the perfect manga.
MOUSE GUARD WINTER 1152 #1 (OF 6) I debated switching to trades, but every issue I buy is one less for speculators to get their hands on.
NAOKI URASAWAS MONSTER VOL 10 TP Okay, no, this is the perfect manga.
Books I'm Not Buying This Week
BATMAN LOBO DEADLY SERIOUS #1 (OF 2) I digs me some Sam Keith, but I'm all about Lobo-ed out.
BOMB QUEEN III #4 (OF 4) (MR) Every time I see this on the shelf, I sigh quietly to myself. At least I don't have to actually sell it to people myself anymore.
AMAZING FANTASY OMNIBUS VOL 1 HC VAR $75 for pre-super-hero Marvel books? Uhm, pass, thanks.
HALO UPRISING #1 (OF 4) (MR) The Cult of Halo confuses me. It's just a FPS. And not even a very good one, from what I can tell.
30 DAYS OF NIGHT DARK DAYS TP NEW PTG (MR) Hey, look, the trades coming back into print in a reasonable amount of time before the movie premieres! That's how you can tell Dark Horse didn't publish this.
BLACK SUMMER #2 (OF 7) (MR) I'm definitely feeling Ellised out. I read the preview, and I just wasn't feeling this book. It's tired, well tread ground for Ellis and dozens of other creators.
SHOJO BEAT SEP 07 VOL 3 #9 Dropped. We're at the point now where the only thing in the magazine I want to read is Absolute Boyfriend, and I can't justify $6 a month for that.
TOUPYDOOPS #6 (RES) (MR) Mike says there's something in this issue which will annoy me. I'm assuming he means apart from the lack of anything funny in a supposed humor book.
ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS HC (OCT068201) If I ran the comics industry, there'd be no more fucking zombie books.
Geeze, Jen, he's your brother for cripes sake! Quit hanging off him like that!
Passive Aggressive Manipulator
So, let's review. Straight Obsidian=emotional basket case prone to violence and aggression and increasing madness leading to eventual attempt to destroy the world. Gay Obsidian=happy, well-adjusted hero.
And Gay Obsidian has been reduced to a glorified security system because certain writers and artists irrationally prefer the unstable lunatic with a sister complex...