Friday, January 16, 2009

Batman Died For Final Crisis's Sins (Spoilers)

"Final Crisis is a clusterfuck, a mediocre failure. I don't know what went wrong, Editorial mismanagement*(which still keeps going on), rewrites, bad decisions, someone sleeping with someone's wife. Whatever it is, this has pretty much been a lackluster event, even when things seemed to 'kick off' at Issue #4 it still didn't have the oomph that other events had. The whole fact that it was billed as the most epic thing ever since Ninjas were invented, yet turned out to be a rush job just adds another nail to the coffin that is being built for DC."

"There's fundamental problems with Final Crisis #6. Mainly, it's sort of boring and the art isn't very good."

In desperation, they showed the corpse of their most popular character -- that would at least be some shiny tin-foil to wow a segment of the comic book reading public easily impressed by mediocrity and an enduring loyalty to characters who have been kneaded, reconfigured, and degraded almost past recognition.

"How do we beat Marvel in sales?" DC asked. They answered themselves: "We put more violence in our comics." And this is not even a rhetorical conversation. This dialogue, though paraphrased here, actually took place. And this, apparently, is the grand culmination of the Dream.

So their books became more violent, and they still couldn't beat Marvel in sales. But at least they gained a small core readership that is so accommodating, and so forgiving. Even if other readers fell away, and new readers were alienated, this strong core would buy *anything*.

Yes, Batman died for the sins of Final Crisis, because it would take nothing more than the graphic demise of their core superhero to distract the readers from the clusterfuck they created. And it worked, at least for the core. And at this point, it's only the core that matters, because they are, at least, guaranteed revenue. And in these troubled economic times, at least that's something.

"Batman dead! Batman dead! It so amazing! They killed him! They killed him! That was fantastic! Do again! Do again!"

Cynical? Maybe. Enough to put DC at the top of comic sales? No. But at least nobody is "laughing" at DC anymore, saying their comic books are hokey, saying that their comics are for kids. They successfully rebranded themselves. As what?

But really, I find such iconography, such branding, apropos for DC. They've advertised for a while now a "Final Crisis" and a death of one of their icons. For the last 5 years, they've focused on death, destruction, and corruption as the "spine" of their events, their publishing plan. Why this constant focus on negativity? I think it's a slow, steady exorcism, the tangible display of an ugliness that was just under the surface.

In the end, I'm relieved to hear that indeed this is the final Crisis. Because after your "Final" crisis, surely there will be no more?


  1. I think DC is determined to drive me away as a fan, which is very sad. I love the DC characters. The latest rumor I've heard about one of the upcoming Bat miniseries is the most disgusting thing I've heard.

  2. Come on Val, you have to give credit where credit is due. DC did give you an ending to Batman R.I.P. Right? :)

  3. "For the last 5 years, they've focused on death, destruction, and corruption as the "spine" of their events, their publishing plan."

    Yes, because Avengers Disassembled/House of M/Civil War/World War Hulk/Secret Invasion/(and soon) War of Kings are all about superhero company picnics and cuddle parties. And they killed Captain America who has been closely linked as the parallel to Batman in the Marvel U. Where I give Marvel props is that they have a better Marketing Department, they know how to sell death to the public. Bias much?

  4. I was initially attracted to DC Comics by (of all people) Grant Morrison's brief fill-in run on Flash, the story called "The Human Race." It was the one where Wally West got sucked into a race where he wound up competing against his childhood imaginary friend, who was actually comprised of radio waves. As it turned out, the secret to winning the race was by having everyone on earth run while he was running, contributing enough to the speed force so that he could win the day.

    One of the core messages of that book was that by coming together, working together for a common good, we can achieve great things.

    What a positive, grand idea! It was such a crazy, "mad-idea" story, that was at the same time so upbeat and fun, and yet told with such earnestness, that it was totally irresistible. I found that so much of DC was based on positivity, and LEGACY, and history, that I couldn't help but get sucked into the whole universe. At that time, Marvel was just a mess, and I couldn't stand any of it. Spider-Man was unreadable, and the X-books really sucked...nothing doing.

    Now it's the total reverse. We've got Spider-Man that's actually fun again--despite what my shopowner says about the book's sales. This last issue, Obama notwithstanding, was so nice and sweet, I actually got a little choked up. It was great!

    DC, on the other hand, is so hateful and incomprehensible, that I've dropped almost all of their books. The exceptions are the Green Lantern books, which seem more or less immune to the crap that's going on in the rest of the DCU, and the Superman books, which are darker and violent, but are showing that Superman is in stark contrast to all of that. That he's still a good guy who's hurt and scared about his fellow Kryptonians, who seem to be a bunch of jerks.

    So...that's my rant of the day. I haven't read Final Crisis since issue 2, knowing that it would not make one bit of difference in my life. I am looking forward to things being...different than they are. I don't know when or if that will happen, but it has to. It has to!


    Let me write Aquaman. It'd be great, I swear.

  5. It doesn't demonstrate much gratitude to kill off the guy that made your company ridiculous loads of $$$ with his multi-billion dollar summer blockbuster.

    Oh well, he'll be back. I refuse to believe it's permanent.

  6. "Where I give Marvel props is that they have a better Marketing Department, they know how to sell death to the public. Bias much?"

    I don't know about selling death, but they sure did an excellent job selling an all-ages comic book like Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

  7. Yeah cause DC sure has no all ages comics...unless you count Billy Batson, Tiny Titans, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Super Friends.

    Like I said, Marvel is better at Marketing. The content is never going to be drastically different in two big competitors like this.

  8. Yeah. Final Crisis is as final as death in comic books.

    And just about as well done.

  9. And Civil War and the Skrull invasion were sweetness and light? Interesting.

    Actually, I do not have a problem with the majority of this post, becaue it's your column and you are simply expressing your opinion, which is part of the reason I am here in the first place. However, you should not make presumptions about the buyers of this work simply because you do not like it.

    There are people who love and and people who hate the Fifth Element and somewhere there are people who actually like Episodes I - III. I don't (or try not to) think less of them

    If, as a critic, you believe you can make an argument for why something is bad by deconstructing the work and showing where it fails, more power to you. However, you get nowhere and accomplish nothing by assuming something bad about that the readers.

    It helps if you can actually dialog and communicate like a reasonable person.

  10. I love this post, but would love to spend a little bit more time reading about something besides the distaste for Grant Morrison. This story began in Grant Morrison's JLA arc and has been written by him for so long that there are bound to be mistakes. Either way there are new books every week that are changing the face of Main Stream and it would be nice to see that emphisis here too.

  11. Anonymous11:48 AM

    As one of my co-workers put it, there's no way in hell that Batman is going to stay dead. It doesn't matter who ends up putting on the cape and cowl for the next few months or year or whatever.

    Eventually, probably by the time of the next Batman movie, Bruce Wayne will be back and he will be the goddamned Batman.

  12. "Like I said, Marvel is better at Marketing. "

    This is what I don't get:

    The DC offices have all this space in this humongous headquarters with all these elaborate floors and a billion departments. Lush carpeting. Nice private offices. Statues and life-sized models everywhere. And all that Time Warner money.

    Marvel operates far leaner, but they get much better results. They don't have the Time Warner media machine automatically in their back pocket to push their stuff through EW, CNN, etc. Yet they take what resources they have and sell comic books *far* more effectively.

    If I was a higher-up at TW, I'd have a lot of questions for DC at this disparity. I might even take out the carpeting.

    Not to mention, how DC has Warner Bros. at their beck-and-call but is lagging so far behind Marvel in the movie race.

    But in the end, in marketing, you need to have something good to sell. I think DC marketing pushed Final Crisis best they could -- despite MASSIVE MASSIVE MASSIVE clusterfucks. MASSIVE.

    And the fault for those clusterfucks are hardly that of the DC Marketing or Promotion departments.

  13. "It helps if you can actually dialog and communicate like a reasonable person."

    C'mon, you love it -- you post on this blog more than anyone else I know.

  14. If Batman is dead, then DC ought to cancel his titles and don't make anyone else wear the costume. Otherwise it is Knightfall, Death of Superman, and Death of Bucky all over again. Let Batman stop appearing in the DCU, like Martian Manhunter. It doesn't matter to me. I quit Batman, Superman, and all Marvels last year. Now, they are quitting Nightwing on me, so I only will be reading JSA and Booster Gold. Until they kill them.

  15. I have to disagree about how the big ending was handled (although the death and destruction thing is getting tiresome - more on that). In the context of the issue and the overall story, Bats showing up and the subsequent encounter with Darkseid read like a "he's so cool" moment.

    It's the smartest, most capable character in the DCU facing off against its greatest evil in a visually well-realized duel.

    What hurts the entire encounter and FC as a whole is (and has been pointed out by Valerie and others) that Batman's R.I.P. is coming on the heels of several years of wholesale death of major and minor characters. So in that context any "death" feels like cynical piece shuffling.

    Still, divorced of all that, I did like the issue.

  16. I didn't think this issue was all that bad. I haven't been reading FC since the first issue or so, but I picked 6 mostly due to the outrage you expressed over it. I don't think the comic is great, but it's out of context for me. I don't think it's the worst thing I have ever seen, though. I think Blob eating the wasp is way worse, and I think the awful Wendy and Marvin get mauled by wonder dog was worse.

    Heroes have been killed and brought back all over the place, and this isn't the first time Batman has brandished a gun. Maybe it's the first time he has killed somebody with it, but it isn't exactly a regular old handgun that he is using in this case, and it isn't exactly a regular old villain either.

    I don't love this, I may not even like it. I would like to see less of this stuff in comics, but I don't see this as a crime against humanity. I think the instances of random minor characters being killed or raped, or whatever, just to set a tone are worse than this.

    DC has a lot of great all ages stuff right now. I love the fact that all ages titles are some of the best comics going right now, and I really wish i had picked up the OZ comic when I had a chance (Forbidden Planet had a stack of them when I was there on Wed.)

  17. I read this site regularly, so the well-established and well-informed anti-DC stance in no way surprises me. You've got very good reasons to bag on the company as a whole, and that's okay.

    What I don't get, in this particular case, is why anyone is biting on the cliff-hanger ending to an issue of a comic where we don't know what will happen by the conclusion of issue 7. Let alone calling the scene you're talking about "disgusting".

    I find treating any single issue as if its the FINAL issue of DC Comics, Batman comics, etc... when you're past the age of 22 or so, kind of mind-boggling. Batman died in the last volume of JLA at least twice, with at least one of those deaths penned by Grant Morrison (Rock of Ages and the Obsidian Age).

    And, frankly, I really don't see how this is any more desperate than killing off Cap.

    Death and destruction are sort of what the protagonists of the DCU are there to rail against. Without villains who are death-dealing and destructive, it doesn't make much sense to have heroes who want to stop them. Otherwise, one winds up with books in which characters slug it out for no discernible purpose.

    I'm no fan of the grisly imagery that recently appeared in Teen Titans, but I also don't mind villains who can begin to reflect the sorts of atrocities we know are possible and which are A-O.K. in every other medium.

    And if we want to look at the history, didn't DC have a storyline 20-odd years ago where they killed an infinite number of universes?

    Some may not like the story, and that's fine. But to claim to know someone would only be enjoying Final Crisis because they mindlessly consume whatever DC puts out is more than a tad disingenuous. The exact same suppositions could be made that Marvel readers will mindlessly buy anything, no matter how trite (see: Secret Invasion).

    Further, it doesn't begin to describe what's happening in other books, such as JSA, JLA, the Superman titles, etc...

    If your problem is truly violence in comics, then I would expect a regular complaint department vis-a-vis Marvel's line of Wolverine and Punisher comics. I'd expect a full complaint regarding the recent Joker book by Azzarello, the inhuman behavior witnessed in The Killing Joke, and a denunciation of Nova pulling apart Annihulus's innards.

    There is an entire final chapter to this story, and then a universe of comics coming afterward for an unknown number of years.
    The idea that Bruce Wayne is "dead" is somewhat ridiculous, but I do find it to be an interesting story point.

  18. I tend to post more when I feel I have been insulted in some manner, or when someone makes an outrageous statement (e.g., Bush was a good president).

    If your goal is to get more hits or posts, then consider me suckered.

  19. You're wrong. Batman and Robin will never die!

  20. Okay, nerd-hat on: Bruce Wayne's not even dead from a storyline perspective. Darkseid's Omega Sanction doesn't end your life, it makes you live through a series of hellish alternate realities. Shilo Norman escaped this fate in Morrison's Mr. Miracle miniseries, and there's no reason to think Bruce Wayne won't do the same. If not in Final Crisis #7, then at least in his own title, when Morrison returns to it later this year.

    Thinking that only a dedicated DC zombies could possibly like Final Crisis is pretty damn irrational.

  21. Isn't death in superhero comics as common as fistfights? Death and resurrection are mythic story elements and that's what GM is shooting for here.

    Much of this commentary strikes me as OTT hand-waving. Is Batman really dead? Why not read FC 7 and see where the story goes.

    And as to FC being a "clusterfuck" (other than schedule-wise), that's in the eye of the beholder(s). I am having a blast with the main event series. I've read enough positive fan and blogger feedback to convince me that a solid amount of people are enjoying the book.

  22. The problem I have with Final Crisis is that it's so darned depressing. I get that that's the whole point of the series, evil winning and all that, but every story since Identity Crisis has been equally bleak, dark, and loaded with death. You could argue Marvel's major stories haven't been sunshine and candy either, but at least there's a sense of optimism and rarely do I find myself fearing for the safety of my favorite obscure characters when they show up in a Marvel title.

    Is every DC title like that? Not really. But most of the titles I can think of that fit that bill -- Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Manhunter, Justice League Unlimited, the Flash, Vixen, Tangent: Superman's Reign -- are about to end or have already wrapped up. I was following DC big time around the Infinite Crisis, but starting in March, the only titles I'll be subscribing to at my local shop are Booster Gold, Black Lightning, and Oracle. I love DC's characters, but the company really needs to act their act together.

    Have a good day.
    G Morrow

  23. but he can't die! He finally told Selina he really really loves her!

    Yeah good! They've rebuilt themselves as NO FUN.

  24. Yes, Final Crisis has been a total clusterfuck. "Mainly, it's sort of boring" is spot-on. I've been writing about each issue and it's amazing that nearly nothing has happened at each step along the way. Characterization: nil. Originality: near-nil. Excitement: nil. Cool ideas: near-nil. What the heck was Morrison thinking?

    I actually think the art has been pretty good - especially Carlos Pacheco's stuff - but what the artists have had to draw has been dull and un-dynamic, so I think it comes off looking worse than it is. I mean, look at the last few pages of issue #6: This should have been staged as Superman's triumphant return followed by the crushing revelation (to him) that he'd gotten there a little too late. Instead it's just rather limp.

    (Honestly, I don't think the "death of Batman" angle is even worth mentioning. Big deal. They've done it before and they'll do it again. I don't mind them killing off a major character even though we know it won't hold; what makes it interesting is the impact it has on everyone else. This is why the Death of Superman story 15 years ago was entertaining reading, because they followed through with the world around him and really bit into why his death was important. But as shock value, killing off Batman simply has none.)

    I just don't understand the reviewers who find this series to be cool or well-written. The gulf between what they're reading and what I'm reading is unfathomable to me.

  25. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Batman taking Darkseid out with a gun is the equvalent of Superman taking out Joe Chill.

  26. Marvel's events seem to have more clarity than DC's. I can more easily explain Secret Invasion to you than I can Final Crisis (not having read either one).

  27. I feel really bad for anyone dumb enough to try and come pick up a batman comic because, oh, I don't know... they liked the movie or the new cartoon(s).
    "Do you have a batman comic?"
    "Sure, here's the one where he dies" OR "sure, here's some mess you won't understand but that's YOUR fault".
    I just guide them towards trades for batman adventures. At least they'll have fun. Sure, it's not as dark as the movie but they'll at least get a Batman in it that's recognizeable and a story you can read AND enjoy as a new reader.
    DC sucks at this.
    Marvel's WWOO even got ME wanting to get it and I didn't like the book! Yet DC can't interest me in a comic starring an icon?

  28. Mike,

    And I don't understand anyone who liked Kingdom Come or Spider-girl (or anything written by Tom DeFalco ever) or Mark Waid's run on FF, or Civil War, or Mike Carey's X-men.

    I think there is great characterization in FC. It's not all spoon fed out, which I suppose does make it harder for new readers to get involved, but what new readers buy event books anyway? I really am not sure what's hard to understand or confusing (other than the miscoloring of Shilo)

    Regardless, it should never have been marketed as a Crisis. It should have been it's own animal and is now the victim of not living up to the hype, which is a very fair criticism.

    All these big events bother me, period. The geek in me loves the Skrull invasion idea in Secret Invasion. It brings me back to my youth. However, 30 years ago, it would have been done in the Avengers comic only. Nowadays, the Kovacs saga would have been an event comic.

  29. I have seen a lot of people saying this was just like Cap's death. No. Yes a major character was killed, but the execution of Cap's story is far superior.

    The Captain America run with Brubaker has seen excellent characterization, the return of Bucky, the return of others that have carried the mantle of Cap. And the best part, this book is just as good without Cap.

    Why is that. I don't know. Brubaker is just hitting his stride, Marvel has better editorial, etc, etc. I don't know for sure. All I do know is that Captain America kicks the shins of most other books out there.

    You want to compare the death of Batman to another character, how about comparing it to Vibe's death. Really, that's about how moved I am about the news.

    Can you dig it!

  30. "Batman taking Darkseid out with a gun is the equvalent of Superman taking out Joe Chill."

    Darkseid murdered Superman's parents?

  31. "And I don't understand anyone who liked 'Kingdom Come'."

    Now *that* I don't get.
    "Kingdom Come," was an epic event in the truest sense in that pit DC's greatest heroes against each other in a story that examined faith, hope and the difference between generations.

    I largely credit this book with helping, in the person of Norman McKay, to rekindle my interest in matters spiritual.

    For me, it's a deep and profound artisitc statement.

    Why do you feel the way you do?

  32. Anonymous4:49 PM

    You seem to be on the warpath.

  33. Hello Val. First time poster, long time reader. I just want to say a couple things and then I'll stop bothering you.

    When I first discovered your blog I absolutely loved it. I was just discovering the online comic book feminism community. Your blog was definitely the best. I really liked your insider views too. But the real appeal was how you never failed to call out the big name companies on their crap.

    Flash forward a few months and it seemed like something had changed. Instead of calling everyone out on their errors, it seemed like you only called DC out on stuff. This confused me a little. I looked through your blog archives and saw that you used to work for DC and it wasn't pleasant for you.

    I can see why an unpleasant experiance with a company would make you be hard on them. After all, you have an insight into them we don't. But I'm still disappointed with the new direction you've taken. It seems to me like you've started to ignore the rest of the industry and focus on DC's mess-ups exclusively. I'm bummed that the take no prisoner feminist views seem to be gone. When Ultimate Wasp met her gory end the rest of the blogosphere called Marvel out on it. Even though people have directly asked you about it in Comments sections you haven't addressed it once. I also have to agree with other commentors when they say you aren't really being fair to DC. They have a great all-ages line and publish lots of great titles that I, as a feminist, love to read.

    Of course, this is your blog. If you want to talk about DC instead of feminism that is your complete right. But I'm not sure if I want to read about it. That's all I wanted to say. Thanks for your time.

  34. i like final crisis. i've always felt most super hero comic events took themselves too seriously, and this one is just wacky. i mean comics were called "funny books" for a reason right? i think morrison i trying to get people to remember that. and honestly it seems people are more up in arms over batman using a gun than him actually dying. comic book fans, go figure.
    and marvel is no less innocent of violence, millar recently had wolverine kill the entirety of the x-men quite graphically. hell wolverine in general is probably the most violent of the mainstream hero comics. and you know, also kick-ass.
    and at least final crisis has a point, unlike the "everyone is a skrull" event marvel just had.

  35. Najika, if you support DC Comics, then personally, I really can't consider you a feminist. Sorry. It's like "yeah, I read about your bad experiences with them. that stuff about sexism. that's too bad. but can you cool it on them? I want to read about feminism, but I don't want to ruin my comic book reading experience."

    It's like if you had a horrible sexist thing happen to you at a certain coffee shop. And I stop by, and read the stuff you say about the coffee shop. Now, I consider myself a serious feminist. Ad I DO want to hear your opinions on sexism. But I tire of hearing about that coffee shop. Because I want to buy a fucking cappuccino there. They make good cappuccino, and I don't want to feel guilty about buying it. Now, you might feel offended that I have heard your story, yet not only have patronized the sexist coffee shop -- but had the temerity to tell YOU that YOU should stop talking about how you were hurt there. Because I want to enjoy my cappuccino.

    For you to tell me to stop posting about this stuff and post about "feminism" instead -- it's like you didn't read a damn thing I wrote.

    Go enjoy your comic books, and enjoy your "feminist" blogs. Hope you find one that hates Dave Sim -- he's such a good, soft target.

  36. Batman looks... happy... like he's laughing at some soul-affirming, profoundly funny thing.

  37. Kingdom Come to me was trite at the time and had a few elements that were similar to Twilight of the Superheroes. It seemed to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Part of it is that I have never been the hugest fan of Waid's writing. In fact, while I do not think he is bad by any means and have enjoyed some of his stuff, I believe he is probably the most overrated writer in comics as far as reputation/talent. I thought some of his Flash stuff and post-Morrison JLA stuff was good, but generally, he often seems to lack imagination.

    That's just my humble opinion.

  38. To summarize:

  39. Hey, but in DC's defense, a recent Bat-character miniseries did end happily. With a hug and a promise of an adoption to come!

    Too bad it felt a cheesy, tacked-on and completely unearned ending to something that was pretty piss-poorly written, cliched and trite to begin with. And which further muddied the backstory of its main character in an incredible outpouring of writerly incompetence.

    I slogged through it as a reader somehow. A glutton for punishment, I guess.

    But hey, it was a happy ending!

    As long as Nana and Hachi are still alive, I'm happy with comics. If something happend to them, then I really would be upset.

  40. JMY, we have to agree to disagree. Waid was working with the plotting of Alex Ross, and anyone who wrote the Imaginauts storyline in Fantastic Four and Superman: Birthright is a comicbook writer par excellence in my opinion. Just my $0.02.

    Now, to get into my whole thing about the Batman death again now that my fanboy ire has had a chance to cool. If you want to get up and get a soda and come back in the middle that's fine.

    The thing about this 'death' that bothers me (setting aside the revolving door that is death in a fictional serial universe dependant upon branding rather than character development and change) is simply this: Batman's death in Final Crisis (and it was a death; the Omega Beams I recall from my youth never left a charred corpse but feel free to correct me) doesn't fit into the character's theme. Just like digging up a mess of golden/silver age characters to suddenly overthrow Batman's status quo from out of left field doesn't really work either.

    You want to know the perfect death for the Batman? The one that would bring the character full circle? It's not a final battle with the Joker a la Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach. It's an older Batman swooping in and managing to stop a mugging, saving a young married couple only to have the seemingly defeated mugger pull a backup piece and shoot him, running off into the darkness in a blind panic. We never even get a look at the mugger's face. Batman dies protecting the innocent, not in some overblown rigamarole cobbled together from Kirby's table scraps.

    Because that's what Batman is. He's a protector, not an avenger. He's out there because Bruce Wayne saw The Mark of Zorro as an eight year-old, watched his parents murder, and remade himself into the hero he wanted to swoop from the shadows and save his family. Batman protects Gotham because he doesn't want anyone else to suffer his loss. But vengeance is more 'realistic' for the guy who dresses up like a giant bat, so the focus shifts from heroic savior to dark avenger.

    Again, this is just from where I'm sitting. Mileage varies, but if you have a book with a title like Batman: RIP. . .then he should be dead. Definitively, verifiably, absolutely dead. That's hard to do in comics, where you can always bring 'em back as a clone or chronal duplicate from a parallel timeline or whip them back to life with a wave of the Infinity Gauntlet, but death should mean something. It should be more than just a cheap gimmick to boost sales. Say what you will of Marvel (One More Day) but I will give credit where credit is due; they killed Steve Rogers and have stuck to their guns for damn near a year now without backpedalling. In comic book death turnaround time that's like 5 years. It's no mean feat. Not only that, but they replaced the lead with the former sidekicks whilst simultaneously breaking their most cardinal of rules. . .and it was amazing.

    Ultimately if it entertains you, have at it. We all know Bruce will be back, the same way Steve will return once the Cap movie rolls around. What rankles me is that the death just doesn't feel justified, and it doesn't feel real. It feels like a stunt meant to shock and move product. Your mileage may vary, but I have to call it like I see it.


  41. I have nothing to add other than that Dead Batman is creeping me OUT.

  42. You know what?

    He's not dead.

    Mark my words - Issue 7 of Final Crisis will open with Superman using the Miracle Machine to resurrect him. Know how I know? Newsarama hasn't done a single damn story or interview about it.


  43. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Uh, that should have meant "Joe Chill taking out Superman". Or whoever... c'mon, it's Batman. He's supposed to be fighting the Joker and such.

    Comparisons to Cap are nil because Cap has had little success outside of the comics medium. Batman... well, the fact he's got the no. 2 movie of all time and his umpteenth animated series. All of which feature Bruce as Batman, I might add.

  44. I think Najika's point is that you've become finely attuned to DC's foibles, but seem to not comment on the problems of other companies lately. I'm less bothered by that (you're fun to read when you go after DC), but I can understand the appearance of a problem, especially given your past realtionship with DC and your current relationship with Marvel.

    The problem with the Darkseid/Batman encounter is that it comes out of nowhere. Batman's willing to kill Darkseid with a gun when he's never done the same with the Joker? There's an issue of motivation there that leaves the scene less than genuine.

    Also, what exactly are the effects of the Omega Sanction, and how will that affect the eventual "Batman returns" story? And will I care?

  45. Please refrain from telling me what to say on my blog, who to like, and what to feel.

    If you don't like this blog, if it doesn't move in lock-step with whatever agendas you have -- please pick one that does, and go to it regularly in place of this. You will not offend me. Or go start your own blog.

    But. Do not. Tell me. What to think, what to write, who to like, or demand that I answer to you.

    Who the hell are *you* to demand that I answer to you? And what are *your* real motivations?

    Get out from behind your computer and start living out your own dreams, and stop crying like three-year-olds about how I should stop what I'm doing and justify every decision I make to you. You are not my friend, nor my family.

    It isn't about about Final Crisis this or Wasp that for you, I can almost guarantee that.

  46. LL, we know he's going to be back. We know they're going to cobble up some bullshit rationale at the last minute and yank that football away. When Batman does make his miraculous return it'll be about as shocking as discovering the correlation between water and moisture.

    The thing is, if a company like DC is going to throw down the gauntlet, you have to understand that someone, somewhere may actually expect them to--y'know--back it up. If you say you're going to kill a character, then that character should be dead and remain so. If you say things will never be the same, then things should be different from what's come before.

    I love superhero comics, I truly truly do. But lately this dreck has just been coming at us with such increasing frequency, this neverending loop of can-you-top-this that finally I just want Batman dead so they can get it over with.

    Batman's dead? Fantastic. Norman Osborne, a tier-2 villain can boss around Doctor Doom and treat him like a lackey? Sensational. Jim Rhodes is now the Punisher meets Robocop? Lovely. Cancelling Blue Beetle, She-Hulk, and every other book with a remote chance of taking me away from this neverending sturm und drang? Dandy.

    Oof, but I woke up on the bitter side of the bed this morning.


  47. Popcultblogger said...

    "Yeah cause DC sure has no all ages comics...unless you count Billy Batson, Tiny Titans, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Super Friends."

    Those books are NOT "all-ages." They are squarely aimed @ young children.

    If there are any teenagers or adults who read Super Friends, then I think they may have a problem.

    Marvel's Marvel Adventures line is an example of what ALL-ages books means, in that the stories are meant to appeal to readers young and old (some stories succeed better than others, depending on the creative team). I don't know if DC has any titles like that, but the one's you listed are not in that category.

  48. I think people confuse 'dark' with 'real world' which seemed to be the post 9/11 story telling trend.

  49. Just to make clear...

    1. I wouldn't presume to tell you what to say- hell, I said I loved your blog, and enjoy your rants on DC. I have no interest in telling anyone else what to say; I have enough problems finding my own voice without being presumptuous to tell anyone what to do.

    2. I did make the mistake of trying to clarify someone else's point to you. Sorry about that.

    3. Thanks for doing what you do. Even when I disagree with you, I enjoy reading your opinion. And I don't agree with ANYONE 100%.

  50. ...and still one more crappy issue to go. I feel totally vidicated to download for free what I would never pay for. Its like working at the colliseum when the lions ate the christians AND getting to keep the program. But lets all have hope that these characters are eternal and the pendulum will swing the other way. Its has to. Maybe Obama could save DC while he is saving the rest of the world. Couldn't hurt to ask?

  51. You missed Najika's point entirely, Val. She wasn't suggesting that you not call out DC on their crap. She was complaining that lately DC is the ONLY one you're calling out, lending to a possible false impression that they are the ONLY comic company with such problems.

    Plus, your argument that she can't call herself a feminist because she supports some DC comics is like saying "I was abused as a child by a Catholic priest and the cardinal moved that priest to another parish. Therefore, if you are a practicing Catholic then you must hate children." It's complete fallacy.

  52. Watching the Internet reaction to this "news" - watching people freak out and rend their clothes at the fake death of their imaginary friend - has finally succeeded in making me truly despise comics culture in a way that nothing else has.

    We all know that Batman is not, in fact, dead - and Morrison has played scrupulously fair by telling us (or at least those of us who read "Mister Miracle) this right on the page.

    It seems that the comics audience has attenuated to the point where it is now almost solely composed of autistics and illiterates. Morrison has said repeatedly that among other things FC is a metacommentary on both the bleakness of the past few years in comics as well as the situation out here in the real world for the past eight years. But I don't see anyone talking about that - rather, we have twenty-page Newsarama discussions about Mary Marvel's evil costume and why it doesn't match up with the one she had in "Countdown."

    And this is happening everywhere. Go to any comics discussion board and you won't see anyone engaging with the material at more than the most superficial level - which, fine, I can almost shrug and move past that except for the way fandom seems to operate at a constant, 24-hour hysterical fever pitch of inchoate anger alternating with fawning, overripe praise.

    I am so, so tired of this. For me, Final Crisis has succeeded in some things and failed at others, but in the process has at least captured my interest and stimulated discussion with my friends. To see it reduced to "RAA THEY KILLED BATMAN" makes me want to cry.

  53. All I know is this; I was reading Batman, and only Batman, for the RIP story, and the crossover that entailed did not suck me into buying other books, as I figured, the story would wind up in the book that it started.

    Now I find out, I've been lied to. Great job, DC. DD is the anti-christ AFAIC, and it will be my job in this space and others, to get him removed from the top spot.

    Wish me luck, as I'm going to need it....

  54. Alot of weird comments for one of the most Awesome comics of the year :)

  55. EVERYONE on this entry forgot about their Animal Man. Grant has made very clear his distaste for "dark" and "grim" in comics, particularly his beloved DC. If this isn't a commentary, if it's not Grant shoving this grimness in the DCU and editorial's faces, then it's completely meaningless. And if Mandrakk the Dark Monitor is not meant to be Dan Didio himself, then nothing makes sense.

  56. EVERYONE on this entry forgot about their Animal Man. Grant has made very clear his distaste for "dark" and "grim" in comics, particularly his beloved DC. If this isn't a commentary, if it's not Grant shoving this grimness in the DCU and editorial's faces, then it's completely meaningless.

    So Morrison thinks superheroes have been too dark, and his solution is to drown us in darkness and call it "commentary"?

    Well, that is what he did in Animal Man. And it did work, in my opinion...

    But how many times do we have to learn the same lesson before we see less darkness in our books?

  57. Simply put:

    Batman R.I.P.? Awesome. Even the two-issue wrap-up of Batman's career afterward was good. One of my favorite Batman stories (so long as I'm allowed to ignore the presence of the gaudy "Club of Heroes" losers).

    Final Crisis? Bo-ring! Hell, remember that Robot Chicken parody of Bush as a Jedi? His words sum up the entire Final Crisis plotline: "Bo-ring! Let's fight!"

  58. Hay, Val! I'm flattered that you used a bit of my art (from a cover I did for DC years ago) in your column.

    As for the content of your column, it's good timing to me that I was just earlier today telling a friend that too much negativity and "realism" doesn't mix well with the fundamentally escapist characters that are super-heroes. Then I came across your above article.

    Right on.