Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spoiler Sunday--Forever Evil #2, And The State Of DC

All right folks, there's a little rant coming, and it involves spoiling the hell out of one part of this week's Forever Evil #2.

So if you don't want to be spoiled on that, click away and come back another time, after you've read it. It's OK, we won't be upset.

Spoilers will commence after the 3 pictures of the Little Brown Jug, because 42-13, that's why!

See you after the jump...

All right, so the Crime Syndicate has taken over Earth, and turned off all the power, because, well, they're evil.

Luthor is puttering around the basement of LexCorp, when he encounters...


Lex decides that, despite the fact that the project is only halfway done baking, he must prematurely activate project B Zero (Get it? GET IT?!?!?!?!?)


Let's recap.

*Geoff Johns has given us a Luthor employee named Otis to (once again) invoke the 1978 Richard Donner film.

And then he has the character graphically killed in cold blood, just to show us (once again) that Luther is EEEEEEEEEVIL. So yes, that's a perfectly fitting tribute to Superman: The Movie.

*Johns has made nu52 Bizarro a grisly killing machine, which is exactly what Superman fans are looking for: their classic Silver Age characters turned into bestial savages.

*Johns (aided and abetted by others) have turned Luthor into a mass murderer who rivals the Joker in the number of bodies he's responsible for. In Forever Evil #1, Lex quite specifically threatens to kill a man who won't sell his business, and goes on to threaten to drive his wife to suicide by turning their son into a junkie and giving him an overdose. In Action Comics #23.3, written by Charles Soule, Luthor quite casually kills 5 of his employees, as tests of loyalty and/or to lure Superman, and threatens to kill several others if they fail him (Why the hell would anyone work there?). This story leads directly into the first page of Forever Evil #1.


Now, your mileage may vary here, but this is not really a characterization of Luthor that I prefer. Johns' (and others') constant need to up the ante on what a bastard Lex is have turned him from ruthless business man into utter sociopath, taken to the extreme where his body count is as high as Hannibal Lecter. That's not a particularly good interpretation of Luther, if you ask me. (Not to mention, it has the effect of making Superman look like an utter chump--Luther's going around slaughtering folks, and the Man Of Steel can't stop him, and doesn't even know?!?)

Yet this is the character Johns has made the "hero," the point of view character for Forever Evil. Seriously. He would rather show Lex Luther slaughtering innocents in this fight, than show our heroes in battle with their evil counterparts.

Why? Because for several years now, Johns has had nothing but disdain for heroes. He just likes villains better.

This demonstrates why, in my opinion, the #FireDiDio movement is a bit misguided. It assumes that Co-Publisher Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Johns don't want the nu52 to be like this, but they're just puppets of Dan DiDio's svengali-like influence. They're powerless figureheads forced to dance to DiDio's whims. Geoff Johns isn't writing the comics he wants to write--he's being forced to do this!

Which is hogwash. I'm not privy to internal DC politics, but an awful lot of trends that people decry about DC these days are clearly and obviously Johns' trademarks, themes and motifs he's been giving us for nearly a decade. Never-ending crises and crossovers? Dumping legacy heroes and replacing them with the "originals"? Making villains the stars? Having villains "shockingly" kill someone (again and again) to show how badass they are? Graphic ultra-violence? Guys, those are all Johns' moves, through and through. This is the guy who made the original Superman a bad guy in Infinite Crisis and had Superboy-Prime knock Pantha's head off.

So if you can get DC to fire DiDio, more power to you, I guess. But there is zero reason to think that would change anything creatively at DC, anything at all. If Johns is still there, it's still going to be the same old, same old.


Siskoid said...

Yep, I think of the three architects of the New52, DiDio is probably the least offensive.

Johns gave us all the things you've listed.

Lee is responsible for the risible design aesthetic and cramming Wildstorm properties (which personally benefit him and have almost all failed at this point) down our throats.

That's why Justice League is the most heinous of New52 books in my eyes.

DiDio in comparison? Not a very good public defender of any of his company's decisions (which may or may not come from him, but rather higher up or lower down). Otherwise his personal projects have included OMAC, Challengers of the Unknown and Judas Iscariot. The first was anti-New52 in tone, the second a failed relaunch and only the third offensive.

Zundian said...

I'm also a little confused by the lack of continuity between the villains month bizarro issue and Forever Evil #2.

Scott said...

It's just nutty that so many people defend Johns like he's some sort of innocent waif at DC. He's the Chief Creative Officer -- storylines are entirely within his purview. The only way he's not entirely culpable for how bad things are is if he's a complete moron.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I've heard from several comic shop owners that it is Johns who micro-manages most titles to the point that the writers and artists quit.

Look at the original FOREVER EVIL ad, front and forward, Black Hand and Sinestro, Johns's characters. I doubt that they'll appear, since the GLC won't. And why was Catwoman in that ad, anyways?

As much as DiDio can be a dick in person, I think he has people to answer to above him. (Scripting books might have been an attempt to acquire a new skill set in the event he was demoted.) Johns has no one to answer ro but DiDio, and if the books are selling, that's all that is important.

Martin Gray said...

It's all very depressing. Dan DiDio may not be the best dialogue guy and the Judas thing, yechh, but he really does seem to love old DC concepts. Johns seems to like to bring 'em back and darken them. I almost feel guilty that I want some writer to come along and have Stargirl get her arm ripped off as DC's final maiming of the era.

notintheface said...

I wouldn't absolve DiDio completely though, seeing how he wrote a story last week where Man-Bat's children got raped.