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  #61  
Old 07-08-2015, 07:47 PM
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But he'd been screwed ever since Damien showed up anyway.
Didn't they kill off Damien a couple of years ago?
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  #62  
Old 07-08-2015, 08:00 PM
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Didn't they kill off Damien a couple of years ago?
Superhero comics
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  #63  
Old 07-08-2015, 08:08 PM
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Didn't they kill off Damien a couple of years ago?
Popularity shielding brought him back.

(I maintain that they should've just taken the Batman Inc idea and have a Bruce / Damien book and a Dick / Tim book, but I understand why licensing kinda dictates that you only have one Batman and one Ro... okay, forget that last one.)
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  #64  
Old 07-08-2015, 08:35 PM
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Obligatory mentions for the one-two punch of "for the man who has everything" and "whatever happened to the man of tomorrow?", one of which was faithfully adapted as an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
This might be an admission that stops people from taking anything I have to say seriously ever again, but I kind of hate "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" It is a comic where Superman just stands around and watches all of his friends and allies die to a "serious" reinvention of a ridiculous villain. It is just a parade of characters stretching back to Superman's creation being killed while Superman does nothing but moan about how all of his friends are dying.
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  #65  
Old 07-08-2015, 08:57 PM
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Read:

All of Waid's Flash run, and most of Johns' (plus you'll get to understand what makes the TV show so awesome). That's like 130 issues that are basically very good at the absolute worst, and excellent at best. Just don't listen to anyone who tells you to start with Return of Barry Allen*. Start with Flash: Year One, which basically lays out the thesis that Waid and Johns proceed to knock out of the part for the next decade.

* Waid's best story, but one that really doesn't pack a punch anymore for obvious reasons. At the time, though, it was a true "holy shit" moment.

All of Johns' first JSA run (history heavy, but a great team book.)
David's Young Justice (very good light superheroing). I'm not so much a fan of his Supergirl, but others loved it.

All of Starman (very good, more adult-oriented, superheroing)

Dixon's Nightwing, Robin, and Birds of Prey (Nightwing got pretty bad after Dixon left, but before that it was basically the best Spider Man / Daredevil hybrid book ever. Gail Simone carried on pretty well with Birds. There's a terrible bridge between those two, however.)

Morrison's JLA. Waid's follow-up, as well.

Marz' GL.

Pretty much anything from the DCAU line is, of course, great, but that's a whole other thread entirely.

The actual No Man's Land event itself is probably a bit too unwieldy, but it's the second best DC major event (I agree that One Million was the best, as noted above).

I know that's mainly late-90s stuff, but that's the last time DC was run competently and everything was great outside of the Superman books. Like, there's all sorts of smaller-run stuff like Chase / Aztek / Star Spangled Kid that got killed off but were brilliant while doing so.

More recently, Gotham Central is absolutely tremendous. Rucka's Batman run was great, but I tend to prefer the first half (with the unique art) to the second. Dini's run on Detective comics was also a bunch of fun self-contained stories, but he didn't last very long. And all of Snyder's Batman stuff is great; Black Mirror really is the jumping-on point, though, since it sets up the Court of Owls and really everything else.

Oh, and read Manhunter, which was a tremendous book that was killed off well before its time in spite of everyone in comics basically begging everyone else to read it.

Is there a lot of history involved? Sure, but it enriches the experience when these writers dug into it and really turned DC into a universe based on heroic legacies. More importantly, all of this stuff feels like part of a larger shared universe, which is the biggest thing missing today with DC's clusterfuck booking outside of the Batman books. Like, remember how they turned Superman blue for a while (... I told you the Superman books weren't that good...)? Today, it would be ignored. Instead, Morrison took the idea and told a great story with it early on in his JLA run.

If you're so closed-minded that you reject the potential of superhero books in the first place, then you're obviously not going to have fun with these. But there's a reason that everyone talks about the 95-02ish period of DC with fairly reverent tones, and the above books are it. A bunch of really talented writers hitting stuff out of the park on a monthly basis, and all playing nice with each other at the same time.

(Oh, if you want something completely divorced from continuity... just trust me on this one.)
Excellent post. I'd love to dig in and read through all of those flash books, just need to figure out a way to do it that wouldn't bankrupt me. Comixology needs a "read all you want for $X a month" model so I can splurge for a few months.
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  #66  
Old 07-08-2015, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
This might be an admission that stops people from taking anything I have to say seriously ever again, but I kind of hate "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" It is a comic where Superman just stands around and watches all of his friends and allies die to a "serious" reinvention of a ridiculous villain. It is just a parade of characters stretching back to Superman's creation being killed while Superman does nothing but moan about how all of his friends are dying.
Those are good reasons why it hasn't aged well, but it did seem more interesting at the time. One of my gripes about DC is that they took that grim logic puzzle format and applied it to more and more of their major books, reaching a nadir with Identity Crisis.
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  #67  
Old 07-08-2015, 09:19 PM
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Man of Steel was uncomfortably close to Kingdom Come in the last act. But that's because Snyder's fucking clueless when it comes to Superman. What I've seen of the Superman comics themselves have actually been quite refreshingly upbeat.
Kingdom Come's premise is basically that the 90s were SO EXTREME that they made Superman give up. Which is kind of terrible, and kind of hilarious, and Gog is just a big asshole, but as far as Alex Ross-drawn Justice League comics go it's at least nowhere near as terrible as Justice. Now THAT'S some garbage.
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  #68  
Old 07-08-2015, 09:51 PM
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Those are good reasons why it hasn't aged well, but it did seem more interesting at the time. One of my gripes about DC is that they took that grim logic puzzle format and applied it to more and more of their major books, reaching a nadir with Identity Crisis.
Linkara (yes, I know it's trendy to hate Channel Awesome stuff around here) once said that Identity Crisis was an unnecessary a "darkening" of the DC universe as a whole. I think that's the most accurate thing he's ever said about a comic, and his review of the book is pretty relevant to this thread.

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Kingdom Come's premise is basically that the 90s were SO EXTREME that they made Superman give up. Which is kind of terrible, and kind of hilarious, and Gog is just a big asshole, but as far as Alex Ross-drawn Justice League comics go it's at least nowhere near as terrible as Justice. Now THAT'S some garbage.
Kingdom Come left me very conflicted about my own comic book fandom way back then, but I was even more confused when Gog showed up as a bonafide character in the "real" DC Comics universe. I mean... did someone... not get the memo?

As for Justice, all I can remember about it is that it started off with the villains suddenly deciding to help humanity, the heroes being suspicious, Aquaman getting (or nearly getting) lobotomized, and then the JL storming the villains' lair while wearing the Metal Men as full bodysuits for X reason. But I have no idea what the book was actually about.
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  #69  
Old 07-08-2015, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sanagi View Post
Those are good reasons why it hasn't aged well, but it did seem more interesting at the time. One of my gripes about DC is that they took that grim logic puzzle format and applied it to more and more of their major books, reaching a nadir with Identity Crisis.
Identity Crisis is the ranked as the worst comic story ever on War Rocket Ajax's Every Story Ever list.
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  #70  
Old 07-08-2015, 10:29 PM
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Identity Crisis is the ranked as the worst comic story ever on War Rocket Ajax's Every Story Ever list.
It's not even that it's technically all that bad... Though it's certainly not good either. It's just so gratuitous. Dragging beloved characters through the mud until the grimdark makes them impossible to enjoy ever again.
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  #71  
Old 07-08-2015, 11:54 PM
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Don't read Shortpacked.
Does the option still exist? I thought that finally ended like a year ago, with 2 more comics in the same universe rising to take its place, as per the curse.

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Tim Drake, Robin, becomes Batman Beyond
A- Technically isn't his name just "Batman" with Beyond referring only to how it's the future?

B- Doesn't that totally not jive at all with the basic fundamental history of why Batman was lacking in friends and sidekicks and had need to rope someone else into the suit in the first place? (Spoilers for something way better than anything this thread's talking about)
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  #72  
Old 07-09-2015, 12:16 AM
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Linkara (yes, I know it's trendy to hate Channel Awesome stuff around here)
It's trendy!?

I'm on the cutting edge!
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  #73  
Old 07-09-2015, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Reinforcements View Post
Kingdom Come's premise is basically that the 90s were SO EXTREME that they made Superman give up. Which is kind of terrible, and kind of hilarious, and Gog is just a big asshole, but as far as Alex Ross-drawn Justice League comics go it's at least nowhere near as terrible as Justice. Now THAT'S some garbage.
Everyone always says that, but I liked Justice. It had lots of fun character moments (and also Aquaman getting lobotomized), and that was more than enough for me to forgive it's few plot holes and the fact that Brainiacs motivation was kind of... The exact opposite of what he's been doing for the last sixty years.
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  #74  
Old 07-09-2015, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sanagi View Post
It's not even that it's technically all that bad... Though it's certainly not good either. It's just so gratuitous. Dragging beloved characters through the mud until the grimdark makes them impossible to enjoy ever again.
I don't mind it all that much (the art alone makes it far from the worst story ever, even if I kinda hate the stylistic touch of seeing everyone's eyes through their masks... shit, I hate that they haven't figured out a way around that on Arrow yet!), but Jean was absolutely, 100%, completely the wrong killer to pick. Johns had perfectly set up Linda as the obvious choice as the killer in Flash starting a year before; whether Meltzer didn't care about that due to his fixation on the 70s JLA in the story or whether Johns didn't have the pull back then to change Meltzer's story, I don't know.

But I like the whole premise that they were going with back then, namely that the JLA wasn't as infallible as they had been made in the Morrison era. I love Morrison, but at the end of it they basically shrugged off an assault from an entity more powerful than God, and there needed to be corrective actions taken. While the Dr. Light stuff was completely unneeded, the series set up a lot of neat plot threads (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman being on completely different pages about how to deal with the rest of the JLA's actions to start with) that looked like they were going to be resolved well until Johns went insane and we got Infinite Crisis as a result. Shit, that period might have been the only time Wonder Woman's truly been well-written in character's existence.

That's really the breaking point between the old DC and the mess it is now. The whole regressive storytelling trend starts when Johns dredges up COIE for no good reason at the end of the first issue of Infinite Crisis, and the great "legacy of the hero" setup that they'd spent years painstakingly constructing fell apart very quickly after that.

As I've said many times before, I'm almost positive Johns was replaced by an evil clone right before he started writing Infinite Crisis. It's the only thing that makes sense - the guy who wrote Flash and JSA isn't the guy who wrote everything since then (shit, don't get me started on Batman Earth One or we'll be here for hours)
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  #75  
Old 07-09-2015, 06:27 AM
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I'd love to dig in and read through all of those flash books, just need to figure out a way to do it that wouldn't bankrupt me. Comixology needs a "read all you want for $X a month" model so I can splurge for a few months.
Yeah, that's the problem with sustained good runs - they can be damned expensive to pick up.

(One other thing: I totally forgot that when Waid took a sabbatical to write JLA Year One, he got replaced by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar for about a year. That's the stretch when Flash races Sonic. Those are also the only Mark Millar-written comics, other than Superman Adventures, that I don't actively hate.)

If you want something cheaper to pick up, try and figure out exactly which issues of Detective Comics Paul Dini wrote and grab all of those. That's really great stuff, and Dini kinda-sorta wrapped things up at the end of it.

Oh, forgot another great late-90s DC comic: Hitman. You should all read Hitman.

Last edited by Sven; 07-09-2015 at 06:38 AM.
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  #76  
Old 07-09-2015, 07:07 AM
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My favorite after Hitman: Xer0, described by Christopher Priest as "the Apollo 13 of my career" due to editorial jackassery at every possible level, but still, it is the best comic ever made about espionage, assassination, brotherly love, romantic love, individual identity, racial identity, the moral dimensions of violence as a political tool in a complex world, and AAA league pro basketball.
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  #77  
Old 07-09-2015, 07:18 AM
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"The Old Dog" alone makes Hitman the best thing DC put out in the late 90s.

Don't read Preacher.
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  #78  
Old 07-09-2015, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Reinforcements View Post
Kingdom Come's premise is basically that the 90s were SO EXTREME that they made Superman give up. Which is kind of terrible, and kind of hilarious, and Gog is just a big asshole, but as far as Alex Ross-drawn Justice League comics go it's at least nowhere near as terrible as Justice. Now THAT'S some garbage.
Oh, come on. Kingdom Come is just a straight-up meta-commentary on the direction of comics in the '90s whose ultimate message was, "Yeah, no thanks." It was basically the same premise as Knightfall (the old ways are better!) but it got to the point a lot faster.
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  #79  
Old 07-09-2015, 08:42 AM
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Both stories also ended with the day being saved by an exceptionally toyetic suit of Batman-armour.
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  #80  
Old 07-09-2015, 08:46 AM
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Don't read Preacher.
Ennis's dislike for superheroes that aren't Superman comes through quite clearly in JLA/Hitman.
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  #81  
Old 07-09-2015, 09:16 AM
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Ennis's dislike for superheroes that aren't Superman comes through quite clearly in JLA/Hitman.
Ennis has a child's faith in Superman, making him one of two people on this planet I trust to write a good Superman story.
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  #82  
Old 07-09-2015, 09:28 AM
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Both stories also ended with the day being saved by an exceptionally toyetic suit of Batman-armour.
I thought the blowoff for Jean-Paul as Batman being that Bruce basically forces him to strip the armour off (after he'd upgraded it into something much bulkier) was a nice touch.

The whole Knightfall era reads much better as a four sentence summary* than when stretched over a year's worth of comics. On the other hand, that era basically launched all the great Batman family titles, so we got some good stuff out of it. And it was a damned good hit piece on everyone who wanted Batman to be like the Punisher... especially the Batman / Punisher team-up that came out right in the middle of that era that's a really subtle burial of both characters.

(The sequel, after Bruce is back in costume, is a legit good book, with JRJR art and Batman basically kicking Punisher's ass without breaking a sweat)

* - Batman breaks his back. New guy takes over. New guy goes nuts. Batman comes back and shows him the error of his ways, the end.

Quote:
Ennis has a child's faith in Superman, making him one of two people on this planet I trust to write a good Superman story.
Yeah. It's damned odd how his usually cynical heart absolutely melts when confronted with a Superman story.

(I wouldn't say TWO; I'd say... four. Stern, Jurgens, Morrison, and Ennis. Four-and-a-half if you count Millar but restrict him to the animated version.)

Last edited by Sven; 07-09-2015 at 09:46 AM.
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  #83  
Old 07-09-2015, 11:09 AM
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Oh, and to take you back to the start of the thread: there's a damned good reason that DC used that version of Starfire. Because this existed. It basically turned into Young Justice at the end, which was pretty great.
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  #84  
Old 07-09-2015, 12:27 PM
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I think it's very telling that most of the movies and TV shows don't seem to adapt current DC runs, aside from the most recent animated films. Arrow comes closer but doesn't count since they based the New52 Arrow off the show, right?
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  #85  
Old 07-09-2015, 12:46 PM
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As we were talking in the other thread, Waller was a New52 copy, but... yeah. Flash especially has the feel of late-90s DC, just with Barry (who is basically Wally, but we've all agreed to call him Barry because Johns will come to our houses with an axe if we don't). Arrow certainly FELT like New52, but I think that was because New52 and Arrow were both consciously ripping off the Nolan movies.

Although the most recent Batman animated feature was a Court of Owls story. But then Batman was probably the character least changed by the New 52 in the first place, so....
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  #86  
Old 07-09-2015, 01:34 PM
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I'm of the opinion that the real problem with superhero comics is never-ending plot escalation. This is a common problem with any serial stories that have any degree of drama - the need to constantly up the stakes start resulting in weird mistakes in tone, where everything is miserable, the characters come across as assholes (they have to make mistakes to generate conflict), and any minor successes are necessarily erased to keep the plot rolling.

I think that's why reboots are so attractive to the makers of these things, but the big problem I've noticed is that the escalated tone often carries over at least a little bit.

I know this isn't the whole of the story, but I think it's at least a facet.
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  #87  
Old 07-09-2015, 01:41 PM
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I'm of the opinion that the real problem with superhero comics is never-ending plot escalation. This is a common problem with any serial stories that have any degree of drama - the need to constantly up the stakes start resulting in weird mistakes in tone, where everything is miserable, the characters come across as assholes (they have to make mistakes to generate conflict), and any minor successes are necessarily erased to keep the plot rolling.

I think that's why reboots are so attractive to the makers of these things, but the big problem I've noticed is that the escalated tone often carries over at least a little bit.

I know this isn't the whole of the story, but I think it's at least a facet.
Also the need to try something new instead of retreading old ground... with characters that've been running since FDR was president.
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  #88  
Old 07-10-2015, 06:36 AM
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The big guns are like Sherlock Holmes at this point: there will always be people with new takes on the essential elements of the character. Editorial's job is to just keep throwing new takes at the wall until something sticks, quickly cull the ones that don't, and then ride the ones that do until you can't ride it anymore.
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  #89  
Old 07-10-2015, 06:53 AM
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The big guns are like Sherlock Holmes at this point: there will always be people with new takes on the essential elements of the character.
And now I'm waiting for the Robert Downey Jr. version of Batman.
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  #90  
Old 07-10-2015, 06:58 AM
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And now I'm waiting for the Robert Downey Jr. version of Batman.
Iron Man
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