Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A quick word about a comic I didn't read today

I gave Faces of Evil: Prometheus a flip-through at the shop today. The Grant Morrison JLA run that spawned him remains one of my favorite comic book reading experiences, and I was kinda curious how DC planned to rehab the character after he was so poorly written in Batman: Gotham Knights and subsequent appearances. Essentially, he went from Morrison's conception as a kind of reverse Batman (criminal parents killed by cops, swears vengeance on the forces of law and justice) with Matrix powers (can download skills directly into his brain) to a run-of-the-mill henchman working under the Jeph Loeb-created evil plastic surgeon Hush.

What I saw was a pretty lame attempt at restoration by writer Sterling Gates—there were two Promethei, the original badass one and a more incompetent imposter—and some decent enough art by Federico Dalbochio. So whatever, a pretty run-of-the-mill, not terribly intersting looking comic book.

And then I noticed Anima was in it. I've mentioned her at least once before on EDILW, but for those of you unfamiliar, she was a teenage runaway character heavily influenced in design, fashion and tastes by the popular "alternative" music of her mid-90's origin. She debuted as part of DC's throw-a-bunch-of-new-heroes-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks "New Blood" event. She was one of the more sucessful characters from the event, earning a solo series that lasted 16 issues (two more than Gunfire, nowhere near as many as Hitman).

It wasn't the greatest book, and swathes of it don't hold up very well today, but I really liked it while it lasted, and, even looking back today from a 30+ year old's eyes, there are still a lot of admirable things about it. It tackled some tough issues—the heroine's best friend was a lesbian with AIDs, for example—in a way that was lightyears more subtle and effective than what you get in your modern Judd Winick comic.

Speaking of Judd Winick, he pulled Anima out of limbo to have her brutally killed alongside a bunch of other minor characters he didn't create in 2007's Titans East Special #1 (Check the comments section at that link for a few word's from one of Anima's creators about her origins).

So I was pretty surprised to see her in this book, being brutaly killed again.

I didn't follow Winick's new Titans series, because it was a Judd Winick Titans series, so I guess maybe Anima and all those other characters weren't actually killed-killed, just really, really, really, really badly hurt. Well, if Winick didn't finish her off, it looks like Gates does so here—as she gets completely cut in half.

So did DC pluck a minor character forgotten by all but a few fans, violently kill her off to show how bad-ass a villain was and motivate some other heroes to ge revenge in one book, forget about her for a year or so, and then bring her back to violently kill her off again to show how bad-ass another villain is...?

If not admirable, its at least endearing the way DC wholeheartedly embraces its decadence, isn't it?


LurkerWithout said...

You know on that inevitable day that DC cancels Simone's latest version of the The Secret Six I'll probably be happy to just walk away from DC's main-line books again...

Greg said...

A few years ago, when The Next came out, I wrote that there was absolutely no point to the mini-series - it wouldn't sell well (despite being written by Tad Williams, who has a following from outside of comics) and it wouldn't have any impact on the DCU in general. In fact, the only reason I could see for it existing is so that DC would have some cannon fodder for an upcoming event comic. I have no idea if those characters have been slaughtered yet, but it seems like that's what DC (and, to a lesser extent, Marvel) does - create a bunch of characters, stick them in series and give them no publicity so they fail, and then they have reserve characters to kill off years later. Boy, that sucks.

Hi said...

Writers used to show a villain's toughness by having him punch out Superman; now they kill off minor characters.

The problem with constantly trying to shock your audience is that you run the risk of them shaking their heads and asking themselves 'why should I care?'

Hdefined said...

Should you really blame DC for the creatively bankrupt stories it tells, or the unimaginative individuals it employs?

David page said...

Only the male power girl rip off from apokalips was conclusivly killed in that titans story

still it is a shame to bring someone back just to off her

Matt D said...

For a Face of Evil, Enemy Ace is one hell of a nice guy.

chiasaur11 said...

On the other hand, he worked for the Nazis at one point.

I figure fighting for the Nazis without switching over to the allies before the war ends gets you a free ticket into all the cool evil social events.