Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sometimes I really don't get DC Comics.

Today on the company's Source blog they announced a new Red Tornado miniseries, written by Kevin VanHook (most recently of Oracle: The Cure and Superman and Batman Vs. Vampires and Werewolves) and drawn by Jose Luis (whose work I'm unfamiliar with). Red Tornado is, of course, the android hero that nobody in the whole world really likes at all, a character who played a prominent role in Brad Meltzer's relaunched Justice League of America, which has shed a huge chunk of its readers since Meltzer left. The last member of that cast to get a solo miniseries years after the relaunch was Vixen, and that sold extremely poorly (Unlike Red Tornado, Vixen was still on the team at the time too; he's apparently back to being a former member). Black Lightning: Year One sold awful as well, although perhaps that's not apples-to-apples, as his story was set in the past. But using those as examples, DC can't reasonably expect this sell 35,000 copies per issue. They're probably looking at the 19,000-34,000 range. Is that enough to justify a miniseries?

I mean, I guess it must be, or they wouldn't be bothering, but this just seems like such a weird move give the fact that just this week they launched their new "co-feature" program of back-ups. Why not run this as a back-up in JLoA? Sure, it will drive some readers away from that title, but at this point, the only people still reading JLoA—which is about to enter a holding pattern, time-killing run by Len Wein until an inevitable post-Blackest Night reboot—are going to be hardcore, completeist fans anyway.

Anyway, what will the book be about? The Source blog says it "will shed new light on the true origins of the stalwart JLA member/android." Everything you know about the Red Tornado—which is either nothing, or so much confused gibberish it amounts to nothing—is wrong! Seriously, have you ever tried untangling this guy's origin(s) story? At this point, I think I've read them all, but he was one of the many who got screwed in the back-story department during the Crisis on Infinite Earths multiverse collapse, and thus its been revised and re-revised and re-re-revised an oh God, I'm having flashbacks—robot that wants to be human, Tornado Tyrant, Tornado Champion, air elemental, argh!

Anyway, there will be a Red Tornado miniseries for some reason. I hope there's much less crying and sophomoric metaphors than there was in Meltzer's JLoA. I haven't read any of VanHook's books yet—still waiting for the library to get that S&BvV&W's trade—but it can't be any worse than Meltzer's take on the character.


Dean H. said...

Red Tornado is one of those "suffers in comparison to" characters. He is very similar in conception to The Vision. They were launched very close to one another. For whatever reason, The Vision is just cooler than Red Tornado.

That is just the way it is. There is really no way to explain it. Sometimes similar ingredients just come to better vastly better in one recipe than another. Wolverine is cooler than Timber Wolf. Swamp Thing is cooler than Man-Thing. It cuts both ways.

It always seems like the Big Two would be smarter to just concede that. Clear the space for something new.

Shana Jean said...

I like Red Tornado. Then again, my first introduction to him involved him coming back to life for the first time in years because Impulse, Robin, and Superboy had proved to him that he still could feel at least one human emotion, namely, annoyance. Ah, Young Justice. So awesome.

I don't much like VanHook's writing, though. So I'm not sure I'll pick this up. Maybe if his daughter Traya shows up.

Hdefined said...

Only three years after there may have been a shred of demand. Way to jump on the hypegeist, DC.

Unknown said...

Red Tornado's been rather prominently featured in two episodes of B:tBatB.

Related? No idea (and not like that did Jaime any good...).

chiasaur11 said...
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JohnF said...

The Vision > Red Tornado, by a wide margin. Vizh's origin isn't wonderful, but it's at least consistent. Plus his powers and costume are cooler.

Comics Cavern said...

Wait a sec... are you telling me that sometimes you actually get them? I can't remember understanding the logic behind their editorial decisions since, like 2006 or so.