Frequent Collected Editions commenter Michael sent me an email the other day (see email address at right) in response to my review of Absolute DC: New Frontier:
You seem to be saying that Johns and Meltzer are positive-leaning writers and I don't think that is true at all. The way I see the current DC is dark and dank and cynical. Meltzer [wrote a comic where villains] killed and raped Sue Dibny. None of the heroes are acting in the heroic fashion Cooke has them in here. And every other month a character is killed or kills someone. I think before DC is the positive place you're hoping for, Dan DiDio has to go. ... You seem like we'd agree on it but I'm not sure. Thanks for a good review though, it's nice to know what's inside!Michael's note gives me an opportunity to clarify some of the points in my review. In my discussion of how Absolute DC: New Frontier represents a trend toward "Johns-ian comics" away from the previous "grim and gritty" era, I was looking at a concentrated effort from Countdown to Infinite Crisis through Infinite Crisis itself to brighten DC Comics, spearheaded by Dan Didio, Geoff Johns, and the rest. We have to admit, when you look at "Emerald Twilight," Batman's betraying the JLA to Ra's al Ghul and Batman's general standoff-ish-ness, and the general event-driven comics of the 1990s (the "Death of Superman" story duplicated in Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and what have you), the DC Universe immediately following Infinite Crisis is a much brighter place--comraderie between the heroes being only the start.
Even if one decries the mass consumerism of the current Countdown to Final Crisis effort, we can still be glad that at least Final Crisis promises to hold more depth and relevance than, say, Genesis. I believe Michael's points above are valid, but I think he's confusing the journey with the destination--yes, Identity Crisis put the DC heroes through the wringer, and yes, Wonder Woman killed Maxwell Lord in The OMAC Project, but these were all stories conceieved in the run-up to Infinite Crisis and the lighter days to follow. It would have been one thing if Sue Dibney went unmourned or Wonder Woman unpunished, but neither is the case--these events were not portrayed lightly nor forgotten quickly. I sooner fault DC for killing the second Dove in order to pull the rug from under in Armageddon 2001 than I do for Sue Dibney's death. While I will grant that there might have been other ways to accomplish the same thing, at least Identity Crisis functioned with the intention of accomplishing better things in the future.
Granted, I would say that the recent death of Bart Allen does shake my confidence somewhat in the "New Earth" of DC Comics. I can't quite believe that DC intended Bart's death from the start of his new series; to that end, Bart's brutal death smacks of the kind of "putting characters out to pasture" that we saw in Zero Hour with the Justice Society, or killing off Oliver Queen to introduce a new Green Arrow right after. Then again, I haven't read the said Flash story yet, and like Fred says, it may be better not to judge until all is said and done.
Anyway, we're continuing to move through our One Year Later reviews here at Collected Editions, with more looks at the brand-new series that came out of Infinite Crisis coming up. And look for more perspectives on DC's new era coming up; it's 2007, we'll posit ... so why does it feel like 1994? More soon.
Thanks for reading!