WonderCon: DC Nation Bulletin

February 28th, 2009 by | Tags: ,

Here are a few of my reactions to the DC Nation panel:

  • Ian Sattler is almost disgustingly endearing as the moderator.
  • And when he said that James Robinson’s accent would class up the place he wasn’t kidding.
  • The New Krypton is still far from over, and while I’m usually not a fan of long, drawn out crossover events, the snazzy trailer they showed featured an increasingly militaristic society of Kryptonians and Lex Luthor.  Might vanquishing the Kryptonian forces be a way for Lex to claw his way back to respectability?  They say it’s all building toward a 2010 event, so we’ll have to sit tight for now.
  • Blackest Night #0 is going to be made available on free comic book day so I’m going to have to wear nothing but yellow and carry a wooden bat to get past the hordes of Green Lantern fans.
  • The new Doom Patrol book was nerd-bait to begin with.  Add in Keith Giffen and the Metal Men and I thought that the flames on the cover image were just the smoking remains of some fanboy’s exploded head.
  • Paul Dini deserves all the credit in the world.  He writes fantastic stories and has been doing so for coming up on two decades.   The problem is, when you are a female comic book fan and you hear about a team book with Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn, and it’s called Gotham City Sirens, you have one main worry: Will the entire premise of the book be a lot of  boobs with a little story around them?  Once you start worrying about that you pretty much rate each statement made about the book as good or bad depending on whether it implies that your worry is justified.  So, I will interpret Mister Dini’s description of the book thusly:  It will have “emotional devastation  (Good.).”  It will be “very dangerous (Bad.), very hot (Extremely Bad.), very extreme (Neutral.), and not what anyone is expecting (Good, again.).”
  • Whatever else is going on, making Kate Spencer the new DA of Gotham is inspired.  Bravo.

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One comment to “WonderCon: DC Nation Bulletin”

  1. Dini is one of the most sexist writers that DC currently employs. Look at how his favourite characters include:

    * Harley Quinn – a professional psychiatrist turned into a giggling manic schoolgirl by ‘female weakness’.
    * Poison Ivy – his major story with her includes her being stalked by a giant plant, possessed with the souls of the people she fed to it (cliche alert), leading to an entire issue of poor excuses for tentacle porn in which she is raped by said plant and develops a phobia of her own freaking powers, rendering her utterly pathetic and useless.
    * Catwoman – his major arc with her reduces her to “Batman’s ex/Woman in Fridge”, less than half a year after the final issue of her series said the exact opposite.
    * Likewise Zatanna – all the character-building and ideas created by Morrison in s7: Z are thrown out the window in favour of a Mary-Sue “Batman’s Girlfriend” who never stops doing regular conjuring tricks in order to look cute.
    * Oh, and the ‘new, improved’ Ventriloquist. I’ve explained this before, but here we go again: The Ventriloquist-Scarface team worked only because it was a juxtaposition of how pathetic Arnold Wesker was compared with his alter-ego; look, for instance, in BATMAN: CITY OF CRIME, where his blank expression and silent demeanour next to his alter-ego gives him an almost frightening aspect. Replacing Wesker with a beautiful vapid blonde woman negates all of the character’s interesting features and potential for scariness, partly because it suggests that Scarface is more of a malevolent spirit than one man’s alternate personality (it is scientifically and psychologically impossible for two separate people to engender the same alternate personality), and partly because it implies that beautiful blonde women are just as pathetic as sad, useless old men. Which is a pretty broad generalisation, no?
    * …And continuing with that trend, the new Ventriloquist’s origin? “Hush’s Girlfriend”.

    But even when he isn’t being sexist, he still isn’t capable of writing at a level which appeals to anyone above the age of 11. His work, like Loeb’s, just reinforces the same tired old cliches over and over and over without anything new or original or challenging. Ooh, look – Batman’s villains, Joker and Hush, are back to…er…do some gimmicky deathtraps. Hey – here’s a series of boring murder mysteries with nonentity villains, the plot of which would have Agatha Christie so agonised with tedium that she’d pull out her incisors to make it stop! Or why not have some villains quickly ‘reformed’ without a parole hearing or even a police officer around to keep an eye on them – and then they’re still being evil greedy men, because we shouldn’t take criminal rehabilitation into anything other than a series of pratfalls! Silly evil greedy men! Why try to be a better person or a developed character, when you can just provide some unfunny attempts at comic relief, over and over?

    There’s a far better interpretation of Riddler in both GOTHAM UNDERGROUND and TRINITY; one who, while he has gone good, is still very much an intelligent and stylish gentleman, entirely capable of solving a mystery without the help of others, and going out of his way to help Nightwing and look into the Penguin’s messing with Intergang. With Dini, he’s basically a rather boringand unoriginal take on Herge’s Thomson & Thompson, with all the incapability and slapstick that provides. The same with Penguin. While Dini is content to just write a vaguely darker version of Mel Brooks’ Max Bialystock and leave it at that, the work on the character in GOTHAM UNDERGROUND, ROBIN and BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS fully appreciates the character’s sense of panache, as well as his history and his motivation.

    Ooh, and don’t let me get into his countless attempts to run stories that make no sense in relation to continuity established by Grant Morrison, and his dogged refusal to even attempt to do try. Joker moves forward as a character, with scars and razors and actually authentic, non-‘comic book’ mental problems? Drag him back into 1992 for Xmas adventures with Robin! Ra’s Al Ghul is back? We can’t have that – chuck him in Arkham and try to make it extremely hard for any other writer to get him back out! Batman’s relationship with Jezebel Jet is meant to be growing? Have him declare that he doesn’t love anyone else but Selina Kyle, in-between administering the medication that helps her get through traumatic heart surgery as performed by a maniac and a drugged-up hobo.

    The same thing happened with Countdown. When he hosted a team of writers to create a build-up to Final Crisis – having fully read a copy of the plot outline and the first few scripts – it turned into…Countdown. How odd.

    The bottom line: Dini is a terrible writer, and without the cartoon series, he wouldn’t have a job – just as, without the 90s, neither would Loeb. DC editorial should be ashamed that, in this day and age, they still employ a writer as bad as him, and if not for my knowledge of the profound lack of taste which surrounds the common comic book reader, I would be perplexed as to why they’re giving him two books instead of putting him on some kid’s book which won’t affect anyone else’s continuity – where he firmly belongs.