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Wednesday, March 02, 2011 

How Geoff Johns ruined the Golden Glider

Speed Force blog has a guest post by a Flash fan who's dismayed by Geoff Johns' rendition of Lisa Snart, alias the Golden Glider, who was Barry Allen's only - but still very effective - female foe. When she first debuted in 1977, the late sister of Captain Cold got into the supercrook game not because she wanted a serious life of crime, but because she wanted to seek revenge upon the Flash for allegedly killing her boyfriend, the Top. I have a few back issues of the Flash in my collection featuring Lisa Snart, including #257 Vol. 1, where she put his family* in jeopardy, and it's very effectively written, without being forced like today's "offerings". But Johns forcibly altered much of that in 2002, by rewriting her to sound as though she'd taken up villainy out of villain-worship of her brother. I posted some scans of that here. And the original premise, save for one minor reference, has been almost completely obscured.

Not only that, as the writer says:
Johns has publicly stated that he wants her to stay dead because it makes her brother more interesting, which actively disparages her to prop up another character.
There's a worthy argument that can be made that Johns' retcons are very much like J. Michael Stracynski's own terrible changes to Gwen Stacy and even Mary Jane Watson-Parker (and DC's changes of Jean Loring), taking a character who's the all but the opposite of them and changing her to suit his own ambiguous standings. It's made all the more absurd when we consider that Lisa did not have a very warm relationship with her brother Leonard, nor was she close with the other Rogues. She'd figured out the Flash's real ID as Barry Allen, and this was her final card to play if she wanted to. And I suspect that too has been negated.

I've sometimes wondered if Mark Waid may have spoiled her in later years when he wrote that she'd all but gone back into criminal activity with a handful of villains who would take up the guise of Chillblaine, finally falling victim to one who turned against her, but Johns has gone far beyond that, throwing her effective premise that made her more than just a common supercrook out the window and turning Lisa into something more standard. It makes me feel glad I'm not wasting my time on his Green Lantern work, because I hesitate to think of what he's doing with Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire.

* And lest we forget what a grave disservice he did to Barry parents too, when he wrote that the Reverse-Flash slaughtered Barry's mother and framed his father! All for the sake of more forced darkness.

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