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Monday, June 25, 2018 

This "columnist" actually cares?

Anybody familiar enough with the dreadful antics of CBR/Polygon writer Kieran Shiach, who antagonized graphic novelist Richard C. Meyer and/or Ethan Van Sciver some time ago, knows that's he's obviously a bad lot. So it's certainly a surprise he'd acknowledge Identity Crisis was bad for the DCU with its direction, and that it led to a lot of horrific darkness over the next several years, furthering the harm Geoff Johns was no less responsible for injecting. He wrote this article in order to comment on where Tom King could be going with Heroes in Crisis:
It’s also described as a murder mystery involving the patients at Sanctuary, the psychological treatment center for superheroes. But while King has a proven track record of balancing thoughtful reflections on the human condition with the wants and needs of a superhero story, Heroes In Crisis sounds awfully similar to one of the most controversial events of the 2000s: Identity Crisis.

[...] Identity Crisis has been hailed as a step towards maturity for superhero comics, but it’s actually anything but. It’s a teenager’s idea of mature, filled with unnecessary rape and murder which don’t just muddy the waters of the DC Universe in the present, but actively make the effort to muddy the waters of its history as well. It’s as if everyone involved in the key decision making behind Identity Crisis were ashamed of the comics they grew up reading, and felt the need to go back and tell the quote-unquote “real story” behind those happy-go-lucky superhero stories in order to justify the time spent reading them.
While these criticisms in themselves are valid, how well do they work coming from a guy who used filthy language like "nazis" to describe anybody he disagreed with on the right? Does he even realize the miniseries contained left-wing metaphors for 9-11 and abu Ghraib? I get the feeling his negative view of IC today doesn't stem from altruistic motives so much as it does from becoming "woke", yet not recognizing that liberals can be very destructive themselves, and this is one of their results. In fact, nowhere in the 3-paged article does he actually say it was offensive to rape and child abuse victims because it belittled Sue Dibny's experience at the hands of the out-of-character Dr. Light for the sake of post-911 Blame-America metaphors.
Identity Crisis kicked off an era of DC that was defined by its bleakness; Ted Kord was shot dead by Maxwell Lord, Superboy was murdered by his Earth-Prime doppelganger, Bart Allen had his speed stolen and was beaten to death by The Rogues, Roy Harper’s daughter Lian was crushed to death in the fall of Star City.

There were bright spots, too, but over the course of just under a decade, the DC Universe became an increasingly bleak place and writers were constantly looking to top the last, most bleakest event. By the time Roy Harper was off his face on heroin holding a dead cat in an alley believing it to be the corpse of his infant daughter, there was nowhere else to go, and the New 52 relaunch followed shortly thereafter.
But Shiach doesn't want to ponder this was largely the product of leftists exploiting established characters for the sake of stealth political agendas? And why doesn't he admit all these obnoxious, overwrought tragedies were made possible by the very press he writes for, since they either backed DiDio and company's direction, or ignored it altogether? And again, I couldn't spot any clear discussion in Shiach's item about whether he thought IC was offensive to sexual abuse victims with its one-sided approach.

In fact, if the following is any suggestion, Shiach made a big boo-boo:
While we’ve seen how Tom King can handle themes of psychological trauma inflicted on superheroes in books like The Omega Men and Mister Miracle, his recent “The Gift” storyline with Tony S. Daniel in the pages of Batman doesn’t inspire much faith that Heroes In Crisis will be as nuanced as it needs to be.
So he's sugarcoating King's work on the Omega Men remake that blurred differences between good and evil? It's all we need to know this guy doesn't have what it takes to convince us he's altruistic.
Heroes In Crisis is described as a murder-mystery which sees the majority of Sanctuary’s patients found dead, with Harley Quinn and Booster Gold seen as the prime suspects by the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Identity Crisis was also structured as a murder-mystery and saw the heroes of the DC Universe go to some incredibly dark places to find not many answers, and it’s increasingly worrying that Heroes In Crisis might do the same.
Well the fact it's all about murders - and tons of them - is reason enough to avoid the whole tommyrot before it even arrives in stores. If this is how DC's going to market event books, based on stories about violent deaths or worse, rapes, and not tales of high adventure across different galaxies and dimensions to fight evil wherever it's clogging up the place, then it only confirms they have no faith in their ability to appeal to a broad audience and think only adults with a narrow idea of what makes great entertainment are whom they'll be able to draw in. But as the past few years should make clear, that's definitely no longer the case, and Marvel's own crossovers should make clear the whole concept is long overdue for retirement. It's time for fandom to start proving they can vote with their wallets and avoid a DC event if that's what it takes to make clear we're not being fooled by these terrible crossovers anymore. It's a shame, of course, that Shiach's not qualified to comment in his own words, unless he's willing to apologize for all the harm he's done of recent. But if not, that's why his commentary on IC and Heroes in Crisis falls flat. Besides, as I mentioned before, he doesn't seem to clearly address the socio-political issues making the 2004 miniseries the repellent dumpster fire it is, if at all, and that's why his own take is otherwise weak.

Maybe that's why a few of the reader comments make for better consideration, like this one:
Indenity Crisis was one of the worst comics dc ever published. Ruined an era of Justice League. Turned dc towards darker turn that almost killed DC comic book sales. Lead to some of the worst events dc has ever published like Countdown and Final Crisis. Then the book was used to retcon years of good deevelopment for some characters
And also:
It would be nice to actually have fun reading comics nowadays instead of being traumatized.....
Now that's something I can fully agree with! Indeed, what's so great about a story set in a sci-fi world involving folks suffering trauma just for the sake of it? It's certainly not something that inspires or makes you feel happy. Again, anybody who pays good money for such balderdash is out of their minds, so honestly, I do believe the audience would do better to avoid Heroes in Crisis altogether and show DC we're not fooled by their own attempts to fleece the audience for no good reason.

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