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Saturday, October 06, 2018 

A flawed description of Marvel's "Legacy" at Comics Bulletin, during their commentary on DC's Doomsday Clock

Comics Bulletin wrote about the needless "event" of DC's Doomsday Clock, which already has some unpleasant political allusions included, and along the way, they make the mistake of sugarcoating Marvel's own recent approach, and, they even do the same with Brian Bendis. First, here's what they do right:
Now, before continuing further, let me just say that stagnation has not affected every DC title. Tom King’s Batman, as divisive as it may be, continues to march to the beat of its own drum. The same for Brian Michael Bendis and the Superman books. Scott Snyder is taking Justice League for a wild ride exploring the aftermath of his own (and very awesome) event Dark Nights: Metal. But then there are other titles like The Flash, which is a pretty decent seller for the publisher and attempts to adhere to continuity. When writer Joshua Williamson does his own thing, the book has been pretty good – arguably the best a Barry Allen comic has ever been. However, in recent months it has incorporated elements of Metal into its storytelling, lost a key supporting character to King’s underwhelming Heroes in Crisis, and also play a big part in the overarching “DC Rebirth” story – which includes Doomsday Clock. And as a result of trying to balance these multiple stories, the title has become rudderless. In being pulled in 3 different directions, it ends up going nowhere. Though The Flash may be the best example of this, the problem persists among DC’s other books.
Well at least they're willing to admit the upper echelons scuttled whatever goodwill they supposedly tried to offer with "Rebirth". But if they're implying Bendis didn't make any mistakes by phasing Lois Lane out of the picture along with their superpowered son, that's where they decidedly goof. It may be one thing to phase out the child, but why the lady fair? A serious error that was also made with Linda Park too, last I can recall. If she's been written out of the Flash as her husband was in King's degrading crossover, I don't see how improvements were made at all.

Now, here's the other mistake made in reference to Marvel:
This is not just my own opinion. Having spoken with several other readers in person and countless others online, there is an overarching sense of fatigue when it comes to DC’s titles. The problem has been further compounded by the success of Marvel’s “Legacy” initiative, which has seen compelling and genuinely fun takes on their characters while also embracing the “back to basics” approach that garnered much goodwill under DC Rebirth. The main difference is that while the approach taken in Rebirth, along with the backlash from the New 52 and DCYou, allowed readers to overlook some middling storytelling, Marvel has managed to tap into that same sense of nostalgia while also delivering some really good storytelling. And while the likes of Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Amazing Spider-Man, have garnered praise for “restoring” the characters while maintaining a level of quality, Marvel has also been able to put out some quirky titles such as Cosmic Ghost Rider.
Umm, if they're still sticking with any social justice leftism, then I'm not sure quality is there. Let's remember that Ta-Nehisi Coates was appointed writer of Cap, and if he's using it even remotely as a platform for his dismal leftism, that's bad.

Furthermore, "Legacy" was anything but a success, if they're talking about one of the last steps Axel Alonso took before he was let go as editor (or was he? What if he's still on the payroll behind the scenes?). Even Paste, pretentious as they are, didn't think it was working out financially, and indeed, it didn't. Why, last time I looked, Amazing Spider-Man, despite seemingly restoring Mary Jane Watson to a better status, was far from selling that big, and to say anything sells big today is charitable. Some of the terrible, deliberately censored and downright poor artwork also still remains in a number of Marvel books, as they threw more talented artists under the bus for the sake of cheapie artists whose finished products were a big dismay, as the new Fantastic Four volume demonstrated. It sure doesn't reflect well on C.B. Cebulski's resume, and one can only wonder what anybody's going to tell him at the next retailing panel Marvel's executives will attend. If their sales aren't doing well, it'll only revive misgivings and frustration among the store managers, and that's not likely to help Cebulski at all. I'd sure like to know if they're willing to complain about DC's own mishandlings of their properties at the same meetings too, along with some smaller publishers who've made similar mistakes. Because even they count.

At the end, the writer says one more thing that includes flaws:
To their credit, DC has made an effort to try some new things as it waits for Doomsday Clock to run its course. With Dark Nights: Metal, the publisher attempted to push forward some new ideas under the “New Age of Heroes” banner. Unfortunately, few people were clamoring for these new characters when fan favorites such as Booster Gold, Shazam, and the Justice Society of America were inexplicably absent from DC’s line-up of titles. But that has done little favors to historically strong titles such as Teen Titans, Nightwing, and Supergirl. The problem is not that storytelling has become bad; DC has at least learned its lesson from the New 52 when it comes to producing utter garbage (I hope). Instead, titles that started “Rebirth” strong, such as Detective Comics, have become woefully average. When something is really good, or really bad, it can elicit some form of passionate response. However, languishing in mediocrity is the root cause of apathy taking hold of the readership. A publisher can recover when it’s pissed off its fans, but it’s harder to win them back when they just stop caring.
On this, I have to disagree. If fans stop caring, new potential readers are bound to do the same, and then, a publisher can't recover. Certainly not long-term. Though removing the editors and "creative consultants" in charge could be one way to make improvements.

Also, which takes on Teen Titans and Supergirl are we talking about? Most of what's come since the turn of the century has not been strong artistically, and as a result, they've lost ground financially. Even Nightwing eventually lost ground as a result, recalling the embarrassingly bad 93rd issue from 2004 where they did a vague variation on Identity Crisis with Dick Grayson being exploited by a would-be vigilante called Tarantula, a story which writer Devin Grayson now disowns. What were once well regarded books were eventually replaced by less successful takes on the same, and the stars ruined in the process. If they don't admit this, they've accomplished little.

But in answer to their query whether Doomsday Clock is ruining DC...yep, it's but one of several projects that certainly are.

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