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Monday, November 10, 2008 

Milestone cast joins DCU. What else is new?

The Colorado Springs Gazette writes a sugary article about the debut of the Milestone cast as part of the DCU:
DC Comics is getting some fresh blood.

First up: the introduction of Milestone Comics characters into the DC line.

Milestone Media, a black-owned company, created its ethnically diverse characters in the early 1990s. DC published the Milestone titles though a special agreement, but the two remained separate companies and the Milestone adventures occurred in a universe apart from DC's. The Milestone line ended in 1997.

Now Milestone is returning as part of a new agreement between the two companies. And this time, the Milestone characters will be part of the DC line. Icon and Hardware, among Milestone's earliest characters, will show up in "Justice League of America" next month.

And Static Shock - who was the star of his own cartoon series as well as a comic book - will appear in "Teen Titans" before long.

It won't be a matter of universes colliding, says DC executive editor Dan DiDio.

"The goal is to say they're not coming from another universe but that they existed in the DC universe and this is ours and our heroes' first introduction to them."
What else is new? This is just another case of diversity run amok, and judging from sales figures, I'm skeptical that many are going to care.
Judging from the covers to upcoming issues of "Justice League," which show Justice Leaguers squaring off against the Milestone characters, those first meetings may not be friendly ones.

"You know, the first thing heroes do is they fight before they team up," says DiDio, citing what he calls a tried-and-true method of introducing heroes.
Why do I get the feeling it's going to be contrived and forced here?
If readers clamor for it, look for the Milestone characters to star in their own titles.

"I'm going to see which ones break out," DiDio says, "but when you have characters like Icon, Hardware and Static, you'd be surprised if they didn't have series."
Or maybe not. This sounds like it's got "publicity stunt" written all over it, and a case of putting diversity before good writing. In any case, it's not novel anymore, and it's not as important as tasteful storytelling.
The DC universe is also becoming home to the old Archie Comics superheroes - characters that harken back to as long ago as the 1940s in their original incarnations.

While Archie Comics is known obviously for Archie, Jughead and the gang, the company also produced heroes such as The Shield, The Fly and Black Hood.

Those heroes will blend into the DC universe starting next year via "The Brave and the Bold," a team-up title that's being taken over by writer J. Michael Straczynski.


As with the Milestone characters, there's a chance these new/old heroes could end up with their own titles.

"My goal," DiDio says, "is to make sure that every one of these has the best chance possible to succeed and also, more importantly, they have a chance to stand out on their own without just working under the light of the DC heroes."
I'm afraid that it may be just too late for them now either. The chances that anyone cares now about these almost obscure heroes formerly published by Archie is close to nil too, and it's possible that even J. Michael Straczynski may not have an easy time selling this. All they're doing is overcrowding the DCU with more superheroes than needed, and possibly at the expense of their own flagship heroes to boot.

And most importantly, no matter what DiDio says, none of this sounds like it's being done as part of good writing, but rather, for the sake of diversity, which has gotten way out of hand already.

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