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Wednesday, May 30, 2012 

Scripps-Howard fawns over WW and GL trades

In this sugarcoated Scripps-Howard News Service article, they fawn over the hack works of Brian Azzarello and Geoff Johns on Wonder Woman and Green Lantern that were released in trades:
Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are two of DC Entertainment's oldest characters. But collections of their newly relaunched titles bring some surprising changes.

For example, we learned in 1942 that the child who would grow up to become Wonder Woman was a clay statue sculpted by Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, brought to life by the gods and granted their powers. In 2012, we learned that's a lie.

The True, Honest-to-Gosh, Cross-My-Heart Origin of the Amazing Amazon comes to us in "Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood" ($22.99), arriving this month. "Blood" collects the first six issues of "Wonder Woman," a title relaunched with DC's other superhero titles in September as "The New 52."

It's clear that "Blood" has more than one meaning. First, the story involves the bloodline of the Greco-Roman gods, and secondly, it involves a lot of the red stuff. The plot is this: Father Zeus has disappeared, which sets various gods into violent motion against each other to claim his throne. Also, venomous Hera is trying to kill one of Zeus' many lovers, a girl pregnant with a demigod that Wonder Woman has taken it upon herself to protect. As battles are won and lost, deals are brokered between power bases, and alliances shift. In the middle is the Amazing Amazon, who also must deal with the revelation of her true nature -- and the fact that her mother has been lying to her all along.

If this sounds more like a gang war than a superhero story, maybe it's because "Blood" is written by Brian Azzarello, famed for the intricate crime noir "100 Bullets." He called the Greco-Roman gods "the original crime family" in a phone interview last year, motivated by "selfish" and "twisted" desires.
And as far as I'm concerned, Azzarello has no true respect for the material. Hera seems to come off the worst here with WW's mother second.
[...] Hera is naked most of the time (except for her cloak of peacock feathers), but so bloody-minded and lethal you forget that pretty quickly.
Just like most of the audience has already forgotten and abandoned much of DC Comics because of such excess.
[...] while Wonder Woman is going through big changes, writer (and DC Chief Creative Officer) Geoff Johns made subtle, almost minor changes to the Emerald Warrior in "Green Lantern Volume 1: Sinestro" ($22.99). That's probably because Johns has already spent several years virtually re-creating Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, erasing decades of bad stories, clumsy mischaracterization and general mistreatment of one of DC's signature characters.
And just what bad stories would those be? Or characterization and maltreatment? If Johns injected "daddy issues" into the characterization for Hal, that's hardly a postive addition. The violence that's tainted much of his writing is also evident here, and contrary to what they tell, even now, it doesn't sound like they've rid themselves of Parallax, and certainly didn't within 6-7 years of Hal's return to the land of the living.
The New 52 "Green Lantern" picks up right where the old title left off, with Jordan booted out of the Corps, his place as Green Lantern of Sector 2814 taken by his oldest archenemy, the red-skinned ex-Green Lantern Sinestro. Nobody is happy about this -- not Jordan, not Sinestro, not the rest of the Corps. But the enigmatic Guardians of Oa are, as usual, executing some plan they won't explain, and treating everyone like disposable tools. [...] So what's new is that Sinestro is no longer the cartoon bad guy he was in the 1960s, but a complex and tragic (but still really unpleasant) protagonist. And the Guardians may have crossed a line that can't be ignored.
Oh, they're right that nobody's happy, not even the wider audience, judging from sales. If this is how they're going to treat the council of Guardians on Oa, as abusive of their employees, I honestly can't see what they're trying to accomplish here other than to make them look very unadmirable. The claim that Sinestro was cartoonish seems like more of a putdown of the past writing efforts by better writers, completely ignoring that they were trying to entertain the audience first and foremost.
Meanwhile, Jordan must learn who he is without the ring. And Wonder Woman must learn who she is with her past ripped away. Given the status of these characters, those count as pretty big developments.
Absolutely not. They only count as character assassination and embarrassment, and it's not like Hal Jordan hasn't spent time in civilian life before, as seen in the mid-80s when he briefly gave up his ring. All that's happened is DC editorial has allowed these characters to be misused by some of the most overrated writers of all time.

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This article appeared in my state's largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, today. I kept shaking my head while reading it. It doesn't appealling at all. As you noted in an earlier post, it just sounds demonic.

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