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Wednesday, November 20, 2013 

"Big changes" do not equal interesting ones

Geoff Johns boasted to Newsarama about how DC doesn't exactly plan on going by what the New 52 established any more than whatever they did earlier:
"Come April, the DC Universe will be a very different place."

That's a bold statement coming from the guy who wrote Flashpoint, the mini-series that had an ending which made the DCU a very, very different place.
No, it's a very lethargic one.
In describing the Metal Men of the New 52, Johns compared his approach to the way he and Gary Frank approached Shazam. And just like he told Newsarama last year that there are still big screen hopes for Shazam, he said the Metal Men movie he was connected to at Warner Bros. a few years back is also still alive.

It's worth listening when Johns talks about multi-media projects that are in the pipeline for Warner Bros. — he's the chief creative officer at DC Entertainment, meaning it's his job to consult with filmmakers and TV networks who use DC characters.

Despite that busy "day job," he's also DC's go-to writer when the company needs some excitement for their comic line-up. Ever since he wrote two high profile, "event-style" comics back in 2005 (the year of both Green Lantern Rebirth and Infinite Crisis), Johns has been frequently attached to big stories that get fans talking.
For all the wrong reasons, if they have anything to say at all. He's not worth listening to, and if the studio execs have any intention of taking his advice for making a Capt. Marvel movie, they need a new hobby. He was one of the reasons the GL movie failed, and they'd have to be nuts to take his word for how to make a movie.

He also brought up his already boring, superfluous love of supervillains:
The line I've got in my head, that the whole series grew out of, is "evil is relative." The whole idea is, I think a lot of DC’s villains — I love supervillains, obviously – it’s a place I’m extremely comfortable — but a lot of our villains are popular characters in their own right. They have redeeming qualities. They're really complex characters. Whether I'm writing Sinestro or Catwoman or Black Adam, I like to explore their characters from a point-of-view that’s not necessarily “evil” – the cliché is that the villains are the heroes in their own stories, but I subscribe to the fact that the most interesting villains are the ones that you understand. There is a small part of them you actually root for, because in a twisted way – their motives are almost right. Or at the very least, as a human being, we can understand why they do what they do. And what they’ve had to overcome themselves to do it.

With Forever Evil, what I wanted to do was contrast these villains with a greater evil — an evil that is a little alien to us. And with a group of characters that are devoid of the redeemable qualities I think a lot of DC villains inherently have. By removing the superheroes from the equation, having an evil force like the Crime Syndicate come in — which is essentially a twisted, dark Justice League — having them come in and try to take over the world, it leaves a vacuum for someone to save us…and what if that ends up being filled by the world’s greatest villains? Who are they? Why would they do that? Which ones would?
While Catwoman and Black Adam may have some redeeming qualities, I don't seem to recall Sinestro having any. He'd committed crimes that eventually led the Guardians council to have him executed at the end of the 2nd GL volume in 1988. And Johns wasn't ensuring the villains would have redeeming qualities when he went along in full compliance with the setup Identity Crisis had for Dr. Light, and made the Flash's Rogues out to look grimier than they actually were in the Silver Age.

His plans for a new take on the Metal Men are also reason to shudder:
Nrama: We just found out that the Metal Men will be showing up in February. Can you tell us anything about that?

Johns: If people like what Gary Frank and I did with Shazam, they'll probably like this take on the Metal Men. Essentially, they are a group of androids that were designed to be a new generation of soldiers – but something went wrong – and they aren’t the cold, killing machines the U.S. Army hoped they would be. So they were shut down. And now it’s time for the program to start back up. But whether their inventor Will Magnus, an introvert and social outcast, will support that is the real question.
I don't think many people liked his forced remake of Billy Batson, whom they no longer call Captain Marvel, so he shouldn't expect any different with the Metal Men. And will you look at that, he's hinting the US army will be cast in a negative light. It must be their leftist slant showing again. And this'll probably end up becoming the component for a screenplay based on the robot cast. If Time Warner relies on his take for the Metal Men, they'll be making mistakes as bad as the time when they produced the GL movie.

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Johns' version of the Metal Men is just another rehash of Machine Man. The same premise was used in a couple of TV pilots ("The Questor Tapes," "J.O.E. and the Colonel"), and an episode of The Night Stalker ("Mr. R.I.N.G."). Our evil military wants to build a robot super-soldier, then tries to destroy it when it develops a conscience (and therefore can't be used as a blindly obedient killing machine). Johns' work is not only leftist propaganda, it's also derivative.

Sadly, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they're using Johns' nonsense as a template for a film version of the character. After all, they used his horrific Green Lantern: Secret Origin storyline as a template for the equally-as-awful Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

And good points on Johns' lack of originality. I think the Questor Tapes was created by Gene Roddenberry in the years between the end of the original star Trek and the first movie.

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