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Wednesday, July 25, 2018 

The Times-Record serves as an apologist for DC putting its big 3 in unreliable hands

In a not unexpected move, the Fort Smith Times-Record's paid lip service to DC assigning some of the worst, most overrated writers to work on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman:
But are Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman better for all these changes? The Magic 8-Ball says “Ask Again Later,” as it always does. But the preliminary news is mostly good.
I see no use in this statement, because no matter the merit to come or lack thereof, they'll always be ready to fawn. Just like they did over the New 52 era.
The biggest changes have hit the Man of Steel. In DC’s 2011 “New 52” publishing initiative, the character was rebooted in ways both major and minor. But even that didn’t last, as the 2016 “Rebirth” initiative upended things again, combining both the New 52 Superman and Lois Lane with the pre-2011 versions.

Despite the head-spinning impact of these updates, most fans were pretty pleased. Both the pre-2011 and Rebirth versions of Superman held aspects that worked well for the character — so the combo version gave different generations of Super-readers something to like. The stories launching from these vertiginous shifts were genuinely suspenseful, since readers had no idea what the Last Son of Krypton would look like at the end.
Judging from Bendis' recent Man of Steel miniseries, it looks more like he wanted to get rid of Lois and the recent son named Jonathan just so he could turn Superman into all but single again for the sake of it, in a way that suits social justice mores. Based on how things are going now, I'm not sure fans will remain pleased for long.
One thing that returned with the merger is the marriage of Superman and Lois Lane, who had been returned to a pre-marriage state in 2011. That’s a welcome development, as the marriage eliminates all that nonsense about Lois being unable to recognize Superman when he puts on a pair of glasses. Instead, she’s part of the game, helping her mate hide his biggest secret, while carving an impressive journalism career on her own. That checks a lot of boxes for a lot fans.
*Ahem* This in itself is not a bad thing, and it was part of superhero comics for many years. Besides, does that mean, by contrast, it wasn't wrong Colonel Steve Trevor didn't recognize Wonder Woman when she wore glasses and fastened her hair in a ponytail? You could make a similar argument about how co-stars can't seem to recognize the voices of the heroes while they're in disguise, depending on what kind of mask they wear.

Furthermore, Mary Jane Watson's return as Spider-Man's wife may check plenty of boxes for Spider-fans, but that doesn't guarantee the stories going forward will be any good, not even for Superman. Superficial modifications alone do not a story make.
In addition, Clark and Lois have a son, Jonathan, with super-powers of his own. The pre-2011 couple had a son, too, but he was an adopted Kryptonian kid from the Phantom Zone, one with no blood ties to either parent. The current version is a true son of the House of El, as well as a true son of, um, the House of Lane? Well, he’s a son of Earth for sure. That resonates nicely, as well as giving DC writers a true Superboy to play with — resulting in the delightful “Super-Sons” series, that teamed the wholesome, somewhat naïve Jonathan with Batman’s ultra-cynical bad boy, Damian “Robin” Wayne.
Again, let's note the direction Brian Bendis recently took in his MOS miniseries...with Lois Lane joining Jonathan in a departure? Bendis may have defended his steps by claiming Supes is going to be searching for them, but it's still very lethargic. No less dumbfounding is the apparent resurrection of Jor-El, who persuades the super-grandson to join him on a journey, with Lois joining, just another demonstration of how laughable today's DCU has become by diminishing Superman's motivations for being a dedicated superhero.
That was then. Because now comes writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Bendis has been, for the last 18 years, “Mr. Marvel Comics.” His achievements at the House of Ideas are legendary, ranging from rebooting the Avengers franchise (prior to the movies) to co-creating Jessica Jones. His recent move to DC Comics sent shock waves through comics fandom, and even caused some ripples in the mainstream entertainment media.
Including this dumb news column. If it sent shock waves through fandom, it was for all the wrong reasons for plenty. Bendis was the writer who dumbed down the Avengers, turned Scarlet Witch one-dimensionally crazy for the sake of writing her out of the series for several years, was an engineer in several crossovers like House of M and Civil War, turned Iceman gay (and made Jean Grey look bad in the process), all under the confidence the MSM wouldn't say a word of negativity, because he's as leftist as they are, and a SJW-caterer to boot. Some "legend" that is.
Bendis chose as his first project the biggest gun of all: Superman. The “Superman” series went on hiatus for a Bendis-written, six-issue miniseries titled “Man of Steel,” which introduced the concepts and themes he meant to pursue. Then “Superman” re-launched with a new first issue, written by Bendis. The writer also took over the other main Super-book, “Action Comics,” when it reached the magic number 1000.
Those themes include tearing down the American Way to suit Bendis' liberal belief what it should really be. Naturally, there'll be no admittal of that here.
And so far it’s been up, up and away.

A previous writer had un-deaded Superman’s pop, Jor-El, who is now scarred, traumatized and kinda scary. Bendis is using that character to complicate Superman’s life; Super-grandpa wants to teach Jonathan how to be a proper Kryptonian with a tour of the galaxy, and the boy wants to go. Since the Kents couldn’t stop their super-powered son if they tried, Lois went along as chaperone.
Whether or not it's the real deal, the way Bendis is handling things is not impressive so far, and based on his Marvel "method", unlikely to change later either. He may not have been the writer who brought back Jor-El (I assume Dan Jurgens was?), but unless it turns out this is clone, it'll only diminish Superman's origins. And even if it is a clone, Bendis is not a writer to inspire confidence.
This sets up two storylines going forward: Lois and Jonathan on their magical mystery tour, and Clark Kent dealing with their unexplained absence at the Daily Planet — plus the emotional void it leaves in his own life.

Complicating matters further is a new character named Rogal Zaar, who claims to have destroyed Krypton and has come to Earth to finish his genocide. He promptly gets most of the way to his goal by destroying the Bottle City of Kandor, leaving only Superman, Supergirl and the Phantom Zone prisoners to finish what he calls his “cleansing.”

This isn’t the most original idea in the world. A number of stories over the decades have pinned the destruction of Krypton on a person or group rather than a natural disaster, only to be proven false in the end. One such person or group is Black Zero — it’s been both — currently on display on Syfy’s “Krypton.”

But the good news is that this character is more powerful than Superman and Supergirl put together, which makes his claim plausible. Also, what little we know of his background ties him to a number of major powers in the DC Universe, which means we should see those connections bear fruit in future stories — connections which include the Green Lanterns, the New Gods, Wonder Woman’s Greco-Roman gods, and the original Shazam.
Yawn. There have been plenty of titanic aliens in the past, Darkseid included, who could be written as formidable to both ex-Kryptonians together, so this boast isn't so original either. Nor does it make the idea Zaar could've destroyed Krypton plausible. If Darkseid hadn't done it, why should Zaar have?
Bendis is not without his critics, but so far none of the usual barbs will stick to his Super-project.

Bendis is known for his overlapping, cynical dialogue — but that is absent in his Super-characters, who deal with each other in a much more wholesome, straightforward way. Bendis is often criticized for ignoring past stories (called “continuity”) when picking up a new character — but he has clearly done his homework on Superman, writing knowledgeably about Fortress of Solitude history and Supergirl’s current status quo.
If he's done his "homework", it's only to look up what ideas/elements suit him, like the remake of the Black Zero tale from Superman #205 in 1967. Still, how odd the pretentious columnist first called Bendis a "legend", and then admits he's taken his share of critical flak, though he doesn't state exactly why (surprise, surprise). Plus, for an article claiming Bendis understands anything about Superman's notable laboratory, it goes on to say:
Speaking of the Fortress: It’s been destroyed, and Superman has created a new one in the Bermuda Triangle. Speaking of Supergirl: Her dormant title will be revived for her pursuit of Rogal Zaar.

Yes, the Kandorians are dead (at least for now), Jonathan and Lois are missing and Kal-El has to rebuild his life in both identities. But what’s misery for the Action Ace is turning into good reading for Super-fans.
Nope, I don't think so, and judging from some of the recent sales receipts on ICV2, not many others cared either. These hacks may know how to fool people at the start, but soon it becomes apparent they're just pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. The column goes on to Batman, after the wedding with Catwoman turned out not to be:
King took over the Gotham Guardian during Rebirth, with “Batman” No. 1. His take started out with excellent insights on all the major players, and just got better — amazingly, the series continued to build toward “Batman” No. 50 without showing its cards. Eventually he got to what may be the best Superman/Batman team-up in DC’s long history: Lois and Clark and Selina and Bruce on a double date at Smallville’s county fair (“Batman” No. 37). Honestly, these characters have never been written so well.

And, despite the seeming climax of “Batman” No. 50, King says he’s got a lot more to say. As he told Entertainment Weekly, he’s “halfway through what I hope to be an epic story of the Batman’s heart being broken and perhaps rebuilt and perhaps broken again.”

Stay tuned, Bat-fans, for the next 50 issues. Same Bat-writer, same Bat-title.
No, we won't. If that's all they can do with the Masked Manhunter, then I don't think there's much else they got to say at all. Not with these kind of people running the store today. The article finally turns to Wonder Woman, and surely has the worst sugarcoating of all:
Finally we get to the Amazing Amazon, who will get a new writer in November. That’s months away, but it already has Wonder Woman fans excited.

That writer is G. Willow Wilson, who might be a little familiar to DC readers from stints on some of their superheroes. Or from her two mature-readers series, “Cairo” and “Air,” the former involving Middle Eastern mythology, the latter involving the spirit of Amelia Earhart.

But what Wilson is most famous for — and what has fans excited — is that she is the co-creator of Kamala “Ms. Marvel” Khan at Marvel Comics, and has been writing that successful character since its inception. “Ms. Marvel” is a charming, light-hearted book about a teenage Muslim girl from New Jersey who suddenly develops super-powers — and whose big heart proves up to the task every month.
The millionth fluff-coating of the propaganda book, it's one of the most disgusting by far. No mention of the election issue either, I see. Not even her attempt to whitewash the Religion of Peace with taqqiya after Ardian Syaf proved what it's really like. Not even mention of how the Muslim Ms. Marvel title has plummeted in sales since, reduced to dismal numbers.
“Heart” is a pretty important part of Wonder Woman’s appeal as well. Big things are expected come November.

As noted at the beginning of this column, SDCC is nigh, with all of its big-time announcements. In the case of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, no news will be good news: the “Big Three” are already in good hands.
And what's the meaning of this mind-boggler? Not only is there no good news, they're not in good hands either. What a total insult to the intellect.

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