Funnybook Babylon

May 11, 2007

52 Reasons Why There are 7 Ways to Unlimited Possibilities or Why DC Needs to Figure Out What to Do with its Dick

After several months of promising myself I would buy the last volume of Grant Morrison’s maxi-series Seven Soldiers, I finally broke down during the 25% off sale at my LCS on Free Comic Book Day, since I never turn down a cheap trade (Number 366).

The book is outright amazing. The art is great throughout, one of the highlights being JH Williams III beating the shit out panel placement, coloring, line work, and storytelling. The best part for me has to be the tons of concepts thrown out by Morrison. The new stuff that builds on existing characters and ideas that weave in and out of established continuity is great. Then there are the new tales that add to the rich tapestry of the DC Universe create some of my favorite moments.

My favorite executed idea is the New York City that arises. It becomes a NYC that rivals the Marvel U as a place where nothing is impossible. Pirates that live underground in the subway exist in the same town containing hoodlum teenage heroes. It’s a place of tremendous possibilities and numerous paths that anyone could follow and end up god knows where.

On top of all that, he revitalized seven rarely used characters and gave each series its own distinctive feel. Books like this and its spiritual cousin 52 convince me that the DCU is better creative ground than the Marvel Universe is for telling stories. The DCU is a place where the fantastical is the norm, where an adventure is around every corner.

Every story in the DCU should feel to the reader as if they were going to a new place, meeting new people and discovering things that they have never seen before. New Frontiers are what makes the DCU so exciting and engaging.

It’s pretty obvious that the 52 gang got it. The fans got it too; they bought the best main DCU book in years in droves. Cynics like me feared 52 weeks of Infinite Crisis, stories that tried to evoke the feeling of the Silver Age’s open horizons by bringing back things from that era. Instead we were forced to eat our words as we kept coming back each week to find out what happened. The writers took us someplace that we didn’t expect to go, giving us new reasons to care about old things.

However, DC’s One Year Later books were filled with missed opportunities. Nightwing was set in New York City since his hometown of Bludhaven was blown off the map. It was a nice shift, since Bludhaven was nothing more than a darker Gotham. I was excited to see what kind of stories Nightwing would tell with a character that has successfully navigated the worlds of street level crime and large scale super heroics in a city Morrison had tweaked to be full of unknown avenues.

In the DCU, the town a hero protects can say a lot about him. One of the most endearing characters in James Robinson’s Starman was Opal City. New York could be to Nightwing to what Opal was to Starman. But all of this is jettisoned in Bruce Jones’s first issue. In the book’s defense, it was never meant to make it past Infinite Crisis, but even after Jones’s rush job, new write Marv Wolfman has avoided the “character” of NYC to give us a very traditional Nightwing story. DC is missing its chance to make Nightwing a book that has a reason for its place on its shelf besides Batman-Lite. It’s another fantastic possibility that is dropped for easier nostalgic fare.

That NYC is still there if they want to discover it, but DC has to remember what made the silver age era that alot of their current comics reference to exciting and enjoyable was that there was something new there to discover. It was the exact opposite of nostalgic. Rediscover that DC, that’s what you’re fucking best at.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Powered by WordPress