Friday, June 19, 2009

The More Things Change...

I know what you are thinking.  Ben Hatton? Ben Hatton writing? Ben Hatton writing about a change in the creative team of the Justice League?  Is it 2006? Did I go back in time?  Am I Marty McFly?  Don’t go grabbing those orange lifejackets yet, Second Printers.  I am not remarking upon the current iteration of the Justice League with its fighting Milestone characters or facing off against Starbreaker or trickster gods. No, today I am looking forward, into the future.  A future of flying skateboards, a future where vests make chicken sounds, a future where James Robinson and Mark Bagley are handling the Justice League.

Now I will admit it, I dropped Justice League of America after the Injustice League arc ended.  At that point it just was not working for me.  There was something about the stories, the line up, the what-have-you that just never clicked.  After hearing about Dwayne McDuffie’s unfortunate firing, I went back and read his run.  What is amazing is that you could tell he understood the problems with the book.  He was stuck with this editorially mandated cast of characters who should not have been in the title. Yet he was exploring why it did not click.  He was exploring what makes the Justice League the Justice League and not simply The Outsiders.  He was a writer who was rallying against his situation and little by little he was managing to take apart Meltzer’s bull and make the league his own.  It is a testament to how much bull Brad threw into the book (and how much editorial walls were put up) that McDuffie was still cleaning up his mess almost two years later.  TWO YEARS!  I digress.  As I said – we are looking towards the future.

I am of the belief that James Robinson can do no wrong.  I believe that in my heart of hearts.  I think that Starman is the epitome of what comics can do.  I think since he and Rucka (my other writer crush) have started steering the Super-books they have been gold.  Robinson does not merely write comics, he crafts worlds and communities.  He takes the flawed hero and gives him or her enough weakness, pain and subtlety into the character to really put the “human” into “superhuman.”  It does not hurt that he is obviously as much of a pop culture junky as I am.  So I was tentatively excited when they announced his taking over the book. I was then a little disappointed when it was relegated to the Justice League of America: Cry for Justice mini.  I say disappointed but not surprised. After all can you really leave Congorilla on the Justice League for an extended period of time?  I guess not.

Then yesterday The Source announces that Robinson, along with Mark Bagley, will become the new creative team. Hooray, right? I have tentative hopes; hopes that the editorial will let the team do what they need to do to make the book the jam.  I say tentative hopes because the revealed sketch does not fill me with confidence.

Vixen is still there.  Really?  Not only is she still on the roster apparently but she is the last one standing.  There is some off-panel big bad that has taken out Zatanna, Red Tornado, Plastic Man, AND a painting of the Big Three yet Vixen is only hurt (you can tell a superhero is hurt in comics when their costumes rip.)?  This smacks of fingers still being deeply into pies – up to the second knuckle.  I say again I have hopes though; hopes that Robinson will be able to continue the work of McDuffie and get the Justice League back where it should be. He can do it.  After all he is the writer who turned a junk shop owner into one of the awesomest awesomes who ever awesomed.  That’s right. I just used the word awesome as an adjective, noun AND verb. Suck it, Correct English.

P.S. Don’t you think it is weird that Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman posed for a painting?  Also, how do you think Superman managed to make his cape stay out like that for the whole time the painting was going on? I am just wondering. 


Siskoid said...

I don't think they posed for it. Some artists draw from memory or imagination.

That is all.

KENT! said...

I haven't enjoyed a single thing Robinson has written since the mid-40's in his Starman run. I thought it was David Goyer's influence on Starman that was affecting its once great writing, but subsequent Robinson comic books proved to me it was the man himself. Should I even bring up the "LXG" movie?

I'm a big McDuffie booster, but I couldn't make it very far into his JLofA run, either. The virtual free reign he had on the JLU cartoon obviously did not come with him. Hopefully he gets it on the promised (but I'll only believe it when I see it) Milestone title.

Vixen? She was incredible in JLU. Alas...

Somehow, what Jerry Conway made work in the late 70's/early '80's can't be replicated no matter how megawatt a writer you are. And I do not look forward to the day when some bestselling author or movie guy comes in and wants to recreate the Giffen-era.

ChrisM said...

I have way more confidence that Robinson & Bagley will be able to do JLA well then i have in Willingham/Sturges being able to prevent JSA from being cancelled inside a year.

I've been enjoying Robinson's Superman family books-and although some haven't been as memorable-they were all pretty enjoyable.

I also think its difficult to a book by its cover. :-)

One never knows what a cover illustration signals. This may possibly represent the end of this iteration before Robinson's "cry for justice" team steps in?
The old "new team steps in to save the old team" plot device is a good one when used effectively.

Besides-there's any number of good stuff I'm looking forward to...

the least of which is them resurrecting Vibe in Blackest Night and then hopefully blowing the bloody CRAP out of him! ha!! take that!!

Devon Sanders said...


I'm going to give it a chance but my only fear is that it'll become Robinson's weird little Justice League.

I can already feel Mon-El joining and Congorilla and Vixen becoming lovers.

Anybody wanna put money on it?

Jeff said...

All I know is that this book needs a direction very soon.