Monday, March 8, 2010

Death in Comics, Blackest Night & Geoff Johns' Explanation Thereof

Over the course of the past few months, DC has been embroiled in the “zombie” and multi-coloured ring-filled linewide event known as Blackest Night. At the onset of this crossover, readers were promised by DC editorial and Geoff Johns that the story would seek to provide an explanation of the nature of death and its revolving door in the DC universe. Hit the jump for some thoughts on how this series has lived up to that manifesto and my thoughts regarding the revolving door known as death in comics.

Brian Dickey, whom you can reach at grunt136@gmail.com, is a long time comic book enthusiast who only recently returned to the hobby we all love.  He brings you today's guest post on the nature of death in comics and how it relates to the event that pulled him back into comics - Blackest Night.


Blackest Night Got Me Back Into Comics

As such, I must both curse and praise it for that.  A little bit of context before we delve into the official magic making. I stopped reading comics back in 2000, on the crest of my teenage years and right before Marvel started the Ultimate Universe. 

Throughout the past decade, I tried to keep a tenuous connection to comics by catching up on happenings with Wikipedia, TV Tropes (it's not just about TV), and other various online resources dedicated to comics and the spoiling thereof. 

However, last June, I learned one of my top three favourite heroes, Green Lantern, would be headlining a major event in the DC universe - what we now know as Blackest Night. I researched and found out that Green Lantern had been revitalized during my absence from comics and was now hailed as one of the best comics on the market. This caused me to make the fateful decision to follow this Blackest Night storyline and catch up on recent issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps before it started. Fortunately, and unfortunately for my wallet, this led to me sliding back down that slippery slope into the monthly grind that is comicdom.

But enough about that. One of the primary reasons this event interested me enough to reenter the comics world was Geoff Johns' statements, which you can read in full here, here, and here, that he would be exploring the nature of the revolving door of death in the DC universe during this event. 

To my ears this sounded like the story was going to be a metatextual commentary on the needs of comic publishers to continually kill off and revive big name characters to drive up sales, or something of the sort.  While this wasn't to be the crux of the event, it is still prudent for us to examine how Johns has lived up to his claims of examining death in the DC.  However, while I'll be focusing primarily on Blackest Night for this comparison, it will also touch on death in general as it relates to comics.


You Gotta Die If You Wanna Live

Since the modern age of comics began, many of our favourite heroes have died at one point or another. Some died for long periods of time, such as Barry Allen, while others barely stay out of play for an entire issue, like the recent Kyle Rayner death and return. 

Originally, these longer deaths seemed to serve the purpose of opening a hero slot for a more modern legacy character to fill the void. Most of the legacy characters, at least post-90's, were a little edgier and reflected the “extreme” nature of the 90's. Over time, most of these long term deaths were undone, with Barry Allen closing the door on the longest term death at DC. Perhaps history will look on the reversing of this death as the official end of the Post-Crisis universe and the start of a new era.

Other deaths in DC comics have been short term events that either serve to drive up sales, like Superman, that were quickly reversed or storylines that were quickly undone, like Hal Jordan's rebirth as the Spectre and, later, as his current Green Lantern incarnation.

Essentially, it appears that death is a rite of passage for most of DC's bigger name heroes. With Bruce Wayne's “death”, all of the Big Three - Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman - have entered, if not completed, their cycles of death and resurrection. Perhaps a possible explanation could have been that to be a true hero one must face and overcome displacement from the living world like many of the myths and legends of old. 


Death As The Revolving Door

Getting back to Geoff Johns' interpretation of death, Johns gave us his explanation for the nature of death in the recent Blackest Night #5. It reads much like the retcon of Hal Jordan/Parralax as the fault of a yellow fear bug that readers were not aware of at the time. In this case, all previous resurrections have been attributed to the unseen hand of Nekron, a powerful avatar of death in the DC universe that has appeared a handful of times in various Green Lantern stories of old. 

The explanation stated that their return to life wasn't part of some heroic conquering of death, in the vein of a Greek myth, or related to an inherent confluence of strength in their spirit or even some purely comic book science or magic based solution. They were simply “allowed” to return to life by Nekron, yet apparently still remained connected to/subservient to Nekron's will and their rebirths were merely a means to serve as sleeper agents that would be activated when he rose to end all life in the universe at some future time.

How does this work as an explanation of death?

To start off, the idea of our resurrected heroes as sleeper agents for Nekron does make partial sense. It explains why some of the most powerful characters in DC's stable were allowed to be resurrected while other, less powerful ones were not. 

Besides the obvious explanation that DC needed to revive them eventually for monetary reasons, in-story it gives Nekron access to some powerful firepower for his army. He probably should have made their connections to death a bit stronger though. Wonder Woman, Superboy and Bart Allen have already returned to the land of the living/had their connection to Nekron severed after only 10-20 minutes of being Black Lanterns, as shown in various tie-ins.

Apparently Nekron never bothered to consult a basic guide to villainy during the eons of preparation he had for this attack.

Johns' Actual Explanation of Death

While I can see how this explanation works, the entire reasoning behind it strikes me as extremely weak for a topic as large and divisive as death in comic books. Attributing all the deaths and resurrections that have occurred to the invisible hand of Nekron, in the service of his long term plan to conquer life, is a minor retcon. It's in the exact same vein as the explanation of Hal Jordan's time as Parallax as the result of a space bug that we never saw prior to the explanation. But the biggest gripe I have with it is that it strikes me as a completely unprofessional, fan fiction style of writing.

Calling Johns' build up of Nekron as fan fiction-esque may strike some as too harsh. But stick with me here. It screams, “Look at my villain! Respect him! He is so hardcore that he has had a hand in many major stories we have read over the years!”. Building up a villain by having him ride the coattails of dozens of stories just isn't good writing.  His threat is then implicit only on the retcons added to his backstory at the time of his appearance in this event.

Now, Johns has succeeded in lifting up his new pet character, Nekron, to steal the spotlight in any issue regarding death. Your character dies? Now you gotta use Nekron or at least reference him. This could possibly be alright, but it has been done in a very improbable way. There was never any sense before that he was this powerful. Nekron hasn't even done much directly, in story, other than kill and raise people. There was little foreshadowing and even less direct action on his part. 

Most of his claimings of resurrected heroes, like Superman, Wonder Woman, etc, have already been undone in ancilliary titles with little effort on anyone's part to undo the reclaiming of these formerly dead characters. But the characters in the story give us shocked looks just by seeing Nekron, as if he is different from any other random super villain they meet, and the audience is told he was one of the Guardians of the Universe's first enemies. So we, the audience, are expected to take Johns and the characters at their word that he is one of the biggest baddies ever, i.e., Johns' wish fulfillment to create the biggest bad in the DCU, despite there being little to no evidence that it is the case. 

In fact, Nekron can more specifically be described as fitting the bill as a literal Black Hole Sue, a character whose very presence causes other characters to act as plot enablers to show great or powerful the character in question is. Everything we have read up till now, written by a litany of writers, was all in service of building up just how powerful Nekron is without ever actually giving a reason or showing why he is. This is a very amateur way of making a villain a universe level threat. Johns did not have to write a new scenario to show how evil he was, he just retconned Nekron into old stories where the other writers did not know they were writing about him. I'll say it again, this is fan fiction level of amateur writing that is just plain lazy.

Nekron isn't even an explanation, really, he is just a simple plot point. An actual explanation of death would entail presenting an idea into the collective universe that other writers could use and expand upon in subsequent stories. Johns' creation of the various emotional colours is such a case. For years to come, this idea could be used and even expanded upon. Once Nekron is defeated though, there is nothing about this “explanation” that can really be used in service of another story. Sure, we can retcon it into some flashbacks, but can this idea be taken by another writer, or even Johns himself, and be used in the future. No, it's a dead end plot point created simply to make his all-consuming evil seem more badass. The only real effect of it I can see is it gives DC an excuse to create Black Lantern Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow toys.


All Death As a Retcon Doesn't Work


This style of writing didn't strike me as too amateurish when he created an avatar of fear to explain why Hal Jordan fell from grace. This could work because, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor plot point in the overall universe. It didn't completely change the nature of many past stories.

Plus, this idea was able to grow over the course of many issues into his concept of the emotional spectrum, with Parallax becoming a genuine threat in the Green Lantern mythos. The concept even had the potential to progress into multiple avatars for the numerous coloured corps.

However, the nature of death itself is something that affects every story, character, writer, book, etc. that has or will come out of DC. Death is a subject that touches every aspect of the human experience, both real and fictional. It requires a writer to delve deep into his talent well and provide story points that have some meat to them. Rather than spend the fourth issue of this series spinning wheels till Nekron's reveal, perhaps Johns could have delved into Nekron's head and given some actual commentary on death. Instead it was dealt with in the course of a couple of panels during the next issue which, if it isn't obvious, is the main source of my gripes. 

Summing up Hal Jordan's descent into villainy with one sentence (It was a bug/avatar of fear.) is okay in my book. Doing the same with the nature of death/resurrections in one sentence (Nekron did it.) is not. To spend months of marketing leading up to the event and making grandiose claims about explanations of death and hint that he was going to give us an amazing new Big Bad that then falls short with the explanation given and presents a Mary Sue-ish villain is disingenuous and a total failure in that regard (note, the event or story or content are not being challenged here, merely the explanation of death, its role in the DC universe and the statements made by Johns in building up this story).

The sad fact is that with the recent reveal of Aquaman's resurrection in the post-Blackest Night weekly, Brightest Day, it appears that the primary purpose of Blackest Night, besides offering some good art and fights, is to revive at least a few major characters that have passed away over the years. Perhaps the comics will give a massive resurrection with the defeat of death. Maybe it will seek to end the cycle of death and resurrection, too. Personally, I enjoy the occasional death of a main character, so that last option would leave me slightly disappointed.


What could have been done - the monomyth

Two words, Joseph Campbell.

Okay, maybe a couple more.  There is a reason Campbell's works, such as The Hero with a Thousand Faces, have been so highly influential in the works of popular culture since their conception. He synthesized his theory regarding the tropes of the monomyth, also known as the Hero's Journey, over the course of a long and storied career. The general theme of his work can be summarized that a hero's story follows the three act, broad themes of Departure, Initiation, and Return. 

Under those broad themes are many other subthemes that represent the massive varieties of storytelling options available in this theory. These ideas run through the stories of past to present, most certainly including heroes like Superman, and turns it into a tool that any writer can, and probably should, use to enhance their works. Take this quote from Wikipedia for example:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Right there is all I believe one needs to start down the path of presenting an acceptable explanation of the nature of death in comic books. While not true for all heroes, for the greatest of them all (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and so forth), the conquering of death seems to be an integral part of their journey as heroes. 

After years of battling the evil in the world there is one last plane for them to conquer. Perhaps it is an entirely new, and maybe the last, journey they must undertake before they become true gods. But eventually these greatest of heroes will descend down into the depths of Hell, Hades, or any realm of death in the style of a Greek hero and conquer it. When they return, they can be ranked as gods among men, ready to shepherd the weaker ones of humanity under their guiding hands.

Nah, let's just say Nekron did it. It's easier than trying to enrich a hero's journey or deal with the struggles of life and death or even tell a simple parable like classic stories of old.


Conclusion

I know I have been a wee bit hard on Mr. Johns over the course of this post. But please don't get the impression that I completely hate this story. Blackest Night has actually been rather enjoyable. It may not be a quasi-deep super hero comic, but it has had its share of fun moments. For example, issue two even made Aquaman look like a major badass, so I think his impending resurrection could be worthwhile. Plus, this crossover has given us seven issues of a Green Lantern Corps comic that has shined head and shoulders above the rest of the event, and largely self-contained to boot. And most importantly (for me at least), the grandiose marketing and claims made prior to the event got me back into buying these floppy packets of words and pictures, so I can't really begrudge some misgivings or possible misrepresentations on the nature of death or possible explanations pertaining to it.

But, as this post outlines, this explanation of death and resurrection that simply states, “Nekron did it”, just doesn't sit well with me. It is about five shades too pedestrian for a subject with the amount of possible depth and impact as this. In addition, the series has raised more questions about death than answered at the moment, such as how anyone can ever die again without Nekron's involvement or even the possible defeat of the personification of death and how that will affect the life/death cycle in the DC universe, among many others. 

Perhaps the final issues will answer all of my questions and silence my criticisms, but it seems more likely that they will either a) be cast aside, b) not answered at all, c) answered in tie-ins that may not get read, or d) used as plot teasers for future stories. All four are not acceptable options for a story that was advertised as being self contained.

Enough ranting though. While, in my eyes, Johns has failed to provide a decent explanation of death in comic books, or at least DC comic books, he at least crafted an entertaining event. Perhaps more substantial answers will be given in these next two issues, but up to this point he hasn't lived up to those pre-event claims. If the marketing claims had been toned down a few notches, perhaps I wouldn't be judging him so harshly right now. 

Maybe a writer more more suited to explaining an overarching concept like death or the metatextual implications of it in relation to comics should have undertaken the task, such as Grant Morrison. He's already offered the meta commentary I was expecting on the subject in series such as Animal Man and Final Crisis. Even in Batman & Robin, Jason Todd got a meta point about death during that subpar Red Hood arc. But what could have been probably won't come to pass now, so we might as well sit back and enjoy the end of the Blackest Night ride. I know I will.

What about the rest of the Weekly Crisis readers? Did Johns' explanation of the nature of death and Nekron meet your expectations? Could it have been improved? What are your thoughts on death in comics in general?  Hit up that comments section and let me know.


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25 comments:

Daryll B. said...

Ah Mr. Dickey you hit this one DIRECTLY on the nose. It is one of the major gripes I have had on this event and you boiled it down to one ironic sentence:

"Nah, let's just say Nekron did it. It's easier than trying to enrich a hero's journey or deal with the struggles of life and death or even tell a simple parable like classic stories of old."

Why is it ironic? Everyone knows that Johns has a great fondness for the stories of old and to me, this story really has stripped them of their importance.

But what do I know? I was under the impression (from DC themselves) that if Barry Allen ever came back the universe was doomed. He's back and the DC Universe is still here.

I guess Nekron did it.... Good article Man!

natureboy_HH said...

Interesting point Brian.

Though I agree there could be more depth to the story, particularly on Nekron's alleged threat to all of existence, Johns and DC knew from the start that Blackest Night was meant to be the biggest event in recent comic book history. Its supposed to be a spectacle, and Johns explanation was adequate for the purpose. If you think about it, Johns wouldn't have been capable of pulling off a Hero's Journey for Blackest Night anyway.

Ignoring the complicated return of Steve Rogers, I though Brubaker handled Steve's death in Captain America pretty well. For some time, there was a genuine feeling of loss and the need to move on, with someone close to the deceased taking control of whats been left behind in a manner that feels organic. It would have been perfect if Steve actually stayed dead, but I guess I'm fine with him coming back.

For me though, the death of Captain Marvel is pitch perfect. There is irony to Captain Marvel's death. He lived a life full of danger and adventure, but what ultimately did him in was cancer, instead of some grandiose plot to destroy him. The story is tragic, sorrowful and had lasting effect, things mostly left out with comic book deaths.

Ivan said...

I agree that the "Nekron did it" solution is lazy storytelling. But then again, most ressurection plot points are completely ridiculous even in good comics (Green Arrow by Kevin Smith comes to mind; Ollie is alive because apparently Superman doesn't wash his tights - retconned now, I guess).

So Nekron becomes a scapegoat for DC writers instead of a real baddie, and I think that's where Johns really screwed up. Now any ressurection can be explained away in a page showing how the hero in question tricked Nekron, and they can get on with it.

Dickey said...

@natureboy_HH - I see what your saying about not being able to directly pull off a Hero's Journey for Blackest Night. What I was getting at was not to directly reference that for BN, but instead use that as an underlying theme of some sorts to connect the thematic implications of all their deaths. How exactly you would pull that off, I dunno. Probably why they pay those guys to write the stories and not me. What bothers me the most is that, since it's a Johns retcon, this will stick around longer before being retold or forgotten. As opposed to say, Morrison's Fifth World. I don't even think that's been touched on since Final Crisis.

But yeah, while Captain America's death (or whatever his time traveling thing is called now) is the way I like to see my death in comics. Haven't directly read the issues, but Brubaker pulled off what seems to be an emotionally resonating death with genuine impact on all the characters. Rogers reliving the hellhole of WWII battles is exactly the struggle I'd like to see most heroes go through before resurrection. Hopefully the iHerc pulls this off whenever he comes back. Seeing as he is Greek pantheon I would be disappointed if they didn't.

@Ivan - Not sure I recall anything about Green Arrow coming back. How did they bring Superman's tights into this? That's in the so ridiculous it's hilarious.

Ivan said...

@Dickey - I shit you not, the explanation for GA's ressurection before Blackest Night was that Hal, as Parallax, decided one day to bring Ollie back from the dead. So he harvested fragments of Ollie's DNA from Superman's costume, who witnessed Ollie's death. Hal even comments on how lucky they were that Superman's cleaning habits aren't as hardcore as Batman's.

Eventually GA's "body" (who was essentially pre-Longbow Hunters GA) got reunited with Ollie's soul, which was in Heaven. Apart from that, this arc is pretty good.

Dickey said...

Jesus, I'm in the library right now and almost laughed. As a former boy scout I'm disappointed in Supes, who's supposed to be one of us. I've been out in the woods for over a week at a time and still managed to clean myself up. One would think the Fortress of Solitude would have something to auto-clean him when he walks through the door.

Daryll B. said...

So if the Fortress of Solitude had the cleaning techniques of say, the robots of Wall-E...there would be no more Ollie...Then again we wouldn't have any implied Zombie Rape of Teen Gal Sidekick or Prometheus Death either....talk about domino effect...lol

To me the best death still has to be Gwen Stacy's. Not for the death in the sense but it leaves a question that lasts to this day of who actually killed her: Green Goblin for tossing her off the bridge or Spidey for snagging her with the web and the force of the sudden stop breaking her neck?

For Spidey Gwen's death provides 2 things: The hate of Goblin for putting her in that position in the first place and a moral dilemma that weighs on his mind keeping him striving to always do the right thing.

Dickey said...

To throw in my hat on the Gwen question, it's definitely Spidey's fault. Kid was supposed to be a science genius. Should have know that momentum continues even when you bring an object to a halt. I'm terrible with science and I know that piece of high school physics. Maybe he skipped one too many classes in high school while he was playing hero.

Thanks for the guys words though guys. Broke the interwebs cherry with this piece so having it not crash and burn feels nice. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong there have been plenty of lame resurrections, but the way I take Nekron isn't that he necessarily made/allowed these heroes (Superman, WW, Bart, etc.) to be reborn, but that since they were they were dead and came back that they have a connection to Death, thereby allowing Nekron to bring them in as Black Lanterns. While Nekron says that he is in control and such I take it more as an unreliable narrator than anything else, no matter what Johns means. Of course, my feelings may change upon Brightest Day. I've enjoyed Blackest Night a whole lot.

Captain America to me had a perfect death and time after that, but has had one of the worst resurrections since Green Arrow.

Brandon said...

Stop your whining. Did it occur to you that a large portion of comic reader don't want to suffer through an essay on the nature and cycle of death, but are just interested in an exciting and captivating story. You said yourself the the story itself was entertaining. Why can't this be enough for you. You people are the reason comic book readers are thought of as whiny, nit-picking, pains in the neck. Because most of you are. Mr. Johns, thank you for $4.00 worth of entertainment each month. As for the rest of you: GET A LIFE!

Kirk Warren said...

@Brandon - Someone lays out some well constructed points in a discussion on an aspect of a story you supposedly enjoy in a constructive manner without resorting to any fanboyish remarks and treats the subject matter with some actual respect instead of the typical 'lol super heroes' or Michael Bay-like 'durrrrr explosions are fun' manner and you think its whining and tell him to get a life? Seriously?

Have you never discussed a book or movie or comic you enjoyed before? Do you not care about any metatextual or symbolism or other narrative structures in your entertainment? Is music just a bunch of sounds and random words to you? Do you not care about discussing the messages, themes or even structure and context of anything you enjoy?

I could see if this post was something like "RAR GEOFF JOHNS IS KILLING COMICS AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO WRITE ANYTHING EVER AGAIN", but it couldn't be any further from that if it tried. It's not nitpicking, it's opening dialogue and discussion on an aspect of a story/event and the themes involved in that, in this case pertaining to the nature of death in the DC universe. I can see disagreeing with something he says, but trying to figure out how you arrived at the conclusion you've drawn is perplexing to say the least.

Dickey said...

Well, to quote the ever wise Dude, "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

So after starting off with an ill-advised movie reference to lighten the mood I guess I should respond. The point of the article isn't to moan and broadcast internet rage at Geoff Johns' story. In fact I went back before this was ever posted in order to remove a couple of comments the article contained that did toe the line too close to internet snark. Personally I don't take part in the internet rage discussions that you'll find in forums. I do read a couple of forums though, it is fun to try and gauge the temp. of that very vocal segment of comic readers. I do however comment on this site and frequent it specifically because you don't find that nerd rage segment of comic readers around here. It's more akin to a freewheeling and mature crowd that I would converse with at the local pub. And the guiding hands around here are nice enough to let us plebeians stand up and go on a soapbox rant sometimes, but I doubt they'd let us do this if they thought we were here to cast a bad vibe on TWC's good name.

This article was not written just so I could get my jollies trashing Johns or anything. I wrote it because I love the discussions that we cast up around our arts in society. Whether it be music, books, film, comics, etc. the conversations that spring up around the arts & entertainment are half the fun in consuming them. These conversations may even help some of us to enhance some of the nuances contained in the experience. It's the magic of it, and that's great. So when the marketing surrounding the event that brought me back into the world of comics promises to deliver on something, in this case the nature of death, I feel that's a legitimate topic to bring up for discussion amongst peers. In this certain case my opinion was that they did not deliver on the previous hype and promises, so it makes sense that I should dissect why it didn't and try to back up my case. Does that mean I want an essay on death and not a fun story? No. Writers like Alan Moore, and other, have made careers out of creating stories both deal with themes, both dark and light, while still appealing to those who don't care about those themes like I do. So when someone promises to deal with one of the biggest themes in the human storytelling pantheon I will take a critical look at the effort to see if they succeeded.

Disagree with my opinion/ don't like how I present my opinions. That's fine by me, can't win em all ya'know. There are plenty of more discussions to be had as the comics and culture keep coming. Maybe we'll see eye to eye on something else. Maybe we won't. That's the fun of it man. And maybe I'll be able to form words in the comments section more succintly, cause damn this one went on for too long.

Steven said...

Blackest Night was ALWAYS about bringing back a bunch of dead characters in one nice, neat package. If you read and saw the solicitations prior to publication this was obvious.

The idea of a Blackest Night crossover as a metatextual commentary sounds just awful.

Can we please stop using fan fiction terms to describe the writing in the official books? This isn't as bad as fan fiction... it's not page after page of same sex romance.

Really, I mean seriously. Very little, (outside of the work of say, Chuck Austen or maybe Bruce Jones) that is published by the big two is actually as bad as the vast majority of fan fiction.

brandon said...

Not the same "Brandon" that went off above

Anyway, this is a great post.

It does feel a touch lazy to bring back all of the dead DC characters in one massive storyline. Take Aquaman for example. If he returned in his own mini series wouldnt it help boost sales of an ongoing? With him being reborn here it just gets lost in the fold of the event.

I haven't liked Blackest Night much at all and this is a post that helps support that feeling further.

Kudos Dickey

Daryll B. said...

And Brandon #1 in an effort to defend what he likes becomes what he hates....Talk about irrational...

Now that you guys got me thinking I don't know if there has been a hero's resurrection that I have been totally comfortable with. I admit the fanboy in me loves the "Oooh he/she's back moment!" when it is done with a character I like but when the intellectual side starts to analyze the return I find all the lil faults with it...

I guess the best one I can say in the last 10 years I can point to was Hawkman's return in Johns' JSA run but you saw how quickly other sources out of his control convoluted that...

Notable Mentions: Ted Kord's return in Booster Gold for the anguish and inevitability in returning to a status quo. I loved they picked up on that thread in the B.N. issues. And of course Bucky's return as Winter Soldier...even though we know now he never really died... but Brubaker hit all the right notes in making Barnes return emotionally powerful....

brandon said...

As ridiculous as it sounds I actually like Cap's return. I know it was like Lost or whatever but it seemed decent.

I also liked Bucky's return

and call me crazy but I felt Superman's return was rather believable.

I hated Jordan's return. He murdered all of those GL's before he ever got near the battery. Not a fan of that retcon.

Dickey said...

@the real brandon- Lol, I actually thought that first guy was you. I recognized your name as regular from other comment sections and figured it deserved a somewhat reasoned response. Oh well, guess I shouldn't have wasted my words.

I didn't actually read Cap Reborn but I too thought Roger's little time travel fiasco was a decent return. Well the concept at least, I can't comment on the execution. I'm gonna throw an idea out though and say that Martian Manhunter's probable resurrection should involve Booster Gold and the Spectre resurrecting him from leftover DNA on a half eaten Choco cookie.

Ivan said...

Here's a pitch for MM's ressurection:

Booster Gold and Rip Hunter find out that MM is vital in an important event in the near future, and the fact that he died is an actual time "aberration", you know, because Darkseid was making time and space act all freaky and stuff. Just use comic book pseudo-science to explain that he shouldn't have died. So they go back in time to choose the "right" MM to bring to the future.

There. That took two minutes and it's better than "Supes doesn't wash his clothes". :P

Anonymous said...

I think I actually like the Nekron idea. I think it isn't lazy writing because what it actually is putting a quilt together. You have these little patches of stories here and there and they are all supposed to be part of the same universe. And on top of that each death & resurrection was supposed to be meaningful but they weren't.

The Nekron idea doesn't shred the previous resurrection stories as much as it adds a deeper archetypical hand into it.

Sure X hero died at X's hands. Then he was resurrected at Y's hands. But in the end the over arching reason why they were allowed to return to life wasn't just a Ys hand, but a god's hand.

Its very mythological and grandiose seen in that lens. Just like you wanted under Campbell's idea.

And when you contextualize that myth with the whole Blackest Night Prophecy it works perfectly. Now the resurrection is not just on the mundane plane but its working at the god level.

- Seafire

Anonymous said...

I think the only thing that is missing is perhaps an Aesopian moral. Which isn't necessary in superhero comics. And as for it being part of the hero's journey. Sure I am all for that. But the hero in comics is not allowed to age normally. He is stuck in perpetual youth. If we really want a story to follow the Campbellian cycle then we have to allow the Hero to age. And the hero must age has been an debate that has never ended.

- Seafire

brandon said...

@Dickey

Yes sir.. I'm never gonna rip on someone's post. Especially someone's opinion. Now if you spelled a bunch of stuff wrong and got facts wrong...well...nah. Still won't rip a poster.

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