Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.
There has been a lot of changes to my fandom recently. While new Star Trek and Star Wars films are the positives, the negatives include cancelled TV shows, dead heroes, and sometimes both in one 30 minute time slot. Well, the negatives have snowballed further in just one short week.
This past weekend seemingly marked the end of Young Justice on Cartoon Network. Star Wars: The Clone Wars has also seemingly departed Cartoon Network, but a swan song is planned somewhere somewhen. In comics we appear to have lost a Robin yet gained a conveniently masked new Batman Family hero. Wally West is MIA everywhere in all media now. What could all these things really mean and what’s next for fans who love Star Wars, Young Justice, Damian Wayne, Speedsters and more?
Glad you asked. Here’s my take.
Beware, some SPOILERS may follow. You have been warned.
With the news that Lucasfilm is not planning a Season 6 for Star Wars The Clone Wars, I decided to pick up the most recent issue of Star Wars Insider Magazine which had an interview with the series Supervising Director Dave Filoni. In it we learned a few things:
“…For a man who thought he’d be working on the show for two years, Filoni hit a major milestone in January with 100 episodes of the show. ‘To give George [Lucas] credit, he always talked in terms of 100 episodes or more,’ Filoni reflects. ‘I thought, Wow, that’s a lot, right back when we were still figuring out how to make starfighters fly properly. We sailed past that. Then I blinked and we passed 100 episodes. But we need 100 more just to finish what we’re trying to do!‘”
When coupled with the below teaser video that accompanied the Lucasfilm announcement of the imminent end of Clone Wars, but not through a Season 6, one can glean one of the key story beats that the cartoon will set up for the overall Star Wars mythology.
Filoni describes the upcoming arcs using the below phrases:
The teaser video includes a scene from an upcoming Star Wars The Clone Wars feature that foreshadows to turning of the honorable individualized clones from heroes in support of the Jedi to their later homogenous frog-marchers of the Empire and the Sith.
We still don’t know in what form those upcoming arcs will be presented, but we do know it won’t be through a Season 6 and not likely on Cartoon Network. Perhaps TV movies on Disney XD since Disney now owns Lucasfilm and Star Wars.
I can’t wait to learn more.
In the recent Batman Incorporated #8, writer Grant Morrison had Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, killed in combat as Batman’s current Robin. While everyone at DC Comics seems to be talking a whole lot about Damian really being dead, he’s not coming back, etc., the door is still open for the character’s return. Even a book like Batman and Robin is on the “finality” of Damian’s demise by being renamed Batman and ________; it becomes a buddy book a la his old The Brave and The Bold series from the Silver and Bronze Ages. Hmmm. It seems like DC is “holding” the book for Damian’s return, doesn’t?
Let’s remember, Damian’s grandfather is archvillain Ra’s al Ghul who uses the Lazarus Pit to heal his injuries and prolong his own life. I can’t imagine Batman and even his enemy right now Talia both haven’t thought about a trip to the Pit to save and revive Damian.
If Talia would use the Lazarus Pit to revive Jason Todd – Batman’s second Robin and current Red Hood, who died in the 1980′s at the hands of the Joker in the classic Death in the Family storyline – in the pages of the Red Hood: The Lost Days mini-series, why wouldn’t she use it on her actual flesh and blood?
Remember, Grant Morrison is also the guy that gave us Batman R.I.P., an arc in which Batman didn’t die. He actually offed him instead in the Final Crisis mini-series only to have him return relatively soon after.
Maybe there is a long game plan for Damian, but without Grant Morrison. The writer is wrapping up his DC Comics proper ongoing titles works in the coming months leaving only his Multiversity maxi-series to hit stands some time in 2013 or 2014.
DC Comics has tried, but failed in delivering sustainable and engaging comic books featuring minorities. Mister Terrific, Voodoo, OMAC and Static Shock have been cancelled since their initial New 52 debuts. Yet, Batwing endures despite saggy sales and being part of DC’s successful Batman Family of titles.
In April’s “WTF” month for DC, where each New 52 title has a gatefold cover whose second half is intended to be a surprise, Batwing #19 features the set up of a new Batwing. The solicit for that book reads: “Batwing quits and what new member of the Batman family is ready to take his place?”
However, the new Batwing face is covered. Is he even still African?
The solicit denotes a “new member” of the Batman Family. That could be a play on words. Even an established DC character or even an establoshed Batman Family character as Batwing would still be a “new” part of the family.
Could the new Batwing be a Terry McGinnis? Fans may know him as the future Batman Beyond. Could he make his new New 52 debut not as a character from the future, but someone in the here and now? The new Batwing costume does seem reminiscent of the Batman Beyond costume afterall. Plus Terry has pop culture recognition having anchored the Batman Beyond TV show for three years and 52 episodes.
Or could this new Batwing be an aged Damian Wayne back to life? Jason Todd aged as a result of his Lazarus Pit revival years ago. Does Damian follow in Jason’s footsteps by following in David Zavimbe’s Batwing persona?
Or is there another African character that dons the Batwing garb as the Batman of Africa? Heck, will Batwing remain the Batman of Africa with all the talk of better integration with the rest of the Bat-books? Can a book set in Africa be integrated with a Bat-line of titles set in the U.S.A.?
The Batwing series just got interesting. I haven’t been this intrigued by the title since its first arc.
This past weekend Young Justice Invasion seemingly ended not just its second season (Season 2 with Episode 20) with “Endgame”, but the entire TV series that began with Young Justice Legacy (lasting 46 Episodes across two seasons). As part of the Top 5 moments of this Young Justice Finale, we saw the honourable death of Wally West, Kid Flash, in action saving the world alongside his mentor Barry Allen the Flash and his friend Bart Allen the speedster from the future called Impulse.
In that episode, with Wally’s death, Bart Allen graduates to Kid Flash and remains a core member of Young Justice.
In the comics, speedsters have a way of dying and coming back; whether echoes of themselves and later for real like Barry Allen pre-Flashpoint. However, while Barry Allen is front and center in the DC Comics New 52 initiative, Wally West remains MIA with fans clamouring for his return.
When the “Speed Force” is involved, it’s what powers DC Comics’ speedsters, time travel or becoming one with the force (very Star Wars, I know) is always possible and provides any easy reset and return for any vanquished speedster.
If Young Justice was to come back in TV or movies (digital or direct-to-market), Wally’s return would be easy to pull off. Would the creators behind Young Justice jump ahead another few years though, like they did the five-year jump between Seasons 1 and 2? That would allow the heroes of the show to mourn and return Wally effectively to where he left, but not when he left. Everyone has moved on over X amount of years, but Wally thought he was only a way for a few seconds? That has been done in comics before, but YJ excels at making the conventional unconventional.
Barry Allen the Flash was killed off in the classic 1980′s maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was in a very similar way to Wally on Young Justice’s Endgame finale: he dissipated after doing a world-saving heroic deed.
Since Barry’s original presumed death, Wally West had actually established himself as DC’s Flash; even in my mind claiming a fair bit of legitimacy. Wally was effectively DC’s prime Flash for 22 years (1986 to 2008) and Barry’s first run as DC’s Flash was 29 years (1956 to 1985) until he retired in Flash #350 and later “died” in COIE.
Wally is one of the few heroes that has graduated in fans’ mind to mainline hero status moreso than the other notable example Dick Grayson, DC’s current Nightwing and original Robin. Both deserve to be around and on DC’s frontlines on the Justice League in any media.
On TV or DVD / Blu-Ray, (hint, hint DC Entertainment) if YJ returns somewhen somehow, Wally deserves to be returned to an active role as a leader of the Young Justice team, a group he helped found. Pulling the trigger for that is easy, can be plausible and would be entertaining.
Speedsters never really die in DC. Nor do Robins.
With its Season / Series Finale of Young Justice, the “Endgame” episode includes several big reveals including the below cliffhanger.
As many suspected, TV shock jock G. Gordon Godfrey appears to be New God Glorious Godfrey with the gift of persuasion. And Vandal Savage appears to have a “business as usual” side-deal with Darkseid, DC’s most powerful Big Bad in its New 52.
While DC and/or Cartoon Network rarely if ever announce cancellations of TV series, they just don’t show up on a future schedule, the outcry by fandom for Young Justice does seem more heated than past “cancellations”. Is it possible with this very leading ending to Young Justice’s second season, that there is a Third Act in the works even if abridged to wrap things up properly for YJ a la Star Wars: The Clone Wars? While DC still has the DC Nation Block on Cartoon Network, I don’t think there is anything stopping DC from doing cartoons at other networks. Is there?
Could CW be in the mood for Friday evening or Saturday morning cartoons assuming they would not conflict with CN’s DC Nation Block? It is well-reported that CW is very pleased with the performance of its live-action Arrow series, based on DC Comics’ Green Arrow, and are asking DC for more content for new shows. While much of the online “ink” has surrounded a show called Amazon based on Wonder Woman, could some DC cartoons be in their plans too?
There are options for DC Entertainment for this beloved franchise. The question is whether they have the will to do so.
With a heavy heart, here is perhaps one final look at all the core Young Justice characters in a panorama shot from Endgame. Some many characters, so many episodes, so much potential. Soak them in and say good-bye if you must.
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