The Gold Standard: Top 10 DC Dilemma’s of 2010

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10. Jonah Hex: The Movie

I’m not a fan of westerns, Jonah Hex, Josh Brolin, or Megan Fox, but I do love a good trainwreck. Sadly, this movie couldn’t even trainwreck well. It flopped at the box office in a most devastating manner, though this was hardly unexpected after the official trailer hit the web something like a month before release. Then I can’t discredit the fact that I saw die hard fans comparing it to other ‘faithful adaptions’ such as Catwoman and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This is what happens when you take a viable property and convince yourself that it isn’t. This is what happens when you make John Constantine into Keanu Reeves…..wait, no, hold on, wrong DC adaption. I mean to say this is what happens when you make Josh Brolin into a disfigured magic cowboy.

9. Outsiders

I loved this book a lifetime ago when Judd Winick was writing it, but it’s been all down hill since it relaunched as Batman and the Outsiders a few years ago, and nothing has been able to turn this around. Peter Tomasi did what he could to no avail, and Dan DiDio hasn’t been able to sell more than the first issue of his run to me. I don’t understand the nostalgia that people apparently have for this book, and there’s a good chance I never will. I don’t see the purpose this book serves in the greater DC universe save for taking up space on the shelves and taking away potential books that could also maybe sell in that same sales bracket. Give a writer who isn’t also running the company a chance to shine and earn his paycheck, and maybe with some characters that are more relevant than Geo-Force and Metamorpho.

8. The artists formerly known as Gotham Central

Remember a few years ago when Infinite Crisis kicked in and Gotham Central was canceled? The two primary leads of the book were Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen, two Gotham City cops who really came into their own through the course of the book. It ended with Crispus being killed, and Renee finding herself unable to kill his killer in cold blood. The two began different character paths from there, through 52 and One Year Later. Renee became the Question, while Crispus is the host of the Spectre. Now, when was the last time this mattered? Sure, Renee had her backup story adventure in Detective Comics, but she was teaming up with Huntress to fight Vandal Savage. She currently bears the Mark of Cain (which had I been in my right mind during Final Crisis, as opposed to trying my damnedest to block it out, would have made my worst of list then too), and it serves….what purpose? Renee doesn’t get enough page time to make it anything more than another subplot that the readers probably aren’t going to be too aware of. She’s been a series of afterthoughts since 52 ended and it’s getting past the point of being annoying. Crispus, on the other hand, is the Spectre, who I would put on my list of top 10 wasted DC characters in a heartbeat. They put God’s Wrath through a lot a few years ago and then threw the ball in the dumpster and walked away. He had a strong showing in the most recent issue of Green Lantern, but there was none of the Crispus personality to be seen. He’s the most powerful mystic force in the DC Universe, but he’s a random plot device for events whether it be his being turned into a Black Lantern and facing Parallax in Blackest Night, or whatever happened to him in Final Crisis. Not sure why this has been on my mind lately, maybe it’s the Question usage in the recent Batman and Detective Comics Annuals, or maybe it’s Spectre in GL, or maybe it’s that DC has been rereleasing the series in trade. Regardless, the two hardly had banner years in 2010, and given how important these characters were supposed to be it’s just a tremendous shame that they aren’t better utilized.

7. Arsenal

The Rise of Arsenal may quite possibly be the most awesome character destruction I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t negate the fact that we didn’t need it. Nor did we need what came about after that fact. I didn’t need Roy’s daughter to die, or for him to lose an arm, but having read the mini? I actually liked that horrific thing, it amused the hell out of me. It was like reading a mainstream version of any superhero in The Boys. Unfortunately, I don’t want to see heroin fiend Roy run around with Deathstroke and Cheshire under promise of drugs and sex. I understand that everything happened for a reason, but with Roy the worst part was winding up in an awful book and relegated to a drug stereotype.

6. No next project for Brian K. Vaughan?

Ex Machina is over, so what’s next for Brian K. Vaughan? What’s this you say, there’s nothing on his plate? I mean, literally, I can find evidence of nothing on his plate. This is the guy who brought us Y: The Last Man, Runaways, and Ex Machina. How can you not have something in the pipeline for him? Where’s the Y: The Last Man movie or HBO series? The people want Vaughan, not a year without him! Coerce him into doing superheroes, or even evolving them to a different level! Give him free reign on a property and let him go nuts like Gaiman did with Sandman and Robinson did with Starman, the sky is the limit with a guy like him, and it would be a complete and utter shame to not utilize him while his name is still hot.

5. The Marvel Family

Whatever happened to the Marvel family? In Geoff Johns final arc we saw Billy and Mary stripped of their powers as Teth Adam and Adrianna Tomaz turned to stone. In Cry for Justice we had Freddy with his lips sewn shut after an off panel jobbing to Prometheus, and Blackest Night brought us the return of Osiris. So where’s the Marvel family? And most importantly, how long is DC really going to wait to try and make us care again? There’s a one-shot due this month starring Marvel Family characters, but given that it’s being written by Eric Wallace of Titans: Villains for Hire, I’m not sure how much faith I have in it. They seem content to just let the children of Shazam sit around in limbo, and this comes after they brought back the Wizard for….well, no apparent reason. The Marvel’s have suffered greatly at the hands of what I like to call “shit on the wall syndrome”, which is essentially when you just keep lobbing ideas at something until something works. Though the reason it doesn’t seem to work in this case is that DC will give it a little push…and then back off indefinitely. It’s not a way to ever raise their profile, and because of it the DC Universe is without some really cool characters. Like Captain Marvel and Black Adam.

4. Closing down Wildstorm

I was a huge Wildstorm fan when I was younger, especially Gen13. Yes, that’s right, I was a teenage boy in the late 90’s. Total shocker, right? Well, Wildstorm isn’t just Gen13. It’s WildC.A.T.S., Stormwatch, and the Authority. It’s Welcome to Tranquility, Red, Ex Machina, and Planetary. It’s was a place where you’d find everything from extreme superheroes to licensed books based on video games. Writers and artists came through those gates that have gone on to bigger and better things, but Wildstorm was a place to cut their teeth. But the big thing about Wildstorm, and disagree if you want, is that it was where Warren Ellis went to prove himself brilliant. It was a different place than the DC Universe, or even the DC bullet line of titles. You could get away with hyper violence and sexuality, with superheroes that dismembered their opponents, with really whatever you wanted. Sure, that’s just a content editor’s job and with a MA label you could do the same with the DC bullet, but Wildstorm just always had this feel to it that made it stand out, even when it was just Jim Lee’s production company at Image. I’ve got a lot of great memories of the company from the past fifteen years or so, and I am truly going to miss them. Especially if they just wind up trying to fold certain Wildstorm characters into the DCU, because Midnighter should never, EVER exist in a world where there’s a Batman.

3. Kingdom Come still being used as a plot point

I liked Kingdom Come just fine when I read it, I mean, as far as a potential future Elseworlds go, I dug it. It was a nice what if type of story. Then one day a few years ago DC let Alex Ross work with Geoff Johns on JSA, and all of the sudden Kingdom Come Superman is there. Then Magog shows up, and man, if you know me, you know I hate Magog. He makes 90’s Cable look AWESOME. But they kept pushing it and pushing it, and then bam, they do it again. Max Lord’s Brightest Day storyline involved him having to kill Magog in order to prevent Kingdom Come from occurring, which is all well and good because it got Magog killed, but do we really need to keep falling back on the same overrated four issue mini? I mean, yes, I’ve been saying it, I like it just fine, but it’s hardly the best story ever written, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s hardly deserving of the amount of throwbacks and shoutouts it gets. It’s not the pinnacle of DC Comics, it’s Alex Ross refusing to draw Kyle Rayner and Wally West, and then demanding Dick Grayson be Robin. Yes, I went there, yes, I still don’t like Alex Ross. Deal with it. DC has better alternate futures that they can play with, and they should, because Kingdom Come has gotten incredibly old.

2. The JSA

It wasn’t that long ago that JSA was a must read book, and it was for a long time. When I got back into comics in 2003 it was a great book and it more or less stayed that way until about a year and a half ago. Ever since Willingham took over JSA the book has been on a downward spiral, and despite Marc Guggenheim taking over the ball was dropped hard after the first issue. Then you have JSA All Stars which really does have all the makings of a good book, but Sturges can’t seem to put the pieces together. The JSA is large enough to make sense out of having multiple titles, but they need to stand out and be important, there needs to be purpose to the greater DC Universe that goes on in these titles. Not super terrorists and neo-Nazi led alternate futures. Not kids turned into Gods I can’t even remember the pantheon of or nanites turning a bunch of girls into Cyclone.

1. Superman needs to be Superman

Expect to hear me rant about this soon in length, but I can’t remember the last time Superman punched someone in the mouth. I can’t remember the last time that the worlds greatest hero was….the worlds greatest hero. DC has been trying so hard to build his line up that they’ve been finding success all over the place, except for with the Man of Steel himself. Lex Luthor, Mon-El, Superboy, Supergirl, Guardian, Nightwing, Flamebird, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Cat Grant, and Lana Lang have all gotten more out of the past year or so of Superman than Superman has. He’s been a superhero, a soldier, the lead General of New Krypton, at war with New Krypton, once again the last son of Krypton, and now he’s walking across the country being useless. I want Superman back, can someone let me know when I can have that?

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A lifelong reader and self proclaimed continuity guru, Grey is the Editor in Chief of Comics Nexus. Known for his love of Booster Gold, Spider-Girl (the real one), Stephanie Brown, and The Boys. Don't miss The Gold Standard.