Thursday, September 13, 2007

DC... Done Right?

I've been pretty down on DC lately. A fan could almost thing that those letters stand for "Don't Care". Look at the mess that the Superman titles have been for the past few months. Look at the fill-ins on Detective Comics and Batman, preventing those from being easy series' to recommend. And look at the nonsensical violence of Meltzer's first arc on Justice League of America, prompting almost everyone I know to drop it like... well, like something you drop urgently.

And let's not even talk about Countdown. It's too soon.

So I can't tell you how thrilled I am to come across DC books that I can't help but rave about.

I know I've talked about Brave And The Bold, so I'll wait until the next story arc on that one comes out to start crowing.

But let's talk about the Blue Beetle. As I've been telling almost anybody who'll listen, I think that the new Blue Beetle fills the 'Spider-Man' niche in the DC Universe. He's a high-school aged kid who doesn't really understand his powers, but is determined to use them to help others. Almost all of the characters (including the teenage sidekicks) in the DC Universe seem, to me, to have this air of immense confidence. I can only think of two who don't... Jaime Reyes and Jimmy Olsen. I don't know what's up with 'Mr. Action' but Jaime's struggling just as hard to make sense of his life as he does against the villains he fights. I think it's good to see that somebody in the DC Universe doesn't really know what they're doing. It gives hope to the rest of us.

And the second book I want to talk about is the new Booster Gold series. Booster went through a transformation in 52. I admit... I bought it. I thought he was toast. But the first two issues of the new series are giving me a tremendous respect for the character. Why? I'm glad you asked.

  • Booster's going to undertake a mission that the rest of the Multiverse can never, ever know about. Never. He can't take the credit for saving the day. He can't use it to get a lucrative endorsement deal. Nada. Nobody can ever know what he's doing. Which leads into bullet point #2.
  • Booster has to continue to look like the biggest, most self-aggrandizing, self-promoting jerk in the DC Universe. He can't even act like a competent hero. He has to publically act like the old Booster so that nobody would ever suspect him of doing anything great. He can't even show his contemporaries that he's taken his life as a super-hero seriously.
  • He's acting like a true hero. In the second (and current) issue, he manages to accomplish his goals in a truly heroic fashion. I'll grant, it's a method that has fallout, but for the first time in what feels like forever, a conflict in the DC universe was resolved through means OTHER than violence. I like violence, don't get me wrong... but sometimes something else is nice. You know, for a change.

I initially dismissed this book. Yet another attempt to cash in on 52's reputation. (And honestly, World War III did enough of that, thank you very much.) My buddy Chad told me about the first issue, and I picked it up at his recommendation. And I'm glad he recommended it.

I've tried to avoid spilling any details, but the book's playing out a bit like Quantum Leap. It was a good enough concept for Judd Winick to create the Exiles, after all. The first issue is a $3.99 title, but it's worth any two issues of Countdown... so it's still a value!

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