I love me some Free Comic Book Day. Despite the long wait, and the fact that I am in my Local Comic Book Store pretty much every week buying stuff (gaming stuff, usually), it is a lot of fun to show up and support them. Not only that, but it gives my daughter a chance to be seen there and she LOVES the attention. She also got a Green Lantern Power Ring. It was win-win for everyone.
For my part, I always grab up a couple of issues. SPOILER: I’m not generally a big comic book fan. I find them expensive and when I read a story, I want the whole thing. Those of you who have read my book reviews KNOW that I hate major unresolved plots. Comic books do this perpetually so that you will buy the next issue in the series. I’m much more likely to buy a Trade Paper Back than an issue by issue for that very reason.
Free Comic Book Day, however, is my exception to the rule. I generally rely on the store employees for reccomendations and I have subscribed to a few things for storylines – I did the D+D comic when it was about a group of heroes who weren’t Drizz’t. I also did Marvel’s Civil War event and, with War of Light coming to Heroclix, I’ll probably pick up some of that as well to read so that I know a bit more about it than “Saint Walker is awesome.” I’m a fairly simple guy and I don’t have a lot of spending money, so I’m choosy when it comes to subscriptions. I loved the Avatar: The Last Airbender stuff and pick that up regularly. It’s in my pull box and everything!
Free Comic Book Day is all about me. The goal, as I understand it, is to get guys like me to subscribe by teasing stories. It’s what got me to grab up Avatar: The Last Airbender and the D+D comic. I grabbed up the Avatar Comic and then I saw DC’s cover.
You know, from Batman Beyond – one of the most amazing animated series’ of all time! And he’s on the cover of their FCBD merchandise. My daughter, who is only 15 months, wonders why I have stopped. I’m wondering if I am hallucinating. I loved Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, and Batman Beyond. Ask my wife – she’ll confirm my obsession. And here’s Terry and…..
….and a grotesquely illustrated Justice League with weird eye things on them. I run through my Heroclix knowledge and realize I recognize the O.M.A.C. bits and pieces and the Brother Eye sign. So, Brother Eye does exist in New 52 AND he’s out of control and making Justice League robots (I can see Superman and Wonder Woman and a…Gold Batman? Don’t know who that is. And what looks like a cyborg version of John Stewart) to take over the Future of New 52. Go time for the Justice League and Terry.
All right, FCBD, your goal is accomplished. I am intrigued. Slightly grossed out, but intrigued. I grab that one and put it in my bag as my daughter starts to struggle against me. That means it is time to go, so I thanked everyone in the shop and beat a hasty retreat home and put my daughter down for her nap and settled in to read my comic.
Please Note: I knew this was not going to be a whole story. It’s a teaser to get me to buy a series. Apparently a weekly series. That’s going to take a lot of convincing – comics are expensive and I have a toddler and a mortgage. I was not expecting the whole story and I knew the game going in.
Anyhow, I open up to Captain Cold trying to get some folks to keep a door open from some ‘bugs.’ We don’t know who he’s holding the door for, but they are coming from Budapest. Bugs are, apparantly, bad, as they’ll kill everyone. Anyway, they start to close the door and BAM! Really Old Flash makes it in. That is one HECK of a Beard there, Barry. Anyway, he’s exhausted, but he made it and scanned the area – only some small bugs. And then BANG!
Cyborg Wonder Woman. Complete with O.M.A.C. makeover and tentacle legs. Brother Eye has, apparantly, been busy since she speaks with Brother Eye’s vocal patters. The attack commences and now Captain Cold is working with Flash to fight them off.
Oh. These aren’t cyborg clones or robots. These are assimilated members of the Justice League.
Brother Eye appears to have learned something: cutting off a metahuman’s arms is a great way to disable them.
Anyway, Flash is killed by an unassimilated Frankenstein (some of the former heroes are working with Brother Eye) who has grafted Black Canary on to his chest.
We finally get to Terry and Bruce (after two more gruesome deaths) who are working out Time Travel to go back and stop this from happening. Terry is supposed to be the distraction so Bruce can time jump and go back to kill someone. Yup, this is serious enough for Bruce to break his no killing rule. He points out that, if they succeed, this horrible future will never happen. There is a fight in the Batcave (they had to lower shields to power the Time Travel device) and Bruce is killed, but not before handing off the time jumper to Terry so that Terry can carry out the mission.
They miss, and that’s supposed to draw me in. What is?
A) Can Terry pull of them mission to murder someone?
B) Who is the someone Terry has to murder?
C) How did things get to where they are?
The problem is: I don’t care.
See, I’m tired DC.
I’m tired of you murdering the Justice League (or whoever is handy) to make your point. We get it – you’re ‘realistic’ and ‘gritty’ and ‘down to earth.’ You have complex stories with complicated characters and consequence to action, unlike those other guys at Marvel.
The problem is, you’re not. This isn’t realistic. You already killed the Justice League when you did Flashpoint to launch New 52. You did it prior to that in Blackest Night (sort of). You did it in Final Crisis.
You don’t need to kill everyone to have a dramatic story or an impactful one. You proved that in your Animated Series. You can have something fun, but still complex and interesting without spattering arms and body pieces everywhere. I know that Grant Morrison and The Killing Joke are some of your most iconic names and faces, but that was because they were unique. And different. And a change of pace from what we had. Now, everything is a Morrison Murder and it’s lost that impact.
When someone dies in DC (or Marvel for that matter), we know its a selling point. It’s a point I don’t want to support. I want a cohesive, fun, universe with dynamic characters and good storytelling. I can get that from your back issue catalog for $.25 a pop. Or the library and its trade paperbacks. I’d rather support you and my Local Comic Book Store, but I’m not going to pay money just for those things. I can support the store by buying other merchandise – games, Marvel comics, Munchkin, etc.
Now, I know what you are thinking – there’s no way to make that kind of story work with what we have set up? Wanna bet? Tune in on Wednesday, May 7th and I’ll have an outline of a story that would sell through the roof using your Batman Beyond characters and the premise of Brother Eye assimilating everyone that doesn’t require murder but will still be fun and, I can bet, would sell a lot of copies.