Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I present to you this week's DC NATION column by Dan Didio... with my own impressions of what he wrote in red.

"A confession of sorts. (Uh-oh.)

Back when we originally planned the story for our year long weekly saga 52, our goal was to explain the multiple changes in character and story that occurred throughout our line with the One Year Later jumps. (Goal of 52: Explain multiple changes in character and story that occurred with line wide One Year Later jumps. Okay, got it. Continue.)

And to tell those stories we would use characters like John Henry Irons, Renee Montoya, Ralph Dibny, Booster Gold, Black Adam and Adam Strange to be our guides through the DCU. But a funny thing happened on the way to One Year Later: (Uh-oh.) The four talented writers of 52 took hold of our guide characters and began to realize the untold potential in all of them. As their stories grew, it became clear by the second issue ( the second issue? Way to stick to that goal, Dan.) of 52 that the series would be about them and their trials and tribulations. But, as I'm sure you're wondering, what about OYL? (Not really... but I guess that's the problem right there. I mean, I was supposed to be the one "wondering" about OYL this whole time, and here I was thinking you had it under control... y'know, since you're the Executive Editor and all. My bad, DD.)

As with any creative process, even with the best of planning (c'mon... he couldn't have possibly typed that with a straight face, could he?), things change and evolve as a story takes on a life of its own. When we all recognized that the series had taken a new and exciting turn (Issue two, remember? It was out of their hands by that point.), a summit meeting was held to discuss the new direction of our lead characters and, more important, how we would address the One Year Laters in the story as originally promised. (I'm listening.)

In reviewing all the OYL changes, we realized that most could be tied to one massive event. One thing that could affect all our heroes on a global level. (Hmmm... something like an INFINITE CRISIS, maybe? BTW, this is kind of where I lose it.) And that's where World War Three was born. You'll have to forgive my memory—I'm always at a loss for the old "who said what" —but I remember Greg Rucka discussing the implications of a World War fought by super-heroes.

(Greg Rucka, huh? I know you mentioned not really being any good at remembering "who said what", but are you sure that wasn't Grant Morrison?

Why do I ask?

Oh, no reason in particular.)

And while everyone debated how it would be fought (Surely someone suggested "with fists", I hope.), they all agreed on one thing: the war would definitely be fast (?). One week fast (Really? Because what I just read happened in more like one day, with a few standard superhero fights taking place a few days before.). One week, one issue—that's the way it works with 52 (Okay, "One week, one issue" - got it!). Unfortunately in this case, 22 pages is just not enough time to cover the full implications of a World War and all the changes forced on our heroes by this event. (Uh... wait, w-what? I mean, "one week, one issue", uh, remember? "That's the way it works with 52", right?)

That's why this week, in conjunction with 52 #50, we have four one-shots ("one week, one issue") designed to cover the deep-reaching changes the war caused. In these books, you can see the effects of the war on the Teen Titans, Firestorm, Supergirl, Batgirl, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and so many others. (And much like 52 , which was designed to cover the deep-reaching changes the Crisis caused, they each fail miserably.)

So let's go back to the old expression, "Change is good"(Screw you!)— and in this case, it's better than we could ever have imagined. Not only did we get an amazing series in 52 (Uh, still two issues left, you goon - don't count your chickens before they're done screwing over your hapless fans, Dan-O!) where we elevated some supporting characters to A-list status ("A-list status?"I mean, in as much as you're the Executive Editor and can therefore kind of decide who's going to be featured in books and who's not, yeah...), but we also created a massive, world-changing event that will have long-term implications. (Wait... do you mean Infinite Crisis, 52, or World War III?)

All in all, not a bad day's work." (Eh, depends on who you ask.)

I quite reading DC comics today.

I know, I know... there're only two issues of 52 left, but that's not quite true, is it? 52 spills right into Countdown, another mini-series that's sure to be just as unmanagable and dishonest as 52, One Year Later, and Infinite Crisis.

Go on, laugh, but I'm really hurt by it all.

I'm disappointed in DC comics. Not to be dramatic, but I kind of feel like I just found out that favorite uncle was a convicted criminal. Sure, you always thought there was something kind of weird about him, and weren't quite sure you could completely trust him, but he let you smoke, and damn if he didn't tell some pretty kickass war stories.

I've been pretty suspicious of DC for a few years now. Since Superman: Birthright, I guess. But loyalty, and a childhood fascination with comics' oldest and boldest characters kept me involved, even after the non-sensical trainwreck that was Infinite Crisis.

But now, I'm just tired of being lied to by DC.

The cover blurb of this week's 52 # 50 read, "WORLD WAR III Begins Here!" Begins AND ends, they mean. I've read comics long enough to know when I'm being had, and figured out what was going on months ago, but I feel bad for the "control group" comics readers, who, unless they were smart enough to read the issue in store or rip it off the internet, could have never guessed that WWIII simply exists to do what 4 writers, an army of artists, more than 1100 pages and $125 dollars worth of comics couldn't in a year's time.

For months now, we've watched DC talk about 52 building to this sad little four part mini-seires, embarrassingly titled World War III, and by god, if it didn't just completely blow up in all of our faces.

I'll freely admit, I'm not innocent. I bought it. I fell for it. Face first.

But you know what, Dan... you might've won a war, but you lost a reader.


Philip Looney said...


Anonymous said...

Truth. Nothing but truth.

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! You really summed up exactly how I feel about Didio, 52, WWIII, and DC in general right now. It pains me so, but I don't want to support the company while that jerk is in charge.

So...I won't!

Lomie said...

I hear you, man. Between all this stuff, and Civil War, I've severaly curtailed my buying.

At this point it's all Goon and Invincible, with maybe two titles from the Big Two.

Jason Wright said...

Having just read this week's Aquaman, there's even more indication of the level of 'planning' that went into World War III. In Aquaman, Sub Diego is still underwater. Everybody there's fine, swimming along and breathing water. No indication that it was raised or anything. I guess nobody bothered to tell Kurt Busiek or Tad Williams that it was above sea level as of one year ago. Oops?

Caleb said...

DC is currently advertising a position for a new editor. Instead, I think they should hire a "DC Vice President of Company Conscience." This person's job would be to dress like Jiminy Cricket (top hat, vest, gold watch, umbrella) and would spend all day every day hopping around the office yelling at stupid ideas, like, "No, that's what Infinite Crisis was for!" "No you idiot, 20 years worth of stories say the exact opposite!", "Hey, this week's issue of Aquaman contradicts this week's issue of WWIII!" And so on.

I didn't mind 52 evolving into what it did one bit; those stories were a lot more interesting to me than v3.0 of Why We Made Batgirl Evil For No Reason Without At Least First Reading An Issue of Her Series.

It seems very clear that most of the OYL changes were made to shake things up exclusively, and didn't logically flow out of IC and/or have anyone figure out how the characters got from POint A to Point B. For example, it seems like no one really thought about why Aquaman is in the state it's in, they just put it in that state and then, last week, back-tracked to make sense out of a random decision. And then messed up on the way.

At the very least, I hoped DC knew what it was doing. But, like Marvel with Civil War, it seems that the other big comics publisher is just flying by the seat of its pants.