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Author Topic: IC #1 - At last they return  (Read 89375 times)
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Super Monkey
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« Reply #56 on: October 16, 2005, 04:38:21 AM »

I will say it again, don't get sucked in thinking that DC somehow finally will get it considering who is writing this thing.

At this point I would be more shocked if those pre-crisis characters do not die when it's all said than done.

I wouldn't be surprise to see DC get even darker after this series is over.

From the looks of it, they want to make the Iron Age look tame, just look at that 1st issue, they might think that the Iron Age wasn't dark enough and now they want to go even darker.

Let's face it, that is more likely than a return to greatness.
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« Reply #57 on: October 16, 2005, 05:52:38 AM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
I will say it again, don't get sucked in thinking that DC somehow finally will get it considering who is writing this thing.

At this point I would be more shocked if those pre-crisis characters do not die when it's all said than done.

I wouldn't be surprise to see DC get even darker after this series is over.

From the looks of it, they want to make the Iron Age look tame, just look at that 1st issue, they might think that the Iron Age wasn't dark enough and now they want to go even darker.

Let's face it, that is more likely than a return to greatness.

I'm going to have to trust Waid on this matter. He has many on the top writers at DC supporting him and that gives me hope. As for the Iron Age, I see it more as being "dark for the sake of being dark' rather than dark stories with an actual meaning behind them, and there seems to be a clear meaning behind this series. To me the theme is that the post-Crisis heroes have failed. Superman has become too wishy-washy and depressed. Batman has become meta-phobic and has alienated all his friends and allies with his paranoid behavior. Wonder Woman is slowly sliding into the "ends justify the means" mindset. The question is this: "Who saves the heroes?" Who else? Those past heroes that sacrificed the most to give the world to the current heroes. These heroes gave them Heaven, and they turned it into Hell--now they're going to take it back. That's what Infinite Crisis is about in my view.

There isn't going to be a return to the Silver Age, though (not in the way it used to be, anyway). That ship has sailed--it's VERY difficult to regain innocence once it's lost. That being said, I'd prefer it if DC washed away the Iron Age and started a new, wholly original age. Something in the spirit of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Age, but written for the comic fans of today. An Age that has the loose restrictions of today but also has the responsibility to use that freedom wisely. An Age where death in comics is treated seriously, and not just used for shock value. An Age where new concepts and ideas are explored with the various characters in the DCU.

Besides, in the end, Superman ALWAYS saves the day.  Smiley
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« Reply #58 on: October 16, 2005, 06:41:59 AM »

Quote from: "NotSuper"

I'm going to have to trust Waid on this matter.


I'm unclear why anyone at DC should presently be trusted.  Their track record for a long time now is to clearly take our heros in entirely the wrong direction.  Why would there be a sudden mindshift away from gleeful nihilism now?

I'm a firm believer in predicting the future based on what you've observed in the past.  What we've observed in the past is gleeful nihilism.  Identity Crisis, All-Star Batman and Robin, even the first issue of Infinite Crisis were all opportunities to demonstrate that the trend of gleeful nihilism was being reversed.  Yet, what did each of these do?  Revel in gleeful nihilism.

Why should issues 2-7 of Infinite Crisis be any different than issue 1?  Just because we want to ignore the gleeful nihilism present in every panel except the last one?

I mean, let's be real:  with the exception of the very last page, the entire rest of the issue is nothing but total blackness.  It's impotence, paranoia, rage, and violent death on damned near every page.

And it was engineered that way.  Why would the engineers change course so dramatically now?

Quote from: "NotSuper"

As for the Iron Age, I see it more as being "dark for the sake of being dark' rather than dark stories with an actual meaning behind them,


As I say, gleeful nihilism.  Wink

Quote from: "NotSuper"

and there seems to be a clear meaning behind this series.


It's far too early to pinpoint a theme for the series.  The fact that they'll show Phantom Lady being skewered to death in a graphic fashion that even I found disturbing is evidence enough that they've no plan to stop this sort of insanity any time soon.

Quote from: "NotSuper"

To me the theme is that the post-Crisis heroes have failed. Superman has become too wishy-washy and depressed. Batman has become meta-phobic and has alienated all his friends and allies with his paranoid behavior. Wonder Woman is slowly sliding into the "ends justify the means" mindset.


And who is to blame for this?  The very same creative teams now responsible for supposedly getting us out of this mess!

So after selling gajillions of issues of Identity Crisis and successfully transforming the DCU into a place where almost showing Phantom Lady's guts spilling out on the floor is considered "artistic", we're supposed to believe they've suddenly learned their lesson and that these very same people are going to reverse course?

Frankly, I doubt it.  It goes against all past evidence of the kind of work they enjoy doing.  I.e., gleeful nihilism.

Quote from: "NotSuper"

The question is this: "Who saves the heroes?" Who else? Those past heroes that sacrificed the most to give the world to the current heroes. These heroes gave them Heaven, and they turned it into Hell--now they're going to take it back.


I remind you of these quotes from Dido and Rucka:

"I think people feel it's dark because it's so compelling," Mr. DiDio said. "They don't know how our heroes are going to get out of the danger."

Mr. Rucka agreed: "When they're saying 'it's too dark,' they're saying, 'I'm scared.' "

Nope.  They've missed it entirely.  Darkness is not the same thing as compelling.  Darkness is skewering Phantom Lady in an utterly gratuitous fashion for no reason other than shock value.  It doesn't scare me, it disgusts me.  There's a huge difference.

But Dido, Rucka, Johns, Jiminez, Cox, Major, Napolitano, Schaefer, and Berganza don't understand the difference.  They can't fathom that there is a difference between fright and disgust.  That can't comprehend the notion that maybe -- just maybe -- it's just gleefully nihilistic to show people getting skewered and coughing up blood in their final breaths.

These people like the Hell they've created.  They think it's artistic, compelling, and deeply meaningful simply because they can successfully portray people getting skewered and coughing up blood in their final breaths.

Why would they reverse course and go toward something with taste and truly compelling drama when they have such an attachment to the horrific?

Quote from: "NotSuper"

There isn't going to be a return to the Silver Age, though (not in the way it used to be, anyway). That ship has sailed--it's VERY difficult to regain innocence once it's lost.


I don't think anyone actually wants a return to the Silver or Golden Ages at this point.  We just want our heros to act like heros and our artists to stop with the gleeful nihilism.

Quote from: "NotSuper"

That being said, I'd prefer it if DC washed away the Iron Age and started a new, wholly original age. Something in the spirit of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Age, but written for the comic fans of today. An Age that has the loose restrictions of today but also has the responsibility to use that freedom wisely. An Age where death in comics is treated seriously, and not just used for shock value. An Age where new concepts and ideas are explored with the various characters in the DCU.


The DCU is what they'll make it, now what we want them to make it.  And they like gleeful nihilism, so that's what it will be.

Quote from: "NotSuper"

Besides, in the end, Superman ALWAYS saves the day.  Smiley


Mark my words:  he's going to end up dead at the end of this series.  And it will be written in such a way as to convey the moral, "The world has changed.  It's dark and depressing now.  The heros of the past have no place in the modern world.  If they try to live here, it will kill them."

Dakota Smith
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« Reply #59 on: October 16, 2005, 08:07:26 AM »

Dakota, I've got to respectfully disagree with your viewpoint here. I feel your pain though; I've had the carrot of fun adventure comics dangled before me before, only to have it yanked away at the last second when Awesome Comics went under and Supreme was cancelled. I've watched DC Comics over the past year, skimmed the titles, but never really bought anything beyond trades of prior material.

 DC Comics is a business, and any form of art that is run at the top by businessmen is going to have stunted potential. The past year has seen shock tactics for their own sake and gimmick celebrity writers gleefully indulging in deconstructionist crap, but I say hold the course. You send a message to DC with your spending practices. I think that's why Waid said what he did; I think the suits are catching on. Identity Crisis sold well, but at what price? I think DC is coming to the realization that if you keep telling these godawful, depressing stories over and over you're going to alienate your fan base. Yeah, you can appeal to that demographic, but it's not going to show results across the board.

 Morality plays for children? Yes, that's a valid arguement but the sad fact of the matter is that kids don't comicbooks. Why relate to their parents' old stuff when they've got Harry Potter, Lemony Snickett, and Yu-gi-oh? The graying of the audience has set in with this medium, and unfortunately catering has to be made to the tastes of those with the disposable income to spare. And if their tastes run more toward retreads of The Authority than Justice League of America, c'est la vie.

 That aside, I am oddly hopeful. I've been reading Grant Morrison's stuff on Seven Soldiers, and he gets it. He gets that comics have grown up and matured with their audience, and that you can tell a story that doesn't talk down to anyone and has dark moments but is ultimately a fantasy, an entertainment, an -enjoyable- experience. The fact that they're planning to give him the keys to the kingdom when IC winds down gives me a good feeling. That last page did make my heart soar, made me feel like a kid again reading Action Comics on a Saturday afternoon.

 We want to love again, we really really do. But we've been burned before. Again, I say hold the course. Continue buying the comics you want to read and DC (or more accurately the suits at Time Warner) will get the idea.

 To put it another way; in the contemporary DCU I don't know if I believe a man can fly anymore.

 But I do believe in a man who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. And he's back. Yesss. . .  Cheesy

 -Def.
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« Reply #60 on: October 16, 2005, 12:56:29 PM »

Quote from: "Defender"
Dakota, I've got to respectfully disagree with your viewpoint here.


Hey, I can deal with thoughtful, respectful criticism.  I even have some comments of my own ... Wink

Quote from: "Defender"

DC Comics is a business, and any form of art that is run at the top by businessmen is going to have stunted potential.


I entirely agree ... more on which in a moment.  Smiley

Quote from: "Defender"

Morality plays for children? Yes, that's a valid arguement but the sad fact of the matter is that kids don't comicbooks.


Yes, but why is that?

First and foremost, it's because DC isn't marketing to children any more.

My daughters love Justice League on TV, and they're precisely the same market buying Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon memorabilia.  I know this because I've watched my daughters begging for this stuff right and left four three or four years.

And make no mistake, they love Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.  It's one of those shows that all three of us consistently sit down and enjoy, for totally different reasons.

And as a program, I've discovered in the last few months that Justice League has a significant advantage over Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon:

My older daughter, who is 12, has loved Pokemon, in much the same way that I loved Star Trek at her age.  She used to rave incessantly about the trivia and minutia associated with it.  I discovered to my shock that I must now know how my parents felt raising me, listening to me go on and on about something they didn't really understand, but knowing that it was taking up a significant amount of my spare time and gray matter.

For a while, my daughter moderated forums on a Pokemon fan web site and even had a Pokemon-based domain name of her very own with a Web site she maintained.  At her urging, I drove her and her sister to Mall of America in Minneapolis (about a four-hour drive) for what amounts to a Pokemon mini-convention.

Yet in the last year, she's grown enough intellectually to understand that the Pokemon series is rather lame.  It's the same stories re-tread every week, more or less, and aside from any new Pokemon she may see, it's kind of the same thing, over and over.

Justice League doesn't have this problem.  Its stories are just sophisticated enough and well-written that it's not the same crap every week with different character names.  Justice League can continue to capture her imagination every week where Pokemon can't.

Similarly, my younger daughter likes Supergirl.  It's the first and only title she's asked me to get for her, and fortunately (so far) the gleeful nihilism at DC hasn't extended to the new Supergirl title.  I am a bit apprehensive about presenting her with comics that glorify the Mary-Kate Olsen anorexia figure wrapped in modern slutwear, but the fact is that it's no different than what she sees at the mall every day, unfortunately.

But particularly in the case of Justice League, you have to ask yourself, what are they doing differently at Warners Animation that they're not doing at DC?  My daughters have no interest in the comic book version of the League, after all.

What are they doing differently?  It's simple:  the TV series is marketing to children.

If comics actually wants to regain its former glory, it needs to do one very simple thing: market to children again.

First and foremost, it has to abandon the "comics store only" mentality.  When I was a child, comics could be found on the rack of every store I walked into, from K-Mart to the local gas station -- the same as the Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon cards of today.  They were in the ubiquitous rotating racks near the front of the store where children could beg their parents for an impulse-buy on the way in or out.

DC needs to go back to this model and get comic racks into stores again.

Secondly, comics were once affordable.  My kids get a five-dollar-a-week allowance, so buying even one title today represents a significant investment.  Fortunately for them, I'm a soft touch when it comes to comics, and I'll buy them almost anything they ask for, provided the content isn't too horrific (which of course means they can't see titles like, oh, everything DC publishes with a couple of exceptions).  However, even I can't afford to invest much in comics these days.  The damned things are just too expensive.

How do you make comics cheaper?  I can think of a couple of ways, but first and foremost, you get rid of the slick covers, high-quality paper, and vast array of colors.  You return to publishing standards of a quarter-century ago.  Yes, this means artists will have to re-learn how to deal with fewer colors, but such is life.  Do you want to be selling a few books to fanboys in comics stores or millions to kids on rotating racks in grocery stores?

And finally there's content.  This is the real deal-breaker.  Content.

Much as I'd like my kids to see the return of the Golden Age Superman, I can't allow it.  The entire rest of the issue is totally inappropriate for them.  If I found Phantom Lady's death disturbing, it's potentially the stuff of nightmares for a child.

What kind of content do children want and need?  Again, we need look no further than the Warners animated series:

Adventure told with enough adult sensibility to be consistently interesting, yet without all the darkness and horrific content.  Generally entertaining, optimisitic, bright adventures stories without all the gleeful nihilism.

Basically, DC needs to abandon everything it's been doing and actually market comics to children instead of aging adult fanboys.  If they actually marketed to children the way Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon do (without the inherent stupidity that ultimately dooms those shows once you've gone beyond a limited age range), then DC will return to its former glory.  As long as it insists on writing only for fanboys, it's doomed.

Quote from: "Defender"
We want to love again, we really really do. But we've been burned before. Again, I say hold the course. Continue buying the comics you want to read and DC (or more accurately the suits at Time Warner) will get the idea.


What I'm concerned with is this:

If the suits can't understand the necessity for marketing to children as I've described above, then they're stuck with marketing to fanboys.  And what did the fanboys buy more than anything else?  Identity Crisis.

If you're concerned with the bottom-line numbers, you have to naturally say to yourself, "Hey, that Identity Crisis thing sold like mad.  Why aren't we doing more like that?"

And what was Identity Crisis all about?  Gleeful nihilism for its own sake.

If DC actually has in mind a turn away from the gleeful nihilism, no one will be happier than I.  However, given the fact that they've made precisely no effort to market to children by taking none of the steps I've outlined above, they display that they simply don't get why they're only enjoying a shadow of their former glory.

As I say, I like making predictions for the future based on past performance.  They're not making changes in the distribution channel that would alienate the comics specialty stores, which would be the first step in doing the right thing. They're not making arrangements to downgrade their paper to something that will reduce costs.  They're not telling their artists, "Learn to work with four colors, 'cause that's what you're going to have."  They're not telling their writers, "Cut all the crap and write to a younger audience."

All they've done is had one panel of a super-hero who continues to appeal to the older fanboy.

My prediction is more of the same or a variation of more of the same.

Dakota Smith
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« Reply #61 on: October 16, 2005, 01:43:48 PM »

I honestly have no problem whatsoever with fictional characters being results-oriented or non-heroic. I'm a giant fan of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat, Golgo 13, Reservoir Dogs, and the Saint, and can I enjoy jewel thief movies simply because they show such cleverness that I really hope they do get away with it.

In the words of Jim Shooter, (paraphrased) "comics do not exist to give us role models; they are meant to provide enjoyment. It is the duty of parents, educators and religious leaders to give us role models."

(That said, I find Superman one of my greatest life role models apart from my Father and older cousin.)

Dakota Smith -

We as readers adore the contrariness and weird individualism of the Addams Family, and boo and hiss their perky, meddlesome white-bread neighbors that urge them to attend PTA bake sales. Pointless perkiness is every bit as annoying and creatively empty as pointless nihilism; saying it's all about pointless nihilism being made as a creative decision is ignoring what is fundamentally wrong with comics:

TALENT determines success or failure, not the presence or absence of darkness. Saying the DC Universe is darker is ignoring the fundamental problem: whether because business models exclude innovation, or the people in charge are unaware of what they are doing, or whatever it might be, comics right now have very few truly talented writers.

Saying that the superheroes were products of a different age is annoying to me because 1) it's far too convenient an explanation for the difference between comics then and now,  2) contrary to popular belief, the past was just as cynical as today. Anyone that believes that respect for elected officials has been lost ought to read a few of the works by Adlai Stevenson's men about Vice-President Nixon.

Superheroes were not the product of a different age; they were the product of a different MENTALITY.

What does that mean? Stories can be successful or unsuccessful for different reasons. Things can work or not work depending on the type of story they are intending to tell. Fairy tales use simplified characterization: we don't know much about Cinderella's personality except a basic description like "kindly" and the fact that she has an objective that she's after: going to the ball, namely. If such simplified characterization were found in modern contemporary fiction, we'd be outraged, because you read modern fiction to read about complicated, interesting people. For this reason, many fans of Kung Fu movies absolutely loathe CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, because one goes to see Kung Fu flicks for brilliant choreography and action, not artificial wires, long awkward lulls, and pretty but boring cinematography.

What does this mean for superhero comics? Superhero comics work because they operate with incredible fantasy elements, and a sort of crazy anything-goes energy that's a cross between Errol Flynn and an acid trip. Because this idiom is what WORKS about superhero comics, "grounding" them is rather pointless (the only one I can think of that works off the top of my head is is MIRACLEMAN, and that is because it looked at superheroes as a science fiction element to explore instead of as an adventure story).

Darkness in superhero comics isn't a poor creative decision because darkness for darkness's sake is bad. It is a poor choice because that's not the type of story that superheroes are about. I agree wholeheartedly, Dakota Smith, with your point that the things that make superheroes work are inherently for children, which is why every work that ignores that has not been very interesting.

They killed off Phantom Lady, eh? Well, there's another notch in the belt of the trend of comic book violence against women. That act worries me just as much as the return of Golden Age Superman excites me, and it worries me just as much that such a hideous act, part of a disturbing trend, has remained only in the background of discussion of the minseries when it OUGHT to be at the forefront. Don't quote me on this, but I fully expect Phantom Lady to remain dead; if comics history has anything to say about it, resurrection is a male only option. Violence against female characters is one of the cheesiest, ugly (and some would say, defining) characteristics of the modern age of comics, and to see it in force in INFINITE CRISIS shows they're just shoving the same Modern Age crap down our throats.
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« Reply #62 on: October 16, 2005, 04:43:25 PM »

Dakota Smith, I do agree with you on the gleeful nihlhism.  

I went back to an old issue of League of Champions where Eos was stabbed in the same area that Phantom Lady was.  It was not as graphic as what happened  to Phantom Lady.  BTW Eos came back and merged once more with her mortal avatar: Flare.

Here's a hint of what Flare is like:
http://www.superdickery.com/other/281.html

At any rate, the Hero Publishing characters used to be labeled mature, but now they are very mild compared to what goes on in Marvel and DC.

I would like to recommend Flare for your child to read, but I can't.  Flare is the mortal reincarnation of a Greek diety.  Would you allow your children to read all of Greek myth(Heracles sleeping with his male friend or Zeus and his many lovers) or look at all of Greek art(celebration of the human body)?  Other than a lot of the Greek art element, it would be allowable for your child to read it.

As to the $2.99 price tag?  well, it is an indy comic and doesn't have ads to lower the price.

That's what really bugs me about DC and Marvel.  They have ads that can lower the price and yet their prices are the same as an indy comic or in a few cases more and they have less story pages in the book.

I did notice that Gail Simone didn't work on Infinite Crisis.  She's the person who started the Women in Refrigirators website.

I do think that Infinte Crisis is going to kill off Superman of Earth-2 and the Superboy of Earth Prime.  It was a happy ending.
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« Reply #63 on: October 16, 2005, 04:59:04 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Pointless perkiness is every bit as annoying and creatively empty as pointless nihilism; saying it's all about pointless nihilism being made as a creative decision is ignoring what is fundamentally wrong with comics:


Well a brief point of order:

I actually believe that darkness works to a certain extent with certain characters.  The Batman, for example, was always intended to be a dark creature of the night.  It's right there in his original origin pages:  he wanted a persona that would strike fear in the hearts of criminals.

What doesn't work with the Batman is to turn him into a raving, antisocial paranoid, which is what he's become.

Or, to put it the best way I've ever seen, there was a brilliant line from New Frontier, when Superman was commenting about the Batman's change in costume to a less-fearful look (and I paraphrase, here):

"I put on this costume to frighten criminals, not to scare children."

This is, I think, the single most brilliant line to come out of superhero comics in years.  Small wonder that it was relegated to an Elseworlds.

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
TALENT determines success or failure, not the presence or absence of darkness. Saying the DC Universe is darker is ignoring the fundamental problem: whether because business models exclude innovation, or the people in charge are unaware of what they are doing, or whatever it might be, comics right now have very few truly talented writers.


With this I whole-heartedly agree.  I continue to believe that quite possibly the only writer on the planet who truly understands Superman and his supporting cast is Elliot S! Maggin.

I dearly wish some bright cookie at DC would offer Maggin enough money to tempt him into writing and/or editing the Superman titles full-time again.

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Superheroes were not the product of a different age; they were the product of a different MENTALITY.


Again, a dead-on analysis.  The major problem in the mentality behind comics today is, as has been stated in this thread before, the fact that the majority of writers and artists involved simply never grew up.  Psychologically, they're still stuck at about age 17, when life fraks, it always fraks, and it's only going to frak more as time goes on.  They believe that they gleeful nihilism they're churning out is intrinsically artistic, and to go in any other direction violates their artistic sensibilities.

They're simply not capable of seeing the reality of what they're doing because their vision of reality is stunted.

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
They killed off Phantom Lady, eh?


Yes.  In a particularly grisly fashion which was unfortunately totally consistent with the way they killed off the rest of the Freedom Fighters.

You want a real shock, you should watch Bizarro gleefully beating the Human Bomb to death.  Fortunately, we weren't treated to the actually destruction of Human Bomb's body, but only because the explosions hid it.  The real horrifying part was Bizarro's revelling in the destruction. He looked like every child's nightmare:  a psychotic, crystal-faced version of Arnold Schwartzenegger in in his prime, gleefully beating someone to death for the pure fun of watching what happens when you pound super-strong invulnerable fists through flesh.

It was both appalling and simultaneously betrayed everything these morons don't know about Bizarro's character.  I'm glad Julius Schwartz isn't around to see this.

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Well, there's another notch in the belt of the trend of comic book violence against women. That act worries me just as much as the return of Golden Age Superman excites me, and it worries me just as much that such a hideous act, part of a disturbing trend, has remained only in the background of discussion of the minseries when it OUGHT to be at the forefront.


Again, I'm in total agreement.  Everyone is so thrilled at the last page of the book that they're ignoring all the horrific, gleefully nihilistic mayhem that occupied literally every other page of the book.

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Don't quote me on this, but I fully expect Phantom Lady to remain dead; if comics history has anything to say about it, resurrection is a male only option.


Well, to be fair, they did bring back both Donna Troy and Princess Diana.  But I agree, in general, female characters do tend to remain dead while the only male character to remain so seems to be Uncle Ben ...

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Violence against female characters is one of the cheesiest, ugly (and some would say, defining) characteristics of the modern age of comics, and to see it in force in INFINITE CRISIS shows they're just shoving the same Modern Age crap down our throats.


I don't disagree in any way.  The way she was killed was particularly interesting if you're planning to analyze it in psychological terms ...

Let's see ... killed by having a really long phallic symbol shoved into her ... ?  Hmm ... wonder if there's something there?

I fully expect to see the Golden Age Lois gang-raped by crazed members of the surviving original JSA with this bunch in charge.

(Well, actually, I hope not, since JSA is one of the few titles I've been able to actively enjoy in the last few years ...)

Dakota Smith
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Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
The LIVING LEGENDS of SUPERMAN! Adventures of Superman Volume 1!
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