Over the past few months, DC Comics has attempted to straighten out the origins of two female characters who were left with screwed-up origins after Crisis on Infinite Earths: Donna Troy and Power Girl. The two origins, however, took opposite approaches. Continue reading
Well, all four miniseries leading into Infinite Crisis are out. I’ve also read The Return of Donna Troy and the JSA Classified arc settling Power Girl’s origin.
- Villains United: Fun adventure book with bad guys. Last-issue revelation was interesting. Cheshire is genuinely insane—I can believe this is the woman who nuked a small country just to prove she wasn’t bluffing.
- Day of Vengeance: 3-issue story stretched out to 6. Some nice character moments, but overall have to wonder what the point was.
- OMAC Project: Suspension of disbelief hung by neck until dead. And the worst part? The most important thing to happen in the series didn’t actually happen in the series.
- Rann/Thanagar War: Total mish-mash. Even knowing who most of the alien races were didn’t help me keep up with what side anyone was on. Someone remarked that this was like a 12-issue epic condensed (badly) into 6 issues, and that sounds about right.
- Donna Troy: I wanted to like this book. I really did. Donna Troy, George Perez/Phil Jimenez art, a direct sequel to a classic Titans story, and they all-but ignored John Byrne’s Dark Angel retcon-fest. But all the characterizations seemed off from the first page on. Even the art didn’t grab me. (The coloring didn’t help.) And while it’s interesting to take the idea that all her origins are true, the ending—particularly how Donna dealt with the Titans of Myth—really disturbed me. (While we’re at it, Donna doesn’t need her own moon for a headquarters.)
- Power Girl: Believe it or not, I didn’t read it for the cheesecake. Like Day of Vengeance there were some great character moments (PG and Jimmy Olsen sitting on top of the Daily Planet building while Jimmy ate lunch and tried not to stare, for instance). But I had a hard time believing this was the same Power Girl I’d read in Justice League Europe during the 1990s. (Yes, JLE was populated by caricatures of the leads—anyone who read that book and Flash should know that—but it became more serious near the end of the run.) And again, I thought that the story could have been told in half the space—even keeping the character moments. And even though I’d guessed PG’s true origin early on—or perhaps because of it—the finale felt like a let-down instead of a “Hell, yeah!” Maybe if they’d let her say “So that’s who I am!” instead of slinking back to her apartment as confused as ever, only to run into a “To be continued…” sign, it might have felt less like an Infinite Crisis setup piece and more like an origin story.
Verdict: One hit, two sorta OK, three turkeys.
On a related note, Warren Ellis’ arc on JLA Classified, which started strongly, is rapidly going downhill. The plot’s holding up, but the dialogue has gone from “Clever!” to “Okaaaay…” to “You have got to be kidding me.” J’onn’s rant last month about how we insist on calling his home planet “Mars” was one of those moments. (You know, I don’t normally refer to Japan as “Nihon,” or the capital of Russia as “Moskva,” but that doesn’t mean I’m calling them by the wrong name.) And I think Wally used the words “speed force” more times in 5 pages than he has in the last 5 years of his own book.
On the list of DC comics for June: The Return of Donna Troy #1. Along for the ride: New Teen Titans: Who is Donna Troy?, collecting the classic stories that explored the original Wonder Girl’s past. (And, I suspect, some of the newer stories that screwed it up. It doesn’t mention the Dark Angel storyline, but it does say “and much more,” and includes a bit from the Titans/Outsiders Secret Files that I know I read, but can barely remember.)
Let’s face it: like killing Superman, Troia’s death was never intended to stick. It was an admitted gimmick: what would shake up the Titans and Young Justice so badly that you could break up both teams and create new takes on the Teen Titans and Outsiders? Throw in the backstory with multiple lifetimes and the sequences in Graduation Day itself that showed her in another life, and you’ve got more than a back door to bring her back: she just lingered a bit longer than usual near the revolving door.
I’m of mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I think comics should take death a bit more seriously. If you can bring back Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and a dozen other heroes, why should any of the Titans have expected Donna’s death to be permanent? Why should anyone have expected Sue Dibny’s death in Identity Crisis to be permanent? Then add in the fact that I’d generally rather see comics follow through on changes (Wally replacing Barry as Flash, Kyle replacing Hal as GL, etc.) than reversing them.
On the other hand, Graduation Day was a lousy story. It was basically “How can we dismantle two teams in three issues?” And Donna’s death was clearly intended to be temporary. And unless you count Cassie, the new Wonder Girl, no one really replaced her, so bringing her back doesn’t push anyone else out of the spotlight.
Heck, it’s got George Perez and Phil Jimenez working together. How can I not read it?
The title comes from a series of articles on The Quarter Bin. The subject is a pair of very literal casualties from the recent mini-series, Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day. I am speaking of Lilith and Donna Troy.
I was rereading the story yesterday, and I realized the two characters killed were those whose origins had been rewritten so many times that people didn’t know how to write them anymore. In fact, Donna has her own article at the Quarter Bin.
And both of them can be traced back to the post-Crisis decision to move Wonder Woman’s origin forward in time.
The immediate result of this was that Wonder Girl had appeared on the scene several years before Wonder Woman. So (1) she was no longer a teenaged sidekick, just a teenaged hero, and (2) she needed a new explanation for her powers. This was left an open question for a couple of years, then handled in Marv Wolfman and George Perez’ excellent “Who Is Wonder Girl.”
The only problem with that story is that it contradicted Lilith’s origin. Lilith had been an orphan, who could see glimpses of the future, but knew nothing of her own past. Her search for her parents (or at least her mother) served as a series of backup stories in the original Teen Titans series, and was finally concluded when she learned (just months before the Crisis) that she was the daughter of Thia, the sun goddess of the Titans of Greek myth. Unfortunately, Donna’s new origin also involved the Titans of Myth, but Thia had never left — leaving Lilith an orphan again.
The real messing up I lay squarely at the feet of Dan Jurgens and John Byrne (although a healthy amount can be blamed on the editorial policy of killing off any concept whose series has been cancelled — like the Darkstars, whose ranks Donna joined after she lost her own powers). Continue reading