by Aaron Einhorn
First off, let’s get this out there right now. This column is full of spoilers. Both for yesterday’s Justice League: Cry for Justice 7, and for the upcoming “Rise and Fall” storyline, which will be running through Green Arrow and Justice League. Got it?
Ok. Good. Because seriously, continue reading this article, and things will be spoiled for you.
I’m not even kidding.
In fact, I’m going to put the cover to Justice League: Cry for Justice 7 here now, so that you can’t say I didn’t give you a chance to avoid reading it.
Here we go.
What. The. Hell?
Guys, at DC editorial, let’s talk for a few minutes, shall we. Both you and your distinguished competitors at Marvel are poised to enter a new age of heroics with your superhero comics. They’ve got books branded with the “Heroic Age” emblazon, as they move out of the shadow of “Dark Reign” and “Siege.” And you’ve got “Brightest Day,” coming out of the shadow of the “Blackest Night.”
Fans picked up on this, and we’re excited for it. We want to see our heroes acting like heroes. We want to see them facing tough challenges, and keeping the moral high-ground. We’re done with the dark stories of the early nineties.
And I’d like to point out that the grand-daddy of the “dark era” in comics, put out by your company, The Dark Knight Returns, still featured a Batman who didn’t kill.
So, why did we have to go here?
Cry For Justice had its ups and downs. Every time I thought I was going to throw the book away from myself in disgust, James Robinson managed to write a twist that made me think, “Oh, wait, he gets it.” The heroes in that book, for the most part, weren’t talking about Justice. They were talking about Vengeance. But then, you showed us that you understood when Captain Marvel/Freddy spoke. Of course, that was actually Prometheus in disguise, so take that with a grain of salt. But you also managed to make Prometheus scary again, and I loved you for that. You chopped off Arsenal’s arm, which I was less thrilled about, but then again, how many different ways exist in the DCU for him to regain the use of that arm, really?
(On a minor tangent, this really reinforces the fact that there is no reason for Barbara Gordon to still be in a wheelchair unless she ultimately wants to be. But I love the character of Oracle, so I’m not going to quibble there.)
And then we had the last issue, where Prometheus killed thousands upon thousands of people. And Lian died.
Trying to figure out where to start on the list of reasons why this is upsetting to me is more challenging than I thought it would be.
How about we start with the idea that SHE’S A KID!
Killing kids in comics is a harsh, harsh, harsh act. And one I don’t like to see done casually, and this really feels casual.
It also destroys a point of uniqueness in the DC Universe. Roy Harper was the only single father superhero in comics. There’s Jack Knight, who James Robinson clearly has more affection for, but he doesn’t count. He’s retired as a hero. There aren’t a lot of active parent superheroes in comics, period, but Roy was probably the only single dad.
Now, he’s a cripple, whose daughter is dead, and whose mentor killed the villain responsible for the act.
Which is my next point of contention…
Oliver Queen has been recently painted as the kind of character who should not kill. Certainly not in such a cold blooded fashion as we see in the final page of Justice League: Cry for Justice 7. And yet…
Yeah. Really? Seriously? You’re going to go to such an effort to make Prometheus a serious villain again, and then you’re just going to kill him off with a single bow-shot from Green Arrow? This is a man who has fought the entire Justice League to a standstill on more than one occasion, a man who even without his helmet feeding him maneuvers can fight the likes of Shiva and Black Canary for awhile, and who is able to plan things out to the Nth degree. But somehow, Oliver Queen gets inside his pocket dimension, and kills him with a single shot?
This doesn’t even touch on the fact that I hated seeing Ollie become a cold-blooded killer. Which also really bothered me. But it seems like a waste of a developed villain.
So, coming out of this, J.T. Krul is going to be writing Justice League: Rise & Fall Special, where Ollie will continue to embrace his new “dark, hunter” aspect as…
To hell with it. I’ll let Adam Schlagman’s comments from DC Universe: The Source say it:
Hitting stores March 10th, Justice League: Rise & Fall Special 1 showcases Ollie embracing his role as a hunter. Green Arrow’s a protector — but what happens when you fail as hero? Ollie’s always been a man of the people, the first one to speak up. Now he’s saying enough is enough and is taking matters into his own hands.
Green Arrow becomes the Punisher? Oh joy. Quick. Excite me some more.
But the hunter becomes the hunted in Green Arrow 31 on sale March 17th, as the “Fall of Green Arrow” begins. I personally guarantee that Ollie’s life will be drastically changed following these two issues, as the Justice League of America comes after the Emerald Archer. What are the World’s Greatest Heroes’ thoughts on becoming judge, jury and executioner? The Flash (Barry Allen) once killed Zoom, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) went insane when his city was destroyed and what does Black Canary, his wife, believe is just? Find out in this engrossing tale told by J.T. Krul and up-and-coming artist Federico Dallocchio (Faces of Evil: Prometheus).
Hmmmm. Ok. Sure. So, Green Arrow betrays his principles to become a killer, and the JLA decide to go after him, with the writer specifically aware of the fact that each of the heroes has crossed the line before, too. This gets better and better. But surely, surely, they’ll give Arsenal a tale of redemption and heroism, where he is able to mourn for his daughter, and somehow find a way to continue in the fight against evil. After all, this is the “Brightest Day,” right?
Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal is a four issue miniseries penned by J.T. Krul and drawn by Geraldo Borges that starts on March 24th. Roy Harper’s lost his arm, his daughter and now a chance at revenge. What does Red Arrow think of his former mentor’s killing spree, and what dark path is he journeying toward that even his friends and teammates won’t be able to prevent?
The book, called “The Rise of Arsenal,” and taking place during “Brightest Day” is taking Arsenal down a “dark path… that even his friends and teammates won’t be able to prevent?”
Maybe if I cosplay as Prometheus, Green Arrow will kill me, and then I won’t have to deal with this…
sigh… No. I’m strong. I can take this. Hit me with your best shot, and bring it on home.
James Robinson, the brains behind “Cry For Justice”, with artist extraordinaire Mark Bagley (Trinity) brings the “Rise and Fall” to the JLA in Justice League of America 43, being released on March 31st. When word of Ollie’s murder reaches the current league, will they take up arms with Ollie or will they put him in handcuffs? The JLA reaches another turning point as the guilt from freeing Prometheus reaches critical mass.
Ok, first off, Mr. Robinson, I wouldn’t be bragging about being the brains behind this storyline. I just wouldn’t. Similarly, Bagley’s art is great, but pointing out Trinity as being a highlight of his career? Not where I would have gone.
Hmmm. The JLA is torn apart due to a difficult moral decision. Didn’t we just see this a few years ago in Identity Crisis?
If I sound harsh in this column, it’s because I feel it. I have rarely been as disgusted with the end of a comic as I was when I finished Justice League: Cry For Justice 7, and rarely have I so badly wanted my $3.99 back. This book pissed me off. It ruined three characters I really enjoyed, and killed another character who was an unique and important part of the DC Universe. And it felt cheap. It felt like they were killed for spectacle and sales, and not for storytelling purposes. And the worst part of it is that in a few years, it’ll all be undone. Ollie will be embraced as a hero with open arms, Roy will have a new arm (or will accept his cyborg arm with no issues), and Lian… well, she’ll still be dead.
(Quotes taken from DC Universe: The Source)
Underneath My Mask features thoughts, ideas and opinions about superheroes in all forms of media. These ideas belong to Aaron and no one else – and he frequently finds himself in arguments about the ideas put forth here. Feel free to offer up your own arguments in the comments below.