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Subj: Re: Why (How) didn't you like Rebirth?
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 03:27:56 pm CDT (Viewed 652 times)
Reply Subj: Why (How) didn't you like Rebirth?
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 at 02:18:53 pm CDT (Viewed 1 times)
Here is a thread I posted back in 2005 when Rebirth was fresh in my mind. In short, I had been reading 11 years' worth of GL comics with Hal as the evil Parallax so when Rebirth came along to undo it, I wanted an explanation that was worth the wait. I went into it saying "as long as they don't say something lame like 'he was possessed all along' then it'll be OK" which is exactly what Johns ended up doing. Even if they played the "Hal wasn't in control of his actions" card, I wouldn't have minded if it had been a premiere villian like Sinestro or Krona behind it all. Instead Johns chose to make Parallax a seperate character, a sort of vague energy being from the dawn of time shaped like an insect or something. I thought it was really lame.
What's worse was that a series of retcons followed that I found unnecessary. For example the GL Corps was no longer said to have been founded as an agency for policing wrongdoing in the universe. The Central Power Battery was now said to be merely a prison to hold Parallax and the GLs' purpose is to send willpower into it to keep him there, instead of drawing power from it to police the universe, which now seemed like an afterthought.
The 24 hour recharge rule was replaced with a percentage countdown as GLs draw power from their batteries, and the yellow weakness is no longer absolute but now something that can be overcome just by trying hard. I don't like these changes because what I liked about GLs in the old days were that they didn't have to be tough so much as smart. The rings had inherent weaknesses which the GL had to overcome with intelligence. Now the rings' weaknesses can be overcome just by toughing your way through it. It goes towards my disappointment in the big Sodam Yat/Superboy-Prime battle toward the end of the Sinestro Corps War. Here's two guys with all the GL/Sinestro power set, who also have full Daxamite/Kryptonian powers, and also have Ion/Anti-Monitor armor. Imagine all the possibilities! What happens is pretty much just two guys punching each other for an issue. That seems to be mostly what the GLs do these days. They don't make many constructs or apply much intelligence to their ring function, they just punch things and shoot things.
Also retconned out was Sinestro's death back in the '80s. Now I'm glad Sinestro has returned to the living, I just don't know why they couldn't have resurrected him like they did Hal. Instead they told us he was never dead, just imprisoned in the Central Power Battery which invalidates the whole story where the GL Corps executed him, and the whole reason the CPB imploded as a result, and also invalidates all the stories that followed with Sinestro's ghost and his corpse in the GL Crypt where Guy Gardner acquired the yellow ring in the '90s. It seems like one little thread got pulled but it unravels the whole tapestry. Johns could have maintained that Sinestro had been dead all this time, and just said that since Sinestro had corrupted Hal through the CPB he used Hal's Spectre powers to bring himself back to life. Just because Johns references old stories doesn't mean he's respecting continuity if everything he references originally happened differently than the way he says it did.
The Lost Lanterns were also casualties of retcon since some of them were shown to be dead in the original stories (such as Tomar-Tu who was confirmed in Guy Gardner Warrior) yet here Johns just tells us that they never died, they were just captured by the Manhunters. Bringing Arisia back by saying that her race just happens to be born with an "extra life" or whatever and can heal from any mortal wound once seems like another extremely cheap resurrection with no thought applied to it.
And I just don't think the Rainbow Coalition of Lantern Corps is all that inspired. A Yellow Corps to fight the GLs works, I guess, although I think I preferred Sinestro as the only yellow ring-slinger backed up by the Thunderers of Qward. But turning the Star Sapphires into the Violet Lantern Corps seems like it's just taking away what made them unique and making them a copy of something else. And with 4 more Corps to follow, I don't really see the point. I think GLs of varying emotional state would be interesting. Having a seperate Corps for every mood and assigning only members of that mood to that Corps will be more limiting. I don't see why having seven Corps that are each defined by a single emotional state is more interesting than having one Corps which displays all emotions.
It's everything about Rebirth through the Sinestro War and leading into the Blackest Night that bothers me. I don't understand bringing back the Anti-Monitor and making him a henchman. I don't understand taking Kyle's one-time power boost and making it into a new, ill-defined cosmic character called Ion and failing to give it a personality or purpose. I don't understand the Guardians thinking they can make GLs better by making them into half-Manhunters, their greatest failure. Guardians may not be ethical but I didn't think they were this stupid. If Johns has a method to all his madness here, I can't see it.
Look, this has been a severe slam against Johns but it's mostly for his GL stuff. At the same time I praised Johns for his work on Booster Gold which I said was DC's best book. And I mostly like his JSA, I just think he has so many plot threads going that the pace is pretty slow.
I don't think there are any writers that I can universally praise. Morrison turns out some great stuff but I wasn't so fond of Seven Soldiers and it seems like Final Crisis is playing out the same way. By the way, I liked Johns' FC tie-in with the Legion of 3 Worlds.
I think Busiek is the most respectful of continuity and since I'm a long-time reader I appreciate it. But his stories themselves can sometimes be dry. I haven't found any of his writing to be bad but his Superman stuff and now Trinity just haven't been exciting either. I really liked his Avengers though.
I liked Simone on Birds of Prey but haven't been that wowed by her other projects. Secret Six was okay, we'll see how the ongoing feels.
I was never really a fan of Waid before, but I really like The Brave and the Bold, it's been incredible. Hated his Legion though.
You can tell I'm mostly reading DC these days, nobody at Marvel has motivated me to buy their comics. I've been reading Avengers out of habit for a long time, but ever since Civil War it's hard to get into the books. Bendis is some good/some bad.
I generally like Giffen and Dixon at DC, although they can turn out some stinkers, most of the time they do good work.
I don't know, I guess for me it's a question of matching the writer to the character and the story they want to tell with that character. Every good writer has a bad story in them, and sometimes good writers just don't work with certain characters.
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