Tilting at Windmills
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Comics Should be Good
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If a new team of minor superheroes shows up now in a comic book, are you more surprised if they are mostly killed off or are you more surprised if none (heck, if only one) of them die?
Depends. If they’re on the cover, and it’s been solicited for months with the current cast, surprised if everyone dies. Otherwise, if everyone lives is the more unexpected route.
My answer? Yes.
Because comics are frivolous and meaningless if nobody dies these days, especially if they’re marginal superheroes…
“We’re a fresh, young squad of go-getters with nothing to lose!”
I think I can usually tell by context. Small publisher making an on-going: probably going to mostly survive. Marvel or DC? They’re trying to prove a point.
I don’t necessarily expect life or death, so much as the situation being a temporary one vs. a long-term one.
I’m surprised if none of them dies in a few issues. It is a natural thing that a team of untrained teenage super-heroes, specially if they don’t have the supervision of an experienced adult, makes lots of mistakes which end up getting one or more killed.
But, of course, the teenage deaths almost always have nothing to do with their lack of training and all to do with writers wanting to do things for shock value.
Other than Titans East, what other teams has this happened to recently? My first thought was that it’s a lame, overused plot device by a lot of writers, but now that I think about it I can’t think of it happening that much lately.
Thematically, DC and Marvel only have on theme these days:
“Being a superhero is not fun and a good time, it’s hard, complicated, and ridiculously dangerous. If you don’t have the right stuff, you’re f***ed”
It makes me sad.
Yeah, being a super hero sucks… Its dangerous and shouldn’t be done by anyone… So wtf???? Why are they letting freaking kids go fight super villains… Batman may see himself waging a war on crime… But does Superman see himself in a war so that he has to recruit teenagers?
The whole problem with applying realistic consequences to patently unreal situations is that your have to apply realistic ethics as well…
And quite frankly, such subtle nuances haven’t been appearing in these comics at all!
[blockquote]Other than Titans East, what other teams has this happened to recently? My first thought was that itâ€™s a lame, overused plot device by a lot of writers, but now that I think about it I canâ€™t think of it happening that much lately.[/blockquote]
Not really all that recent, but it happened at the Seven Soldiers of Victory opening one-shot. And previously in Starman with a erstwhile Justice League. And more recently, of course, with the New Warriors as the triggering event for Civil War. And with Alpha Flight before that. And quite a few years ago with the Suicide Squad team from the Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad one-shot. And with Force of July during Janus Directive. And with the first Malibu Exiles team, as well as with the original Doom Patrol. I believe these last two examples are what created the trend.
but, the first Doom Patrol wasn’t “inexperienced” when they died, were they? they had had quite a few adventures when they died, and when they did, it was because they chose to, not because of inexperience.
And, of course X-Force/X-Statix. It also featured a first issue massacre… That kind of set the tone for the whole series…
I think the trend represents the fact that writers don’t believe the characters matter at all… That they’re disposable… Kind of disturbing…. But with X-Statix, that was the point.
Also, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters in ‘Infinite Crisis’ (not a new team, but definitely an obscure one.) And, of course, Supes Prime’s massacre of every C-list Titan except for the ones who lived long enough to get massacred in Titans East, and his other massacre of a whole bunch of Green Lanterns, both also in ‘Infinite Crisis’.
Oh, and the death of the New Gods.
For my money, yes, I’m pretty thoroughly jaded by the “death, death, death, death, sausage, bacon and death” trend, and wish these guys would find something else to do.
If the writer seems to be intent on separating the cast into star characters and redshirts, it isn’t all that surprising to see the redshirts get taken down.
In a properly written book, there should be no “redshirts” at all. The one thing that really surprises me these days is someone taking the trouble to take a minor character and building him or her up into something bigger.
This also dates back to the all-new all-different X-Men, and happended again Marvel’s Exiles and the X-Treme X-Men. I’d say it’s more surprising to survive.
I’m surprised if a team of minor superheroes shows up and survives the issue. As much as it pains me to realize that’s actually the case these days.
Have a good day.
The first issue of the Order had many of the lead characters fired.
It’s more surprising if they survive, yeah. Which is too bad because I think I remember a time when comics really weren’t quite that morbid, lol. I think comics, in more recent years, have been trying to show that the major teams, the ones people buy every month, are really a step above your ordinary superheroes and what better way to do that then to have the “ordinary” costumed folks get maimed or killed? Sigh.
I was shocked that the Excelsior folks (Turbo, Darkhawk, Katie Power, Ricochet) not only survived their appearance in Runaways, but got their own spin-off mini.
Which, come to think of it, I didn’t read… did they survive that one, too?
It was Julie, not Katie in Excelsior. Vaughn really treated them surprisingly well. I mean, Darkhawk took down ULTRON.
John Seavey said:
“For my money, yes, Iâ€™m pretty thoroughly jaded by the â€œdeath, death, death, death, sausage, bacon and deathâ€ trend, and wish these guys would find something else to do.”
Bill D. said:
“I was shocked that the Excelsior folks (Turbo, Darkhawk, Katie Power, Ricochet) not only survived their appearance in Runaways, but got their own spin-off mini.
Which, come to think of it, I didnâ€™t readâ€¦ did they survive that one, too?”
The last issue of Loners comes out next week, but so far, yes, they have all survived and the series has become a fan favorite, thanks to well written stories fleshing out b and c-grade characters. Marvel has already said they plan on continuing their story in the future. I have to give the nod to Marvel on giving those characters a new lease on life and realizing they had potential, rather than take the current DC approach of “Oooohh, who cares about developing new/forgotten characters, what we have here is some more cannon fodder…”
Was Loners always meant to be a mini or did it get downgraded?
“Was Loners always meant to be a mini or did it get downgraded?”
To the best of my knowledge, it was always planned as a mini. Unlike Omega Flight, which DID get downgraded. However, even Quesada has admitted to being pleasantly surprised at how well received Loners has been. CB Cebulski has written a new Loners story for Marvel’s upcoming Holiday Special and is lobbying for a second series (mini or regular).
think comics, in more recent years, have been trying to show that the major teams, the ones people buy every month, are really a step above your ordinary superheroes and what better way to do that then to have the â€œordinaryâ€ costumed folks get maimed or killed? Sigh.
I wonder if that has anything to do with licensing – we’ll make you like the characters we want you to like by giving you no choice.
I mean no one but a comic fan has love for the JLI, so their no good for toys/bed sheets, so why keep them around?
…except that makes no sense from an R&D perspective (which is what comic companies are these days). You create more, or try to bring to prominence the old, rather than sweeping away everything that’s not A-list.
Don’t forget the superhero team in the first issue of Hitman, which Tommy Monaghan extinguished in about half a panel. Their battle cry, before being usmamrily executed, was “let’s make a difference!”
It’s Garth Ennis’s world. We only live in it.
Golden Lad (or whatever his name was) died in the first issue of The Initiative to show how dangerously undertrained some superpeople are. You could tell in advance that his time was up because they spent half the issue showing how powerful he was and what a great superhero he’d be some day.
Force Works had a first issue death, X-Men 2099 killed off a character quite early, complete with cover announcement, The new New Warriors just lost one of their members, etc.
Really, it’s been an industry clichÃ© at least since Grant Morrison penned Doom Force, where the declaration of character death was written on a giant arrow pointing at the blatantly useless one.
Interesting that Power Boy’s fate involved his costume’s chest hole, though. I’m not sure if that’s irreverent or tasteless.
It was MVP who died in “the Initative”. Just pointing that out.
Force Works was bizzarre in that he didn’t come back right away, when it felt like that’s what they were setting it up for.
However, I’ll give X-men 2099 a free pass – they were all new characters, and although it was a bit of a ‘Women In Refrigerators’ moment, it did help show that it was a dangerous world etc etc, and also, up until then, that characters only point had been to introduce the main character to different aspects of their world, so once he was on the team, there was no need for her.
Ok, ok, I was young and really enjoyed it.
I leave and people start talking about Excelsior/Loners! I love that band of misfit heroes! Anyway, I’ve got nothing to add, as all the proper information has already been given out regarding the past (=always planned to be a mini) and future (=Marvel Holiday Special+pitched second [mini?]series) of The Loners. I only hope it involves more of Penance (from Generation X!)
I want to say that 52 had a “Justice League”, primarily made of C-Listers. A good portion of the characters died, and the ones who didn’t got chewed out by the “real” Justice League in one of the most obnoxious scenes in the series.
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