Sunday, July 08, 2007

Outsiders #49

I'm continuing this idea from a comment I made on Pretty Fizzy Paradise.

This crossover had been pretty good up to this point. (I should note that I haven't read Outsiders since issue 2 or so, so this story was all about Checkmate for me.) Some significant, serious stuff happened to Sasha. The "Fall of the Wall" story got kick-started. We found out that the Oolong crew is now alligned with North Korea.

Then we get to this last issue, and the whole thing "resolves" in a set-up for the upcoming Batman & the Outsiders. That's anti-climactic, and it follows a trend in DC that has greatly annoyed me of late: that a story, or "event" does not exist for its own sake, but merely to set up the next thing.

Since the mini-series that preceded Infinite Crisis, we've had a chain of these psuedo-stories. None of those minis (Day of Vengeance, Rann/Thanagar War, etc.) ended well; or at all. They just kind of stopped, with the promise that their plots would be resolved in Infinite Crisis. The Rann/Thanagar war was never satisfactorilly resolved. I'm not even sure if it's really over or not. I think it is, but i'm not sure who won or how, or what exactly the new status quo is.

52 is, at least in most of its stories, an exception to this. It did at least take most of its characters through a complete arc. It also set up future stuff, like a Ghost Detectives series with Ralph and Sue (though no word on when that will appear) and the upcoming Infinity Inc. redux. Adam Strange and Starfire were just sort of along for the ride, though. The Black Adam story came to a satisfying closure, but they've ruined that by bringing him back so quickly.

I guess my point is, I'm really bored with "stories" that just serve to set up another "story" which just sets up... You get the idea. I'm not against change. Change is often good. But that change should provide a new space to tell real stories in, not just spin off into further change.

Imagine if, instead of going into Countdown, DC had instead launched new series featuring the stars of 52? They could have done four of them, each coming out during a different week, to sorta-kinda continue the weekly format with these characters. The Question, Infinity Inc., Ghost Detectives, Mystery In Space, Booster Gold, Animal Man -- these are some new titles that could have been launched to build on the momentum of 52. But where has that momentum gone? Where's the Question? Where's Animal Man? Where's Batwoman? We're working on another "lost year" for those characters, because DC editorial can't settle down and just tell stories about the characters we love instead of rushing ahead with some new chaotic, world-altering Event.