Xtremesteve here, and I should probably say I don't think DC sucks first and foremost. I love the characters and many of the stories, but from from this love I experience hurt week after week when I see sub-par art, stories, character arcs, and marketing gimmicks... I'm here to take a stand for us all!
Each Post I'll pick a new specific topic/issue to bitch and moan about. After I get off my soapbox, you can tell me how nuts I am or how much you agree. So let's get to it!
THIS WEEK'S SUCKDOM Focus:
Stupid Cookie Cutter Henchmen
The Batman universe may be the coolest faction of DC. We all are emotionally connected to all the Gotham characters and how they interact. Some folks even are disgusted by some of them. Jason Todd for example, some folks can't stand, but in all reality that is a testament to the strength of the impact his character has on you. The same way you might boo a heel bad guy wrestler on WWE. These guys jump off the page... but do you remember who they were last punching out?
So in Batman and Robin #12 we get to see G-Man's now dubbed 'The Robins' fight side by side. How awesome is that; to see them all on the same panel? As readers, we can't wait to see that character chemistry interact! It's like the Voltron Lions combining!
But here's the drag... Did any of us give a damn about what they were fighting or why? We sure didn't, and neither did the writers. Let's look at this pathetic, generic glob of a punching bag below:
It's pretty obvious this art was rushed. I don't have an eye for art criticism, but even a laymen could notice a few flaws in this book. But I digress. This ugly blob they are fighting who I assume is (I haven't read the last issue --sorry) a 'Bat-Freak' is a gooey amalgamation of three or so bad guys?? Anyway 'it' is an obvious copy of a bug alien from any blockbuster sci fi movie (Take your pick: Alien, Starship Troopers, MIB, they all look the same) you've ever seen, and frankly, what the hell is it doing in a Batman comic?? Human Centipede 3 has no place in a Gotham street brawl. I know it, you know it, and you know what? The lazy focks at DC knew it too. But they didn't care because caring would be too much work. In fact, DC does this drab all the time.
The editors KNEW you would buy the book to see the Robins interact. So why bother enriching the story with something clever to tangle with? Instead we get Gumby the Super Cockroach with dinner plates for nipples. Kids like giant monster bugs right? Seriously we could replace this thing with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and it wouldn't change the impact one bit. Lazy, lazy, lazy!
DC is NOTORIOUS for the generic piss poor punching bag villian. Let's see if I can find a couple more examples from this weeks books:
Yup... sure enough. These similar images from Suicide Squad and Ravagers display some goon baddies we could care less about and look gross to boot. Lets see we've got a massive grey golem with a beer tap for a head, generic Mayan-esque Indiana Jones villians, and who is the orange TMNT dinosaur hanging from the chains? Do any of you have ANY emotional investment, visual interest, or mental stimulation from any of these bad guys?
My point is DC far too often leans on how great their base characters are, and never changes the rest of the formula. Goofy, rushed bad guy gets pummeled by beloved good guys, and then good guys push story forward. Now think back to some of your favorite stories... how important was the Villain, or even minor villains? Gandolf's fight with the fire demon we all remember because he was big, scary, and built up to be a shocking reveal. Really that villain was minor; he only existed to cause Gandolf to ascend (...or whatever) as a plot device. But we digged the fight because it challenged our heroes, and damnit that demon was scary and creative. These guys pictured above... I'd rather forget about before they give me indigestion.
Here's an example of DC getting it right, in Knightfall part 6. Firefly is a relative unknown villain who doesn't normally stand a chance against Batman but serves as a plot driver while simultaneously making a splash in Knightfall because he offers a memorable and unique challenge to our near broken Caped Crusader.
Batman is 'burnt out' from endless fighting, and has to adapt and overcome in unique ways during this fight. His struggles physically in the burning city reflect his inner rapport burning down as well. See how this is SOO much better than Batman just hammering away at Wonder-Nipples the Gummy Worm from earlier??
In short, DC SUCKS because they don't care enough about their story to give you inventive action that serves purpose instead of just page filler. There's no such thing as a minor battle or a minor character. So next time you see a generic villain in fight panel that looks like a lifted scene from Battletoads for Sega Genesis, tell DC: YOU SUCK!