Where are thou JSA-post-FlashPoint?

Heading into September, a lot of new things are to be expected in the DC universe. With Flashpoint over by then, new books come out, new costumes, and probably new histories too. One history change which I’m really bummed out about is that of the Justice Society of America.

If reports are right, the new Justice League series will be a modern take on the superhero team which states that they were the first superhero team to form and seemingly formed about 5 years ago. This is also re-integrated by the statement that Superman was the first superhero. If that is the case, what will then happen to the Justice Society? We know that there isn’t a Justice Society book after Flashpoint, and how the Flashpoint event itself showed that the JSA never really took off back in the day. So are they going to be wiped out from the history of New Earth?

Or, just guessing, are they going to be relegated back to their original world – Earth-2?

“Crisis on Infinite Earths” served as the story where all existing continuities back in the day were merged into one, and instead of the multiverse a new universe was formed with merging realities of the other remaining Earths. It made sense at the time, reviewing the history that it was the JSA which was the first superhero team that formed during WWII, and then retired after the whole senate fiasco over mystery men. Following that, the Silver & Modern age came into being with newer heroes and new teams including the Justice League, the Teen Titans etc. Shortly after, the JSA came out of retirement and the new series provided a fresh take on these characters to the modern generation. They fulfilled their roles as being mentors to the newer generation of heroes and provided great stories for comic fans.

But with the post-Flashpoint scenario, the Justice Society is nowhere to be seen. With the exception of Mr. Terrific, not one of the original or newer JSA-ers are being mentioned at all. It could even be that Michael Holt adapted the Mr. Terrific persona on his own in the new world, and may not even be paying homage to the original Mr Terrific Terry Sloane. So it should stand to reason that the JSA may have nothing to do with the history of New-Earth anymore, but may eventually be relegated back to Earth-2 again.

That development may open up a can of worms too. For instance, it was recently established that Earth-2’s timeline had evolved to when Justice Society Infinity had become the new team. Not to mention that the Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane died during Infinite Crisis. And what-more, Jay Garrick was also missing during the events of Countdown Arena.

For that matter, what happens to the multiverse entirely? Does it still stick around after September with new changes to it? Chances are, Earth-2 could also be retconned to show the entire JSA along with Superman and co.

Guess we’ll all have to wait and see. These were just some thoughts I had in mind when I think about what kind of influence the JSA has had over the modern age and then have them completely wiped out. You can’t erase Alan Scott’s influence over Kyle Rayner or how Jay Garrick had a co-starring role with Wally West during his run as the Flash.

Any other JSA fans wondering the same?


Flashpoint Aftermath – The End of DC’s Modern Age?

I got attached to comic books in the early 90s. When I got into DC Comics full swing, Superman was dead, Az-Bats was getting insane by the issue, Kyle Rayner was the last Green Lantern, Wally West was the fastest man alive, I laughed out loud at Bob the Galactic Bum.

To me, the Silver Age and the Golden Age of comics were something that they kept repeating in comics over and over again to establish a sort of back-story to the characters. I literally had no idea who Hal Jordan is, till he confronted Rayner. I did know who Barry Allen was thanks to the TV show only, and thus got super-confused when Wally West was dating Tina McGee. And it took a rental of the Batman 1989 movie to convince me that Bruce was the real Batman.

It wasn’t until over a decade later that I got familiar with the Golden, Silver and even the Bronze Age. Still, the modern age was and still is in full swing. Now, with Flashpoint underway and plans already announced for everything to be rebooted, does this mean that the modern age is over, or is the modern age restarting?

All characters are getting a reboot, and to my understanding a re-imagined origin once again. Sure Joe Chill would still kill Bruce’s parents, or Kal-El’s ship would crash in Smallville Kansas, yet despite every time origins have been rehashed, Flashpoint’s aftermath would choose to create new ones. So what does boggle the mind is that if the modern age is restarting, does that mean that the actual Modern age that happened in the 90s get scrapped.

See, if I had imagined a next age of DC Comics, we’d probably see the mantle move on to the new heirs. Dick Grayson as Batman was evidence of this and a perfect example of how this was done right. He’s evolved from Robin to Nightwing to finally getting to the epitome of the Bat-Family, that it only made sense for him to spear-head the next age of Super-heroes.

Conner Kent could also have moved on as the next Superman, despite the fact that we all know that Clark is practically immortal. It was already established in the DC One Million story line that there would be more Supermen eventually becoming the newest incarnations of the original, so why not Conner? Bart Allen could have resumed the mantle of the Flash and eventually there’d be a new Green Lantern on the horizon, if not Rayner.

My gripe with this theory is that instead of a progression, we’re actually heading back to the Silver Age. Sure Barry Allen & Hal Jordan are the penultimate Flash & GL, but then what happens to Wally West & Kyle Rayner. I’ve seen the plans for Rayner, but where’s Wally? (no pun intended). His role as the flash lasted over a decade and therefore it comes as a shock that he’s now gone.

If DC’s strategy is to attract new fans, then is revisiting the Silver Age of comics the way to do it? The way I see it, a new age should have started post Flashpoint where new bearers of the mantle should have appeared. Think about it... how long is Tim Drake going to remain a Teen Titan? Eventually he’s got to move on as a standalone character.

I know the above may invite a whole lot of flak, but it’s just one opinion to clear out the haze after trying to get a handle on the plans post Flashpoint. I don’t intend any disrespect towards Barry Allen or Jordan etc, but I would have loved it if they would have taken a back-seat and become supporting or even mentoring characters. Remember how Jay Garrick became the mentor to Wally West during the 90s? That’s the kind of role those guys could take up.

So what do we really need? A revisited Silver/Modern age, or was the time ripe for a new age of superheroes?


Is love for comic books normal?

Comic books have been something I’ve been addicted to ever since I was a kid. Don’t know when or how I picked it up, but it became a habit. Of course, there are the naysayers, the critics, and the people that think I’m wasting my time. Yes I’m talking about family, friends etc. that never fail to get on my case, simply because I refuse to indulge in other forms of entertainment. What can I say; maybe I’m too nerdish to indulge in watching soap operas or Hollywood/Bollywood fare. My brother laughs at my obsession of comics, but only because they’re not animated movies or shows, which both of us love. His concern is how I can bear non-moving pictures and have to ‘read’ it to understand it. “Where’s the interactive entertainment?” he asks.

My wife doesn’t subscribe to not just comics, but even animated movies. Even popular animated movies, which anyone in the family can enjoy. She still sees anything animated as kids’ cartoons and how I [as a mature, responsible and of course, married] adult can indulge myself in them.

Okay, maybe animated films, shows, and comic characters allow me to traverse into suspension of disbelief and use an active imagination to transport myself into another world. But isn’t that the case with any form of entertainment? From soap operas to science fiction, that is what it is right? Fiction: a form of narrative which deals, in part or in whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author(s). We don’t assume that this is necessarily real, but simply the work of creativity that sends signals to the brain saying “that looks interesting.”

Same is the case with comic books. A lot of them are written by mature adults and focus on several cultural issues and scenarios people around the world face. Poverty, hunger, disease, alienation, love, compassion, fear, death, crime, oppression, hate-crimes, racism, religion, etc; there’s a lot that’s talked about in comics. Not only that, but ideas for technology, philosophy, science, art etc is also heavily discussed, with interpretations of various other forms of literature & history frequently used.

Let’s take a look at the various comic book to Hollywood movie adaptations. People went gaga-crazy for the Batman, Spiderman, X-Men and Ironman franchises in Pakistan, and yet a majority of them may not have read the back-stories of their comic books. A major factor these movies are so successful worldwide is their comic book fan-following. Not many people know about the actual back-stories used for the script of The Dark Knight, or how Tony Stark’s alcoholism which was focused on in the movie, was actually a major storyline of Ironman back in its heyday. Of course, not all Hollywood adaptations are successful, as many people I spoke with didn’t get the concept of Black Spiderman, whereas even though I’m not a Marvel comics fan, even I know that it was one of the most revered Spiderman storylines of all time in comic-book land.

There’s even a huge community of fans of TV Series Smallville in Pakistan that I personally, who may not have read a Superman comic, but made it a massive hit. Little do they know that most of the source material was based off Superman’s adventures in comic books. Other examples include lower-budget movies such as Wanted, Kick-Ass or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. etc. that got reasonable success among the teen-segment of comic lovers that enjoy them [not me, mind you].

While all of the above are commercially successful examples, there are several more examples of movie adaptations that invoke a thought process about different affairs currently happening around the world. V for Vendetta, while not a commercially successful comic book adaptation, is a cult favorite for its bold subject and overall portrayal for its dystopian and authoritarian depiction of the future. LXG is a personal favorite of mine, even though it tanked in the box office. Watchmen is probably the only reasonably commercially successful movie with a strict focus on the subject material and is one of my all-time favorite comic book adaptations, with production styles doing total justice to the comic books. Sin City & 300 are also two movies that I’m thankful received great Hollywood treatment.

Comics are actually equivalent to actual books in a way really; the difference is that they give you a picture to look at. Not only is the writing top-notch, but with all the advancements in technology, we’re treated to stunning artwork that is a combination of both human and technology. From the penciling to the coloring, everything opens up like a beautiful canvas of interpretive ideas, which makes reading comics all the more fun.

So there, that’s probably all the reasons why I’ll prefer animated fare a lot more, considering that they are more mature than probably any other form of fiction on TV. Still, with general people still thinking that animated items are still cartoons for kids, it takes a lot more effort trying to watch animated movies, especially since the Mrs. has the amazing superpower of making the TV remote disappear from my hands the moment I tune into an animated movie :D

But do tell folks, what are your thoughts about animated features? Do you think that adults can indulge in animated fare and not look like immature children watching kiddy cartoons? With movie examples like the ones above, must I still be criticized for reading comic books just because they’re cartoonish? I’m already looking forward to the upcoming Green Lantern adaptation, even though my wife recognizes Green Lantern from the recent books she's tried to snatch out of my hands :P . And my brother [who cant get over the fact that Reynolds is playing GL], will only watch the movie if and ONLY IF Ryan Reynolds uses the ring to deliver pizza [that’s a 2 Guys, A Girl & a Pizza Place reference... ah forget it.]