Monday, June 27, 2011

The NEW Justice League

So they tell me this will be the new post-reboot Justice League. I remain unimpressed.I'm hoping that the theory that this is just DC's version of Heroes Reborn is correct, and everything will be back to normal in a matter of months, because nothing about what we know so far has convinced me this is a good idea. Supplying continuity-free versions of your flagship characters to attract new readers is great. Abandoning your existing readers in the process is not great.

Though looking at this picture makes me pretty confident this won't stay around very long, because nothing about it screams "timeless" to me, it screams "we're still stuck in the 90's". My first beef with it it more of a personal one, admittedly: It's a Jim Lee illustration. Yes, he's a good artist, but somehow his work just rubs me the wrong way. His facial features are always too sharp and angular for my taste (meaning he has the exact opposite problem of Ed McGuinness) and I've never liked how short he tends to draw Batman's ears (though they are longer here than normal for him).

But the main problem with these designs it that they have the same problem most comic book art had in the 90's: TOO MUCH DETAIL. Remember that godawful redesign Ant-man got in Heroes Reborn? Same basic problem. Lines, creases, all the extra surface detailing they could think of has been added, presumably to make there costumes more "realistic" (though someone needs to explain the realism in Superman wearing armor). Cyborg is the worst offender, drawn in that godawful post-Bayformers style. Apparently all robots/cyborgs by law must now be cluttered up with a ton of useless little metal bits just kinda hanging off of him. The old rule of less is more goes double for character designing. They less detail you use the more memorable the design is.

Also Wonder Woman's redesign is apparently staying. Honestly I could live with her having pants it it weren't for all the black. No matter how much more "modest" her costume gets, replacing the blue and gold of her costume with black and silver is just plain wrong. It removes any of the regal nature of the character's aesthetics. And where the hell are the stars?

Flash, Green Lantern & Aquaman are OK, design-wise, and Batman's looked worse. Although in redesigning the Big Two, it seems like the editorial mandate was "lose the jock straps." I guess they were sick of everyone making "underwear on the outside" jokes. It really bugs me when comic book companies do this kind've thing in response to old wisecracks, it just comes off as immature. Remember in the 60's when they brought the first Batwoman & Batgirl in as Batman & Robin's girlfriends solely to stop the gay jokes?

Plus, changing Superman's costume, even in the slightest, is never gonna stick. It's just won't. He has BY FAR the most iconic costume in the history of fiction. Even Batman & Spider-man have more freedom. Batman's chest emblem is almost constantly changing, Spider-man goes back and forth on the underarm webbing, etc. Superman is constant. No costume change ever sticks with him. Even people who've never picked up a comic book in their lives know every detail of his costume by heart. Hell, the man can't even get a new haircut without people noticing (though to be fair, the ponytail with a product of it's time).

We can't see enough of the rest of the characters to comment on their costumes: There's Deadman (interesting choice), Green Arrow, the Atom, Hawkman, someone I'm told is called Element Woman (I haven't been reading Flashpoint), A blonde who could be either Power Girl or Black Canary (it's not clear from the headshot), Firestorm, and Mera. This being a reboot, it looks like Firestorm is a white guy again, score one for equality. Though it is interesting that Aquaman AND his wife are now fellow league members together. Not thrilled at Hawkman showing up without Hawkgirl though. I mean, by the very nature of their backstory I've always felt they should be a package deal, but whatever.

Oh well, here's to the safe return of our continuity very soon (please don't let this be permanent, please don't let this be permanent...).

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