Sunday, September 21, 2008

DC Comics’ Latest (BAD) ‘Decision’

FanBoyWonder was surprised not at all but shaking our head none the less at DC Comics’ latest mini-series to crash and burn on take off—DC Universe: Decisions.

Here’s the Upshot From DC Comics: Election season is upon us, and the stakes have never been higher! An unknown villain is attempting to assassinate the presidential candidates, and only the heroes of the DCU stand in the way. As Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Superman, Batman and more try to learn the killer's identity, they are faced with the difficult task of reconciling their own personal ideals with the mission at hand. Brought to you by writers Judd Winick and Bill Willingham and featuring sensational art by Rick Leonardi.

Frankly, we knew this mini-series was screwed from the moment we heard two words connected to this project—“Judd Winick.”

Admittedly, we weren’t exactly pre-sold on this mini-series when we saw it on the comics shop shelf this week but any notion of giving it a chance and taking it home vanished as we thumbed through Decisions #1. We put the issue back on the shelf in short order. Perhaps it should have stayed “pulped.”

It has been said that the true test of one’s intelligence is how much they agree with you. That being the case the Dan Phillips of is a very smart man indeed. Let’s go to his review of DC Universe: Decisions #1.

“DCU Decisions is not done well, and it is not done intelligently. Its idea of politics is superficial, to say the least. Its idea of left and right is as overly simplistic, insubstantial and deceiving as the red and blue colored maps every network flashes around during election season.

“Its characters express no real opinions whatsoever. In fact, the closest thing to an actual opinion or stance writers Judd Winick and Bill Willingham give any of their political characters is one advisor's shallow and vague promise that his candidate's ‘programs will lift millions out of poverty and despair.’”

Decisions would have been a Brave and Bold idea in the best creative hands but these were NOT the best hands on deck at DC. Or….perhaps they were, which says a lot about the state of Dan DiDio’s DC Comics today.

What the braintrust behind Decisions doesn’t seem to realize is that for all of its blunt force trauma, American politics is a bloodsport of nuisance and sophistication.

We can’t speak so much about Bill Willingham but there is NOTHING in Judd Winick’s portfolio of work to date that remotely suggests that he possesses anything more than a superficial knowledge of politics outside of his own world view—we’re not sure he can even spell “political science,” much less “teach” it to fanboys.

Again, Dan Phillips of IGN.

“If the powers at be at DC really wanted to throw caution to the wind and use their iconic superheroes to explore political issues, they should have dove right into the murky waters of politics and at least tried to explore a few issues maturely. As much as I would have cringed to see a character like Superman take a stance on something as controversial and complicated as abortion or immigration, I at least would have commended DCU for having some serious stones. Instead, they handle everything with kiddie gloves.

“In the end, the book is insulting, not to any of my political leanings, but to my intelligence. This is really the best DC can offer in terms of social relevance? Really? I suspect that even a ten-year old would find this book's overly simplistic take on politics to be suspect.

“I think the fundamental idea behind this issue is ill conceived from a business standpoint. Yet I still would have praised DC's boldness in tackling the issues had they ever, you know, tried to tackle any issues. They too, it seems, are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want to be praised for real world relevance, yet lack the courage to actually try for it.”

Chalk this up as yet another brainstorm from Dan DiDio’s (Out) House of Ideas. Dan should be glad that HIS job isn’t up for a vote, lest his “constituents” might just “pulp” him out of office.


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