Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Profile: Lian Harper

Lian Harper
First appearance: New Teen Titans #21, Vol. 2, June 1986

History: Lian was conceived by Arsenal/Roy Harper with mercenary Cheshire/Jade Nguyen, whom Roy had a brief affair with when he was working as a special government agent to investigate her. (He still went by the Speedy handle at the time.) Eventually, following a special Nightwing story written by Marv Wolfman in Action Comics Weekly, Roy took up custody of Lian.

Current status: died in a citywide explosion in Star City, as the result of a bomb planted by Prometheus in the widely panned Cry for Justice miniseries in February 2010, which even wiped out almost 100,000 other residents as well.

What's wrong with how this was done? As if it weren't enough that Cry for Justice contained some of the most awful characterization ever seen in a modern day DC comic, depicted Roy getting his right arm gored off, and even depicted the League in a pretty negative, incompetant light, Lian's own death was pointless and offensive, even if we don't see her body in a mangled state. It must also be made clear that, even if Green Arrow did slay Prometheus at the end, it does not justify Lian's death any more than Josh Jackam's death when the Rogues' killed Inertia in Rogues' Revenge.

The Cry for Justice miniseries even imitated some of the same grave errors made with Green Lantern at the time Zero Hour was published: Coast City, Hal Jordan's own residential burg, was leveled by Mongul, and Jordan subsequently descended into madness. Now, Green Arrow's own city has fallen, and one of the worst things about this is how he's being villified for seeking justice against the supervillain who committed the horrific crime. Those against him include the League, and even the recently resurrected Barry Allen, Silver Age Flash. Not that I'm surprised, though. They have pulled this nonsense for long enough, allegedly making GA the real hero here at the expense of his fellow crimefighters and their common sense, yet it's not like even GA comes off well here either. Thus, it fails even at that.

James Robinson, who penned this miniseries, has thrown away all his credibility as a writer, and like Geoff Johns, does not deserve to write any more DC or Marvel comics. As long as DC continues to adhere to this monstrosity, to say nothing of a lot of other elements they've been using for about a decade now, then their output must be shunned. Lian's own fate must be reversed, just like with a lot of other DC characters who've been victims of character death and destruction.

First, they came for the adults. Now, as stories like these show, they're coming for the children.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Profile: Josh Jackam

Josh Jackam
First appearance: The Flash #170 Vol. 2, March 2001

History: the son of the late Julie Jackam, the policewoman shoehorned into Wally West's life by Geoff Johns, he was taken into custody for a while by Iris West Allen, whom Julie had granted permission to serve as custodian should anything happen to her (and sadly, did).

Current status: dead.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: not only did he lose his mother, young Josh later lost his own life to Bart Allen's leading nemesis, Inertia. In Rogues' Revenge #3 in 2008, a Final Crisis tied miniseries, Darkseid tried to invade earth, and Libra kidnapped Josh from his grandmother, into whose custody he'd been passed, as a ploy to get the Rogues to fight on their side. But Inertia, who'd become a pathetic "Kid Zoom" sidekick to the neo-Zoom Hunter Zolomon, decided to end any hostage crisis by murdering Josh with a sonic wave blow at point blank range. Did I mention that his biological father, the Weather Wizard, had no problem with offing him earlier if that's what it took to get some increased powers?

What's wrong with how this was done? Not only did this useless story turn a once decent supercrook into an embarrassment, just like Dr. Light post-Identity Crisis, it went overboard with the pointless murder of an infant. Or, more precisely, Geoff Johns went overboard, and pretty much explained why I won't be reading his future output as a writer anymore. I will not give accolades to a writer who indulges in violence and shocks for the sake of it, and sullies a title that wasn't built on the kind of R-rated violence Johns has been forcing down people's throats for a decade now.

On this page, it tells that we don't actually see a body. Well I'm sorry to say, but that makes zero difference. What matters is that an infant was turned into a sacrifice in a violent crime for no good reason, and looks to be simply forgotten. This vile death of an infant preceded that of Lian Harper, the daughter of Roy Harper, by a year and a half, and while it may not be the first of its kind in DC Comics, it's still a sad signal that DC has added young children to their character-killing spree that's been going on since the early 90s.

I know there's been plenty of rightful outrage over Lian's death in Cry for Justice, which I want to write about as well. But where was the outrage over the monstrosity that is Rogues' Revenge, and the death of a young infant in that particular miniseries? Of all the shock tactics and repeated hammering of readers' senses Johns has pulled in his career of writing series like the Flash, this has got to be his worst yet, and if that's how he's going to handle things, he does not deserve to even be an editor.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Profile: Julie Jackam

Julie Jackam
First appeared: The Flash #170 Vol. 2, 2001. Her only live appearance too.

History: it's not like there's much, but as Geoff Johns shoehorned into continuity, and not very well at that, Julie was a NYPD officer who'd had an affair with Wally West a few years before. She was murdered almost immediately by a member of the Cicada cult that was committing murders in the Flash's name(!), leaving behind a young son whose father turned out to be the Weather Wizard.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: already told above, but what I didn't mention till now was that, true to the title of the story, "Blood Will Run" her death featured quite a shed of red.

What's wrong with how this was done? While I'm quite familiar with the idea of characters introduced in order to be killed as part of the story drive, this one leaves me with a very bad aftertaste today, because of how it was built on a vile premise of a gang that was killing people the Scarlet Speedster once saved out of twisted worship for the Flash?!? It seems more like an insult to both the character and the reader by making it look as though his efforts had been for nothing.

Worse, it was a very bloody story to boot, featuring quite a few panels with blood dripping. And this ended up setting the tone, more or less, for the rest of Geoff Johns's run on the series at the time - that is, over the top violence and other disturbing elements, no matter how subtle, that seriously detracted from the entertainment value in a book that wasn't exactly built on that kind of R-rated mayhem when it first began years before.

And for someone who's supposed to have a family, the bad news is that since that time, Julie's son Josh, whom I want to write about next, if he represents said family, has sadly since gone to the great reward with her in "Rogues' Revenge".