Hi, I’m Russell, and I’m a racist.
Not in the way you think, don’t worry. I’m not going to dive off the deep end with some lenghty and ill-advised tirade against someone who might be reading my column. Instead, I’m going to confess to my deep, abiding hatred of a minority group of about 100,000 living in the DC Comics Universe.
That’s right, folks. I’m here to advocate the wholesale genocide of the Kryptonian race. And before you ask—no, I don’t mean to suggest that anything bad should happen to Kal-El, who we all know can never really stay dead anyway.
But Kara Zor-El can bite the dust (again), as far as I’m concerned.
Actually, while I’m a post-Crisis on Infinite Earths fan and therefore a big proponent of Superman as “the Last Son of Krypton” as opposed to a city full of the flying folk, it’s also true that my intolerance is not limited to other Kryptonians. Let’s go down the list:
Supergirl? I hate her.
Wonder Girl? What’s the use?
Red Arrow? A pale imitation of the original. They even made him a shameless womanizer, and for a while gave him a stupid little beard.
Bart Allen? Before he was dead, I was a huge fan of Impulse. The moment he became Kid Flash and started dressing like Wally, they lost me. Most of what made Bart a compelling character was completely independent of the Flash mantle.
While I don’t think any sane person can take issue with the Green Lantern Corps right now, the reality is, I’ve never had much use for characters who are a bigger/smaller/female/alien/animal equivalent of exactly the same character. Why waste talent like Greg Rucka, Sterling Gates and James Robinson telling stories that revolve around a teenage girl version of Superman, when they could be used—at a minimum—to tell the ongoing adventures of some other teenage girl who has a different costume, a different set of powers, etc.? I feel like milking these franchises for everything they can is just another way for comics publishers to be lazy and uncreative, and then ask the fans to fork over their hard-earned cash for the privilege of reading it.
The idea that these characters and concepts were starting to be retired and/or at least replaced with somewhat more creative riffs on the same idea (see Impulse, again, as your example there), only to do a 180 and end up right back where we were in the early ’80s—with a hundred thousand Kryptonians flying around and making the DC Universe a more redundant place to live—is really a drag. The idea that Superman is being forced out of Action Comics so that stories featuring these characters and their interactions with the DCU is not only silly, but guaranteed to drive readers away from the book. If DC were going to pull a stunt like that, they at least should have worked on it in advance and made the title weekly until things return to normal, so that it would be Action Comics Weekly again and the notion of exploring a rotating cast of third-tier characters would have a logical, traceable history.
Somebody sell me on this—what’s the appeal of a character like Supergirl or Kid Flash?