tarod45: (i think not.)
So, I stopped reading comics regularly a couple of years ago. I had a number of reasons, most of them practical. But part of it was that I just wasn't having fun reading them anymore.

Comics, done right, are the like the perfect distillation of character over plot. Plots come and go, and are generally pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things. The characters endure, and this past decade or so, most of what comics have been about is how the characters react to the various irrelevant plots. Add in some characters that I genuinely like and care about, and it's like a never-ending dream come true. Endless character development. And I had a fairly substantial list of characters that I did care about. Still care about, if I'm honest.

Lately, though... well, since round about the time of Identity Crisis, which wasn't actually all that recently at this point, it's started to feel like the comics industry has become a competition to see who can assassinate characters the fastest. I don't get it. The point of me reading comics was that I cared about the characters. Why on earth would I want to read the comics if the characters I like are dropping like flies? On top of that, characters are basically all DC and Marvel have. Yes, yes, they also have premises, but I don't want to read about some dude who's bitten by a radioactive spider unless it's Spider-Man. And by Spider-Man, I mean Peter Parker. And more specifically, I want Peter Parker, the thirty-something husband of Mary-Jane. Now, over at DC, I don't mind that Bruce is supposedly dead and Batman is now Dick Grayson, both because I know and like Dick, and I also know that it's not going to stick. On the other hand, DC has been particularly egregious when it comes to turning its books into pointless bloodbaths. It's as if the current administration there (read: Didio and Johns) somehow believe that no one will like their books unless there's a huge body count in every single issue.

The example that springs to mind is the Trickster. James was a long-standing, though minor, character. He'd been moldering along in obscurity quite nicely, brought out every now and again when someone thought of him, and hey, I really liked what Johns did with him over in The Flash. Granted, the Rogue War devolved into utter nonsense by the end, but I liked the way the old Rogues were brought back out of retirement. Then, it turns out that James and Piper are going to be major characters in Countdown to Final Crisis. And, frankly, they were the most entertaining part of that gigantic trainwreck. And then, BOOM. Trickster's dead. For absolutely no reason except shock value.

Same thing with Una and Karate Kid. There was no reason for them to die. When you get right down to it, there was no reason for them to have been alive at all to begin with, let alone a reason to kill them. Trying to figure out a Crisis timeline that would allow Karate Kid to be alive at all is enough to make my head hurt, and I have to figure it out, since nobody bothered to explain it. He'd died before the original Crisis - his death shouldn't have been undone by any of the subsequent Crises. And yet, inexplicably, it was. And he was, with no explanation at all, brought back to life to take part in a boring and completely nonsensical storyline... where he died. What the hell was the point of that? If they wanted him dead... he was already dead! It seems that the only reason for him to be there at all was so that they could kill him. Why? If we care about the character, we want to see him live and have future adventures. If we don't care about him, and indeed weren't supposed to care about him, why waste our time?

So, yeah, it annoys me when they kill minor characters for shock value. But what really gets me is when they kill off characters with potential. Once again returning to the mess that was Countdown... take the Jokester. I liked the Jokester. It seems like a fair number of people did. I thought that he'd make an awesome addition to the DCU. But then they killed him, I believe, only about a half-dozen issues after introducing him. Why? There was no reason to kill him. They created an interesting, likable character, and then just, poof, he's gone forever. Why?!

This is, of course, completely leaving to the side entire series of issues devoted to nothing but the opportunity to kill characters. It doesn't make any sense. Many of the characters they killed were long-standing. They'd been used in stories off and on for decades. Left alone, they very likely would have featured in stories for decades to come. Killing them off is a waste, and a disservice to future writers.

*sigh* This is a rant that's been brewing for a long time, but it was really set off when I decided to browse through the Justice League: Cry for Justice mini this evening. It was all a pointless (completely pointless) bloodbath. They ripped off Roy's arm and killed his daughter. For no reason but shock value. And on top of that, they've killed off Prometheus. I swear, if they keep killing off villains at the rate they've been going, they'll soon have none left. And that's one top of the faceless body count that is at least in the thousands.

It's just frustrating, you know? Every character that DC or Marvel creates has potential, has readers who care about them and want to see what happens to them. Killing characters without a means of resurrection is just a waste.

P.S.: I'm still waiting for Jean Grey to come back to life. Come on Marvel, I'm waiting. You've made your point. I mean, Jean coming back is an inevitability, but if you're going to be stubborn, at least give us Madelyne back...
tarod45: (lyle & brainy)
I have now seen one (almost) entire episode of NCIS. I have heard much discussion of the various characters and ships on the show. I have only this to say: Gibbs and Abby are totally doing it. That is all.

(And because my love has been reignited by my iconning spree, I should add that Brainy and Lyle were totally doing it, too. ♥)

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Sam

April 2012

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