Archive for James Robinson

In Which I Fix the Problem of James Robinson and "Cry for Justice" Once and for All

I’ve been avoiding James Robinson’s “Cry for Justice” series — I read the first issue or two, didn’t like them, and decided not to waste my money on any more of them. I haven’t regretted it for a second.

And, well, we now know how it ended. Spoiler warning? Nah, who cares, I’m saving you from having to read it for yourself. Roy Harper, better known to DC readers as Speedy, Arsenal, and Red Arrow, gets an arm cut off by Prometheus, who later blows up a few cities and kills Roy’s five-year-old daughter Lian. Green Arrow kills Prometheus in retaliation.

Quite aside from Robinson’s increasingly hacktastic writing, this is an absolute giant metal vat of toxic, chemically-enhanced, acid-based crap.

As we’ve said multiple times before, DC wants to embrace its golden and silver ages, so we get Hal Jordan and Barry Allen returned to life, as well as promises of the “Brightest Day” series, but at the same time, they want everyone to think they’re hardcore tough guys. And because they’re immature morons, they think adult comics have to be drenched in gory violence and gratuitous sex.

I’m all in favor of sex and violence in comics. I’m in favor of sex and violence in all fiction, because they’re some of the prime motivators of human existence, and you’re completely mad if you try to bleed those out entirely.

But Robinson’s and DC’s creepy obsessions are quite a bit more than I want to read in a comic. I’m tired of reading superhero comics where the writers slaughter people and destroy cities to prove that their villains are unusually evil. I’m tired of comic writers who kill really awesome, cool, fun characters like Lian for the sake of cheap shock value. Lian’s death didn’t mean anything to Robinson — he needed something “shocking,” and his writing skills are apparently weak enough that the only way he knows how to shock or to motivate a character is with the tired, hoary cliche of killing off a supporting cast member.

Robinson’s “Starman” and “The Golden Age” are still some of the very best comics of the ’90s. But since then? Nothing but crap. Right now, if you pick up one of his comics on the strength of his past work on “Starman,” you’re going to get suckered into reading a bad comic book.

So here’s what I’m gonna do for you. From now on, everyone can safely consider everything that happened in “Cry for Justice” to be non-continuity. It never happened. Future writers may feel free to write stories in which Red Arrow has both arms, in which Lian Harper is still alive, in which Prometheus is still available to use as a character. “Cry for Justice” never happened, Robinson’s runs on “Justice League” or any other comic series never happened. Ignore everything he said, ’cause it never happened.

How can I do that, you may ask. How can I do that when I’m not a comic writer, when I’m not running DC, when I’m lucky to muster a hundred hits a day on the blog?

Here’s how I can do that: Because it’s the only answer that makes sense. In “Cry for Justice,” Ray “The Atom” Palmer tortures a guy by jumping around in his brain. In the mainstream DC Universe, he’s just been picked as an Indigo Tribe member because he’s compassionate. In “Cry for Justice,” Green Arrow gets the drop on Prometheus and plants an arrow between his eyes. In the mainstream DCU, Prometheus spanks Batman without that much effort. How do you reconcile “Cry for Justice” with everything else in the DCU? Pick the one that makes sense and decree that the other was just badly written fan-fiction. It’s a happy accident that picking the one with the non-jerkwad Ray Palmer and the non-inept Prometheus is also the one with the two-armed Red Arrow and the not-pointlessly-killed five-year-old moppet.

That, and it looks pretty likely that I’m a better writer than the current non-Starman version of James Robinson. At this point, we’re ALL better writers than the non-Starman James Robinson.

And that’s all there is to it, y’all. “Cry for Justice” never existed. Lian’s fine, Roy is fine. Go forward from that point from now on, and never pick up another comic by that hack James Robinson again.

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