Monday, June 17, 2013

So Would a Thirtieth-Century "Birds of Prey" Be Abbreviated "MMMBoP"?

So the news has it that DC will be coming out with a Justice League 3000 series, uh, sometime this fall. Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire are to be the creative team. There are character designs by Howard Porter which put me in mind of nothing so much as this, for 31st-century equivalents of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Wonder Woman.

Some facts.

1. With Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire involved, this comic book may very well be good.

2. JLMMM doesn't look like any kind of Legion of Super-Heroes comic. It may be, though; there may be some kind of connection. We'll see. If there's enough of a connection, I'll buy and review the series; if not, not.

3. It seems like kind of a tired-out idea. Tell the truth: the Justice League in the future. Did any of you want that? Independent of how you feel about the Legion, did any of you want that? I did not. It's not such a bad idea that it can't be saved, mind you. But whatever virtues this title is going to have, it's going to have to come from fine work by the creative team, because the premise isn't helping them out at all.

4. Since we're discussing this new title in the context of the Legion of Super-Heroes, let's talk about diversity. Look at our cast of 31st-century characters here. There are five of them. At least four of them are white. And it looks like four of them are men. Now, the Legion never had the diversity in their membership that they should have had, but they were better than this. Even in the early '60s when they first started adding members, they had girl Legionnaires all over the place, and, while comics were too conservative for them to have any Legionnaires of nonwhite Earth colours, they did at least have a green guy and an orange guy, for what little that was worth.

4a. Of course, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire are all white males themselves. Which is cool: if I had a stupid comic book I was trying to put over, I'd be thrilled to get them to work on it. They're great. I'm just saying, if DC wants to claim to be championing any kind of diversity, there's really nothing they can point to here.

I'm not really pleased about this news. But I'm not too angry either. I would like another Legion series of some kind instead; of course I would. Of course I would! But I don't blame DC for concluding that it's time to try something else, not after the sales numbers on the current series.

Some have advocated that DC give the Legion a rest for a while before trying to sell them to the public again. There may be some sense to this notion. And that's effectively what this JLMMM series is going to be: a rest for the Legion. I don't know if it's going to succeed or fail. If you put a gun to my head I'd guess that it's going to fail, for two reasons. First, that it's kind of a stupid idea for a series. Second, as great as the KG/JMDM/KM combo is, I've never heard that they were magicians when it comes to the sales of their comics. (Tell me if I'm wrong.) So this series might last, what, for a couple of years? (Note: this is assuming that KG/JMDM/KM are actually going to stay on this series for the long run. As assumptions go, this one is something less than ironclad.)

And then when JLMMM has been cancelled, and maybe there have been a few changes among the decisionmakers at DC, they'll give their head a collective shake, and some writer will step up and propose a Legion series. And let's hope that whoever this writer is, she has a good idea for how to make it work as well as we all know it can.

It is just...

...and I hope you will pardon the expression...

...a matter of time.

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