Posted by: Graeme McMillan on April 20, 2007
Is it just me, or has this week been really, exceptionally, surreally long? Perhaps it’s because last weekend was so pleasant that I wasn’t prepared for the shock of the work week, perhaps it because I’ve been looking forward to APE and tonight’s signing all week, perhaps it’s because someone has been messing with all of our clocks and this week really has been 12 days long, but good lord, this has been a ridiculous week. Any time you wake up on a Wednesday and wish that it’s a Friday, you know that you’re going to be a zombie by the time that the real Friday comes around.
And I’m not talking cute Minimates version of Marvel Zombies zombie, either.
(Actually, that reminds me – When the next Previews comes out, please leaf through to find the new McFarlane “Lost” toys. There are four characters in this new release: Sawyer, fully-clothed in action pose. Jin, fully-clothed in action pose. Mr. Eko, fully-clothed in action pose. And Sun, outstretched in a bikini. I’d complain about sexism, but that seems kind of pointless when you remember that McFarlane Toys were also responsible for turning the Wizard of Oz into a BDSM fantasy where Dorothy was tied up, blindfolded and slave to munchkins (Arguably not safe for work, depending on your work’s stance on topless bondage action figures). Nonetheless, I’d love to know what the actress who plays Sun on the show thinks about her figure.)
NIGHTWING ANNUAL #2: Say what you like about Dick Grayson, but he’s not the smoothest lover in the fictional world – Midway through this relationship retrospective, we see that Dick goes to Barbara Gordon as soon as he finds out that she’s been shot and crippled by the Joker, has sex with her, and then tells her that he’s getting married to someone else. Exactly how that goes towards this annual’s unstated-but-clear goal of appeasing the fans who were appalled that One Year Later not only split this couple up but also didn’t refer back to their cliffhanger engagement by proving that the two characters are, like, rilly rilly in love with each other and totally meant to be 2gether 4evah, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m also fairly confident that the sex scene from that sequence is more than enough misdirection for them to keep them away from the clear suggestion that Dick Grayson is, well, a dick.
That’s what stayed with me most from this special. Not that Dick is a dick, but that it’s one of the clearest pieces of fan service that DC has offered in awhile, and considering that you could argue that a lot of DC’s post-Infinite Crisis moves have been fan service of one type or another (even if those fans have been the creators, in many cases), that’s saying something. It’s an interesting thing to watch – resetting the romance between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon involves a couple of near retcons that actually make a lot more sense than what we’ve previously been seen (Putting at least a month between the big last battle and Batman leaving Gotham to go around the world to find himself makes a lot of plot sense, but arguably messes up 52′s timeline, for example, and for the ending to make sense it helps to ignore Bruce Jones making Dick Casanova during his run – but then, ignoring Bruce Jones’ writing generally makes sense anyway) – if uncomfortable at times because, really, who wanted to see Robin hide his hard-on from Batman under his cape?
(As soon as I wrote that, I realized that there is probably a large contingent of Robin fandom who wants to see that very thing. There we go with that fanservice thing again…)
Thing is, it’s not that bad a book; Marc Andreyko’s script manages to negotiate a minefield of continuity and editorial decisions and still come out not only as readable, but almost convincing; they’re a dysfunctional couple, sure, but they’re a believable dysfunctional couple no matter how many bad decisions that they’re forced (by the creators) to make. 52′s most consistent art team of Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson do what they did on the weekly book, and provide solid if dull support with the occasional striking image – they do a very good Batman on the opening spread – and the overall impression of the book is something that’s weirdly Good despite the entirely cynical circumstances surrounding its creation.
And, yes, I’m a sap for wanting to see these two crazy kids make it work. But that’s hardly a surprise.