The Iron Age of Comics: Jim Shooter's Return to Marvel

I've been having this conversation a lot on Twitter recently and, in my opinion, if you're going to have the JLA and the JSA in the same continuity, then the JSA need to be failures. Blinded by their bigotries and their incompetence, with messed-up personal lives and either working with an unjust government or turning a blind eye to the harm that government causes because it's "not their fight."

But that's not the conversation that someone like Geoff wants to have, because everything he grew up with is great and awesome and wonderful, and if we just let all the old men be in charge, it would fix all the problems and it would save the dying industry, if only he was allowed to do whatever he wanted.

But when you think about it, that's how it would have to be. Because if the JSA were good at their jobs, you wouldn't need a Justice League.
 
*Puts head above the parapet*

I actually really liked Bendis' run on the Avengers - it's what got me back into comics after a long absence. I tend to think his successes (New Avengers, Dark Reign etc.) outweigh most of the disappointments (Siege, Secret Invasion) and I really liked his Daredevil run.

*Ducks back under*
 
I've been having this conversation a lot on Twitter recently and, in my opinion, if you're going to have the JLA and the JSA in the same continuity, then the JSA need to be failures. Blinded by their bigotries and their incompetence, with messed-up personal lives and either working with an unjust government or turning a blind eye to the harm that government causes because it's "not their fight."

Ehm sorry, but they are the JSA not characters in watchmen or the ultimate universe; personally i will hate such characterization, frankly i like them the way they are and not as reject of the dork age of comics
 
Ehm sorry, but they are the JSA not characters in watchmen or the ultimate universe; personally i will hate such characterization, frankly i like them the way they are and not as reject of the dork age of comics
Also the JSA was founded eighty years ago, the legacy aspect actually works even better now because they clearly aged out and the modern heroes replaced them (and its been stated occasionally there were heroes in between). Outside of the real cesspits conventional crime does seem lower in the DCU even before Superman so they probably did make things better for a while. Then a new generation of super criminals appeared (Lex at least was doing evil years before Clark appeared) and new heroes rose to oppose them. The JSA weren't failures but history teaches us you can't wipe out crime and evil and leave it at that. Sooner or later it comes back and a new generation fights to stop it again.
 
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Also the JSA was founded eighty years ago, the legacy aspect actually works even better now because they clearly aged out and the modern heroes replaced them (and its been stated occasionally there were heroes in between). Outside of the real cesspits conventional crime does seem lower in the DCU even before Superman so they probably did make things better for a while. Then a new generation of super criminals appeared (Lex at least was doing evil years before Clark appeared) and new heroes rose to oppose them. The JSA weren't failures but history teaches up you can't wipe out crime and evil and leave it at that. Sooner or later it comes back and a new generation fights to stop it again.

Plus the JSA have his exploit in WWII as there were a lot of battle between nazi and allied metahuman (pre-crisis Spectre even destroyed a German fleet ready to invade the UK). They are the past generation, the first generation of costumed heroes and it's natural that many of the heroes that had followed them have been inspired; seem much more natural for Clark and Bruce to don their costume if others have done before, not even talking about Flash II (Barry Allen) that take the name from the past hero to honor his legacy.
For me one of the best depiction of the golden age generation of heroes is in the Elseword Golden Age (that was initially intented as canon) that depict them as somewhat flawed but still well meaning and good individual that want make the world better and have been very efficient at beating the nazi
 
Plus the JSA have his exploit in WWII as there were a lot of battle between nazi and allied metahuman (pre-crisis Spectre even destroyed a German fleet ready to invade the UK). They are the past generation, the first generation of costumed heroes and it's natural that many of the heroes that had followed them have been inspired; seem much more natural for Clark and Bruce to don their costume if others have done before, not even talking about Flash II (Barry Allen) that take the name from the past hero to honor his legacy.
For me one of the best depiction of the golden age generation of heroes is in the Elseword Golden Age (that was initially intented as canon) that depict them as somewhat flawed but still well meaning and good individual that want make the world better and have been very efficient at beating the nazi
I love that Elseworld story and learning that it was originally intended to be canon OTL I hope they make it canon ITTL.
 
Chapter 51 - DC vs. Marvel at the Arcade
The latter half of 1995 saw the continuations of both Capcom and Sega’s highly popular fighting games based on DC and Marvel hit the arcades within a week of each other. However, both series would diverge into wildly different directions. DC Universe: Super Powers followed in the footsteps of its predecessor by continuing the fluid, sprite-based animations of Justice League: Galactic Guardians. This time it would draw on other DC-based properties like Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes while (very loosely) adapting 1991’s Armageddon 2001 crossover featuring Monarch as the final boss [1].

Capcom jettisoned most of the previous game’s roster to make way for the new characters like Green Lantern (John Stewart) and Martian Manhunter from the Justice League, Changeling and Starfire from the Teen Titans, and Triplicate Girl/Bouncing Boy [2] and Timberwolf from the Legion of Super-Heroes. They would join Batman and the Flash from the previous game while the villain half of the roster was almost completely replaced with Bane, Captain Cold, Star Sapphire, Deathstroke, Scarecrow, Validus, and Lord Havoc with only Brainiac returning.

DC Universe: Super Powers was a hit with both the fans and critics for its stellar graphics and roster of characters. Sega would take a complete departure from 1992’s Contest of Champions. With the popularity of the Virtua Fighter series on both sides of the Pacific, Sega handed the reins of Marvel Super Heroes: Infinity War to its AM2 division with the famed Yu Suzuki producing. Unlike its distinguished competition, Infinity War largely dispensed with story in favour of spectacle of fighting in three-dimensions.

Its playable roster included luminaries such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Daredevil, Iron Man, Black Cat, Doctor Doom, and She-Hulk while Thanos served as final boss. While mildly popular at the time, it would later receive criticism as more barebones compared to other fighters of the time and more of a novelty for Marvel fans. However, both games would receive Saturn ports later in 1996 as well as set the foundation for their crossover series with Street Fighter and Virtua Fighter/Fighting Vipers.

[1] And it’s just fortuitous timing that the Countdown event starring the character was ongoing at the time of its release.

[2] Designers of the game thought that TG would be a more visually interesting character, and threw in Bouncing Boy for her combos.
 
Very interesting. DC and Marvel fighting each other in an arcade fighting game? Genius!

Also, just wondering, but since there’s a completely different Sonic TV show ITTL, what’ll happen to the Puyo Puyo games?
 
Did Beast feature as a playable character in Marvel Super Heroes: Infinity War?

If not then Alt timeline me would not be interested....
 
Any chance of this getting picked up as a series even if it's just one season:
Probably not in that form. An animated series on MTV? Maybe...
Did Beast feature as a playable character in Marvel Super Heroes: Infinity War?

If not then Alt timeline me would not be interested....
Unfortunately not, but the game was not a particularly memorable one either.

I'm currently slogging through the next update, but here's a clue as to what it involve...
 
OK, so, here's what needs to happen soon, as I see it. Kingdom Come needs to be a part of the DCU Continuity in a larger way. 666, Magog, Manotaur, Tusk, Stars and Stripes, Pheobus, Nucloid, Mr. Scarlet, II, Olivia Queen and Robin and Starfire's daughter, The Original Dr. Mid-Nite coming back as a ghost haunting his cowl, Alan Scott's ''New-Oa'', The Justice Battalion etc? All need to be things that exist. If DC wants to set itself apart, change and keep changing, while keeping certain elements like, say The Trinity to keep sales up. Make Consequences and changes last. Don't just revert to the Status Quo unless necessary. More importantly, make people want the changes. Make those changes appealing.
 
BONUS: A (Brief) Profile of Alex Ross

Alex Ross (born Nelson Alexander Ross) began is career in comics with NOW Comics Terminator: The Burning Earth in 1990 followed by Clive Barker's Hellraiser for later that year. In 1993 he completed his first superhero painting assignment, the cover of Superman: Doomsday & Beyond, which led to a steady stream of cover assignments for DC, Marvel, and Malibu Comics throughout 1994 and 1995. However, a chance meeting with J. Michael Straczynski at Comicon International in 1995 would prove to be a turning point in his career as his design and cover work on the 1996 Legion of Super-Heroes reboot led to one of DC's seminal works of the decade.
 
Chapter 52 - The Legion Lives Again
With Countdown having realigned DC continuity, the venerable Legion of Super-Heroes now had a clean slate to work with after the rampant retcons of the early 90s. However, the reboot began with turmoil behind the scenes of UPN’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The show was very successful during its first two seasons with thanks to J. Michael Straczynski’s subplots, subterfuge, and expansion of not only the Alpha and Beta Quadrant’s politics, but the Gamma’s as well with the introduction of the Dominion. With that success came increased scrutiny from Rick Berman whose micromanaging clashed with Straczynski’s plans. Arguments grew heated during the second season until Straczynski quit during early production of the third season.

It was stressful enough that he decided to take a break from television when DC Comics approached him with an offer to write the Legion reboot. DC promised him near total creative freedom and having been a lifelong fan of the medium, Straczynski accepted the assignment. His initial outline included the concept of five twelve-issue “seasons” with detailed subplots. He also brought on Alex Ross who up to this point had painted covers for Malibu and other smaller publishers for design work and covers while Chris Sprouse penciled the interiors and Al Gordon inked.

The new Legion of Super-Heroes launched February 1996 with #0 and would combine the numberings of previous volumes at #482 [2]. Legionnaires also continue its pre-Countdown numbering and function as a spotlight series for individual members with rotating story arcs, also written by Straczynski and drawn by a rotating roster of artists.

Perhaps the most curious change was the reintroduction of Superboy and Supergirl to the Legion. Not the contemporary versions from the 20th century, but the 30th century descendents of the Superman “dynasty” that was actually Ross’ brainchild that he would elaborate upon in 1997’s Kingdom Come. For that he folded in two characters from the previous continuity Kent Shakespeare of Earth (a creation of Al Gordon) as the inheritor of the Superman mantle with Laurel Kent of Daxam as Supergirl [3]. Neither were referred to their titles in the licensed products, but still considered a part of the Superman family.

While DC had given Straczynski a clean slate to work with, he had used 1989’s Invasion crossover as a template. The alliance led by the Dominators had evolved into the “Dark Circle” where the various galactic powers (the Dominion, Khund Empire, Thanagar, etc.) worked to contain the influence of Earth and its colonies. They saw the formation of the United Planets as a threat to their ambitions for galactic dominance. However, they decide upon subterfuge after a failed invasion of Daxam.

Their first target is industrialist, R.J. Brande, whose Stargate Network makes trade and travel through the United Planets feasible. Durla’s [4] admission into the UP proved to be divisive and exacerbates tensions within the alliance, especially with the isolationist and highly xenophobic terrorist group, Terra Prime. Its members deny that Valor seeded the “lost colonies” and distorted history to the point where they claim that Superman was of Earth and that Krypton was a myth created by revisionists--a belief shared by Kent Shakespeare.

The Dark Circle aids Terra Prime in targeting Brande for assasination at Metropolis spaceport, only for three superpowered youths to thwart them. This act inspires Brande to fund the Legion of Super-Heroes (backed by the UP Council) to demonstrate the alliance’s unity by recruiting youths from its member worlds. Though there had been talk of this iteration using the pre-reboot Legionnaires codename Ross was insistent on using the classic Silver Age codenames wherever possible [5]. While the UP recruited only one member from each world, including Earth, Terra Prime used its political influence to have Earthgov place Kent on the Legion for the prestige of the Superboy name.

“Superboy: Double Agent” was a slow-burning plot thread that focused on the future Boy of Steel’s discomfort and barely-concealed disdain for his teammates, especially after Supergirl joins the Legion. Aside from that, the first “season” of the Legion reboot largely focused on superheroes with a sci-fi twist in addition to setting up larger threats, including deposing “Empress” Sarya of Venegar and a run-in with Persuader when the Dark Circle orders a hits on UP Representative (and mother of Phantom Girl) Winema Wazzo. Straczynski was also not adverse to recycling some elements from the previous continuity such as the death of Kid Quantum on the Legion’s first mission, or incorporating characters from other creators like XS of the Flash family.

Straczyski’s Legion of Super-Heroes reboot was a perfect jumping on point for new readers that had been daunted by the team’s long and convoluted history. Sales improved significantly, but not enough to compete with the likes of X-Men or Batman. It was not without controversy either. Kent Shakespeare/Superboy’s membership in Terra Prime generated many angry letters to the editor and even resulted in one fan throwing his drink in Straczynski’s face before security removed him at 1996’s Comicon International--an incident he would later parody in the book itself. Yet despite the vociferous response, the new Legion of Super-Heroes was off to a promising start in its first year.

[1] 1994’s OTL Marvels mini-series was, unfortunately, butterflied away.

[2] (Tales of) The Legion of Superheroes (vol. 2) 354 issues, (vol. 3) 63 issues, (vol. 4) 65 issues.

[3] A descendent of both Superman and Mon-El/Lar Gand’s brother.

[4] Home to a race of shapeshifters and the homeworld of Chameleon Boy.

[5] A departure from OTL where the reboot used the Legionnaires codenames with some exceptions.
 
I wanted to apologize for the lack of updates recently. It would not be accurate to say that it is because of writer's block as it is other priorities have taken up my time. However, fret not because 1996 is going to be another big year in pop culture TTL so I will outline what ideas I have here for my benefit and yours as we move forward.

  • The Last Will and Testament of Antony Stark
  • MTV's Gen-X, HBO's The Sandman and the coming of the WB Network.
  • Scott Lobdell's Teen Titans.
  • E3 1996's Next Gen Showdown: Plumber vs. Hedgehog.
  • James Robinson's Justice Society vs. the Fourth Reich. [1]
  • Iron Man (1996)
  • Sam Raimi's Dynamic Duo.
...and one the viewers are clamoring for...

  • Worlds Collide! A Battle For The Ages!
[1] Including some background on TTL's Starman.
 
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