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Rebooting the Justice League and the Legion of Doom
October 11, 2011 3:31 PM   Subscribe

Arron Diaz of Dresden Codak (previously previously previously) has created new versions of both the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, complete with new origin stories and powers. I especially dig the explanation of kryptonite - scroll down to Metallo for the scoop. :
posted by Irontom (46 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wanted to bring Superman back to his depression-era roots, where in the earliest stories he was mostly concerned with social justice more than representing specifically American ideals. It was only after World War 2 that he became a more “boy scout,” authoritarian character. I wanted him to be closer to the Nietzschean “Superman” (the earliest inspiration for the character) whose morality can be independent of traditional ones.

Visually, I wanted to have him look a little more working class, with the buttons suggesting the image of overalls and the sleeves appearing rolled up. With the cape and high boots, though, he still has the appearance of an adventurer. I wanted the overall look to be more of a friendly guy who wants to help people more than a demigod who watches over them. He’s more of a fireman than a police officer.


Grant Morrison is actually taking Superman in a pretty similar direction in Action Comics at the moment.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad they were able to get Richard Ayoade to play Victor Scott.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:38 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, holy crap, he literally based Victor Scott on Richard Ayoade. I'm an idiot.

Either way, it looks pretty interesting.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:38 PM on October 11, 2011


Moss, as a superhero.

If Superman ever needs to know the number of staples Lexcorp has, he's all set.
posted by bonehead at 3:42 PM on October 11, 2011


This is pretty much exactly what 52 should have been.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:43 PM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I really dig the Wonder Woman/Telos angle. It's her origin story turned up to 11.
posted by bonehead at 3:45 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a fine line in doing a redesign between updating and providing an alternate interpretation of a character, and just doing your own character and putting a new label on it. He crosses that line in a couple of cases for me. Though in fairness, I don't really like his comic and that might be tainting my view of this. I think his Superman redesign makes Supes look too much like Captain Marvel.

All that said some of these are very interesting, and it'd be neat to see them developed further.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:48 PM on October 11, 2011


I'm all for Superman being brought to a neo-Communist root, but all the versions I'm seeing are more hammer than sickle. Clark grew up on a farm, like the crops there, he's fueled by the sun. Let Superman take the role of gardener of mankind, pruning and trimming here and there, stopping vermin and rot, doing his best to let humanity grow up strong and healthy.

RIGHT BEFORE THE KRYPTONIANS SHOW UP TO HARVEST US OOoOOOOOWWwwwwweeeEEEEooOOooOo
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:52 PM on October 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Want.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:52 PM on October 11, 2011


This is pretty much exactly what 52 should have been.

I wouldn't say exactly, but i do agree they should have really gotten new blood on the creative teams instead of some of those (some it works for, others like rob liefeld, those just boggle me). Some of the changes he makes are good, others seem kind of odd. Like Superman, why the need to have him a shapeshifter? And the green lantern, again changing the power, which reminds me of the Alpha lanterns. Side note, good thing about the green lanterns, you have the easy potential for any person to be one, which opens that up.

Supes look too much like Captain Marvel.

That's what kept thinking and couldn't put my finger on it! Thanks! :)

I can't seem to find it now, but there was a really good artist who drew a Superman and Clark Kent, they both were the same person, but by simply making the posture different, it made sense how people wouldn't think he was Supes. Wasn't just glasses, but hunched over, sloppily dressed, and the way he carried himself as Clark made it really click. Something people joke a lot about, but it was nice seeing how you could not believe it was him.
posted by usagizero at 3:54 PM on October 11, 2011


He actually gave Power Girl a reason to exist that is awesome
posted by The Whelk at 3:57 PM on October 11, 2011


Okay, a lot of the story-related changes don't work for me at all -- I have no idea why Superman needs to swipe the Martian Manhunter's shapeshifting angle, I am frankly very disturbed by the idea of Cyborg (if I am understanding this right) deliberately amputating his own extremities to replace them with robot parts because it's cool or whatever, I don't see anything of value in turning Wonder Woman into a statue, and removing the ring...the ring!!...from Green Lantern is tantamount to ripping the mask off the Lone Ranger -- but.

I like the costumes! DC should just outright buy the Superman redesign from him; I like the jeans and t-shirt Superman in Action Comics, but jeez louise the other one.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:07 PM on October 11, 2011


Agreed on the This Should Have Been 52 sentiment -- not that DC should have adopted all of this, but that they should have explored this kind of alteration rather than doing the same shitty old shitty shit all over again.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:15 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I quite like the Superman shapeshifting angle: it gives him a major Achilles' heel in terms of public relations were he to ever be exposed, it illustrates his identity is a procrustean construct based on denial of his "true" nature and neatly packages a godlike power level with a sound excuse not to use it, and most importantly IMO disposes of the question of why highly advanced aliens from the other side of the galaxy look exactly the same as humans (is that ever properly explained in the comics?)
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 4:18 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think he's doing a similar take on the batman tonight.
posted by device55 at 4:20 PM on October 11, 2011


is that ever properly explained in the comics?

Perhaps you are new to superhero comics.
posted by pts at 4:26 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Whelk: I'm pretty sure that origin for Power Girl was used in the Cadmus arc of Justice League Unlimited.

kittens for breakfast : This is Aaron Diaz. He's a trans-humanist and to him the question is why wouldn't you amputate your own limbs to replace them with robotic extremities. It's one of the reasons I don't like his stuff.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:27 PM on October 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Whelk: I'm pretty sure that origin for Power Girl was used in the Cadmus arc of Justice League Unlimited.

Yup.

If the goal of teh Nu52 was anything like their stated goal, and not to make everything as appealing to angry 90s throwback teenagers and people who still think like teenages as possible, then rteally they would have just copuied the DCAU for everything, because Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Dwayne McDuffie nailed it.
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on October 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


This little bit he did in between is funny and true.

I'm of mixed feelings about his approach to Superman. It's a great way to have a god-like superhero be "realistic" - but I think it misses the point of the character.

Superman is a big, dumb, obvious, but fun sack of cliches. When he's Clark Kent, he's every-man. No one see's his true nature or potential. When he's Superman he's the best of humanity-slash-space-Jesus.

Heck, Krypton is portrayed - in the original movie - as a sort of techno-space heaven.

Making him a shape-shifting alien is about as bad as making him electro-blue-aqua-velva Superman. That's not super
posted by device55 at 4:34 PM on October 11, 2011


The Whelk: I'm pretty sure that origin for Power Girl was used in the Cadmus arc of Justice League Unlimited.

It was also my take. I will say that his alternate versions made be take up the iPad and start sketching again. I'm thinking about doing a bunch of iterations on Superman for my blog - the agrarian, the distant judge, etc.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:38 PM on October 11, 2011


Grimgrin: This is Aaron Diaz. He's a trans-humanist and to him the question is why wouldn't you amputate your own limbs to replace them with robotic extremities. It's one of the reasons I don't like his stuff.

That seems like kind of a weird reason not to like his stuff... what do you care what some other (fictional or not) person does with their body?
posted by keep_evolving at 4:43 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The revised villains are better than the revised heroes as a group. The Justice League is OK overall (some are better than others and I'm pretty much in the "if there's no Batman, it's not the Justice League" camp) but the revised Huntress and Livewire are great and the redo of Luthor is very interesting. Also, the art is awesome.
posted by immlass at 4:48 PM on October 11, 2011


Lex Luthor would totally have done a TED talk by now.
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on October 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


I read Livewire as being a former Who Wants To Be a Superhero? contestant, which would be awesome as we'd see Stan Lee as a DC Universe character.

(Also they actually did have an evicted contestant turn "evil", which was kind of cool, in a very dorky way)
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on October 11, 2011


Lex Luthor would totally have done a TED talk by now.
Can someone actually take Whelk's idea and make that video. I want to watch it. Do a good job; spare no expense with the high production values.
posted by Bwithh at 4:57 PM on October 11, 2011


usagizero: "I can't seem to find it now, but there was a really good artist who drew a Superman and Clark Kent, they both were the same person, but by simply making the posture different, it made sense how people wouldn't think he was Supes. Wasn't just glasses, but hunched over, sloppily dressed, and the way he carried himself as Clark made it really click. Something people joke a lot about, but it was nice seeing how you could not believe it was him."

Frank Quitely did a good job of this in his art for Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, with a slouchy, soft, pudgy Clark Kent. He barely even needs the glasses to keep his identity secret, even against Lex Luthor. (Who would ever think that Superman and this schlub might have anything in common?)
posted by Guy Smiley at 5:01 PM on October 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


keep_evolving: I have no problem with transhumanism, or what people do with their bodies even though I do think that the overblown claims that surround the field are annoying.

Diaz though has a big thing about portraying anyone skeptical to trans-humanism as cavemen, and avoiding the annoying bits and the arrogant bits while reading the comic got to be too much of a chore.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:03 PM on October 11, 2011


I am very much in the camp that some of these would be more or less acceptable for a complete, ground-up reboot, and quite a few completely fail on understanding the "core themes" that he claims to follow. Saying, "The Martian Manhunter's powers are redundant, let's take most of them away!" ignores his fascinating role in universe, as the hero who's more beloved than Superman in countries which are not the US or, more generally speaking, largely populated by white people. Wonder Woman is a diplomat and all-around great person with a great deal of insight into human nature, despite occasional culture clashes. Ms Marvel's powers may be the result of an alien techno-mishap, but she's admirable because of her struggles to live up to the best of her potential. (Also, she's a former air force pilot and lifelong geek who spent years in space and then came back to write thinly-veiled science fiction of her adventures. It's like all of those "grad student in obscure subject transported to the exact parallel universe where his schooling makes him top dog!" wish-fulfillment fantasies, but awesome.) And why does Flash need power-related angst? How is that in any way less played out than a hero not having power-related angst? Etcetera, etcetera. I don't think character reboots/redesigns should be restricted to fans of the characters, but Diaz's whole "my take is so much better than the official ones" attitude when it's obvious how little he understands why people like these characters does not endear his work to me.

There's also a strong undertone of sex-shaming in his comments about the sexualization of female superheroes, which gets my hackles up even though I agree with him in broad strokes. Yes, it is problematic that the default assumption is that female superheroes show skin, but the fact that a character shows skin or expresses some form of sexuality does not make them an inherently worthless character. It's rather telling that every single one of his female heroes (I'm including Starfire as well, in the Ms. Marvel link above) has been rebooted to be more innocent, lacking some kind of essential knowledge, or more distanced from humanity (or all three). That's just a different kind of othering. Add that to the villainous Livewire's costume being sexed up as ridiculously as anything published in comics today? Dude, either get off my side or stop pretending to be on it.

All that said, I am completely down with this "Lex Luthor's TED talk" idea. Someone get on this, it's perfect fan film material.
posted by bettafish at 5:07 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Dwayne McDuffie nailed it.

QFT, Brother, QFT...
posted by mikelieman at 5:09 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always enjoyed the Superman in Red Son*...that said Dresden Codak and Aaron Diaz go on my list of Why the Internet is Great, and these re-imaginings are pretty fun.

*Red Son is also pretty much the only thing involving Mark Millar that I don't find utterly repulsive, but that's a discussion for a different day...
posted by Doleful Creature at 5:16 PM on October 11, 2011


Lex Luthor would totally have done a TED talk by now.

Can someone actually take Whelk's idea and make that video. I want to watch it. Do a good job; spare no expense with the high production values.



I will totally play Lex for this project.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:31 PM on October 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


will totally play Lex for this project.
posted by TheWhiteSkull


Eponhyscasterial
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on October 11, 2011


This is Aaron Diaz. He's a trans-humanist and to him the question is why wouldn't you amputate your own limbs to replace them with robotic extremities. It's one of the reasons I don't like his stuff.

I'll be honest -- this is the first I've seen his work, so I had no idea this was a thing with him. I'll be even more honest and say that while Dean Kamen's Luke Arm is pretty cool and everything, I can think of only about a million and one reasons why you would rather have a hand made out of flesh and nerves if you had the option, and I feel like they should mostly be so obvious as to hardly require recapping. If those reasons are not on a person's agenda, okay, but generally speaking I think they are kind of a big deal to most people. In any case, I can only imagine the response DC would get to a character whose powers came from, say, cutting himself, and this seems like that times about a billion. Of course, the Red Lanterns are apparently all bulimia-powered, so perhaps the hour of this kind of thing has come round at last?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:29 PM on October 11, 2011


bettafish, I'm completely with you except for when you dissed his fantastic re-design of Starfire's costume. (But Green Lantern without a ring? Wonder Woman without a lasso? J'onnn as a mere shapeshifter? Now you're just reusing the same name for your own new characters.)
posted by straight at 6:47 PM on October 11, 2011


That's not Cyborg, that's Maurice Moss!
posted by Catblack at 6:51 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's also a strong undertone of sex-shaming in his comments about the sexualization of female superheroes ... the fact that a character shows skin or expresses some form of sexuality does not make them an inherently worthless character.

Interestingly, Dresden Codak has been (justifiably) criticized for gratuitous fanservice.
posted by twirlip at 6:53 PM on October 11, 2011


Redesigning DC's heroes and villains is as old as the Silver Age redesign of the Flash and Green Lantern, and a more comprehensive redesign/reimaging by non-DC people is as old as Marvel's Squadron Supreme. (Heck, DC has gotten into that game many times with their Elseworlds series.) Diaz is a great artist, and I like how he's tied various origins in to his reboot of the entire continuity, but many of these concepts have been done by other artists before. (And, as a brief nitpicky while I like his Ms. Marvel redesign--I used to think the current costume was hot, but I haven't been thirteen for a while--my jaw dropped at this: "Basically they just changed the colors of Jean Grey’s Phoenix costume and exposed more skin. Come on, guys." Gee, Aaron, I don't suppose the artist had his own pet tropes, just like about every other artist (including you, bub) out there? Hey, did you ever notice that Storm had the same one-piece-bathing-suit-and-thigh-high-boots thing going on? Or Saturn Girl in the early-70s LSH? Dude.)

That having been said, I'm not a fan of either the old DC status quo or many aspects of the reboot, and in particular the whole hypersexualizing of Starfire, Catwoman and Voodoo, above and beyond where they were already, strikes me both as shameless controversy-mongering and blatant fanservice. If Diaz's personal preferences tend to go in the other direction, toward more boyish heroines, well, we've already seen that there are worse places to go.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:17 PM on October 11, 2011


I really like what he says about the role these superheros play in the world as he alludes to it. Although he said his Batman redesign wouldn't fit into his Justice League, I really like to think that, in this DC Universe, this other Batman is out there mixing it up.
posted by wobh at 7:22 PM on October 11, 2011


bettafish, I'm completely with you except for when you dissed his fantastic re-design of Starfire's costume.

Well, the actual design of his Starfire costume is really nice, but the exact thing that makes it nice -- it's mod!Starfire, basically -- is why it doesn't really work for Kory. It's a visual cue very grounded in Earth fashion, and she's a space princess. If he's playing up her interest in human fashion, fine, it's been played with before, but I would have liked that to be mentioned in his pitch.

If you need an innocent, nonsexual version of Starfire, the Teen Titans cartoon version got that whole "how do I shot Earth cultural conventions?" vibe across without sexualizing her. Sure, she had a lot of bare skin, but her outfit was no more sexy than something a preteen might wear at the beach. But honestly, while I hate almost every single one of comics Starfire's costumes, which apart from being skimpy are just ugly and uncomfortable-looking (even if we assume alien space fabrics), I like the fact that she's portrayed as being very open both emotionally and sexually, and doesn't give a fig about what she sees as human prudery. She needs to be de-male-gazed, not de-sexified.

(I really like this fanartist's take on Starfire; it's got the "I'm a free-spirited, badass space princess who doesn't care about Earth nudity taboos and also has fabulous hair" attitude down to a tee without being pandering. Of course, it also depends on how the artist actually draws the costume and the person in it, so I doubt I'd like it so much if it were official.)
posted by bettafish at 7:27 PM on October 11, 2011


Honestly, Space Red Sonja doesn't look any more alien (or any more sexy) to me than Space Emma Peel. (But yeah, she needs astonishing hair, regardless.)
posted by straight at 7:46 PM on October 11, 2011


bettafish, I love the artist's caption for that Starfire image:

Q: wouldn’t that gauzy translucent fabric rip a lot or catch fire?

A: No, it’s special fabric made of Fuck You fiber from planet It’s A Comic.

I do what I want.

posted by Halloween Jack at 9:38 PM on October 11, 2011


This just in: Dresden Codak's Bat-Family reboot.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:57 PM on October 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love his take on the Huntress, which calls back to the character's original origin as the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. His Batman family is interesting, and I would like to have seen his Batman costume as the Dick Grayson Batman costume before the N52 but after the return of Bruce Wayne.

As far as his reimaginings of the origins and powers of the characters, it's a decidedly mixed bag. Most are Ok but I find myself repulsed by his take on Oracle. Part of the appeal of Barbara Gordon as Oracle for me was that she didn't go around feeling sorry for herself because she couldn't be Batgirl anymore. She knew that she was ALWAYS a superhero, and just found a way to be one despite being physically crippled.
posted by KingEdRa at 1:08 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lex Luthor would totally have done a TED talk by now.

While we wait, here's a billionaire releasing blood-sucking beasts in the middle of a TED talk.
posted by ymgve at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2011


Looks like the people at DC have taken notice: "DC Comics reboots Dresden Codak!"
posted by Zonker at 2:58 PM on October 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's really great. Some choice lines:

“Since [Vonnie]’s probably a D-cup, Vonnie’s the strongest female character Dresden Codak has to begin with."

“Ron’s a great character, but we thought it would be cool if we brought back Hal Jordan.”
posted by bonehead at 8:40 AM on October 13, 2011


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