Monday, March 21, 2005

Countdown To Infinite Crisis: more buzzwords than a Dilbert strip

Pop Culture Shock has a preview of next week's DC Countdown, or as we're supposed to call it now, Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Go read it before you get any further here, because my speculation below contains SPOILERS.






So, the big mystery is that a shadowy government agency has discovered Batman's identity (and by extension, everyone else's, because you know Batman does the most to hide his)? Didn't we just have to deal with "oh no, they know our secrets!" in Identity Crisis? Apparently this makes Identity Crisis more of an intro to Countdown. I thought the point of IC was to tell a self-contained story that would be accessible to new readers, not one that would be a gateway miniseries into the harder, more continuity-oriented stuff coming in 2005.

Moreover, this seems to confirm those rumors that Countdown would kill off Blue Beetle. Sure, he survives the preview intact, but you know the Shadowy Government Operatives are coming after him for breaking into their database. Besides, the preview spends about as much work building up Beetle as IC's first issue did on Sue Dibny. I suppose this means we won't see a third Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League International reunion -- at least not until 2009's DC Special: The Return Of Blue Beetle.

That said, I hope that Countdown, its sequel The OMAC Project, or some descendant thereof, links the superheroic paranoia of Identity Crisis with the knowledge that the federal government knows their secret identities. Wouldn't this lead logically to the Justice League vs. the feds? How far would the League go to protect the information which allows it to operate behind that veil?

This subject matter was addressed, albeit obliquely, in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Doomsday Sanction." There the (animated) League was reminded by a shadowy government operative that in an alternate universe, it assassinated the President of the United States and took over the world. Superman and the other heroes who hide their everyday faces aren't treated as criminals precisely because they have agreed to work with the authorities and within the law. Otherwise, as with Batman at the end of "War Games," all bets are off.

However, I would be surprised if Countdown or OMAC gets into super-fascism territory. It just seems like a topic that the mainstream DC line doesn't want to explore. DC doesn't mind having Batman having to evade police, because that fits his mystique; but I doubt it wants to have Superman or Wonder Woman either sliding into totalitarianism or questioning a government not headed by Lex Luthor.

Anyway, we'll see on March 30.

1 comment:

N said...

Good thoughts on Infinite Countdown Crisis. Time will tell...

If Blue Beetle is killed, I'm not buying anything DC but Lucifer ever again.