108 thoughts on “So Ryan Choi Was Killed Off This Week In a Titans Comic

  1. TIMING!

    (I had dropped all my DC books but Batman & Robin and Secret Six, as of the end of Blackest Night. I was planning to go back in six months and see if I had come down from my Nerd Rage, but now it’s starting to look more like a permanent change in my spending habits.)

  2. I buy the Grant Morrison Batman trades from DC and the Captain America trades from Marvel. If they ever get around to collecting All-Star Superman in one volume I’ll pay them money for that. I continue to enjoy many non-comic forms of media from DC(The Brave and he Bold cartoon being the best thing they have right now). DC and Marvel don’t seem to want to sell comics I’d be interested in buying.

    What was Ryan Choi even doing in a Titans comic??? Was it because the other guy who was also named “The Atom”(but not the JSA Atom) was once magically de-aged and joined the Titans?

  3. Over the past several years, DC Comics have made it a habit to brutally kill off C-list characters for no good reason other than pure shock value (see Cry for Justice or any Geoff Johns-written crossover for other examples of this trend). It’s an annoying and creatively lazy trend, and it’s just one more thing that’s turned me off to most of their comics.

  4. Brightest Day, my furry black butt. The only reason anyone got brought back from the dead is so they could get killed again.

    Meanwhile, over in Marvel-land, the very first comic I picked up after being promised a “New Heroic Age” at the end of Siege featured a child getting brutally killed.

    Just pull the plug on the whole damned medium.

  5. Oh, well. Disappointing but hardly surprising, yeah?

    After all… we DO have to keep the “legacy” of these “legacy characters” firmly planted in the Silver Age, right?

  6. No, that’s not all. You forgetting that Deathstroke presented Ryan’s body to Dwarfstar in a motherfucking shoebox. What, a Ted Grant Grease Grabbin’ Grill would have been too dignified?!?

    I feel rage. I can’t give up DC, but I’m thinking of writing to Didio about this. I mean, yeah, that’s a weak move, but isn’t there enough room for two Atoms? Ryan was created by Grant Morrison, developed by Gail Simone. Surely, there must have been some other character that could’ve gotten a Ted Kord bitch death whom no one would miss.

  7. So, anybody taking bets on how long Jaime Reyes lasts after the inevitable resurrection of Ted Kord? I’ve got seven seconds.

    Meanwhile, over in Marvel-land, the very first comic I picked up after being promised a “New Heroic Age” at the end of Siege featured a child getting brutally killed.

    Wait, what was that?

  8. I don’t think I would mind a Grant Morrison character getting killed if Grant Morrison had done it, or if another writer had done it spectacularly well. Killing off a character should be pretty important, though, and it shouldn’t be a random character plugged in to a sensationalist story.

    I probably wouldn’t even mind a higher turnover rate of characters being created and killed, if only DC would create some characters who weren’t first debuted 40 or 50 years ago.

  9. “Past several years,” Anthony? Maybe if we were in the year 1990. This has been the pattern for both Marvel and DC since the crossover train started running in the mid-eighties.

  10. Yeah, that’s awesome, guys. Not enough young Asians died violent deaths this year. I love DC comics, but do they ever read the damn news? Great @#$%?! timing.

  11. Okay, yeah, this sucks and is a perfect example of exactly what Chris was talking about, but “plug on the whole damned medium”? Is it at all possible for comic fandom as a whole to be angry about something without overreacting to a ludicrous degree?

  12. I’m disgusted by such a stupid creative decision, but not surprised. I have no interest in the current DC Universe, outside of books with the names Simone, Morrison or J.H. Williams III on the cover.

  13. …Besides, give it ten or fifteen years and that generation’s Geoff Johns will build a DCU around their childhood favorites, meaning Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Ryan Choi, Jamie Reyes, Jason Rusch, Joseph Curry etc. will all be nostalgia-fodder eventually.

  14. Nice spoiler there for those who haven’t picked up their books this week. >_>

  15. @David: I’m not sure having mentioned the event that I want to blurt out the character, but I kinda understated the event a bit. And maybe there are some camera tricks involved that won’t be revealed until next ish. But Rampant Internet Speculation is that what appeared to happen happened.

    @Furu: I don’t think I’m “overreacting” so much as “reacting”. Ever since the comics began to turn up the frequency of “event deaths” a generation ago, I’ve been pretty unimpressed with the whole schtick. Make the villain’s demise mysterious and vague so he can return in 25 issues? Sure. Let Jean Grey sacrifice herself on the Moon for the sins of the Phoenix? I’m on board. But the spectacle of actually killing someone, dead-dead, and having them come back with a mumbo-jumbo explanation? Not thrilled.

    So the reaction I’ve had over the last four years or so, where the deaths were ramped up to unconscionable proportions, has been steady and growing revulsion. From the New X-Men Massacre, where Xavier’s Institute was seemingly culled from fifty or sixty students down to about five over the course of half a year or so, to the murder-suicide of one of the most fun couples in the DC universe, to the wholesale slaughter of Teen Titans, (in particular the print introduction of Super Friends characters Marvin and Wendy for the sole purpose of getting eaten by Wonder Dog), to the Ultimate Universe’s version of GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER starring Fred J. Dukes, to Superboy tearing the heads off of fellow heroes, to the Rogues Gallery going Office Space Gangsta on Bart Allen, to killing off my favorite X-Man in exactly the manner in which he would have trained his entire life to avoid…well, when you kill off another half dozen heroes or so in the first issue of BLACKEST NIGHT cause you apparently just didn’t have enough dead characters lying around over the last few years, it just becomes, frankly, numbing.

    This spring, however, after long, protracted, multi year, multi volume events, there was light at the end of both tunnels. I whiffed badly on Blackest Night – while the ending was obvious from the event solicits, I thought the setting was right for a total reboot: bring EVERYBODY back to life, then slam the door shut, and let editorial pass down the word that since nobody could come back any more, you had to make sure you had a damn good reason for doing so. And maybe BRIGHTEST DAY will still make its way to an approximation of that ending. But there’s a pair of size 9 sneakers that don’t have a home anymore to suggest DC still doesn’t need a good reason to off someone.

    But Marvel? From Civil War to Secret Invasion to Dark Reign to Siege, everything has been setting up the New World Order: a new Heroic Age of Marvel Comics. In my naivete, I expected more adventure, more suspense, more…heroism…than we’ve seen in times past. Less “Saw”, more…Indiana Jones, maybe? Not in the setting, of course, but more derring-do, more action, more adventure, more fun. You an play a story totally seriously while retaining a sense of wonder about the world, and you don’t need to channel the fifties to do it, like Astro City did/does. So I read Siege. I watched another woman get slaughtered by a guy in a hero’s outfit. I watched at least three gods die, while silently observing the part of the book where it was explained that they’ll be back. I saw bad guys get their comeuppance and good guys turn out fine and middling guys have middling resolutions. I liked what I saw at the end of the journey, even if I wouldn’t put the journey itself on a pedestal or anything.

    And, naively, I took the resolution and denouement of the story as a beacon for the kinds of stories Marvel wanted to tell in this Heroic Age. And I thought, well, I probably wasn’t ever going to reread the last three or four years of Marvel comics I’d bought, but I could give this a chance. And so, having read the Siege-related issues first, I picked up the rest of the stack to see what this New Heroic Age would be like…

    …and it’s apparently all lip service. You wouldn’t see a child killed in that manner in Indiana Jones. Or in Star Wars, or in Superman the Movie (Donner edition), or anywhere outside of a splatterpunk flick. Saw, Hostel, Nightmare on Elm Street, take your pick: that’s the audience that issue attracted, and if that’s where the money still is, despite the intimations of change from the bosses, then I’m not interested in being considered that audience.

    Look, the fact is, I like heroes. And having grown up with Superman and Batman and Spider-Man, I’m pretty partial to them. I know there are wonderful non-super comics out there, or indies with all-new worlds, but outside of a precious few titles, I’m just not interested. I like the history of the world and the fact that the history runs across tens of thousands of issues over decades. I’m more than willing to walk away from the hobby because blasphemous as it may be, I’m not here for Atomic Robo or Casanova. I don’t need to put food in the mouths of Daniel Clowe’s children. If the comics of my youth can’t give me pleasure once they become the comics of my middle age, then it’s time to stop reading them. And both the Big Two had events this year that seemed to Get It, to bring their world to a state I wanted to read about, and it instead appears that they want to write more of the same.

    So forget it. I don’t want to read the stories they still want to tell. If that’s overreacting, then I’d fricking be here until I was fifty to avoid overreacting.

  16. Karsten-

    Well, Wally’ll still be around in ten or fifteen years, anyway. I mean, Barry’s been around since ’56 and Wally since, what? ’59? My main concern is whether DC has gotten so bad that they stick him back into the old Kid Flash costume. As far as the other guys go, I’m not as sure as you. None of them have more than 5 years of history at this point. A lot’s going to depend on how well the stories hold up.

  17. *shakes head sadly*

    Still, I would like to point out there is this “Deadman” dude wandering around who seems to be able to bring dead things back to life. So, here’s hoping… (now, where’s that blue power ring…?).

  18. Huh… It would seem DC’s systematic assassination of anything post 1990 continues.

  19. Couldn’t even get shanked in his own comic.

    Seriously, talk about having a low opinion of the guy on an editorial level. You either kill someone off in their own book so that their fans can feel the proper impact OR you kill them off in the main part of an event series.


  20. Wow, when did you get psychic, Chris?

    Also, yeah, children killing? I must have missed that book

  21. Nice. A character whose exploits I really enjoyed gets killed in a book I never read. Yeah, when Power Girl and Warlord get canceled and Bruce Wayne is back, I think I’m done with the contemporary DC stuff.

  22. I used to buy tons of DC, but its getting worn down to just Morrison stuff, Batman and Booster Gold. I’ve tried to like teen titans, outsiders, doom patrol, etc. but it just isn’t much fun. I even wanted to read Brightest day for Aquaman but apparently his story is going to be super violent and gruesome. How long do I have to wait for Brave and Bold Aquaman to be part of DC continuity? Can I at least have a panel of him riding a seahorse (and not a zombie seahorse, DC)

  23. Dude, you are totally calling them on things they HAVEN’T EVEN DONE YET. Just bear that in mind before you go making any rash predictions about anything else.

  24. What I actually find really bizarre about this movement towards neo-Silver Ageness and legacy characters, with the intent of making them safe and mediagenic for the kids?

    The kids generally hate that shit.

    You know who the kids like? Like, actual young children? If they’re going to gravitate towards a corporate icon instead of more narrative-y adventure style book?


    The kids love Wolverine.

    This really is a movement for the guys who grew up in the 80’s.

  25. Man, if you’re ragging on the death in Amazing Spider-Man like it’s the same thing, you’re missing the damned point completely. The death there was not cheap, it was an unavoidable part of the story. And, come on, it wasn’t even on-panel. The page where it happens is one of the more abstract and artful things I’ve seen outside of a J.H. Williams III splash.

    Even in a heroic age, sometimes the villains will do horrible things. That’s what makes them villains And the pathos of this particular villain trying in vain to fight his impulses and stop it from happening… Fuck, yeah, ok, it was brutal, but it was emotionally brutal, not blood-and-guts grotesque.

    I don’t see how you can compare that to a baby bird bashing its head open on a gravestone or killing off minority characters just because they’re not the ones Geoff Johns grew up with.

  26. “…Besides, give it ten or fifteen years and that generation’s Geoff Johns will build a DCU around their childhood favorites, meaning Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Ryan Choi, Jamie Reyes, Jason Rusch, Joseph Curry etc. will all be nostalgia-fodder eventually.”

    This would make sense if DC sold books to/for kids.

  27. See, now I have an idea for a Blue Beetle run where Jaime Reyes does the maths, sees the pattern, and desperately attempts to ensure that Booster Gold doesn’t bring Ted Kord back from the grave in order to save his own life.

  28. @Joshua:
    Look, if you’re going to spoil this for us, spoil it totally.

  29. After the Batwoman debacle, and the way they drove Rucka away, I think the only DC books I buy are Batman & Robin and Secret Six. I’ll add BoP to that, but other than that, they have lost me.

  30. Where is there a child being brutally murdered in Siege? Just re-looked through all four issues, and no children get axed….

  31. @deworde: Fine, I will. Spoilers ho!

    The Lizard kills Curt Connors and his son at the end of Amazing Spider-Man. And if you just went, “But Curt Connors IS the Lizard”, my answer is “Sort of”. Anyway, that’s why the kid died. The Lizard wanted to reassert his dominance over Connors, who apparently had him under control at the start of the story. The Lizard ends up not only asserting his dominance over Connors but destroys Connors completely by killing his son.

    It’s tragic as Hell, and it’s the culmination of the two-part Lizard story arc rather than just a throwaway death that only serves the purpose of reverting the universe back to how it was when Geoff Johns was a kid.

  32. Cheap deaths are the only kind DC knows how to write anymore. When was the last time you read a death in one of their books that actually had some resonance?

  33. Joshua: …oh. That is, well, like you said, tragic as hell. But, not having read it, I’d say that it’s also part of a decades-long arc for Curt Connors and the Lizard. That was ALWAYS the ultimate threat from Curt’s darker half.

  34. *spoilers*

    I also think that, in Curt Connor’s case, it shows — not just how dark his darker side is — but how dangerous the reincarnation of the Kravinoff family is. That they would use Curt’s darker nature and treat the death of a child (serving him up as meat to his father, no doubt) as a pawn in order to get Spider-Man.

  35. This must be one of those situations where it’s NOT fun to be right. Goodnight, Ryan Choi, and may flights of jetpack Hitlers sing thee to thy rest.

  36. I think they might have just killed my DC love stone dead. We’ll see.

    If it still bothers me next week, DC titles (except Warlord) are being kicked off my pull list.

  37. They did that to one of my favourite new characters? How boringly predictable. I’m so glad I chose not to buy that book.

  38. Well, with the return of Ray Palmer there can only be one Atom…and since Ryan Choi doesn’t want to torture people by shrinking into their nasal cavities and slowly torture people as he slowly grow, or some bullshit James Robinson came up with, of course he was the one who has to go.
    It might also have to do with the fact that he’s Asian and god knows there are TOO many Asian superheroes out there, am I right?

  39. Let’s just be optimistic and say that he’s coming back to life some day. Who knows, maybe it’ll be right away… that’s increasingly common these days. In the meantime, entertain yourselves by reading Gail Simone’s old tweets in which she (“comically”) bashes Ray Palmer.

  40. Wow, way to call this one Chris. Boy, do I ever wish you were wrong on this one though. Ryan Choi was a great character and I loved Simones run on the character. Thanks a lot DC.

  41. @DeWorde – That would be awesome. (and what a great nod in your name there)

    God DAMMIT. I like Ray Palmer. Inexplicably, I do like him. But i outright loved Ryan Choi’s ongoing series. I have no idea why they couldnt let him live, or at least make his death MEAN something.

    When DC does inevitably being Ted Kord back, they better not TOUCH Jaime Reyes. They do that, and someone (im not saying me, but SOMEONE) will throw a brick through their windows once every three days until Jaime Returns.
    You have my demands (hypothetically).

    …just… dammit.

  42. “Cheap deaths are the only kind DC knows how to write anymore. When was the last time you read a death in one of their books that actually had some resonance?”

    Crisis on Infinite Earths.

    I grew up during the Eighties. I don’t want to have anything to do with Dan DiDio’s so-called “New DC” either.

    You know what I liked about DC’s comics back around the time that Geoff Johns must have started getting into them pretty seriously? They had this huge, sprawling universe with all sorts of interesting minor heroes who showed up just enough to leave me wanting more. They had a bunch of female characters who weren’t just the teenage girl version of one of their popular guys. There were some minority characters with unique superhero identities, instead of just replacing a white guy for a while.

    I know Johns has always preferred the stuff from before Crisis on Infinite Earths over most of the stuff DC published during the Eighties and Nineties. And DiDio seems to agree with the people on DC’s message boards who used to complain about the company having “too many” superhero characters. But come on. How much sense does it make to destroy most of the company’s intellectual property just to make two of the guys in charge more happy?

    Most of my favorite DC characters are dead now. And I hate the “I spy on other superheroes and come up with ways to kill them in my spare time just in case they go rogue” version of Bruce Wayne. So, DC in general and Geoff Johns in particular have been telling me that they don’t want my money any more at least since Infinite Crisis.

    I really dig Ray Palmer for some reason. But I still don’t see the need to kill off Ryan Choi. There was absolutely no reason why he couldn’t have been kept around as the type of cool recurring character DC used to have a lot more of before Johns got popular.

    About the only reason to whack the poor guy is that DiDio thinks having two similar characters around at the same time is confusing. And the only way to deal with the problem is to kill off one of them. What ever happened to just coming up with a new name and costume for the new guy? That used to work great for Marvel. Or just changing one character’s powers or something? Death isn’t the only option.

  43. Maybe it’s a HobGoblin/editor scenario and Ryan Choi is going to pop up in another book like Ned Leeds did.

  44. For the people who are saying they’re going to “give up the medium”–you do realize there are other companies besides DC and Marvel, right? Companies that actually do innovative things, respect creators over properties, and aren’t constantly milking their old properties in ways that cause pain to longtime readers?

    Sorry, pet peeve of mine. Part of the reason the comics industry is in such a slump is that people can’t think outside of the DC/Marvel box.

  45. I always hesitate to have a quick reaction to this kind of stuff, because we’re really commenting on an ongoing story. It’s possible that Ryan Choi isn’t really dead, and that he’ll triumph over these new Titans in the third act. But who am I kidding? They’re getting their own book. His was canceled and his predecessor is getting a co-feature instead.

    Chris was right in his essay. If it was subtle before, it’s now very obvious that DC is re-whitening and regressing. I still wouldn’t argue that the racial stuff is intentional, but this development is a huge gap in that defense. And if there were creative and editorial discussions about the implications of killing off Ryan Choi, and no one brought up the concern that, “Hey this is one of our few non-white characters; maybe we should pick someone else,” then that’s very sad.

    Since my return to reading comics in 2006 I have been a big DC fan and apologist, but this is yet another strike against their editorial decision-making. Others: 1) The botched transition between Countdown and Final Crisis was one, 2) not letting Dwayne McDuffie have free rein of the JLA and then firing him, 3) Cry for Justice and its gleeful violence, 4) The mishandling (thus far) of the Milestone characters.

    Now I wish Newsarama was still doing its questions with DiDio so we could hear him weasel out an explanation.

  46. This is why I only read creator-owned books these days.
    It’s also why I think everybody should be DOING creator-owned books.

  47. “This would make sense if DC sold books to/for kids.”

    Well, the did back when I started reading about Wally / Kyle / etc, because I was about eight when I started reading Flash.

    Now? I honestly think that they’re just listening to people who either show up for their panels at cons or post on their message boards. Which of course is the opposite way of doing business that I was taught, namely that the first thing you always ask is why people AREN’T buying your product.

    Not that this is any surprise, since the entire damn company outside of Morrison has been in a downward spiral since Infinite Crisis changed from a conflict amongst the big three to… whatever the hell that goofball story wound up being while telling me that all the heroes I’d enjoyed for the previous ten years didn’t deserve to share the stage with “real” heroes.

    And Prankster: I’m not afraid to admit that I care far more about the properties than the creators. Harsh, but true, and it doesn’t stain my conscience one bit.

  48. I can’t believe I have to type this, but: Making jokes is all well and good, but I don’t want threats–even joking threats–against creators on my website. It’s low-class and it undermines the point.

  49. I wouldn’t worry; in about thirty years we’ll be talking about how Ray Palmer’s adventures are being phased out of the DC MMORPG-net in favor of a new playable protagonist named Ryan Choi, which we can then load into our Playstation 8 chips and play interactively. All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. . .again. . .again. . .again. . .

  50. Wow, DC really is getting to be the Arizona of comic book companies. Whitest Day indeed.

    The other pattern I’m seeing is a lot of DC hate for the shorties. In the last few years they’ve killed off the All-New Atom, Doll Girl and Little Cheese, seemingly killed Blue Jay, and driven Doll Man insane.

  51. “It’s low-class and it undermines the point.”

    Plus, it makes you look like a HEAT member circa 1996, and no one wants that.

  52. Man, you should be measuring odds in Vegas. I’ll bet any number you say at this point.

    And hey, let’s look at the bright side! If we return to the Silver age, then we can pretend Identity Crisis never happened!

    But seriously, Titans?

  53. As terrible as Ryan’s death is (being killed in a book that he really shouldn’t be in, humiliating and undignified presentation, mean attempt at humor) I think that its much worse that I’m not even surprised or mad. The degree of antipathy directed at these characters (many of them really good) permeates the books so much that it isn’t even disturbing to me anymore, same as the constant killing of kids. I wonder how Morrison and Simone about their fun, well-written character being killed in this manner.

    While on the subject of killing minorities, I have to say that I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the killing of African heroes in Cry for Justice. To my knowledge, the only representatives of an entire continent are Vixen (a walking stereotype who lives in the US) and Congorilla (an incredibly offensive British Great White Hunter from the 40s). One of the characters killed was Freedom Beast, a legacy character meant to avoid the inherent problems that come from a character like B’wana Beast (whose name itself is a symbol of white, European imperialism). It’s like DC is deliberately trying to be as offensive as possible; it is inconceivable that rational adults could actually think that these ideas are good.

  54. So DC sacrificed an interesting new character with plenty of potential… for what? To show that Deathstroke is evil?

    Apparently Women in Refrigerators has been replaced by Minorities in Shoeboxes.

  55. Well, y’see, nobody was buying his solo boo…hm? What’s that you say? Canceled two years ago? Well, he didn’t do much to boost sales of…huh? Didn’t get a featured role since Countdown? But the original Atom was always such a big na…er…

    Hey, look over there!


  56. Apparently Women in Refrigerators has been replaced by Minorities in Shoeboxes.

    This right here is why I don’t just close the comments section entirely.

  57. Seriously, DC, you guys should’ve just given Ryan a new identity. There are plenty of good superhero names out there, just ask Marvel.

    What about War-Atom? ThunderAtom? U.S. Atom?

  58. I kind of figured that having multiple Atoms would be a nice nod to DC 1,000,000, where the Atom was a guy who could split into multiple people, each time getting smaller.

    I have to imagine that Joseph Curry’s not long for this world, being by far the most expendable of the legacy heroes introduced in the past few years.

  59. He could just ditch the name “Atom” altogether.

    “Ryan Choi: Hitler Face-Kicker”

  60. “Where’s Mephisto when you really need him?”

    Probably being killed and replaced by Neron. Red skin, y’know.

  61. The part I don’t get is, for all of the DC Team’s current Silver Age love, why couldn’t Palmer and Choi have a team up book? It’s a classic element of Silver Age lore–the legacy character and their idol working TOGETHER. One of the MAJOR things DC lacks that Marvel does wonderfully is a highlight of intelligent, science-friendly characters. A book with two Atoms with crazy science-related adventures? I’d have read that in a heartbeat

  62. >>Do you have a message for the twitterati and fans of the character that are angered/saddened/upset by his death, because some are even saying this death was racially motivated?

    Only that I, too, will miss Ryan. He was a great hero all the way until the end, and that’s how I’ll always remember him. I hope others will, too. <<

    Um… I'm not the only one who doesn't actually see an answer to the racially motivated part of the question in that, right?

  63. My letter to Didio. As the head man for the organization, I figure that he should answer for Ryan’s death. Also, I honestly feel that he lied to me two years ago. I know a letter is weak, but I don’t know what else to do within reason. I included the address so others can get their bitch on.

  64. Jason, that’s laudable, but to get anyone to notice, you’d have to go higher up the totem pole than the man in charge of the creative direction itself.

    I’d address it to Diane Nelson if I were you, and copy it to WB head office.

  65. I think what’s profoundly depressing to me is that I don’t think what’s going on here is racially motivated, but rather fingers-in-the-ears willfully ignoring the obvious side-effects of what they’re doing. There’s just something unwholesome at work here, and it’s at odds with what makes DC DC: you can’t have a universe whose strengths rest on legacy characters, multiple generations of characters, and multiple universes (from different companies), and then devote your energy to making that universe simple and bland.

    (Now over at Marvel, at least when they do something regrettable it doesn’t smack so much of racism as a weird sort of national stereotyping: then when they kill off Alpha Flight and replace the characters with Americans, it’s not nearly as offensive. Unless you’re Canadian, of course).

  66. (WARNING: Loooooong.)

    I read the Wallace interview, and it was like they interviewed a robot programmed by the DC marketing department. I have a feeling he might be a very good writer one day, but when he is, he’ll regret saying what he said. That idea reminds me of Mark Waid’s apology over at Women In Refrigerators for telling DC to kill off Ice. For those who haven’t read it, he essentially says that now realizes he was just going for shock value when he pitched her death to DC Editorial, and that it was totally unnecessary and didn’t serve the story at all.

    I would like to think Wallace will go through something similar, and that he’s so gobsmacked by the sheer coolness of writing for DC and contributing to this sweeping mythology that he’s forgotten to judge his own work objectively. I have no doubt that he really did like Ryan Choi and really was moved when writing his death scene, but I have a feeling he’s not the only person with a hand in it, and certainly not the prime mover. I think he may have written that scene under the impression that he was the one who thought of it, but I don’t think he was. I think he was probably carefully led into a position where he couldn’t help but get the idea. I don’t know why I think that, but I do.

    I don’t mind death and darkness in my superhero comics, and I don’t even mind theJohnsian blood-and-guts-equals-super-cereal-serious-business-storytelling impulse in moderation, but I do mind the dull and unimaginative. This isn’t shocking or tragic or whatever; it’s lame. It’s lame like “Batman: The Cult” is lame. It’s totally manufactured drama with an unfortunate racist undertone, but more than that, it’s another example of the weirdly regressive idea that comic book companies have thrived on for a while: “Superheroes are Serious Business, you guys, and to prove it, here’s someone getting KILLED! OOOOOO! People die in LITERATURE, too!” Which is the wrong damn thing to take from literature, and certainly the wrong thing to take from Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns.

    I liked Identity Crisis a lot, I really did, but I wasn’t a fan of what it stood for, which is that same idea I just mentioned. That Arthur Miller quote at the end always makes me roll my eyes. Why is it so hard for these companies to grasp that the last time superheroes were taken seriously by ANY segment of the general public was when they were “silly adventure stories for little kids,” by which I mean unapologetically FUN? Maybe you ARE writing stories for kids, guys! So what!? Harry Potter is decidedly for kids, but I don’t see adults putting THAT down to go read Moby-Dick or whatever. People do not often put Charlie And The Chocolate Factory away as soon as they turn eighteen, do they?

    And yes, Harry Potter has death and darkness in it, too. That’s fine! But these days, superhero comics seem like a ceaseless funereal dirge occasionally interrupted by the Nawlins-esque jauntiness of a Grant Morrison or a Gail Simone, and that just shouldn’t be the case. Morrison himself explained exactly what was wrong with this ridiculous attitude way back in the pages of Animal Man, and that was over twenty years ago!

    DC should just give Morrison the damn DCU and be done with it. It’s been quite galling to watch the guy take the universe to escape velocity, go to the bathroom, and come back to find his co-pilot taking the shuttle in for a landing on Planet Serious-Face over and over again. Serious content doesn’t have to go away, guys! You can have fun books and serious books and every kind of book under the sun! You can have fun moments in the serious books and serious moments in the fun books! That doesn’t STUNT drama, that ENHANCES it!

    I don’t have a problem with killing characters, but I have a problem with that becoming the only trick superhero books can pull. It’s not shocking, and it doesn’t make me want to buy more books. It’s just boring and cynical and ridiculous. All you comic book writers who trade on so-called “shocking deaths?” Either learn a new trick or stop writing comics. All you writers who I know CAN do better? F***ing do better. This hackwork is embarrassing.

    (Hmm, that seems to have gone from “comment-sized” to “blog post-sized.” Maybe I’ll put it up somewhere.)

  67. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a one sentence post lead to such a well thought out and interesting comments section. Hell, “Minorities in Shoeboxes” was worth the price of admission alone.

  68. Well, this week’s awesome Prince of Power #1 showed that Amadeus Cho has access to whole multiverses now. I can only hope that Ryan somehow ends up helping Amadeus find Hercules. The names Cho and Choi are too close for them not to have an awesome team-up.
    (I’m going to stop after this, but there could be so many cool reasons for him to be there. Choi the super-scientist helping create more super gadgets with Banner for Cho. I need to stop before this gets too fan-fictiony. But seriously, Pak and Van Lente, if you’re reading this, get on that.)

    And now that I bring that up, all I can think is how the death of Hercules in that book meant something. There was a real dramatic and narrative reason for it and it serves to fuel future stories. What does killing Ryan Choi do? Is Ray going to start walking inside Deathstroke’s head for revenge?

  69. Maybe Ray will put a shoebox in Terminator’s brain.

    And a flamethrower, just in case.

  70. Wait, Deathstroke’s team killed Ryan Choi to prove how tough they were? I like the Atom (all of them) as much as the next guy, but when your team has a kid with the powers of several gods, a consummate martial artist who can fight the Justice League to a standstill, and a bunch of other people I can’t even remember (but I assume have formidable abilities), ganging up on the Atom is just weak.

    Not trying to diss the Atom, just pointing out yet another level on which this was a dumb move. “I must prove to Galactus I am mighty enough to be his next herald … by pushing Aunt May down the stairs!”

  71. fuck. One of the only asian superheroes anyone has ever heard of and they kill him off. I’m so mad right now. What the hell was he even doing in a Titans book? goddammit.

  72. Wrye said:

    “There’s just something unwholesome at work here, and it’s at odds with what makes DC DC: you can’t have a universe whose strengths rest on legacy characters, multiple generations of characters, and multiple universes (from different companies), and then devote your energy to making that universe simple and bland. ”

    That “something unwholesome” is Dan DiDio.

    I knew we were in trouble as soon as DiDio started talking about “making the line more consistent.” He used to talk about how DC needed to be more like Marvel and how he didn’t like that different books had different tones.

    As far as I can tell, a lot of the stuff DiDio said back in 2002 and 2003 when he was raving about how awesome “New DC” was going to be after Infinite Crisis really meant, “We’re going to stop doing the things that people have loved about DC comics for the last 28 years and start doing a bad impression of Mark Millar instead.”

  73. Thrillho: Tattooed Man and some fire chick. Atom was doing pretty well until Osiris got in the picture.

    Colt: I thought new Aquaman was gone now that Old Aquaman is back and summoning dolphins caught in tuna nets or whatever

    redrobin: nevermind the other major one DC had got brainwashed into being evil then vanished to have…oh right, a blonde girl with blue eyes take up her book. (and don’t get me wrong, I love the character of Stephanie Brown, but cmon)

  74. Bitch, bitch, bitch. That’s all I am reading. I mean for fuck’s sake, let the nerd-rage go.

    Speaking as a minority comic reader (Yes, Arizona hates my Ethnicity) Ryan Choi was not killed off because he was a *minority* character. He was killed because he was a useless character. He was created initially to draw new readers in and give them a brand new character and fresh storylines to read in The All-New Atom. That grand experiment wasn’t as successful as DC had hoped, and Ryan Choi fell into relative obscurity.

    And before you all overreact to the previous paragraph, let me ask you this. If DC had killed off Kate Spencer (Manhunter IX) or Nathan Heywood (Citizen Steel), both *white, relatively obscure* characters would you all be bitching half as bad as this? Manhunter had her own series for a while and developed a dedicated fanbase, but DC made the decision to finally cancel the book and Manhunter has fallen in to character-limbo for the time being. Citizen Steel was featured in JSA during Geoff Johns’ run, but never really became a major character. A character death is a character death. Yes, it is usually done to advance a storyline and sell more books. Deal with it. It’s not going to stop. From Bucky to Uncle Ben to Gwen Stacy to Barry Allen to Superman to Adam Grant to Hal Jordan (ALL white characters), and so on, death in comics has been done to sell books. People were pissed *every* time. Bitching about it won’t change it.

    Oh, and by the way Shkspr, *NOWHERE* on the cover to ASM #631 (the aforementioned issue where The Lizard murders Curt Connors and his son Billy) does it say that it is a part of “The Heroic Age”. Quit over-reacting like a whiny little bitch and grow a pair. Or get laid. Something that keeps you occupied instead of coming online to vent your sexual frustration.

    And was the death of Billy Connors any more horrific than the death of the previously mentioned Adam Grant? Adam was murdered by the Toyman in Superman Vol. 2 #84
    (December, 1993). The murder took place off scene as well and it caused just as big of a wave in the community. This was almost 20 years ago. You know, when DC was killing off one of it’s flagship characters (Superman), crippling another (Batman), driving yet another totally insane (Green Lantern).

    So don’t blame Ryan Choi and Billy Connors’ deaths on the current editorial staff or writers, similar occurrences have been going on *long* before this. And don’t play the fucking race card. It’s a cop-out. Asian super-hero (Ryan Choi), Black super-hero (Bill Foster a.k.a. Goliath IV/Black Goliath/Giant-Man II), White super-hero (Grant Emerson a.k.a. Damage), Hispanic/Latino/Mexican super-hero (Rosabelle Mendez a.k.a. Pantha/Subject X-24), they’ve all died.

    And please, the rest of you pile on and flame me to death. I won’t be returning to this poor excuse for a blog again.

  75. @Annoyed: I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn’t a troll post by a regular in order to generate more debate for Chris’ blog and say only this – coming here and making that lengthy, whiny, reactionary nerd-ragey post (that ignores the fact that the vast majority of comments have specifically stated there wasn’t an overt racial motivation but an unfortunate trend that makes it look like there is) is one of the most breathtaking examples of a lack of self-awareness I’ve seen in quite some time.

  76. Plus you forgot to tell us to get out of parent’s basements.

  77. I don´t understand Ryan Choi was killer in is normal sizer so why he was delivery in a matchbox?

  78. Man wrote:

    “I don´t understand Ryan Choi was killer in is normal sizer so why he was delivery in a matchbox?”


  79. Seriously, though, I don’t get that either. I guess they, um, made his corpse small? Or something?

    That seems like an unnecessary risk even for Deathstroke, the consummate showman. I suppose i get the intention, but it still feels really wrong somehow. If Jean Loring couldn’t operate the Atom belt properly, I don’t see how Deathstroke can start and stop the shrinking process at exactly the right moments. If the belt shrinks, which it would kind of have to do, then how is Deathstroke able to stop the shrinking process?

    This may seem like a total fanwank post, and maybe it is, but I ask you this: what does it say when even the DCU’s in-universe science supports the fact that the shoebox thing plays like a mean joke? You know?

  80. Wallace is good enough writer from what I’ve seen. FCA: Ink was pretty good I thought. I’m gonna give him half a shot with this since it has Deathstroke as the main character and he’s bringing in Tattooed Man

    “Eric Wallace has assured us that this is in no way racially motivated ”

    Wasn’t aware african americans supposedly disliked asian americans

  81. Nathan: Editorial mandate? Although I don’t think it was racially motivated either, it certainly wouldn’t have to come from the writer if it were

  82. I figure they just gave him a list of people he COULD kill off and he made his choice

  83. Well Ryan does not need to use the Atom’s belt anymore he have is own power he can shrink by himself this was written in the latter The All-New Atom that’s I why I found strange
    By the way it’s was really a bad joker.

  84. Meta-textually, can Chris award this thread big ups? Because we sure hate this latest development.

  85. Deathstroke has Bipolar disorder He will go again try kill all Titans.

    Ryan die because Gehenna (Firestorm matrix) has already die during the Blackest Night storyline. Serious I don’t think it was racially motivated.
    I guess nobody like the idea I hope he’ll don’t know how but he will…

  86. Geoff Johns, creative director of the DCU, turned thirty-seven this past January.

    And he signs off on stuff like this.

    Makes you think.

  87. Indeed.

    The dude is only a few months older than me. I find myself wondering things like how could he manage to read the comics that were around when we were both kids and somehow manage to completely miss the point of most of the stuff that was published back then.

    It’s like he never outgrew the crappy action movies that were all the rage when we were in high school and never learned to appreciate things like books, or original ideas or realistic dialogue for female characters.

    I find myself wondering if he’s just even more stuck in the Eighties than I am, or if he has a mild case of Asperger Syndrome. There’s something really stunted about a guy our age still acting like he probably did twenty years ago.

    Especially with all that writing experience under his belt. You’d think he would unintentionally get the benefits of a liberal arts education even if all he really wants to do is think up more ways for Black Adam to kill people like a more hardcore Steven Seagal.

  88. @Man:

    Dang, I knew the legacy power change-up they always do would probably come back to bite me.

    Still, my point stands; that makes even less sense than the belt. At least that had, like, a button. If Choi’s dead, how can he shrink?

    … I wonder. Could it be that he’s not dead, and Deathstroke/Choi is playing everybody? Because that would actually be totally awesome. Perhaps it’s too much to hope for in this death-soaked era of the DCU, but a genuine Silver Age-style fakeout trick like that would justify this whole thing and really seem like a part of the “brightest day.”

  89. I love the “minorities in shoeboxes” line also, but if we want to use it, we need to at least make it correct: Choi was in a MATCHbox!

    So, “minorities in matchboxes” is the new tagline, eh?

  90. Asperger’s really seems to be catching on as the next big internet thing, almost replacing nazis. As a brother of a severely autistic boy I find this twistedly funny

  91. Deathstroke is one character I would be quite happy to see killed off and never brought back. That, or powered-down and treated like an easily-beaten joke from now on. Then, anyone who says “say, what about making Deathstroke a badass again?” would be shown the door immediately.
    You know, ideally.

  92. While I normally detest 90s-era overcompensating badasses in comics (and Deathstroke is a textbook version), I feel that Slade does kind of fill a ludicrous, cheesy, and fun niche in DC that no other major character really can. He’s just an evil version of any Schwarzenegger or Stollone character who carries a machine-gun in one hand and a katana in the other, but he still decided to dress in an orange half-mask and blue scales.

  93. Wow, probably not intentional but this story did seem racially motivated against Asians. Two things I noticed from the get go.

    1. Cheshire (Eurasian character) the page where she is introduced, she is drawn to look like a Thai fantasy dragon lady hooker. Yawn, another sexualized Asian female character.

    2. She refers to Ryan as “Little Man.” Was this a double entendre?

    Although Wallace doesn’t want to admit it, I’m sure some of these things were in his head when writing.

    Also those talking about DC whacking minorities and the only one Asian “Male” superhero in this Universe. I’m a little surprised Jim Lee (Korean American) had no say in this?

    I find it kind of interesting, many of the top artists in comic books are Asian Males yet there are almost no Asian Superheroes in comic books.

    In the end I understand its all about selling comic books. Killing a character in a shocking manner hikes up sales. If someone is upset about them killing Choi off, then stop buying DC comic books. Comics is a business, like TV, Films and Music. it’s all about the mighty $. I will never by a DC comic book. Those who complain about the lack of diversity yet run to the store for the return of Bruce Wayne are hypocrites.

  94. How is buying Return of Bruce Wayne hypocritical? Because it stars a white guy coming to replace a newer white guy? It isn’t emblamatic of the problem that ais harming DC right now, which is the supplantation of minorities for nostalgic purposes. Besides, it’s is really good, and Morison’s work is one of the only good titles at DC right now.

    Killing Ryan won’t make or lose money for DC, because while he has a solid fanbase, he’s still only a new character without any nostalgic hook. People aren’t going to stop buying DC in droves because yet another fun, newer character has been replaced by his or her less interesting predecessor, and I doubt that people are going to buy the Titans issue in massive numbers to see their character die. I’m not familiar with Wallace’s work at all, so I don’t want to accuse him of deliberate racism; it’s more a problem of ignorance, both racially and with regard to narrative.