The Week In Ink: May 12 2010

Well. This has certainly been a week, hasn’t it? There’s a lot to talk about on both sides of the equation, but as I’ve pretty much had my say on the matter, I’m just going to let shirtless Batman kicking Vandal Savage soothe my troubled soul:



Yes, it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Cheeriest Comics Reviews! Here’s a couple of the comics that made me smile and love the medium this week!



Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1: Last night when we were recording Ajax, I was describing this issue to Euge, and right about the time that I got to a bare-chested Bruce Wayne fighting Vandal Savage during caveman days with his grappling hook, he stopped me and just said “This is like porn for you, isn’t it?”

And he was absolutely right.

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone that I loved this comic, but I loved everything about it, from the way that it picks up directly after the events of Final Crisis to the fact that Batman’s just straight up kicking it in Caveman days with his shirt off like a boss. But beyond those big fist-pumping awesome moments–which include Superman showing up to drop one of those great “Batman is so awesome you guys” speeches that Morrison first had him drop way back in JLA #4, it’s just a really well-done comic.

My ComicsAlliance coworker David Uzumeri hit pretty much everything in his annotations to the issue, but I really don’t think you can say enough good things about how well it’s all put together: The symbolism of the white necklace that Vandal Savage takes from the deer tribe, the fact that Batman’s very presence inspires Robin-esque heroics from others. It’s astonishingly thoughtful for a book that, when you get right down to it, is ostensibly about Batman beating ass in Caveman days.

It’s not just Morrison that makes this issue great, though. Chris Sprouse is one of those artists that i can’t get enough of, and I’ve always wondered why he was never The Guy for Batman or Superman in the modern age. He and Karl Story always do good work, and here, under Guy Major’s coloring, it’s no exception. They take everything Morrison throws at them and pull it off beautifully, from the Steranko-esque hallucination sequence to the sheer ridiculousness of a guy dressing up in the skin of a gigantic bat to Bruce Wayne himself, with his… chiseled abs… broad shoulders… deep blue eyes you could lose yourself in for days

Whuh?! Oh, sorry, lost myself there for a second. Point is, it’s a fantastic, exciting comic book that was just pure joy for me to read, much to the surprise of absolutely nobody.


Birds of Prey #1: I think I’ve mentioned it more this past week than I ever did during the actual run of the first series, but I was a long-time reader of the original run of Birds of Prey for over a hundred issues, and while it was never my favorite book, it was always pretty solid and entertaining. As such–and as weird as this was for me to realize as a guy who constantly rails about nostalgia being the poison that’s killing comics–Birds of Prey sort of represents my idealized DC Universe, way back in the distant time we call “the mid-to-late ’90s,” when anything was possible! Continuity and world-building were the tools for books like Chase, and second- and third-stringers roamed the land in their own titles, proud and free.

You can probably already tell it’s going to be a night where I go into a lot of weird tangents.

Anyway, getting back to what I was trying to say, I’m glad to have Birds of Prey back, and Gail Simone certainly didn’t disappoint. She hasn’t missed a step in the years since she last wrote the book, picking up with a classic “getting the band back together” type of plot. In fact, I think she actually used the phrase “get the band back together” in the script, but once I hit the Gotham City street gang composed entirely of evil cheerleaders, everything else just sort of faded to background noise.

Which isn’t to say that it’s perfect: There’s no power in Heaven or Earth that’ll make me care about Hawk and Dove, for instance. And artwise, while Ed Benes is certainly better here than he was on Justice League–especially in terms of storytelling and fight choreography–there are still places where he could improve. The faces, for instance, all look very similar, and while you can get away with women who all look the same in some places, a book about an all-female team requires a little more diversity. Plus, I would’ve liked to see him use the Huntress costume that Cully Hamner has her in in the Detective Comics backups (you know, the one that isn’t Daisy Dukes and an ab window), but that’s hardly an insurmountable flaw.

So yeah, it’s a solid issue, and even after almost ten years straight reading it, I’ve got to admit that Birds of Prey can still surprise me. I mean…



Who knew Dinah Lance was down with the 36 Chambers?


Flash #2: Every now and then, someone will come along and inform me that I have a grudge against someone I’ve never met. I’m pretty sure these are the same people were telling me I hated comics five years ago when I started the ISB, but it boils down to an insistence on their part that I can’t just dislike a work on its own merits or flaws, and that my vocal hatred is the by-product of some secret vendetta that I just won’t cop to, which ignores the fact that I tend to be vocal about things in general. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been told that specifically, I have boundless hate for Mark Millar (who, I will admit, has an ultra-huckster public persona that I find frequently laughable), and of course, Geoff Johns.

I bring this up because I’ve been thinking about it lately in regards to The Flash. If ever there was a book that was ready-made for me to go in to further my alleged crusade, it’d be this one. It embodies something I’ve written about hating a dozen times–the regression of a legacy character to an earlier state and the consequential invalidating and shunting-to-limbo of two decades of stories I love–and I’ve said more than once that outside of Tom vs. the Flash, my interest in Barry Allen is nil.

So if there’s any book my “grudge” should lead me to hate, it’s this one, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t initially go into it expecting to do just that. And yet, here we are at the second issue, and just like the first, I think it’s pretty darn enjoyable. I still think Barry Allen is a cipher who could be just about anyone at this point, but the plot’s engaging and entertaining, the speed tricks are fun and suitably heroic, and there’s even a scene–the little girl and her doll–that made me laugh out loud while I was reading it. Even with a scene that has all the subtlety of a brick wall (“No one will stop! They’re all too busy to help!”) it’s a good comic that shows just how fun a book Johns is capable of writing, and Francis Manapul’s art is not only great, but surprisingly stylized for something that’s clearly meant to be a top-tier book. It’s a chance that I wouldn’t have expected DC to take, but I’m glad they did.

The only thing I don’t like is the violence. This may just be me being a premature Cranky Old Man at 27 and indulging my own nostalgia for Mark Waid’s “bank robbers–not killers” characterization of the Rogues in his defining run on the title, but was it really necessary for Captain Boomerang to murder two cops by shattering their frozen bodies? It seems to me like… well, like something out of Batman as oposed to The Flash, and as crazy as that sounds, I think it’s a legitimate expectation for the guy in a bright red and yellow leotard to have a little brighter book than the dude who dresses like Dracula and only has adventures at night.

It’s probably not as bad as it seems, but it really stuck out to me; like Invincible, the violence is more noticeable when what’s surrounding it is so comparatively lighthearted, and having a guy named “Captain Boomerang” commit a double homicide and then get beaten to a pulp just seems… off. But again, it didn’t break the issue for me. I still thought it was a solid comic. I just wish I could get behind it a hundred percent, because contrary to what folks might think, I’d be perfectly happy to love every comic I read.

Well, except Anita Blake. There’s no fixing that one.



And that’s the week. As always, if there’s something that caught your eye in this week’s books–and I’m sure there is–feel free to leave a comment below.

48 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: May 12 2010

  1. While I’m pretty much set on reading Return of Bruce Wayne, you’ve sold me on Birds #1 with that panel. Also, who would you say are the defining artists for the modern age Batman and Superman?

  2. Minor correction. It was Johns who established that Cold et all were robbers, not killers. Mark Waid crapped on the Rogues every chance he got.

    Which makes it kinda odd they’d kill those two guards. But then, it was Iron Heights…

  3. Oh, come on. In Suicide Squad, Digger let his team mate get shot in the back after kicking one of The Jihad off of a building. I hate Johns’ gratuitous violence as well, but that was hardly out of character.

  4. Well, I miss Captain Cold and Heatwave from the JLI days, when they were semi-retired. No hurting innocents, just take the money and run.

    I think it was JLI Quarterly #4 or something, had them robbing a jewelry store and Fire and Ice had to stop them. :)

    Guess reading JLI: Generation Lost #1 made me think of this.

  5. “You are joking, right? He can survive anywhere. Anytime. Surviving is what he does.”

    I won’t lie, I had a nerd-gasm when I read that.

  6. At least as I see it, the problem with the killing of the cops is less about the violence and more about the almost sociopathic nature of it. Digger has, to the best of my knowledge, always been pretty apathetic to the death and suffering of others, but his taking time to kill them goes into the territory of killing for fun. It’s actually a different problem that Johns has (as well as most of DC’s writers), which is that they are tending more to see almost all villains as equally capable and willing to commit various atrocities. Other examples would be Luthor in “Secret Origin” refusing to help his sister to insult Clark or all of the super-villains in Infinite Crisis willing to just kill everyone; its the idea that villains of any kind are equally willing to partake in gruesome acts out of some kind of misanthropic spite or inherent quality of “evil”. I mean, they’ve been setting up Black Adam as an anti-hero because he felt bad about his genocide. Johns has, I believe, publicly defended the excessive violence in his post-IC comics because the people committing them are villains. Chris Eckert wrote a very nice piece about this on Funnybook Babylon. Aside from making some disturbing implications about criminals, it’s just bad storytelling, and it suggests that the people doing this really don’t have an understanding of what goes on in the real world.

    Of course, Chris’ problems could be entirely unrelated.

  7. So kinda in the complete opposite direction of cheery comics, given your recent piece of the racial politics of regressive storytelling, I was hoping to hear what your thoughts were on Titans: Villains for Hire?

  8. Yes, I think Michael has put a finger on it. Even in Suicide Squad, there was a vast gulf between how Digger was portrayed and how, say, Deadshot was. Boomerang was far more of an out and out weasel than a sociopath.

    And wasn’t it Waid who shuffled the Rogues off to Hell specifically so they wouldn’t get reinvented 90’s style in that silly Underworld Unleashed crossover?

  9. I very much want to enjoy BOP again, but I just cannot get past the Ed Benes artwork. Love the characters and Gail’s writing, but . . . .

    Bonus points for tossing in Cameron Chase. Good year when it came out with JLA: Year One, JLA: The Nail, The Kents, and the terribly underrated Guns of the Dragon. Sigh.

  10. What annoyed me about Flash #2 was that it has the exact same ending as the first issue, except that the police aren’t dressed like Captain Cold. If you already knew about the speed-reading gimmick (which, granted, a book targeted at new Flash readers shouldn’t presume) and didn’t assume the end of the first issue was a big lie, there was nothing new in that book other than the Captain Boomerang bit. Which I agree, featured some extremely out-of-place homicide (although I friggin’ love the Rogues telling Digger to earn his spot on the team, and can’t wait for that jailbreak).

    So how about that Prince of Power? I hear it’s okay.

  11. Also, who would you say are the defining artists for the modern age Batman and Superman?

    I don’t think there really is one. There’s nobody like Curt Swan or Jim Aparo today because runs aren’t really built like that anymore. It’s as much Jim Lee at this point as anyone else, at least for Batman, although I’d really like it if Gary Frank stuck around the Superman books for however long he wants to do them.

    No thoughts on Generation Lost or Giffen/DeMatties Booster Gold, Chris?

    No interest in either.

    Which I agree, featured some extremely out-of-place homicide (although I friggin’ love the Rogues telling Digger to earn his spot on the team, and can’t wait for that jailbreak).

    Totally agreed. Like I said, there’s a lot of stuff I really like about it, and getting to see Captain Boomerang’s Great Escape is one of them.

    Minor correction. It was Johns who established that Cold et all were robbers, not killers.

    Oh, look at that. A minor correction. Well, never let it be said that Chris Sims wasn’t big enough to admit that he was wr–

    Hang on.

    What’s this on Page 13 of The Flash #127, by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Paul Ryan and John Nyberg?

    “These guys were bank robbers, for God’s sake!”

    And on page 14 of the same issue…

    “They weren’t killers!”

    Well then.

  12. Thank you Grant Morrison and Gail “not in a shoebox or a refrigerator” Simone for restoring a smidgen of faith that DC can still print a decent superhero book. Too bad their aren’t more of them.

  13. I have to admit I’m disappointed that Birds of Prey, a series with (up til now) well-balanced all-female cast and (I’m assuming) a large female readership feels the need to add a male character to their team who so far seems to have nothing interesting or original about him. Oh, and that their very first villain is an Evil Asian out to get the blonde Black Canary.

  14. Since no one mentioned it, I just wanted to give a shout out to Deadpool Team-Up. This issue has Captain Britain, a culture swap machine that has the attitude “American, Canadian, whatever,” and Deadpool mangling English English (to the point that one of the voices in his head says, “I’m in your head and even I have no clue what you’re talking about”).

    Say what you will about Deadpool being overexposed, but I find all of his titles (I think there are four) just entertainingly screwy.

  15. Yknow, have we heard anything about Punisher Max since the start of this arc? Cuz I think this one is better than the last, albeit because it took a completely different turn. Bullseye Max is absolutely fantastic

  16. “No interest in either.”

    I’m pretty surprised that you wouldn’t at least be onboard for the Giffen/DeMattias book.

  17. Really loved Web of Spider-Man this week. The Glenn Beck analogue, Peter Parker capitalizing on “” and J. Jonah Jameson’s face upon first seeing the site as depicted by Javier Rodriguez.

  18. “Boomerang was far more of an out and out weasel than a sociopath.” — Wrye

    Ol’ Digger was diagnosed as being a die-hard, true-blue sociopath by the Squad’s very own shrink, Dr. Simon LaGrieve (as seen in the “Personal Files” issues, and the 80s Mayfair role-playing game supplements that were written hand-in-hand with DC editorial).

    That said, yeah…Boomer is more sadistic and smarmy than senseless and savage, and the cop-shattering seemed lazy and petulant.

    “And wasn’t it Waid who shuffled the Rogues off to Hell specifically so they wouldn’t get reinvented 90’s style in that silly Underworld Unleashed crossover?” — Wrye

    In assorted interviews at the time (and I believe restated in the recent ‘Flash Companion’), Waid said that he really didn’t know what to do with the Rogues, as they were “too goofy” for 90s comics. That’s why he got rid of them, and started creating new foes; “protecting them” was an inadvertent side affect.

    But the fan outcry was too great, so Waid resurrected them…only to immediately blow up Captain Boomerang with his own weapon.

    I talked to Waid at a con once, and he said that bringing back the Rogues was “his plan all along”…but it didn’t come across as sincere.

  19. Punisher Max is one of the best titles out right now. Garth Ennis must have Aaron-envy. Garth was sadistic, but Aaron fleshes out these brutal characters in layers that seemed to be missing before. Even the idiosyncratic supporting characters are perfect.
    Genius book!
    Oh, and who didn’t see the ‘shock ending’ in the H/Rulk books coming…

  20. I know it’s a little late, but… I really would like to read your thoughts about Red Robin. It just finished a very, very good arc, it’s connected to Bruce Wayne’s return and it was the last edition written by Chris Yost. There’s a lot to talk about.

    Did I mention that it was very, very good?

  21. Bogaloo – Savant was a de facto member of the team before, so it’s not that bad. Although I’d still much rather see Manhunter return to the fourth slot than Dove, if only because it might ease my worries that she’s next on the hit list once the backups end.

    (Although I can understand if Gail doesn’t feel that she’s got a handle on how to write her and would rather work with a relative blank slate.)

    As for the definitive modern Batman artist… if I can’t cop out and say that everyone’s still emulating Adams, I’d go with Nolan. Longest tenure wins for lack of any other reason.

  22. My vote for definitive modern (as in, the last 5-10 years) Batman artist is Dustin Nguyen. He’s a fantastic artist, especially when he’s able to do his own coloring like he does with most of his covers and just needs to be put on a book that’s worth reading. “Streets of Gotham” is not that book.

    And because I’m a dork, I’ll give my votes for definitive Batman artists by era:

    40s – Jerry Robinson
    50s – Dick Sprang
    60s – Carmine Infantino
    70s – Jim Aparo
    80s – Alan Davis
    90s – Norm Breyfogle
    00s – Dustin Nguyen

    Some wiggle room on these. Neal Adams, obviously, should be in there, as well as Kelly Jones. I do love Graham Nolan, too. And Tim Sale. And Mike Parobeck.

    Aw, fuck. Who cares? These lists are always stupid.

  23. I like Dustin Nguyen a lot, but there’s a difference between “favorite” and “definitive.” Lee’s Batman is the one that DC’s been hanging their marketing on in terms of posters, t-shirts, and comic sales, much in the way that Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was the guy responsible for most non-comics images of Batman back in the ’70s and ’80s (and justifiably so, JLGL’s awesome).

    If anything, I think most people today are drawing on Frank MIller’s blocky DKR Batman, rather than the taller, leaner Aparo/Adams version, which I think is a mistake on a lot of levels. What makes DKR work is the contrast, and if Batman’s already doing stuff like muttering “stupid old man… my city betrays me” under his breath while he swings from buildings, there’s no contrast.

    But that’s a whole other rant on The Problem With These Kids Today And Their Comics that I won’t get into.

  24. So I guess amnesiac Batman kinda recognized Vandal Savage? Otherwise, what was with the “Finish Him!” Mortal Kombat harpoon Fatality?

  25. I just remembered your analysis of the preview sketches of this issue. And it got me thinking about the pretty girl at the end — Maybe Bruce is his own grandpa!

  26. “If anything, I think most people today are drawing on Frank MIller’s blocky DKR Batman, rather than the taller, leaner Aparo/Adams version, which I think is a mistake on a lot of levels. ”

    I almost want to say that recent artists were drawing Bruce-as-Batman like that in order to set up a contrast with Dick, who’s been drawn in very much a leaner Aparo style (which makes sense), but that’s giving the planning department too much credit.

    I don’t think the correlation of merchandise to definitive artist status necessarily holds up, because if that was the case Lee would be the definitive artist on about half the characters he’s ever worked on. His style just lends itself to merchandising better than just about any other character. But just as I wouldn’t call JLGL a definitive Batman artist of his era above Adams and Aparo, Lee just hasn’t done enough (26ish issues in 10 years?).

    Plus, a lot of lesser artists were emulating Jim Lee while drawing Batman long before Jim Lee ever drew Batman. He’s Jim Lee, every comic artist who was between the ages of ten and twenty circa 1992 wanted to draw like him.

  27. I don’t know that Barry’s exactly a cipher at this point; his main defining characteristics are attention to detail and commitment to the truth. While those are by no means unique among the superhero community, I am hoping it’s a start to fleshing him out, with the rest falling into place over time. The cheap way would be for him to dwell on tragedies (I don’t think Barry has mentioned his parents’ fates in these past two issues) or to obsessively engage in hobbies (e.g. spending every spare minute painting if he’s an artist); I’m willing to take my time to build Barry up.

    So with regard to “Batman”, apparently the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons started in Africa, migrated into Europe, and then moved straight to the east coast of North America? I don’t have a significant problem with that, but I am amused.

  28. Did you read Amazing Spider-Man 631? I really enjoyed Wells and Bachalo’s Aztec death god arc so I was looking forward to their Lizard story, but this issue was just too grim for me. I’m out.

    In related news, Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1 and Spider-Man: Fever #2 are AWESOME.

  29. Thrillho:

    IIRC, those cave paintings were discovered in the modern-day Middle East. Bruce isn’t staying in one place.

  30. Actually, Thrillho, in DC the first people were all white guys in pre-historic New York, directly implying that all non-Caucasians were just aberrations from the “norm”.

  31. The DEFINITIVE Modern Batman Artist is Bruce Timm.
    Which says a LOT about the current state of comics, don’cha think?

  32. Too bad you’re not interesting Giffen/DeMattheis Booster Gold, I’d be very interested in reading your thoughts on the issue. It was clear cut comedy through and through (set in the GREAT DARKNESS SAGA), but a very violent and dark thing happens off panel that really just hits Booster like a punch to the gut when he sees it, but Giffen/DeMattheis don’t let it suck up the whole issue or kill the comedic tone. It was odd.

    Also off-handed comment by a writer doesn’t really count as characterization. I mean Waid said several times that he disliked the Rogues and did his best to not write them, that story was pretty much just Underworld Unleashed aftermath stuff than a genuine attempt to bring the Rogues back.

    Johns’ Rogues (at least Cold and his inner circle) go out of their way to avoid killing unless its necessary or the guy is such a bastard he must be killed.

  33. “The DEFINITIVE Modern Batman Artist is Bruce Timm.”

    I wanted to say that (for crying out loud, I run a DCAU blog), but Timm’s style has largely been contained.

    If nothing else, he’s probably had more influence outside Batman than in it, with the more cartoony style of a lot of modern artists failing to take hold on the Batbooks, which have always remained grounded in a more realistic (or, at least, more detailed in the case of artists like Kelley Jones) presentation.

  34. Dr.Ink – for some reason, I thought he’d been clearly eliminated as a possibility, but now that I think back, it may have been just a fakeout.

    Thrillho: didn’t it come up in the whole he’s gonna take on all these cold cases bit? Or maybe that was some other Flash book, Johns has been kinda harping on the MY MOTHER IS DEAD thing

  35. I think Barry’s boss mentioned to him that he can’t just obsess about a single case, but I don’t think Barry was the one who brought it up, and he certainly didn’t take the opportunity to wallow in angst.

    Anyway, it’s a retcon I could have done without. I’ll tie this into Ryan Choi for a second: while retconning Barry’s life may prove Professor Zoom’s bad-assedness, I don’t think the net result is worth it. Just because bad guys do bad things doesn’t mean writers can’t have a little control over what sees print; that goes for Barry’s folks and that goes for Ryan Choi.

    Remember when Wally first fought Savitar, and Savitar carved a message to Wally into Max Mercury’s back? That was DAMN chilling, and it didn’t kill Max off either. As Professor Xavier used to say, “killing is for the unimaginative”.

  36. Also Chris, did you read the new Adventure? I think it set up the stage well for Levitz’ return.

    Gates’ Brainiac story probably sets up what Levitz wants to do with the character and the end of Mon-El’s story (which was sweet) leads directly what Levitz is going to do in Adventure

    Also though it was 8 months later I liked we finally got a payoff for Jemm. SON OF SATURN’s, baffling return to continuity

  37. I thought they gave it away when Ross came and whispered to Banner at the beginning of the storyline.
    The whole Betty thing was definitely no surprise IMO

  38. I hope they use your blurb for the next Anita Blake hardback collection, Chris.

  39. The legacy thing cuts both ways. I’ve been pissed for 25 years that DC pointlessly killed off my favorite character (Barry Allen). And then they killed off my other favorite character (Hal Jordan). What’s worse, I had to suffer all those years of replacement characters.

    So, to you, Barry’s return (and you imply this also includes the other returns of Silver Age characters-done-wrong) is an injustice. But to me and many others, it is about freaking time.

    If it makes you feel better, DC took Wally’s story as far as it could go. I loved the Johns run with Wally. But then Wally became a dad and a family man–and the Flash/Incredibles was just too horrific to endure. If any character should have ever retired into the sunset with a happy ending, it’s Wally West.

  40. As far as Batman comics over the last 43 years goes…. everybody–and I mean everybody–is basing their interpretation on Neal Adams.

    Carmine Infantino tried to pull Batman out of his Kane/Sprang rut but it was Neal Adams that defined his brooding badass image. I haven’t seen anything since that isn’t channeling what Neal Adams established.

  41. The legacy thing cuts both ways. I’ve been pissed for 25 years that DC pointlessly killed off my favorite character (Barry Allen). And then they killed off my other favorite character (Hal Jordan). What’s worse, I had to suffer all those years of replacement characters.

    So you’d advocate a return of Jay Garrick and Alan Scott as the true, original Flash and Green Lantern then. Got it.

  42. For reasons not terribly related to anything, I’ve lived the last four months or so in a comics-free bubble. But Ed Benes’ art is still butt-fucking ugly.

  43. So you’d advocate a return of Jay Garrick and Alan Scott as the true, original Flash and Green Lantern then. Got it.

    Wait, Dan said that legacy characters should never ever be created? Really?

    Funny you should bring up Jay and Alan, though: they were not killed off or otherwise wrecked to make room for legacy characters, in fact they were preserved intact, and whenever the legacies got together with the originals, it was very well-received by fans. And of course, when Hal and Barry were introduced, their predecessors’ comics hadn’t even been in print for around a decade, so the number of fans who felt that Alan and Jay were getting the short end of the stick must have numbered in the low none-at-alls. Other than that, your rebuttal is sound.

  44. I doubt that anyone who actually read Waid’s Flash or JLA “suffered through them” just because vaguely-defined avatars of the reader were replaced by much stronger characters. Wally was the Flash for about 20 years, and Kyle was Green Lantern for about 10. It isn’t like they were just made in a vacuum on some attempt to destroy the “pure” versions of the hero (who aren’t even the originals anyway); they actually had well-developed personalities and character. Certainly more than their predecessors did, with Barry being so boring that it actually makes him unique from other speedsters, and Hal’s primary character traits basically being his racism and sexism (which makes me realize how accurate Chris’ statement about him being the frat boy of the Justice League is).

    Incidentally, the interest Johns has in Barry’s dead parents seems eerily close to how Hal’s dad has become so central to the series, and I’m not sure if this is Johns’ inability to use new ideas (to his credit, it isn’t a bad one) or an inadvertent statement on how little substance the two have. Outside of “New Frontier” (which really didn’t touch on it anyway), I can’t think of a time in which Martin Jordan was actually an important figure in Jordan’s life story.