People die. It happens. But why can legacies only be passed along after death? The old hero dies and a new one rises to take their place. It happens all the time, but what’s wrong with doing it a little differently? Why can’t the old hero just move on? Super-heroics is a dangerous business and people will ultimately die, but is it impossible to simply retire, to live? How does killing the hero do anything but hurt the franchise?
Barry Allen died so that Wally West could become the Flash, Ted Kord was murdered and Jaime Reyes replaced him as Blue Beetle, (almost) every single character ever named Manhunter was killed so that Kate Spencer could step up to be the brand new Manhunter. This goes beyond just legacy characters too. It seems that in order to introduce a new concept, you must first destroy an old one. Ed Brubaker brought Bucky back from the dead as the Winter Soldier, but in the process he kills off Jack Monroe, the hero known as Nomad. Obviously, not many people cared one way or the other about Nomad, but now that character is off the board forever (I highly doubt anyone will be attempting to resurrect him, ever). Whatever potential he may have had in the future is now gone. Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man was brought back to life during Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, but then his daughter, Stature, and Vision are killed in the same series. Creators often talk about world building, but too often the elimination of characters are used to launch that idea of world building at the reader. It seems that in order to build you must first destroy.
Next up on the rotating feature reel that has been DC Universe Presents, a title that provides a variety of characters and creative teams a place to shine, is Green Arrow’s ex-sidekick, Arsenal. Issue #17 offers a one-shot story about Roy Harper’s altercation with Killer Croc in the streets of Japan. The issue also guest stars Arsenal’s co-stars in the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws, Red Hood and Starfire.
Previously starring Deadman, The Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage, Kid Flash, and Black Lightning and Blue Devil, DC Universe Presents puts the spotlight on the more obscure characters of the DCU in their own adventures. Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage and Black Lightning and Blue Devil all made their re-imagined debut in the pages of this book. Kid Flash had previously starred in a one-shot that was closely connected to the Teen Titans, where he appears regularly, before another multi-issue story came in, so you can expect another story arc to come in after Arsenal has gotten his moment.
4 out of 5 stars DC Comics David S. Goyer/Geoff Johns – Writers Carlos Pacheco – Penciler Jesus Merino – Inker Guy Major – Colorist
Virtue and Vice is your elevator into the DC Universe, if that elevator suddenly went into a freefall and dropped you down into the sub-basement. It is a perfect sample of what the DCU can offer and is a great introduction into the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. There are no origin stories, no hard hitting narratives; instead, Goyer and Johns cut out a healthy slice of continuity and offer it up as an appetizer to impress you.
The heroes here are not iconic, but current (2002 current). Unless you’re a DC Universe continuity cop, you probably won’t be familiar with everything. Nothing is explained to the reader up front, but rather through the progression of the story answers can be found. It’s not outright confusing, but you just have to deal with the fact that Wally West is the Flash, Kyle Rayner is the one and only Green Lantern, JLA headquarters is on the moon and Lex Luthor is President (yes, that was a thing that happened). Several references are made to previous stories that took place in each teams’ ongoing series, JLA and JSA, but an unfamiliar reader can simply pass that off as ‘casual’ conversation.