David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines
hradzka

Comics thoughts

We've seen some discussion on the 'why' of War Games and the aftermath that's seen some characers dead, some estranged, and others (Robin, Batgirl, the Birds, the under-used Jim Gordon) leaving Gotham. Some speculation has focused on corporate motives -- i.e., scaling things down in Gotham to exploit whatever interest comes out of the upcoming film "Batman Begins" without confusing potential new readers with a surfeit of characters. Others have wondered if maybe the sheer number of strong women in the Batverse was making execs nervous. I think the former may have been a partial consideration, and am more doubtful about the latter. From a story point, however, I think there's a problem that the recent shuffles really solves.

The problem is one of too many heroes. It's not just that the cast is big, it's that the cast is interactive. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It helps for sense of family and it can be good for character -- but the downside is that often we don't get different sides of the characters as much as we just get bigger amounts of the same. That can drag on the characters, and the writers, a bit; the problem with having a big cast is that you have to keep coming up with stuff for the other characters to do. It's sort of like what happened to Buffy in later seasons, although the effect isn't as bad in the DCU because there's more time for characters to have their own screen time.

I think the reshuffling will only make that better. Look at Gotham City now: it's Bruce and Dick, two guys adventuring in three magazines (Batman, Nightwing, and Detective Comics). Alfred keeps his supporting role in all three books. Jim Gordon leaves town, so we don't need to worry about how he's affected by anything that happens there -- and he may even get some panel time in Birds of Prey, who knows? Catwoman has her own book. Leslie Thompkins is part of Selina's supporting cast, too.

Everybody else has left town. More character time for those who stayed. And more in-depth, too. Cool.

The Birds of Prey are flying on their own. No Batman, no Batgirl, no Nightwing, no nobody. Lady Blackhawk looks like she'll be supporting cast. Maybe Jim Gordon, too. We'll see.

Robin and Batgirl? Each has their own book. But they're in the same city and cross over; each is the other's supporting cast, and it looks like we'll get two cops from the Bludhaven PD. That's it.

Each of the Batbooks now consists of a very small core of major characters with a tiny supporting cast.

That's what I like about the reshuffling: it gives the characters breathing room.
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