I really hate to be the one to rain on the gay pride parade, but for all the comic book fans who’re not only celebrating the original Green Lantern Alan Scott‘s reimagining as a homosexual man in DC Comics‘ new series Earth 2 but also hoping to see more of this in the future…
This isn’t your grandfather’s Alan Scott.
…be warned: your happiness may be short-lived, because I have a sinking feeling that writer James Robinson is about to invoke the Bury Your Gays trope by dropping a bridge on poor Sam here. Maybe literally.
Why exactly am I jumping to this conclusion based on nothing more than a three page advance preview from Earth 2 #2 (August 2012)? The answer to that question can be found in the following panel:
A last minute change of plans for a romantic getaway? Smells like a recipe for disaster.
The minute I saw the word “train”, it raised a big red flag with me. And, if you’re at all familiar with the Golden Age Green Lantern, you’d immediately understand why I was concerned. For the uninitiated, however, here’s his origin story is as it originally appeared in the pages of All-American Comics #16 (July 1940):
One thing’s for sure: Alan Scott is a bigger badass than Captain James T. Kirk.
Yes, that’s right: Alan Scott became a superhero after being caught in a railway disaster that killed everyone else on board the train he was on. And the following image – either an alternate cover or a splash page – which depicts a screaming Green Lantern surrounded by burning corpses…
“ANYONE WHO MAKES A ‘FLAMING’ JOKE GETS A PUNCH IN THE FACE!”
…does very little to quell my fears in that department.
Since Robinson’s apparently trying to cram every cliché imaginable into this book, the reason for the accident this time around will probably be 1) corporate sabotage (as it was in the 1940s), 2) irresponsible corporate behavior, 3) a botched attempt to kidnap or assassinate Alan Scott, or 4) a terrorist attack.
Now, I freely admit that I might be overreacting and the “bullet train” line could just be a red herring. After all, Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, originally acquired super speed in a laboratory accident that rendered him unconscious and left him inhaling hard water vapors overnight while his younger, reimagined counterpart is set to inherit them from the dying Olympian God Mercury, which is a significant change that proves not everything’s going to go down in quite the same way it did the first time. I guess we’ll know by Wednesday morning.
Hell, I hope I’m wrong. Because, while the DC Universe could really use some new homosexual or bisexual characters, the last thing it needs is for one half of a happy gay couple to be killed off as part of a quick sympathy grab or a cheap source of drama and tragedy, especially this early in the game.
UPDATE 1 (2012.06.06.): I believe the final two pages of this issue speak for themselves:
Will the Dynamic Duo of Alan and Sam survive? Tune in next month! Same crap day, same crap comic! 😛
While we can’t really call it for sure until next month, taking Alan and Sam’s seating positions when the explosion occurred into consideration, I think it’s safe to say that one of them didn’t make it. That suspicious green glow kind of speaks for itself, though…
But I mean really…gushing in anticipation about a place you’re heading to (and not making it there due to a tragedy occurring)? A doomed wedding proposal? Getting your power from a ring that serves as a symbol of the union you’ll never have because your lover died? Good freaking god, how many more hackneyed plot contrivances and cliché-ridden schmaltz could we have built into this thing? Seriously, I wish Alan Scott was still straight and Sam was a woman just so I could’ve seen if Robinson would’ve had her confess to being pregnant before the choo-choo went bye-bye. You know, just to add that little extra child-killing twist to the knife that DC Comics has become so fond of using lately. Well, that and offing minority characters.
Honestly, the only way I could possibly be surprised at this point is if Alan Scott died in the explosion and Sam becomes the Earth-2 Green Lantern instead of him. But given that the image with the fiery dead bodies from my original post – which I’m guessing is the cover for next month’s issue – clearly shows a blue-eyed, blond-haired man in the costume, I wouldn’t bet on it.
UPDATE 2 (2012.07.06.): While reviewing the second issue of Earth 2, Sara Lima of Comic Vine had the following to say about this whole mess:
“I admit, I’m not so sure about the end. I’ll be disappointed if we are introduced to Sam (Alan Scott’s boyfriend), and he is killed off so quickly following Scott’s proposal. Again, this can happen in a comic, but it has to be done right. If it does happen, I will want (as the reader) to see a dramatic change in Scott’s character, behavior, and outlook on life. Also, if it does happen; I hope that Robinson will reinforce why Sam was so important to Scott in the first place. There are ways for a writer to memorialize a character even in death, and I look forward to seeing if this is something Robinson does with these two characters in this series.” – Sara Lima
Apparently, James Robinson was butthurt about what she had to say and gave her a bit of a hard time about it during The Comic Vine Podcast for June 8, 2012:
James Robinson: “Let’s start with Sara’s review.”
Sara Lima: “Oh god.”
James Robinson: “Because it’s four stars. Again. And people might think that I’m this mad egotist that demands five stars…”
Sara Lima: *laughs*
James Robinson: “…and I don’t. And…but what I do demand is fair play.”
Sara Lima: “Justice. Oh! Mr. Terrific!”
James Robinson: “And your review wasn’t fair and I’ll tell you why.”
Sara Lima: “Okay.”
James Robinson: “Because I assume that you lose stars for the bad…you know, you do the good part of the review and the bad part.”
Sara Lima: “Uh-huh.”
James Robinson: “The bad part which you very thoughtfully blacked out so it wasn’t a spoiler is all based on supposition of what will happen in issue three.”
Sara Lima: “It is speculation, isn’t it?”
James Robinson: “So you didn’t…you demerited me for something that may or may not happen in issue three. You didn’t judge it on issue two’s. And that’s why I believe it’s unfair and that’s why you should give me five stars.”
While Sara conceded that his position had merit, she nevertheless defended her review:
Sara Lima: “I think that, in my defense, I brought up an issue that I think comic writers deal with pretty frequently, which is the introduction and the very immediate demise of characters that ser….whose only purpose is to serve…serve the plot.”
James Robinson: “I…”
Sama Lima: “And to push the plot.”
James Robinson: “I agree with you, and that is something that…”
Sara Lima: “And that is something that, you know, I think you have to tread very lightly, uh, you know…”
James Robinson: “Okay, that’s fair enough. And that’s something that, when you review issue three and give it one star, I will completely…if indeed what you say happens, but if it does and you’d just like to give it one star, completely fair. I’m not even…I’m not even going to argue.”
Sara Lima: “Okay.”
James Robinson: “But I think this one…if I lost that star for something that hasn’t happened yet, you should reinstate it. I really believe it.”
Sara Lima: “I think…you know what? You have a deal.”
You know, you’d think that after all of Robinson’s bitching, there might’ve been something more to Sam’s fate than what I and a few others originally thought. So…was there? Well, unless the big green talking ball of fire that serves as the embodiment of Earth’s energy is lying its ass off, I’d say this statement concerning Sam’s fate is pretty damn unambiguous unless something really, really stupid happens, like his being reborn as the new Solomon Grundy (who also made his first appearance in this issue):
So, just to make sure we’re all on the same page here: James Robinson got annoyed because Sara Lima called him out on his bullshit after spotting it while it was still on the horizon instead of waiting until it was about to smack her square in the face. Why shouldn’t she and other reviewers warn readers about what they should be expecting and have them save three bucks rather than spend it just to find out that the speculators were completely on target?
Incidentally, I totally called the symbolism behind Alan Scott’s Green Lantern ring in my last update one month ago:
This is the worst slashfic I’ve ever read.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don’t trust James Robinson or DC Comics at all anymore: because it’s all been reduced to naked greed and pure consumerism. Say anything. Do anything. Mislead, obfuscate, or downright lie if you must. Just get people buying books and boost sales any way you can. Controversy and supermarket tabloid levels of sensationalism are fine. The ends justify the means, even if the quality of writing goes completely down the crapper in the process.
ADDENDUM (2012.07.06.): I officially called it quits earlier today. After 27 years of being a loyal reader, I’ve officially dropped every single DC title from my pull list, good or bad. Whatever joy this hobby used to bring me now pales in comparison to the levels of anger, frustration, and irritation that I’m constantly being subjected to. I have much better things to do with my money.
For the loyal subscribers to my blog, don’t worry. I’ll still be posting amusing panels and pages here on a regular basis. I’ll just be skimming through other people’s copies to find them from now on rather than my own. 🙂