Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Thank you Judd Winick,

Okay, I've been reading Outsiders lately, mostly for the crossover with Checkmate, but also because of my irrational love for Captain Boomerang, and I've just read the conclusion of the crossover arc.

You know how I said after the most recent Checkmate that I was actually almost liking Dick Grayson?

Well, I definitely have to thank Mr. Winick for fixing that up for me.

(Warning for Spoilers for Outsiders 49)

Spoilers Within...
It's a relief really. I don't really know what to do with myself when I'm not raining mostly undeserved hate down on Dick Grayson's head. Those points in Checkmate, where he was worried and anxious, suffering by hearing his teammate's torture, and then his solicitousness when Owen's dropped naked into his cell were really throwing me through a loop.

I've always thought Dick worked best as a caretaker, you know? Looking out for Bruce, Tim, Barbara, his team... When he's not absorbed in his own mockable manpain and showing his concern for someone else, he's even interesting. Dick at his best, I've always felt, was a contrast to Bruce because he led through inspiration rather than fear. He wasn't a scheming bastard, but someone who both cared for his team and knew how to show it.

If a teammate was in danger or being hurt, there would be NOTHING keeping Dick from trying a rescue. Even if it wasn't the wisest course of action. Not that Bruce would either, in my sincere opinion, but he's Batman, so it would end up being the wisest course of action. That's part of being a good leader. That's why certain incarnations of the Titans would have easily followed him to Hell and back.

Checkmate showing him, even briefly, in that role again was throwing me for a loop! But fortunately Winick fixed it!

Okay, so as Checkmate left them, you have Dick and Owen, who is not in great shape and stark naked to boot, alone in a cell. Well, alarms are going off, apparently the cavalry's arriving as they've figured out where they are, and Dick decides to activate his gag reflex.

So...he swallowed that thing before he left. Which means he had it the WHOLE TIME. Owen's not completely moronic and he's come to much the same conclusion:

"Waiting for the right time." What. The. Fuck.

Look, I don't like Dick Grayson. But even I know that for Dick Grayson the "right time" would have been the VERY FIRST SCREAM that came out of Owen's mouth.

Dick wouldn't be waiting for the cavalry to arrive! Dick Grayson would have gotten himself out. Snuck past the guards, taking each out cleverly and sneakily, ambushed Egg-Fu or his torturers, gotten Owen up, gotten Sasha up, and at least TRIED to get them to some sort of vehicle which Egg Fu would have undoubtedly had. This is DICK GRAYSON.

They might not have made it. They might have been ambushed halfway there with Dick trying to keep both teammates moving, facing certain death/re-capture for when the cavalry DID arrive. But he would not have WAITED.

Waiting might be a tactically sound thing to do, but Dick Grayson would never sit back as his colleagues suffered. Tactics be damned.

What the fuck? Seriously? I mean, I KNOW Dick's been off in Outsiders since OYL. I was willing to give the sending Anissa to fuck the bad guy thing a pass, because I figured it was probably some mix-up regarding the Dick-is-dead!/No he's not! end of Infinite Crisis.

Yeah well, grace period is gone. And this...this isn't Dick Grayson. It might be Parallax. It might be a Skrull. It might be a Manhunter replacement or an LMD or a multiverse counterpart. But that is NOT Dick Grayson.

Because if it is, he's just lost the only thing the character had left going for him. Way to go.

Oh, and then there's this.

Can someone tell me why Boomerang's all of a sudden fine and can fight his way out while Sasha needs to be carried out dramatically? I mean, sure she was tortured longer than he was, but she's also tougher than he is, more experienced, and has nanites that regenerate. There's no way I can buy after Checkmate that he's absolutely fine at the end where she requires hospitalization. This is a woman who walked off explosions, damnit.

I know it's supposed to be a touching scene, and it probably wouldn't bother me so much (even with Boomer on his feet) if it weren't for...

"Don't look at me"?! "DON'T LOOK AT ME"?! Not ONLY is that hackneyed dialogue, but this is the woman who JUST LAST ISSUE in the damn crossover SPAT it Egg-Fu's face.

"Don't look at me." is hackneyed Lifetime movie dialogue. It's whimpery and ashamed, which doesn't suit Sasha anymore than it would suit most male heroes. Sasha is a soldier and a warrior. A professional before Checkmate, who served under Max Lord and Amanda Waller. She might feel shame and embarrassment after what happened, but she sure as hell wouldn't have expressed it that way. I can't see a Sasha Bordeaux in any condition not able to look someone in the face. It's just...not her.

You know what would have worked for me? If in that scene, she'd said something like "Heh, I look terrible." It'd seem more like she were trying not to sound as embarrassed/ashamed as she is. Instead of "It's okay," he could say "No, you don't." It's a bit hackneyed still, but it'd be cuter/more touching, to me. Batman could say a lot in a line like that. And then the scene could proceed as normal, and she'd get to keep some dignity, and Kalinara wouldn't have to tangent from a perfectly adequate Nightwing rant.

Meanwhile, naturally Owen's immediately on his feet apparently having suddenly superhealing and is utterly fine but for an aesthetic black eye and is even combat capable. Also, can someone tell me where the fuck Owen got his pants. (Dude, it would have been SO much more badass to take out the guards while naked!)

Checkmate ended with Sasha being strong, Owen being vulnerable, and Dick being caring. (A nice gender reversal of the usual stereotypes.) In Outsiders, Winick reversed every single one.

Oh and an added bit of Dicketry. I loved how he just hands the team over to Batman without talking to any of them first. Wasn't this team originally Roy's baby, with Dick as one of the last to join and requiring some severely prima donna convincing, or am I misremembering?

Now Batman gets to make HIS choices for the team. What the hell is that? Why in the world would grown heroes, most of whom have very little knowledge or experience with Batman to begin with agree to this?

I know it's "Batman and the Outsiders", but couldn't it be a little more plausible?

...Is it too late to hope that Captain Boomerang loses membership to the Outsiders and thus can be used in some other book?

Free Captain Boomerang!


  • At July 06, 2007 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This kind of idiocy is why I dropped Outsiders like a rock years ago,w hen I realized it was the 'EVERYONE IS TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER' book.

  • At July 06, 2007 7:59 AM, Blogger TS said…

    The day Winick starts on a book is the day I drop it, and I'm not playing dog pile here -- I've just never cared for his writing.

  • At July 06, 2007 8:49 AM, Blogger Anthony Strand said…

    I'm with the Winick haters. I've yet to see any evidence that he knows how to write characters with any consistency.

  • At July 06, 2007 10:10 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    It's Outsiders, so awfulness doesn't surprise me. I figured I'd wait for the trade on this, even though I'd been reading Checkmate monthly. But going two months without Checkmate made me realize I can go three, our four, or ten. Maybe I'll pick up some trades down the line.

    Thanks, Judd!

  • At July 06, 2007 10:11 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    (LOVED his Barry Ween, though. Whatever happened to that Judd Winick?)

  • At July 06, 2007 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes. Outisders is on my why the heck am I still reading it (along with Supergirl and Wonder Woman.) I think it is only the hope of new writers that keeps me around.

    It started out kind of interesting in the beginning but has dramatically spiraled down since (especially with OYL.)

    Why Judd, Why? I love Barry Ween. I love Juniper Lee. Where is that Judd and why is there a pod in your basement?

  • At July 06, 2007 10:35 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Oh I hear you. I too wondered about where Owen suddenly acquired pants, because the prospect of himrunning down a hallway buck-nekkid was something that I was looking forward to with a great deal of anticipation.


    Well...isn't it nice that Batman showed up to save all of them. Couldn't have done it without him apparently. And it is a bit odd that there wasn't a mark on Owen with the exception of that fetching black eye.

    Oddly enough, I could see Tim maybe waiting. Tim has a cold efficiency to him, that Dick lacks. So I don't blame Boomer for being mad. Heck, if I were Sasha, I'd be mad too. I can't really see just what the rest of the Outsiders/Checkmate people DID except run around aimlessly.

    Although I DO like Count Vertigo for some reason.

  • At July 06, 2007 11:34 AM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    If nothing else, Count Vertigo has one of the coolest villain names in comics.

    (And yeah, mwb -- Juniper Lee! That's where the real Judd Winick has gone! The DCU Judd Winick is obviously a Manhunter.)

  • At July 06, 2007 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey, you were linked on When Fangirls Attack.

    I really like how the chick's got her shoulders pushed back and her chest thrust out. You know. To remind us that she's not only battered and hurt and totally reliant on some big strong dude carrying her to safety... but she also has boobs. That's just sexy.

  • At July 06, 2007 11:40 AM, Blogger ticknart said…

    I picked up the last few issues of Outsiders because of the crossover, too, and this issue really bugged me.

    Part of why was because of all the things mentioned here, but what really bugged me was that Batman saved the day.

    Boomerang and Sasha get tortured, Nightwing has to listen them scream, and the rest of the team is misled to belive their still on Oolong. Any one of them EARNED the right to save the day. Batman didn't. Batman just used them so he could be the hero.

    Batman sucks.

  • At July 06, 2007 1:29 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Did Dick just hand them back to Batman? Way to honor Roy's team! I think that Nightwing is just jealous that Roy's with the big boys.

    Now he can go and angst some more.

  • At July 06, 2007 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had the exact same thought process when I read the Sasha/Batman scene. I think I literally said to myself out loud "this isn't Sasha". Every single thing I liked in this crossover I'm attributing to Rucka from now on and I'm putting all the crap on Winick's doorstep.

    Gah, I dropped Outsiders almost a year ago and only got these ones because of Checkmate. All I can say is I'm glad it's over and Sasha can go back to her own book now.

  • At July 07, 2007 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At July 07, 2007 1:39 PM, Blogger Michael said…

    "Can someone tell me why Boomerang's all of a sudden fine and can fight his way out while Sasha needs to be carried out dramatically?"

    She's a woman, and that's their job.

  • At July 08, 2007 7:23 AM, Blogger GiantKillerMantis said…

    This crossover had been pretty good up to this point. (I should note that I haven't read Outsiders since issue 2 or so, so this story was all about Checkmate for me.) Some significant, serious stuff happened to Sasha. The "Fall of the Wall" story got kick-started. We found out that the Oolong crew is now alligned with North Korea.

    Then we get to this last issue, and the whole thing "resolves" in a set-up for the upcoming Batman & the Outsiders. That's anti-climactic, and it follows a trend in DC that has greatly annoyed me of late: that a story, or "event" does not exist for its own sake, but merely to set up the next thing.


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