Saturday, April 28, 2012

Comics and (Stupid) Identity Issues

Sci-fi and comics often have clones and evil doubles and the like that only we hardcore nerds keep track of, with my favorite stupid-reductio example being the DC Comics fight about four years ago between Power Girl from Earth-Two and (pay attention, now) Power Girl from Earth-2

And now, I kid you not, those worlds have been replaced in the refurbished DC multiverse by Earth 2.

So I'm amused to see a DC fan enraged that (in the first comic set on Earth 2, coming out in a few days), the character Helena Bertinelli gets a "shitty death" off-panel – by which the fan means that in the new multiverse, Helena is merely depicted as a long-dead woman, while her duplicate from Earth 2 – Helena Wayne, a.k.a. the Huntress – has been using her name all these years. 

It's comparable to the sense of betrayal you'd feel if you found out Spider-Man had been a clone for the past five years, I guess...except the current stories all take place in an entirely new multiverse anyway, so it's not clear the dead duplicate character is the same as the prior multiverse's live version of that character by the same name...who, in any case, was merely created in the late 80s as a doppelganger for the original 1970s Earth-Two version of the character...and in fact the new Earth 2 version arguably more closely resembles that Earth-Two original than the late-80s Ms. Bertinelli (who the fan feels just died off-panel) did anyway.

All these characters essentially look identical and do the same thing, by the way (that is, fight crime like Batman). 

There comes a point, in short, where caring either drives you mad or leads you inexorably to the same point as the people who didn’t care in the first place, which is probably roughly where you are right about now, gentle reader.  Yet it had to be said. 

P.S. But I promise you, somewhere out there is a fan who has not yet realized that this way lies madness and is thus rooting for a big team-up between the Helena of Earth-Two, the Helena of the late-80s Earth, the briefly-instantiated Helena of Earth-2, the cruelly-dispatched and never-seen Helena of the current main Earth, and the Helena of Earth 2, all of whom would, of course, be virtually identical. 


Franklin said...

At this point, I need to remind everyone that one purpose of DC Comics' "New 52" initiative was to make its comics more accessible, new-reader-friendly, and less complicated. Like every DC initiative since and including "Crisis on Infinite Earths," it has had the exact opposite effect. But at least DC Comics is properly named, because that's just like every initiative that has come out of the other DC (i.e., Washington).

Eric Hanneken said...

I guess DC wanted Batman to have an alternate universe daughter? How many children does he have now?

I'm a little sad to hear about Ms. Bertinelli's death myself. Cry for Blood was a great story which wouldn't have been possible if the Huntress were merely impersonating her.