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  1. #136
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robotman View Post
    Overall I really enjoyed it. It was a great in depth retelling of Black Lightning’s origin. My only issue is that I dislike it when real world tragedies/conflicts are used in comics and a writer questions why the superheroes didn’t prevent it. Trying to show the ineptitude of superheroes because they haven’t solved world hunger or prevented a war really isn’t a fair criticism. The characters themselves are confined by the fact that they appear in ongoing stories.
    Normally I'm with you, but the conceit of the book seems to be growing with these characters through those events. They place it squarely in the 70s at the onset of the story, so it'd be weird to age through those decades with ONLY DC events, and wouldn't feel authentic to the pitch given it's about the disenfranchised during those times. For what it's worth, I think the book does a good job with having Jeff be biased so you could take the commentary more as the view of a citizen on the ground not privy to what is actually going on with the superheroes in question. Even on reflection, he was on the outside looking in for a lot of those years and didn't know Superman was going through the whole Kryptonite Nevermore thing at the time. He just knew that Superman was a thing, basically. The way Jeff speaks of the JLA are how we speak on politicians/celebrities except we know as readers the JLA are actually who they claim to be, but Jeff wouldn't at that juncture.

  2. #137
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Interesting John's wife was not referenced.
    Nor mention Crisis-since he was there.
    Wouldn't he have met Amazing Man?
    And what about that other Black Lightning that was running around briefly.
    Ridley may be using past continuity in this, but he also seems to be ignoring and rewriting a lot to better fit his story, such as the JLA and Supergirl first appearing in the 70s and 80s, rather than the 40s and 50s. I suspect Amazing Man doesn't exist in this continuity since he was retconned in later as the "first" black superhero.

  3. #138
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    I thought this was good. A nice document and I thought he used the let's say catchphrases-of-the-era, the parlance, effectively and judiciously and in a way that didn't feel super overt. Or I mean ... it was super overt but that was the point, but it didn't feel grating or cloying? One because it was a reflective opinion of a character, ostensibly dialogue or opinion. Two because he seemed to use each thing once. He used 'privilege' to describe something once, and all while still feeling it for Superman and Jeff being like "I'd learn a lot more about what Superman's really like later ..." preparing us for something cool in the next issue. His analysis of Batman is both spot on but also like ... tip of the iceberg stuff, too. The Wonder Woman stuff implies the unique fix she's often been in as far as "real world public perception", which is neat to see reflected in a street level black guy. The John Stewart stuff was the stuff that stung the most because it was great. And brutal. The Outsiders bit was pretty glorious. He used "social justice warriors" like once, used "fragility" like once. None of it felt insulting, just reflective and part of one guy's looking back on things. And it was balanced, pretty equally well, by the inner monologue of Black Lightning also reflecting on the fact that he realizes that ... actually, he had a really freaking bad attitude. For a long time. And it destroyed his marriage and messed up quite a few other things. He's a hard-working noble dude with good ideals but his bad attitude is at the core of a lot of these things. Vixen was the thing that really shined a mirror on his whole bad attitude angle, too.

    That's it in a nutshell. It's a really nice character study. As usual with comics trying to work in real world timescales can't possibly work, but while I was thinking that to myself I was also thinking "yeah but it's still nice to see the Publication History treated as the character's chronology," so it's just a thing where it's used for the storytelling and you just ride with it, and I didn't mind the reflectiveness of what was happening in the world when those issues came out. The JLA and Supergirl I think both entered the scene in 1960 on the dot. The Silver Age, ostensibly, started in '59 with Barry and Hal. Martian was earlier in the 50s and was dusted off for it. Aquaman Vol. 1 spun out of Adventure Comics more trite tales in 1960 as well. 11 years later ... John Stewart '71. Six years after that, Black Lightning '77. Three years later, Cyborg, 1980. One year later, Vixen, '81. Killer Croc, '83.

    I lay that out because MAL DUNCAN ... 1970. One year before John Stewart. But that younger generation, ahead of their peers in that regard. The actual "FIRST BLACK ANYTHING" in this shindig. (Black Manta is '67 but he was faceless and not revealed to be black until '74, plus he's a horrible role model. Notable as the first black super-villain who's properly a diabolical arch villain, yeah.)

    I liked the art, too. Static images for sure. Like a scrapbook. Totally okay with that. Felt very '80s.
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  4. #139
    Astonishing Member HsssH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    Normally I'm with you, but the conceit of the book seems to be growing with these characters through those events. They place it squarely in the 70s at the onset of the story, so it'd be weird to age through those decades with ONLY DC events, and wouldn't feel authentic to the pitch given it's about the disenfranchised during those times. For what it's worth, I think the book does a good job with having Jeff be biased so you could take the commentary more as the view of a citizen on the ground not privy to what is actually going on with the superheroes in question. Even on reflection, he was on the outside looking in for a lot of those years and didn't know Superman was going through the whole Kryptonite Nevermore thing at the time. He just knew that Superman was a thing, basically. The way Jeff speaks of the JLA are how we speak on politicians/celebrities except we know as readers the JLA are actually who they claim to be, but Jeff wouldn't at that juncture.
    I think the issue is not the usage of real world events in itself, but that they are used to provide commentary on other characters, especially JLA and Superman. Superman and JLA don't solve real world issue not because they are out of touch or they don't want to be political, but because DC (and Marvel for their characters) has decided decades ago that their characters should not significantly change the world and that it should always remain recognizable to us. It is not a flaw of the character and shouldn't be treated as such.

  5. #140
    Mighty Member chamber-music's Avatar
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    Jefferson's opinion was obviously from an jaded disenfranchised outsider looking in.

    Direct superhero intervention in a foreign conflict would be a political minefield and lead to all sorts of complications and ramifications. I suppose stuff like Red Son and Watchmen touch on that kind of thing a bit.

    It was interesting to see Jefferson written from the old school sort of religious, macho fronting, hard knocks conservative point that many men of that generation had. It is not the way I would like to see Jefferson written all the time but it was interesting to see a superhero with that point of view walk through DC history.
    Last edited by chamber-music; 11-25-2020 at 10:13 AM.

  6. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    Ridley may be using past continuity in this, but he also seems to be ignoring and rewriting a lot to better fit his story, such as the JLA and Supergirl first appearing in the 70s and 80s, rather than the 40s and 50s. I suspect Amazing Man doesn't exist in this continuity since he was retconned in later as the "first" black superhero.
    Jeff wasn't around in the 40s-50s. Also if Supergirl popped up in the then-Jeff's view of Superman would be different.
    Also Justice League was already around and Superman nor Bats were the first members.

    Direct superhero intervention in a foreign conflict would be a political minefield and lead to all sorts of complications and ramifications. I suppose stuff like Red Son and Watchmen touch on that kind of thing a bit.
    We have seen super heroes be involved in stuff like that.

    What did Spider-Man teach us? Great Power mean great responsibility.

    Peter let a crook run by him and that crook killed Uncle Ben. Static let Wade go and drug dealers killed Wade.
    Would Superman or Supergirl just watch that plane crash into the Twin Towers on 911?

    Would Steel do nothing and let guns he made be sold to black gangs because of politics?

    Would Aquaman excuse the Valdez oil spill?

    Freedom Beast was born because of politics in Africa.

    Cyborg would NOT let Detroit's water say deadly if he found out it was deadly.

    Vixen is NOT going to stand there and let a cop kneel on George Floyd's neck for 9 minutes. Don't let Jakeem Thunder be standing there.

    Jefferson's point is you can not cherry pick when you want to be a HERO. Because you don't know WHAT could lead to something bigger.

  7. #142
    Incredible Member OopsIdiditagain's Avatar
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    Jeff took his time roasting John, wow.
    december 21st has passed where are my superpowers?

  8. #143
    Incredible Member OopsIdiditagain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Jeff wasn't around in the 40s-50s. Also if Supergirl popped up in the then-Jeff's view of Superman would be different.
    Also Justice League was already around and Superman nor Bats were the first members.



    We have seen super heroes be involved in stuff like that.

    What did Spider-Man teach us? Great Power mean great responsibility.

    Peter let a crook run by him and that crook killed Uncle Ben. Static let Wade go and drug dealers killed Wade.
    Would Superman or Supergirl just watch that plane crash into the Twin Towers on 911?

    Would Steel do nothing and let guns he made be sold to black gangs because of politics?

    Would Aquaman excuse the Valdez oil spill?

    Freedom Beast was born because of politics in Africa.

    Cyborg would NOT let Detroit's water say deadly if he found out it was deadly.

    Vixen is NOT going to stand there and let a cop kneel on George Floyd's neck for 9 minutes. Don't let Jakeem Thunder be standing there.

    Jefferson's point is you can not cherry pick when you want to be a HERO. Because you don't know WHAT could lead to something bigger.
    People already call the USA World Police, Superman acting like one wouldn't help.
    december 21st has passed where are my superpowers?

  9. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by HsssH View Post
    I think the issue is not the usage of real world events in itself, but that they are used to provide commentary on other characters, especially JLA and Superman. Superman and JLA don't solve real world issue not because they are out of touch or they don't want to be political, but because DC (and Marvel for their characters) has decided decades ago that their characters should not significantly change the world and that it should always remain recognizable to us. It is not a flaw of the character and shouldn't be treated as such.
    I agree with that. I can understand the writer taking a different approach, but he probably should have avoided that angle to be fair.

  10. #145
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    Jeff wasn't around in the 40s-50s. Also if Supergirl popped up in the then-Jeff's view of Superman would be different.
    Also Justice League was already around and Superman nor Bats were the first members.
    Yup, he's rewriting things to suit the story, which is probably for the best. Cooke did something similar with New Frontier. Having Robin debut in the 50s was the best choice for the story he was telling, even if it contradicted the comics themselves.

  11. #146
    Amazing Member Toonstrack's Avatar
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    Gotta say I loved this.... like a lot. Glad to see them show a protagonist express views and then admit they were wrong later in the story. Its amazing how much depth it can add. Not to mention just being well written in general, and art duties were very nice.

    Id like to see more stuff like this but im not sure about the characters they are heading towards next. Katana will likely be good but Mal Duncan just bores me and always has, maybe thats my ignorance

  12. #147
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toonstrack View Post
    Gotta say I loved this.... like a lot. Glad to see them show a protagonist express views and then admit they were wrong later in the story. Its amazing how much depth it can add. Not to mention just being well written in general, and art duties were very nice.

    Id like to see more stuff like this but im not sure about the characters they are heading towards next. Katana will likely be good but Mal Duncan just bores me and always has, maybe thats my ignorance
    See what worked best for me is that while he admits he had it wrong, he never apologized for how he felt because... he wasn't wrong to feel that way. Yeah, the JLA aren't dealing with street pushers in Suicide Slum but they're not just sitting by idly. All their pain and complications doesn't change that the 100 are ravaging the streets Jefferson is fighting so hard to protect. I think Ridley handled it well.

    You may be glad to hear that Ridley has expressed he feels Mal wasn't fully realized (whereas Karen he felt is a stronger character) so that gives me hope that he'll inject something in Mal that will make him a more interesting character. While I like Anissa, Rene and Karen (sorry Mal, I too found you a bit on the dull side) I am extremely excited to read Ridley's take on Katana.

  13. #148
    Amazing Member Toonstrack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    See what worked best for me is that while he admits he had it wrong, he never apologized for how he felt because... he wasn't wrong to feel that way. Yeah, the JLA aren't dealing with street pushers in Suicide Slum but they're not just sitting by idly. All their pain and complications doesn't change that the 100 are ravaging the streets Jefferson is fighting so hard to protect. I think Ridley handled it well.

    You may be glad to hear that Ridley has expressed he feels Mal wasn't fully realized (whereas Karen he felt is a stronger character) so that gives me hope that he'll inject something in Mal that will make him a more interesting character. While I like Anissa, Rene and Karen (sorry Mal, I too found you a bit on the dull side) I am extremely excited to read Ridley's take on Katana.

    Yea again, my knowledge on Mal is very limited, but even in the YJ show he bored me to tears. Bumblebee however Ive felt has always had potential. Mya or may not pick that up, but I am almost certainly down for some Katana stuff.

    Renee Montoya, eh. I dont know if she really needs a solo like this unlrss it focuses on her being Question. But I'm sure Renee fans are happy.

  14. #149
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toonstrack View Post
    Yea again, my knowledge on Mal is very limited, but even in the YJ show he bored me to tears. Bumblebee however Ive felt has always had potential. Mya or may not pick that up, but I am almost certainly down for some Katana stuff.

    Renee Montoya, eh. I dont know if she really needs a solo like this unlrss it focuses on her being Question. But I'm sure Renee fans are happy.
    I'll admit I would have been happier two years ago but I'm still a bit salty that she hijacked Lois Lane's book. It's petty but I can't help the way I feel. Dammit, Rucka!

  15. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post

    What did Spider-Man teach us? Great Power mean great responsibility.
    An aphorism.

    I must admit, while I like any good nerd love the old Stan Lee one-liner from Uncle Ben, it's an aphorism that I don't think has a lot of real clarity. What does Ben Parker mean when he says that? "With great power comes great responsibility." In this usage, great indicates scale. But what does he mean when he says "power", and what does he mean when he says "responsibility" - because both of those concepts are scalable, nebulous, and frankly mean different things to every single individual and organism and atom in existence.

    Does he mean to imply that with "Great Strength comes the need for Restraint"? No. But it's a totally legit interpretation. It's also basically the Superman Argument, and thus, by extension, the JLA argument. Superman has the most POWER in the comic book "POWERS" sense, and thus has a responsibility to save the Earth from cosmic threats, but then you get the grey line of "does he have a responsibility to save the world from itself?" Which is nice when they juggle every once in a while but makes pretty boring Superman stories.

    Or does he mean to imply that with "Great Influence comes the need to Influence Others, Positively"? The Wealthy Savior - but I don't necessarily mean "financially wealthy", although that's one tact one might take, one takeaway somebody might get. Money = Power, thus Wealth = Responsibility, a slippery slope away from "I am entitled to make decisions for those with less." He's so strong, but how could Spidey, a 16 year old kid, be responsible for the actions and safety of so many others? Grown-ass adults? Officials! Scientists! You name it. He can't be. Initially he couldn't even be tried as an adult.

    Or did he mean "With Great Competence & Ability Comes a Need to Step Up and Do Good and Fight Evil Where Other Men Dare Not?" THIS is of course what Ben Parker meant. It's a variation of the "Evil wins when good men do nothing" philosophy. This is an old bit of noble acumen that's not necessarily distilled down to its purest, most articulate, unable to be misconstrued reduction, but it's part of HERO TALES back beyond the Middle Ages and earlier, the notion of STEPPING UP, basically. We use words like noble, self-sacrificing, step up, do the right thing, and on down the line. But it's ostensibly more about like ... be the OPPOSITE of a BULLY. If you're bigger, tougher, smarter, more capable than the other guy ... don't punch down. Hell, defend the rest.

    Captain America symbolizes this, too. Generally speaking, Super-Heroes who wear RED & BLUE almost ALWAYS represent this. Superman, Captain America, Spider-Man, Supergirl. It's as likely to be the case as a Super-Villain that wears GREEN & PURPLE being a Mad Scientist/Diabolical Genius.
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