Thursday, August 21, 2008

Geoff Johns...The Fixer

I come to praise Geoff Johns...not to bury him.

My Funnybook Of The Week is Legion of Three Worlds #1 by Geoff Johns and George Perez.

It was a fun read that managed to be accessible to anyone who had no background with the 5o year history of The Legion of SuperHeroes, while still having plenty of new developments for longtime fans. George Perez's art was fantastic, as usual (seriously....has George Perez ever done bad work?).

Johns is doing what he does best...untangling convoluted continuity while telling a great story.

Geoff Johns may be the best fixer working in comics today. If there's a story or event that's screwed up one of your favorite characters, you should hope and pray that Johns will get his hands on them and make it all better.

Let's take a minute and look at his track record so far:
  • Justice Society of America-After the "Zero Hour" event, these characters were basically written off as ancient anachronisms who were best suited to being cannon fodder. Johns made them major players in the DC Universe and gave them the responsibility of "making better heroes".
  • Flash-A double coup here...Johns made not only Wally West more interesting, he also explored the motivations and back stories of his Rogue's Gallery, turning simple costumed crooks into flawed, human characters.
  • Green Lantern-After "Emerald Twilight", Hal Jordan was turned into a mass-murdering villain called Parralax who died and became the Spectre for a few years. Johns not only restored him to his former glory, he rebuilt the Green Lantern Corps, orchestrated the phenomenal "Sinestro Corps War", and revamped the entire Green Lantern mythology without killing Hal's replacement Kyle Rayner.
  • Hawkman-Speaking of convoluted continuity...was Hawkman (a) archaeologist Carter Hall, (b) Thanagarian policeman Katar Hol, (c) a fusion of the Hawk Gods of Thanagar or (d) all of the above? In the pages of "JSA", Johns took the threads of all of these possibilities and wove them together into a central character that still had a history, but wasn't strangled by it.
As if this wasn't enough, he has managed to do major and minor fixes in the Superman mythos with his run on Action Comics, giving us new looks at characters like the Toyman, Prankster, General Zod, the aforementioned Legion, and currently Brainiac.

With "Legion of Three Worlds", Johns will probably simplify the mess of Legion continuity (there have been 3 different versions of the Legion in the last 50 years...each one with a mix of histories and characters.). As a bonus, there's a good chance he'll be correcting one of the worst ideas of the past few years...the death of Bart Allen.

He'll also be reintroducing Barry Allen to the mainstream DC Universe with his "Flash:Rebirth" miniseries next year.

Geoff Johns isn't a flashy writer. He's not an insane genius like Alan Moore or Grant Morrison. He doesn't write self-referential talking heads like Brian Michael Bendis. He writes solid, enjoyable comics featuring characters he obviously loves.

Don't get me wrong...I want loopy, crazy stuff like the Batman Of Zur-En-Arrrh currently running around in Morisson's Gotham City. I want the big Michael Bay adventure of "Secret Invasion". I want the spy movie feel of Ed Brubaker's "Captain America".

But when all that's over...I want the stability and inspiration of Geoff Johns...who reminds me that the Brightest Day comes after the Blackest Night.

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