Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Hate Wasted Opportunities

...and I just noticed a big one. I was thinking about "Rock of Ages", the classic JLA storyline from the mid-90s penned by Grant Morrison. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, it involves Lex Luthor reforming (or forming--DC continuity was still a little unsettled back then) the Injustice Gang as a group of "all-star" villains to take on Morrison's "all-star" JLA. Luthor has an ace up his sleeve, too, in the form of a powerful artifact called the Philosopher's Stone with reality-warping powers.

But even as most of the League takes on the Injustice Gang, a few heroes have gotten shanghaied by Metron to the future, where it turns out that Darkseid has taken over the world and enslaved its populace into mindless drones with his Anti-Life Equations. Worse yet, it turns out that the cause of all this was the destruction of the Philosopher's Stone at the hands of the JLA...defeating the Injustice Gang in the present is the beginning of Darkseid's ultimate triumph.

Needless to say, it's all resolved well. The heroes escape back to the past and stop Superman from crushing the Philosopher's Stone, the JLA defeat the Injustice Gang anyway, and everything is right with the world.

Now, fast forward a little over a decade. Morrison's star has risen, fallen, and once more risen with DC, and he's in position to write what they're marketing as the ultimate crossover, the big Darkseid epic to end all big Darkseid epics, the so-called "Final Crisis". In it, Darkseid's plans are finally coming to their ultimate fruition; he's got the Anti-Life Equation, he's destroyed or corrupted the New Gods, and he's ready to crush all free will in the universe and turn everyone on Earth into his mindless drones. And of course, the only thing that can stop him is...

Wait, what? The Miracle Machine? Seriously, Morrison? You ignore an absolutely perfect piece of foreshadowing that you yourself set up eleven years in advance in order to stick in an obscure continuity reference that only a handful of fans will even recognize?

Alright, nobody ever gets to complain about Mark Waid's hard-on for the Silver Age ever again.


hilker said...

The Worlogog/Philosopher's Stone/Element X is the final component Superman uses to assemble the Miracle Machine.

Anonymous said...

Either way, it looks like we loose. Reference a 40 year old unknown story point as part of the climax of your story, or reference an equally unknown story point that you created that is only 11 years old. I don't know if it's just me, but with the Philosopher's Stone, if he had used that, it would have seemed to me at the very least that he had been writing some 11 year long story arc. And already, there are all these comics that are allegedly required reading before you can read Final Crisis. Using a deus ex machina from a comic book in the mid 90s would just add insult to injury.
Either way, we end up with a writer using elements from comics that the majority of the readers, either actual readers or the people who we want to be reading, are not familiar with. Granted, i haven't read Final Crisis, so for all i know, it is handled very well and isn't at all continuity porn that you must be familiar with to enjoy the story.

Brian said...

Keep in mind that Morrison didn't invent the Worlogog: Kirby himself invented it in the third(?) SUPER POWERS miniseries back in the early eighties, and Morrison brought it back and tinkered with the original as he is wont to do.

I'm trying to remember where exactly it went to after Hourman III chose to discard it, though.

Kal said...

I am so anti-Morrison for the crap he has done over the past several years (especially in the Bat Universe) that I can no longer stomach the half stories that he puts down on paper. All the good he has written in the past is overshadowed by his HUBRIS and his contempt for those of us who love comics.

Lawson said...

wasn't the Worlogog used, explained and then destroyed by another writer in Justice League Elite?