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5 Things I Think I Know: The "There Can Be Only One" Edition

Written by ElijahSnowFan on Monday, July 11 2011 and posted in Columns

ElijahSnowFan channels his inner Highlander in this week's Five Things I Think I Know!

 The Long and Winding Preamble
"The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door." -- The Beatles, "The Long & Winding Road"

Well, well. With that classic opening about existential travel as the open, where, or where, Faithful Reader, is "5 Things" taking you in this week's journey?

To the sad state known as Regret, where the forecast is cloudy and somber. A place where closure is yearned for by all, but rarely received by any.

Yes, it's time to loop back to what DC's doing this fall...and how, upon reflection, I wish DC was going...farther. Because "5 Things" prefers scorched earth over bouquets of flowers, I actually wish DC really was wiping the slate clean, ending the current continuity of every character and franchise they are currently publishing, and starting all 52 books with no backstory whatsoever.

Why would I want to do that? Why toss aside all of the fine work Grant Morrison has done with Batman, or Geoff Johns with Green Lantern, and so forth?

Because, once, just once, when a comics line goes through a reboot, it would be nice to see those final battles that, in some cases, we've waited decades to see...but never have. For all those years of waiting, where the heroes and villains have seen that proverbial road before, knowing it leads them to the same old door, it would be nice to finally throw it open and see what happens.

Superman vs. Lex Luthor. Batman vs. The Joker. Green Lantern vs. Sinestro. Flash II vs. Captain Cold.

Deathstroke vs. the Titans. Captain Marvel vs. Black Adam. Wonder Woman vs. Cheetah.

Despero vs. the Justice League. Vandal Savage and Solomon Grundy and the Injustice Society vs. Alan Scott and Jay Garrick and the Justice Society. And so on, and so forth.

Yes, it would be weird, with having all of these franchises winding down at the same time, all of them having "The Battle to End All Battles" as the end to their respective books.

But think of the storytelling potential. Since we all know that many, if not all, of these characters/concepts/franchises will return at some point, think of the kinds of stories readers could've gotten.

Again, stop and think for a second. If you had one last sequence of issues for a franchise, think of the stories we could've gotten.

Make no mistake: It could have been epic.

For myself, that's what I regret most about this reboot. Not what is to come -- being an adult, being pragmatic, means that I know this about the upcoming 52 relaunches: Some will fail. Some will succeed. Some will surprise. Some will disappoint. wash, rinse, repeat. We can, and will, discuss later the "why" behind all of those things happening, but we already know each of those things will happen.

Why this matters to me at all is because, as an unabashed fan of DC's Animated Universe that came to a close with the final airing of "Justice League Unlimited," I realize the power of seeing the final battle.

For instance, who wasn't totally freaked out in "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker," the final battle between Batman and the Joker was recounted? How utterly creepy Tim Drake was after the Joker tortured him in Arkham? How brutal that final confrontation was?

Or, in the "Justice League Unlimited" episode "Wake the Dead," when a chaos-magic enraged Solomon Grundy had to be put down? How Grundy, who was nothing more than a vessel of rage, still evoked pity just before Shayera would've given the killing blow?

Or, after years/episodes of torment by Darkseid, Superman and the God of Evil finally got it on for what certainly felt like the final time in the second season premeire of "Justice League"? You know the one: The sequence so powerful that Bruce Freaking Timm decided to storyboard it himself. Who didn't get chills when Darkseid stepped on Kal-El's head and told him that he belonged beneath his heel? Only for Superman to blow a hole through it with his heat vision? A battle that ended with Darkseid calling Superman, "Loser" -- before being blown into atoms?

Or the best of them all: When Brainiac and Luthor merged at the end of the war with Project Cadmus, with the earth about to be assimilated, when the Flash had one of the single coolest sequences I've ever seen in animation, when he literally pulled all of the Dark Heart/Brainiac shell out of Luthor?

See, that's what I'm talking about. That's what I, as a reader, would've wanted to see, just this once. If DC had chosen to give us a totally clean slate with the reboot, we still could've had a younger Hal Jordan and a revamped Superman and so on and so forth. Those things would've been available, and the stories told would not have been severely impacted -- for instance, if you ended this volume of Green Lantern, would anybody have wept if we never saw Parallax again?


So, with that in mind, wishing DC would've ended this era of comics with some final showdowns, "5 Things I Think I Know" counts down which showdowns I would've most liked to have seen...and how I would've liked to have seen them go down. (Obviously, most of them are above, but still...)

"5 Things I Think I Know," The "There Can Be Only One" Edition

5. "This is for sleeping with a teenager, you a-hole!": Ah, yes. Deathstroke vs. the Titans, to the death. Look, people. We can go round and round about it, but let's be honest: There is blood between these two, and scores absolutely needed to be settled in this one. I mean, seriously: How in the hell do you let Slade Wilson walk around, knowing your secret identities, after "The Judas Contract?" That was about as foul as it gets, people. Yeah, we can go into revisionist history and talk about how crazy Terra was, but let's not forget the reason Deathstroke even took on the Titans was because the first Ravager, his son, failed in his contract to terminate the team -- a failure that cost him his life. Again, for emphasis: There is blood between Deathstroke and the Titans. That one needed to be settled, and if it was, I could see Deathstroke killing half the damn team, if not more -- as much as I hate to admit it, Slade Wilson has always been freaking tough, and if it got down to it, not all of the Titans would walk away. At all.

4. "Now you know who's the greatest Green Lantern of them all!": Hey, I already know this one already happened...but to me, it doesn't count because Hal Jordan was crazy as hell. No, people, this one needed to be settled in the here and now, with Hal Jordan still hella pissed that Sinestro turned Parallax loose in the first place. I mean, seriously...just look at everything Sinestro's done since "Rebirth." He's got a corps. Hal Jordan's a member of a corps. As always, "The Highlander Rule" applies: There can be only one. And to be honest? I don't KNOW that Hal Jordan should've survived. Maybe Sinestro really was the greatest Green Lantern of them all. Maybe his will was greater than Hal Jordan's. Here's what I know: I'd like to find out.

3. "My really can't be saved.": You know, as it became clear that DC's collective creator-crush on Black Adam meant that Captain Marvel was never going to be an equal, I grew more and more angry. Why? Because Black Adam wasn't some "antihero." He was a killer. Pure and simple. They kept trying to make it seem like there was some flawed nobility there, but the long and winding road always took Black Adam back to where he was before: killing and killing and killing. It would've been nice to finally have Billy Batson regain his powers, recognize that Black Adam was NEVER going to change, and then, those two needed to punch each other to solve the world's problems. Maybe Billy survives. Maybe he doesn't. But that battle between innocence and hope versus evil and rage needed to be fought...and sadly, it likely never will be.

2. "Why, Luthor? Why?": Oh, yes. The Man of Steel finally needs to come to grips with the fact that Lex Luthor is a mad dog when it comes to him. Luthor needed to come to grips that Clark Kent was Superman, and he needed to kill EVERYBODY who ever knew that. And then, the final battle should've taken place. Hey, I know how this one turns out: The Big Blue Boy Scout's walking away in that one. But boy, I would've liked to have seen how we got there. Wouldn't you, Faithful Reader?

1. "Laugh, damn you! LAUGH! HaHaHaHaHa!!!!!": Batman vs. The Joker. The Final Battle. Written by either Grant Morrison or Alan Moore or Paul Dini. Yeah, I readily acknowledge I saw it in animation. But I absolutely would not have minded seeing it in narrative form. No more need be said, right? Needs to happen. Truly, it does. The Joker...has much to answer for.

So, what final battles would you like to have seen? I'd love to know! As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read "5 Things," and I'll try to be better next week!

Written or Contributed by: ElijahSnowFan

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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