Saturday, November 10, 2007

Obsidian And The Comics We See In Our Mind

When Geoff Johns installed Obsidian into The Justice Society of America, the blogosphere, once again, was somwhat unhappy.

Why? JSofA writer Geoff Johns, inexplicably threw out his playbook and suddenly became a bad person/writer and decided to ignore Obsidian's sexuality, making him The JSofA Headquarters' "security guard."

He put the stealth character in the background. Entrusting him to protect their collective history and be its first line of defense. Didn't Johns know he was allowed to explore Obsidian's sexuality?

After everything writer Marc Andreyko had done for him in the pages of Manhunter. Andreyko was the one who put Andreyko in a stable relationship. Andreyko gave him a circle of friends who accepted him for everything he was, is and could be. Andreyko made you think of him as a person.


Todd Rice, Obsidian. A good man, who smiled easily.

Todd Rice, son of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.

Todd Rice, brother of Jennie-Lyn Hayden, Jade.

Yes, Andreyko did all of this.

He installed this "anomaly" into his being.

Now, when use "anomaly," I, in no way, mean to suggest that his sexuality is anomalous. It is a part of him and should be honored.

The anomaly lies in his portrayal as being well-adjusted. Obsidian has always been, let us say, "unique" in his actions.

From his father, he inherited his powers and the desire to use them for good. From his mother, he inherited mental illness. He's always tried to find balance and in Manhunter, he found it. I was truly happy for the character.

Now, we go to the comics we see in our minds: with Obsidian's inclusion in The JSofA, many thought the threads laid down in Manhunter would be re-visited in JSofA. We'd get Todd, maybe his partner, Damon, would stop by for a visit with his father-in-law. Hell, maybe Hawkman would even walk by and the jokes would ensue.

No, what happened was Johns put the character of Obsidian literally into the background's tapestry.

The comic we saw in our head where Todd was a well-adjusted JSofA'er never came...and the internet lost a little bit of its collective sh*t.

Jump forward a few months to Justice Society of America #10 to a scene within a locked room containing a man removed, a man of steel, a Superman.

A Superman wrestling with the fact that everything he thought he knew may be absolutely wrong.

From The Man of Steel's shadow a voice assures, "They're frightened. Sometimes they get frightened easily. I don't."

Wraithlike, he explains his absence, saying he has been in the future, weaving the Shadowlands of Kingdom Come.

He assures this Superman that he has joined a society, one dedicated to helping, helping a world well worth saving. A world that is trying to become better.

Did I just read a frickin' scene where Obsidian is giving Superman clarity?

With that one scene it became very clear, Obsidian is as creepy as ever, and even better as powerful and well-adjusted, ever.

Best of all, given space, he, as a character, transcended the expectations/limitations of "the comics we saw in our mind" becoming, in my opinion, all the better for it.


Rob S. said...

This was a really cool post, Devon. I've been trying to think of something insightful to add since I read it nearly a week ago, and have come up with zip -- but I didn't want to leave it uncommented on.

Devon Sanders said...

Thanks, Rob.

I'm trying to write more but I've just got so much going on.

Thanks for commenting!