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DC Universe: Decisions #2

DC Universe: Decisions #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 1, 2008

Cover date: November 2008

"Chapter Two: The Great Debate"

Writer: Judd Winick and Bill Willingham
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: Alex Bleyaert

Reviewed by: Barry Freiman

Click to enlarge

In flashback, it's explained that America is the first country in recorded history where a nation's power was voluntarily transferred by vote of its citizens. Our forefathers envisioned debate but for the debaters to listen to one another.

In the present, that's not working out so well. Hal Jordan is berating Green Arrow for sticking his nose into the campaign. The argument escalates into a fistfight sans powers, which is broken up by Black Canary.

Elsewhere, in a dark room, there is a wall of weird filled with pictures of all the candidates running for office. A hand reaches up, pulls down one of the photos and says "It's your turn."

Superman and Batman remain focused on the assassination plot. Superman's super-hearing picks up the sound of the television. Guy Gardner has now endorsed candidate Bob Ridgeway, a conservative.

Lois Lane is upset she's covering this story. She believes the focus on the super-heroes detracts from the candidates and the real issues.

All over the DCU, heroes are suddenly endorsing candidates - even those who may not be able to vote like Hawkman (who may or may not be a Thanagarian depending on the week). Lois finishes interviewing Hawkman and notes to the camera that the most venerable of heroes have remained silent - Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman.

Candidate Bob Ridgeway is at a rally and he's got Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Power Girl, and Zatanna as bodyguards, along with his actual bodyguards.

A woman opens her jacket and she has a bomb. Power Girl grabs her away from Ridgeway while GL creates a wall to protect Ridgeway and defuses the bomb. The secret service bodyguards, meanwhile, do their bit to protect Ridgeway. But one of them has been possessed by whatever's been possessing these would-be assassins, and he turns his gun on Bob Ridgeway. Another agent jumps in the way and takes the bullet. He dies.

Superman arrives and GL tells him he's sealed the building while Zatanna uses magic to keep everyone calm. GL thinks whoever controlled the assassins has to be in the vicinity. He wants Batman to come and look over the entire building. Superman hears a news feed and tells GL that it looks like Batman's going to be late. Bruce Wayne is on stage officially endorsing candidate Martin Suarez.

To be continued...

3Story - 3: First off, we could really use a Presidential Candidate Roll Call. I don't even know if we've been told what the parties are in the DCU or how many candidates are running. Or if there's still a Tomorrow Party, the party Luthor ran under. And even if we were told in the first issue and I'm not remembering, a reminder would be nice. These are new characters and, like every good politician, very interchangeable at their core. I get that they are meant to represent extremes, but I don't feel those extremes have been defined nearly enough.

I agree with Neal's review last issue that superheroes can be viewed as either super-liberal or super-conservative. "Justice League Unlimited" examined the fascist overtones of being a super-team in its now classic "Cadmus Arc" and ultimately the heroes decided that the Earth needs the League. But, Superman announced the League would come down closer to Earth and sure enough, in the next season, they weren't just the gods in the watchtower looking down on the little people, they were in various headquarters all over the planet.

Opening up the DCU to heroes endorsing candidates (much as celebrities do on our Earth), on a basic level, there's no reason they shouldn't state their beliefs. They - well most of them - are Americans eligible to vote. But it was only Bruce Wayne who got it right. There's a time and place for heroes to express their personal beliefs - and that's sans tights in their secret identities. The heroes won't vote. Their alter egos will.

Of course, in Bruce's case, I'm sure it's only his way of staying close to a potential assassination attempt and not to really express any belief other than he's a fop with money to throw behind a candidate.

Finally, in the interests of fairness, Neal laid out his political beliefs in the last review. I will do the same: I am proudly voting for Obama on Election Day. That isn't a knee-jerk vote for the Democrat just because he's a Democrat. Like Sarah Palin, Obama brings a freshness to politics. Unlike Sarah Palin, Obama's educated and experienced in the realities of politics. He's a lawyer who's actually studied the law and understands the President's role under a system of checks and balances. He has actually studied the Constitution in detail as every law student must. Like Obama, I don't believe in the strict construction of the Constitution - it is a living, breathing document that should be interpreted in the context of the times we live in.

And Obama brings experience to the table - he's got Joe Biden, a professional outspoken and respected politician for years. And, unlike Senator McCain, Biden's beliefs don't seem to have changed since beginning the campaign. Choosing Biden fills me with confidence that President Obama will fill his Cabinet with people just as experienced and ready to tackle the many problems this country now faces.

I am a liberal Democrat and it peeves me to no end that the word liberal has somehow become a dirty word in Washington. I'm for anything that doesn't hurt anyone else basically. Anti-gun. Pro-choice. Anti-death penalty except in extreme cases. Universal health care. Less money for defense and more for education and health. Pro-gay marriage and pro the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. I'm for a medium sized government that prioritizes its domestic social agenda. I'm generally anti-war but very supportive of our troops and want them home. I believe it's OK to raise taxes but that the wealthy should bear a proportionally higher tax burden.

Whatever your views, whether you agree with Neal, me, or neither of us, register to vote (deadlines for registration are fast approaching and differ state-to-state) and vote. I'm 44 and lived through Watergate, Reaganomics, and Monica. It's easy to be cynical. But, as Superman fans, we know it's much easier to believe.

5Art - 5: There's nothing I can say about Howard Porter's talent that hasn't already been said. So I won't.

5Cover Art - 5: Who better to represent the chaos that would ensue if heroes went public with their political beliefs than the erratic, opinionated Guy Gardner? DC Comics gets a 0 out of 5, however, for not including the cover artist's name anywhere in the book. I had to go to DC's website to find it out. Give the guy some credit DC - he's good.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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