If you'd pressed me a couple of years ago about motifs inherent in the work of DC's omnipresent in-house fan-scribe Geoff Johns, I'd feel pretty comfortable in skipping "bomber jackets" and going right to "ripped off arms being shoved through people's chests." Commonly mistaking violence for conflict and increasing gore for narrative, Johns' achievements in comics writing can almost literally be ranked by bodycount - up to a point.
When he was called upon - a few years ago, now - to be part of the canonical fanfiction being produced by editorial fiat in the DC test kitchen, Johns had to undertake the role of a man charged with reconceptualizing characters from the ground up. This was not his strong point - much the opposite, in fact, Johns was happiest when he was recreating the comics of his childhood, except peppered with an excess of violence and a thin ground-cover of absurdly chaste romantic relationships, hallmarks of the mildly-bright arrested adolescent.
So what do you do when you're a writer of Johns' caliber and you're told to really shake things up? Why, you become a contrarian, of course!
You know how Aquaman talks to fish, right?
You remember how Billy Batson is a super-nice kid?
Well you remember that Dr.Sivana is a twisted, ugly little man, right?
Well anyway, you recall how Mogo Doesn't Socialize...
Etcetera. It is literally all he's got*, so in the spirit of helping him keep going, here are some other contrarian poses he might consider striking in upcoming series:
- Batman decides that criminals are a courageous and skeptical lot, so he adopts the disguise of a harmless small mammal hoping that they will merely underestimate him.
- Wonder Woman's home of Paradise Island actually isn't all that great - has crabgrass, loud neighbors, just forty yards from the overpass (also not an island). Amazons just really sarcastic.
- Most of the Teen Titans are indeed teenagers, but very slightly-built. Not titanic at all.
- Flash so slow it merely LOOKS fast.
- Justice "League" more of a squad.
- What if instead of shrinking real small, the Atom grew real big. Wait, Robinson did that one, okay - what if Superman wore his underwear under his... - that too? Shit.
- Bottle city of Kandor actually an exurban development, and it's a jug.
- Instead of arms getting ripped off, what if it's legs?
*I kid, he's still got gore and dumb violence.