Friday, September 13, 2013

Inspiration: DC's 52



From a gamer's perspective, I enjoyed the weekly comic from DC that was called 52. Apparently, the name seems to have really struck a nerve, because the launch of the current revised timeline was and is still called New 52.

With some years' distance, I think I can see why I did. From a continuity end, it succeeded in giving a broadstroke view of the impact that super-technology and superpowers might have on the geo-political landscape. Rather than individual or super-team comics, this one gave off the feel of the movies or mini-series that have a huge cast of characters, whose plotlines criss-cross and intersect and make the world strange and wonderful and different. I had some issues, of course, with little details and odd changes in characterization.

I'll take a look at each major storyline, and how it might work with my Earth-641 setting (a combined Marvel & DC Universe milieu). Some storylines are:

Question to Question


This storyline, involving The Question (Vic Sage), the soon-to-be-new Question (Renee Montoya), and Batwoman (Kathy Kane) basically explores the activities of a super-technology criminal agency known as Intergang and their local and international dealings.

It starts in the city, but eventual ranges far around the world, crossing over into the storyline of Black Adam's emergence as a world superpower, before returning to the resolution of its own storyline.

In a superhero campaign, this type of storyline is a good inspiration and exploration of the effect of vigilante wildcards: the street-level supers who sometimes step out of their respective cities and combat organized crime on an international level.

When Everyone Is Special...


Lex Luthor, fresh from the criminal scandal that ejected him from the presidency, embarks on a special project: the ability to grant any human metahuman abilities. For this, he targets John Henry Irons.

The ability of a villain, or a corporation, to create designer metahumans is not new. However, the impact of such a thing in an ongoing timeline, and the scale of this granted of abilities, definitely raised questions: how will they be policed and controlled? who gets to decide if powers can be implemented and what powers are granted? and why is the corporation really doing this? and won't other countries and nations want in on this destabilizing technology?

And what about people with feelings of entitlement -- the ones that believe that all they need is this one thing to make themselves special, make themselves great? Wouldn't that just accelerate the potential future that we saw in Kingdom Come?

Political Power


Black Adam comes into his own by becoming the ruler of Kahndaq, and creating his own Marvel family, and expanding the political influence of his country -- banking on his own status as sovereign monarch and major supervillain -- to change the world.

This is of interest, because Superman-level heroes (and villains) do have the ability to change the world, and not just physically (but that's pretty intimidating already). How would the rest of the world deal with this kind of scenario? Would they take advantage of it? Would they treat it as another arms race? And what kind of stresses -- internal and external -- might collapse such a delicate house of cards predicated on a single, unique individual?

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