Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Guess Who's Back

As you may be aware by now, the Tasmanian Devil has reappeared in the DCU in the pages of last week's Starman/Congorilla one-shot and I for one am glad. As I mentioned in Sunday's Cocktail post, however, it does sort of make a mockery of Blackest Night's raison d'etre.

Cast your mind back to May 2009 and Dan Didio said the following in an interview over at Newsarama:
Following Blackest Night, I think that death is a trick we will not be using very often – or at all for a long, long time.
To be fair to the man he did follow that up with never say never but there's a definite sense there that the death of a character wasn't something that would be used lightly.

Now fast forward a couple of months and the much-hyped (and much-derided) Justice League: Cry for Justice lands in our boxes. In it, the uber-villain Prometheus wanders round killing various heroes, many off-panel, and eventually blows up huge chunks of Star City, thus causing the death of Lian Harper, daughter of Red Arrow.

One of those heroes killed by Prometheus when he was travelling in Europe was Tasmanian Devil as the villain explained to Ira Quimby:

Justice League: Cry for Justice #3
That's Prometheus decapitating Global Guardians member Gloss. Note that he says he built up "quite a head count" as he went along. On the very same page, he encounters Taz, another member of the Guardians:

The implication there is that Prometheus killed Taz - that blade he's wielding appears to almost cut him in half - and then reveals that his rug is Taz's skin. The poor bugger was killed and turned into furniture. Ignominious to say the least.

With that in mind, anyone reading the Starman/Congorilla one-shot could be forgiven for being surprised at his return . . . which is pleasing, nonetheless. So how come he's back? Well, turns out he wasn't killed after all. Congorilla's friend Malavar (whom he and the others are searching for in the one-shot) had been captured by Prometheus and reveals that he had been looking for a Lazarus Pit in order to restore poor old Taz.

You may, at this point, be wondering what the connection is between Taz and Malavar. As Malavar himself says:

Uh-huh. Captured and stripped of his flesh. Well, that explains the rug Prometheus has, I suppose. Captured, though? Sure, if he hadn't been shown being killed in Europe.

Imprisoned near Malavar "floating in some kind of preserving liquid"? Really?

That's Prometheus's lab in Justice League: Cry for Justice and, I'm sorry Malavar, but I don't see anyone "near" you at the back there.

As nice as it is to see Taz back in action, his return has been handled clumsily to say the least in a sort of "He wasn't dead at all, he was just pretending," manner that seems a little childish. As snell over at Slay, Monstrobot wonders, this may be an apology by James Robinson for killing Taz in such an off-hand and cheap fashion but why bother?

Again, I'm glad to see Taz returned to the DCU but what part does he fulfill that couldn't be filled by another character, even a new one that Robinson creates? The DCU is more than happy to embrace legacy characters so maybe some long forgotten friend or relative of Taz could have joined up with Malavar to ensure Taz's death wouldn't be in vain. Why bring Taz back in such a sloppy, easily ridiculed manner when it could have been any other character in his place?

Despite Didio's best intentions, death has been used as a trick not even a year after then end of Blackest Night.

And not a very good trick, either.


  1. "what part does he fulfill that couldn't be filled by another character, even a new one that Robinson creates?"

    He was DC's highest profile gay hero, and its first. That's a bit of a history that cannot be replaced by a new character.

  2. Hey, Scipio - thanks for dropping by!

    I agree that Taz has huge historical significance as DC's first gay hero, but from a story point of view, that's not really relevant.

    For all that he did in this issue, it could have been any other character from the DCU, new or established.


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