So this is the big New Gods event that Countdown is leading up to. How dull.
As huge a Fourth World fan as I am, I'm not getting worked up over the 'death' itself - we all know those characters will return within five years. I may even buy the series - Starlin's done quite a bit of good work (although the artwork in this article looks absolutely wretched, I have to say).
I'm not even going to take part in the outrage when the female (Big Barda & Granny Goodness) and black (Vykyn, Shilo Norman, The Black Racer) characters 'die'.
What I do find wearisome, however, is the rationale for this series' existence:
"Since Kirby's initial run on the characters others have presented them with mixed results. Looking back I'd say at least half of the past New Gods series have done more harm than good. So for me, Death of the New Gods is half honoring Jack Kirby, half mercy killing."
This is, of course, completely true. The New Gods have rarely been handled well. But then, you could say the same for Superman, Batman, whatever character. Most superhero comics through most of their history have been pretty terrible, and completely missing the point of an established character seems to have been par for the course for at least the last twenty years.
But that's not the point. The point is, the characters still have tons of potential, as Grant Morrison proved in Seven Soldiers and Rock Of Ages. I'm sure Mark Waid, or Dwayne MacDuffie, or Gail Simone, or Kurt Busiek, or Starlin himself, or Keith Giffen or any of a hundred other pretty good superhero writers could do some interesting fun stuff with the characters. And if you can't get a good comic out of the characters, just don't use them, and wait until the next Morrison or Moore or whoever comes along with the Perfect Big Idea for them.
Because whether it's the latest hot young creator wanting to use them, or a change of editorial policy, or even just people forgetting this series was written and using Darkseid without remembering he's dead, these characters will be used again. The only thing this series will achieve in that respect is to make a Geoff Johns Special continuity wank-fest miniseries necessary before anyone with a good idea for the characters can use them.
Like I say, it may be a good comic on its own terms, and I'll probably pick up the first issue at least, but it's indicative of a fundamental error in DC's editorial stance (and I'll repeat, I think they're doing more right than wrong overall). With these 'sandbox' characters - the characters that don't have their own titles but which provide part of the shared background for the DCU - the policy should be 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Instead, the policy in recent years seems to be "if it ain't broke, break it".
Incidentally, the interview suggests that Lightray's death (and Darkseid's plot?) will be things that won't be dealt with in Countdown at all, but will be dealt with in this mini. Is Countdown going to have any plot of its own, or is it only going to be trailers for miniseries and deleted scenes from ongoing titles?
Geoff Johns has essentially built his career on fixing mistakes made by DC editorial in the 90s. DC seem bent on giving him, or someone like him, plenty to do for the next decade.