Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Great Vigilante reread: Vigilante Southland 2016

Here we are at the end of the road.  So after Dorian Chase's viiglante ended.  There was no more Vigilante.

The New 52 had Pat Trayce make a couple of appearances in the Deathstroke title.

But 2016 was a very good year.  DC wound back some of their New 52 changes with Rebirth and brought back some of the iconic versions of characters.

For Season 5 of Arrow it was announced that Adrian Chase and Vigilante would appear.

And DC announces that there is a new Vigilante series Vigilante Southland, which used the Vigilante logo from Adrian Chase's series.

Could it be that Adrian Chase was being ressurrected?  It seemed possible.

Instead we got a new Vigilante Donny Fairchild in a six issue miniseries written by Gary Phillips and art by Elana Casagrande.  However only the first three issues were released in floppies and the other half of the series was a trade exclusive.

It seems that poor reviews and sales killed the series but at least the entire series was released in a trade paperback.

When the series came out I pointed out some of the problems I had with the series as the continuity was a little hard to follow ie the main character shaves his head between panels.  and this reread was a much soomther experience knowing some of these things but I needed to have muddled through it the first time figure out what was going on,

In many ways the story reminded me of the Howard Chaykin Miniseries Midnight Men (for Marvel's Heavy Hitter line).  Donny Fairchild has no connection to any previous Vigilante (including the original Greg Saunders)  but there seems to be a group of vigilantes operating in LA, Donny's girlfriend Dorrie Smallwood wears a similar outfit and is killed at the start of the story.  As far as I can tell she never uses a codename like Vigilante.

Her mentor Mike Relagardo, used the indentity of the Eastsider 20 years ago before he was shot and paralysed.  I like the idea of a legacy group of heros all operating in the same area using differnt names but I'm not sure if Vigilante is be the best alter ego for this idea.

But the floppies kept me interested enough to seek out the trade.

But Gary Phillips wasn't only one reviving Vigilante in 2016.  Arrow brought Adrian Chase and The Vigilante into the series in season 5.

In a surprise move Chase wasn't The Vigilante - he was Prometheus the big bad of that season.  Arrow as a show cops a lot of crticism for not being 100% faithful in the adaptation, but I don't mind it.

In this case it meant the the reveal of Prometheus was a surprise because as comic readers we expected Chase to be Vigilante and I was going "who is Vigilante?"  (BTW there was a sweet George Perez sketch of Vigilante in at least one episode)

In season Six we discover that Dinah (Black Canary III) Drake's old police partner Vincent Sobol.

Vigilante was a fun antagonist for Team Arrow and who knows someone might cast a Donny Fairbanks, Dorian Chase, Justin Powell, Dave Winston or Alan Welles and bring back the Vigilante.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Great Vigilante Reread:Vigilante 2009

So our 2005 Vigilante, Justin Sutter did not set the world on fire and Marv Wolfman the creator of Adrian Chase brought in a new Vigilante - this one was a cool and mysterious foe for Nightwing in his title.

Then the new Vigilante appeared in Gotham Underground where Batman handed him his ass.

It was a little later that we fianlly got a new Vigilante series that ran for 12 issues.  The series really brought up more questions than answers  and it wasn't until issue 7 that we discovered his name was Dorian.  Issue 9 we discover that he was Adrian Chase's brother and issue 12 that we discovered his backstory.

I bitched and moaned about this series back in 2010 when I first read it and its realiance on living in the DC shared universe.  Several issues were tied in with "Faces of Evil" issued 2, Origins and Omens issue 3 (with visit from Nightwing), Titan's Deathtrap (4,5 and 6)   with reference to another miniseries (DC Universe Decides) and Batman appearing in issue 10.

I'm even more frustrated with this series now than I was then.  The idea of a hero searching for redeption to atone for his sins is an interesting one.

It seems like story lines chopped and changed as the book was written and it felt like a heap of filler and tie-ins to get to an end result.

And questions - JJ is alive? How did that happen?  but he died in issue 10 of the 1980s series he was definately dead.  I know DC likes to rewrite their universes history but this was jarring.

Adrian has a younger brother?  One that was never mentioned before even when Adrian confronted his father about being a disappointment because he became a DA instead of joining the family law firm?

(i should mention this is not the first mysterious Chase relative to turn up the TItans had Danny Chase a psychic and son of spies who made reference to his uncle Adrian)

Perhaps if the story had the chance to find its feet free of the confines of the DCU proper it would have been better.

Dorian hasn't been seen since but he is still alive.  Who know he could get another shot but I wouldn't be holding my breath on this.