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.

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