And Now More

New thread for more comments on “The Lazarus Crucifixion of Priest”


  1. albert says:

    When I finished the Annual I was pretty happy how everything turned out and was pleased on how you handled new Wally because nobody has made him interesting since he was first introduced and can’t wait to see how you use him when he’s on Slades team coming up. I was honestly suprised on the uproar from fans and felt that it was a bit over exaggerated and hopefully this doesn’t cause you to leave the book because you’re writing the definitive run on Slade.

  2. Cyclops says:

    Hey, man. Loved your Deathstroke and some of your classic Marvel work. I want to say that maybe you have been going to places where fans are being too extreme. You should try something like reddit DCcomics or comicbooks, where they discuss the weekly releases on Wednesday. You should get some good feedback there, and mostly interesting discussions. In my experience, places like 4chan, tumblr and twitter are heavily polarised (even reddit is, at times, due to the “early” voting system, but it also keeps all the hate out as well).

    I think people (including me) are upset for the Damian, because the way he acted in the crossover was how he would act in 2008. He’s not the same character anymore, just read Super Sons, Tomasi’s Batman and Robin etc. to see that. He’s still a grumpy, mean kid, but he is not the villain he seemed to be in the crossover. He doesn’t humiliate for the kicks and he does feel remorse, though he expresses it very late and not explicitly at all. Nightwing is one of my favourites as well and I think that the whole Rebirth book about him is about him questioning who he is. I think he can be bland, but that goes for all characters. There are no things such as bad characters, only writers who do not know how to write them effectively (who may do great on other characters).

    As far as OG Wally is concerned, in that case, fans are much more frantic. I am too, probably. The reason being that this is a character that has been sidelined for 8+ years, since Flash:Rebirth. He has been replaced by a character that is much more bland than him, and his accomplishments have been taken from him to build up the other character. I think hurting him was the right (in fact, quite the brilliant choice of) literary device to use, but he should not have fled Deathstroke initially. That’s not who Wally West is. And if you were writing that, maybe you should have thought a little before that. Wally is one of the few people who remembers his Pre-Crisis life, hence, he has to be the same person. That is why this is a supremely out of character moment for him. You may change other characters, and it can be explained away. But this one can’t. That is all that I have to say on the matter. I hope that I made my points without being rude and I hope you realize that there are fans out there who just wanna give constructive criticism. All I want is for the characters I love to be treated with the same respect by a writer that they would give their favourite character.

  3. John says:

    First of all, I applaud the way you’ve handled this so far. I thought your initial post came off a bit hostile (as I do have several criticisms regarding the Lazarus Contract), but the way you responded to every comment was very insightful. It’s very rare to see a creator try to address every issue people. It’s unfortunate that you’ve wandered into some of the dark recesses of the Internet (4chan, Tumblr, CBR forums) where fandoms of every character are constantly at war with each other, and finding ways to harass creators. Trust me when I say the majority of fans of Damian, Dick, Wally, (and the rest of the Titans) are not frothing at the mouth for blood. That said, I do have a few disagreements over a few things:

    Damian – I agree that he is very tone-deaf and has trouble showing empathy. I do disagree that Damian hasn’t changed from his initial impression. One of the core traits of Damian is that he’s not the same person that he used to be. He was intended to be hated from his first appearance, but since then, under the influence of people like Dick, Alfred, and Bruce, he’s changed his view on life. And keep in mind, he was 10 years old when he first showed up. People can change, especially when they’re that young. Damian represents nurture winning out over nature.

    That said, he can still be a prick, but I don’t see him being the “ends justify the means” type that he comes off in Lazarus Contract. Maybe it’s an issue of page count, but his actions would be more understandable if we saw his thought processes that led up to his decisions a bit more, rather than just seeing him act, and then explain himself afterward.

    I think one of my biggest issues overall with the Lazarus Contract was the pacing. There were too many characters, too many subplots, and everything was resolved all too quickly. For example, what relevance did the Lazarus Contract have on this story? Dick made a deal with Slade to mentor Rose (which is a nice addition to Rose’s backstory), but that element had little bearing on this story. Maybe it’ll be addressed further in your run (which I absolutely look forward to picking up), but it did seem like it took up page space that could have been used to strengthen the other plots.

    Speed Force – I’ll be honest, I don’t like the Speed Force, because it’s basically become a MacGuffin for typical comic book time-travel wizard magic where writers make up whatever rules they want to get the end result they need. And unfortunately, that’s what I got from the Lazarus Contract. I wasn’t a fan of characters doling out exposition about what the Speed Force does in every panel. To me, it seemed like a lot of telling instead of showing, which I feel is very different from how you’ve been writing the Deathstroke solo run.

    And when time travel is involved, there’s a myriad of plotholes that come in. If Damian’s assault on original Wally gave him heart problems, then why is Wally just discovering his pacemaker now? Shouldn’t every instance of Wally using his superspeed up until the present day be wiped out, if he has a pacemaker? With heart problems, Wally would have either retired in the past, or died, which would negate his presence in the current day.

    Dick Grayson – I see these criticisms said about Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, and both Flashes quite a lot, and I don’t really agree with them. I don’t think Dick has ever really been portrayed as this perfect person (well, maybe in some team books), particularly in his solo stories. His flaws aren’t as static or outward as say…. Batman or Tony Stark, but he has plenty of them. Part of his appeal is that he’s a dynamic character, and depending on the status quo or run, he’s had to deal with different flaws and conflicts that allow for growth. Under Wolfman, he’s a struggling leader. Under Morrison and Snyder, he’s unsure of himself because he’s filling the shoes of a legend. In Grayson, he’s dropped into a world where his morality does not work. And in the current Seeley run, he’s second-guessing himself with who he trusts, and thinking about his legacy.

  4. Magaly says:

    It wasn’t a good crossover, but I was ready to forgett about it like I do with more unsuccessful stories untill I read this rant and understand why it failed the way it did. You don’t like, get or care the characters you are working with. With all due respect.

    It is a story of a father trying to save a son, with no highs, no deep nor emotion, seeing how disconnected you are of to the characters it makes sense why it went flatline the way it did, people can tell when the authors are trying to force an emothional responce from them, like damaging a character on the eleventh hour to invoke
    conflict and lasting consequences.

    Trying to rewrite The Judas Contract was a bold goal, in many ways bound to fail; TJC had a twist that no body saw coming and no body had seen before, an invested audience and complex relationships in a rich world as framework. Nor Titans nor Teen Titans has managed to build any of that.

    But what I see now was more important is that TJC had an author that liked his characters, that knew them, was intested on them beyond their “edges”, he build them, no just tolerated them. The protagonist were the titans but Slade was a unstopable force, an integral part of the story, an entrancing part of the story.

    The problem is not that Slade is the protagonist is that the other characters are decoration, dull, pointless, tedious decoration, all of them including Deathstroke’s sons. For someone so interested in edges you managed reduce TJC to it’s more minimal expression

    What someone said in another comment is true, Damien did throw Jon off a building in Super Sons and that book is a joy to read, so is not the character that is bad, it was the writing that was so heavy.

    What now? you ask, and that is the biggest fail of this crossover, there is nothing to look forward, it left people with dread instead of excitement for what it’s to come.I get that more benign, hopeful joyful states of being are perceived as boring for you, but bleak over gaunt plus defeat, is exhausting. People need a win now and then.

    Personally I lost my last lasting hope for Titans so I’m dropping it, I will not be picking Teen Titans and I’m done with Deathstroke too, I kind of exhausted my patience for fictional jerks.

  5. AstanaTombs says:

    Mr. Priest, you are one of my favorite writers. I agree with you that writers shouldn’t be bogged down by continuity or the whims of fans. But my suggestion for making Wally relevant? Retire Barry Allen and go back to Wally as the Flash.

    My issues are mostly with Barry, not with Wally. You see, Barry Allen is one of those flattened characters you mentioned. He’s so nice and perfect and has all his edges filed off that writing him in any other way, even to introduce an element of drama feels wildly out of character. For example, upon the new 52, he went from happily married to his wife for years, to dating new girls every week depending on the writer. It was the same for. Inch of his history, he got strapped with some truly wild plots because the writers struggled to make him relevant. The plots were decent, the fights with villains were fun, but the protagonist himself remained boring. Barry is a good character to have around in that he’s a stabilizing influence to everyone around him, but he’s just not a good protagonist or Flash. Wally on the other hand has always been changing and growing, right up to the reboot. He also has a less than perfect personality and gets hit by problems either in his hero life or his personal life that he has to work through. He’s realistic and relatable. To have such a character waiting on the sidelines while his much more boring mentor whose voice writers constantly struggle with is running around as the Flash just seems like wasted potential.

    Giving Wally a power cap with his pacemaker, while Barry is still operating at peak capacity, just seems like an attempt to keep Wally from being Barry’s competition. It sends the message that we’ll have to put up with Barry Allen being the main Flash for a while longer, maybe too long. It also feels cheap in that it might be admitting that Barry will never be interesting, so Wally needs a power cap to get him out of the way.

  6. Justin says:

    Also just wanted to say, that I loved Wintergreen, Jackson Hyde and Wally West in the car. Can’t wait to see more Wally in Deathstroke

  7. Tim says:

    “The real question is, what will Damian learn from this? How will he fix it? In what ways will his character grow from this?” (from a response you gave in the previous thread)

    Using your own argument that you’ve been making isn’t the answer nothing?

    Long term Damian will learn nothing from this, he will fix nothing and his character will not grow. Isn’t that the entire point you’ve been making?

    “I find Dick Grayson to be the most boring Wonder Bread boilerplate character ever to pull on spandex.”

    As someone that quite liked the Lazarus Contract (despite having a few relatively minor problems with it) as a huge Dick fan this is the comment you made that gets me the most riled up lol.

    I’ve always loved Dick for pretty much the same reason I love Superman. He’s a good person that wants to help people. He was born out of basically the same circumstances as Batman yet his tragedy doesn’t define him. Batman does what he does because he NEEDS to, he can’t not. Dick does what he does (like Superman) because he WANTS to. He’s kinda like the fusion of Superman and Batman and that’s always made me love the character and find him infinitely fascinating.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Hi, Tim, and thanks for the kind words. I don’t mean this s snotty as it may sound, and not specifically pointed at you:

      “Isn’t that the entire point you’ve been making?”

      Wow, I hope not 🙂 The point I am making is, with serialized fiction you can create the illusion of change and evolve the characters but only within the limits of the conceit of the premise. Superman must, at the end of the day, always be Superman. When Damian stops being Damian, he’s no longer Damian. The Big Bang Theory hasn’t been funny in a long time, but Sheldon is still Sheldon despite x-years of experiences and personal growth. Once he stops being Sheldon, he is no longer Sheldon.

      And I think I’ve talked myself in circles about this enough now to have addressed this best I can. Beyond that, all I can say to The Damian Wayne Lynch Mob (TM) is I’m sorry we don’t agree. I don’t claim, as many I’ve read have, to be an expert on Damian and, yes, there’ve been times when I myself wasn’t thrilled about how Deathstroke has been portrayed in other titles. Honestly, I’m not trying to blow anyone off or even say “You’re wrong,” let alone be as insulting as (a very few) have been here to me.

      Should the day come, and let’s all pray it does not, when I’m actually offered a Titans title, *then*, yes, by all means, let the flogging begin. Until then, as I’ve now said a bunch of times: this is how I see Damian, this is how Damian was explained to me by my bosses and Damian’s writer, this is how I have seen Damian portrayed now, today, not years ago. If I got it wrong, man I’m sorry. But haranguing me for not being the world’s leading expert on the character– or even insisting that anyone writing him *be* the world’s leading expert– is fringe thinking. Time to let go.

      • Tim says:

        Thank you very much for your reply, and for taking the time to explain things from your point of view to people. Like I said above I actually really enjoyed Lazarus Contract. I thought it was a cool/fun team-up crossover.

        I’ve also been absolutely LOVING your Deathstroke run and I’m still a little sad it’s going to only monthly. I hope you’ll be on the book for a loooooong time 🙂

  8. Dave Van Domelen says:

    The flaws in a character are part of the hook that brings in new readers, but if the reader sticks around long enough they expect the flaws to eventually be fixed. Back when the readers turned over every few years, that wasn’t a problem…by the time someone was getting frustrated with Spider-Man never catching a break or whatever, they aged out anyway.

    Now that the audience doesn’t turn over, characters have to, because stories have to be allowed to end…but corporate won’t let the character go away. So you get a roster of boring corporate icons who have to get their entire universe rebooted every few years so that there’s an excuse to un-smooth them.

    • Priest Priest says:

      Once again Dr. Van Domelen has managed to say, in a handful of words, what I wasted half a gigabyte typing. Thank you.

      This is similar to my observation about the superhero films. Most of these franchises cannot tell a good story beyond the origin story. The origin story, even in a lame SH film, tends to be kind of intriguing because we, the fans, want to know the changes they’ll make and how they go about solving problems.

      But then they stumble on the second film (the obvious exception being TDK). They kind of got back on their feet with Iron Man 3, but most of these things really struggle after the origin story, which explains The Man Reboots of Spider-Man (TM).

      • John says:

        I have to disagree. I think a lot of the great superhero movies out there are the #2 installments, because filmmakers are able to throw more complex challenges at the heroes without needing to dedicate screen time to the “how did we get here” stage. Dark Knight, Captain America Winter Soldier, Spider-Man 2, Logan, and some of the X-Men sequels handled this very well.

  9. Zan says:

    It didn’t deliver on what the covers implied, which was a giant battle between an empowered Slade and the two Titan teams. It didn’t even have a fight between a speed force empowered Slade, Flash and/or Kid Flash.

    It felt like too many things were happening too quickly. Jackson Hyde’s lines felt tacked on and Wally having heart problems could have easily been its own issue.

    You should avoid publicly singling out characters you dislike, especially if you are writing for them like Grayson in Titans. There’s no need to antagonize potential readers who like the character.

    Getting a stronger grasp of the background of major characters you write for would be to your benefit. It would aid in avoiding retreads of stories, regressing characters or contradicting current characterization. Progression of characters should not be feared in a world where Superman is married with a kid. If a character doesn’t fit the story, find or make another character.

    The older Wally had a long history of not knowing when to back down. He could have tried to drain Slade’s speed before Slade one ups him and steals some speed force from the older Wally during the fight. Maybe he could have lost an eye, arm or a foot in the process instead of having the heart condition. You want to change the character and a missing leg is a very visible one.

    That said, the whole speed force link between the two different Wallies felt like too big of a leap in logic in a time travel story that already requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Once again, it was a wasted opportunity to have the Titan teams go after Slade for at least one fight or to have the younger Wally do something other than mess everything up. They were already tracking him down. They could have even confronted the choice of trying to save Grant or not face to face.

  10. asterious says:

    “Which is my point exactly, this “smoothing” of interesting characters. Let’s “smooth” over Bugs Bunny while we’re at it. I mean, surely by now Bugs should have grown and learned from his experiences with that Coyote, yes? I’m not taking a shot at you, David– I mean this with all due respect: evolving the characters to follow the fans is wrongheaded and has decimated this industry. This is the only creative industry I am aware of that does not invest itself in any real way into audience turnover. Mickey Mouse’s entire audience turns over every eight years, and Disney knows this. DC does not. Marvel does not. And that’s the mess we’re in.
    Which isn’t to suggest you’re wrong or that Damian cannot or should not evolve, but he should not change so much that he stops being Damian. Batman should not change so much that he stops being Batman. We don’t need to these extreme changes. We need new readers. We make almost no investment in inviting any to join us.”

    With all respect. If you want to write complex characters, you write them. Otherwise you’re free to move and play with token and dumb-down mascot characters, the ones that never change, never learn, never move forward or any other direction at all. They also need comic book writers, just saying. What you want is to stagnant whole market, because you feel that some characters should stay the same. But hey, wait I’m talking with guy who thinks that Dick Grayson is “the most boring Wonder Bread boilerplate character” and calls his fans rabid, because reasons. Very mature and professional ones, I guess.
    Truth is any complexity desires creativity and skill. You can write Damian (or any other character) as Damian and at the same time acknowledge what he previously learned. If you think that characters could be interesting, only by keeping their “edges”, without ever making them overcome flaws, then, sorry not sorry, but you have pretty boring understanding of what character development or evolution could bring on the table.

    “And, see, I don’t know what that is. I don’t know how to write that. All I know is what my editor tells me and what I read in the comics. My Damian is consistent with both. A more thoughtful Damian? A more mature Damian? A more compassionate Damian? Isn’t that called “Nightwing”?”

    Omg, you would never believe it, I know it’s hard for you to imagine, because you probably live in the world with only straight lines, but no lmfao. I know right? Mind blowing.
    There always should be start, journey, destination and end. And character on this journey should be challenged and should also change (more or less). But journey should be smooth and consistent all across the board. Forget about said 8 years. Why I’m reading 5 versions of one character in 3 different books in one bloody month. And you’re one of the writers who contribute into this absurd inconsistence.
    What’s more annoying, comics writers love to talk about how they will definitely handle and address problems in the future, but more likely it would just stay as “infamous out of character dark spot” on the said character… forever. And God save us when writers start shoving their hardcore headcanon’s into comics, because “I read them, I have my opinion, I’m professional writer and I work for the company”. And with that they turn into bizarre canons.
    Give fans great, consistent, logical, entertaining, creative, enjoyable and emotional writing = no one complains. Lazarus Contract simply was neither of that. It didn’t hit even single category. I read mess, it was just plain disappointment. And I clearly wasn’t the only one who thought so. If you brush it off as “rabid comic book fans, they just want their heroes to be perfect boo-hoo”, mmm… good for you, I guess. But that’s simply not true. You can’t feed people with half-cooked stuff and expect them to give you and your colleagues 3 Michelin stars. Sorry.

  11. David says:

    A funny thing I found, in your reply to me, was that Wally did the heroic and smart thing by running away to get help and formulate a plan. This rings very odd to me, as you think characters who just always do the right thing and are always in the right are boring and lacking in depth. That’s kind of my point — Wally is an incredibly interesting character with particular flaws. He is the kind of person who makes the mistake of taking on a challenge too big for his station, getting his day ruined because of it, and having to deal with those consequences. Isn’t there some drama in Wally trying to fight Slade, losing the fight, and limping back to the teams? You could have Damian insulting him for being useless, young Wally disappointed in someone he’s supposed to look up to, and the Titans team giving him pitying looks he can’t stand (as Wally is ever prideful in his ability as a hero).

    Instead what we got was the tactically right maneuver laced with a tinge of cowardice and pathetic dourness I’ve never seen Wally show. You say characters never change, deep down, that they’re always the same people. What I saw was you changing Wally, who he is deep down, to smooth over a scene that was primarily just Deathstroke embarrassing who he is as a person. Instead of getting mad, like Wally does, he got scared. That’s the problem and disconnect between you and I about how Wally.

    Minor note, power levels are stupid and I already said I would have no problem with Slade giving Wally a beatdown, but why do you think Wally has no chance against Slade? Slade got his powers literally that day, Wally is the most experienced Speed Force user of all time. For every bit of edge Slade has in personal combat training, Wally has that much training with the abuses and uses of Super Speed. It’s not like a complicated powerset like the various Flash’s is something you are just automatically the best with at day 1 — as a matter of fact, Wally took literally 20 years to learn his powers to the extent he has. I understand not showing a cool, even fight where Slade comes out ahead for the sake of brevity (I mean, you guys had Slade beat and abduct Wally off panel in the first issue for that same reason, I’m guessing) but I disagree with the premise that Wally stood no chance and that Wally would run away because he thinks he stood no chance. As I said, Wally stated death in the face and said Let’s boogie. What you showed me was someone different. And I’m not asking for a perfect Wally who does the right thing, I’m asking for an impulsive, proud kind-of fool who does the wrong thing for the right reason.

    There is one thing I neglected to mention in my other post that really confused and bothered me. How does a team of a dozen superheroes let Slade walk away just because he says he’s going to quit? He literally just murdered a bunch of people that day. He’s responsible for the mess that they’re currently in. They just let this murderous madman walk away because they totally trust he’s going to stop being Deathstroke? How does that even matter, he’s a dang murderer! You don’t just get to avoid the consequences of your horrible crimes just because you say you won’t do them anymore.

    • Devon B says:

      Slade wouldn’t give Wally a “beatdown”. Slade would have killed him. Your knowledge on Wally is great but you’re missing the point that Slade is ruthless, and was dedicated to a plan that wouldn’t allow any interference. Slade got his powers that day yet he was able to tap into the speed force and kill all of those people, which just answers your question. Slade doesn’t just have the ability to fight on his side, but the guy’s most dangerous attribute is his intelligence.

      The point Priest is trying to make is that Wally didn’t know if he could win that fight. He knew that if he engaged, he wouldn’t be “limping back anywhere”. He needed to run an formulate a plan, because if he didn’t, then what? If Wally had died in the middle of nowhere, then what?

      And if you’ve been reading the Deathstroke run, you’ll find that the biggest conflict is putting Deathstroke away, and proving that Deathstroke and Slade Wilson are the same person. The Titans don’t know he cleared all of those contracts unless they followed him around the world within that span of 60 seconds. All they know is that he kidnapped two Titans, and then ran off to “save his son”. What reason *would* they have to bring him in? They take him to court and then what? I know it sounds silly but this is a constant conversation in the Rebirth Deathstroke run. Him walking away and them not stopping him isn’t all too far fetched.

      I also think fans are looking at this story as a fight, and maybe it’s because the covers of the arc lead us to believe that. But it’s just a story About Slade trying to fix his mistakes. It’s not about stepping in the ring with any of the Titans. I hope this response helped, and I’m in no way trying to say so and so is better than so and so. But given the way both characters stand in Rebirth as a whole, this is why the writers came to those decisions.

      • David says:

        Slade and Wally have fought a dozen times before and he’s never killed Wally with the opportunity. I can do the comic nerd thing of citing all the comics if you want. I know plenty about Slade due to knowing a lot about Wally.

        And yeah, those are some thoughts Wally might had. And knowing Wally, he’d cram that fear down into the pit of his stomach and try to stop Wally anyhow. Because that’s Wally. It’s like asking a firefighter why they run into a collapsing building. They’re heroes, man. That’s what they do. It’s like asking what Wally’s plan was when he ran after Thawne in The Return of Barry Allen, even though he knew he couldn’t win. He doesn’t let madmen with unstoppable power get away even at the risk of his own life, even if he stands no chance. This exact scenario has happened to Wally a number of times, which is why I think it’s out of character for him. Again, I can go cite a dozen times Wally has stupidly ran into a fight he couldn’t win because he’s a headstrong, heroic person who makes mistakes.

        What reason would they have to bring in DEATHSTROKE? World’s most famous and effective ASSASSIN? They all know he’s a killer. Just prior in your own post you talk about Wally avoiding fighting with Slade because he’s a killer. If they know he’s a killer why do they let him get away?

        I’ve said elsewhere this was a perfectly fine Slade story. I think Slade, Jericho, Wintergreen and Grant were all beautifully written. I think the failings come with the other characters.

  12. abacaba says:

    “…They also seem to want the writers, or at least me, to have read a decade worth of comics before putting their favorite characters into a story. I don’t have time to read 100 comics. I don’t know any working writer who does. I can read, maybe, ten.”

    Well, pretty sure that’s the problem right there. Because you’re writing for people who do. You’re writing for people who have read either every appearance, or close to that, of these characters, and they will notice when something is off, even if you don’t. To understand why people who read a ton of comics have a problem with your writing you’d need to read a ton of comics, and I don’t think there are any convenient shortcuts around that.

  13. Stephen says:

    Now i don’t personally agree with you on Dick Grayson, but i do think there are times when he can be boring and as you say Wonder Bread. Thats not not the Dick Grayson i gravitate towards though. But im curious, if you see Dick Grayson as boring and someone who has a flattened-out character that has dealt with all of his shortcomings and character flaws, as a writer what would you do then to make Dick’s character and stories more interesting?

  14. Naya says:

    Priest..I want my money back.Damian does not deserve the shit.,

  15. Sam says:

    Damian is completely out of character, all his development is erased basically like he was when he 1st arrived. You doesn’t get it and you has zero interest in getting it.

  16. Jharis Allen says:

    I’m sorry but when will you let go of this thoughtful, more nicer Damian = Nightwing? By your logic, Damian is comparable to the rash inception of Jason Todd/Red Hood! It annoys me enough that these characters can’t be drawn to NOT look the same but now I’m reading writers (you’re not the only one) that can’t bother to know how characters are different! A kind and thoughtful Damian is FAR different then kind and thoughtful Grayson!

    THIS is like saying Deathstroke and Lady Shiva are indistinguishable. Because their story focus on their children and they’re assaasins. Except I’d be crazy and stupid! That’s superficial. Just like claiming it’s a risk to make him look like Nightwing. If anybody, it be Tim Drake. Damian risk being more like Jason Todd then Grayson.

  17. Mary says:

    Ben Percy ,Priest. Damian fans are not happy.

    There’s a big difference when we are talking about a child and an adult. Damian Wayne is still a child. A teenager but a child nonetheless and we cannot and will not hold him to the same standard we hold grown ass men who are fuck heads.
    Damian’s a hurt kid trying to get better and lashes out against everyone because he’s insecure about his position as a Robin and his family.

  18. Tenzel Kim says:

    In the “And Now This” post you wrote: “So, this time, I wanted to be sure I was using the right template for Damian. So I read Damian’s contemporary appearances and, reminder, all of this stuff was vetted through three editors and two outside writers and this, I was told, is Damian: much like Deathstroke, he has problems saying things like “I’m sorry.” Like Batman, he’s completely convinced his way is the right way. He respects Grayson but is a little tone deaf (hence the exchange where Dick tries to reign Dame in and dame says, “Yes, I agree. Apology accepted.” Which I thought was hilarious but is never mentioned anywhere where I am being hung in effigy.

    If I got him wrong, I do apologize. He’s not my character, so I don’t know him as well as I know Slade. Fair warning: I think basic flaws are important to the Damian character.”

    I completely agree and honestly I’d say that most Damian fans would have to agree with this or they are overlooking what makes Damian who he is. But looking at the comments I don’t think this is really what most are objecting to. Sure, some believe he has mellowed out a bit more than others, but most would probably still agree that he is is a character that has problems saying “I’m sorry” and who is “completely convinced his way is the right way”.

    I think that had it not been for the part about him stopping Wally’s heart you’d have seen very few complaints by Damian fans. They might not have completely agreed with how he was portrayed, but this seems to have been the tipping point, and once that had happened, any minor mis-characterization that there might be in how he was portrayed in the rest of the book was blown out of proportion.

    Had Damian been the one to bring Wally back again I think the outcry would have been a lot smaller, even if the action was the same and that this was his plan all along. It would probably not have gone away because of what it did to Wally in the end, but the fact that Wally ended up with a pacemaker didn’t happen in your part of the story so I’m assuming this was something that the Titans writers wanted.

    On a completely different note, I have a question for you. In Deathstroke #13 we saw Jericho in his old New Teen Titans costume in a flashback which I believe a lot of us thought was an indication that he had once been a part of the team, but reading issue #19 and the Special it became clear that this was not the case. Was this always the intention or did something change between issues 13 and 19?

  19. Bruno says:

    Hello, Mr. Priest. First of all, thank you for taking the time. While it’s pretty common nowadays for creatives to engage with the readership, to actually listen is another matter entirely, so please know that it’s appreciated. On the matter at hand, I can say a lot about Damian as I think you actually tackled him pretty well, but I will try to give context about Wally. You replied the following to a comment above:

    “Wow, I hope not ???? The point I am making is, with serialized fiction you can create the illusion of change and evolve the characters but only within the limits of the conceit of the premise. Superman must, at the end of the day, always be Superman”

    So, the thing with Wally, and I will be more honest here than I ever was in the subject, because I believe this to be true to the overwhelming majority of his fandom even with people don’t verbalize this very often:

    There’s a lot you can do with Wally, but the one thing you can’t do, the one thing that’s bound to leave his fans furious, is to portray him as the inferior Flash.

    That’s it. Because of a situation that DC mishandled for close to a decade (Barry’s resurrection in 2009 is argued to this day), demoting him is the one cardinal sin a writer can commit. Keep in mind, there’s a reason Wally was at the center of the Rebirth Special that kicked off the current initiave. Wally was demoted back in 2009, then mandated out of the comics for no apparent reason, the erased in 2011. All the whole, his feats were diminished, the narrative that he was “never the REAL Flash” was reinforced, his fans were directly mocked by DC editors in conventions, false promises were made, the whole shebang. Wally was the single most mistreated character in DC’s recent history, with the possible exception of Cassandra Cain.

    No, why the hell do I bore you with all of that? To point out that, to his fans, the central conceit of Wally West is that of “sidekick who grew up, assumed his mentor’s identity, and either equaled or surpassed him.” When he’s given a heart condition – and worse – , he’s given it in his past, the character is pretty much being robbed of his core. He’s in a situation where he in fact was never “the real Deal”, or “not that great a Flash” or all that. It’s not a plotline that fans really want because, actually, it’s the materialization of everything fans did not want to happen under any circumstance. (And yes, we know that his history is not exactly the same as it once was, but the general assumption is that that’s why it was kept vague)

    You can throw all hell into his personal life, but his status as The Flash is the sacred cow. Is what makes him who he is and the one thing fans make a point of seeing preserved.

    As a side note, completely unrelated: I tried to find you in social media to tell you this and failed, so now that I am on your blog, let me just say that Deathstroke is the book I didn’t know I needed, and whatever happens in the future, I guess it will remain as one of the great, era-defining runs on DC Comics. So thank you for it!

  20. Thad says:

    There’s a Neil Gaiman quote that may apply:

    “Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”

    Fans aren’t always good at plot pitches, and I think you’re right that, too often, their suggestions can boil down to “make everyone happy and well-adjusted and stop putting them through so much adversity.”

    I think you’re also, perhaps, putting too much stock in vocal online fans. Online fans are passionate and invested, but they’re not always representative. Often, the things online communities complain about are the exact things that sales figures suggest are popular with readers. There’s also a human bias toward the negative to consider: people are likelier to discuss things they don’t like than things they do, and you, as a creator, are likelier to notice criticism than praise.

    On the other hand, maybe that’s balanced out by another bias factor: this is your blog. People who read it and comment on it are disproportionately likely to be your fans, people who are predisposed to enjoy your work.

    I am, anyway. I’m not a Deathstroke fan, I’m a Priest fan. I’m enjoying what you’re doing with the book, but I wouldn’t be reading it if I weren’t already a fan of the creative team, and I don’t expect to stick around after you move on and somebody else takes over (whenever that may be).

    I don’t usually buy crossovers, and I haven’t been keeping up with Teen Titans or Don’t Think Too Hard About How Old These Characters Should Be Given the Current DC Universe Timeline Titans. But I liked this one just fine; I think it did a good job with Deathstroke and the Teen Titans. (Maybe not as good a job with the adult Titans, but it sounds like that was largely down to editorial restrictions on calling back to The Judas Contract.)

    I thought Damian was the highlight of the whole story. I haven’t been keeping up with his recent appearances, so I can’t speak to whether your characterization is consistent with them or not, but I think your instincts are spot-on and Damian works best with this warts-and-all approach: he’s trying, but he’s arrogant, ruthless, and not very good at working well with others. (Which makes him a pretty poor choice for a leader, really, but I guess his competence goes a long way toward compensating for his weaknesses.)

    I don’t know that the Wallys were used to best effect, but I think that’s a DC problem, not your problem. This attempt to split the baby and bring back Original Wally to placate longtime fans while keeping new Wally, as a separate character, to keep the New 52’s admirable commitment to diversity, just seems fraught to me, and I feel like the result is too many Wallys. (It seems like the better solution would have been to retcon things a bit to make new Wally more like old Wally, but I realize that would have had downsides too, and I acknowledge I haven’t been reading the main Rebirth storyline, so maybe it’s better than I think it is.)

    I don’t have a problem with Wally running away to regroup. The reveal of his heart condition at the end didn’t do much for me; it felt kinda like Panther’s aneurysm to me: responding to criticisms that a character isn’t interesting enough by giving him a life-threatening medical condition. But maybe I’m off-base. And showing long-term consequences to Damian’s impulsive and heartless (but effective) behavior is probably better than just waving it off.

    tl;dr I thought it was fine; it wasn’t perfect but it was good enough that I’m satisfied, and it’s impressive how well it worked given the number of moving parts involved. I’m enjoying Deathstroke so far, and my answer to the “What do you want?” question is that your instincts have been good so far and I don’t see any reason to start second-guessing them now. But I’m just one guy, I’m already buying the book, and I don’t have any plans to drop it, so I’m probably not the audience you need to worry about.

  21. Laticia says:

    The major problem with this story was characterization. I am not the biggest Flash fan but, even I could see problems both Wallys characters. Younger Wally came off as being quite dumb overall in the storyline. He did things that made me question whether he should be a superhero nevermind a member of the Teen Titans. What really left me with a bad taste in my mouth after this story was Damien Wayne characterization. Especially considering this is crossing over with the Teen Titans series and Percy did a very good character development arc for his character in his run. Which, is basically is just thrown away now because of his actions in this cross-over. I would never ask another writer to know every single thing a character as done in their history. However, considering this is a cross-over event I believe all writers have a responsibility to at least know what the writers they are working with a doing with these characters at the moment. Not only so they don’t hinder future story arcs but, also to have an understanding of the characters they will be working with. I don’t believe expecting that much as a comic fan is us being “rabid”.

  22. Herbie Grimm says:

    Hello, Priest. I’m a big fan from Argentina, so sorry if my english isn’t too good.
    You’re my favorite comics writer, I loved Lazarus Contract, so I wont join the negative criticisms. However I do want to comment on a little line you wrote earlier on a mega-post-with-replies you did on this subject. I hope this old thread won’t get ignored by someone as busy as yourself.
    You wrote: “I think basic flaws are important to the Damian character. I think, the minute we allow him to outgrow those characteristics, it’s over for Bozo. Howard and Bernadette got married and that was awful. Leonard and Penny got married and I stopped watching the show.”
    Now, this has me intrigued. Are you saying that endings are bad? I can understand if a capitalistic corporate entity such as DC wants to keeps the characters from ending. They need to keep making money, forever. That’s how they work. But to hear it from you, what I would call… a serious writer, is more shocking. Characters change from the things that happen in their lives, that’s how it works in real life. Stories need to get to a point at some point. I can understand if the owners of the characters refuse to write good stories because they need to keep cashing on the popular character traits that they know will get them money… but I thought actual writers resented this. What’s the point of never actually developing the character? What’s the point of making him available to readers for infinite years, beyond getting money? Should Leonard and Penny never get married, even if it’s the logical thing, so the show can get more money on the successful chemistry they had before marrying? Is money more important than storytelling?

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