I haven’t commented on the “Whatever Happened to Captain Carrot?” storyline in the recent Teen Titans because I was too disappointed in it. I’m not a basher of Geoff Johns, as you all know; I think he’s been the best thing since Mark Waid in turning the comic industry back towards “fun” from the dark times of the mid-1990s. He writes modern comics but with an all-out love for continuity and classic comics.
In fact, until Identity Crisis I thought we’d turned away from the depressing angst of yesteryear. Unfortunately, Johns used a “return of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew” story as a commentary on modern comics and instead just ruined a childhood fave. Appearing as only glimpses of the kind of comic book they must read within the DCU, we get a page here and there showing a Zoo Crew which is dispersed and depressed following the death of Roger Rodney Rabbit’s fiancee Carrie (she’s fed to Frogzilla), and it ends revealing that one of the team members was a bigot and murderer. Of course, all of this is wildly out of character if you read the books.
It’s hard to explain why the story doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s partly due to the nature in which it is told, in that we only see moments here and there from the story, with a rushed ending and no real action scenes. And quite frankly, it has nothing to do with the Teen Titans story in which it takes place. Then again, I’m sure that a full story as a stand-alone comic would be just as depressing and unsatisfying if this is the story it’s telling.
So, what other way can DC poop on everything I love? I got into comics reading “Captain Carrot” and they’ve ruined that. I’ve had a lifelong fondness for the carefree fun of Elongated Man and Sue Dibny, and they’ve ruined that. I mean, I love DC. I’ve loved DC comics all my life, and even in this dark era they’re putting out some stuff that is top-notch. But it’s gotten to the point where if I were offered the chance to work there tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to find any of my favorite characters that are still in working order!
OK, I’ve thought of a couple. I’m not going to mention them for fear of instigating something. After all, on my Ralph Dibny site I mentioned that no one would ever kill Sue Dibny because it would wreck Elongated Man’s viability as a character and Brad Meltzer apparently took that as a challenge.
There is one hope: this Zoo Crew tale was a story being told by a comic company WITHIN the DCU, which is in a dark trend right now. Perhaps it is not at all representative of what’s actually happening on Earth-C.
Few things in comics are permanently wrecked. Hal Jordan, Oa and the Green Lantern Corps (including a half-dozen GLs who were killed off) have all come back. Adam Strange’s horrible mini-series that killed off Alanna was undone by Mark Waid. Firestorm came back. Dove returned. The JSA book has spent six years revitalizing old characters and undoing damage from the dark days of comic books. Guy Gardner got his bowl cut back. Okay, Tora Olafsdottir is still dead and the Metal Men need work, but on the whole it seems like bad decisions don’t last forever even if it causes people to fret about deaths not being permanent.
I know it would undo the whole pivotal plotpoint of Identity Crisis, but you have to think they’ll do Sue justice someday.
As for Captain Carrot…sorry, Geoff, to be picking on you. I love all your other stuff.
Howling Curmudgeons Review.
Anthony’s Annotations to Part One and Part Two, plus a follow-up.
Comics Worth Reading says to ignore it.
Four Color Media Monitor has a review, too.