I was kinda hoping you would show up, because, in one of the threads on the Respect Forum, I found a then still-active Newsarama link I gave you to an interview Rucka did on the day of Wonder Woman v2 #219's release.
You can see our exchange if you click on my attached image.
Hopefully you remember it and actually visited the site.
It would be good to have your confirmation if you did.
Either way, since no intelligent discussion should lack an author's own input when possible ...
Originally from Newsarama, circa 2005.
The “Sacrifice” ends today.
The four part crossover, launched in The OMAC Project #3, and running through Superman #219, Action Comics #829, Adventures of Superman #642 and Wonder Woman #219 concludes with Wonder Woman, in stores today, as well as The OMAC Project #4, which follows the after effects of the story.
While we’re not about to spoil the events of the final issue of the crossover here (and ask that those responding to the story don’t as well – there will be a chance for that later this week), we did catch up with OMAC, Adventures and Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka for some insight on the story. Though be warned – there are slight spoilers ahead for the “Sacrifice” story.
Although first off, perhaps, as Rucka sees it, an apology is in order.
“I want to say, before anything else that we tried very hard to build OMAC so that you weren’t obligated to buy anything else, and we failed,” Rucka said. “We really did. I’ll cop to it – I won’t lie about it. And we did it by playing dirty pool too – if you were buying The OMAC Project, you really need the Superman and Wonder Woman books to know what’s happening in issue #4 of the miniseries. If you don’t read them, it’s possible to understand them, but you don’t get the emotional resonance. That was a little bit of dirty pool, but we didn’t plan it out that way – we weren’t looking to spring this on people, but that’s the way it happened, and again, we’re sorry. So instead of a six issue miniseries, you get a ten issue miniseries, and I won’t fault any reader for not picking it up. I’d still suggest them though, because they’re a good story and worth reading, but I’d suggest, if nothing else, you pick up Wonder Woman #219 at the very least – call it issue OMAC #3.5 if you must, because it sets up the events of OMAC #4.”
Going back from there, the events of “Sacrifice” themselves made themselves clear to Rucka and the other Countdown writers a while ago, and have to deal with dividing the “Trinity:” Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman – getting them to respective places where they don’t trust one another or even, in the worst case scenarios, see the others as friends and allies.
It all goes back to Max Lord and his involvement in Countdown.
Superman #219“We always knew what happened – as soon as we had the Max piece of Countdown, we knew that there were other things that we had to execute, and we wanted to make sure it worked,” Rucka said. “We were breaking apart the ‘trinity,’ as we’d said several times. We had to have the reasons for the breaks – we knew the reasons, and we knew that had to show them. For both Diana and Bruce, what they do is so active and obvious, but for Kal, it’s far more subtle and going to be more difficult to see, and won’t really manifest until Infinite Crisis starts to come out. His ‘crisis’ is less of one that you can look at and point to – something like, ‘You made a spy satellite, you bastard!’ You can’t do that with Superman, but likewise, he has a crisis that affects him just as much as the actions Bruce and Diana undertaken that force the other two in the trinity away from them.”
Knowing what they had to do, and knowing where they were going to do it though, were two separate things. It was [Superman Group Editor] Eddie Berganza who came up with the idea of doing it as sort of a pseudo-mystery over the course of the month, building up to OMAC #4,” Rucka said. “At that point, we had to figure out how to make it work, so that what you’d be getting is a tight six issue story within a story, that starts with OMAC #3 and ends with OMAC #4, and incorporates the Superman and Wonder Woman titles over the course of July. And obviously, after that, there will be repercussions – it’s not like the last panel of OMAC #4 has the three of them walking away hand in hand, but we needed to fit that story in.”
Enter Superman writer Mark Verheiden and Action Comics writer Gail Simone. Both new on their respective titles, and both asked to incorporate a crossover into their ongoing storylines.
Action Comics #829“We had a conference call that was Mark, Gail, Eddie, Joan [Hilty, OMAC editor], Ivan [Cohen, Wonder Woman editor] and myself breaking things down, and I have to say that, for both Mark and Gail, and having been the crossover ***** myself (take a look at Detective), it’s a hard thing to be on the third issue of your run, and have a crossover dropped in your lap. They both stood up, took the hit, and did their part beautifully. These kinds of things live or die on whether or not people execute. You cannot have a crossover if four of your writers are all there, doing the heavy lifting, and doing everything that’s required, and the fifth writer says, ‘Well, I’ll service it on two pages, and my other twenty pages will be eaten up by my subplots.’ That’s happened too, in many a crossover. Nothing kills a story faster. But like I said, Mark and Gail came in with their best games, and I was very grateful. Very grateful, because it wouldn’t have worked without them.”
The story the three writers came up with was sparked by Max Lord, in OMAC #3 starting his plans to control Superman’s mind – something he’d been working on for years.
“I want to point out that, as J’onn said, the work that needed to be done in Kal’s mind took Max years to do, it’s not even a direct control – what Max has done is he’s built scenarios that are just the ultimate virtual reality – Superman is 99% convinced of what is going on is, in fact, real,” Rucka said. “But the effort Max had to put into this was tremendous – and unique. It’s not as if he left a little door in Superman’s head saying, ‘Enter’ so that the telepath du jour can jump behind the wheel and play the DCU’s version of Being John Malkovich.”
Throughout the crossover, Superman has believed himself to be battling Brainaic, Darkseid, and Ruin in the three consecutive issues of the Superman books. And, as Superman tragically learned in Adventures #642, he wasn’t fighting any of his enemies at all – he was fighting, and nearly killing Batman in the JLA Watchtower.
“Max created a paranoid delusion in Superman’s mind that recast him as the voice of trust and reason in the scenarios, i.e., the priest or Pa Kent,” Rucka said. “Then, the incident is always based on the same thing, which is his inability to save someone that he loves, and the primary person in each, of course, being Lois. The goal of Max’s operation is ultimately to break the Trinity, but specifically, to motivate Superman to kill Batman, which is not an easy thing to do. You have to get Superman to such an emotionally distraught and temporarily deranged state that he’s willing to pull off all of the governors that he lives with every second of every day, to get him to the point where he’s going after someone with everything that he’s got.
“But in point of fact, even then, Max’s control doesn’t work fully – if he had gone after Batman with everything he had, Batman would have been a puddle. In Adventures #642, when you see the reveal of what really happened, it’s somewhat subtextual – during the fight, you see the discordant images in his memories of the fight when Diana and J’onn are in his head – he sees Batman, so there’s some little bit of him holding back.”
Adventurs of Superman #642By the end of Adventures #642 though, Max’s control is in full sway again, Superman is a paranoiac again, and escapes, setting the stage for Wonder Woman #219 - where he finds his final challenge.
“Basically, it comes down to the moment in #219 of making Superman believe from all of his senses, all of his perceptions, that Doomsday is killing Lois, and he is powerless to stop it,” Rucka said. “In that scenario, Kal sees Diana as Doomsday, and does not see Max at all. When he’s in this scenario, he’s held back from saving ‘Lois’ at first, but when he’s freed, he’s half out of his mind with grief and rage.”
What’s next? Two words: Ready? Fight!
“Diana comes looking for Kal, fearing the worst and hoping for the best,” Rucka said. “Fearing in that she has the kryptonite from the Batcave, and ‘hoping’ is that she won’t need to use it on her friend, and Max will listen to reason. But how likely is that?
“We now have a situation where Kal has no reason to hold back at all – every governor is off. He’s going to kill Doomsday, period. Dana doesn’t want to kill Kal, though – that’s the last thing she wasn’t to do, because Kal is not the problem. The problem is in Max, and she has to stop Max, one way or another. So, the fight is between two opponents whoa re at very cross purposes – Kal is hitting her with everything he has, and Diana has to do everything she can do to survive that, and move on from that, and get to Max. It’s a pretty grueling fight.”
And by “grueling,” Rucka means…grueling.
"One of the things I try to include when I write scenes or fights such as this is that I always want the fights to have an effect. I always go back to the O’Neil/Cowyan Question fights – the moves were logically placed, there was no banter, and at the end, people were hurt. That said, I approached it in that manner – if you’re Wonder Woman, and Superman comes at you with this, what are you only options to stop it? There aren’t many. If he comes at you with heat vision, you need to stop that. One way of stopping that is to shove your thumbs into his eyes. She may be one of the only people in the universe who could hope to do that with a hint of success, so does she do it? She has to.
“Neither of them comes out of this looking pretty.”
So…after the fight, and into OMAC #4, is Diana in any state of mind to make a rational decision about stopping Max? After all, he’s controlled Superman once – he will do it again.
Rucka pulled down his teaser shield.
The OMAC Project #4“In #220, Diana has a line saying, “When one is possessed with the wisdom of Athena, self-delusion is difficult, but not impossible.” It’s very hard for her not to see things as they are. That’s part of who she is. She’s a warrior, as much as she is a teacher and leader and a ruler. She comes from a culture where that is part of who you are.
“No, she never hits the same emotional level Kal is at in the fight, which is what helps to save her – Superman’s coming at her half out of his mind. He’s not fighting smart. She has to be smart all the way through it, and she’s Diana, so it’s very hard to make her loose her composure – which can be taken as something that’s good for Max…or bad.”
I appreciate the time you've spent here.
You've taken the time to present your own viewpoint with sources and visual corroboration AND taken time to try to understand me, all without making any true direct attack on me.
Extremely rare in any debate thread I've been in, to say the least.
Again, much appreciated.
You keep asking about the haymaker scene in Sacrifice so I'll give you the truest and most complete answer I can.
I regard something as "Plot Induced Stupidity (PIS)" on a WRITER's part when I believe the writer is responsible for what we see AND that the action makes no sense APART from moving a story forward.
I don't think Wonder Woman #219 truly fails either point as far as Greg Rucka is concerned.
Let's be honest to admit: We ARE discussing works that are entirely fictional. The characters do not exist. They are not taking the actions we are debating. They never did and never will. They do not have true history. There is little if any true continuity. What we see is largely determined by company thoughts on what will sell to the widest range of people and whatever few loyalties employees hold to their peers, the creators before them, and/or their creative work(s).
Also, to some extent, the zeitgeist of the day, varying according to the era and decade.
All of the aforementioned is what "really" determines what happens in a comic. I suppose that is what is termed "fourth wall". In general, the most successful fiction works make a person forget nearly everything mentioned above, and the story makes sense according to it's own semblance of internal logic.
I mention this because there comes a point where, being pure fiction, any story, no matter how well-written, is going to fall apart. It's not going to hold up to argumentation because arguments depend on facts, and, in comics, there AREN'T really any -- once you take it far enough. The challenge, of course, is to see how far you can go until you approach that point!
Needed to say that, now, assuming my Internet service holds, let's begin ...
The first thing I must mention is that "Sacrifice" is not a truly original story. Diana versus Clark, one combatant knocked out with a single punch following a sudden attack, said knockout victim waking up after many miles have been traversed unconscious, brought back by heat of re-entry ... ?
That did not originally happen in the pages of Sacrifice.
It happened more than 20 years earlier, in the pages of Justice League of America, Volume 1, #207. Diana in this instance was Diana of Themyscira, no doubt, but she was Diana of Themyscira of EARTH-3.
And she was not called Wonder Woman.
Our favorite amazon was called "Superwoman" instead.
She wasn't a hero, but a villain.
Unlike in Wonder Woman v2 #219, moreover, Diana wasn't on the receiving end of the knockout. She GAVE it. And not merely to a mountain moving being like New Millenium (2003-2011) Superman, no matter HOW many boosts to ability he enjoyed, but to the powerfully casual WORLD-moving Bronze Age Superman, who would probably outrank even 2005's Superboy Prime in terms of physical strength and invulnerability.
This is the story that came first. This is the one I remember coming first. Having seen it and being duly impressed, I cannot now easily UNsee it, forget that it occurred, miss what it implies is, or was, the true relation between Diana and Clark in terms of physical strength, or be easily convinced that things should be otherwise without good evidence.
It's like looking at the Star Wars Prequels, especially the 2nd prequel, and trying to block out Empire Strikes Back from intruding into memory. Haven't been able to do the latter so far. Don't think I'll be able to do it well for Rucka's work, either.
Alright, having addressed this on the reflexive almost instinctual level, let's move to the comic's own logic.
Superman's entire apparent motivation from pages 3 through 6 is to see Doomsday put in the center of the Sun. There is no mention of wanting to make Doomsday "suffer" as your scan from some later magazine suggests. In Wonder Woman 219, Clark wants Doomsday dead, period. Rucka's own interview confirms that, P.R. may or may not be able to verify reading that himself on Newsarama.
Unfortunately, of course, "Doomsday" is actually Wonder Woman.
Who certainly does NOT want to be put in the center of the Sun.
Logic says that much heat isn't good for her and that she will avoid that heat every opportunity she has.
But she also wants to get her friend Superman under control, restored to normalcy, and back to Earth where he belongs, at the earliest opportunity. Sooner, even.
Only problem is her friend now has his hands around her throat, is screaming her name, burning her face, taking her through the airless vacuum of space, and, oh, man, but we're at the sun already ... ?
Well, said friend IS frequently faster than light during this era -- that makes SOME sense.
Now, though, our 30-something heroine, as began to be shown in the last panel, succeeds in getting her hands in Superman's face. More precisely, succeeds in getting her fingers in Superman's eyes, even as Rucka told us she would in his interview, and Diana thus gets Superman to loosen his grip from her neck and turn away.
Note that this happens BEFORE Diana reaches behind her sculpted front torso to grab the box she now remembers Batman giving her.
Presumably, having gotten a little space, she's going to want to get a little bit AWAY from the Sun's heat?
At the least go off to the side?
Meanwhile, Superman's momentum should be taking him a little farther TOWARD the Sun?
But now recall that Diana's whole mission was to go after and retrieve her friend. You agreed they are now securely in the sun's outer layer or corona, how deep beyond that they may be we don't know, but you DID agree to corona, at least.
Regardless, if Diana did indeed, LOGICALLY, turn a bit aways as Clark continued on forward from his
which had to have had a whole lot of velocity and momentum to get them from Earth to Sun that fast,
then the logical position for everything to be in, regardless of whatever the artist or artists do on the page, is:
Sun Clark <--Diana ----------Earth
with Diana moving TOWARD Clark, who is closest to and in front of the Sun, but both of them entered into the corona, and Diana 180 degrees from the EARTH and ready to be sent back there if repelled...
You can look that link up if you like but the idea here is that creative staff at best offer portions of reality.
Really think about it. If you really WERE a being who could survive the 10,000 degree heat of the sun and were actually there AT the surface of this near endless globe-shaped sea of gases, already plunged into it's outer layer, what would you actually see?
I would think blinding, all-pervasive white light.
I can't even look at the sun at noon on a bright summer day without squinting. Shuts out everything if I try. Hurts even though it's literally 90 million MILES away from me.
So, again, what do you actually SEE, visible light spectrum when you are THERE? If you are an artist, what in the world do you DRAW to reflect that?
I searched through your photobucket account, as your albums prompt viewers to. Found Busiek's staff's take on how it might feel even to a powerful metahuman, in such a hostile environment ...
She was amped by some magician in All star squadran IIRC. Superman even states that she shouldn't be that strong in your scan. As for the rest of your "argument", this was what happens when a non-biased writer like Greg rucka writes an all out superman
Superman in that mini-sun in Metropolis is probably a better approximation of what Diana is experiencing in Sacrifice than what Rags Morales and company actually drew. It reflects being IN those endless tangled branches of flame. For the sun is not like some solid barbell. It's not something you stand ON but gradually pass THROUGH.
"Smaller" gaseous giants like the planet Jupiter are beyond what anyone who thinks of planets as being something Earth-like and rocky would easily imagine.
Here is power girl vs superman with a crap load of heroes trying to subdue superman
(please log in to view the image)
The only time diana has looked good against superman is when either superman is being mind-controlled or a truly biased writer like rucka is trying to push her. I mean why else would a superman storyline end in a wonder woman title?
Last edited by abhilegend on Apr 12th, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Abhi, explain what you mean by this last post, please.
Also, if possible, what your source is for this.
For if it is Infinite Crisis, as I'm thinking it is, you aren't saying anything different from what I'm saying -- you've confused Mogo with a red sun, which it isn't, and Superman actually passed through BOTH red suns, whatever your 1st example is, and you've provided then 2 examples from different writers that suns are spheres you pass through, as I said just now.
So we've gone from an INcorrect statement that Earth-3 Diana was magically amped by someone in All Star Squadron, to "hit him when he wasn't looking"? ...
The fallacy here is the idea that a being like Superman or Ultraman has to be a conscious figure in possession of full world-moving superstrength in order to knock someone out.
All they needed to be in a lot of cases was an involuntary ULTRA hard-headed/hard-bodied missile hurled by someone ELSE with sufficient knockout force.
Strange it may sound, Abhi, and perhaps it even varied from writer to writer, just as it does today, but, superbeings typically did NOT lose the physical property of invulnerability AS a physical object when they were weakened.
For instance, Superman, splashed by liquid green kryptonite via the 1950s equivalent of a super-soaker water gun, World's Finest #94, Volume 1, not only required the kryptonite be washed off him for his own safety, but had to be caught by Batman and Robin TO PREVENT HIS INVULNERABLE PLUMMETING BODY FROM HURTING OTHERS.
Similarly, and many years later, though pre-Crisis, Superman's cousin Supergirl finds herself knocked out by the JLA's Black Canary during a mid-air fight...
Source: Superman Family #172, Volume 1
Writer: Elliot S. Maggin
Penciller: Curt Swan
Date: July 1975
If you want to go one better, in Ultraman's first appearance roughly 20 years prior, Justice League of America #29 or 30 if I remember right, Ultraman was stopped by placing him ON a kryptonite meteor.
Comicbook writers specialize in making many a character's strength into potential weakness.