Contrary to how it may sound, I'm a big fan of Roy Thomas. I share his affection for characters from the WWII era, and he will always be the greatest Earth-2 writer DC Comics ever had on the masthead.
That being said, what the heck happened with Infinity, Inc? This was a series that started out very strongly, with a 10 part saga to get the ball rolling where the original JSA fell victim to the Stream of Ruthlessness and battled their now-grown children. And these were back in the days when a 10-part series generally meant 10 full months, not jumping around from Batman to Detective to Robin to Catwoman to Andy Capp or whatever. We waited 10 months for him to tell the story, and it was worth every week we waited.
We were too young to realize that we were victims of first impressions. Once he started to distance the team from the JSA, we were left with one of the most cliche-ridden messes ever, rivalling the Omega Men in sheer "I'm only reading this because it has to get better - they printed it on Baxter paper!"
Alas, it was a restaurant in a good location, and they took the best dish off the menu after the grand opening hoopla had died down.
Let's take a look-see at one of the most painful moments in the series. Cut to the new Wildcat, who would say things in Spanish even though none of the other characters spoke Spanish.
Seriously, do you know anyone who speaks Spanish that does that? I mean, I can understand people who speak Spanish talking to each other, but to address a group of non-Spanish speaking people and saying, "I am glad we were able to find a matching paint for your sofa cushion! Mi espanol necessita mucha ayuda! Huevos rancheros! I cut myself when I'm angry. Does anyone have any gum?"
This is not someone you would ask to join your social circle. The best thing Wildcat II ever did was get killed by Eclipso. Yeah, I said it!
That was the problem with Infinity. Roy was trying so hard to bring about modern versions of characters, but he was using tired material. The Fantastic Four had done the whole group-infighting, awkward romance, crisis of confidence things that Roy was trying to give us, and did it better. Try though you might, you can't re-bake a souffle. His new takes on Wildcat, Dr. Midnite and Hourman were politically correct, modern to the point of trendy, and worst of all, boring. And it's not that it couldn't be done - Geoff Johns breathed new life in those characters and then some in JSA, so effectively and dynamically that it's embarassing to have Infinity, Inc. in my collection. Anybody want 'em? Well, I'm keeping those first ten issues.....
Oh, but my point here was that Roy showed us the Tasmanian Devil of the Global Guardians (EEEEEEEESH, don't get me started) coming onto Wildcat II.
A couple of problems here. First, this approach will not get you the girl, fellas. It just won't.
Second, let's not take the only Australian character and make him look like an undersexed circus monkey. I've only met a handful of Australians, but they were all very kind, down-to-earth folks and they deserve better than that.
Last, but not least, the Tasmanian Devil is gay! I don't mean "gay" the way South Park uses the term. I mean he prefers men! I like to think that if I was lucky enough to make my living writing comics, I'd show up at the meetings to make sure I wasn't suppressing the sexuality of a given character.
To make matters worse, Tasmanian Horndog has to steal a kiss and dry hump the leg of poor Wildcat II. Did they have some kind of relationship like Jack and Karen did on Will & Grace? What am I missing here?
You speak for us all, Green Flame, with your thoughtful introspections. I am puzzled as well.