A recent purchase by the comic buyer at work (150 issues of Spectacular Spider-Man) started me thinking about the sad case of Professor Miles Warren, aka The Jackal. Initially a genius who pioneered cloning technology decades earlier than in the real world, he was then down-graded to garden-variety loony-tune who wanted everyone to THINK he had a cloner. Over the years, Warren was, then wasn’t then once again was able to actually clone people, despite fact that his own evil clone, Carrion, remained on the loose.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) loves a good retcon as much as the next guy, but thinks that many writers are a bit too quick to hand-wave away minor annoyances, asking: What’s the most awkward example of mishandled retroactive continuity that you can think of?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. December 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    Off the top of my head, just about everything that slipped through the cracks after “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and how they had several events later (Zero Hour and other events) that tried to tidy things up yet only served to further muddy the already messy DCU history. Some weren’t too bad, but some seemed to undo the whole reason the Crisis event took place in the first place.

  2. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
    December 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm — Reply

    One each for DC and Marvel. For the House of Ideas, it’s “oops, Wanda doesn’t have kids anymore.” Neither Wanda nor Vision has been the same since, entirely to their detriment and the readers’ loss. The only good that came out of it is two great characters in Young Avengers.

    For DC, it’s most of the Legion’s 5-year-gap. While GiffBaum clearly loved the characters and had some fine ideas, the inner fanboy wishes took over one too many times. There are some exceptions (including, surprisingly, the Shvaughn-I-mean-Sean storyline), but mostly it seemed like a way to create the LSH they wanted ten years earlier, Levitz be damned. Special notice goes to the intrusive and inexplicable overuse of the Proteans of Antares.

    PS – this is absolutely the finest title you’ve ever had for a QOTD.

  3. JoeM
    December 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm — Reply

    Babylon 5 – The episode (World Without End I think?) where everyone gets to be “The One”

  4. December 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm — Reply

    Power Girl circa the early to mid nineties. “No, she’s not a Kryptonian from a parallel Earth! She’s an ancient Atlantean who was preserved for thousands of years, and her main purpose is to give birth to a rapidly aging character. Not that we have any intention of using her suddenly adult son. Also her weakness is stuff from nature.”

    The only thing more depressing than that retcon is how soon the writers realized they had nowhere to go with it, and just never mentioned it. Power Girl then went back to being a survivor of Earth 2, with nothing gained. At least when Ms Marvel gave birth to a rapidly growing child – due to magical mind control rape – the comics had the decency to acknowledge it as a bad idea, and do something with it.

  5. December 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm — Reply

    The whole superboy debacle in LSH back in the 80’s and the introduction of Mon-el/ Valor as the substitute.
    Especially the way Lar Gand was introduced as a physically imposing, somewhat mature character in L.E.G.I.O.N., Upon leaving that organization, he traveled and looked like he belonged in the Archie Legion but 1000 years earlier.
    No matter how DC tried to build him up as some great hero that would seed the future United Planets, the writing wasn’t there to support that possibility. Then they killed him,
    Then they rebooted him. Did I mention his costume was Horrible and his personality went from being heroic and somewhat mature to a 15 year old tool whose stature was also diminished?

  6. Ian
    December 4, 2012 at 1:27 am — Reply

    Hawkman!

  7. December 4, 2012 at 9:18 am — Reply

    Brand New Day. We’re somehow supposed to keep the last twenty years of continuity, but every time Peter Parker or Mary Jane say “married,” we’re supposed to substitute that in our mind with “living together” and “husband and wife” is supposed to be changed to “boyfriend and girlfriend.” It’s so ridiculous. Never mind all the very specific decisions Peter makes because MJ is his wife and all the very specific conversations they have and the commitment they have to each other because they’re married. It just doesn’t work.

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