Justice League of America scribe Dwayne McDuffie has been talking about his trials and tribulations as the writer of the "flagship" of the DCU over on the DC Message Boards of all places. As detailed in this week's Lying In The Gutters, there has been a whole lot of interference in his run, including this tasty tidbit about Kendra Saunders, AKA the fierce and fiesty Hawkgirl:
My plan was for Kendra to break up rather painfully with Roy, in time for that to be the reason Roy left the JLA (to go to the other title he was supposed to be going to back when I planned this). Kendra would have stayed with the team, but been without a romantic partner for a while. Most of the League, friends with Roy since he was a teen, would resent Kendra for staying on when she was the one who hurt their friend. She was going to be pretty much a loner except for her relationship with Wonder Woman (which would eventually be good, although Kendra would misread her for a while, causing friction until Diana helped her through some tough times), and Black Lightning, who would treat her like a surrogate daughter (I'd also planned to have her go to Jeff's for Thanksgiving, and meet the rest of his family). Kendra was going to come out of all this with a new focus, and a slightly adjusted status quo that would keep her front and center in JLA. Roy and Kendra would reconcile in about two years, but never be a couple again, except for one night that they'd both be sorry for, and never mention again.
But continuity changed in other books (i was informed that Kendra would die in Final Crisis), so I had to toss it all. Actually twice, because my back up plan was derailed by Kendra's recent undeath.
Interesting! So it was life, death, then non-death for Kendra. Overall, this sounds like an interesting character arc for her, and the character bits between her and Black Lightning and (especially) Wonder Woman sounds like they could have had some real meat for McDuffie to sink his teeth into. Besides creating a good opportunity to have a spotlight put on her, character arcs like this are something I enjoy, demonstrating that the Four Color Heroes we read about are more than just the sum of their powers, costume, and quips.
But the sad reality is that this is the way that working for the Big Two, especially on such a marquee title as Justice League of America, is in today's environment. The JLoA is a big money maker for DC, and DC's stance is that the JLoA reflects the big events, not the other way around. For what it's worth, I don't think McDuffie is airing dirty laundry here, but rather just telling it as it is. But when McDuffie came on the title, I had really high hopes after both his success on the Justice League cartoon as well as the mess which Brad Metzler's run turned into. Ultimately, this has got to be dissapointing for pretty much all involved.
Makes you wonder: did Metzler get the same treatment during his turn on the book? Does Brian Michael Bendis get treated the same over on New Avengers? I don't have those answers, but it is food for thought.
Also makes you wonder when the "death" order came down -- clearly it had to be in time for it to be teased in the Hawkman Special?
Also also makes you wonder if the collected version of Final Crisis will "correct" the Hawks' implied death?
There's more if you head over to LiTG, and from there to the DC Boards. Fascinating stuff.