They are superheroes battling injustice and fighting evil the Islamic way, and they are teaming up with some of the west's biggest comic book icons. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are among those joining forces with The 99, who personify the 99 attributes of Allah, according to Islamic tradition.And I'm guessing that, in the official books published in Kuwait, the "heroes" themselves personify such traits as jihad, conquering other countries and dhimmifying those they consider infidels, condone such quranic verses as "Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks..." (Qur'an 47:4), and even verses like “Forbidden to you are ... married women, except those whom you own as slaves” (Sura 4:23-24). That's exactly why to see these DC superheroes meeting up with a bunch whose religion and beliefs go entirely against their own will be one of the most implausible ever seen.
What will unfold on the pages of the collaboration between DC Comics in the US and Teshkeel Comics in Kuwait is yet to be seen, but the appearance of The 99 – who already appear in comics in the Muslim world – alongside archetypal American heroes would have been unlikely during the Bush years. DC Comics' president and publisher, Paul Levitz, believes the cross-cultural project is unprecedented.Now that is hilarious. They make it sound as though most American comics actually did support the war against terror and uphold patriotic values. Sorry, but it was anything but that, and even now, they can't be counted on to offer a fully convincing portrait of superheroes fighting terrorism, even allegorically.
That aside, it's interesting to note that company president Paul Levitz has approved of this.
He said: "It is a long-standing tradition for characters to meet others in the fictional world, and over the years a lot of the superheroes have been translated into Arabic, taking on ethnic elements. But this is a nice step forward. The most difficult creative test is when you are working with the least precedent and when you're trying to reach an audience that has a different cultural bias and different interests."It sounds like he may be subtly attacking the sensible audience if they're offended by this teaming of heroes who under better editorial would have more common sense with so-called heroes who could condone atrocities like jihadic violence and racism. If anything, this tells that Paul Levitz is clearly a bad lot himself. He was of course responsible for handing Dan DiDio the keys to the kingdom, and did nothing to stop Identity Crisis from being crafted. Once, he was a great writer, with plenty of Earth-2 and Legion of Super-Heroes stories to his credit. Now, it's clear that power and greed have consumed him, and I'm going to have to look upon him in disgrace.
Unlike their western counterparts The 99 do not wear disguises, unless you count the burka-wearing Batina The Hidden, nor are they outsiders with secret identities. They are ordinary people who develop extraordinary abilities after coming into contact with mystical gems infused with power and wisdom.No kidding. Sorry, I don't buy that for a second.
Only Batina, one of five females, is fully veiled, and although characters pray or read the Qur'an, they are meant to appeal to children of all faiths.
But who are some of the people behind this particular "project"?
The team behind The 99 includes comic book stalwarts Fabian Nicieza, Stuart Moore, June Brigman, Dan Panosian, and John McCrea, who have all worked at DC Comics and Marvel.And now I consider Nicieza and company as bad as leftist writers like Warren Ellis and Mark Millar, possibly even worse. Nicieza is clearly another of many burned-out comic writers who's naive to boot.
About 23 heroes have been launched and there are more to come.Really? In that case, how do they expect to craft anything fun to read? It does suggest though, that the Islamists behind The 99 despise Tales of the Arabian Nights, where plenty of magic is involved!
Mutawa said: "We're building the brand slowly.
"It's difficult to have any kind of reading or comic book culture here because there is a lot of stuff that doesn't come in or it's censored. Certain storylines don't work and some stuff, like magic, just isn't allowed."
This is another reason why I find the big two in their current incarnation so alienating today, because they're willing to insult their own properties by involving them with others whose ideologies go completely against their own.
Update: here's an extra item on this from Jihad Watch.