There's been an annoying trait comics, as of late, have been adopting. In an effort to garner interest and help sales, a number of comics have gone into the business of making us guess the secret identities of certain characters. This is fun once in a while, but it has been so over done, and done badly in some cases, that I'm just plain sick of it.
Who is the Red Hulk? After over a year without an answer, nobody really cares. We're finally suppose to get the answer in Incredible Hulk issue #600, but it took many stupefying issues of "Hulk" (minus the Incredible) to get to this point. Jeph Loeb and Marvel thought they had such a winning guessing game, that they where so cleaver, they thought they could string us along for over a year before giving us some answer. Well, not good enough. Whoever Red Hulk is, is just going to be a disappointment when you put it next to how long it took for this secret to even be revealed.
Who is the Black Panther? This is another annoying guessing game, where a lot of people simply don't care anymore. First off - it's a whole new #1 based around this guessing game. T'Challa is in a hospital nearly dead, just so we can have a big guessing game over who this new female Black Panther is? Not cool, not cool. I'm quite frankly surprised Marvel didn't try and kill T'Challa, just to have a better lead into this new series. At least someone behind the scenes saw how stupid this idea was, and thought it best to allow T'Challa a chance to recover, and take back his own darn book.
What is even more annoying about this Black Panther guessing game, is that Marvel intentionally messed with us, releasing fake ads showing different heroes faces unmasked as the Black Panther. They had Echo, Storm - even Wolverine!
I swear, the only reason I want to know who the new Black Panther is, is so we know which character to properly hate for stealing T'Challa's show.
Who is Superwoman? This one is a little less annoying, as it was a contained story line within Supergirl issues, and we did find out the answer only, like what, 6 issues later? The only reason it became a gimmick, really, was because they titled the story "Who is Superwoman?". At least Supergirl issues were not left hanging for a whole year before the revelation.
Who are Nightwing and Flamebird? This, right here, is a more proper way to have a guessing game, if at all. Nightwing and Flamebird appeared during the New Krypton story line in Superman, and where finally revealed when they began starring in Action Comics. No big marketing push, no long wait - we found out who they where pretty quick. A much better job and far less annoying a mystery that any of these others.
Who is Ronin? This guessing game is over, but it seems like this is the one that started this annoying trend in the first place. Bendis thought it would be a good mystery going into New Avengers. Who is Ronin? Well, it didn't help matters that Ronin didn't even appear until issue #11. Then a curve ball is thrown at us, as Ronin isn't even a guy, it's a girl: Echo. While I can accept a girl putting on bulky armor to pretend to be a guy, the whole story just didn't feel right - and there is a reason for that. Apparently Ronin was really suppose to be Daredevil. Bendis told us all that it was always suppose to be Echo, but then he let slip during an interview, when he thought he was off the record, he admitted it was suppose to be Daredevil.
I love Bendis as a writer, and I can see why plans change and everything - but I had hoped he would steer clear of this kind of Secret Identity game in the future, especially considering how anti-climactic the answer was. My only dread is that Bendis might pass the Ronin armor, now owned by Clint Barton (Hawkeye) and give it to someone else for another round of guess who Ronin is?!!??
Who is the New Sorcerer Surpreme? Sadly Bendis still likes his guessing games, as we had to wait around five issues (5 months) as Doctor Strange looked for a new Sorcerer Supreme. Then it turned out to be Brother Voodoo. This round of guessing only took one story arch, but it still stunk of the whole Ronin situation all over again.
Who is the New Batgirl? I nearly forgot this one. New Batgirl series is coming out. Is it Oracle? Cassandra? Spoiler? I for one don't care - Batman has enough people putting on Bat costumes as it is. And you know what is most annoying about this campaign for Batgirl - is that DC has been putting out images showing different costumes this new Batgirl could be wearing. Some costumes seem to indicate Cassandra, with all black leather. Other images show the more classic blue, yellow, and black costume. It's made to confuse us and have us all guessing. (As if we're all that interested after one day's worth of wondering) It's just an endless mind game with these people...