So you could reasonably predict my reaction when I read about how Johns wants to define the nature of the Speed Force on his upcoming Flash run:
"I always thought of the Speed Force as if it were this layer, kind of like the fluid in your joints that allows your bones to move together, and if you think of that as the Speed Force, it’s this fluid between the now and the time stream. It allows the two to co-exist, because the way time exists, it’s not just a line, it’s a sphere. So that fluid coats that sphere and the sphere is the Speed Force. And that sphere touches all reality and it’s full of everything, it’s full of ultimate speed, moving through reality, because time is all relative and it’s full of all scientific knowledge. It’s all knowledge of all eras."
That reaction, of course, was "ARRGH."
Because it just seems so pointless, doesn't it? I mean, the purpose of fiction, right, is to either mindlessly entertain or reveal some truth about the real world (ideally both). I realize this seems awfully lofty for superhero comics, but I mean, even "Helping people is good" and "Stealing is bad" are truths - I'm not asking for Kafka or anything.
But this is just explaining how an imaginary system works. It is never going to be relevant for me to know how the Speed Force works because we haven't got one of those. It could be in service of a good story, of course, but it also could be that fan fiction-y mythology building and expansion that Johns does and that fans seem to like.
But then I re-examined my immediate reaction.
For one thing, the Speed Force has always been explaining how an imaginary system works (i.e. why a bunch of different superheroes all have the same powers for different reasons) that never really required an explanation in the first place; for fifty years everyone was fine with them just running really really fast. The difference is it came from Mark Waid, whose comics I've always liked.
The second thing is that quoted bit above, superficially, reads an awful lot like a Grant Morrison impression. It's big and wonderful and metaphysical, and you're not quite sure exactly what it means but it all seems to make sense to him. And if I had read that in a Grant Morrison interview, I'd be, "All right, sign me up, this could be rad times!" Now granted (...pun!), Morrison has built up a significant amount of goodwill with me as a reader, where even if something doesn't start out great, I'll stick with it because I trust it will pay off eventually (after about the second or third issue of Final Crisis, I thought, "Man, if Jeph Loeb had written this, I would be so done with this right now").
So the question I have to ask myself now is, am I totally biased against Johns as a writer of funnybooks? Even if he launched The Adventures of Exactly Everything Justin Wants To Read In A Comic Book tomorrow, would I dislike it? Or, more worrying - might I even be capable of liking it, but on some level (conscious or not) be looking for things to object to?
Man, this is why I haven't been to the comic book shop in months.