Saturday, June 10, 2006

EVill Comics, 6/7/06

Slow week...

Wonder Woman # 1... Terry Dodson's artwork is very good... The script doesn't suck, though it's nothin special, either... But, really, how can good art and a decent script overcome a premise that is pure shite? The only thing that made Wonder Woman interesting was her reinvention as a warrior of Greek mythology (by my beloved George Perez in 1987), and DC has now decided to divorce her from that premise.

Themyscria--gone. The gods--gone. The heavies (Ares, Circe, Medusa, the Hydra, et al)--gone. And her traditional, boring-as-hell Rogues Gallery, e.g., Cheetah, Doctor Psycho--restored. *Yawn*

And now she's a fucking secret agent--right out of that godawful TV series (which was ape-ing the popularity of Charlie's Angels)?? And that outfit! It's like the tracksuit Cathy Lee Crosby wore in the execrable 1974 WW TV movie.)

The one thing I can recommend, story-wise, is the decision to have Donna Troy take up the mantle of WW. This is pure DC goodness: the Titans become their mentors. Wonder Girl should become Wonder Woman if the real deal ever cashes in her chips.

I suppose my problem is that I never bought the reasoning behind the cashing in her chips part; this (fictional) "public outrage" over Diana snapping Max Lord's neck, and her subsequent "crisis of conscience." (Nor did I ever buy Max's turn to the dark side--but that's another rant.)

She did what she did to save Superman's life--and the lives of countless others.

She's a fucking warrior! She carries a sword! What did (4-color) people think it was for? Shishkebob?

And then we get to the *really* ridiculous part: she decides she never wants to kill again, that she is going to hold herself to a higher moral standard, and what does she do? That's right: she goes to work for Uncle Sam. BWAHAHAHAHA!! (I know: that's so 1990, but whatever.)

Unfortunately, there will be an issue #2, but there's no way in hell I'll be reading it. (OK, that's a lie.)

Anyway, let's do one I like...

Y: The Last Man #46... Y'all are reading this book, right?

Brian K. Vaughan is certainly one of the finest writers currently working in comics. And I expect he won't be working in comics forever. At least, not primarily. There are movies and TV series in his future. Or, at least, there should be. In particular, there should be a TV series of *this* title, which takes its inspiration from shows like The Fugitive and The X-Files.

Of his three ongoings, Y is probably the one I'm most invested in. (Though Ex Machina--which is like Watchmen meets The West Wing--is no slouch, either.) The storylines are gripping, the characters are rich and snarky.

If there is better dialogue in comics today, I'm not aware of it (see below).

In this issue, the long journey to reunite with Ampersand, our hero Yorrick's faithful capuchin (who may well hold the key to the mysterious viral apocalypse that wiped out all but two males on the planet), comes to its close, as does the adventure in Japan.

Looks like next stop on this round-the-world dealio is Hong Kong, where we've been promised a major mythology pay-off.

Then... on to Paris for the log-awaited reunion with Yorrick's fiance Beth? Who should not be confused with the Beth he's snogging below (he's unable to resist a fellow grammar geek--I know the feeling). That's Beth 2, who, after being knocked up on the following page, recently gave birth to Beth 3.

So, basically, our hero is surrounded by Beths. And I love it. (If his partner--known only as Agent 355--also turns out to be a Beth, I will be very, very pleased.)

Superman Returns Prologue #1... Unlike others, I enjoyed this. Yes, it's just an adaption of the Donner film's teaser--but so what?

The Donner film's teaser *ROCKED*. The one flaw here is that the comic doesn't include the screenplay's first line, which is arguably the greatest first line of a screenplay ever, right up there with The Godfather's, "I believe in America," and Goodfellas', "As long as I can remenber, I've always wanted to be a gangster" (over Tony Bennet crooning "Rags to Riches").

JOR EL'S VOICE OVER: This is no fantasy!

Almost 30 years later (uh-hem... excuse me... I, uh... I need to take a moment on that one...)

Where were we? Right. Almost 30 years later... No. Sorry. I can't. How the hell did that happen?! One minute I was wearing out my Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan videotape (which cost EIGHTY bucks), and grooving to Cyndi Lauper, and the next I was bald and pot-bellied (yet... oddly... still grooving to Cyndi Lauper).

Time just sucks. (As does my taste in music, obviously.)


JOR EL'S VOICE OVER: This is no fantasy!

Almost 30 years later, and it still sends shivers down my spine. THAT's screenwriting.

Plus, a lot of youngins aren't as familiar with it as those of us who worshipped the film growing up

And, even if they do remember Superman The Movie, most people--even comic book fans--aren't yet aware that Superman Returns is not a remake, but a recast sequel that fully acknowledges the 1978 classic.

So there's definitely a need for a bit of a refresher course.

Anyway, the mini moves into uncharted territory next issue, which covers baby Kal-El's first years with the Kents.

On the other hand, I'm totally done with the regular, in-continuity Superman titles. Blech. Who cares? (Sorry, Mikey.) There was some interest with his "performance anxiety issues," which kept him out of commission for the year we skipped post "Infinite Crisis."

But they dispensed with that right off the bat, and now it's back to business as usual.

I'll stick to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's brilliant All-Star Superman, thanks very much. *That* is some good stuff. Great, even. Exactly the way the Superman should be: iconic, fun, science ficiton-y. In short (too late), superheroic fables.

I haven't enjoyed the character this much since the classic Alan Moore stories of the 80s ("Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?," "For the Man Who Has Everything")--which, of course, are The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told.

So--good for Morrison & Quitely. I don't make comparisons to Lord Moore (peace be upon Him) easily, or often.

Historically, I was always a DC person, but in the last few years, it's been impossible not to notice that Marvel has a helluva lot more on the ball. Their universes (Ultimate and regular) are more sophisticated. Their style is more cinematic.

And, of course, they have Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, Neil Gaiman, and Joss-fucking-Whedon. Or should that read Joss Whedon and Neil-fucking-Gaiman? (Either way, either way.)

I think the DCU lost something when they divorced stuff like Hellblazer and Sandman from continuity. (Sandman had a sort of one-way relationship with the DCU: it took what it wanted, like Destiny and the post-Crisis Fury, but what it took vanished from the DCU.)

I did like Infinite Crisis for the most part, but it couldn't hold a candle to House of M--from which the ambitious Civil War storyline has been spun-off.

There are no good guys or bad guys in Civil War #1. Just some surprisingly multi-faceted characters who disagree over the role of superheroes in society--and are about to spill blood over it. But they're all patriots.

Civil War's hook is character-oriented, not action-dependent. It's not who will fight whom (though there IS that, of course), it's who will side with whom, and for what reason.

You gotta give Marvel props for respecting the intelligence of its audience enough to pin their big summer tentpole--if they use that term in comics--on a such an intellectual, and political, concept. And they're presumably about to have allies like Captian America and Iron Man crossing lines with each other that aren't easily uncrossed. (Will the Fantastic Four split over this? That would be cool.) So--good for them, too!


Anonymous Siv Figuerola said...

If theyre so confident the situation is ratings board, and therefore its 75 percent of the key midsize wide-body bosses that was later leaked to the Which is why the two Beamer tennis

6/10/06, 6:59 PM  
Blogger The Truffle said...

Okay, what's going on here? Is this part of DC's umpteenth continuity overhall? For god's sake, find a continuity and STICK WITH IT, people!

6/10/06, 7:21 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Hey, Truffle... Infinite Crisis was a sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Infinite Earths were literally brought back and recollapsed into *another* New Earth at the end. So, basically, DC is in the same pickle it was in back in 87. (For e.g., Wonder Woman is now a founding member of the Justice League again, though the general story of how she first came to Man's World--as told post-Crisis by Perez--still happened... Just years earlier.)

I enjoyed the meat of Infinite Crisis quite a bit, but I felt the ending was a major cop out. They should've restored at least *some* of the old multiverse. (Earth 2, in particular. Though at least the power players of the DCU now *know* about Earth 2. e.g., Power Girl knows where she came from.)

6/10/06, 7:41 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

and--siv--what ARE you on? (and--can I have some?)

6/10/06, 7:43 PM  
Blogger The Truffle said...

I do remember Identity Crisis, a hopeless mishmosh of a seven-parter. I was nervous about Infinite Crisis since, well, we already had Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was supposed to revise and streamline continuity. What was the purpose of this latest continuity revamp, anyway?

And what's the Doom Patrol's Elasti-Girl doing back from the dead?

6/10/06, 9:47 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

I liked the idea of a sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths (which, itself, is a sequel to the earlier "Crisis" specials--"Crisis on Two Earths," etc).

I *loved* the idea of bringing back Alex and Superboy Prime as the heavies, and that the heart of it would be an old-school team-up between the two Supermans.

I also liked the idea that the Golden Age Superman was easier to manipulate because his Earth was simpler--more utopian, and therefore, more naive. That's a pretty jaded, pretty sophisticated worldview--one I was hoping the whole DCU would move a little closer to post-Infinite Crisis, frankly. More real world--More shades of grey.

Hasn't happened, tho.

6/10/06, 10:54 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

As for the purpose of the continuity revamp... It's been 20 years... I think they felt it was time to hit the refresh button. The Crisis is what worked for them before, so... Pretty solid reasoning, I think. I'm just not happy with the results (at least not yet).

As for the Doom Patrol... Yeah, they're all back... *again*. I'm not sure how that happened, either. Haven't bothered to find out.

I really dig the Morrison/Vertigo version, and find it kind of jarring to see the much cooler, much more bizarre version of the team folded back into DC continuity in their more-or-less original incarnations.

6/10/06, 10:59 PM  
Blogger Luciferus said...

Hey, man. I agree with a lot but not all of your criticisms of WW. #1 just shoulda been a double issue--the scant pages just were NOT enough for those of us waiting all this time. I was cool with Max going bad but very annoyed at how easily the world was duped by Brother Eye. She did the right thing, yeah; she's a warrior, bitches, get used to it.

Also, thanks for quietly putting me on your blog list, neighbor.

6/14/06, 2:12 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Dude—You had me at “Alan Moore.” IIRC, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 3 is due out this summer... Though I have a notoriously bad short-term memory, so don't quote me on that.

6/14/06, 4:54 PM  

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