About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Funny Book Round-Up

DC Comics is doing many things these days that sound really interesting but too often aren't living up to my expectations. Which I could be happy about; bailing out of disappointments is keeping me from going back to the days of 18 or 25 years ago when I read dozens of comics a month. But honestly that would be a happy problem to have.

I'm seeing that a lot with Brightest Day and its many tie-ins.

Brightest Day itself had an interesting 0 issue with an interesting mix of heroes coming back from death or obscurity but by the second issue just a lot of fights and nothingness.

Same with JLA Generation Lost. Nice premise, evil mastermind has wiped memories of him from everyone but a few JLA characters. Who just end up fighting with everyone. Boring stuff.

I have been sticking with Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal. This is part of a big Green Arrow revival being undertaken as part of Brightest Day. Solid straightforward stuff as a grownup GA sidekick deals with the death of his daughter. Speedy on speed, you could say. I like the art, the writing is energetic. The plot isn't getting sidetracked in continuity hell.

Alas, hopes that this might be carried over to the resuscitation of the main new Green Arrow revival are quickly scuttled. Brightest Day: Green Arrow has a muddy story, muddy coloring, hugely disappointing.

I almost missed a very pleasant surprise on the DC list, the Legacies series written by Len Wein and illustrated by Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert. This is an Astro City type ground up view of superheroes in different eras of DC history. The story isn't new but it is very well told. And the art by the Kuberts is amazingly good. Richly detailed. Good storytelling. Makes you stop, admire, really notice. Gorgeous. That's one recommendation I am grateful for.

Superman #700 was OK. Not bad but I'd like more from a #700 issue. Previously the Superman books were all involved in a long fun interesting arc until I gave up when it became a big interstellar battle. Story #1 is an epilogue now that Superman is back home and reestablishing his relationship with Lois. Bad? No. But too long for what it does and not very special. The second story isna lighthearted one with Superman helping out a young Robin. Nice story by Dan Jurgens with finishes by Norm Rapmund. Art has some of the same nude touches as the Kubert's for Legacies. But do I want Batman and Robin in Superman's big anni issue? No! A fun generic story like this would be OK in a themed issue but here has no connection so it's like filler. And finally new writers J. Michael Stracyznski takes over the book and we have a reflective Superman in a story that is supposed to warm up for the new writer's run. Well crafted again with art by Eddy Barrows. A lot of craft all the way around but no special feel for Superman's special day.

I liked the first issue of the new Paul Levitz run on Legion of Superheroes more than the second but will keep with forma third for sure. When Levitz was doing his great Legion run 25 years ago the Legion was smallerish. I think Levitz is making a mistake to jump in with 20 heroes involved and we're just in issue 2. Why not start smaller, really get us involved with some of them, and then broaden out? The art is inconsistent, stylistically confused. Three or four different ways of drawing characters who should be around the same age.

A quick turn to Bart Simpson #54. Fantastic story by Peter Kuper that puts Bart thru the wringer. A one page Maggie's Crib from Sergio Aragones. Two other nice stories. This had been a kind of Simpsons for younger people kind of book, not bad but not textured and certainly uneven. But now to see something as daring in context as the Peter Kuper story -- they're taking some chances and having some fun and I'd love to see more. Well worth $2.99. Simpsons #167 is a solid effort. Snake comes to live with the Simpsons. Marge discovers eBay. It's not a classic issue, but it's a more than adequate one.

Over Vertigo way DMZ continues its slow but interesting journey to someplace. The pace of this series is so glacial I have a hard time explaining why I like it. But I do. The about to end Ex Machina and the Simpsons books are the only ones I've been with longer.

3 comments:

Maria said...

Maybe this story will cheer you up:

http://www.towndrunkmag.com/2009/kabza_superhero.aspx

I think it would make a great comic episode. Well, it's on the unique side anyway (Warning: There is some rather foul language.)

I liked it!

Maria

Ed Marrow said...

I felt the same way about Batman 700. DC really could have done better with both.

With all the Return of Bruce Wayne stuff going on, one would think there are better stories in the offing.

The best book, for my money, is American Vampire. It reads like a novel. I suppose Stephen King writing could have something to do with it.

When I was a pup, I used to work in a comic shop. I read every title. It was mind-numbing. Now having kids, I have to choose my battles.

The Brillig Blogger said...

I somehow missed Batman 700 and need to track it down.

I read American Vampire first issue, and I didn't dislike it but I didn't like it enough to want to keep gpoing with it.