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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Funny Book Round-up

Wonder Woman 602 was a disappointment. First issue at least intrigued but instead of moving forward I thought this 2nd issue in the J. Michael Straczynski run became incoherent. Peter Brett and I were discussing if it's possible for anyone to do a good Wonder Woman because of the inherent flaws of the character herself, and this perhaps further proof it might not be. 

Better news from the Straczynski revamp of Superman.  This was a solid second issue, #702, at least to the extent that if you like what he's doing there's more to like here, and I still like the art by Eddy Barrows and JP Mayer which well suits e story. The larger lingering question is if the "socially relevant Supes" is the right direction. 

I just don't know what to make of the Paul Levitz run on Legion of Superheroes there and in Adventure. I liked the story in Adventure 517 more than the first installments, but was seriously disappointed with Legion #4. The last issue suggested a major new storyline aborning, but this issue picked up with Darkseid then jumped here and there without a lot of connecting tissue. I want really badly to like these but much harder than I had hoped to actually do so. 

Geoff Johns, I read, used to work as an assistant for Superman director Richard Donner. No surprise that his Superman: Secret Origin miniseries has updated a lot of the story from Superman: The Movie, which I continue to think is the best superhero movie we've seen.  Cary Bates, a long-time DC writer including on the Superman books 20 or 30 years ago, doesn't hsve to use Donner's movie as a stepping off point but does in his new Elseworlds series, Superman, Last Family of Krypton, El on Earth, but does. A lot of the movie has filtered back into the comics because the movie is so iconic. In this alternate version the entire El family is on Earth, not just Kal-El, but we still find new versions of things like Superman's flight with Lois where you you can hear the John Williams love theme. I kind of liked but also realized picking the book up after a few weeks that it had made little impression.  And in the final issue of Secret Origins, Johns has to go from lovingly saluting the movie to integrating it into current continuity.  Overall I liked the series a lot, and the final five or ten pages of the last issue are redemptive, but I wish we could have done without the first two-thirds of this final issue. But on balance a worthy project that I would suggest be checked out in the collected edition. I have a feeling the parts of this final issue I disliked will be less bothersome if the whole series is read in one sitting. 

I liked Ex Machina very much, over it's fifty issue run. The concluding issue #50 is OK. But... it came out late so my memories of issue #49 were faded. Which will not be a problem in the collected. There's some stunning, scary and wonderful stuff that spins the characters in ways that make you ask if there is a new interpretation of all that came before. But most of what comes before in this issue is an epilogue to the prior issues. Both this and Superman Secret Origins make an argument for collected editions and against the purchase of the monthlies as they unfold. On the whole this and Y: The Last Man are two excellent series, Ex Machina held up better over it's run and in the finale. Hard business, endings can be sometimes. 

DMZ 56 is a fill-in issue masking as part two of a story arc. 

I have been liking the Len Wein scripted DC Universe: Legacies with different artists as the run progresses but issue #4 suggests it could be a hard act to keep up over 10 issues in the context of an expanding universe. There's so much ground to cover that the story vanishes behind the box- ticking to get it all in. Every DC team in one issues.  Yikes!  The art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez is well-suited for the era. Next issue covers the Crisis on Infinite Earths era whichnI will want to see. I'm not sure if interest levels will hold after that.

Bongo continues to do good, consistent work month in and month out. In Bart Simpson #55 Bart and Lisa both compete in a princess contest to win a pony. In Simpsons #169 Bart has to contend with a doppelgänger. Both are close to torn from the scripts from a good or better episode of the TV show. Comic Book Guy #2 I liked even more than the first issue. Comic Book Guy died in the first issue though we can safely anticipate his resurrection. Lines in this issue like Bart standing at grave sight and saying "I hope God's a collector and that you're in his best Mylar bag.". The tombstone is inscribed "Quit reading my tombstone! This is a cemetery not a library!" And who turns The Android's Dungeon into The Android's Playground...   

2 comments:

Myke said...

The problem with reading all your comics on XComics for the iPad is that they run about 2 years behind the retail paper editions. So, I'm up to DMZ #19 and Ex-Machina #6. Loving both.

I'm sure you've heard Peter V. Brett (International Bestselling Author With A Movie Deal) and I wax ecstatic about Mark Waid's Irredeemable and we don't do so lightly. Add to that Waid's Incorruptible and Ed Brubaker's Criminal.

Of course, if you read all that, you're not going to have time to do your job, so forget I said anything.

David R. Slayton said...

I've been having thoughts about WW on the same line: she's a tough one that many talented writers seem to break against.

I loved Greg Rucka's run, but in many ways he took the main character out of focus and used her supporting cast to shed light on her. It's a great trick to use with characters that have been out there so long.

Your discussion of the Superman Movie makes me think that this is what Heinberg and Simone were trying to do: use the WW TV show to bring in come iconic touches that resonate with our age group.

There's some good analysis to be done here, just on how to make the character work with or without a major shake up.