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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, October 31, 2010

two Supers and a DMZ

The first two issues of the J. Michael Straczynski run in Superman were interesting, but not entirely convincing.  #703 starts to move things into a higher gear, and I liked it quite a bit. The first two issues showed us a Superman walking the back streets of America, one might say to find his zen. In this issue Batman comes by to tell Superman why we don't see superheroes doing this. When a Superman is out with the real people there's too much danger of them becoming collateral damage. It's an interesting argument, one which might have seemed out of place in the more innocent days of the "relevant" Green Arrow series. Certainly an argument intentionally not scene in the prior two issues. Simultaneously there is Kryptonite arriving on Earth, only this type effects us instead of the Kryptonian. While it lasts people want to attack Superman and have a Superman power. So you can see where its going.  Regular Joe under the influence attacks Superman and there is lots of collateral damage to go around.  Even though the first pages may too clearly foreshadow the last, I liked the way the series pivoted in this issue, and I am very eager to see where Straxynski goes next.  Eddy Barrows is doing nice art. This issue is smooth both in it's low-key moments and in the fight scenes. 

Which we do not find in #704, which is an unusually good fill-in issue by G. Willow Wilson and Leandro Oliveira. A fill-in, but clearly planned. It looks at Superman's rumspringa from Lois Lane's POV, as she decides to join her hubby on tour, running into an old flame along the way. Good stuff. 

Speaking of fill-ins I've been lukewarm on the Collective Punishment arc in DMZ, but happily "A Decade on the Wall" in issue #58, with Danijel Zezelj doing the art honors (series creator Brian Wood scripts), is the best in the arc. It tells the story of a street artist who's been held in the Shea Stadium prison camp forma while and has now finally been given his freedom. One can quibble. A 22 page story that could have been told in 17 or 12. But ya know, even though I've never shied from saying that DMZ takes its own sweet time getting places, it's always been going somewhere, and way more issues than not I'm content to enjoy the ride. And this particular issue has stickiness to it. Just leafing through while I write about it, I find myself wanting to linger on these 22 pages a little longer. I doubt I'd feel that way retrospectively about the first few issues in this arc, but this one for sure. 

The ending of DMZ has been announced for issue #72. Knock wood this means series co-creator and regular artist Rick Burchielli is getting a running start on the final 14 issues, will be around for the lot of them, and there won't be one of those famous three month waits for the final issue that have been an unwelcome part of the comics scene dating back to Camelot 3000 and Ronin.  With the inability of recent Vertigo series to hold me after the first few issues, and some with very promising first issues, I'll be sad to see DMZ ending in by the start of 2012.       

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