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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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

funny book roundup

It seemed possible with issue #703 that the J Michael Straczynski run of Superman might be getting interesting. No such luck. After a good single issue fill-in the story goes nowhere in #705. The thread of provocative thought -- that the populace is at risk when Superman decides to slum with the people because the villains will be where Superman is -- from the prior issue is picked up and dropped so that Superman can intervene to save a kid and his mother with an abusive father. Serious issue, yes, but should Superman #705 be the place for it?  It is also completely at odds with the theme introduced in the prior issue. It is sloppy. Look at the final four panels and you can't see how/when Superman gets from inside to outside or who the final lines of the issue are being addressed to. 

Red Hood doesn't have the aspirations of the Superman run, but it does a good job of being what it is, and the final issue of the six issue miniseries was perfectly and pleasantly in line with the first five. 

I started back in on Brightest Day because Firestorm was taking a major role in the series. Alas, there is no Firestorm in #13 and #14. The first of the two had a Hawkman story that I couldn't understand. The second of the two had a Deadman story that was rather better and might have worked for somebody with no previous familiarity with the character at all. Should I buy a next issue without a Firestorm in it?

The DC Universe Legacies series, which is providing an overview of DC history, moves into the mid and late 1980s with a Crisis aftermath issue with some nice art by Ordway and Perez and an OK but unmemorable script by Len Wein in issue #6 and then a better script with better material, the Bane and Doomsday eras in Batman and Superman, with the usual soloed art for the series here by Jurgens and Ordway. All of which serves to remind that there is no point getting too attached to Brightest Day. The Bane and Doomsday stories led to the respective apparent deaths of two of DC's major heroes with all sorts of ramifications and absence explorations and grand returns and blah blah blah -- does any of this sound familiar -- and here we are 25 years later and really how much has changed. Maybe Bruce Wayne really won't be Batman in ten years, more changes have stuck with deaths and changes in Robin and other side characters in the Batman saga than in the Superman line.  But when all is said and done even the really truly dead like Barry Allen Flash in Crisis, have this tendency not to stay dead.  We know what Barnum said, and I reckon the business will never be without these shocking worlds-will-change and people-will-die promotable crossover events.  But Legacies makes me realize why I would rather see the business return to a focus on good characters and good stories and good art month in and out. But I am an old and jaded fogey and the business isn't so much about me

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