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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.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More from the New 52

Comments on half a dozen mixed titles from the 2nd and 3rd weeks, I think I want to carry the blogging project through in part to help me remember which books I want to buy second issues of, otherwise without writing it down I am an old man and forget things. 

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
written by Scott Lobdell, art by Kenneth Rocafort
one and out here. This has a lot of the same ingredients as the relaunches I like, a little action and a little back story and a little "ooooh" cliffhanger menace stuff. But when the characters are talking about the All Caste, they may as well be talking about KAOS or SPECTRE for all I care. The depiction of Starfire/Koriander exemplifies the cheesiest pinup mentality that DC is taking some hits on. As a big fan of the 80s Titans reboot by Wolfman and Perez, I found it painful to watch this version slinking around like a centerfold. And Roy Harper and Jason Todd are not drawn with any eroticism. This was a "the ingredients are there" read for me, I want them stirred better. 

Catwoman #1
written by Judd Winick, art by Guillem March
I found this as deplorable and loathsome and reprehensible as I enjoyed Winick's Batwing. Unless you've been spending the past 45 years wishing Lee Meriweather and Adam West had done a three way with Burt Ward and then vivisected Aunt Harriet for kicks after, not that there's anything wrong with that, there isn't much else going on. We see Catwoman take out somebody's heart with her bare hands. She goes casual wearing dominatrix clothing which just on practical grounds doesn't seem like the best approach toward keeping a secret identity. She has torrid sex with Batman. Next issue promises "The Morning After." Which I would rather spend watching The Poseidon Adventure. For all that, the art isn't bad, pretty good in fact. What the art shows, not for me, but I would keep an eye out for Guillem's name on another project.  Winick?  Well, I still look forward to the second issue of Batwing. 

Mister Terrific #1
written by Eric Wallace, art by Gianluca Gugliotta and Wayne Faucher
a little overstuffed. the origins goes all over the place, and none of the places interest me or are more interesting elsewhere. the art is clean,but didn't make an impression either way. At least with Catwoman, I had passion, hated with but passion. This just makes me go " next."

Grifter #1
written by Nathan Edmondson, art by Cafu and Gorder
Hmmmm.  This one was surprisingly interesting. I didn't warm to it in the opening sequence quite the way I should have, it was confusing more in the confusing way than the intriguing one. But as we flashed back, the co. grifting was interesting to me, and then whom is it that grabs the guy and what are they doing, and when we got back to where we were at the beginning... Well, I still dont think i know or that anyone can know what happens on the plane, but still Grifter has questions and yes, I think I would like to know the answers to some of them.  Nice art, the storytelling is crisp when it needs to be and crisply confusing when that's intended, when the art wasn't helping I don't think it was supposed to. 

Batman #1
written by Scott Snyder, art by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Clapion
This is a bit of a mood piece, with a script that seems just the tad bit long, but I liked the mood it was setting, of a classic noir Gotham. Did a good job of putting the whole family of former Robins into the picture. Good enough to keep going. But the art is a murky mess, and it is intended to be because in recent years that seems to be the never-ending way of Batman books to be dark and murky. In which case of course Scott Snyder is the perfect writer.  The DC Retroactive with the new Len Weinberg story reminded me that Batman stories could be darker without drowning in it, though. So while I think I may stick with this for a bit because I have been feeling a little queasy that I haven't been reading Batman for years and want a finger in, I will still keep wishing for a different approach somewhere in the Batman line that can keep the dark in the Dark Knight without being quite so glum about it. 

Birds of Prey #1
written by Duane Swierczynski, art by Jesus Saiz
Never wanted to even go near a Birds of Prey, so that I even tried as part of the New 52 is a point to DC. That I may buy the second issue even more so. There are attractive women here that I think pre-pubescent boys can enjoy without having it objectified in the manner of Catwoman or Red Hood and the Outlaws. There is an interesting, twisty story that doesn't require a complicated story structure in order to twist. The ending has some bang to it. Like Green Arrow, I don't think this is the best of the lot by a lot of measures, but it is attractive, fun, nicely done storytelling which I am happy to gave a little more of. 

Observation:  30-40 years ago did an origin story require a looping story structure?   Were readers more patient then so you could show Ron Raymond at school and expect readers to wait 12 or 16 pages before you found Firestorm?  Could readers suffer through some opening pages of Barry Allen, police scientist, before the lightning and the chemicals?  And is it that readers are less patient, or that comic creators lack confidence in their abilities to tide a reader over without a now/then flashback that has the costume or at least some serious action on the first page, or lack confidence in the readers?  Whatever it is, the need to have so much now/then in these New 52 is very noticeable. 

Also, bad things seem to be happening at airport security and on planes these days.  There seems to be more social commentary on the whole state of navigating an airport in the first month of the New 52 than in the entire mainstream media. Or maybe I am just wishfully over putting things in to the books that aren't intended. 

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