In which I ask five questions I've been pondering since Wednesday, and then provide the answers:
Dear Myself, why wasn't Nova #9 very good?
Simple. Abnett and Lanning came up with a great concept for this new story arc (which began in issue #8)--a strange alien/superhero colony on the other side of the universe, living inside the skull of a Celestial, or something like that. Cool stuff. The "lost in space with weirdos" thing was a bit similar to Abnett and Lanning's Legion Lost series, but still good for another drive around the block. But Dan and Andy must have realized, "hey, wait--we are writing a ginormous EVENT book called Annihilation Part 2, and we're also writing this space superhero book called Nova. We know that Nova was just part of the crossover, but, seriously, we can't NOT have him involved, so let's get him back to the Annihilation action. Now!" Such thinking destroyed any sort of story they were going to tell inside Celestialheadland, but it's kind of like Shakespeare getting to the part in Hamlet where he realized that he couldn't really send the prince of Denmark all the way to England, so he threw in that whole unlikely off-stage pirate action. It's all the same. Onward to Annihilation. Unfortunately, both Act IV of Hamlet and Nova #9 paid the price.
Dear Myself, have you ever seen such disparity between art and story as you see in Green Arrow and Black Canary #3?
No. Cliff Chiang is one amazing comic book artist. I'm sure he's been around for even longer, but I first recall being impressed with him when he was doing the Josie Mac (was that her name?) back-up stories in Detective Comics. I thought to myself, "here's the heir to David Mazzucchelli" (this was before Michael Lark tried to reinvent himself as Mazz junior). "I like this Chiang fellow," I thought. And then he got BETTER. Dr. Thirteen was genius. Now, he's putting his sleek style in the service of a story that...well, let's be honest here--This Arrow/Canary series has been a turd in a teacup. To emphasize the point, Judd Winick writes a chamber pot scene. You know what doesn't mesh with pretty artwork? Scatology.
Dear Myself, is it possible that this whole "Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" Bat-Crossover will turn out to be worthwhile.
I'm afraid not, gentle questioner. It didn't start that strongly, and although Grant Morrison's one installment was the worst Batman story he's written, it's better than the other chapters, sadly. Take the writing in the most recent chapter, from Nightwing #139: Fabian Nicieza has never been known for his mastery of prose, but he's been a serviceable comic book writer for two decades. Yet, in Nightwing #139 he has the title character narrate in a pastiche of an old, tired cliche: "[blah blah blah]: Easy. / [blah blah blah]: Costly / Having to fight the brother I came to rescue: Priceless." Yes, Fabian, we've seen those commercials for the past seven years. Way to write! But Fabian's not done, for on that very same page, in the very next line of dialogue, Nightwing says, "So, Robin... / ...You think maybe we can hug this out?" Well-played, Mr. Nicieza! A pop-culture reference immediately after another pop-culture reference. Spoken by the relatively monastic Dick Grayson, no less. Poorly written comics don't make for great Ra's al Ghul resurrection stories.
Dear Myself, don't babies need their heads supported when you're holding them?
Not in the "Messiah CompleX"! In X-Factor #26, among other installments, Cable is running around, literally, with the new messiah mutant baby in a little Baby Bjorn carrier. The baby is not facing toward Cable's chest, with his neck supported by the carrier. No, he's facing out, his head bopping to and fro while Cable leaps and flips and dodges lasers and kicks people. Now, I understand that mutants aren't real and Cable's not real and the Marvel Universe doesn't follow the laws of physics, but even in a fake-mutant-civil-war-Cable-world-where-people-have-robot-arms I would hope that they would know how to properly use a Baby Bjorn. Unless that mutant baby's mutant power is a superhumanly strong baby neck. Which is as stupid as it is possible.
Dear Myself, you are grumpy this week. Didn't you read any comics that made you happy?
I did, actually! I read the new issue of Scalped, and I liked Punisher War Journal (which is MUCH, MUCH better now that Ariel Olivetti has moved on to inflict his bad video game poster art elsewhere). I also liked Green Lantern #25 quite a bit. You should all read it--hell, read the whole Sinestro Corps thing. It lagged for a handful of issues in the middle, but the finale and the teaser for 2009(!) more than make up for it. By the way, the Corps of Many Colors is a great idea--and a logical extension of what Geoff Johns has been working towards, but indigo is not really a color of the spectrum. A rainbow is actually just Roy G Bv, no "i." Color scientists classify indigo as violet. Look it up on Wikipedia. It must be true. Either way Green Lantern #25 is awesome. It makes me not grumpy at all.