Taking a break from "Dororo," which I like a lot after one volume, I've been delving into another Osamu Tezuka classic: "Black Jack." I've finished Volume 1 and Volume 2 of this series -- about a mysterious super-surgeon who demands exorbitant fees, but takes jobs no one else can handle -- and I have a few thoughts:
1. It's very good overall, but some of the individual stories don't work at all, and others are quite profound given the short space.
2. That's really the charm of the series -- it's the accumulation of rapid-fire stories of great tragedy and moral dilemmas. Each story is super-simplistic really. The complexity comes from the bigger picture, the stories stacked one on top of another.
3. There should be more (any!) American medical genre comics. It's a big genre on television, but when was the last time you read a comic about a world-class surgeon saving a life? Black Jack is basically a superhero -- he's the Six-Million Dollar Man of surgery, with more than a dash of the Man with No Name -- but it doesn't have to be a Doc Midnite comic (although I would totally read that). How about a Vertigo series?
4. Tezuka's style is very different here than in "Dororo," and since I'm not an expert on his work, I'll leave it at that. But I wonder how much it has to do with the era -- "Black Jack" is from the 1970s, if I'm not mistaken, and "Dororo" is from the 1960s, I think -- and how much it has to do with adapting his style for a different genre. (I guess I didn't leave it at that.)
5. I'm interested in reading more "Black Jack," but I'm not particularly compelled to. I expect it to be more of the same. Anyone know if it get radically more complex or less formulaic?
I also reread "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and "Infinite Crisis" for my big buildup to "Final Crisis" #7. I don't have much to say about the former two, and I've already said a lot about the latter (with more to come maybe by Monday), so moving on again...
I didn't read anything else substantial this week, besides the usual stack of floppies (too much "Doctor Who" to watch!), but I just have to point out HOW TERRIBLE THE FINAL ISSUE OF "LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES" WAS.
Just to recap: Jim Shooter took over as writer of the Legion with issue #37, and as much as I complained about his writing, at least he was setting up a complex plotline that was building to something big. He may have overdone the future slang, and his characterizations may have been a bit odd, but his plotting was decent and the last few issues -- leading into #50 -- had been the best in his run. But then it was announced that the series was canceled. And then Shooter mentioned that his plan to wrap everything up by issue #54 had to be condensed to wrap up in issue #50. And, then, issue #50 actually comes out, and it's not written by Shooter.
It's written by someone under the ha-ha-it's-so-funny pseudonym of "Justin Thyme." I could go into an analysis of why it's obvious based on character dialogue that it's not Shooter writing under that pseudonym, but the issue isn't worth any more time than I've already given it. As published, "Legion of Super-Heroes" #50 is a disgraceful conclusion to the Threeboot, and a work of hackery far more egregious than even "Countdown." Greg McElhatton gave the issue a half star review on CBR, and I think he was being generous. The comic is really a giant "screw you" to everyone who's been reading this incarnation of the Legion.
What an inglorious way to go out.
What are YOU reading?