Monday, November 26, 2007

Responding to Marc

I want to thank Marc Caputo for being the first to comment on my return to blogging, and to honor him, I want to comment on his comic book observations in a dedicated blog post. Plus, nobody reads the comments anyway, as Geoff Klock has taught us. So here's what Marc said,

"Thor has continued to amuse and amaze - I've never been a JMS fan, but I'm getting to be.

Booster Gold is up there with All-Star Superman and Green Lantern as DC's best book and that puts BG in the lead for best new series. Johns has definitely hit a hew stride.

The X-books are pretty damn good leading up to Messiah Complex.

But, for me, the best thing about the last two months is the fact that a) the Superman books are back on track, b) there's been a new book every week in some way and c) the Legion arc in Action is shaping up quite well."

That's all well and good, Marc, for you to have opinions, but here's what I think:

Thor has been surprisingly good, although the ONLY thing that saved the most recent issue (#4 was it?) from the trash bin of cliche "perils of war" stories was the appearance of the Warriors Three. Which means that the issue wasn't actually any good, but it seemed good because, hey, the Warriors Three! Cool! But I have enjoyed Coipel's work immensely, and it's probably the least bad JMS I've read, which is a terribly backhanded semi-compliment, but there you are. JMS is the guy who turned the Squadron Supreme into a mopey snooze-fest about, ultimately, nothing. So, yeah, I'm not a big fan of his "approach" to superheroics. His Thor does give me a bit of hope, though, but, like all his work, it will probably be well set-up (and by "well," I mean laboriously slow) and then just kind of sit there. In other words, I hope the Warriors Three get to mess some shit up. And when Sif returns, watch out!

I'd rank Blue Beetle ahead of both Booster Gold and Green Lantern, personally, though I've been a Geoff Johns supporter since forever. You won't hear me trash the man--he does good superhero work. He's accused of continuity porn like it's a bad thing. Who doesn't like porn? So yeah, I do like this new version of Booster Gold quite a bit, even if Dan Jurgens reminds me of nothing more than early 90s mediocrity. Still, he tells a solid story, and I can't fault him for that. Although, how awesome is Ivan Reis on Green Lantern? Answer: the awesomest.

I really love Blue Beetle though. And I hated the first handful of issues. I'm glad I stuck with it.

The X-books, on the other hand, have just been pissing me off. If you look at my comic collection, and I suggest you don't, because that would be silly, you'd see my love/hate relationship with the X-Men titles over the years. I own chunks of the comics, usually with a couple of years missing in between. I was around for the end of Byrne and some of the Paul Smith issues, I bought it faithfully though Romita Jr, dropped it during Silvestri, picked it up for Lee, dropped it after that, have some later Romita Jr. issues, dropped it until Morrison/Quitely, ashamedly bought some recent Claremont just for the Davis art and then dropped it before Brubaker and Carey joined the party. And I hated the Peter David X-Factor relaunch. But I have been reading all the Brubaker/Carey stuff, and if you listened to the podcast you'd know that I've bought all of the crappy-Beast-wandering-around-sad-because-of-no-Mutants-crossover/non-crossover story which led up to Messiah Complex. I like a lot of things about the X-Men, but I really dislike anything with the Morlocks or the Reavers or anything Mr. Sinister-related, so I can't imagine that the Messiah Complex is for me. Yet, I didn't hate the most recent, New X-Men issue, even though I don't really know what that team's all about, and I'm going to keep buying it. We'll see if I can learn to love the X-Men again.

Speaking of love, I do love the Legion arc in Action Comics. Is it because of the continuity porn again? I don't care. It might be a shallow love, but it is strong, my friend. Very strong. And I'm eagerly awaiting each installment, which is pretty much what you want in a comic book.

By the way, I kind of like Simon Dark. I'm surprised by that as much as you are.


Marc Caputo said...

Wow, Timothy, I'm flattered. I want to expand on my comments (I wasn't expecting to be dragged on stage and I was only wearing bedpants and a ratty Green Lantern T-shirt!)

I was floored by Thor 3 - I had liked the first two a great deal, but was truly taken by the reveal of Heimdall. My anticipation for 4 was high, because I knew JMS couldn't use the same trick. I was glad that the identity of the Warriors 3 was not done the same way. I also liked the references to real-world events (Katrina in 3, Darfur in 4) - there's even a twist on the old "God helps those who help themselves" chestnut. I didn't want to see Thor save the day - it would cheapen the heroism of the other tribe. It's hard to address the godliness of powerful beings in comics or other fiction; you have to walk a very thin line; I think JMS is headed in the right direction.

Dan Jurgens' and Norm Rapmund's work on Booster Gold is for me, as much a highlight of the book as anything else. They're clean, simple but great storytellers. That's the combo you need for a book about time travel. Also, the next issue is going to take on the Barbara Gordon/"The Killing Joke" event. This is potentially monumental - it's probably the ONE point in DC history (post-COIE) that really doesn't have to exist; people can traverse dimensions but we can't heal Babs? Now, this might go back to the above-mentioned godliness, but, if anyone deserves it... But it would be interesting to see if they reverse it - Moore practically has nothing good to say about it. There's a lot of levels that this plays on.

I've spent a lot of time away from the X-books. I belatedly jumped on with the HC for Brubaker's and Carey's first year and found Brubaker excellent and Carey very interesting. I love Ramos' and Young's art on X-Men and New X-Men, it's very next generation stuff and fits the vibe and the intended audience. Also, it's good to see the X-books HUNGRY again - they'd be coasting on fanwank alone for too long. Finally, I like the mood of them lately; you can feel the desperation (of the characters, that is. I also feel the intent of editorial to make the X-line stronger and more relevant, which isn't desperation - it's more like respect for your audience.)

Chad Nevett said...

Normally, I'm a big Thor fan (one of the few characters I tend to follow), but the recent series is just moving so slowly. When I finished the third issue, I felt like if you compressed the first three issues and made it a double-sized #1, it would have been MUCH stronger. I do find it funny that the end of issue four has JMS seemingly commenting on how slow the series has been so far, though. Hopefully, things will pick up a bit.