Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Comics as a drug.

I love and hate the drug that is comic books. First you start with something from the big two. Your interest galvanised by nostalgia, or a wikipedia article. Then you've identified some writers that you like, so you move on to some creator owned stuff. After you like that, you move on to other things by those publishers. If you like any of it (And this is usually the hard stuff) then you just begin wild experimentation with different publishers, writers and artists that you've never heard of.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DC's Reorganizing

Good Moves. All I'm going to say.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


MarkWaid Wow, this seems like a bad day to announce that I've been tapped by DC to write DK3.

That is from Mark Waid's Twitter. I knew there was a reason I got a twitter. I hope I don't get him in trouble for this.  I just hope that's Dark Knight 3, not Donkey Kong 3.

What the hell is up with the Senior Editors of the Big Two?

Goddamnit Dan DiDio.  I really try to go to bat for you. And granted, in the realm of superhero comics it's very easy since your rival Joe Quesada is a lunatic. So please tell me this is taken out of context, or something that you had just said a while ago to shut someone up. I'm not even the biggest Watchmen fan, I would just like to see something good die with dignity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

James Robinson

I guess it's been a long time coming but I need to give James Robinson a positive boost on the Internet. Between Justice League: A Cry for Justice, and the Fact that Superman isn't featured in two of the books that he's prominently featured in. If you're a regular reader of the internet, you'd think that James Robinson had kicked everyone's dogs with each issue. So in defense of a great writer (and I haven't even finished Starman), lets give a good breakdown of why James Robinson is good, and you're a moron if you think otherwise.

Comics are much like movies in terms of the fact that the story can take place at multiple levels. The thing a lot of critics slam Robinson on is the Dialogue of his recent work. And even I must admit, sometimes it's a little bit clunky; yet no one gives him credit for the fact that he knows how to capture the voices of characters like Ollie, Hal, Ray Palmer, and Supergirl. Even if the dialogue is a little bit golden age-ish, that's fine. Watch Batman: Brave and the Bold, it's a great example of how golden age dialogue can still keep with the beats of how the characters are interpreted today. The thing that everyone loved to leap on was a line from A Cry for Justice #2. Ollie had implied that Hal had a drunken affair with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk. The internet exploded at this..."This is so out of character" Right, the fearless test pilot is going to be the paragon of your christian sensibilities. "How disrespectful to some of the strongest female characters in comics". What the hell is disrespectful about sex? And Even drunk sex? We've all had it at some point; is it ridiculous to believe that people who constantly put themselves in stressful situations might want to indulge in something that doesn't involve them being shot at? Things like this just continue to show how little comic readership have actually grown up. It's sex, get the fuck over it.

Continuing on the theme of dialogue, and how it proves that James Robinson is teh loozerz, let's talk about story. Ok so you don't like the way he writes, that's fine; his stories are amazing though. Let's take this series by series.

Superman: On his current arc, he's working on basically Two worlds without Superman, and he's doing a damn fantastic job. What a better way to challenge Superman as a character, than to make him not super? One of the biggest complaints I always see about Superman as a character is how he's too capable and therefore unrelatable. James, Rucka, and Johns have put Superman in a situation where he is equally capable to everyone around him and on an alien world. The only thing setting him apart at this point is his humanity, Spiderman fans should be gobbling this shit up. On the flip side, back on Earth you have Mon-El trying very hard to fill Superman's shoes, and you just get to see what Superman means to everyone on this Earth. Both to the regular people, and the DCU; which we'll see as Robinson's new Justice League unfolds.

A Cry for Justice: Now maybe I don't read enough comic books to understand why proactive superhero teams are a tired idea, but I have enjoyed this for the most part. Is this a perfect book? Fuck no, but it has one of the most moving moments I've seen in a comic in a long time, maybe since Robin and his Dad in Identity Crisis. Spoilers ahead, so be ready...
Roy Harper is about to leave the Justice League satellite to go tuck his young daughter into bed. He interrupts the tension of the main JLA, and Hal's splinter league, letting both sides know where his priorities stand, and it's as a father. Shortly after leaving, Supergirl, and Congorilla go to investigate a smell and there they stumble upon Roy, holding less than a stump of where his arm used to be. And now here is where everything shines. A large portion of credit for why this is such a moving scene goes to Mauro Cascioli, who chose the right colors to contrast and emphasize what needed to be looked at. The look of Anguish on Roy's face is very genuine. It is pure pain and anguish. However Robinson comes in to deliver the killing blow. He could have gone for total realism, and just had him fall to the floor. Or he could go the Frank Miller route, and have Roy tell the League(s) to not worry about him and get the bad guy. But instead he says something that would be very personal to an archer. Roy comes in with all that anguish and shouts "--I can't feel my fingers!" It's something I can hear resounding perfectly in my head, and I think it packs a very strong emotional punch to the gut. Read it again, and try to let go of your hate of maiming superheroes. Enjoy the story for what it is.

So what am I getting at here? I guess I'm saying that you should judge comics on multiple levels. Dialogue matters, but should shaky execution get in the way of an excellent story? I say no. Robinson has a ton of talent, and the fact that the general comics community keeps shitting on him because everything isn't as good as Starman is a fucking travesty. I get that Starman was great. Maybe it's better than everything he's doing right now. But judge his current stories on their own merits, I think you'll find plenty to like if you just look a little deeper past comic book trends.

I'd also like to mention that Blackest Night Superman and JSA are the best of the BN tie in Mini Series, and guess who they're written by...

DC Comics Review: Green Lantern #50

 Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Doug Mahnke with Christian Alamy

Coined by lord Johns as Blackest Night 6.5, this issue deals with the gathering of both the big powers of the emotional spectrum, and Nekron's forces. The plot advances along nicely, and because the cover gives it away, I'll spoil it here. Parallax is back, and Mahnke is the perfect one to draw this. What I love about Geoff Johns is his mastery of the comic book medium. More than any of the British magicians Geoff writes very solid single issues. They leave you both satisfied and wanting more. It's a point I can really only convey to people who buy comics on a weekly or monthly basis. The best way I could give an example of this would be the difference between Batman and Robin #1, and Blackest Night #1. I remember when both came out they were fantastic, but I liked Blackest Night #1 a bit more because it left me satisfied within the whole issue, while Batman and Robin left too much open. It's not entirely a bad thing, but to have a very incomplete story can get very frustrating. It may be why people who only buy TPB's of Johns' work don't quite get why he is so great. 

However this issue I must say is all about the artwork. My first review I knocked Doug for his love of cheekbones, and while that is still certainly there I forgive it entirely. The slavering undead, and the hyper detail of Parallax seems tailor made for Doug's highly detailed style. This is to the point that the Image on page 10 actually made me jump when I hit it. It's perfectly placed behind shots of the good guys winning. Plus the Hal-Spectre fight has some real scary imagery as well. Overall I'd say this time the art actually outshines the story. Mahnke and Alamy haven't been this on point since Superman Beyond. 

As if you need me to tell you, this one is a keeper. Beyond being a 50th issue, it's great for Blackest Night completionists. Plus there was no Blackest Night this month, so this is as close as you're going to get. The end sets the stage for what I am going to imagine as an epic as hell fight. I'm still not decided on what music would be good for this issue though. There is a lot of action in this issue. But the plot takes a crucial step forward, and it ends on a very strong cliffhanger. I would probably try out something from Metallica as a place to start. If you can find some good black metal like Diabolical Masquerade, that could work too. To cast the issue in a more eerie light maybe Isis. I don't know. Overall though, great issue; get it!