3.03.2010

3.03.10 Reviews (Part 1)

Detective Comics #862 (DC): Despite another impressive JH Williams III cover, I’m not finding enough “wow” factor in the work of Rucka and Jock to continue on. For $3.99 per issue, I’m merely getting a straightforward generic crime story, competent art that I don’t love or hate, and a back-up story I couldn’t care less about (though I will say that Jock draws a cute Babs Gordon). If I’m reading this book, I probably want to see Kate Kane as Batwoman. What I don’t want is the first third being occupied by Batman. If I want more Batman, well, there are plenty of other books on the stands featuring him. I really would have liked to see more Bette Kane as Flamebird in lieu of the Batman content. That sub-plot is interesting, but it’s given precious little screen time. I will say that I enjoyed the rainy broken radio traffic. The dual narrative fight scenes are constructed well visually on the page, but their meaning misses for me. From that sequence, we can either conclude that Dick is as inexperienced a crime fighter as Kate, which isn’t the case, or that Kate is as good as Dick, but the bad guys here are just so awesome that they can best the both of them, which also doesn’t ring true. It just doesn’t work for me. Not to mention, why does Batwoman keep letting Cutter go? This is at least the second time where she’s had him cold, but gets distracted and watches him flee for no apparent reason. Why wouldn’t she have Bette tend to the victim and then pursue the criminal herself? It’s just not adding up and it keeps pushing me right out. Grade B-.

Justice League: Cry for Justice #7 (DC): Let me ask you this: what kind of professional writer/editor/company let’s the typo “we’re loosing” slide by, when the intended dialogue was actually “we’re losing?” Oh, that’s right. It’s actually a rhetorical statement, because the answer is right there in the question. A professional writer/editor/company doesn’t fail to catch that type of mistake. They even manage to pour ironic salt in the wound since the speaker of this gaffe is Shade, who’s known to be somewhat of a proper, erudite gentleman that would never make that type of mistake. That, in a nutshell, is emblematic of this whole endeavor. I don’t even know where to start. Should I start with Prometheus’ incomprehensible motive? His byzantine plan to hire a doctor to create dysfunctional technology with which he’ll hire other low-level villains to plant in the cities of heroes in order to teleport the cities away (or something) to… mentally torture the heroes I guess… because they’ve somehow wronged him… or something? Should we discuss the bizarre plot formula being used ever since Identity Crisis? Maim and degrade some c-list characters, kill off some innocents in a meaningless attempt at inorganic shock value violence all in the desperate attempt to gain sales with fabricated gravitas? Should I cite the ridiculous art? The fact that there are three (three!) artists responsible for this (late) issue? Their awful panel compositions, jarring transitions, random borders and layouts with no sense of flow, totally devoid of any meaning behind their designs and layouts? It’s a muddled mess of incongruous styles, best exemplified by this incomprehensible two page spread with Electrocutioner and Speedy. Should we go on to use Starfire’s rather… “buoyant” depiction as an example of the art quality, or the stiffness of Black Canary? Should we talk about the lame lines like “you’re an idiot and a pin cushion” or Ollie’s singular “JUSTICE” that ends the book? Should I complain about the throwaway presence of the Sea Devils and Miss Martian? How they’re trotted in and out, feeling like a shoehorned attempt to show off, see what sticks, or be clever? Despite his ultimate demise, Prometheus’ wins here, doesn’t he? He destroys cities, killing at least 90,000 people in one, breaks the will of the Justice League, creates division within their ranks, maims Roy and others, kills Lian, tortures Freddy, thwarts Miss Martian and Shazam while restrained, renders the Justice League totally ineffectual, with big guns like Hal frantically running around shouting “Any ideas?! Anyone?!” He’s got the upper hand. He gets away. He proves the entire concept of superheroes is totally implausible, which seems like kind of an odd move for DC to pull in their flagship superhero book. I mean, this isn’t Warren Ellis fucking with the paradigm at Avatar Press. This is DC Comics and they’re saying heroes can’t right wrongs without getting their hands dirty or their futile attempts are a joke. This is a joke. I thought it was funny that Tasmanian Devil’s rotting pelt is still visible at Prometheus’ inter-dimensional HQ, but I was quickly distracted by the fact that Green Arrow’s arrival is totally illogical. If Prometheus can create successful counter-programming for nearly every hero in the universe, wouldn’t he be able to secure his hidden stronghold from a guy with a bow and arrows? I really can’t find any redeeming qualities for this issue. It’s like the entire affair was not about telling a story, but was an editorially mandated piece of filler, merely killing time during Blackest Night, something required to mechanically set up the new JLA arc, to artificially create the impetus for the Rise & Fall of Green Arrow (or whatever it’s called). Early issues of this series were crappy, but at least offered a harmless campy schlock entertainment value. With this, the series has veered into more disturbing territory. Despite the inevitable low grade, I actually recommend this book to people as “proof by counter-example;” yes, it offers a good lesson in how NOT to create a book on so many levels. This is one of the worst comics I’ve read and in an effort to summarize why, I offer the following closed circle of logic. It’s too earnest to be parody, too full of parody to be dark, and too dark to be an earnest JLA book, thus failing in totality. Grade F.

2 Comments:

At 4:45 AM, Blogger Matt C said...

Ouch! I didn't even know you went down to grade F! Still, at least you're reading this book so I don't have to! Let me know when it gets good! :)

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Hey Matt, it's good... now that it's over!

 

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