Coming This Week: "Code Name Duchess"

I’m really curious to see how it all wraps up in Daytripper #10 (DC/Vertigo). Regardless of how things turn out for Bras, unless Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba really drop the ball, this should go down as one of the best, most thought-provoking, lushly illustrated and colored books of the year. I’ll also be buying Invincible Iron Man #30 (Marvel), which continues to be the consistently best book currently being published by The House of Ideas. I’ll probably pick up Batman & Robin #14 (DC); is this another Frazer Irving one? I lost track. I’ll admit that I’m kind of suffering from market flood fatigue with all of the Batman related projects in the pipe. I might be checking out soon. Here’s all I want really: Dick as Batman, with a great creative team, and Bruce not in costume, but in some type of mentoring/coordination role ala Oracle/Steve Rogers at the moment. The End. By the way, I figured out how to clean up the whole Green Arrow franchise too. Me, I’m partial to Roy Harper as a character, former Titan, agent of Checkmate, friend of my beloved Dick Grayson, but it appears after the events in Justice League: Cry for Justice, that they have Roy Harper on an inescapable path to become a villain, resuming his Arsenal handle. So, you have Roy kill Ollie Queen, because he should have stayed dead anyway and he's kinda' annoying, then you have Connor Hawke kill Roy, battle of the teenage wards style, and Connor becomes the one and only Green Arrow. You should be able to get at least two years out of that story debacle. There’s some tragedy porn for you. See, I could sit in on one of these writers meetings and like, totally contribute. The End. Man, where did that come from? Ahem. Anyway… also out this week is a new printing of Berlin: Book 01 (Drawn & Quarterly), a really ambitious and captivating project by Jason Lutes. If you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to check it out. Also of note is the I Am Legion: Deluxe Hardcover (DDP/Humanoids). Yeah, I love Planetary too, but I honestly think this is the best, most overlooked work of John Cassaday’s career to date. Check it out!


At 11:35 AM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

Heya Justin,

Top of the morning to you. I know you've been waiting for my tirade on your final review of daytripper, and I'd hate to disappoint you. :)

First of all, you know I've got a lot of respect for what you do here. I'm a regular reader (your website is one of my few start-up tabs that open daily when I turn on my compy) and I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you write. I just wanted to get that straight, right out of the box.

HOWEVER, I'm gonna take issue with you on this review. For all of our mutual interest in daytripper for the past ten months, I feel like this final review is filled with a lot of backhanded compliments. (Although, I can't say I didn't see it coming, as your last couple reviews were peppered with doubt regarding the series finale.) However, if I had to guess your letter grade after reading this review, I would have suspected it would be a lot lower (based on your writing alone).

Honestly, I'm struggling with where to begin this conversation. Part of my delayed response has been due to being incredibly busy (beginning of the semester, purchasing a car, blah blah blah), but it was also partly to gather my thoughts in hopes of forming an appropriate rebuttal. I'll try to be concise, although this comment is already getting unwieldy.

Your statement I take the most issue with is that the series hasn't said anything different since issue 2. You mentioned a couple new points in this issue alone, such as home not being a physical location, but rather "a conglomeration of emotional elements" (a philosophy I found myself relating to, having made a couple big moves in the last 5
years) and giving up your life for the sake of your children, an aspect I thought would have resonated more with you, a father, than myself, currently childless.

I also think back to issue #7, when Bras travels great lengths to find Jorge, only to be met with an unsettling scene, his friend a shell of his former self. This was another poignant section of the series on several levels: A) It's an example of humans [Bras in this case] going great lengths to find and heal a fellow friend. B) The edge of humanity [George in this case] which we hope to never reach, might be closer than we think. C) I could go on, but again, trying to be brief. We can all likely relate to the scenario in this issue (in less extreme circumstances) when we see friends or loved ones piss-away their potential or succumb to challenging states of mental health, as we sit on the sidelines powerless to reverse the situation, despite our best efforts. Again, these are all topics that were new to the series and not mentioned in prior issues.

I think your main beef is that there wasn't a neatly wrapped ending. It didn't answer all your questions about whether or not Bras dies or when that happened. For me, it wasn't so much a question of whether or not he dies, but rather a meditation on life's possible outcomes. Any decision we make will take our life down one of multiple routes. We all have agency. We all make choices which affect how our lives will be lived and how that will affect ourselves and each other. Daytripper is a beautifully executed narrative illustrating that particular theory.

Does Bras die? Of course he does. We all do. When does he die? I don't care. Sometime when he's old (because he didn’t die at the end of this final issue). But at the end of the series, I now know that Bras dies fulfilled, and that makes it feel like a complete and satisfying reader experience.

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Hey Ryan!

I can't say I disagree with any of the points you've made here. Ultimately, I think it probably just comes down to personal taste.

I think in terms of the review itself, I probably focused more on what bugged than what I dug, which accounts for the Grade A, despite some annoyance. I mean, shoot, the art and coloring alone is breathtaking - probably would have gotten an "A" all by itself with blank word balloons I could imagine dialogue for myself!

I was disappointed; I wanted it to end... differently, so that I could give it Grade A+, and when it didn't I got mad. Perhaps that's not being entirely fair or objective, a critique I have no issue accepting since reviews are inherently pretty subjective and dependent on the critic.

I'll be the first to admit I'm a control freak and wanted it to end more tidy after all of the diversionary shards of life, which I did enjoy. In the end, since it didn't, I felt it substituted *some* saccharine sentiment for general clarity. It's just my take. I love that you love this book. I love that you wanted to investigate purchasing original art from the Brazilians... I just didn't love it as much.

And hey, no worries on "unwieldly" length. I always learn a lot from you, especially when/if we disagree (which seems to be mostly rare) and some new perspective is infused into my thought process.


At 12:26 PM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...


The saccharine exposition was an element that took me aback at first, but it was something I came to appreciate more as authorial voice once the series took its stride. I just felt genuine, albeit a tad flowery. I think we've discussed this before, but I'd have to poke around some of your archives to be sure.

I also agree that I learn a lot from our conversations. You have valid points, and some that I'm on the brink of siding with, but as you mentnioned, a lot of it comes down to personal preference.

To me, this was just such a gorgeous series, in every aspect, I didn't want it to be tainted for potential newcomers...or me. :)

Keep doin' what you do, Justin!

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Maybe I should just go in and lower the grade... this is a C, maybe C+ effort.


Nah, just kidding! I just did a mid-year check-in on favorites of the year so far for myself, and I feel pretty safe in saying that Daytripper will likely be on My Favorite 13 at the end of 2010. That's what you wanted to hear, isn't it! If nothing else, it got people talking and some ideas exchanged, more than you can say for most of the junk out there.


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