8.31.11 Releases: The End of an Era

The book I’m most looking forward to this week is Secret Avengers #16 (Marvel). This title seriously lost its way after the first arc, and the preview images from Warren Ellis and Jamie McKelvie look fantastic. Warren’s someone who I wish would write more comics, but he seems to be slowly departing the field. Jamie, on the other hand, is essentially still on the upswing of his career after a few critically praised books, and I think he deserves to be a superstar, so I’m glad to see these two very different career arcs intersecting on a title I have some marginal interest for.

Undoubtedly though, the books that will get the lion’s share of the press this week will be the bluster and fury (hopefully signifying slightly more than nothing) of Flashpoint #5 (DC) and Justice League #1 (DC), essentially the only two “new” books the publisher will be putting out this week. Supposedly, the Flash’s actions in Flashpoint #5 will set the stage for the DC reboot/relaunch/renumber, and effectively wipe the slate clean for the DC Universe I grew up with. I’m a little sad about that, only because it signifies that I’m getting older and there’s definitely a generational passing of the torch happening here.

I started reading comics (mostly DC) around 1979 or 1980, growing in intensity with every year, so my heyday was very much post-Crisis on Infinite Earths. From 1986 on, the late 80’s and 90’s were basically my formative years in the mainstream part of the industry. One thing nobody is touching on is that from 1986 until 2011, we’ll basically be able to book-end this era of comics with Crisis on Infinite Earths on one side at 1985/86, and Flashpoint/DC Relaunch on the other end, a nice 25 year period with logical demarcation points. It will certainly be referred to as an “age” at one point, won’t it? We’ll be able to mark time before and after this week.

We had the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and the "Bronze Age" seems to have stuck as a term. Most people refer to the age they’re currently in as the Modern Age, but that shifts, just like Modern/Contemporary Art will always cover the last 50 years or so. So what will 1986 to 2011 be called eventually? The Copper Age? Tin? Platinum? Lead? Quick, name some more Metal Men. It’s interesting to me that Dan DilDio is slowly letting slip what a hail Mary pass this is, trying to do anything to get readers to stay since they seem to be leaving. Warren Ellis recently remarked that he thinks it’s actually a good thing that none of the books appeal to him. Why should they? He’s not the target demo anyway, they should be appealing to a younger set, not courting guys in my generation, or in Warren's. Scanning “the new 52,” I see that wisdom applies to me as well. I can only find maybe 6 titles I can see worth trying out for me personally. I’ll buy Batwoman of course. Basically, Cliff Chiang’s art will get me to try Wonder Woman (even though I’ve never purchased a Wonder Woman comic before), and my odd fascination with former WildStorm titles will yield a few purchases. I’d like to see Paul Cornell take a crack at StormWatch, (with Martian Manhunter!), and I’ll certainly check out the Voodoo and Grifter books. But, honestly? I don’t seriously expect those last two to be any good. If I’m still reading 6 issues in, heck even if 6 issues come out within 6 months, I’d be very surprised. Anyway. That all begins this week.

Uncanny X-Force #14 (Marvel) will unintentionally be a key issue for me. With this issue, I’m pretty sure I’ll decide whether or not I keep supporting this title. It’s really gone from one of Marvel’s best to merely mediocre in the space of just 6 months or so. Lastly, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Any Empire HC (Top Shelf) from Nate Powell. I was lucky enough to pick this up at SDCC a few weeks ago and right now it’s a contender for my best of the year list. Check it out! On a personal note, I’ll actually be out of town for the remainder of this week, without web access(!), and won’t have a chance to post reviews until early next week. Perhaps apropos of my waning interest in the mainstream, that’s the first time in nearly 6 years that I’ll be missing a weekly post.


At 1:26 PM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

Enjoy the break, man! You deserve it.

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Tom P said...

I find it all very exciting, as a Batman fan, Justin. I have to recommend you try Scott Snyders Batman book his run on Detrctive was incredible. I think if you get the collected edition you would be blown away. It's everything a Bat tittle should be. I will be picking up all the Snyder books. He is a very gifted writer. I'm also looking forward to S.A, hopefully Ellis will rock this book, he is one of the best and I do miss his writing.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Tom. I've heard good things about Snyder's work, and I am enjoying the American Vampire spin-off he's doing with Sean Murphy, but haven't sampled his Batman stuff. Yet!

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Stewart R said...

Interested to see if Uncanny X-Force made the cut based on your final thoughts regarding #14!

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Thanks Stewart, I'm hoping to pick it up later today. I was at Midtown Comics in NYC last week and saw that Jerome Opena was back on art, so that certainly is a good sign!


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