Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Comics Out 9 August 2006

Two things I wanted to read but missed will be out in collections this week: Marvel Zombies and X-Statix: Dead Girl. If anyone has anything to add, comics-wise, this is the place to do it: review stuff, talk about comics news, tell me why I should be getting something. And if you don't want to know about 52 #13 -- the issue that came out August 2nd -- stop reading. I have a few things to add to last week's statement that I am not getting the book anymore.

When I decided not to get the book after issue 13, I had not yet read 13. In the issue Elongated Man (Ralph) attends a ceremony designed to resurrect his wife. He brings Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Metamorpho, and Zauriel, who are undercover as members. The imagery is cultish. The group's crimes are that they tagged a grave, and stole a ring and a dress. Ralph decides he doesn't buy into their story. They smash the fake kryponite, Green Arrow destroys the roof, Green Lantern starts blowing stuff up, Ralph assaults the leader, everyone fights, and the building catches fire.

In an interview on newsarama, the book's editor, Stephen Wacker defends what the "heroes" did: that's what heroes do. But to me -- and to the interviewer, who should be given a raise for confronting the subject head on and not backing off -- it seemed like the equivalent of finding kids playing with a Ouija Board, beating them up and burning their house to the ground. This is what I think happened: any good screenwriting guide will tell you to build your plot around "plot points," major turning points in the story. First you figure out what your plot point is -- say, the ceremony is aborted but what Ralph sees makes him a believer and he clutches his wife's avatar in rubble, nearly insane with regret. Then you then write to reach that point. The problem with this method, basically a good one, is that often times you see writers coming up with bad paths to their plot points, which they are in a hurry to reach. 52 is a great example of a badly told story, in this (and other) respects.

The best part of the interview is when Wacker gets asked if the heroes acting badly is part of a theme of the series -- in a world without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman heroes lose their moral compass. This is a smart "out" -- they guy is really throwing him a bone here -- but Wacker denies it. No more 52 for me. (Thanks to the Futurist; this post came out of a phone conversation we had).


Troy Wilson said...

Well, it just so happens that I bought and read a discounted pack of X-Statix: Dead Girl pamphlets only yesterday. I had no idea it was coming out in trade this week.

It felt more like the Giffen/DeMatteis JLA than much of the other X-Force/X-Statix material I've read. As in G/D's JLA , lots of characters are much stupider (or, in the case of Scott Lang, much more insane) than usual for the sake of the jokes. Think schtick, and lots of it. And not nearly as much bite as I would have liked. As such, I can't really recommend it.

But, having said that, I still had a good time with the mini. Once I stopped worrying about the squandered potential or dumbing down of many characters, I just went with the flow and had fun.

HectorHall said...

I totally agree with your what you've shared on "52". I especially haven't enjoyed the parts in this series with Steel & Elongated Man. And the artwork for #13 was too cartoonish for my liking. I think the only reason I haven't dropped this book yet is because I want to see what happens with Starfire, Animal Man & Adam Strange.

brad said...

If you set up a video camera and recorded your front lawn for five hours, you'd have something that would strikingly resemble 52. Andy Warhol would have loved it.

I love Big Brother. I'm addicted to it in fact. But there are some people that order, and pay for, the 24 hour live feed on the internet. They get to watch people make sandwiches, sit, wash their face, lay, and maybe even sit again. The best part about Big Brother is THE EDITING: how they take all that boring shit and concoct something compelling.

52 is like the 24 hour feed of the DCU, where characters you hardly knew do things you always imagined they were doing anyway, but you were too busy reading an awesome paired down Batman story to care.

Ping33 said...

Yeah I'm with Troy, the Dead Girl mini was a letdown, not BAD but I think that X-Force/X-Statix ran its course and I'm not sure how much there is left to mine.
On 52: I thought that the characterization was ok. Ralph had already 'lost it' and his friends were SO gung ho because they wanted to support him by acting proactively in the only way they know how to.
If you're off it you're off it though I guess I can understand why, but I love Easter egg hunting through the dregs of the DCU so this book is right down my street. According to the SDCC 52 panel Podcast the mad scientist thing hits its stride in week 23 so maybe you'll come back for that.

You'll love Marvel Zombies, pure chaotic evil fun with Philip Bond artwork.

In terms of new stuff this week I got a bunch of solid if not noteworthy stuff.

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