Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Comics Out 1 November 2006

1. Comics Out

Justice League of America
#3 by Metzler, Benes and Hope is out today. The first two issues, like Identity Crisis, had a quality I like but cannot quite put my finger on. I tried "architectonic" before but that was not it. I want to say "novelistic" but that is a silly, empty thing to say with Metzler being a novelist and all. Plus "novelistic" is not a word, or shouldn't be. Someone who likes the book should try to find the right word, and tell me what it is.

I am a little confused if Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert's Batman is out today -- it is not listed as coming out on the Midtown site nor at Jim Hanley's but the preview is up at Newsarama and it says it is out today. This issue ends Morrison's first arc and will be a better place to start judging the thing, which has been disappointing so far.

Also out is the softcover version of The Fountain, soon to be a big movie. I was interested in this: can anyone recommend it? And Ping will want me to point out that the new issues of Manifest Eternity and Exterminators are out today, as well.

2. News

Newsarama has some reports about where the Marvel Zombies franchise goes next, including an Army of Darkness crossover, which is a very good idea to add to an already good idea.

And I know this is very late but I just found from Whedonesque that Joss Whedon's "Buffy Season 8" comics, which he will be writing (at least an arc), will be out as early as March and will run more than 20 issues.

3. Planetary

I have added some footnotes to Monday's Planetary rant, to clear up people thinking that I am, you know, stupid or something. I could have spoken more clearly on a detail, but I am still right.


Mitch said...

1. Actually Geoff, I thought "architectonic" was pretty good. After looking at the multiple definitions I can see why you might think twice. I don't think the books main feature is "Having qualities, such as design and structure, that are characteristic of architecture" though that's certainly appropriate to Benes art. The definition I leaned towards was "the scientific systematization of all [Justice League] knowledge", because it seems like Meltzer and Benes are operating within the structure of "well-made" comics (the flashback to actual original artwork of Red Tornado and the jumping between characters seamlessly) and cataloguing characters random characters (lines like "a Superman Robot told Skeets, who told me" and the classification of B-villains like Signalman as an informant. Let’s not forget that Bats, Supes and WW have been "classifying" heroes for three issues now) Suddenly the fact that the word originates from Aristotle seems significant. Maybe there is something "Aristotelian" about Meltzer and Benes' Justice League.

2. Also-- I've "The Fountain". The art looks great, but in honesty the movie looks even better-- When I started to learn things about the plot of the movie, I stopped. I'm holding off until I've seen it.

pat moler said...

I really need to start keeping up with my comics. Been to busy with less important stuff. Like school and other stuff. haha


Marc Caputo said...

Geoff, it's painfully obvious that you feel let down by Planetary, especially as you had posited it as being the dawn of a new age of comics. At the very least, you got me (and others, I'm sure) to see comics in a different light. I know that my library has stuff I wouldn't have foreseen buying a year ago, when I bought your book.
Also, I'm going to ask here because I don't see a recent place to: when are we going to discuss the 800-lb. gorilla in the room? Of course, I'm talking about the imminent cancellation of Studio 60. After "The Long Lead Story", I was ready to sign almost anything to keep the show on; after the last episode, "The Wrap Party", I was seriously tempted to start denying I'd ever heard of Sorkin, let alone praise him. So when are we gonna throw an Irish Wake for this poor bastard of a TV show?

Geoff Klock said...

Mitch: thank you for cracking out the dictionary. Your research was what I meant all along. I am a genius and was thinking of Aristotle the whole time. :)

Marc: I know. People keep asking me about Sorkin and after "The Wrap Party" I got tired of defending the guy. I hope he can pull himself out of the gutter but if the thing falls apart he has only himself to blame. That said he made four great seasons of West Wing and two of Sports Night and I will stay with him until he gets up or goes down for the count. Like watching over a dying family member part of me wants the show to get better, and part of me knows it's best if it just dies.

Geoff Klock said...

two more thoughts:

1. I just left a big post in the comments section of Monday's Planetary rant. Just want to make sure it does not fly under the radar.

2. Marc reminds me that people may have things to say and nowhere to say them. Feel free to post off topic at any time. Wednesday should be a free-for-all anyway. Perhaps I should put a random update post on Fridays so people can tell me what we should be talking about here. People should be able to talk about whatever they want.

ping33 said...

damn, I don't have much left to say after being beaten to the punch on the mainpage ;)
I've been thinking about the Planetary Rant, I agree with most of what you say but think that perhaps the difference is one of perspective. All of your problems stem from the idea that The Four are the Nemeses and that the drive of the book comes from the pathos and conflict which exists between Planetary and The Four. From The Four's perspective this seems to be true, but I wonder if the realization of 26 isn't that the conflict between the two isn't the point. That perhaps the focus on it is misguided. Now I grant you that Ellis is the one who shone that focus in the first place, and I think you could make the argument that it is bad writing. I need to reread the whole thing to see. But I'm also thinking that when you say that the first half of the series was much better than the second if that doesn't also imply that the series was better before the 'false' conflict took centre stage.

I'm not going to get into a point by point geek-out though, not to be dismissive but rare is the comic-book series without strange ellipses and logical flaws, your point about the lack of proper scanning on the part of Evil Reed is well taken, as is the Show Don't Tell aspects of MANY things in regards to the powers and threat-level of The Four. On that 2nd point though I will just say that if the perspective on the conflict was wrong all along, perhaps it would be impossible to show those things because they AREN'T frightening or even a true threat.

Geoff Klock said...

The twist that the big bad guys are not a big deal at all is great for comedy and children's stories, where it turns out that the thing we feared most was our own fear. But the Four have been running the world in secret for 40 years, apparently -- that's why Elijah has to knock them down. I don't think it makes sense to run the world for 40 years and to also not be that big a deal -- if they are as stupid as they seem in 26 I can't imagine how they survived this long. And if the point is that they got soft and weak, then we need to see that change for ourselves.

Look at Lost, a show that does a great job taking the big bad guys and showing us another side to them, changing them from crazy B-movie villains to very frail human beings. They did not just have a season finale where they went "Oh look, the Others are just a bunch of jerks let's all go home." They took the time to sell me on the change and the story moved to match. If the Four are not a big deal killing them should not have been the climax of the story (yes yes I know there is an epilogue).

ping33 said...

The Climax of the story would be Snow gaining the perspective to see that The Four aren't the enemy, the only enemy is The Unknown. The Four weren't running the world because they were smarter and more powerful than all others, they were running it because there wasn't anyone else interested in devoting the time to find out what was really going on. Once Snow did that he realized that their much sought after power wasn't a match to his natural power.
I totally agree with the idea that if the above is all true than I do feel hosed that Ellis wasted so much time propping up the non-threat and then didn't even bother to fully enunciate Snow's moment of epiphany. I guess the reply would be that all mysteries seem bigger than they are before you solve them. Weak Sauce? Perhaps, but I think that seeing things from this perspective does change the diolouge enough to make it a worthwile exploration.

Geoff Klock said...

Snow's epiphany that the Four are not that big a deal is said clearly in the drug trip issue, it's just very misleading -- I thought he meant "I must have a bigger purpose than fighting the Four, I better get started on that." It turns out he meant "I must have a bigger purpose than fighting the Four, it's a good thing I have pretty much already done what I was supposed to do (save stuff etc)."

Stephen is right -- this series should end with Snow being Dowling.

Mitch said...

To hammer the point home about Meltzer and Justice League--

I've just read Justice League #3, which I actually thought suffered from a few stretches of awkward writing that the previous issues didn't. That said: very early on in the issue there are two panels that epitomize Meltzer's comic book writing.

The panels are identical: one of Black Canary being attacked by a Blue Red Tornado and one of Green Lantern being attacked by a Green Red Tornado.

Black Canary says, "The blue ones do wind."

Green Lantern says, "The green ones do lightning."

Not "The blue Red Tornado clones can generate wind!"

Not, as Morrison might write it, "This Green Tornado is emitting lightning and anti-thoughts from its sternum. I need an idea..."

Instead Meltzer gives us, "The green ones do lightening."

This repetition and simplification of the language sounds like something kids would say when playing Justice League. It’s amusing and it’s simple and it tells you everything you need to know. The repetition, you could argue, even suggests that Black Canary and Green Lantern have worked together a lot and developed their own in-battle vernacular.

ping33 said...

This Week's Exterminators was phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

Lost was f--king phenomenal. The exact opposite of Planetary. Lost never makes sense, the puzzle pieces rarely fit together, but I don't give a crap because the tension is always spot on. And because the tension is spot on, I always care about the characters - no matter what nonsensical predicament they're in. The story makes sense in Planetary, but for the past two years, I feel like I've been watching people go to their day job and watch the clock.

paulmcaputo41 said...

Re: the word to categorize JLA #3-
I've been thinking about one word all day/night, and I am not sure I have one. I just love the guy's writing/sensibilities about the human condition and its frailities.

Some history with Meltzer and I for you - my big bro Marc posts on this and his own blog regularly regarding comics, et al. (Geoff - he consistently praises your knowledege, and after logging on and reading for a bit, I see why...) ~2 years ago he told me to go to my local comic store and pick up the 6 issues of Identity Crisis before 7 came out and just read it. Note, these were the FIRST comics I had ever read, and I was instantly hooked on the DCU and Meltzer. I had no clue who these people were, but given his writing style, I didn't need to know - he fleshed out each person's strengths and weaknesses just in his prose.

I have the feeling that is what we have going on now - I think we are in the building phase.

Geoff Klock said...

Paul -- glad to have you here. Thanks for posting.