Thursday, June 28, 2007

Comics Out June 27, 2007

Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and David Aja's The Immortal Iron Fist 6. This ends the first arc and it is just flawless -- perfect on every front -- art, story, dialogue, concept -- including the fact that it ships without delay. I have never in my life wanted a comic book to be able to say "motherfucking." The line is the best one in the book, and there are more than a few great lines. I have not mentioned Matt Hollingsworth, but the colors on this things are just fantastic. "More kicking" (a line from the issue), Heroes for Hire, good jokes about gay marriage, cute girls with swords. Perfection, in comic book form.

Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo's Hellboy: Darkness Calls 3. I feel thie same way about this as I feel about every Hellboy comic -- the art is great, the character is too passive. Mignola just has him wander around in mythological stories he has read.

Mike Carey, Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo's X-Men 200. Yeah, whatever. This was super boring, and Bachalo only drew 12 pages of it (though they made the wise decision for him to draw one whole subplot so the art was not just random). It is supposed too kick of some big new thing, but it was just old people showing up, very vague allusions to some big bad, and traitors (lame). Bachalo is always great, I do not care what people say. The backup story is supposed to lead up to the next big X-Men event, but it was also super lame.

In Comics News: Newsarama has a preview of Matt Fraction's The Order, an interview with Barry Kitson (the artist), and interview with Matt Fraction.

Review, recommend, and discuss this week's comics and comics news.


Mitch said...

Catching up on old stuff this week:

1. I finished the trade of the original "Secret Wars" which I mentioned last week. And BOY was it a bear to get through--uneven artwork, awful dialogue and some of the most gigantic story holes that I've ever seen. However, like Squadron Supreme it does sort of hint at the more mature stuff that came right after it. Secret Wars and Squadron Supreme were published in 1985... It's interesting to see how Marvel attempted and failed to create sophisticated stories in 1985 and then see DC succeed swimmingly in 1986 with DKR and Watchmen. In my art history courses in college, we sometimes studied "pre" or "proto" periods in art-- a small collection of work that predicted, but didn't accomplish what the proper movements eventually would. For instance: "Pre-Raphealite" or "Proto-Cubism". I'm beginning to see how 1985 Marvel did that for 1986 DC.

2. Mark Waid's The Kingdom. While it's no Kingdom Come -which I think is slightly overrated anyway- there is some neat stuff in there. I love the idea of a guy going back one day at a time and killing Superman every day.

Matt Brady said...

I like Secret Wars, but I realize that it's big, dumb fun. There's a lot of stupid stuff, but there are some great moments here and there. Dr. Doom is awesome (one of my favorite bits is when Klaw says something like, "You talk like you're being recorded", and Doom replies, "Of course! Doom's every utterance must be preserved for posterity!"), and there's lots of cool fights, including some good Titania/She-Hulk/Spider-Man scenes. And Hulk holding up a mountain! And I love that page in the last issue when Thor's hammer comes crashing through the wall. But yeah, it's not especially good. I used to own the issues, but I sold them on Ebay a while back. I figured it was worth reading a couple times, but I really didn't need to keep it.

Mitch said...

Yeah, I forgot about that recording line. Do you think that should be taken literally... because if so, that's awesome and a fun explanation for why Doom talks like he does. Doom really is the star of Secret Wars.

Jason Powell said...

Matt, you beat me to it!!! I was going to mention that Klaw line, because it's great! (He actually says, "You narrate your life as you go along, don't you? Are you being recorded?")

I agree that Secret Wars is big, dumb fun (albeit I acknowledge that's a dangerous phrase, because one man's "big dumg fun" is another man's "Just big and dumb." See for example: FF Rise of the Silver Surfer).

I think it's worth noting that for all of Secret Wars' bad dialogue and generally silly plot, it's still much better than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which probably cost, what, about 100,000x more money to make?

One of the worst things about Secret Wars (I just re-read the trade myself, which is why it's fresh in my head) is the "black" dialogue they give Iron Man. At one point someone asks him if he thinks Captain America is a good leader and he says, "Does Doctor J play roundball?" And then later he's holding an unconscious Captain Marvel (the token hot black female) and then shoots a boulder with his repulsors without dropping her. Someone comments how impressive is its that he didn't drop Captain Marvel and he replies, "I NEVER drop talent like THIS, my man."

Sweet Christmas.

That said, apart from the horrible dialogue, it's not so bad. I thought the plot was fairly coherent (what are the story holes you noticed, Mitch?), and it handles the logistics of 20 heroes vs. 20 villains pretty well (i.e., everybody gets *something* to do, which probably pleased fans of every character at the time).

Also, "Secret Wars" is 12 issues start to finish, and you basically get the whole story with beginning, middle and end. If they tried to do this today, it ... well, it would be "Civil War."

Mitch said...


Yeah, that Rhodey dialogue is pretty much in step with the times. Yikes. Also, how about those "rocket skates?" haha.

The plot holes are pretty big-- for instance, Galactus just vanishes from the story and it is explained by Reed Richards later. The "wish granting" is a little convenient. We never see what happens with the other villains in Volcana's space traveling apartment. For that matter, we are never really clearly told just where Spider-Woman, Titania and Volcana come from... why would Doom select those two at random? Also, how could Enchantress summon an elemental water spirit from Earth on another planet, from water that Molecule Man created?

Though you're right and it's better than FF:ROTSS... It felt like the story ended and they just didn't have time to wrap minor things up.

Jason Powell said...

Ah, I see. Yeah, I noticed those things. None of 'em struck me as all that big. As you said, Galactus' disappearance was explained. The villains' fate might've been deliberately open-ended (although it was clear they were just going to go back to Earth) so that the writers of the core books could pick it up from there.

The suburb of Denver is a strange wrinkle. I wonder if that was something that Shooter added in later? There's a lot of strange logistical stuff going on in that originally those 12 issues were published over the course of a year that saw all the other Marvel titles doing stories set AFTER Secret Wars was over.

I don't think Shooter worked things out too specifically with the other writers, which might've resulted to changing course mid-stream. (It's probably also why he gave himself that "wish fulfillment" ending, as a way of quickly fixing everything so that it worked out with the other comics. "Let's see ... Spider-Man returned to Earth with Curt Connors in human form -- I guess I better turn him human five pages before the end!")

I noticed while reading the contemporaneous Uncanny X-Men issues that another example is that in an early issue set after the end of Secret Wars (but published when Secret Wars was only three issues in), Colossus tells Kitty that while he was on the Beyonder's world, he "met someone else" and "they fell in love." Oddly enough, Peter never says that "someone else"'s name ... it's almost as if Jim Shooter hadn't come up with one yet!

"Also, how could Enchantress summon an elemental water spirit from Earth on another planet, from water that Molecule Man created?"

Ah, that's magic! It's got its own rules! They said in the dialogue that the elemental could -- given enough power -- transport to any puddle on any planet anywhere. And why should the Molecule Man's water be less water-y than "real" water? It's all H2O, right?

(I'm gonna stop. Dear god, I'm trying to debate the merits of Secret Wars via the internet. What have I become?)

Mitch said...


Agreed. Let us abandon this discourse, lest we descend any further into madness!

(But yes, I think that Denver-chunk, like Morrison's Xorneto, was something that Shooter came up with halfway through... maybe he decided there should be more female characters.)

Ahem. Read anything else that's ridiculous and dated?

Jason Powell said...

Mitch, I've got three words for you:

"Dazzler: The Movie"

troy wilson said...

I like Secret Wars because I read as it was coming out. Yup, silly ass fanboy nostalgia. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

My buddy and I enjoyed it as big, dumb fun, even though we definitely noticed many of the flaws that have been mentioned. My buddy's little brother, on the other hand, loved it unconditionally, and oh, how we mocked that love.

You know what came out on the exact same day as Secret Wars #12? The conclusion of the Judas Contract in that annual of the Titans. I read both of 'em in silent reading period. Aaah, good times...

Streebo said...

Secret Wars rulez mothafackos!!! Woo hoo!

I as recently thumbing through my issues of Secret Wars after reading Jim Shooter interviews (circa 2000) at Newsarama. Shooter said that a lot of the Marvel talent felt slighted by his taking the job of writing Secret Wars. They also hated the fact that his story affected all of their stories and they had to make adjustments to fit it.

PS - Don't forget that the last issue of The Nightly News is out this week! This is the series on manipulation of the mass media and other good conspiracy goodness along the lines of Invisibles (without the Morrison aliens and time travel) or Global Frequency.

Don't sleep on it. Track it down.