Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes's Justice League of America #12. This has been a very strange run. I liked the first six issues, the arc about building the Justice League, with all its clever fake outs (Starro! New Gods! Amazo!) and I liked that it focused on one specific character I was not all that familiar with, but came to like, the Red Tornado. The becoming human and then losing it has been done too much, but I like how to story was told, with the perspective of so many voices, well organized into a coherent whole. Then there was this weird little nostalgic epilogue to that story, an issue without a conflict whose centerpiece was a gatefold image of the team posing for a photograph. After Metzler went to so much trouble in Identity Crisis to introduce serious ethical lapses and rape into a Justice League period that seemed so upbeat, it was odd to watch this guy do things such as resurrect the old JLA headquarters from Superfriends (even if he did update it). Then we got a rambling JLA/JSA crossover that demanded I get JSA issues to follow it (I don't know the JSA). The focus of the crossover was the Legion (who I also dont know) -- more crazy nostalgia -- then really had nothing do to with any of them. All it did was bring back an older version of a hero that got killed off in another book I didn't read -- more nostalgia! Ah for the days when so-and-so wore the mantle of hero-guy. Also that story had no villain -- heck it was dealing with too many characters as it was, so I can see why, but still. Then we get a one shot high concept thing with two JLA members without powers trying to escape from out of the rubble of a collapsed building. No villain, but points for doing something new. Now the run ends here -- with another no villain, character study where good guys just wax nostalgic about what a beautiful thing the Justice League is. And we literally just did that five issues ago. People accused Planetary of navel gazing, but at least is looking at OTHER comic books. If it wasn't an excuse for writing a superhero comic book like a fawning obitutary you could almost admire the idea of trying to write twelve issues of a major team book where characer study replaces punch-em-ups.
And to make matters worse I don't have much patience for a writer who introduces mysteries and conflicts, then leaves them for someone else to deal with. Because I am not going to continue to follow this book unless I know, going in, I like the new guy.
Also did I need "meet my young daughter" as a signal for "We're going to have sex."
In comics news two things of note, for me at least. Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch will be taking on the regular Fantastic Four title. Click here for the interview. I have always wanted to like a Fantastic Four book (The first issue of Millar's Ultimate FF, and Morrison's FF 1234 was as close as I came), so I am kinda excited about this. Millar saying this helps:
I got great advice from Stan before I started and I've taken this onboard for the main book. He told me there was no idea too insane for Fantastic Four and that was actually very liberating. Some ideas are too crazy for the Hulk or Spidey or the X-Men, but the FF is where the crazy ideas live and breathe. You have to give them a hook a nine year old can understand, but they can be as wild as you like. This is what led to the Marvel Zombies (something that seemed so unlikely editorial actually laughed when I suggested it) and I've tried to bring that same head to this run too. I've been flying on it since I started and really having a good time.
And Hitch says this, which I like:
For better or worse, Ultimates became a magnum opus of sorts and you can't follow it with another one. I can relax. So I'm just setting out to hit the schedule and get some big, bold fun comics out and remind myself that it doesn't have to be hand-wringing, sweating, cursing, worry and poverty to make a good comic. It can actually be good fun, very rewarding and, in the great scheme of world problems, a walk in the park.
And Alex Ross is doing an Invaders/Avengers Crossover in regular continuity. I don't know anything about the Invaders, sort of the Golden Age Avengers who will travel forward in time to confront the modern age Avengers, but I know Alex Ross gets on my nerves. For stuff like this:
NRAMA: So…who needs villains?
AR: Not maybe that far, but the thing is, this is along the lines of a lot of storylines in my comics, especially Kingdom Come - what ultimately set off the trouble in that story is not an organized villain front, as much as it’s just superhumans screwing things up for each other.
The greatest conflicts write themselves without having to bring in the unknown quantity of the villain in the corner to come in and be the mover and shaker to really get everybody charged up against them. There will ber surprises to titillate and satisfy that need, though.
NRAMA: Given what you said there, it seems like there could be a temptation at least, to compare these Golden Age heroes to modern day? Almost the metatextual object lesson of, “No – look, this is what a hero is?” which DC kind of started off with in Infinite Crisis?
AR: Well, no, but in a way, I could see that people might think that we’re bringing the original Invaders to the present to “put the Marvel Universe back on track” like another project… There might be some dramatic implications on that front, given that people can look at what that project meant and what it did with the idea, but that’s not why we’re doing this.
Ross just worships the good old days of Golden Age heroes. You can see it everywhere with him, even when he tries to deny it. Super-Nostalgia.
And Metzler's JLA run, Invaders Avengers, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Civil War, World War Hulk. Where oh where have all the villains gone?