Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Comics Out August 22, 2007

Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson's The Order #2. Barry Kitson draws sixteen same size panels of a girl sitting in a chair talking, five more of her sitting in bed talking, and four more in the same vein as the first sixteen. I would not have believed that that could be done without boring me to death, but this guy is good -- the little variations in each panel are thoroughly entertaining. The shots of her at other times in her past have a great rhythm as well. It all works wonderfully to make us care about her before the little bombshell on the last page, which has me intrigued. Also loony Russians go nuts and a bear with a jetpack gets punched in the face, if you want to be so crass as to talk about the meat of the story.

Grant Morrison and J.H. Williams III's Batman #668. I am starting to feel that Morrison's Batman run is gaining on his X-Men run in terms of how is a normally great storyteller screwing up this badly moments. With the exception of some hauntingly designed tableau's -- the black and red autopsy, the bat shaped and claw shaped panels, the painted palm and sunset -- I really want nothing to do with this. The Agatha Christie murder mystery in New X-Men was the worst thing Morrison has ever done. You would think he would not go near it again, but here we are. Meta-comments on "classic" book-case doors and team ups are getting on my nerves. Morrison is not Joss Whedon, and should never try -- he has his own strengths. Idiotic, poorly "re-imagined" secondary characters from a generation long past, like the French and Argentinian Batmen are pissing me off even more, especially in such a serious atmosphere -- not one of these guys has been recreated anywhere near as thoughtfully as the least of the Seven Soldiers. The Indian, as someone here pointed out, is just a stereotype. The Knight and Squire are maybe an exception here, but that is because I liked them so much in my favorite Morrison story, JLA: Classified. In fact most of the Batmen are barely "re-imagined" at all -- they are to stand in, for no reason that I can see (and I am kind of an expert on this), for various moments in comic book history; they are carefully and skillfully rendered to invoke art styles from those periods, but the result is an annoying mishmash on the page. Coupled with the "retro"-style opening, this book is reminding less of Planetary's first fourteen issues, with their careful synthesis of comic book history, and more of a dark age version (oh the irony that Morrison has fallen into the mode he helped work us out of) of Alan Moore's irritatingly "post-modern" Supreme run that had "Superman" analogues from various ages, skillfully rendered, interacting in a bad story.

Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and David Aja's The Immortal Iron Fist #8. I used up a lot of my energy just now bitching about Morrison, but don't let brevity stop you from knowing -- KNOWING -- that this is a great book. Character names like Dog Brother #1 and the Prince of Orphans, a story broken up into "round 1" and "round 2" rather than "part 1" and "part 2" (aren't all great comics basically fights anyway) and a to be continued panel that looks like a Mortal Kombat menu are only a few of the reasons to get this book.

Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men #22. I will save this for my issue by issue analysis, except to say, it turns out Whedon had a reason Danger does not kill (sorry Joss...), and, for reasons I cannot quite put my finger on just yet (but may have to do with shipping delays) this issue was a bit of a letdown. Maybe. I have to think about it. And you can be assured I will. That's kinda my thing.

Nothing in comics news hit me, but the DC and Marvel solicits for November are out. I did not find anything worth a mention, but if there is something I need to be paying attention to, please let me know.

31 comments:

Geoff Klock said...

I just now realized that I read Astonishing X-Men issue too fast. Reading again I see clearly now that Emma saying "I'm so close" is not a psychic moment. Scott's final three memories as he dies are meeting Jean, the Professor telling him he has a great future in front of him, and giving Emma an orgasm. Wow. Ok. It may take me a while to decide exactly what I think of that.

nicholas reed said...

Everything else aside, that last page of Cyclops floating is beautiful. Cassaday's art as whole in this issue is just about the best of the series so far, I feel.

Elijah Fly said...

I say this to the credit of Iron Fist #8, I would have been incredibly happy without even a fight scene. Bear in mind, the fight was cool. I mean to say, the introductions was enough for me, the fight was merely icing. Just a single picture with a panel description was enthralling on its own. These characters look and sound cool (how often does that actually happen these days when you see new characters, presumably one-offs, at that?). Dog Brother #1 is my current favorite and he's only been sitting around. To top things off, just the description of the battle and what it will mean for the cities goes back to, "He's a Kung Fu billionaire, it's just that simple." It really is.

Knox said...

You're crazy for not liking Morrison's Batman. CRAZY, I SAY.

Jason Powell said...

I never found Alan Moore's "Supreme" irritating.

That is all.

Marc Caputo said...

When I was reading "Supreme", I remember thinking that the "flashbacks" were technically proficient, but they were masking (or trying to mask) the fact that the actual story wasn't very interesting. I kept waiting for the story to have more than some surface connection to the flashbacks. But they never came. I read "Supreme" last year - when it was coming out, I was all, "Alan Moore's doing Image books?" And everyone was all, "No man, it's so much deeper than that. He's using the structure of bad comics to say something about the medium" or some other similar crap.
Then I read it - Alan Moore was doing Image comics...badly.
If you're going to comment on a medium by using that medium, it better be able to stand as a story as well.
And I'm coming around with knox, and Callahan to say that Morrison knows what he's doing with Batman. I still think the 3rd issue of "Batman and Son" was STOOPID, but this is going somewhere - it's just that Morrison isn't following his usual attck pattern. Which is what geniuses do, I suppose, when people are able to track their genius. They zig when they're expected to zag.

Or is that zog?

Geoff Klock said...

People who liked Morrison's Batman -- defend yourself. What am I missing? Am I supposed to love these Batmen of all Nations and take them seriously and fear for their saftey? Or are the fact that they seem to be jokes the point? And what is the point, by the way?

I really do want you to tell me.

Pat said...

I can't really say what you're "missing" with Batman, and I would think that the problem isn't so much in "missing" something as just "not liking".

For example, I certainly do love the Batmen as a whole and I also think Morrison has made it quite clear that these characters aren't meant to be jokes. El Gaucho, The Dark Ranger, and The Musketeer hold their own along Batman, and Bruce himself is quick to defend The Legionary as well. The accusations of the characters being stereotypes, while certainly not unfounded, I feel are a little harsh. Reinventing and reintroducing 8 or so characters in a 3 issue arc doesn't lend itself to overly intricate character work. According to Williams, Man-of-Bats is based of Steve Rude's art in order to fit with the character's very "50's 60's" origins, and if each of the Batmen can be viewed as avatars of differing eras of comic history then a character of that time period falling into a very stereotypical personality seems fairly appropriate.

And I also believe that the point to this arc is to expand upon what seems to be Morrison's ultimate goal in his Batman run so far; melding and modernizing the entire history and multiple versions of the character into a singular and workable being. Batman himself remarks in the beginning of 667 that missing the previous meeting of the Batmen seems "so unlike him". It's sort of what he did with the Joker in the prose issue, but stretched out through multiple arcs. His very first issue began with an impostor Batman whose true identity wasn't initially made clear to the readers. And since then we've seen the Bane-ified Batman, the Anti-Bat-Christ, and now what Morrison identifies as a group of heroes who could not only represent Batman had the character followed differing arcs, but also more obviously represnt Batman throughout each period of comic history.

(sorry for the rambliness, i'm just loving the shit out of this arc and will defend it to the death)

Jason Powell said...

“"Alan Moore's doing Image books?" And everyone was all, "No man, it's so much deeper than that. He's using the structure of bad comics to say something about the medium" or some other similar crap.”

Whoever said that was wrong, obviously. The point of Supreme wasn’t to make any comments on the medium. It was an homage/pastiche of Silver Age Superman (or probably more accurately, pre-Byrne Superman). There’s a quote somewhere online by Moore, with the upshot being that the 1986 Byrne re-boot stripped a lot of the stuff from Superman that Moore had always found fun – so Supreme was bringing some of that stuff back. I suppose you could argue that it’s a commentary on the state of the industry and how it treats its heroes, but I’d say that it’s pushing it. It really was just Moore’s version of Superman, thinly disguised by a Rob Liefeld-created copycat. “What if Alan Moore re-booted Superman instead of John Byrne?”

The stories weren’t meant to be deep. They were just meant to be old-style superhero stories. The flashbacks were deliberately self-contained, for that reason. The self-contained aspect also made it a nice thing to lend out to non-comic-book people who were curious about why I liked these things and wanted just a fun, funny example to sample.

Which reminds me – Supreme was funny, too. Alan Moore’s full-bore comedic outings sometimes feel forced to me (like Jack B. Quick), but the gags in Supreme always succeeded in making me laugh.

None of which means people have to like it, or change their opinions on it. I’m just pointing out what it was intending to do. Just meant to be fun – and if you had fun (like me), then it worked, and if you didn’t, then it didn’t.

Geoff Klock said...

pat:

"Reinventing and reintroducing 8 or so characters in a 3 issue arc doesn't lend itself to overly intricate character work."

Well he made the decision to do that, so he has only himself to blame.

"If each of the Batmen can be viewed as avatars of differing eras of comic history then a character of that time period falling into a very stereotypical personality seems fairly appropriate."

Appropriate to the theme or idea does not mean it is good, or enjoyable. It also does not tell me if the theme or idea is any good. What is the theme or idea anyway here? Is it:

"melding and modernizing the entire history and multiple versions of the character into a singular and workable being."

Because, as I noted, nothing is "melded here" -- various art styles just stand on the page in disparate pieces. How does them being killed off fit into your "melding" idea -- it feels like they are being wrecked, if anything. This is more like Identity Crisis than Batman The Dark Knight Returns (which did meld various versions of Batman into a unified whole).

JP: I see your point, it is just that Moore's perfectly crafted homage to 1963 or whatever, gets old the 40th or 50th time he does it. Plus, at some point, why would I read the homage -- why not just read a comic book from that era if Moore has no other point than "weren't old comics great?" (if, as you say, he is not using bad comics to make a point about the medium)?

Geoff Klock said...

Pat and JP -- and lets stop all this "if you like it that is fine and if not fine" stuff. I want you guys to try and convince me because it is entirely possible that I am being an idiot about this. I will LEARN something from the debate. So will the readers.

Jason Powell said...

"I want you guys to try and convince me"

Well, I didn't want to get too deep into Supreme because you had only mentioned it briefly and seemed more interested in talking about Morrison's current Batman run (of which I have no opinion). Also you have such a friendly site here and I always worry about getting too contentious and being the guy who ends up ruining the good vibes.

But, if you're inviting further discussion of Supreme (and/or of Moore's silver age homages in general), I will think about it and try to formulate something more potentially convincing.

Marc Caputo said...

Geoff: it's not that you're being an idiot about Morrison's Batman; I see it more that you don't like where you see him going with this (if you see him going anywhere at all, that is.) I think you took a pretty big hit when you dug into Morrison's X-Men. You came up 1/2 and 1/2, ultimately. That has to "hurt" when he's your favorite comics writer. Remember, it's harder having heroes than being a hero. I'm enjoying Morrison's Batman more and more for exactly the same reason as Pat gave. Morrison is enjoying giving us a run-through on all the different takes on Batman, just as his X-Men was a runthrough on all of their classic storylines. I think that that is what he likes to do and I like him in that mode; it's both familiar and challenging at the same time. I also like Morrison in full-on whackjob mode, too. Here is a theory of sorts that I'm playing around with - Morrison's JLA gets much more love than his X-Men or Batman; ironically, it's more reflective of his Doom Patrol run in that he just seems to have let his imagination run instead of doing a meta-writing run. The JLA run can be enjoyed, no problem, because of this, but also because there wasn't at that time, a great number of arcs or runs of the JLA - it was just there, for lack of a better phrase. (There also wasn't that heavy of an online community during that run - I don't think that you can discount that factor, either.)

Anonymous said...

"Morrison's Batman sucks" I wholeheartedly agree. it started out with a bit of promise than took a sharp turn for the worse. but he's perfect for DC and their MO of unearthing as many shitty, forgettable characters as possible.

ADDED LATER: It has been brought to my attention that this is the minority opinion on this matter so I would like to add. As an aspiring writer myself, I take in ever bit of text written about the art of writing, particularly comic book writing. And yes, I wholeheartedly believe that any character, no matter how shitty or forgotten, can become an A-List character with the right caliber author. However, I also feel there is a fine line between this and the tendency of brilliant, eccentric writers to be attracted to obscure and kitschy characters.

Honestly, how many of you even heard of the League of Batmen or whatever that rank smelling turd leftover from the sixties is called? Of those who answered yes, how many of you really see depth and potential in the appearance of these characters? Or do you just enjoy kitsch and obscurity? You know who you are. You immediately reject the established artists of any medium simply because you believe you can sustain your concept of individuality by properly managing your listening and conversational content. To me, DC is definitely leading the race to unearth as many forgotten characters as possible. I mean, Morrison started with the concept of Batman having a son. Like it or now, TONS of potential. Now we have Argentina's Batman as one of many inexplicable characters in Batman's world. And what Ive been hearing about Morrison's intentions has only cemented my wariness of writers in search of inspiration but lost in obscurity for obscurity's sake. I hear Morrison wants to turn Batman into a Bond character, a world traveler and adventurer like Indiana Jones. He'll be debonair playboy by day and do globetrotting in his spare times. I imagine he'll be a ladykiller as well. WHAT THE FUCK??!!

Well, in rhe end, I remain open-minded enough to cease bashing the guy and his League of Batmen. If it has a readership, it deserves a book and yuo all deserve to be happy. I personally have been enjoying the irony that the NON-event Batman book that Detective has been when alongside Batman has really been the TRUE event in that Paul DIni has been writing terrific one or two-isue stories. Either way, as one of my two favorite characters, I feel like Im waiting for some new grand era of Batman. The art on All-Star is always great to gawk at and the much-maligned tone Miller is using is lighter than expected, yes, but it would be more interesting if I didnt have to wait months between issues. I do find his unpolished, adrenaline-junky Batman to be a lot of fun.

So thats the end of my rant. I see Geoff all the time on BB board but this is the first topic that inspired a response. Especially because I had just come back from the shop yesterday and for the first time put Batman back on the shelf. I mean it's acceptable for Batman to be surrounded by other costumed adventurers when it's the JLA or the Outsiders and he's written correctly in that context. TO make him NOT the only Batman in the world but one of countless lame-asses supposedly inspired by him. GAG

ONE MORE ADDITION: I just pulled a quote from "pat's" post: "Reinventing and reintroducing 8 or so characters in a 3 issue arc doesn't lend itself to overly intricate character work." When you see that this is the MO for much of DC's work and it spreads from their obscurity-lovefests over to one of their flagship characters. For me, if the MO in writing a book is not about character work, then it's shit or on its way to shit. It may be pretty to look at it, but that ended when Kubert left after, what, three issues? The big friggin hoopla announcement at Wizard World, the promo shot of Batman in every issue of every comic DC published for a few months? I reiterate. If there is a story to be told either about the fascinating core of the character(OR EIHGT) you are introducing us to OR said character(s)'s crucial link to the essence of your main character. then Im all for it.

Jason Powell said...

"I see your point, it is just that Moore's perfectly crafted homage to 1963 or whatever, gets old the 40th or 50th time he does it. Plus, at some point, why would I read the homage -- why not just read a comic book from that era if Moore has no other point than "weren't old comics great?" (if, as you say, he is not using bad comics to make a point about the medium)?"

Geoff, that is a good point, and I do remember that the first time I read Supreme 42 (the first time he and Vietch incorporate a ‘60s-pastiche-flashback into the comic), I kind of went, “Oh. So he’s doing ‘1963’ again?”

But in Supreme, those flashbacks served a larger purpose, which was to position Supreme – a copycat Superman – as a character whose past contains all the same odd back-matter that Superman’s does. This book I read explained it better than I could (although that author was talking about Tom Strong). Something about how contemporary superhero narratives gain something from the tension that they have with their parent-narratives, and Moore, recognizing this, builds contradictory continuity and crazy history even into characters that are brand new. Or something like that, at any rate. It was all a bit over my head, to be honest. :)

But seriously – what you wrote about Tom Strong applies to Supreme, and I do think that’s part of it, but I also think that part of the fun is that in building his fake history for Supreme, Moore is able to pick and choose. In his initial Supreme arc, which was 12 issues long, there were – I believe – ten flashbacks incorporated. Nine of them were 8 pages long, one was 12 pages, and each one was a complete and self-contained story in its own right. It was always a pastiche – often of a very specific Superman tale, sometimes just of a general era – but it also was a complete story in and of itself that could be enjoyed just for its own quirky sake.

But each one also acted as a puzzle piece that informed the storyline set in the present-day. Moore likes his climaxes that tie every piece together, and the year-long Supreme arc was no different. The climax (which deliberately does not contain a flashback, it’s 36 pages all set in Supereme’s present) weaves in at least one character or story element from every one of the earlier flashbacks. Which is cool, and fun, and clever.

This speaks, I think, to your question as to why you’d want to read the Supreme flashbacks instead of just picking up a reprint of actual old Superman stories. Because Moore is making stuff up from scratch, he can tailor the individual flashbacks – the fake “old” comics – to tie in to his story set in the present. Every piece fits in the jigsaw, with no loose ends left over. So even though there’s a bit of what you talk about in the book – the “building in” of silly, contradictory continuity to a character who doesn’t actually have any – Moore can tailor the contradictions in a way that makes them absorbable by the present-day Supreme story. Moore is even able to weave in things that the real – as it were – Superman would not be able to, like Mad Magazine parodies of the character or animated-mouse versions. He’s able to both widen the palette, in a sense, but also to keep it tightly contained between the covers of a 300-page trade paperback.

So, that speaks to the flashbacks. As for the present day story, the one that Marc opines was not very substantial... well, yeah, it’s not, I suppose. Not if you’re looking for commentary on the medium. There’s commentary on the genre, I suppose, but even that is not necessarily meant to be deep. The basic point is to say, look, you can have a Superman-type character existing in the present (which was the ‘90s at the time, of course) and see, you don’t have to “reboot” him every ten years to get rid of all the crazy, goofy stuff that accumulates over time. That stuff can be fun – that stuff can be worked in, it can inform the modern-day incarnation, and make him more fun. You don’t have to be embarrassed by Krypto the super-dog or whatever. That’s as far as the commentary goes, really – there are no deep meanings like in From Hell, or phenomenal experimentations in the use of the medium like with Watchmen. There’s not even the innocuous formal experimentation of stuff like that “Greyshirt” bit with the four-story building. Supreme is all pretty straightforward, I think.

I’m willing to concede that the present-day Supreme story that runs through issues 41-52 of Supreme is not always consistent, neither in terms of tone or content. I blame that partly on the inconsistent artwork. But when it worked, it worked really well. There’s a bit in one issue (47, I believe –- oh, screw that, I KNOW it was issue 47 because I’m a geek) where Suprema (the Supergirl analogue) and Radar (the Krypto the super-dog analogue) foil a robbery, and it’s a great scene that always made me and my then-girlfriend laugh. And the big climax in issue 52 when Moore weaves in all the characters he’d been introducing throughout the run, is really cool and cleverly done.

Plus, there’s simply the fact that I like Moore’s writing. I like the way he puts things together jigsaw-style, so that everything interlocks neatly. I like Moore’s sense of humor (well, sometimes), and I think in Supreme it is really sharp. (Unfortunately one of his funniest bits is left out of the collections, in which the Supreme-Mouse teams up (sort of) with the “grim ‘80s Supreme,” a guy who looks like Frank Miller’s Dark Knight and talks like Rorschach. It’s the only instance I can think of in which Moore actually parodies his own ‘80s style of writing.) I like that he can evoke the spirit of Superman, but do something just different enough that he is free to add lots of Moore-ian touches that can occasionally surprise or tickle the brain: i.e., Supreme’s “Lana” is actually his “Lex” in disguise, his version of Kryptonite is actually a single meteorite traveling in a time loop, his “legion of Superheroes” is made up of real historical figures like Billy the Kid and Achilles, etc.

And finally ...

“Pat and JP -- and lets stop all this "if you like it that is fine and if not fine" stuff. I want you guys to try and convince me because it is entirely possible that I am being an idiot about this. I will LEARN something from the debate. So will the readers.”

... but when something’s raison d’etre is just to be fun, how do you convince someone that it is fun? It’s like trying to make a joke funny by explaining why it’s funny. Don’t get me wrong – debating the merits of Supreme is fun as hell for me and hopefully for you too, Geoff, and others as well. I’m just not sure any amount of explanation is going to flip the switch in someone’s brain about something they categorically don’t enjoy. (This may be another discussion entirely. I do have more say about it, but this comment is already just a tad long, so ...)

Done for now. Thanks for giving me leave to expound, Dr. Klock.

troy wilson said...

"Morrison is enjoying giving us a run-through on all the different takes on Batman, just as his X-Men was a runthrough on all of their classic storylines."

Great point, Marc. But, as you say, in Doom Patrol and JLA he was just taking the original SPIRIT of each book (weirdness and bigness respectively)and running with it. Did Doom Patrol and JLA have respected runs he could've riffed more heavily on? Sure, but none of them loom quite as large in the minds of fans as certain X-Men and Batman runs do.

Of course, as Timothy Callahan has pointed out in his book and elsewhere, a big difference between Morrison's Doom Patrol and his JLA is that one is about ugly losers and one is about beautiful winners. But yeah, Morrison really goes balls-to-the-wall with both of them.

Y'know, it'd be interesting to see a Morrison All-Star Batman comic alongside Miller's. I wonder how different it would be from the Batman stories he's currently telling. For that matter, it'd be interesting to see him take an All-Star (as opposed to Ultimate)approach to the X-Men too. Maybe it'd be a lot different than his New X-Men run. Maybe not. Or maybe he's told all the X-Men stories he's got to tell.

James said...

Man, I hate to interrupt a good debate with my junky comics reactions, but... I guess I don't because here it comes.

Batman #668. I actually like this arc. It's not life-changing, but the art is great and the story is working better for me than the X-Men Marple mystery did. I don't think Morrison's making fun of these whacky Batmen, but I've been known to miss things.

Halo: Uprising #1. Bendis is Bendis and Maleev is Maleev on a nice enough tale about a regular Joe amid armageddon, bookended by the Master Chief being hardcore. I love the games, and the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil is one of my favourite runs of all time. That's why I'm getting this.

And that is all the less-than-stellar comics done with, godDAMN this was a good week:

The Order #2. I liked the last issue, but I did not love it. I loved this. Proper action, proper characters, and proper plot - this is everything I forgot mainstream superheroes could be. Hail Matt Fraction.

Immortal Iron Fist #8. Are you kidding me? Hail Matt Fraction. Every time I read a Fraction book, it's better than the last issue. Prince of Orphans? Oh man.

Astonishing X-Men #22. As good as ever, but the delays are hurting this title - I've all but lost track of the Breakworld stuff. Luckily, the character stuff is great. If Whedon has made Cyclops the coolest fucking X-Man ever just to kill him, then... well, I'm gonna be upset about that.

Anonymous said...

I never really liked Morrison and his Batman wasn't good either. I don't like the art in the current "Batman". I really enjoy Detective Comics instead because the writing is really good and the artwork (especially the black n white covers) is top notch (I think it's Paul Dini?) Anyway, good blog!
~Noah R.

Troy Wilson said...

Great defense of Supreme, Jason. You've summed up my thoughts and feelings about it beautifully, and I can't think of a thing to add.

Knox said...

I don't think anyone will be able to explain to you why you should be enjoying Batman, but I can tell you why I like it. Batman has been my favorite comic character since I was a little kid, and have enjoyed every incarnation- Adam West, Neal Adams,Frank Miller, Tim Burton, Grant/Breyfogle, Bruce Timm, hell even Schumaker. Morrison is the only writer I've seen who can put all those different interpretations into a blender and still come out with something that seems fresh. Add a dash of Agatha Christie and a Days of Future Past and I am ready to call this a run for the ages. No bullshit, I __LOVE____ Morrison's take on the book.

Knox said...

"You know who you are. You immediately reject the established artists of any medium simply because you believe you can sustain your concept of individuality by properly managing your listening and conversational content"

Ummm.....what?

Jason Powell said...

Thank you, Troy!

Matt Brady said...

I think I've tired of the writing on Morrison's Batman run, and I'm just buying this current arc for the art. I'm planning on dropping it after next issue. It's enjoyable, but definitely not Morrison's best work. Oh, and Geoff, have you ever read The Mystery Play? That's the real contender for Morrison's worst comic ever, if you ask me.

Astonishing X-Men #22: Good issue, but I gotta say that Geoff's reviews of the issue had me distracted, watching to see if there were any repeated panels. I only spotted one, a repeated closeup of Agent Brand on two successive pages.

Iron Fist: I've decided to wait for the trade on this series, but it's tough. I REALLY want to read the new issue.

And I don't know if anyone has mentioned this around here recently, but Killing Girl #1, the first issue of a new miniseries from Image, was awesome. Fairly standard hitman(woman) plot, but beautiful art by Frank Espinosa, the creator of Rocketo. I did a review, with art samples, if anyone wants more information.

Timothy Callahan said...

I finally read Batman #668, and I will post an explanation of why it's good sometime soon. But Matt, Morrison's worst work, by far, is his Spawn run. Even as a "parody" of Spawn, it's awful.

Timothy Callahan said...

My defense of Batman #668 is now posted:

http://geniusboyfiremelon.blogspot.com/2007/08/batman-668-review.html

Do you love the issue now?

Geoff Klock said...

TC:

No.

I could respond to your comments point by point or something but just now is not the time. Maybe when the third issue we should post a kind of point by point debate. It might be interesting. You and I are both articulate guys with strong opinions about, and knowledge of, Morrison.

Timothy Callahan said...

Yes! A debate after the third issue. Definitely.

Brian said...

I'm not even particularly fond of this arc so far- although I think it's going somewhere- but I find the statement that your favorite Morrison story was his JLA: Classified arc.

It was pointed out by a Wizard writer, talking to Douglas Wolk about his book and mentioning yours as a point of comparison, that your book was all text-based and didn't talk about the art at all. That's a very real criticism, as art is a huge part of comics.

I'm sure a comparison could be made between this Batman story and the JLA story: three issues apiece and involving some of the same characters, issue 668 even making reference to a mind-controlling ape, but I just feel the need to point out that these Batman issues win on an art level. Not like this makes a good comic automatically- Killing Girl is still pretty bad, actually- but those JLA issues have one massive flaw in a place where this arc finds much of its power.

It's also worth noting that your lack to engage the visual side of things is missing out on a lot of the implied history of reinvention.

Brian said...

I know you address the art in these reviews- you think the style comes off as a mishmash on the page, which I think speaks to an inability to read the image.

Geoff Klock said...

Brian:

I am well aware that the criticism that my book does not talk about art is a serious one. I always defend it the same way: The ground-breaking book on poet and painter William Blake was written by Northrop Frye, but he mostly just talked about the words. So did many of the people around that time. Blake studies was starting out and everyone did what they could do best. Now, everyone loves to point out that weakness, but there is no way to deny that Blake studies would be nowhere without Frye. My superhero book is not as ground-breaking as Frye's but the point is the same -- I wrote what I was good at writing about, and never said that was the last word on the subject.

Second, I was 21 when I wrote it and that was seven years ago.

Third, Reprinting art in an academic book -- not easy, or cheap.

Fourth: One of the main aims of this blog has been to look more at the art. I have many posts here about visual style. It has been something I have been working on for years, because I know it is important. Go read some of the comments on the New X-Men posts and you will find people telling me that I am spending far too much time focusing on art, that it does not matter that much. I disagree and say so, and continue on talking about the art.

Fifth: My comments on Batman are a bullet point review. A first impression. Now, with Tim Callahan, more will be coming, and the art will be discussed. Again -- I never said that Batman review was everything that could be said.

Sixth: you can say that my claim about style shows an imability to read the image, but notice how you offer no evidence, reasons or examples. If you think the style is unified -- not a crazy or uncommon claim and one that we are all going to get into again with Tim Callahan -- be be a little more specific at how that can be.

I am going to avoid talking about your grammar and tone of voice. I am going to avoid grammar because I make mistakes like you make here all the time. I am going to avoid talking about tone of voice because everyone can see it, and it does not need pointing out.

That last paragraph there uses a fancy rhetorical device with a 14 letter name -- it involves talking about something by claiming you are not going to talk about it. Ain't I a stinker?

Streebo said...

I picked up a big stack of books this week - but have been too busy to read through them as yet.

I'm glad to see Jason Powell giving Alan Moore's Supreme much love. I enjoyed the book because as he stated - at the time it was printed - Supreme was the only place you could see talking super-dogs and a legion of Supremes representing each era of comics.

I really loved the way Moore used Supreme to make "character revision" the inciting incident of the book itself. I suppose I'm a sucker for post-modern takes on superheroes from time to time.

I did read Casanova 8 finally and loved it. I was sorry to see Doktor Klockkkhammer killed off so quickly and ruthlessly. Perhaps he shall return do to intense reader demand. Heh.