Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Comics Out September 26, 2007

All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #7. Exuberance is beauty, as Blake says. I love this book. It is nuts, and it makes everyone very angry, and so Miller just pushes the nuts farther and farther. Exactly the right response. People did not like the phrase "I'm the goddamned Batman? Let them swallow this: "I've taken enough grief about calling my goddamn car the goddamn batmobile. I'm the goddamn Batman and I can call my goddamn car whatever the hell I want to call it". Hilarious. Plus the response is "That's just a totally queer name for a car, is all." Add in a sex scene punctuated by a lightning blast and a sound effect that suggest Dark Knight Returns and Dark Knight Strikes Again, and more ridiculous dialogue I do not have time to quote -- the whole project is aggressive, audacious, brazen, and prideful beyond all portrayals of Batman, if I can paraphrase Bloom on Dante. Make Mine Miller's.

Batman 669. Now that this is over I can see that this is a pretty good story -- I liked this issue more than the other two: Morrison is always good at endings. The art is often stylish and fun, and I see that it is nice to get a lighter more pulpy Batman. But I still do not really see the point of all the intertexts, all of the meshed art styles. It seems like a lot of occasionally distracting trouble to go to to make a small point about comics history that Morrison has made many times before, often much better -- in All Star Superman for example.

Immortal Iron Fist #9. I think if you are going to have a book where punching and kicking are so important -- even in a genre dominated by so much punching and kicking -- the art really needs to go to a whole new place to make it work. DavidAja does exactly that. The guy is just mesmerizing. I also like how Danny Rand is portrayed as maybe a little dumb, a little ditsy. I really like that. It is very not-Batman.

Immortal Iron Fist Annual. I know I am going to look like a philistine, but the art in this book is just not my cup of whatever. I know these guys are a big deal. I get that. It's not that I hate the art -- it is just not for me. I think maybeAja has just ruined me for Iron Fist. Aja is the Truth and the Way, as far as this book goes.

The Order. The art here was kinda frustrating in places. I did not get that Mullholland was choking, for example, and they weird hubba-bubba cocoon with a head was ... just odd. And was the stretchy girl the same girl in the black dress that got bug's blood on her? Maybe I read this too fast. Also I am pretty sure that in the exchange that begins "I can still use my powers" someone goofed and attributed the lines to the wrong characters. Or, again, I read this too fast. On the plus sideKitson is fantastic with faces (which this book needs a lot of) and there is a nice homage to Moore's Big Numbers.

Wonder Woman Annual. This is an odd week for me, where I am almost exclusively focusing on the art and not the story. I got this issue for the art only. I really admire the very few artists -- I am looking at youBachalo -- that can draw girls you can really crush on. As for story -- whatever. I think the distinction he sets up between human and non-human at the end of the book is pretty meaningless.

In Comics News Newsarama has an interview up with Judd Winnick about the Black Canary / Green Arrow Wedding special. There are two issues on the table. One is the dress. I like the dress actually. Not in real life, obviously. They considered getting an actual designer to do it -- Pat Field would have been a good choice, maybe. But they ended up doing it themselves. I think Winnick is right -- one you figure out that the fishnets are iconic and indispensable, the rest of the ridiculous thing falls into place. I have not read this but the art seems fun. As for the ending -- apparently it gets real dark for no reason. That's the age we live in apparently. The superhero version of torture porn cannot be far behind.


Kenney said...

I haven't read the latest issue yet, but I'm glad others are enjoying All Star Batman. I see so many calling it the worst thing ever, and I just can't understand how they can't see what I see.

I'm not even enjoying it in an ironic "it's so bad it's good" kind of way. It's just fucking extravagant crazy fun. Who can't use some of that in their week?

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the number of people who have got into a lather about a superhero's wedding dress when the real problem is the distasteful brutality of the "shock" ending.


Marc Caputo said...

"Distasteful brutality"? Possibly. But I'll take that over weapons-grade criminal stupidity anyday.

Christian said...

Let's not kid ourselves here, Winnick is just an awful writer. Stock characters and dialog, no sense of character, darkening stuff for no good reason, hamfisting seemingly meaningless plots into his books and just all around awful.

Sorry, but the guy really grates me. I'm surprised one of the Birds of Prey weren't diagnosed with HIV by the end of the issue.

Marc Caputo said...

If you take the first and last comment here together, it illustrates my point of why ASBARTBW is awful to me. I DON'T have fun reading that book; furthermore, when I think of that book, Christian's 2nd sentence comes to my mind (as far as this book is concerned)

But the tragedy is this: Winick's always been awful; Miller, to me, needs to get this out of his system - I'll be back for whatever's next.

Josh Hechinger said...

I don't really recall Danny being a titan of common sense back in the old Iron Fist comics either.

Which is the nice thing about this run: it's less "everything you thought you knew about the character was wrong" and more "everything you forgot about the character was great".

Streebo said...

Damn you Geoff - for hating on Chaykin and Brereton! LOL

I guess that means you haven't gained an appreciation for Chaykin by going back and reading the early issues of American Flagg? Matt Fraction even sited American Flagg as one of the inspirations for Casanova.

Streebo said...

I picked up a big stack of books this week - so I'm looking at some great reading over the next few days.

I had a trouble with cookies on my browser and haven't been able to respond to this blog since last week - so I just wanted to say that I was very sad when everyone was talking about great games and not a single person mentioned City of Heroes/City of Villains!!!

Their character creation system is about as perfect as it gets with the regard to designing your own character. The costume generation process alone takes hours and is often as fun as the act of playing the game itself. When no one I know is playing online, I often just make a new character complete with an origin and backstory. When my friends are playing online - the palyer interation takes the game experience to a whole new level not unlike graduating from masterbation to full blown sexual intercourse.

Heh. Or so I hear. . .

Anonymous said...

Marc, I'm afraid I don't know what you're referring to with the phrase "weapons-grade criminal stupidity".
I don't think, however,it's debatable that images of a happily-married couple in a superhero comic book, where an implied sexual scene turns to extreme violence, are anything other than distasteful.


Marc Caputo said...

The phrase was meant to refer to Winick's writing.

As to your point of distastefulness, I see what you're saying but I believe that in the hands of a good (or just plain better) writer, the scene could have been written as a true piece of horror, as a place and time of true love and intimacy gets perverted and twisted by murder. When I referred to Winick's writing as criminally stupid, I was referring to the fact that due his incredibly bad writing, an opportunity was missed.
"Tasteful" and "good" (in terms of writing) are subjective. To me, the improvement of the latter would affect the former.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying your point for me. I appreciate it, particularly regarding subjectivity.
On reflection, apart from the issue of context (a DC superhero comic book), I also find the scene depressing because it's so predictable. I think my point is that it's symptomatic of DC's sensationalist house style of late.
Anyway, good to chat with you.


Marc Caputo said...


Agree with you 1000% on that last point.

Good to chat with you as well. If this was Newsarama, we'd probably be calling each other names by now - LOL.

Also, Geoff and Streebo - re: Chaykin's art. Yeah, as time goes on, he's more of an acquired taste. On top of that, he's hit or miss. His New Avengers 21 with Cap was great, his Hawkgirl with Simonson was excruciatingly bad (a surprising career low for both). However, I thought his work on the Fist annual was better than usual.

I love all the different art on Fist. Besides being a practical way of getting around scheduling delays, it adds to the storytelling. For a book that is steeping itself in history, the different art styles reinforce that theme. This may be the first book since Moore's (and then Veitch's and to an extent, Millar's) Swamp Thing to bring a fully realized legacy character to a mainstream book (of course, I just thought of Flash and I'm sure some will say Starman, but I like this better than the former and haven't read the latter.)

neilshyminsky said...

For those of us that don't follow Green Arrow and Black Canary... what exactly happened??

Geoff Klock said...

Kenny: "It's just fucking extravagant crazy fun. Who can't use some of that in their week?" Well said.

Dougie: as you say the violence is predictable at DC now. At least the dress is interesting.

Josh: you got the pull quote for the week -- at least one of them.

Streebo: i have not read american flagg in a long time and it is in storage. I do want to go back, but i am a little worried that, cass influence or no, it may not be my thing. I never said hate, though. He is good. Just not for me.

Dougue: "I also find the scene depressing because it's so predictable. I think my point is that it's symptomatic of DC's sensationalist house style of late." This is important. Because I think when DC does this violence stuff it is supposed to shock. But shock the same way over and over and it just gets dull.

Marc: the different art used for different stories is a big plus for me -- the switches are not just random.

Neil: I did not read it but it looks like there was all this nice fun wedding party stuff for maybe more than one issue with lots of cute art, and then a supervillian fight that is maybe obligatory and silly, and then Black Canary sticks her husband through the neck with an arrow to ... I dont know .. disable someone near by, or on accident? the point that is getting everyone upset is that she is a serious fighter and there was no reason to put an arrow through his neck. So it comes off as extra gratuitous. But again, I did not read it.