Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Comics Out October 3, 2007

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 7. A second clunker from the overrated Vaughan. That bit where someone who does not have a pass acts bitchy and is let in because of that is such a cliche, but Vaughan makes it so much worse by vocalizing the idea behind it with the doorman actually saying "You're one of them, all right." Only in bad screenplays do people talk like this. Was that really the plan anyway? And did anyone not anticipate that the two rock monsters would be defeated by getting them to crash into each other? That's the only reason there were two of them. The telegraph: it is not just an old fashioned communication device. At least the art was better than last time.

Spiderman Loves Mary Jane vol 4. I have not had time to read this, but I am looking forward to it. I hope the new series with Terry Moore and Alphona will be as good as this, but I doubt it. I wish Terry Moore was doing the art and McKeever was still on story.

Nothing in comics news caught my eye.

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

[If I had known I was going to have so little to say this week, I woud have posted Jason's thing today.]


Pat Moler said...

Why the hell is BKV writing for Buffy?

Matthew J. Brady said...

Ouch, you're killing me with the "BKV is overrated" comments. He's one of my favorite writers, but I'm not reading Buffy, so I can't comment on that. Crap.

How about this though: I did a little blurb on my blog about it when the issue came out, but the most recent issue of Y: The Last Man just about broke my heart. I thought I was going to cry. It's the third-to-last issue of the series and [spoiler here] BKV callously killed off one of the main characters in a sudden fashion [end spoiler]. I dunno, maybe it's manipulative, but over the course of the series he had made me love and root for the characters, and then, BAM!, he goes and does that. I was pretty upset.

Timothy Callahan said...

Did anyone else ever read BKV's "Swamp Thing"? I haven't gone back to it since its initial release, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. If you haven't read it, the story was basically "The Odyssey" with Tefe as a young Odysseus.

He also wrote a "Cyclops" miniseries around that time in which Cyke was lost at sea and struggled to return home...hmmm.

Then came his two breakout series: "Y the Last Man," about the ODYSSEY of Yorick trying to reach his beloved Penelope, I mean "Beth." And "The Runaways," which was not an Odyssey at all, since it was about a band of heroes travelling around from place to place, episodically...oh wait--that IS another retelling of The Odyssey.

BKV--you so crazy!

Brian G said...

I don't think Brian K. Vaughn is overratede at all, Y:The Last Man and Ex Machina are both exceptional series that live up to the hype in every way. I'm not argueing against your Buffy reviews, but I would recommend trying either of these series if you haven't already. But then again, I suppose I'm just hoppin' on the BKV "hype" machine Whoop! Whoop!

Matthew J. Brady said...

I've never read the Cyclops mini; I don't think BKV really clicked until he started Y. As for the Odyssey comparison, while it kind of works with Y, I don't know if Runaways fits, since they didn't really have a destination; they were just trying to escape adult influence. And the second volume was definitely different, once they were free of the danger caused by their parents.

The other pre-Y stuff I've read by him include The Hood and a Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus miniseries, and while they're both okay, they're nowhere near the level of his later stuff. And then there's Ex Machina, which is one of my all-time favorite comics. That one's just fascinating, from a character, political, and superhero/sci-fi standpoint.

Really, the only other Odyssey comparison in his work (that I know of; I never read Ultimate X-Men) might be Pride of Baghdad, in which some lions escape the Baghdad zoo during the American invasion and travel around the city. I suppose you could make the comparison there, but there's plenty of other stuff going on as well.

Timothy Callahan said...

The Runaways/Odyssey IS a bit of a stretch, but not if you think of it as yet another BKV road trip adventure (which is what it is throughout both volumes, and it's what The Odyssey basically is, except with a sea instead of a road).

Ex Machina has some nice bits, but I don't think that all the bits have added up to anything. Perhaps it feels that way because BKV is out of his element--Mayor Hundred mostly stays in NYC the whole time--not enough road trippin'

Scott said...

Vaughan is a decent writer who's full of good concept. I just find his execution to be occasionally forces and shallow.

I can never find an emotional center to Vaughan's writing. While I enjoy the adventure in Runaways, I don't find myself particularly caring for any of the characters. Yorick and Mayor Hundred are (to borrow a phrase) age appropriate plot delivery devices but I don't care about either of them. The larger world and supporting characters are more intriguing than the starring characters.

I wonder if I lose anything in Vaughan's writing since I don't read it monthly. He's someone I can easily wait for the trade for.

Geoff Klock said...

The Odyssey template is to vague to be really useful in that Campbell Mono-Myth way. Anything can said to fit it. I mean I could easily see my day as a Homeric Odyssey -- I left my house and my fiancee and went on a journey. I had endured trials (the idiots at the post office, the line at Subway) and met people who could help me (the nice people who own the copy shop). Because my neighborhood is predominantly Greek I had no shortage of Joycean updated myth as I passed Aphrodite cleaners and the Neptune Diner. All in an effort to return to my home and my fiancee, where I murdered all the suitors that had shown up at the house when I was getting food and sending off job applications.

Casey Malone said...

Time to hop onto the "Let's talk about Brian Vaughn" bandwagon...

First, let me just get this out of the way, I am a big fan of his work. I really enjoy Y: The Last Man in a way I enjoy few other comics. It's a masterfully serialized comic book, where each issue ends with a really gripping cliffhanger that the authors somehow manage to make me forget is coming, in spite of the fact that EVERY ISSUE ends this way. His 4 issue Doctor Strange was the first time I've really ever been interested in the character, and Runaways is just bold fun with fully formed characters.

That being said, Vaughn does have a bad habit of imposing his presence into his comics. Ex Machina story arcs in particular sometimes read as if they're based on whatever factoid Vaughn found on the back of a sugar packet. But even in that title, he manages to do several new things: handles the events of September 11th 2001 in an interesting way, he essentially invented the Mayoral Super Hero, and does Super Hero Sci-Fi in a "real" way without ripping off Watchmen like so many others have been doing for the past 20 years.

Most importantly, though? His run on Buffy so far has been trash. I am not a rabid Whedon fan. Truth be told, I didn't even enjoy much of Buffy past season 4, and have actually seen very little of season 7. But his writing on this title has been shoddy, and I've agreed with all of your criticisms so far.

I guess my point is to not simply dismiss his work based on these two really awful issues, and try to give Y a fair shot at some point.

Until then, I guess, we'll just have to continue to be disappointed together.

Casey Malone said...

By "But his writing on this title has been shoddy, and I've agreed with all of your criticisms so far. "

I meant "Vaughn's writing on this title," not Whedon's, whose work I've been enjoying.

Sorry for the double post clarification. Way to make a first impression, heh.

Geoff Klock said...

Casey -- the fact that you agree BKV on Buffy but claim he is better in books I have not read make me trust you. What do you think of BKV's runaways?

Continue to stay away from Buffy Season 7, and I wouldn't get too close to season 6 either, especially the last few episodes. If you have not seen Angel though I highly reccommend all but the first season.

James said...

Whoa, really Geoff? I'm nowhere near a Buffyverse devotee, but I really enjoyed the first season of Angel, the second half especially (this was a long time ago, though). What sucks about it?

casey: It's interesting to read your takes on Y and Ex Machina, since I essentially feel the reverse; I like them both, but much prefer Ex Machina, with Y often seeming like a place for BKV to espouse his social studies theories.

BKV's Dr. Strange was AWESOME, and while I haven't revisited it, the first issue struck me as a Perfect Comic Book when I read it.

Timothy Callahan said...

Nice, Geoff. If your encounters during the day were also filled with obvious pop-culture "jokes" then you are living a BKV story. No wonder you don't like him.

Marc Caputo said...

RE: Buffy, season 7. It wasn't horrible, like much of S6 but neither was it great or even just good. But it did have the first appearance of Nathan Fillion, who took the ball and ran with it, scoring a TD with Firefly (I have no idea why I am employing sports metaphors.)

Angel, S1, I think suffered from trying to find its foothold. After that, though, I remember (I'm going through them and the Buffys again now) S2-S5 being more consistent than Buffy, even if it never hit the peak of say, Buffy S3, which was pitch perfect in pretty much every way. S2 and S4 were excellent as well, but S3's the one to beat.

And, on the BKV note, I've found his Runaways to be uniformly fantastic. They read and reread very well, it's not lazy with the ideas and most importantly, it hits the mark for its audience, but is well written enough to engage older readers as well.

Voice Of The Eagle said...

Serious nitpick: Amy Winehouse's (whom I cannot stand) first album came out in 2003. Season Eight is apparently taking place in mid-2004. While it's quite possible that Gigi is a fan of the tatooed stick insect, I find extremely doubtful that Faith would have heard of her, as the album as yet to be released statewise.

I too am a fan of BKV, but I agree this is a clunker, particually after Whedon's triumphant return to form.

Casey Malone said...

Geoff -
I absolutely agree with you on Buffy, to my chagrin. I really wanted it to be better, but as long as Vaughn keeps writing Faith like a moron (See: tea bags, "bum a fag" joke), I can't bring myself to like it.

Angel I have seen the VAST majority of, and with the exception of this really odd period where [Spoilers] Conner and Cordelia were having a baby and there was all this awful melodrama [End Spoilers] I'm a really big fan of it.

Runaways is a good read that pretty consistently manages to impress me. All of the characters are created from essentially whole cloth*, and somehow they all manage to feel real, to feel primary. Noone is just a two-dimensional support character, something even Buffy suffered from at times. This is all helped by the fact that parents-vs-kids is a great template for adventure, and Molly Hayes remains probably the most charming character in the Marvel Universe.

It also has a really diverse cast featuring strong female characters, characters of color, and deals with teen sexuality in a way that doesn't seem clumsy or exploitive.

I haven't revisitied Runaways in some time, since I dropped the book when Whedon came on, but just typing this up has gotten me excited to go re-read them. Along with Y, it's definately one of the "This is why you should read his work" books for Vaughn, the way Animal Man and JLA are for Morrison.

It's also a team book in the Marvel universe that does not feature Wolverine as a member and that, at least, should be applauded.


*Yes, one of the characters is a mutant but the alien on the team is niether Skrull nor Kree, which was a great choice.