Friday, March 14, 2008

Comics Out March 12, 2008

Serenity: Better Days 1. Someone asked me a while back why I considered Fray one of Whedon's "indispensable" comics. This is not really an answer, but to me it is a smart little story worthy of the Whedon canon. It is not like all those "Tales of the Vampire" Buffy comics where not only are the stories not great, but they are also inconsequential side-bars in the cracks of the main story -- if you did not read them you would not miss what is going on, and they are more of a chance to cash in on the property than advance the story or add a new dimension to it. All of this is to say that Serenity: Better Days is a worthless comic book, totally devoid of any life, interest, dialogue, or plot worthy of recounting, and in this regard is a lot like the other Serenity comic book that was designed to bridge the TV series and the movie. For one thing it takes place before the film. Whedon's little invincible clique in Buffy Season Seven was really bad storytelling. Killing off major characters in Serenity was the right thing to do -- with two already dead you really care about who might live or die in the final stand, and it could be EVERYONE. Here he has reassembled the team, to no effect. Everything about it is boring, from the design of the robot hunter thing on up. A total waste of time. I actually put it down halfway through reading it and just started flipping channels. With Angel and Buffy moving on, he should have started the events of a Serenity comic book after the film, to even have a chance of making this work.

As much as I love about Whedon I am hard pressed to properly explain my vague animosity toward his insistence to continue ALL of his properties. I get the comics, and I do not hate them, but something about their existence gets on my nerves. I mean, I do not ask DC to let Batman go, but something here feels to me like the party should have ended two hours ago and these straggling guests have no manners. I mean, the party was fun and all but it is time to go home.

In comics news there is con stuff going on but I am not keeping up with it.


Voice Of The Eagle said...

Total agreement on the Serenity comic.

Consider me one of the party members who JUST WON'T LEAVE in regards to Buffy.

Nothing wrong if you do.

Marc Caputo said...

I started buying the Buffy books for the hype and for the fact that I own the MONSTER DVD set and loved the show. Haven't read them because I want to watch the DVDs again first.

Bought the first Angel, didn't care for it, despite the fact that if I had to make a choice I thought Angel did it better more consistently than Buffy.

Won't even buy Serenity because Firefly/Serenity is my favorite TV Whedon and I couldn't get past the art that aped the actors' faces to a distracting degree.

Weird, huh?

No LOST post? I'd daresay that stands as one of the high points of this or ANY season.

Geoff Klock said...

Marc -- I actually did not like LOST that much. I will review it either today or tomorrow, depending on how much time I have.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying the direction that the Buffy/Angel comics are taking, but I came in late and have really only watched them on DVD.

I kind of agree with you guys on the Serenity prequels. They are kind of cash-ins, teasers to keep the story in the public eye until interest in a live action continuation of the series gets green-lit. So I understand why Whedon seems unwilling to tell new, post-film stories. One interesting hope is that Dark Horse and Universal have signed an agreement for Universal to have first option on any Dark Horse propoerty. Dunno what that means for Serenity, but Universal released the film.

The best news of the week is that Matt Fraction will be co-writing Uncanny X-Men from #500, and writing 501-503 solo with those single-issue stories he's so good at. Yowza.

Stephen said...

As much as I love about Whedon I am hard pressed to properly explain my vague animosity toward his insistence to continue ALL of his properties. I get the comics, and I do not hate them, but something about their existence gets on my nerves.

I'm not in your head, obviously, but I bet this is related to the sheer fact that they're not as good. This is most powerful in the case of Serenity, which was so amazing in TV and just so blah in comics, but it's true for all of them. Buffy was -- at its best, which was fairly often -- one of the Best Shows Ever on TV; the Buffy comic was... fun. Sorta. Not bad at all.

Now, I'm reading the trades (as is my wont), so I've only read #1-5 so far. And I'm holding out hope, because season openers aren't Whedon's forte (compare the Whedon-penned openers with the general run of Whedon-written eps & you'll see what I mean... only "Anne" is even in the same ballpark.) And in general, the weakest Buffy episodes (at least in the non-bookend seasons) were in the opening few episodes. So I'm hoping it'll get better.

But at the moment it's not a stunning comic the way the TV show was a stunning TV show; it's just fun to see the characters again.

So it makes sense to resent him for continuing them in unequal form.

(Fray gains in two ways in this account: first, it's to my mind the best of the Whedon comics so far; second, there isn't a TV show to compare it to.)

...On Serenity: if I were given control of the comic, which granted would require a biblical-sized miracle, I'd rename it Firefly, and ignore the movie completely, and simply continue from the end of "Objects in Space", the last Firefly episode (much the way Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles is ignoring T3.) This isn't because Serenity was that bad -- although it wasn't as good as Firefly, and for a reason parallel to the comics: Firefly was one of the Best Shows Ever; Serenity was a Perfectly Fine Movie. Not comparable. But, as I said, this isn't the reason that I'd continue from Firefly. It's rather for a few other reasons: first, an ongoing comics serial is structured more like a TV show than a movie, so picking up the structure of the TV show would lead into a better comic; and second, the movie was too conclusive in too many ways -- of which the character deaths are only one example. (And it was too rushed too, so that the stories weren't done as well, and thus don't make such good set-ups...).

Obviously this will never happen, for lots of reasons: the comics are blah, and so won't sell all that well, and thus won't get in the continuing format that could make them worth reading in the first place; second, the movie is now the face of the franchise, and thus couldn't realistically be ignored.

Given this, an ongoing series, with multiple writers, and continuing on from the movie, is clearly the best way to go. But I'd prefer my way if they'd do it.

Geoff Klock said...

Anon -- that is cool about fraction

Stephen -- all good points. thanks