Friday, April 25, 2008

Comics Out April 23, 2008

Batman 675. Bruce Wayne tries to break up with his girlfriend as the eyes on fingers guy attacks; Robin and Nightwing discuss Batman's psyche; Talia, Batman's son, and an archer named Merlyn get a prologue, and the girlfriend discovers the Wayne-Batman connection. Tim Callahan says that Morrison is not served by the 90s art here, and then moves on to discuss the strengths of the story, but I simply cannot -- or will not -- get over how bad this all looks, and how bad much of Morrison's run looks. The conversation between Wayne and his girlfriend relies heavily on their facial expressions, but Benjamin is not Barry Kitson, and the scene looks absurd. I think Wayne is laughing at one point but you really can't tell from the art. Wayne seems to have walked in from a Liefeld comic -- his face is a patchwork of random lines; in a patterned suit he looks like a no-personality gangster. Look at Damian's face when he takes the blindfold off -- when did he get to be 40 and bloated? Check out the second panel of Merlyn with his bow and arrow and explain the unnatural Liefeld-esque stance; and remember the blog that made fun of Liefeld by asking "How many teeth in a mouth? A hundred right? I'll just draw a hundred"? Check out the teeth on the second to last page, and then turn back to the cover -- two separate Morrison artists made this mistake in one issue. As for the story? Morrison is at the top of his game on Superman, and the bottom of his game here, and I have argued it is the fear of Miller. That said, is this dialogue, form this issue, a parody of Miller's intentionally repetitive Vale dialogue on All Star Batman #1:

Yes you're witty and charming and clever, but underneath there's something deep and dark and terrible, isn't there? Underneath that wit and charm there's something so cruel.

I do not know what it is, but I am pretty well sick of it. I am very much in the mood to cull my comics down to the titles I actually enjoy on a regular basis, and not the ones by writers I generally, or used to, enjoy.

In comics news, there is still a lot of fallout from the NYCCC, including a Grant Morrison video, but basically I am not keeping up with it.


Ultimate Matt said...

Out of curiosity, Geoff, did you read that series of interviews with Morrison at CBR a few weeks back, where he discusses Miller's Batman?

scott91777 said...


This post reminds me of something that I have always felt are a couple of Morrison's weaknesses:

his dialogue and his characterization.

He's really more of a concept guy; the strenght of AS Superman (and all of his best work as far as I'm concerned: Doom Patrol, Animal Man) is its concept. I've always felt that he was at his best when he was allowed to cut loose. He's able to do this to extent with AS Superman since, while it's a flagship character, he doesn't have to deal with continuity. He just can't get away with that much in the flagship Batman title and, as we discussed before, his zaniness doesn't work for Batman who is a very grounded character (it works a bit better in the JLA run though... because again, it was a title where more zaniness was acceptable).

As for his dialogue, It seems like his characters have a tendency to speak in exposition. This is acceptable much of the time because, his stories are so out there, a bit of explantion is often necessarry. This doesn't work for Batman. Batman is a character who thrives on simplicity. Most simple origin story in comics.

Another unfortunate problem pointed out here his his tendency to be sidled with sub-par artist. Howard Porter was nothing spectacular and Douglas Truog's Animal Man art is some of the worst art to ever be paired with a really great story.

I've always felt his X-men run would have been much better if Quitely had been the artist throughout and, to make matters worst, most of the fill-in artist were pretty crappy (Bachalo and Silvestri were both great on their respective arcs though). I bought the first volume of his Batman run with Andy Kubert more because of the fact that I like Andy Kubert than I liked what Morrison was doing witht he character.

Also, is this the Batman arc where Morrison is supposed to be 'Killing' Batman. It's worth noting that he's writing stories that culminate with him 'Killing' DC's two biggest characters. Granted, much more successfully with Superman.