Friday, July 18, 2008

Comics Out July 16, 2008 and SPOILER FREE DARK KNIGHT REVIEWS WANTED

See here's the thing: by switching to trades on some of the books I read, I do not seem to be picking up many comics on a weekly basis anymore. I may have to rethink this.

Review, discuss and recommend the comics out this week and react to the new Dark Knight movie, without spoiling anything. The AV Club and Slate loved it. 

17 comments:

James said...

Did you get Fraction's Iron Man last week, or have you switched to trades on that? The story continues to be excellent, but I cannot love the art; the colouring in particular is really unappealing. There's a flashback in this issue that uses a flatter style - I wish the rest of the book was more like that, or even the covers (which I think have a different colourist).

scott91777 said...

I just finished reading the final Volume of Astonishing X-men... and can I just say, "I heart Whedon's X-men"

The first two volumes were pretty good but, the last two (and Geoff, I know you felt there were weaknesses) were just wonderful.
It reminded me why I had always loved Kitty Pryde and made me love characters that I had never really cared about before (Cyclops, Emma).
Had Kitty's fate already not been spoiled for me... I would have wept openly in reading the final volume (still got a little choked up).

scott91777 said...

Ok, just got back from a walk... which is where I do my best thinking... ok, (Jason, you're not gonna like this) The final half of Astonishing X-men can very much be seen as a parallel to The Dark Phoenix Saga; If that's the case, the final volume, Unstoppable, goes along with those final two issues of Dark Phoenix. No where is this more obvious than in the fate of Kitty Pryde (who, conicidentally, is introduced in Dark Phoenix). And, in that fate, I think Whedon might have fixed one of comics more, egregious, if not intentional, acts of misogyny.

Any feminist critic is going to look at The Dark Phoenix Saga and say, "Of course, the woman can't handle the power power so she has to kill her self to save us from the awesome wrath of a woman unleashed." Granted, I doubt this was Claremont's intention (I like to think his intention was that no mere mortal, male OR female, could handle such power)but it can certainly be read that way. Hell, even I can see it and that kinda of thing usually has to be pointed out to me by someone with sharper feminist sensibilities.

In Dark Phoenix, Jean Grey destroys herself to save the world from her power which she fears she cannot control. Whedon turns this around by having Kitty sacrifice herself by USING her power to save the world, a power that she exercises complete control over.

This also ties nicely back in to the first issue of the series when Cyclops explains why she was selected for the team: from a PR perspective, her power is a defensive one, it can be used to protect people; this is the ultimate use of that power.

This is why I always loved Kitty Pryde.

Wow, that was longer than I meant for it to be?

Should this be it's own post?

scott91777 said...

In short,

Phoenix is woman as destroyer; Kitty is woman as protector.

This also can also be tied in with the motherhood illusion Emma gave Kitty in the previous arc... protector/mother... I'm not up to speed on my Jungian archetypes.

James said...

It suddenly strikes me that Kitty saves the earth from a giant metal dick.

scott91777 said...

James,

I think that may actually improve my argument :)

Weapons of any kind can be seen as phallic:

Let's see phallic = power ... in this case an unleashed power that has lost control... there is a failed attempt to fight the power with more power and so it is Kitty's protective abilities... which would be Yonic (I think I'm spelling that right) that are ultimately able to save the day.

So, yeah, "Woman saves planet from giant metal dick" sums it up nicely.

Is this making any sense to any feminist critics/gender studies people? Like I say, this is kind of unfamiliar territory for me as far as criticism goes.

James said...

Scott: Oh yeah, I was agreeing with you.

Shlomo said...

Havent read the latest astonishing. but I do like the idea of Kitty's story as a sequel to the dark-pheonix. Its funny that it coincides with Jasons review of storm's less-than-overwhelming "sequel" in the original Claremont run. But pheonix started out sacrificing herself defensively as well....

neilshyminsky said...

I have a review of The Dark Knight on my blog, but it has spoilers so I'll boil it down to this: it's bloated with too-serious philosophizing and is too depressing, but the Joker is incredible and I spent most of the film either watching the Joker or waiting for him to return.

Geoff Klock said...

Neil: dude I fucking knew it... Thats exactly what I thought about the first one.

Christian said...

All of Dr. Horrible is up now and... Joss Whedon really hates love, doesn't he? I mean, is he just completely unable to write a romance with a happy ending?

Kyle said...

The yonic saving Earth from the phallic reminds me of Watchmen.

Kitty's power isn't really entirely defensive, it's just that she's not a killer. That power would make causing internal injuries easy, and it has also been shown to disrupt electronics. Why she couldn't slay Danger, I don't recall.

DK review that probably isn't spoilery, but I'm not sure if it will change your perceptions during the movie:
Gary Oldman isn't wasted in this one. I like that the focus is on Joker and Dent. Good monologues.

scott91777 said...

I liked The Dark Knight, Geoff, your aestehtic issues remain in term of the technical stuff (nothing interesting going on as far as camera work or visuals is concerned)

It is a bit too serious and the attempts at humor fell flat... but here's what it's got going for it:

1. Bruce doing the playboy 'act' is taken even further. Morrison would be pround.

2. We get a little bit of the 'globetrotting' O'Neil/Adams version of the character.

3. This is the first time we've really got to see the relationship with Gordon, Dent and Batman in any of the films and it is done well.

4. Yes, the focus is more on Joker and Dent which is good.

5. This is the first time Batman as order/Joker as chaos aspect has been explored on film (I know it's old news to us comic fans but, hey, it's handled well).

6. Ledger is amazing, however, while they got the right amount of crazy... I felt he could have been funnier... but the part where he 'makes the pencil disapear' is pretty much dead on.

So yeah, I liked it... might be my favorite Batman movie... I'm going to have to see it again.

Flaws: Bale's 'Batman Growl' is still kind of obnoxious, some of the dialogue is kind of hokey, and it's a little long... they did a great job of telling a pretty big story in 2 1/2 hours... but I think it could have been told even more effectively in 2-2 1/4.

neilshyminsky said...

scott: "This is the first time Batman as order/Joker as chaos aspect has been explored on film (I know it's old news to us comic fans but, hey, it's handled well)."

I still haven't figure out to what degree this is intentional or whether it's bad writing, but... this turns out to be a total crock, doesn't it? The Joker turns out to be the most meticulous planner of all - it's a pathological kind of order, but isn't all order (order being a structure that represses and redirects your base desires) pathological in some way? I see it more as a critique of the order/chaos split than a representation of it.

scott91777 said...

Neil,

Just because he's organized doesn't mean he isn't chaotic... if order is a structure that represses and redirects your base desires... the Joker sort of goes about to do the opposite of that. He represses nothing; he just does it in a very organized way.

scott91777 said...

That is to say it is a form of organized chaos... much like my planning process for my classes :)

neilshyminsky said...

It wasn't order that the Joker was directly criticizing, though, but planning. (We're taking that to stand for 'order', but it doesn't necessarily follow.) And in that respect, the Joker is the most elaborate planner of them all: as I noted on my blog before, he's a Rube Goldberg kind of planner.

I'm not sure that I believe he can 'repress nothing in a very organized way', either. I mean, psychoanalytically speaking at least, acting in accordance with one's base emotion requires you to reject any and all organization or planning. To introduce any kind of organization is to invite and require repression: delaying satisfaction, most notably, in the case of the Joker in this film. He could have just killed Harvey - instead, he spent an excessive amount of time and energy in the hopes that he would kill himself. That kind of patience suggests sadism, maybe, but not anarchism.