Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Comic musings for 2 May

If you've been waiting for me to post my reviews, I apologize on two counts--first, I've been pretty since last Friday and just haven't felt much like getting out of bed. And second, now that I am putting them together, I really only want to review one title. And it ain't good.

Spoilers ho!

Teen Titans 46 -- So, for months, the Titans East storyline has been hyped to the gills. A sort of Teen Titans Crime Syndicate, teen supervillains gathered together to fight their archnemeses in the Titans. Geoff Johns's swansong as he leaves the title.

So the build-up to it was okay, actually Wolfman-esque in some ways. A few panels per issue, a dark figure gathers up unhappy teens with super-powers, or those who have already decided to make themselves into villains. And they would call themselves Titans East, because there's a name to punch fear into the heart of all heroes and law-abiding people everywhere.

And that's where we run into the first roadblock--who exactly are the archnemeses to the Titans, some of whom have been Titans for less than three issues? Miss Martian? Kid Devil? Soe praise is due here--the new characters created for this fight are ingenious and promising---Sun Girl and Kid Crusader. But we know absolutely nothing about them except that they appear able to handle some Titans...about whom we also know nothing. Sun Girl has one schtick, she has fire. But Miss Martian should have mental powers too, yes? That's how J'onn always gets away from hsi fire-based foes.... And forcing Kid Crusader to take on the powers of Kid Devil was a brilliant twist in the story, but nothing happened with it and it was over and done quickly, just long enough for us to see the heroic nature of Kid Devil again. Nothing new, really, just a character as a plot device.

So, Wonder Girl gets to fight Match, the unfortunately named clone of the recently deceased Superboy. He's pretty much a Bizarro Superboy, adn they are only interesting when they fight their originals. Bizarro doesn't wander around looking to pick a fight with Wonder Woman, though I bet Gail Simone could make it interesting. Flash (who spends a lot of time trying not to be Kid Flash and generally coming off a little bit as a jerk) versus Inertia, which is at least something we have seen in his own comics. And of course Robin gets to fight the drugged Batgirl, in a move that had to be set up across a number of other titles and made very little sense as she was played totally out of character. And for what? The big pay-off of Robin getting her the antidote within minutes of the first round of fighting two issues ago?

Not that any of this should have matterd, because Nightwing and Donna Troy show up to fight also. Nightwing is a great leader and he can go toe-to-toe with Deathstroke all the time. But you give him 14 super-powered allies and he can't end the fight in less than ten seconds? What kind of leadership is that?

And why--tons of build-up and tons of hype, but for what? Wonderful Geoff Johns final-page reveal last issue, the Tians coming together to fight for each other. What can Deathstroke possibly hope to accomplish? Some arcane plot by Deathstroke to make sure his children are loved? He can't love them the way they should be loved, so he threatens their lives so the Titans will love them more? Folks, that's just exhibit A in bad writing. As we have been told, over and over, the Titans are family. It's not forced on them; they choose to commit to their relationship to the team and each other. Deathstroke didn't have to do *anything* and Joey and Rose would be considered family. Heck, Joey already *is* family; he died for the Titans. And this is all revealed by smarmy first-person dialogue over the course of this issue, with no hints at all before now.

I'm willing to believe there may have been some problems in the handing-off of writing chores; Adam Beechen is taking over for Geoff Johns and they shared the credit for this story. But a good editor would have seen this ocming and fixed the flaws.

And if this weren't bad enough, the art for this issue is a disaster. Figures are horribly out of proportion throughout. In some panels, it appears that characters are travelling through gravity fields, with half of their bodies in extra gees while half in free fall. And this was supposed to be the crowning story for the Titans in the One Year Later--everything was coming to this. The art and story are just horrific. This could end up being the worst comic of the year.

Some thoughts

I'm dropping Superman Confidential and Batman Confidential from my pull-list. I really can't get past the Tim Sale art in Superman Confidential. I've never liked his work, and it is too hard for me to get through whatever he is doing to appreciate the story. And the palette choices are just weird. Even the supplementary art he has been doing for Heroes uses more colors than he has got going in his ongoing comic stuff. And I just can't get past the idea of a story told from the point-of-view of a rock. And it's not a particularly good story., even from a rock.

As for Batman Confidential, I'm saddened that they cancelled Legends of the Dark Knight for this. There's nothign really bad about this that makes me just despise it, but then again, there is nothing really great about it that makes me want to read it every month.

Now I recognize I will now be missing out on the back-story of the retconned Superman and Batman, bu I reckon I'm just going to have to live with that loss. Good editors will take care of their readers by providing enough information to catch us up.

If anyone would like to tell me why I should like the art of Tim Sale, please let me know what I am missing.

Secondly, my brilliant idea for a new series in the post-52 universe appears to be taken. One of the focal points of the weekly series is that there is now a multiverse made up of 52 worlds. Madame Xanadu has been kinda bored lately, so I thought a great series could be created using the motif of Madame Xanadu reading/using a deck of cards as a story-telling device about the different worlds of the multiverse. See, 52 cards...52 worlds? But if you see the cover of the first issue of the newly announced Booster Gold series, you'll see Booster exploding forth from...a pile of playing cards with alternate versions of the heroes we know (http://www.newsarama.com/dcnew/WAcker/Week52/booster.html). I'm thinking this is going to be a series sort of like Marvel's Exiles. Well, I'm hoping it is. It would be a great way to explore the new multiverse. And if anyone is interested in an anthology series starring Madame Xanadu, you saw it here first.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you on the Tim Sale art. Why the hell would an artist put the same sinister and evil-suggesting shading on the faces of the heroes that you often see on the villians? I think he has some kind of eye-fetish - like how serial killers often take photos of their victims and gouge out the eyes. When I was reading this last night, it took a lot for me to ignore that none of the people, including the ones in the backgrounds along with the main characters, all had their eyes heavily shaded, blacked out, or just empty spaces. I think Tim Sales needs psychotherapy.