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(Inset witty title here)

Brian Hibbs

Why is it that that the weeks with lots and lots of things to discuss are weeks where I have some other deadline driven project (order form, ONOMATOPOEIA, whatever), but the week’s I have time to write there’s not a lot I actually want to say?

 

Still, I’ve been horrible the last few weeks, and while I did a lot of writing for the next Savage Symposium, I don’t think you’ll see that for another week or three? So let’s me dive into what I have to say here…

 

PUNISHERMAX #13: This book seriously lost its momentum when it went on that hiatus (seriously, we lost like 1/3 of our sales here at Comix Experience), but I have to say that this current “Frank in jail” story is pretty terrific. Ultimately I care little about Frank in jail, because I’ve seen it so many times, but I thought the rapid intercutting between in-jail, and returned-from-vietnam was pretty astonishing well done. VERY GOOD.

 

One editorial note, however: Story page 11, panel 2, speech balloon. the word you want there is “grisly”, not “grizzly”. How that slipped past AT LEAST three sets of creative eyes (writer, letterer, editor) I couldn’t possibly tell you. “Editors” don’t really edit, do they?

 

FLASH #12:  If you want to know what happened in FLASHPOINT #1, you sort of need to read this… though by the same token you really sort of don’t NEED to, because it kind of doesn’t matter, and it’s all kind of chatty nonsense anyway. (Though I sorta liked what happened with “Hot Pursuit”)

 

This is also the final issue of this version of FLASH — the solicited #13 is apparently NOT coming out, and I gotta say, looking back over this “volume”, man this series has been a creative failure. I know Graeme liked the art, but I still really don’t even know why Barry was back, etc. FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE (the Bart allen series just before this) was as strong creatively.. and everyone hated that book.

 

Also, F:FMA #13 (the last issue of that series) sold in 76,860 copies back in 6/07. FLASH #9 (the most recent one that we have numbers posted for) sold… 55,980 copies. Hrm.

 

 

FLASHPOINT #1: Now having said that…. I really really liked this. It might be like the thing about the THOR film — my expectations were so low, that it couldn’t help but exceed them… but I don’t think it’s quite that either.  In fact, after I read the FCBD bit, I opined to Matt, “Wow, that didn’t whet my taste, and, it actually made me not want to see what happens next”, so when I picked this up and found out the FCBD stuff was just the FIRST SIX PAGES OF #1 I got extremely leery.

 

Thankfully, the rest of the issue picked right up, maybe as soon as the next page when we find out the Flash isn’t even in this comic book series, which makes that cover pretty weird, really.

 

Anyway, I was pretty happily amused with all of the world-building here — probably not amused enough to actually want to read any of the individual mini-series, but that whole rooftop sequence was extremely crisp and strong. The last page twist was also amusing, but not as jaw dropping or game changing as some people have said. It was also deeply undercut by the three pages of badly placed ads.

 

I have a lot more to say… but well I think this is part of the next Savage Symposium, so I’ll keep it to myself right now. What I will say, however, is that given the end of the book, most of that initial narration doesn’t actually make any sense whatsoever, it being stuff the narrator *can’t* know.

 

I might be premature here, but I did like this, and I think I’m going to give it a VERY GOOD. I sure hope they can pull of the ending though — if it turns into another BRIGHTEST DAY fiasco, I’ll be extremely sad.

 

Right, so who wants to place early bets on who/what will Nate Gray this?

 

 

NEW MUTANTS #25: Speaking of Nate, NM gets a “new direction” which made me laugh — “cleaning up old X-Men business”. Man, there’s a premis that could last you another 20 years or more! Abnett & Lanning take over the scripting, and it works as well as you’d expect it to, though the art bored me to tears. I also really liked the Ilyana scenes, and hope that she has a chance to stay in this new remit. Solidly OK.

 

X-MEN LEGACY #246: The other bit of the post “Age of X” storyline, and this one seems a little more ragged to me — while NM gets a clear new path, these sort of seems like more of the same to me, except people’s memories are jumbled. It isn’t just that the AOA stuff adds something  new to the characters (though you certainly can argue that), but the problem is that it does so in such a way that you need a thousand word preface to explain it before you can actually begin to deal with it. Many impacted characters will have it “mindwiped” away according to this issue, but those that don’t… I really don’t see anyone other than Carey making any hay from this? Especially with a major character like Cyclops? I don’t think I can do better than EH here.

 

BATMAN INC #6:  I just loved this issue. Have I said that I hope Chris Burnham stays on this book for a good long while? I don’t know, that cover just made me giddy with joy, and the notion that Bruce indulges in internet sock-puppetry made me howl with glee. But the best parts are how many times Bruce smiles. VERY GOOD.

 

And that’s it for me this week — what looks good to YOU?

 

 

-B

17 Responses to “ (Inset witty title here) ”

  1. I dunno, for me this whole alternate reality is just one tiresome storytelling fetish.

    What would happen if Superman were black? If Aquaman was evil? If Wonder Woman has a costume change?

    Who cares, we all know that the status quo will be restored and at the most the Flashpoint “earth” will be number 52 or something…

  2. I picked up Xombi #1 on your recommendation, loved it, and bought the second issue as well. I think it continued the looniness quite effectively. How did you like it, Brian? Is it still living up to your expectations?

  3. Not to say that the latest FLASH relaunch has been a success, but to be fair, FASTEST MAN ALIVE had fallen to about 48K by #12, with that final issue getting a boost because of the whole someone “dying” thing.

  4. I seem to remember that Flash #13 was returnable. However, my memory sucks.

    Phil

  5. I love The Flash but hate, hate, hate the retcon of his mother’s murder inspiring Barry Allen to don the uniform.
    It’s a completely unnecessary level of angst.
    Every few years DC seems to want to rationalize why heroes act the way they do. Remember the “metagene” from the late 1980s, introduced in Invasion to explain superpowers? Or the “Godwave” from the Genesis 1990s mini series?
    Why can’t heroes just BE heroes? Why do they need to be motivated by angst?
    And of all characters who SHOULDN’T be motivated by angst, it’s the one who ushered in The Silver Age of comics.

  6. Thanks for the capsules, Brian.

  7. I know a couple of cops and their reasons for becoming police rarely have to do with a tragic past. Mostly they were interested in a steady job with good pay.

  8. Watching the complete reversal of opinion on Flashpoint in the last few days has been pretty surreal. I never quite understood why everyone was expecting it to be garbage in the first place.

    Also I really really dug the first 8 issues of Flash. But that last arc was the absolute definition of rushed.

  9. @Debaser “I never quite understood why everyone was expecting it to be garbage in the first place.”

    In a word? Experience.

    It’s not quite non-garbage yet. They have my attention, but are there good stories coming up, or is this an empty parade of wonders? I thought the Flash series, was competent, but you have to do a lot more than add an ounce of Sturm-und-Drang if you want to take Barry Allen into this Marvel-style, close look at the life of the protagontist.

    “Journey Into Mystery” was better than any book built on such poor premises has a right to be.

    My enjoyment of Grant Morrison’s work depends entirely on the illustrator. Chris Burnham makes it look easy.

    I was all prepared to say nice things about “Incredible Hulks”, but the whole damn thing fell apart into a sloppy mess this issue.

  10. I expected Flashpoint to be interesting, and found the first issue to be garbage. It was almost entirely exposition. I mean, I’m kind of glad they got it out of the way, but christ, a 5-issue series, and issue 1 is almost completely wasted. There was NO STORY.

  11. BATMAN INC was fantastic. Seeing the Bat Army together was a treat, especially with Burnham on art. I’m not a fan of Cassandra Cain (I’m not *not* a fan, I just don’t care much about the satellite characters besides Dick and Damian) but I can’t help noticing how many revamps she’s been through. Hopefully this one sticks; she can team with Stephanie, Huntress and Barb – BATGIRL INC.

  12. I read Flashpoint twice and each time I went, “that’s it?”. Barry Allen sleepwalks through an alternate reality and the cliffhanger that’s supposed to bring me back for next issue is Someone Else Is Batman. There’s dull, and then there’s stuff like this.

    Gotta say, I enjoyed Fear Itself #1 more. The story wasn’t great…it wasn’t even good…but at least it seemed to be trying to present something epic.

  13. Dude, Batman Inc. #6 was a very scary fucking book about Batman becoming a fascist. I’ll go ahead and give Morrison the benefit of the doubt as a Thatcher-hater and assume that he’s read Josh Simmons and there’s something terrible that’s about to happen.

  14. “…about Batman becoming a fascist.”

    Hasn’t Batman’s fascistic tendency thingy been pretty up front from the get go?

    Well, clearly the exception is Bruce Wayne’s insanely capitalistic stance in funding the INC.

    But, if you were looking for Fascist in the sense that he’s becoming even more heavy handed in his global war against people who’ve broken society’s laws then yes, on the money, but that’s better described as becoming more efficiently vicious, don’t you think?

    It is somewhat interesting that in order to fight and conquer a super secret crime organization he feels the need to create a super secret crime fighting organization using many of the methods of those he fights. It feeds into the Morrison operating theory (for these books) of the ouroboros and wheels within wheels.

    Anytime the word “Thatcher” comes out in comics discussion I tend to cue up the Mindless Ones page and wait for their take.

  15. >>the word you want there is “grisly”, not “grizzly”.

    That particular spelling error drives me fucking crazy.

  16. Expanding a little it would be easy for me to see Morrison take the Inc. team into the territory of Leviathan only to have Bruce discover his group is being “groomed” via trial to replace Leviathan as the secret masters of the world.

    It also provides a clean “reset” point for any new author coming on the title to have Bruce, “Bring it all down” paving the way for a return to his solitary approach to crime fighting. Ah, to while away the hours thinking about fictional characters. Excellent. Now to work on the new budget!

  17. “given the end of the book, most of that initial narration doesn’t actually make any sense whatsoever, it being stuff the narrator *can’t* know.”

    You mean because it’s from a different timeline? I didn’t have a problem with it. The narration is all in the past tense, so we can assume that it was “written” by the narrator after all this went down. It’s to be expected that at some point, Barry will have told him all this information about his timeline, in order to try to convince him that he must help him restore it.

    What’s more illogical, though, is that presumably, this story’s resolution will restore the timeline, so this narrator will effectively cease to exist, leaving him no time to look back and tell this story. But I don’t think we’re meant to be thinking about it too much. The narration is just a convention to move things along.

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