Posted by: Graeme McMillan on May 16, 2007
So I was all about to post a review of All-Star Batman, but then I read Bri’s comments about COUNTDOWN #50 (the post below this one, SavCritic fans!), and I had to post about that instead*. It’s odd – For the second week running, I’m Brian’s bizarro twin; I thought that this issue was less offensive than the last, but I had pretty much the same reactions to it that Brian describes: How does Jimmy know who Jason Todd is? If everyone knows that Jason kills, why does Superman not try and do something about that instead of find Jason and then float around while Jimmy goes to interview him? For that matter, since when does Superman have so much time to kill that he helps Jimmy find his interview subjects and assist him in breaking and entering in order to do the interview? (Since when does Superman assist anyone with breaking and entering? Yadda yadda yadda…)
The problem with this series – Well, one of the problems, really – is that, two issues in, it’s telling us nothing that we don’t already know. The Joker’s Daughter dies in issue 1, after saying that she’s from another Earth, but we know that there are 51 other Earths already. In the second issue, the Joker tells us that he doesn’t have a daughter, but why should that be a surprise? We were told just last issue that she was from another Earth… It’s one thing to reveal these facts slowly to the characters, but the creators have to throw a bone to the readers to keep them happy as well, and there’s nothing revelatory or even interesting in a good way about this second issue at all (Maybe if this series had come out prior to the end of 52, and we didn’t know about the multimegaverse already, there would be some attempt at tension or mystery…?); it doesn’t even have the fanboy outrage I got from the mess of the first issue that didn’t introduce any of the characters properly.
Another of the problems, with this issue in particular, is the feeling that it’s done by the non-star team. I have nothing against Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti or Jim Calafore – oh, alright, maybe Justin and I have a familial blood feud that has spanned generations, I admit it** – but their work on this issue seems competent at best; there’s no excitement in the dialogue or the artwork, and overall it feels like a rushed fill-in already. Maybe this is intentional, in some way, down to the desire to keep a relatively homogenized “style” for the book despite the different creative teams each week (much in the same way that 52’s art rarely shone), but it makes for very dull reading. Interestingly, Keith Giffen’s name is missing from the credits for the second week running – Wasn’t he meant to be doing layouts on this book?
Overall, it’s a pretty depressing second week for the series; I’d hoped for a surprising second issue that made me more optimistic about the whole enterprise, or at least more interested. What I got instead was just pretty Eh.
(* – Also, I kind of like the weird metajoke about the All-Star Batman review being later than intended. I’m sorry.)
(** – This is not true. My family is small and has no feuds with anyone else, unless they’ve been keeping them secret from me.)