Posted by: Brian Hibbs on October 9, 2012
Tags: Avengers Vs. X-Men, AvX, Batman, Bill Sienkiewicz, Brian, Brian Michael Bendis, Damon LIndelof, Daredevil, David Mack, Digital Comics, J.G. Jones, Jeff Lemire, Klaus Janson, Legends of the Dark Knight, Mark Waid, New Talent Showcase, Nicola Scott, Theorycraft, Yay comics?
Four superhero books below that cut!
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12: Man, it would be nice to have a Marvel crossover once that ended right. I don’t know what frustrates me more: Captain America’s extraordinary hypocrisy in the face of the breaking point he engendered, or why no one is asking about what happens with all of the *good* stuff that the Phoenix Five engineered (food, energy, water, worldwide). but, these are superhero comics, and superhero comics don’t like dealing with ramifications, do they? Like I said back at the review of #1, this comic clearly is reviewer-proof; nothing I could say or do would impact it’s entire success as a commercial juggernaut — I’m certainly selling twice or more copies of AvX than I do of either of the component characters any longer.
The thing is, I’m afraid that this series fundamentally broke the X-Men — what are they any longer?
With Xavier dead, the mutants no longer an “extinct race”, Cyclops considered a super-villain, what’s presumably the world’s stock of Sentinels melted down (along with all of the battleships and nuclear weapons in #6) “Uncanny Avengers”, and so on — well, what’s next? Where can you go from here? The core metaphor might still have need today — but can the X-Men still be the spirit of alienation in any clear way when mutants are now responsible for bringing peace and food and water to Africa, y’know? I have my doubts, especially because the first new x-book off the blocks this week is actually an Avengers title, and the “flagship” X-comic is going to be a time-travel story, which doesn’t even sound remotely sustainable to me as an ongoing monthly.
At the end of the day, I thought AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12 was pretty AWFUL. Though I doubt that’s any real surprise to anyone out there. I also thought that the X-Men “won”, in that Cyclops was right, and his species is now viable again… even though they’re left at the end as being a largely irrelevent concept in the Marvel Universe. Funny how those things work out.
AVX #6: As a modern piece of comedy, I thought this was generally pretty darn GOOD. “Captain America is level 15 in Guilt Trips,” indeed! Though the Hawkeye sexploitation dream was pretty dang grody, and prevented the book from scoring higher.
DAREDEVIL END OF DAYS #1: I was originally looking forward to this, because on paper, at least, it sounds good: Bendis, Mack, Janson, Sienkiewicz all back on Daredevil for one final story. Too bad the result is a gory mess, with multiple scenes of people beating each other to death. Yay, comics? Overall the art, mostly Jansen being inked by Sienkiewicz, has the worst of each artist’s tics, though there are a few nice and painted panels that entirely work. Seeing those lovely panels make the rest of the book look that much worse, sadly. Pretty AWFUL.
LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #1: So, this is a collection of Batman stories that, as far as I know, ran as digital content before being collected here. This is the fourth (fifth?) “re-purposed” digital comic, and, at my store at least, sales have all been uniformly awful on these books, but I can’t tell if it is the chicken, or if it is the egg. Batman, in serialization, is going through a pretty nice period right now — BATMAN itself is my top selling DC comic. and all five of his monthly books are selling at least 25 copies a month for me. This one? I sold 2 copies in week 1, and I’m not expecting that to grow in any manner I’m willing to carry the risk on. So, is LDK flopping out because it is digital first, and people don’t want leftovers? Or is it flopping because it’s Batman-led comic #6? Or is it flopping because it is shitty?
There are three stories here, one by Damon Lindelof & Jeff Lemire which is close to the worst Batman story I’ve ever read being, I think, a “what if?” of “What If Batman was an arrogant drunk?” Hrf?!? The second two stories are kind of NEW TALENT SHOWCASE teaming newer writers with solid artists (JG Jones, Nicola Scott) — but the stories aren’t any great shakes, neither rising above what you might hope for in a new talent anthology series: not shitty, exactly, but not so great either. At least not for $4.
The bigger problem, for me, is that these comics are kind of the “proof of concept” for the problem of what you do for natively-digital work when the iPad landscape/computer monitor being different proportions from the printed page. Mark Waid was the first person I ever heard who said, “Duh, just plop the two screens on top of each other, and your back to normal proportions”, and I thought he was genius when he said that.
Except… now I’ve seen what it looks like in practice. It is… not very good.
So, first, if you’re even slightly aware of it, you can “see” the weld made on each page as writers are aiming the “beat” for the bottom-rightmost panel of each “page”, except each page now has two of THOSE, and it TOTALLY blows the “rhythm” of the comics page.
Second, because you have to present the page smaller than it displays on monitor/iPad, it feels oddly cramped, with too-small lettering.
Third, it really shows just how limited the landscape format is for density-of-content — It is hard to cleanly fit more than 4 “panels” on any “page”, then, which gives you an extremely limited number of choices of page layout and panel arrangement. then you see that twice on each printed page, and it is kind of a mess.
So, I guess now I really don’t think that digital comics can be reformatted to print in this way without kind of crashing out the beauty and strength of the real unit of comic books: the page. I thought the Lindlehof story was AWFUL, but the rest was decent enough it could drag the entire book closer to an EH.
That’s me, what did YOU think?