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God Save The Queen: Hibbs catches back up

Brian Hibbs

I owe you reviews, and I’m stuck working on a Sunday (the first of 13 days in a row, at that!), so let’s go!

The worst part, actually, is that I really don’t have much to say about the last two weeks of comics — not a lot of stuff stood out to me, good or ill, so this is going to be fairly short (I suck, I know). And, in fact, we’re going to start off with something that ISN’T comics…

 

XXX OLYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY: Man, the Brits are kind of wacky, aren’t they? OK, or maybe just Danny Boyle, but someone else had to sign off on that. In the Olympic contest for “Sheer Batshit Spectacle”, that has to come pretty close, I think. If you didn’t see it, here’s a short precis: they showed “UK through the ages”, starting with the Olympic Stadium being a bucolic English countryside, complete with milkmaids, and flocks of sheep (!), then it became the Industrial Revolution, and towering smokestacks literally erupted from the sod and soaring to the air as Kenneth Branagh (!) portrayed Abe Lincoln Isambard Kingdom Brunel in a series of vignettes about industrialism, until what looked like live molten steel formed flying rings in the sky, that became the Olympics logo. Is “barking” the correct British-ism for this?

What I loved about the whole thing was that I can’t imagine that anyone actually AT the ceremony could have had the slightest idea of what was going on — even with the television cameras doing close tight up shots, the audience at home could barely tell what was happening, how much worse must it have been in person where every seat (it looked) was rigged up with shifting lights?

Then the entire production shifted to an appreciation of (and I swear I am not making this up) the National Health Service, and I’m so so sad that we didn’t have a Mitt-cam focused on Romney’s face throughout this spectacular ode to socialism. In America we had Meredith Viera providing color commentary, and she, on several occasions said things like “I have no idea what this represents” — it was a spectacular paean to ignorance! But I think she mentioned that the 10,000 (!) dancers out there were actual doctors and nurses of the NHS which is just crazy cool.

So the doctors and nurses are running around the glow-in-the-dark-yet-also-trampolines-beds of the sick children, which culminates in, and, honestly I really and truly am not making this up, and the real reason why I felt I could write this HERE, but it culminates into the end of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: CENTURY: 2009. A giant 100 foot tall Voldemort rises up to menace the children, and is beaten back by scores of Marry Poppins flying down from the sky. He may be communing with Snake Gods, but you can’t tell me now that Alan Moore isn’t the UK’s Single Greatest Psychic.

Then the Queen of England skydove into the stadium with James Bond.

Maybe “Barmy” is the correct word?

Bicycling doves! Sir Paul McCartney! One of the (honestly) most spectacular and over-the-top firework displays I’ve ever seen in my life! The end of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon! (“As a matter of fact, it’s all dark” Sure, that’s an Olympics theme!)

Bra-vo, England, bravo indeed — it really isn’t possible to have real life more resemble an issue of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol, so good on you! That was EXCELLENT.

 

 

ARCHIE #635: I think I said this before: you have to give Archie props for at least trying to modernize a little, but this issue, where we learn about the “Occupy Riverdale” movement, and the street protests against the 1% (though, as Kevin Keller says: “Riverdale’s always been about more than the one percent or the 99 percent — it’s about the 100 Percent! It’s a safe place where everyone is welcome!”). Still, it’s utterly disconcerting to see characters in an Archie comic book discussing the possibility of being TEAR GASSED. Wow. The actual arguments are…. well, they’re exceedingly reductive and poorly explained, but it’s an Archie comic, so you can’t expect much, I guess.

I also want to say that I very much liked the art by “Gisele” — recognizably Archie-like, but also somehow close to realistic, and genuinely dynamic in places, a little manga-y, but still sweetly cartoony. This is the nicest I’ve ever seen an Archie comic look, and I really do think it will appeal to a lot of readers out there. I’m actually recommending this comics: I thought it was pretty GOOD (given it’s limitations as an Archie comic). If your LCS doesn’t have it,  is also available on our digital store

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL #1:  “Ms. Marvel” was always, sadly, a pretty generic hero — flight, strength, blasts, toughness, but nothing about her really stood out to me. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s solution seems to be turning her, kinda, into Spider-Man, with the quips and all, and the script really does work well as far as keeping my interest page-to-page goes. There’s two problems, that I see: first, I wasn’t given any real reason to come back for issue #2. No cliff-hanger, no compelling supporting characters, no threat, no suspense. Carol’s cool (and I love the new outfit), but there’s no hook here.

The second problem, for me, is that I just didn’t care for Dexter Soy’s artwork. It looks like, hrm hrm, my first thought was “like a Comico comic” — Matt Wagner and Bill Willingham certainly grew into being great artists, right? — but this looks like still a few steps being ready for primetime, to me. Maybe he’ll grow into the gig.

So, yeah, noble noble try, but I walked away from the comic feeling very EH.

 

NATIONAL COMICS: KID ETERNITY:  I have to say that I don’t understand this title/initiative. I guess it gives DC a steady flow of new #1s, but with “DC Universe Presents”, I don’t see what market needs this fills. Maybe it’s an attempt to see if Digital (since these are digital-first comics, I think? At least that’s what the solicit for “NC: Looker” says, but the comiXology page says NC:KE was released at the same time, so I don’t know?) can create the groundswell for the new Sensational Character Find?

I don’t see it happening in print though. This isn’t a home-run of a revamp. The plot plods on, the character isn’t visually exciting, and it’s been divorced from the “any character from history” premise to a boring old Spectre-lite police procedural. Gotta give this the thumbs down and say AWFUL.

 

That’s it for me (told you I wasn’t as motivated this week)… what did YOU think?

 

-B

17 Responses to “ God Save The Queen: Hibbs catches back up ”

  1. I never would have come up with the comparison myself but you are so, so right about Dexter Soy.

  2. I really don’t get the “National Comics” thing either – much less why they’re slapping it on Kid Eternity, who, I’m pretty sure, was a Quality character back in the day? If DC was going to roll out an imprint bringing back the National Comics name, wouldn’t it make sense to use old golden age characters who were actually part of National back in the day who haven’t been significantly used in a while? Granted, that leaves you with – what, the Spectre? the original Seven Soldiers of Victory? and not much else? – so maybe that sucks as an idea and maybe I’m reading too much into it. And maybe all I really want is an excuse for a Spectre relaunch that keeps the character walled-off from the DCU proper in some way, because he’s a great, weird concept that hasn’t been used well at all since the Ostrander/Mandrake run, which mostly left him in his own weird corner of the world to mess around with, without too much crossover shit barging in to mess up the book’s sweet superhero-comics-meets-EC-horror vibe.

  3. The only reason I can see a Kid Eternity comic under the National Comics title is perhaps retention of the brand for copyright purposes. I’m not a lawyer, but that was my guess.

  4. I watched the opening ceremony with someone out of politeness, but it wasn’t my thing. I know there are people who enjoy that sort of thing, so I’m happy to hear it went over well with them.

    Archie is surprisingly good comics. I’ve read a few over the past year and I was pleasantly surprised by them.

  5. The Archie book was evidently by Gisele Lagace, who does Menage a 3 and a couple other webcomics. I know Jeff Lester has mentioned it on Wait wait a couple of times. She really has a nice Archie/manga style that should get more exposure!

  6. How did so many British doctors and nurses get so much time off?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patients-year.html

    Oh.

    One could take a sort of meta-view on Archie, that its writers are “occupying” the comic to bring up politics. I’d rather not see politics being pushed into every corner of our lives — whether it’s being used to advance positions I believe in or not — and if Archie ain’t a safe zone from the very serious issues of the day, what is?

  7. I had a great week of comics – all of them were tops. I avoided Capt Marvel due to the art – I got whiplash from the sudden change of cover to interior art – and I avoided National Comics: Kid Eternity, because Kid Eternity has to have one of the worst track records ever. I don’t think it’s a character that’s ever been good. The Morrison mini was ok, but that’s down to Fegredo and Mozza just going nuts, really.

    “In America we had Meredith Viera providing color commentary, and she, on several occasions said things like “I have no idea what this represents” — it was a spectacular paean to ignorance! But I think she mentioned that the 10,000 (!) dancers out there were actual doctors and nurses of the NHS which is just crazy cool.”

    Don’t they get given briefings beforehand? Or Fact sheets? The Australian commentators seemed to know what was going on at all times, and had facts, figures and anecdotes ready to go.
    I believe the children dancing in the beds in the NHS/GOSH scenes may have been actual patients – I don’t think all 10,000 dancers were doctors and nurses, just those playing doctors and nurses. I’ve read a few ‘how the world responded pieces’ and the US press seemed to love it, but be confused why they were celebrating the NHS – I thought Boyle made a lovely rebuttal to the myth that countries with free health care would rather it done away with, instead repositioning it as a step towards/true arrival at greatness for a developed nation.

    (In case anyone doesn’t read Bubba’s link, the doctor’s claims are really flimsy, the headline is misleading, and the patients dying he mentions are people in vegetable states who had no hope of recovery – forget it Jake, it’s Terry Schiavo).

  8. Nice catch on the Doom Patrol/Opening ceremonies, although I thought the opening ceremonies was an Invisibles Initiation writ large. Especially with James Bond and the Queen and the weird history lessons about the evolution of industry in the UK and socialized medicine and the conclusion with the Poppins brigade. All it needed was King Mob to shoot his flag-pistol and the time machine to fully materialize from outer church to really bring the semiotic end to the universe.

    - gary

  9. @Ben Lipman

    It sounds like you were spared comments like, “Voldemort is an evil wizard in the Harry Potter books” and “The Beatles were a popular group in the 1960s.” I envy you, and not just for your awesome free health care!

  10. ” All it needed was King Mob to shoot his flag-pistol and the time machine to fully materialize from outer church to really bring the semiotic end to the universe.”

    Yes!

    Though Sir Paul McCartney leading the world’s largest karaoke was pretty close, almost.

    -B

  11. Though it was nice to see Boyle asking McCartney to reprise his singing role from the last time the Olympics were in London.

  12. Mr. Squirrel –

    NATIONAL COMICS actually was a title published by Quality Comics in the 1940s. Kid Eternity was a Quality character, but didn’t appear in that title. The lead feature was Uncle Sam.

    Of course, just to confuse things, National Comics was also the official name of the company formed in the late 1930s when Harry Donenfeld and J.S. Liebowitz, who owned Detective Comics, Inc., bought out National Allied Publications, founded by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. This company, later changed to National Periodical Publications, published comics under the DC logo.

    And, just to confuse things even more, a third company, M.C. Gaines’s All-American Publications, also shared offices with National. All-American remained a separate company even though its comics also used the DC logo (except for a brief time in 1944 when Gaines published under an AA logo) and characters from the two companies appeared together (again except for a brief time in 1944 when only All-American heroes were allowed in the JSA). Gaines sold out in 1945 and All-American became part of National.

    That weird National/All-American/DC situation is probably what you were thinking of since LEADING COMICS (featuring the Seven Soldiers of Victory) and MORE FUN COMICS (featuring the Spectre) were both published by National and didn’t feature any All-American characters.

    I agree that the Ostrander/Mandrake run on Spectre was sweet and wish DC would get some collections out.

  13. Watching the Olympics opening ceremony, I thought that I had taken way too many mushrooms. When it was over, I realized I hadn’t taken any at all. Bravo England! Bravo!

  14. stop using “bravo”

  15. OK. Sure thing.

    Wait, what?

    Why not?

  16. “Then the Queen of England skydove into the stadium with James Bond” casually being said is AWESOME.

  17. Sorry, @Bubba but I have to weigh in here – the Daily Mail is a famously bigoted right-wing rag with a huge axe to grind against the NHS (or indeed anything with a vaguely liberal/socialist bent), and a notorious history of concocting stories to back up their bias. So it’s worth bearing that in mind before you completely buy into this story.

    Apologies for pulling this thread off topic – as you were.

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