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Graeme Tries To Remember How This Capsule Thing Works For Some 5/11 Books

Graeme McMillan

Call me a sentimental old fool if you must, but it feels to me like the best way to do a post on the 10th birthday of the Savage Critics is to go old school, and try and remember how those capsule reviews of yore worked… (Click through for nostalgia! But scroll down to read Hibbs’ post, if you haven’t already!)

BATMAN INCORPORATED #6: This has been a really curiously uneven series – Not helped by equally uneven scheduling – but this issue really feels like it’s trying almost too hard to say “No! Wait! There is a bigger picture behind everything! It’s not just camp and New Batman Of The Month shenanigans!” I really liked some of it – Red Robin and the Outsiders, in particular, is something that I hope sticks – but other parts really just felt awkward and desperate (Who Is Wingman? feels out of nowhere and, at this point, uninteresting). Okay, I guess, but I’m going to need some more issues like #4 to convince me that this book is worth keeping up with longterm, I think.

THE FLASH #12: On the other hand, ending the latest Flash series with this issue really feels like an admission that the whole thing was a failure. There are a lot of reasons why this run of Flash hasn’t come together (Again, terrible scheduling, the fact that neither Scott Kolins or Francis Manipaul really worked on the book, as good as their art could be at times – although Kolins art here is clearly rushed and nowhere near his best, the black hole of character that is Barry Allen), but what really struck me after I finished this issue was that nothing actually really happened in the entire series. Every story was a prelude to something else, whether it was “The Road to Flashpoint” or the Rogues from the future in the first arc, who were here to warn about future events that may or may not be about to happen, or even the Reverse Flash origin that was, also, a Flashpoint tease, it seems. There was, to overuse the metaphor, no forward motion to be found in the entire series… and who really wants to read a year of books about a character running in place? This issue was Awful, and the entire series, at best, has been Eh.

FLASHPOINT #1: So this was… Okay, I guess? I don’t know. I liked it more than I expected to, but the more I think about it, the more I wish it were just a Flash arc and not a “This Event Will Forever Change The Comics World Forever No Seriously” thing. I’m curious about how Barry will find his way home – I am completely expecting the ending to be that Barry has to recreate “our” DCU somehow, and whatever changes occur are a result of him essentially having a bad memory – but I find almost no interest whatsoever in anything else about the alternate reality. Still, at least it’s only four months long.

G.I. JOE #1: As listeners to Wait, What? already know, I have somehow become a GI Joe fanboy in my old age – I know, I’m as surprised as you are – but I’ll admit, issues like this one might make me change my mind again. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this relaunch, it’s just that it pretty much covers much the same ground as we’ve just read in the #0, and as a result feels ridiculously light. Let’s go with Eh, then, and hope that next issue is something more than being told that everyone in Cobra is trying to kill as many Joes as possible again.

SUPERMAN #711: I’ll admit it, I’m not entirely sure where “Grounded” is going right now – It feels as if Chris Roberson is taking as much advantage of the “done in one/guest-stars every issue” format as humanly possible, but the overall arc of the story seems to have fallen into the background as a result. I’m not that bothered about that, it has to be said (Did anyone really expect any other outcome than “Superman feels good about himself and has his faith in humanity restored”?), but it lends a weird shape to the issue, as we get a Good Superman story and a couple of pages of the “Grounded” villain being in a strop, seemingly out of nowhere. Also out of nowhere: Iron Munro is back! Somewhere, Roy Thomas is a very happy man.

…And now I wish that I’d bought more books last week, if only to complain about them here. Maybe I should start doing this weekly again, after all. But anyway: Happy Birthday, Savage Critic, and congratulations to the Daddy Duo that’s responsible, Mr. Brian Hibbs and Mr. Jeff Lester. As ever, this site – my posts, or lack thereof, aside – continues to be Excellent.

7 Responses to “ Graeme Tries To Remember How This Capsule Thing Works For Some 5/11 Books ”

  1. “Maybe I should start doing this weekly again, after all”

  2. Sorry- that is to say: Yes, more weekly reviews would be a welcome addition to the site!

  3. A welcome addition to the site…

    OR ELSE.

  4. I’d like to see capsule reviews of books that are ten years old.

    And sure, I’d love to see more G-Mac and uh, J-Lest on Savage Critics every week, but I can afford to be a patient reader.

  5. I remember reading the capsules of Morrison’s New X-Men and such on comixexperience.com — now *I* am the one feeling old! Fables or Walking Dead didn’t even exist yet! It was a time before recurring Crises in the DCU! Marvel was experimenting a lot! Yeah, reviews from what was out a decade ago would be great :) Here’s an overview of the DC output, at least:

    (look, Starman hadn’t ended yet! And it was time for the Return of Hawkman! Whee!)

    As for FLASHPOINT, I had never considered Barry recreating the DCU based on his memories. Wouldn’t that cause enormous problems considering he’s been dead since the mid-80s? How would he know anything about, say, Max Lord’s Justice League, for instance? Or pretty much all of Superman and Wonder Woman’s history since then? Wouldn’t a DCU based on Barry’s memories create a pre-Crisis universe? Oh wait, are they undoing COIE? That’d be kind of interesting, no idea to what that’d lead in their ongoing series though.

    It did seem noticable that pretty much all of DC’s ongoing series have concluding chapters in August. I’m curious what September will bring but the first issue left me a bit cold and I guessed Batman’s identity when he first showed up, it wasn’t that shocking. And Kubert’s art used to be a lot better, is it Sandra Hope’s inking?

    My wife loves Manapul’s art and that’s why we read FLASH but in the end, it was a whole lot of nothing. Lightning didn’t strike twice at all when Johns/Kolins were back on the Flash, whereas they used to crackle and sparkle like crazy in the 170-200 run. I miss their version of the Reverse-Flash too, it was a good twist on an old concept, and now we’re back to, well, old concepts.

    I don’t know what’s up with Kolins’s art lately, I think he really desperately needs an inker instead of this cost-saving “let’s color in the pencils” deal.

    Thanks for doing the capsules, they are heart-warming :D

  6. Thanks for the capsules, Mr. McMillan. After all I only get one of those comicals and I probably won’t ever read the others so I guess I turned up for you, sweetchunks.Always a pleasure never a chore, ey? Glad to hear you are living The Dream now. Who-da-thunk the wee laddie from Scotland (just off the coast of London)would conquer The Colonies? Anyone who has enjoyed your stuff I guess.

    As ever, this site, your posts included, continues to be excellent. My thanks. Now go on and get back to being the Wolverine of the Internet. (“Does It hurt when anonymous internet commenters try to virtually flense you for suggesting maybe comic book movies could suck a bit less?” “Everytime, bub. Every. Time.”)

    You did good out there, kid, now go drink some water.

  7. And again, after John K(UK) what is there to add?

    So I’ll be brief:

    Keep it going, watch that cleansing (WORST PODCAST TOPIC….EVER!), keep up the truce with Top Cow (until conditions merit otherwise), and keep reminding us that we shouldn’t settle “for not totally sucking” as the acceptable standard for funny books.

    To gently homage (read: steal) a line from ANIMAL HOUSE, being “late, lightboxed and derivitive is no way to go through life.” Both the industry and fandom deserve better than they get from the other. That’s a fact, Effendi! Collect all 21!

    Keep up the good fight, always be Savage, and I’m always glad to have something new of yours to read.

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