Posted by: Brian Hibbs on August 2, 2010
Here’s a the-last-three-weeks omnibus of Shit I Thought about 8 things (sorry, I suck so bad):
BATMAN WIDENING GYRE #6 (OF 6) (RES): Chris Sims already did a pretty good beatdown on this on Comics Alliance, but let me add a few thoughts to this as well, but like with my retailer hat on, too.
I don’t know exactly where the failure of communication came in, but how is this a “to be continued” story, and no one thought that might be a sensible thing to note in solicitation?
Here’s the original solicit:
Kevin Smith and Walt Flanagan’s Batman tale comes to its startling end! Thanks to Silver St. Cloud, Bruce is trying to learn how to trust people. But Batman is an integral part of who he is, so how can he really trust anyone? Batman even has a run-in with Catwoman because of his relationship with Silver. And when he decides to put all of his trust into someone, will he be rewarded…or punished?
That first line is kind of a lie, isn’t it?
I mean, not like anyone is going to live or die from any of this, but, man, solicitation in a non-returnable market really should be entirely sacrosanct. And an “end” is a conclusion — not a “to be continued”!
I mean, it specifically says “1 of 6” on it, and it doesn’t actually end. That’s pretty screwed up.
Second: when asked directly about it at one retailer event or another (they all blur), some Official DC Voice (honestly, it all blurs!), given Smith’s storied reputation with lateness, absolutely 100% assured us that all issues would be shipping on time. Note the [res] in the pulled-from-my-invoice listing. Not on time, in other words.
Third: as a reader, I could actually get past Mr. pee-pants (even though it really shouldn’t have used a shot from “Year One” to sell it), but I have a pretty difficult time believing that Batman, especially a Batman whom smith has shown attacking his to-be-wife just in case she was, y’know, a robot (hey! It happens!), would just pass through a super-villain (Ack! Thbt!) into the Batcave without a background check.
Fourth: I’m fairly certain Silver appeared somewhat recently in something or another, which makes the continuity of this one someone suspect.
The funny thing is, I’m not really that against the frat-boy vulgarisms — Batman having an “I peed!” moment early in his career is really kind of funny; why wouldn’t you assume Bruce Wayne’s hairy-chested love-god status would resolve in double-digits, and so on… it is just they don’t belong IN a Batman comic, really — that’s for the Robot Chicken version, right?
I love Robot Chicken, but if it becomes the Mainstream, isn’t that just a little absurd?
I guess I couldn’t see this comic being published if Paul Levitz was still publisher — you decide if that was good or bad.
I’d probably give this comic an EH; it made me giggle, then made me feel ashamed about that, and not just for me.
REVOLVER HC: I’m, generally, a pro-serialization guy, which is another way of saying that most OGNs really are just long comic books, and would often be better coming out in cheaper formats. Its relatively rare that I put down an OGN and think “Man, that was worth my $x!” My brain might be locked in old paradigms, I dunno.
But, anyway, I really liked this one — I thought it had an interesting core idea, and it followed through on that consequence in a manner that fairly surprised me (most fiction is more likely to try and save the “shiny” version, than to improve the “dark” one)
I think Kindt is a very good writer, and his pacing and layouts and tone choices are all really really good — he knows how to do COMICS; the problem is he’s really not all that much of a craftsman when it comes to the finished art, and while the basically mediocre figure-and-background work has a certain immediacy, I’m not a member of the “craft is the enemy” camp.
I mean, this is flip, but, damn wouldn’t I love to see this same exact book finished by, dunno, P. Craig Russell or someone else who has mastered craft. Then this would be a “holy shit, you have to buy this now” kind of book, instead of a “Well, I really liked it, and I think you should give it a chance”, y’know?
A strong VERY GOOD, but-you-might-have-to-work-to-get-there, for you, personally.
SCOTT PILGRIM GN VOL 06 FINEST HOUR: I think that the single hardest thing to do in long-form fiction is The Ending. Long-form is like: a single main-story over 3+ years (intentionally), and sold in some sort of chunks — TV, movies, prose, comics, there’s still only a relative few stories that made the ENDING work. I can think of 20 times the number that had great BEGINNINGS, but the end is really hard to get right.
Now, I’m only kind-of sort-of SP’s “target audience” — while I’m as much of a nerd as vous, this is nerds-20-(ugh)-years-younger-than-me kind of thing, isn’t it, and I was late to the party of understanding it’s awesome-ness. He’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was Jeff Lester who twigged me on this at what I want to say was v3.
I have to say for the series as a whole that I think there’s a bit of a lull (not that’s not the right word, but I can’t think of the right one now) somewhere there in the middle where there just feels like there’s too much that isn’t really, directly, about Scott (or Romona, for that matter) — it’s the drama of the friend of the girlfriend of Scott’s roomate or something, which, yeah, is way how I remember my 20s going, but isn’t really all that compelling as narrative.
That is to say: six books almost certainly could have been five books, and you wouldn’t lose a single beat or thought worth recording.
But then, I think the it-had-no-flab-whatsoever, AND began-and-ended-perfectly club is… well, it’s pretty darn narrow. I can count those on the hands and fingers that I own, so yeah: triumph!
Anyway, endings, yeah, this was pretty perfect, and wise, and I think it really kind of captures going from your “20s” to your “30s” (though, those numbers are stupid and arbitrary because we’re talking about people, not Psychohistory) in a really perfect way.
Bryan Lee O’Malley has leveled up!
SUPERMAN #701: Yeah, so, “You Will Believe A Man Can Walk”, and all that, and man, does it just Not Work in certain places (like, seriously, if this was real life, there’d be 500 people, press, the insane, the desperate, the fame whores, the Whoooooos!, and whoever else all following his every step, 24/7, broadcast live, just because it could be.)
And, ugh, there’s a few places it stands perilously close to preachy… but you know what, I don’t mind it all that much. It’s SINCERE, which is nice, and it’s very much what Superman means to JMS and should probably mean to us, and I think it’s very good to have these kind of comics occasionally. However, I have to say it sounds kinda dull for a multi-issue narrative.
The “super” part of the name is important, too.
I basically liked it, I’ll read another, I don’t know if I want to read 6 more in this vein, call it OK.
UNCANNY X-MEN HEROIC AGE #1: I don’t suppose it matters, but I am curious from a craft point of view if Fraction wrote this as three threads he wove together, or of one shifting voice, and I hope it is the latter, because I thought it was a really clever little technique that worked amazingly well for what should really merely be a throwaway “colon” comic set to fill a publishing schedule — three clear beginning-middle-end vignettes, each told with a fairly different voice, each that worked well with the others, and advanced both character stories as well as individual stories. This might even be an X-Men comic that might get me back, as a lapsed reader, to reading the X-Men. Well, except that they’re fighting vampires in the new title, *shudder* Anyway, I thought this was surprisingly VERY GOOD.
WALKING DEAD #75: I used to rag Kirkman unmercifully for not shipping the book on time, so let me applaud, highly, for all of the effort to keep it on schedule, and, when slipping, rather than acting like McFarlane and ignoring it, shifts into overdrive to get back on schedule in a good-for-the-book-way (hint, everyone else: every 3 weeks is WAY better than every 2), so yeah. And it doesn’t hurt that the book is pretty much the most consistently good monthly comic being produced (Usagi Yojimbo aside, probably) — it is consistently VERY GOOD, and this issue is even better with a special issue #75 treat which is hilarious and awesome and completely awful and wonderful all at once, and, really, I can’t ever see it being reprinted in the trade, and certainly not in color, and, yeah that was a great end to an EXCELLENT comic.
WONDER WOMAN #601: You know what’s weird? I think that the teaser thingy in #600 really told me everything I needed to know, and this issue was mostly expansion… and it worked better in shorthand, I think. #600 sold a BUNCH more copies… this one not so much, just slightly ahead of the last Simone issue. EH.
ZATANNA #3: Ugh, I had hoped that we’d get more than 3 issues before the book fell, slain by Zatanna’s utmost trap: the she’s-totally-perfect-and-her-magic-can-do-anything-whatsoever thing. Way to suck all of the drama from a story when she utterly swats away any opposition to her, basically without raising a sweat. Why do I think Paul Dini would be a Monty Haul DM? EH.
OK, what did YOU think?