Posted by: Brian Hibbs on April 27, 2007
Tired. Just a quick in and out tonight.
JOHNNY HIRO #1: there’s a real charm in this what-appears-to-be-a one off from Fred Chao via Adhouse books — it has heart, and a decent amount of craft behind it. I had two real problems with it, however. 1) The Pidgin English that Hiro’s girlfriend speaks (“Why you wear my HELLO BUNNY slipper?”). I don’t know, maybe its cool for the Asian-named Chao to use it, but it still made me feel all PC and squirmy inside whenever she opened her mouth. Problem #2 is a bit more serious — nothing Hiro does has any impact on the story, in fact, the entire conflict utterly resolves itself without any need for action from ANYone, rendering it a fairly frustrating read, in a narrative sense. To a large degree, the comic feels like it was actually built AROUND the news article referenced right at the end, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it makes the whole thing feel like an exercise, or, perhaps, a notion, rather than a STORY. Still, it IS fun and charming enough, and it’s rare to see an Asian protagonist like this in an “alt comic” kind of style (semi-Paul Pope-y), so let’s go with a (fairly low) OK.
CROSSING MIDNIGHT #6: Either last issue or the one before, this book found its style and legs, and this issue, in particular, really grabbed me. I think this may, in fact, be both the most original Vertigo comic being published right now, as well as being the best Vertigo title under-issue-#50 (which are often different things, right?). The problem is, and I think it’s serious, is it really is difficult to “log line” this title. “25 or less words on what the book is about”. “The last living man on earth tries to find his girlfriend”, “what if all of the characters from the fairy tales were real, and living in New York”, “in the near future a journalist reports from War-torn NYC”, “A preacher, his hitman girlfriend, and a drunken vampire look for God, to make Him pay”, and so on. I’ve got nothing HERE, and partly because it doesn’t even seem like all of the pieces are up on the board quite yet. It is really REALLY hard to sell something if you don’t have that log-line. Here’s hoping I figure an appealing one out soon, because, like I said, this has turned into the best Vertigo comic in about five years. GOOD.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #5: You know what might have been a very smart idea? Having the second part of the JLA/JSA crossover say ANYTHING about being the second part of the JLA/JSA crossover on the cover. Or, I’d even settle for the cover being thematically linked to last week’s JLA cover. Rather than the (let’s be honest) fairly boring black-background, “Alex draws YET ANOTHER identical cover” style that we’ve got here. I’m of the opinion that the LAST time he did this run of covers (on the previous JSA series — there he drew the “old” JSAers, now he’s drawing the “new” ones) that they really hurt sales because customers couldn’t adequately differentiate between the covers, and weren’t sure if they already had them or not. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I’d guess he drew that last batch and this batch at the same time, and DC is running them only because they paid for them back then, and needed to get the cost off their books.
But then, I’m a cynical fuck.
Still, the INSIDES of this comic were fairly wonderful. This new artist, Fernando Pasarin, is really very very good. I wish the coloring was a little richer to bring out his work, but I seriously dug the art, especially that double-page spread of the (mostly) “classic” LSH lineup. I really like how you sort of get an idea of each of their personalities from body language alone.
There were some very fun character beats here (I especially liked the Reddy/Cyclone scene), and though I really and truly don’t understand that shrine to the LSH in the Fortress — since the currently published LSH series clearly isn’t involving Superb*y, nor are these guys those guys, I don’t think I’d be at all unhappy if they put that back into continuity…. if it could be done without breaking a whole lot of other stories. “And then the first Crisis hit and I never saw them again” doesn’t actually cut it, as there have been post-Crisis legion-in-the-21st-century stories (Putting aside Booster Gold’s origin, there’s the L.E.G.I.O.N. stuff, with Tinya-from-the-future, and there was something like a year where the LSH/Legionnaires era was trapped here [and were instrumental in some other crossover…. Final Night, maybe? Or am I misrecalling?]. And I think there’s at least two or three more I am forgetting. Sure this could be a “Superb*y punches a wall” thing (which would, by the way, SUCK), but if you’re going to keep retconning, then they need to make it clear what the frak is going on. What IS continuity, and what isn’t. Because I don’t like this ever-changing backstory thing where being a long-time reader actually works AGAINST you — and wow, I shouldn’t have put that much text inbetween the dashes (“–“) should I? But though I don’t understand that shrine, I really did get a lovely tickle in my belly from it. I loved *that* DC Universe.
I should probably go read Alan Moore’s first volume of SUPREME again to help me reconcile it, huh?
Anyway, although it makes my head hurt, I have to say I liked this issue a great deal. And I’ll give it a probationary GOOD.
Fuck, 10:30 already. That’s it from me. More tomorrow night.
What did YOU think?