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I have read the worst comic I have ever read

Brian Hibbs

…which is saying a lot; I’ve been reading comics with at least some tiniest sense of critical thought for 25-ish years. I’ve read some howlers in my day; and it is always going to be hard to top, say, TAROT and the Haunted Vagina. For a really really bad comic, I have to end with my mouth wide open, and the thought racing through my head of  “….the FUCK did I just read?” as I sit there poleaxed.

Well, I think last night I have read the poleaxest of all poleaxes — I felt incredibly dirty and gross after I put it down.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE OF ARSENAL #3

“Arsenal”, of course, is the new nom de guerre (or at least it will be by the end of this series) of Roy Harper, the sidekick formerly known as Speedy.

Speedy, perhaps you know, has recently been known as “Red Arrow”, and is/was a member of the Justice League of America.  He’s had a weird and tortured past: his name used to be “Speedy”, after all. He was famously addicted to heroin. He slept with Chesire (who he calls “Jade”) — a genocidal mass murderer in the DC Universe who once blew up the country of “Qurac” with nuclear weapons. They had a daughter, named Lian, who was recently killed (along with tens of thousands of other people in “Star City”) by Prometheus. Prometheus also ripped off Roy’s arm, leading us to this series, where he’s meant to “rise” to become Arsenal.

That’s the backstory, here is what happens in issue #3:

Page 1: Chesire shows up to (theoretically) kill Roy, blaming him for Lian’s death. They fight, and Roy’s thought captions on this page are about how hot she was in bed. No shit: ” Next to Kendra (Hawkgirl), Jade was the best in bed.” Chesire has poisonous fingernails that will kill you fairly instantly. She is shown scratching him with those fingernails, though he isn’t poisoned (?), and the scratch marks completely disappear on page 2 (??).

Page 2 -7:  they fight, to such scintillating dialogue as “Bite me, Jade.” and “You’re a skilled assassin, but as a mother — YOU SUCKED!”. Roy uses various things sitting around (a tennis racket, a stapler, an extension cord) to battle Chesire — this is apparently Roy’s new superpower, fighting with whatever junk is sitting around, which is excitingly McGyver-esque! Using the extension cord like a whip (which is OK, “She likes it ROUGH anyway”), he ties Chesire up, porn-submission-style. Then they make out, and start to fuck….

Page 8: .. except it turns out that he’s impotent!

Chesire then disappears from the comic without another word or mention of her.

Page 9:  Since he can’t fuck, he decides to go beat up guys. “I need a release.”  and “For me, they serve their purpose” he thinks, as he sticks knives in faceless people’s arms.

Page 10: full-page splash of Roy standing over a bunch of unconscious guys. “Much better” says the caption as Roy makes an O-face.

Page 11: his dead junkie friend appears, and talks about the time they double-teamed a “couple of real skanks” in Nashville.

Pages 12 & 13: His daughter dead, and his dead friend prodding him, Roy decides to jump down off the rooftop in full costume and buy some heroin from a street dealer.

Page 14 & 15: he smokes heroin and nods out, in a two page spread.

Page 16 & 17: his dead daughter appears to him in his drugged out state.

Page 18 & 19: …but is interrupted by five Prometheus’ in an alley, and he beats and stabs them…

Page 20 & 21 (also a double page spread)… but it turns out that he’s actually just beaten up his junkie alleymates, apparently with a dead cat (!), while Batman shows up and declares Roy needs to stop.

Now I’ve done a number of drugs over the years, but never heroin. I have, however, known a few junkies, and I can assure you that when/after they got high they weren’t capable of fighting ANYthing, or really doing much other than sit there and drool.

Pages 22-25: Roy and Batman fight to the tune of “Roy, I’m your friend” and “I am here to help you”. Yay, Dick!

Pages 26 & 27: Roy wakes up with Black Canary standing over him. He’s strapped to  gurney (all four straps!), and Dinah is kind of moralizing without actually sitting with him, and she walks out, rather than stay with him to help him through getting clean. This is apparently in a hospital, though we oddly don’t get a caption explaining this until…

Page 28: Batman and BC talk about how this is a  special hospital specializing “in convicted villains with substance abuse problems”

Page 29: Roy apparantly babbles to his dead friend some more, but then we turn to…

page 30: and his daughter is there again, this time covered in wounds and gore. “Next Issue… Death of a Hero”, the end.

This is followed by five pages of dialogue-free, black and white images of Batman shooting guns at people (!), apparently killing several of them (!)

This comic book costs $3.99.

This comic book is branded as a “Justice League” title, did I mention that?

Now sure, I get the idea that “If we show him hitting rock bottom, then his eventual return to heroism is that much more powerful” as a concept, but the execution here is maybe about as good as, say, REEFER MADNESS.

And I really don’t want to see, in a “Justice League” comic, this level of sexual frustration and violence. There’s no “mature readers” notice on the book, yet Vertigo comics with 1/100th of the degradation get labeled…

Is this what we’ve come to? This was billed by DC as one of their “big” stories of the year. And we wonder why people aren’t buying comics like they used to?

I really wonder if we had time machines, what might happen if we traveled back to 1979, or 1969 and showed DC people this comic. What might they think about the corruption of our culture, of the degradation that we’ve devolved into?

This comic was gross. Everyone involved in its production, especially the editor, Brian Cunningham, and publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee should be deeply ashamed of what they’ve done here. It actually has me sitting here, stunned, thinking “Wait, why am I in this business again?”

Shame on you, shame on all of you.

-B

104 Responses to “ I have read the worst comic I have ever read ”

  1. What I don’t get is how this sort of thing fits within the whole retro trend DC’s undergoing at the moment: on the one hand they’re bringing back Ray Palmer and Barry Allen and all those boring old-school white men, from back when PCP stood for Phenomenal Custard Pies, and it’s all about how Silver Age heroism is coming back… and then you get juvenile claptrap like this, “The Dark Knight Returns” filtered through the sensibilities of a 13-year-old boy. How exactly does that work?

  2. Now I just wish Tucker and Benjamin Marra had waited a bit longer to have their discussion about this series.

  3. That sounds awful.

    Where can I buy a copy?

  4. Huh – but he *was* Arsenal before he was Red Arrow! Why does he have to become Arsenal again? Or was that retconned out?

  5. “Then they make out, and start to fuck….”

    And this is where I outwardly exclaimed “WHAT?!”

  6. I’m not really surprised by any of this because this is what superhero decadence is. It will get worse and then we’ll all complain about how much worse tomorrow’s comic is. The problem is the same problem as before – these characters were never meant to support stories beyond the sort of stuff in the Silver Age.

    All that being said, this just sounds like absolutely awful storytelling. But, and I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, what else do you expect from Marvel and DC superheroes? It’s like watching a movie from Vivid Video and being shocked at how flimsy the story and characters are.

  7. Diana, that’s the Geoff Johns formula right there; overly “traditional” characters and violence/subject matter that’s not “traditional” in the slightest. Sorta like the worst of both worlds.

    I’m also amused (not really) by how the stuff this J.T. Krul guy is doing with the Arrow Family makes Judd Winick’s long run on Green Arrow and Green Arrow/Black Canary look like Gardner Fox, but that’s another matter.

  8. Spurge: 1-888-COMIC-BOOK!

    -B

  9. Haha. Sounds like a fun issue.

    I’d rather eat racoon shit than read anything from DC not written by Morrison.

  10. You didn’t tell us where this comic falls on The Savage Critic Scale.

  11. LOL. I hope that doesn’t include Vertigo, mckracken.

    That is so shameless, Hibbs, and you describe it well. Nevertheless I am going to leaf through it on my next visit to midtown. I NEED to see the part with the dead cat.

  12. Joseph: Off.

    -B

  13. There’s something kind of sadly endearing about DC trying its sincere hardest to make something so soul-crushingly awful that *someone* might notice, take offense, make a scene, anything. (Well, anything more tangible than a withering online review.) But Estes Keefauver has been dead for a long time.

    In other news, $3.99 is about to kick me out of monthly comics.

  14. Carl: Fair enough, except it’s not really exclusive to Johns, or even to DC anymore – Marvel’s started off its “Heroic Age” with dead kindergarten kids, etc. If they were deliberately mixing Silver Age iconography with mid-’90s pointless violence, that’d be one thing; but everyone at the Big Two seem to be treating this as though it’s a return to some kind of form that existed once. Last time I checked, your typical Roy Thomas-era Marvel comic didn’t have body counts larger than all seven seasons of “The Shield”…

  15. The Batman’s right, though. Roy needs to stop. Now. After all a dead cat is a coward’s weapon.

    Thanks for putting yourself through that, Mr. Hibbs. Me,I think I need to go and wash my mind out now.

  16. So, wait, did you like it or not? I can’t tell.

  17. If Batman says this in the comic:

    “After all a dead cat is a coward’s weapon.”

    Then this will become my new all-time favorite comic. I’m going to go to the comic store to buy this comic!

  18. HAHA, wow, this is a real comic? Yikes.

  19. Thanks for the review.

  20. A spectacular failure of the first order. A manual of everything I lovingly embrace and find absolutely revolting about mainstream superhero books and their current state of creativity and imagination.

    I desperately want this issue now after reading this post, Brian. I’m a very judicious buyer of new comic books, especially with the new standard $3.99 price. But I may buy this book twice to try and replicate the consumer high I know I’m going feel upon first purchasing it.

  21. I’m seriously going to buy this book over the weekend and if the line “After all a dead cat is a coward’s weapon,” isn’t in the comic, I’m going to write it in with a Sharpy with a credit to John K (the blogosphere’s consistently most insightful guy). Since my last post, I’ve decided this is my all-time favorite comic (due to someone using a dead cat as a weapon) and I must own it!

  22. Brian, don’t you feel proud that your post is promoting the sales of this comic? While I normally stay miles away from any DCU books not written by Morrison, Rucka or Simone, I’m tempted to at least flip through this one myself now.

    At least it’s notable. Better to be gloriously bad than simply boring :)

  23. it is always going to be hard to top, say, TAROT and the Haunted Vagina.

    That’s not hard to top at all, the haunted vagina was kind of wonderfully, fantastically awful, like a Russ Meyer movie or Axl Rose’s career. The Tarot to beat is the one where they invoke the ghosts of the September 11th dead; that’s the sort of jaw-dropping, gut-churning terribleness that few stories will ever match.

    And Rise of Arsenal makes that look like a picnic at the park on a sunny, cloudless day.

  24. “Next to Kendra (Hawkgirl), Jade was the best in bed.”

    I had no idea who Kendra was (my primary exposure to Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman was the “Justice League” cartoon. So I looked her up on Wikipedia.

    Wow.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkgirl

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkwoman

    Does any of this make ANY sense to anyone out there? Who exactly is the audience for Hawkman and Hawkwoman/girl anymore? How can anyone understand any of this?

    This is why I’ve stopped reading super-hero comix.

  25. Edited by Brian Cunningham? Wasn’t he once an editor at Wizard? Because that would definitely explain a few things.

  26. You know things are getting bad when a sex toy starts objecting to content.

  27. Not to be the DC apologist but…

    But, and I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, what else do you expect from Marvel and DC superheroes? It’s like watching a movie from Vivid Video and being shocked at how flimsy the story and characters are.

    For all the net outrage, and some terrible issues, the majority of their books aren’t like this.
    It’s quite easy to buy plenty of their books without ever coming across something like this.

    Fair enough, except it’s not really exclusive to Johns, or even to DC anymore – Marvel’s started off its “Heroic Age” with dead kindergarten kids, etc.

    Johns was never the worst at it, although he did do some really jarring scenes.

    From what I’ve read though, he only started doing the odd bit of graphic violence with Infinite Crisis, which makes me curious as to what made him want to then… the back of that collection attributes the most violent scene to editor Peter Tomasi.

  28. This comic sounds absolutely wonderful in its terribleness. Does he have a special arrow for injecting heroin? Does he tie off with the bow? C’mon Hibbs, America needs to know!

  29. Hate to spoil it for everyone but I think the dead cat was not a weapon but was what he thought was Lian. Because he was high on the drugs. (It seems on Earth 0 they cut their heroin with a helluva lot of meth.)

    That drawing is one of the most atrocious I’ve ever seen; I actually burst out laughing when I saw it. I loved the flies swarming around the cat! Y’know, so we’d realize it was dead.

    The worst comics I’ve ever read is the latest one JT Krul has written. I didn’t think it could possibly get any stupider that Green Arrow 32. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

  30. Ah, hit submit too soon!

    “The worst comic I’ve ever read is the latest one JT Krul has written. I didn’t think it could possibly get any stupider than Green Arrow 32, but knowing now it can I can’t wait to see what comes next!”

  31. Yeah, but Daniel, he uses the dead cat he thinks is his dead daughter as a weapon!! This is getting more and more awesome by the minute!

  32. Dr. Fredric Werthham is spinning over in his grave.

  33. Every time I think of the arrow family and what’s happened to them I just want to weep – not out of empathy, but because this is such brutal character assassination that I have yet to find a single person who has said, “this is awesome!”

  34. At least Dinah can run and hide in BoP once again, and pretend the last couple of years didn’t happen!

  35. Okay, I do have to offer at least faint defense of two points here…

    1) Roy Harper was Arsenal for quite a long time — from New Titans #99 in 1993 through Justice League of America #7 in 2007.

    2) Harper’s skill with improvised weapons (moo gi gong) is also a long-established talent for the character.

    I’ve flipped through the books, and Krul definitely knows the character’s past and background. He isn’t pulling this stuff out of his butt.

    He’s just crapping all over it.

    -J

  36. I read this whole review saying OH JOHN RINGO NO! … even though John Ringo didn’t write this book.

  37. Well, if DC (or Marvel, for that matter) has to publish such off-the-charts dreadful books, at least we can get such highly entertaining reviews and comments threads to try to strike some cosmic balance. Thank you, Brian. Thank you, John K, Nate, Dan, Cole. Seriously! You’ve made me spend more time than planned on the old interwebs this morning, but oh, what glorious procrastination. We even get an Estes Kefauver reference! Plus nice observations on the more serious side from Diana et al.

    I was just thinking, before I read this, how I have to drop most of my comics because my disposable income’s getting tighter and the $3.99 price tag is laughable. But looking at comics like this, the increase is worse than that. It’s pathetic.

    Side note: Interesting comment about “Infinite Crisis” and then-editor Pete Tomasi. Really? Because “Green Lantern Corps” has been the best mainstream non-Morrison comic DC’s published for the last couple years. Engaging space-opera stuff with great character development, and the violence (when it happens) never seems out of proportion to the plot (with, you know, that intergalactic Lantern war).

  38. Ben Lipman & Rebis: Actually, once David Goyer left JSA at issue 51 and Geoff Johns was the sole writer the violence immediately intensified. I just tried to reread that series but had to stop around the late 60s because it was just too much of the same. I had always thought that Goyer worked better with a co-writer (e.g., Batman movies vs. his solo movies), but maybe it was Goyer who was restraining Johns.

    The editor of that book throughout its entire run was Pete Tomasi. So the fact that he suggested a particularly violence scene in Infinite Crisis should be no surprise. Both Tomasi and Johns have a legacy of gory comics which sold well and so the rest of the company is trying to ape their success through questionable methods. Which should be easy to do now with Johns as the Chief Creative Officer helping to drive the focus of the company’s stories. There is no one to reign him in now. Certainly not Brian Cunningham or Adam Schlagman.

    As for Green Lantern Corps, as soon as Dave Gibbons stopped writing that book in the midst of the Sinestro Corps Wars, and Tomasi took over the violence increased and the characterization faded away and the steadily widening scope began to shrink. I’ve only been reading the book for the last two years for the great mood and acting that come from Patrick Gleason’s pencils. Now that he’s off the book so am I, but I’ve followed him to “Brightest Day” which is written by Johns and Tomasi. Which will prove to be a very rough year for me and the DCU at large. But at least Gleason will get to draw some great moody pages of the Martian Manhunter.

  39. Reading this, my wife and I both had the exact same thought: This sounds like it would be really awesome if it were drawn by Peter Bagge.

  40. Oh come on, Katherine. Ringo has written plenty of stupid and/or deplorable stuff, but there’s a basic level of craft there which is entirely absent from this.

  41. Rise of Arsenal : comics blogger as knife : cutter.

    “I just wanted to feel something.”

  42. NOW can we have the cat-signal already?

    also: damn, i miss section eight.

  43. A spot of the old Moo gi gong, eh? But it sounds like old Roy has added another arrow to his quiver with a touch of “Miaow go gone”. Nyuk! Nyuk! Okay, I’ll stop now.

    Y’know, I kinda suspect the “Rise” is “ironic”. At the end of this series Arsenal will, say my blossoming mind powers, have become a dastardly vile villain. Because expecting today’s mainstream comics to pass up the chance to create a villain who is essentially The Hero Who Fell and also The Hero The Other Heroes Failed is like asking them to show some restraint in pricing their books. Because, c’mon, every time Arsenal shows up all the heroes can feel bad together for whole pages at at time! Green Arrow could, like, rub sandpaper on his chin as he remembers the. time. he. failed. Roy!

    I’d like to have joined in on the serious end of the spectrum but honestly every time I try to form a serious thought about this…this…thing?…I…maybe later.

    Man, these comments were a blast. (Special thanks to Mr. Nate Horn for taking my slender joke and filling it with vitamins and pep.) Of course, as DC will be pointing out soon, everyone here has just proven how affecting this comic is by caring so darn much that they poured withering scorn onto it by the bucketful.

  44. Now here is a reason I really appreciate the reviews…you saved me $3.99.

    Of course, more often than not I buy books based on recommendations here, so it more than balances out.

    …and I didn’t stick my store with an extra copy. When it comes to new series and miniseries these days, I’ll buy an issue (or even the whole series) when I pick them up off the shelf.

  45. I was flipping through the previews catalog yesterday and came to a page advertising the new issue of Green Arrow with an image of Green Arrow with an arrow shot straight into his forehead, blood and all.

    It’s really revolting and actually felt dirty just after looking at the image.

    DC is starting to stand for Disgusting Comics.

  46. It’s actually worth reading for the sheer “naw… really?”

    In the scene with the cat, I thought for a minute that he was about to bugger a dead cat but then the mundane truth hit me, he was just going to use it to fight Batman…

    Who wants to live in a world where fighting Batman with a dead cat is mundane?

  47. So everyone has DC comics figured out now? Welcome. We all had to do it in our own time.

  48. Ha!

    “I’d rather eat raccoon shit than read anything from DC not written by Morrison.”

    I think DC should use that as a blurb on all their books. Especially those not written by Morrison.

  49. It’s not Roy’s “new” superpower, the Moo Gi Gong (the martial art he trained in that gives him the ability to use anything as a weapon) was one of his unique abilities when he was Arsenal before.

    This issue sucked, the Jade stuff ended completely OOC for Cheshire, the whole junkie world hallucinations with the decaying five year old just wreaked of typical DC “I can’t present a good story without shock tactics” writing.

    I hope this character picks up a few new fans because I know of many decades long fans who DC has finally chased away from Roy Harper.

  50. I think the problem with Lost was not that nothing was explained, it’s that none of it was connected. The point of the show to me was the mysteries the characters were involved in. It was a character based show, but the characters were deeply entrenched in trying to solve the mysteries and puzzles that were going on around them. For instance, The Force in Star Wars is never fully explained in the original trilogy, but it had it’s place in the story and actually connected to the characters and their world and had meaning to the story. The mysteries in Lost had nothing to do with the overall story, and in the end didn’t accomplish anything for the characters, other for them to wonder what it all meant. If the mysteries in Lost were the least bit connected, or had cohesiveness in the story, or somehow lead to other mysteries as clues, linking everything together, people wouldn’t be complaining.

  51. I think Mike’s comment is the most insightful comment yet!

  52. “Both Tomasi and Johns have a legacy of gory comics which sold well and so the rest of the company is trying to ape their success through questionable methods.”

    Since I noticed the comment in Infinite Crisis about who came up with Black Adam punching through Psycho Pirates face – because they felt it needed to be super violent – I’ve been wondering if it is Johns who writes violence – his Flash – current, though despite it’s themes, Rebirth didn’t have too much – Superboy and Superman run have nothing of the sort in them, and none of them were edited or co-written by Tomasi.

    And with Johns recent JSA, only the first arc had over the top violence, and the introduction to the tpb was written by…Tomasi!

  53. It’s actually worth reading for the sheer “naw… really?”

    In the scene with the cat, I thought for a minute that he was about to bugger a dead cat but then the mundane truth hit me, he was just going to use it to fight Batman…

    Who wants to live in a world where fighting Batman with a dead cat is mundane?

  54. I haven’t read … ARSENAL #3 and I’m not going to, but there is a real risk in describing all the terrible things in detail. Doing so can result in a “so bad it’s good” impression.

    If someone is going to do a killer review, it might be better to just provide a overview of the problems, question the competence and professionalism of the creators and editor, and leave it at that. If a similar shoddiness happens again, call for the people involved to be fired.

    SRS

  55. I seem to recall that during the 80′s (and probably earlier too) people were complaining how Comics Code had ruined comics, and how much better comics would be without the restrictions Code was imposing on the creativity of comic artists… they all should have seen this coming.

  56. I just flicked through the issue at the shop.

    This review neglects to mention how hilariously bad the sequence of Chesire and Roy is after they’ve given up trying for a shag.

  57. “I haven’t read…but there is a real risk in describing all the terrible things in detail. Doing so can result in a ‘so bad it’s good’ impression…it might be better to just provide a overview of the problems, question the competence and professionalism of the creators and editor, and leave it at that. If a similar shoddiness happens again, call for the people involved to be fired.” — Steven R. Stahl

    Wait, is this the whole “but informing people about bad things might make them WANT to do bad things!” principle? And calling out for peoples’ heads without giving valid reasons/context makes sense to you?

    I fail to see how ellucidating/educating in detail is a problem.

  58. Normally, I am very skeptical about all the complaints about “superhero decadance” and how it’s ruining comics (because it usually seems more about the commentators’ conception of the characters involved than actual content), but, from what you described, this comic was juvenile in the worst sense of the word, one of those putrid comics that try to be mature while insulting the readers’ intelligence every step of the way. There is a way to handle this sort of plot maturely and thoughtfully, but this issue does not seem to be it.

  59. “There is a way to handle this sort of plot maturely and thoughtfully,”

    A mature and thoughtful handling of a story about an impotent junkie ex-superhero sidekick fighting Batman Junior with a dead cat because he’s wracked with grief for his butchered five-year-old is a lot like a tastefully shit bed.

  60. Wait, is this the whole “but informing people about bad things might make them WANT to do bad things!” principle? And calling out for peoples’ heads without giving valid reasons/context makes sense to you?

    There are ways of criticizing poor performance that don’t arouse any curiosity about what they produced. They had jobs to do; they didn’t do them professionally or competently. If they continue to perform poorly. . . A job is a job is a job.

    SRS

  61. Brian, did you somehow miss The Quadro Gang?

    http://www.mrsatanism.com/comics/quadrogang.htm

    The finest shameless, worthless crap ever bound with staples, courtesy of the Black & White Glut of 1986.

  62. Did Roy kill the cat or was the cat dead already. The picture i say looked like it took a bullet to the head.

  63. Horrible comic, but as a direct spin off of “Cry for Justice”, you would think it could only get better…. Nope!
    I suspect at some point a “Titans” book will be the worst comic I will have read (or skimmed).

  64. Had to be done.

    http://j.imagehost.org/0546/arsenal3_20-21.jpg

  65. Pennyworth,

    Your public service is noted and appreciated. Also a huge thanks to Kathryn who pointed me to the excellent “No John Ringo No” thread / essay.

    Very nice.

    Leafed through it at the shop and felt Hibbs was a little over the top but found it worthy of his vitriol. I think it’s a lot of frustration about the direction of comics and who is the target audience. If DC wants to do things like this why not do an internal control on who is and who is not available for a MAX style line of books and then leave the rest of the DCU out of it?

    If a story catches fire and they want the character transformed as he / she was in the MAX story they concoct a suitably vague explanation and presto change-o for the main line stories.

    I dunno – they didn’t get my money here and they won’t get it on this type of thing in the future so…that being said I got a huge kick out of Kirkman’s DESTROYER title for Marvel MAX and felt icky at the same time. Does that make me a bad person?

  66. [...] Wolk Recent Comments Tenzil Kem on Reviews? What are those? Hibbs Hibbses Onsmitty on I have read the worst comic I have ever readPennyworth on I have read the worst comic I have ever readMichael Aronson on Reviews? What are [...]

  67. [...] OF COMICS DEPT: Brian Hibbs reads his personal "worst comic ever," one so vile it made him say this: This comic was gross. Everyone involved in its production, [...]

  68. glad thing tough this comic is doing his part in being a nail in the coffin of superhero wank fiction.

    I mean there will always be the fourth graders who are into adolescent power fantasies but who is to say we aren’t at the threshold of another 50ies`?

  69. [...] is a peach. He’s looking at Justice League: The Rise Of Arsenal #3. His title is “I have just read the worst comic I have ever read“. Here’s a few choice quotes…. “For a really really bad comic, I have to [...]

  70. [...] Hickman’s wise protest in Fantastic Four, and discuss whether Rise of Arsenal #3 is in fact the worst comic ever written, or just the second worst. Also make sure to stay through the end of the show to hear us take our [...]

  71. Ha ha Brian, you’ve had your fun talking about an obviously imaginary DC comic that as a portrait of emotional degradation has 1/1,000,000 the skill and power of Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of “Requiem For A Dream.” Hell, if you actually stocked this comic in your store, you’d have to seal each individual issue in separate hazmat containers just to make sure some unsuspecting buyer can take it out of the store safely.

    Wait, what? This is an actual DC Justice League spinoff comic? And you read it from cover to cover? Oh $#@&, I feel for you, man. How big a keg of beer do you need to wash the bad taste out of your mouth?

  72. And in keeping with your views, JT Krul has been made writer of Teen Titans, proving that the more people hate a writer the more titles will be given to the writer.

  73. But wait, it ‘gets better’; DC just announced that J.T. Krul is the new regular writer on TEEN TITANS, a book that that has been wallowing in exactly this same kind of bad story-telling for years now.

  74. [...] #3 (DC) Andy: It was decent, despite the weird combat moments. Definitely not deserving of the thrashing Brian Hibbs gave it. Arnab: This is starting to feel less like the Rise of Arsenal and more like [...]

  75. We have just found the “Plan 9 from Outer Space” of comic books.
    Single
    WORST
    Book
    EVER!
    This is the first comic I’ve EVER read that made me ashamed to admit I read it!
    (And that includes EVERYTHING published by Solson during the 1980s!)

  76. So I guess that makes 102 uses, then?

  77. [...] last part, because now he’s impotent, but going to hunt down bad guys makes him feel better. The whole story is here, and it causes Black Canary to leave him in the hospital alone. Why not? He cut ties with Green [...]

  78. [...] DC. Agora só precisamos entender o que é essa mini-série onde o Arsenal, ex-Ricardito, volta a usar heroína e briga com mendigos drogados num beco para proteger um gato [...]

  79. Pennyworth, this is the first time I’ve heard of you, and you are already my newest hero. (As is John K for suggesting it in the first place. :) )

    The thing I’m lamenting is Dinah seems to have no trouble abandoning both Ollie and Roy, thus killing the last possibility of the Arrow group becoming DC’s answer to the Incredibles. Because we could use more good superhero family comics like that.

  80. Diana– yes, sorry, Geoff is bringing back all those “boring old white men”… you remember, the ones that helped make DC great in the first place. Sorry to inflict more tales featuring characters that made their debut when it wasn’t “white man” wasn’t a dirty word. You’re probably right though…. better DC focus more on that fabulous Milestone line of characters they just brought back with phenomenal success!

    WAit, what? They did? No one bought them? Huh!

  81. Karl LaFong, are you misinformed. Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio can raise all the dead white characters he wants to, but at the end of the day, he still can’t resurrect any of the original talent which created them in the first place. Get an education, and quit pretending that you’re being oppressed.

  82. “Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio can raise all the dead white characters he wants to, but at the end of the day, he still can’t resurrect any of the original talent which created them in the first place.”

    the lack of distinction between singular and plural here is kinda interesting. is KET so overwhelmed by the anger this comic book provokes, or is KET just sloppy or is KET dopey?

    i’ll chalk it up to the hysterical response this site has tried to create over this lousy comic book. nothing wrong with that, but there’s a weirdly puritanical/doctrinal tone to this that is more off putting to me than the shitty book that theoretically started all this.

    so you are right, KET, they/he/whomever cannot resurrect talent—anymore than you or hibbs or any of the shrill voices here can make it 1986 all over again.

    time to move on…

  83. Well, KET, who the hell said anything about resurrecting the original talent? Or the creators? And why would I want to? Geoff Johns is doing things with the GL franchise that no one could have seen coming a decade ago. As much as I love some of the old talent, I’m ok now. Thanks anyway. Although, I would love to see Gil Kane on a Johns script. Too bad that can never happen.

    “Get an education”? About what exactly? I’m sure I’ve forgotten more about the DCU than you’ll ever know… that being the topic at hand.

    “Quit pretending to be oppressed”… well, gee, “KET”, thanks for proving my point. Anyone other than a white male could get on here (or anywhere) and whine for days about being “oppressed” in this country, and no one would blink. If I tried, I’d be crucified. And why… because so many of the million/billionaires are white men? Because so many of those still in power are white men? SO FREAKIN what? That doesn’t help me any, thanks for asking. It didn’t help me when I could not get internships at newspapers because they’re all reserved for minorities or women (read: NO WHITE MEN NEED APPLY). Didn’t help me when I was not considered for promotion because minorities and women got first preference. I could go on and on. Believe it or not, “KET”, there are drawbacks to being a white male. (And you and your ilk can save the “oh, poor poor white man… YOU GET EVERYTHING crapola, thank you. I don’t need everything…i’d just like the chance to whine and be a victim like EVERYONE ELSE in the USA without being crucified for it. I’d suggest you… how do you say…oh yeah GET AN EDUCATION and quit pretending you know what it’s like to be in everyone else’s shoes.

    Thanks for the attempt at being condescending though…it was a noble attempt but didn’t fly with me.

  84. The problem isn’t bringing back the characters (although I thought Barry Allen didn’t need to be brought back), it’s the fact that the new characters are suffering for it. I grew up with Barry and Hal, and yet find Wally and Kyle to be far more interesting.

    The really bad parts are the “improvements” Johns and CO. are bringing. Barry’s mom was killed by his father? Barry couldn’t catch the police car taking daddy away? Was that really that necessary to the Flash’s origins, when we had a perfectly good origin (inspired by childhood hero + fate) already? Isn’t the Barry and Hal worship a detriment to the current characters as well as a slap in the face to every creator that came before them? And why did Ryan Choi have to die to bring back Ray Palmer? (And was there that big an outcry outside of the DC Studios to bring Ray back in the first place? There are comic fans who don’t know who the Atom is, much less Ray or Ryan, and the general public may not have even heard of the Atom.)

    As for the Milestone return, I must have blinked. Static was brought into Teen Titans and some of the others popped up in a JLA arc, and there was some kind of miniseries, but there was more effort put into the Red Circle characters than the Milestone returns. DC just wanted Static the same way Marvel wanted Malibu’s coloring process, and the heck with the rest of either.

  85. Shadow — I would have to agree about the Barry origin thing. As for Ray/Ryan… well, the original intent with Ryan/Kyle/Wally was to, of course, re-boot the franchises, and in the case of Ryan, add diversity to the DCU. I know Wally has his fans and that there are thousands that bitch about “raising the dead white characters”, but let’s face it, THOSE CHARACTERS are the ones that made the franchises in the first place. Had Geoff Johns not shown up and brought Hal back to mega-success, I doubt we’d be seeing the return of Barry and Ray, which again are obvious attempts to bring those characters (hopefully) back to the level of A-listers. Kyle/Ryan and, to a lesser extent, Wally never did a thing for me personally, and going by their relative long-term successes never did much for the masses either. I recently re-read the first couple issues of the Wally-Flash debut….. HOLY FREAKIN’ CRAP do they suck!!!! And let’s face it, the whole WallyFamily Flash series sucked even worse than that! I liked “The Incredibles” but it just wasn’t working in the Flash series!!!

  86. [...] problems with superhero comics and stupid publisher decisions, including the recently much-maligned Rise of Arsenal #3. [...]

  87. [...] sparks began to fly when Brian Hibbs wrote a scathing review: “I have read the worst comic I have ever read. [...] I felt incredibly dirty and gross after [...]

  88. “Geoff Johns is doing things with the GL franchise that no one could have seen coming a decade ago.”

    A decade ago, if somebody had said “You know what we need? Power rings in five more colors! Just like the visible spectrum! And the colors could represent different emotions like a mood ring!”… the editors would have never gone for it.

    That whole concept is just too goofy and stupid for the people responsible for the books that made the last half of the Nineties awesome–titles like Starman, The Kents, Hitman, Chronos, Chase, Vext… Comics an adult could read without feeling like the poster child for arrested development.

    Even with Dan DiDio trying to steer the ship away from doing anything that intelligent and grown up in their mainstream line ever again and giving Johns more and more creative control… people could still tell Johns no when he came up with something really lame back in 2000.

    Those things couldn’t have happened ten years ago because the people in charge at DC used to have better taste.

  89. The PoFlaWa is getting good here folks.

    Hibbs- “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” Somewhere between you and Tucker, this Krul fellow is laughing all the way to the bank…

  90. Karl: You’re absolutely right to point out that Hal, Barry and the rest of the “Gee Wilikers!” Silver Age gang helped make DC what it is today. Unfortunately, I was seven years old during “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, so I never had much reason to care about the old guard: by the time I got into comics, Hal Jordan was dead and Barry Allen was a distant memory, and I never felt that I absolutely needed to know about them.

    Because for me, the characters who best represent the DCU are Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Jaime Reyes and Jack Knight: the “next generation”, the legacy characters, the ones who picked up the masks and became the heroes of their own stories. That’s something only DC can do at the moment, and it’s something they used to do quite well.

    Now the emphasis is on bringing back the “old-school” types… and I’m just not interested in them. I don’t have any reason to care about Barry Allen, because so far his only defining character trait is his “historical significance”. And that’s not enough for me.

    Finally, your uber-defensive comments re: Milestone are… well, to be honest, they’re rather baffling. The fact of the matter is that both DC and Marvel follow the trends of the zeitgeist, and what was acceptable in terms of race-related content and stereotypes during the ’70s just plain doesn’t fly now.

    So getting rid of Jason Rusch and Ryan Choi so their white predecessors can return is quite unfortunate in that context: I doubt they intended this, or that they’re even aware of it, but they’re drastically reducing the diversity of their own character pool. And if you can’t see why that’s a problem… well, that’s not something we can resolve through debate.

  91. [...] didn’t DC Comics just deliver, Justice League — The Rise of Arsenal quite possibly the worst comic of all time? Of course, that’s hyperbole… but visit your local comic bin at the Half Price Books, [...]

  92. [...] Rise of Arsenal 3 — http://www.savagecritic.com/brian/i-have-read-the-worst-comic-i-have-ever-read/ [...]

  93. [...] ride. But if someone somewhere ever thought it was a good idea to, say, hand a Swamp Thing book to J.T. Krul… well, I would probably cry myself to sleep while clutching the trades of Alan Moore’s run, [...]

  94. [...] plans for Red Arrow (that was sarcasm, by the way… if you are wondering why I am being sarcastic, go read this).  Anyway, I like Smallville Hawkman, even though he stole Wonder Woman’s move.  I’ll let it [...]

  95. [...] read the series itself, just the Justice League issue which tied into it. However, the Internet covered the miniseries’ excesses so thoroughly I feel like I’ve already read it — or at least gotten [...]

  96. [...] Savage Critics: I have Read the worst comic I have ever read [...]

  97. [...] review, while retailer and Savage Critic Brian Hibb called the third issue of the book “the worst comic I have ever read.” Chris Sims vivisected it at [...]

  98. [...] of last year, with Evan Dorkin abusing it in public and retailer Brian Hibbs calling it the worst comic he ever read. That it was considered an accurate ANYthing points out how silly awards can [...]

  99. [...] Terrible Comic Wins Non-Ironic Award [...]

  100. [...] Terrible Comic Wins Non-Ironic Award [...]

  101. [...] Krul has very quickly become something of a controversial writer.  His RISE OF ARSENAL series was torn apart by some, while his taking on TEEN TITANS was largely seen as a return to better days for the title. [...]

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  104. […] is a peach. He’s looking at Justice League: The Rise Of Arsenal #3. His title is “I have just read the worst comic I have ever read“. Here’s a few choice […]

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