Posted by: Brian Hibbs on September 7, 2011
So the first thing I realized last night is 13 books a week is almost too much to read in one sitting, at least not without getting a bit of a headache.
Then I realized that, with what I have going to today and tomorrow (check back in a few hours, you’ll see!), that even worse there’s absolutely no way I can write up that many books either in the time I have this AM.
(Plus, y’know, Diamond shorted all of my copies of STORMWATCH #1 — it is being overnighted to me on their dime, thankfully — so that wouldn’t have worked anyway)
So, let’s just hit the first two, below the jump, with the rest by the weekend!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1: Mm. Last week, you may recall, I said I wanted to wait on reviewing JL #1. Two reasons for that — one, I really did want context of the rest of the launch to see how good or bad it might be, and 2) I really thought it was fairly terrible and I didn’t want to scare prospective customers off in the critical week #1. Well, turns out that last bit wasn’t something I needed to worry about (we still have copies… but I doubt they’ll last for another 7 days), but man you should have seen me tying myself in knots in the store to be unfailingly positive when customers asked me (quite rightly) “So, how was it?”
Here’s the thing about JL #1: it doesn’t really read like a fresh start at all (What it REALLY reads like? A free comic that you get with a toy) — to me, it sort of felt like an old proposal for a JLA: Year One mini-series that was dusted off, and had the smooth edges polished off to try and fit into the new mandate.
In particular, it is nowhere near a full story, and it is “written for the trade”, and pretty much nothing happens at all; and it doesn’t even have all of the characters that are on the cover (at least one of them doesn’t even exist yet!) — and yet it is an ass-raping $4 cover price.
What I’m trying to figure out is if this means that a) no one at DC actually knows how to edit a comic book any longer (because me? I would have thrown this script back with “Yeah, that’s an OK first draft, now give me some meat”) because “editors” are largely “traffic managers” these days, b) Geoff, etc didn’t get that this was the A#1 chance to bring back the lapsed, because the cost/value ratio here is crazy out of whack, possibly because this could be a 2 year old script, or c) No one on staff feels comfortable telling the 800 and 900 pound gorillas that they’re phoning it in.
Maybe all 3.
Fundamentally, this comic would not have me coming back week-after-week for more, if I were a lapsed reader. In fact, this comic would have reconfirmed my decision to abandon comics, because it is underbaked, and overpriced.
One of the most frustrating things for me was the lack of any visible villain — you shouldn’t need two of your biggest guns to play tag with a foot soldier — and the tortured logic of the plothammer. The Parademon (?) left behind a mother box? Muh? Green Lantern, a space-based character in an alien-based corps leaps to the conclusion that the alien Superman might be responsible? Wha?
Also: Darkseid? Already? On day #1? That’s the kind of character you should BUILD to — didn’t Kirby take like a year or two before we even saw the guy?
Bits of the art were very clever — I liked the multi-tasking GL constructs for example — but I thought that, overall, the whole process felt creaky and tired.
Here’s what I’m saying about editorial as well: The original (announced!) plan was that Flashpoint #5 would be the only book shipping last week. Then they changed it to FP and JL. This might have always been the SECRET plan, but it did represent a change from the original. JL, however, is a 3rd week book, which means it will be SEVEN WEEKS between #1 & #2. So, someone thought it wise to specifically rewrite the announced plan, make JL #2 FEEL “late” from the first day of the launch, and launch with a book that’s nowhere near a “full reading experience” (and crazy expensive, at that). I kind of don’t see that being done for sound commercial reasons (I mean, speaking as the guy who gets to SELL these, have a RANGE OF CHOICES for the big launch week is way way way way better than having one single title), and it just feels like an ego stroke.
I thought JL #1 was pretty resoundingly AWFUL, and that’s a crying shame.
ACTION COMICS #1: This, on the other hand, was everything I want from a rebooted Superman comic. Amazingly retro, yet cutting age fresh, completely jam packed with story, yetit zips along like an out-of-control train, and it puts Grant Morrison at 15 for 15 for Excellent Superman Comics.. THIS should have been the Week #1 solo book (and it would have really supported JL #1’s ending at that)
I like this Superman, and I’m absolutely terrified of him as well. I’d like to see the JL *he* forms, because that would really be about JUSTICE.
I dug Rags’ art, I dig the lo-fi costume, I absolutely adore the “leaking” heat vision eyes.
This is a Superman comic for people who “don’t like Superman”.
I thought it was EXCELLENT!
Right, out of time already (sigh, check back later tonight), so, as always, what did YOU think?