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Pitiful Fool: Hibbs Catches Up

Brian Hibbs

Man, do I pity the poor fool who has to follow that awesome post by Abhay — it’s going to make anything else sound like “Dur, duh, durdur!!”

Oh, wait, the fool is me? *sigh*

Yeah, poor sad me — my brain’s not even fully in gear, since I had to work the entire weekend (and got the order form AND Onomatopoeia finished) — but tomorrow I have to go to a vendor fair about what kinds of plastic bags will be acceptable (San Francisco’s Board of Nannies Supervisors has decided no store will be allowed to give out bags come October), so if I don’t get this done now, then I’m out for ANOTHER week, and that’s not the deal, now is it?

And while I said that I was just going to totally skip the 6/13 books, I’ve decided instead to combine 6/13 and 6/20, since there wasn’t a LOT I wanted to say about 6/20.

 

ASTONISHING X-MEN #51: I really do think that writing TO a plot point, rather than a plot point arising because there’s no other way the character could act, is just plain weak, and I think the former is strongly on display here. I don’t know, maybe it is because it is Pride week in San Francisco (Twin Peaks actually had a glowing Pink Triangle on it this weekend, made, I think, of Fiber Optic cables), which always strikes me as an excuse for outrageousness, rather than a celebration of actual outrageousness, if you see what I mean? I don’t know, maybe it’s all of the “Good Corporate Partner”-ing of beer companies trying to get a piece of that pink dollar, when Pride started as a way of remembering the anger of Stonewall; maybe it’s that 50 foot high glowing Pink Triangle, which I don’t think is actually an ironic recasting of the mark nazis put on gays and lesbians in the concentration camps (if 10% of the partiers know that, I’ll be surprised), but this comic seems so deadly cynical and horrible to me, despite all of the tourists who flocked in to buy it. I don’t know, it isn’t my community, I don’t actually get to judge, but it feels transparent and pandering to me. At least I’m not in Arkansas where I have to deal with the complete opposite reaction. *brrrr*, terrifying!

I think maybe the thing that set me off the most about this issue was the “con” side, as expressed by the character “Warbird” who says she can’t attend the wedding because she thinks gay marriage is a lie. Yeah, except she’s a half-bird alien, whose wiki page says (and I’m not making this up) “Warbird’s life since birth has been, according to her, an endless parade of combat and murder and at unknown point in her life she conducted “mating rituals” with someone while trapped inside another being and surrounded by flesh eating monster aliens.”

So, y’know, credible straw man.

Hell, why not have it be Rahne (Wolvesbane), who we already know to be a bigoted little lassie?

I’m sure Marjorie Liu has all of the best intentions, but this feels like cynical pink-washing to me, probably mostly because Kyle isn’t even a character yet, just a hostage.

I did like Logan getting all drunk and maudlin though!

Anyway, I thought this was pretty AWFUL

 
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6: Man, it LOOKs a whole lot better, doesn’t it? But, seriously, no mention of the demon princess or her bound-to-Cytorak brother? I mean, I know the whole set-up isn’t exactly air-tight in the first place, but that seems like a significant detail to overlook? The other thing that made me nuts? That the solicits dropped, and the AvX HC is *$75*! Jeez louise, that’s excessive! Oh, oh, and the OTHER other thing? that’s there’s ANY connection between Phoenix and Iron Fist. I can’t possibly hate that idea more. Anyway, this issue was highly OK, but most of that is how much nicer that it looks now that Olivier Copiel is drawing it.

 
AVX VS #3: I just want to give a strong and hearty “Fuck you!” to whoever it was who thought it was prudent and wise to have the Black Widow vs Magik fight take place mostly in Russian. That’s a really cruel thing to do to a readership that has plunked down FOUR DOLLARS. “Ha ha, you can’t even read it!” Cunts.

 
BATMAN #10: I have to say, when I first got to the reveal, I was all “bogus!”, but then I read the spoiler piece at Rich’s, and I felt a smidge better. But, really,  pre-existing relationships or not, my bigger problem is “Yet Another Ideological Doppelganger”, as Batman has just too many of those. I know that this is the most popular regular Batman story in a real long time, but I’m really really ready to see the back of the Owls, and to just have Batman be self-contained superhero stories for a few months, dang it. This story (and issue) is GOOD, but it’s been dragging on for at least 2-3 months too long.

 
FUCK ALAN MOORE BEFORE WATCHMEN SILK SPECTRE #1: After Minutemen, I was ready to write the whole project off, but then Darwyn Cooke went and completely made this one everything you might want in a prequel — actually dwelling in a period that we don’t know anything about, expanding the actually CHARACTER of Laurie, and containing subtle callbacks to the original work (Look at the staging on the fight between the Spectres, remind you of anything?). It also doesn’t hurt that the art is absolutely lovely (just as everything that Amanda Conner draws is), AND also contains a (modified) 9-panel grid. I’m still not certain what the audience really wants from these (if anything), but this was very nearly straight-up “Rebellious Teenage Girl Comics” that would never ever be greenlit without the Watchmen connection, and, despite myself, I thought it was actually VERY GOOD.

 
FUCK ALAN MOORE BEFORE WATCHMEN COMEDIAN #1 : this, on the other hand, was everything I feared and dreaded it might be. The Comedian is really just a plot device in the original, and a horribly loathsome one at that, and Azzarello chooses to go for the lazy political allegory than to show where the character might be from, or what shapes him. That last scene made me vomit in my mouth a little, too. While I thought this was AWFUL, I’m apparently in the minority — this was the best selling of the three released so far, at my store.

 
SAGA #4 : has now become our best-selling comic book at Comix Experience, something that thrills me utterly. I had first printing #1s up until this weekend, and was shocked (and kind of amused) to see that it is a FOURTH printing that I’ll be receiving when I get in my reorder. There’s really not a single page of this I’m not loving (and that includes those letter pages!), and I really thought that the presentation of Sextillion was perfectly perfect. I know I’m not adding anything new to the conversation, but I just like having at least one review where I can enthusiastically say: EXCELLENT!

 
SHADE #9: Again, I don’t care so much for the story (Shade’s a supporting character, blah blah blah), but this issue was crazy good because of the fabulous Frazier Irving. Man, that page that’s JUST a car driving was one of the best designed pages I’ve seen all year. This needs to be put up for an Eisner right here. VERY GOOD.

 
SPIDER-MEN #1: this is the kind of first issue that just kills me — that makes me want to close up the store and just give the entire thing up. For $4 we get a bunch of Peter running around, and he meets Miles on the FINAL PAGE. this is everything wrong with modern first issues. Why not have it start with them already having met, and actually have something (ANYthing!!!!) happen in the first issue. We wonder why Marvel’s sales are circling the toilet right now (except for AvX?) Exhibit fucking A right here, people. Not only is this a cynical little exercise (Joe Quesada:  “We’re officially out of ideas”), but it’s ineffably shabby and thin. Completely AWFUL.

 
X-MEN LEGACY #268 AVX: And, just to end us on a down note (sorry, It’s alphabetical!), can I ask how on earth Marvel gets off billing something as an AvX crossover when it’s almost exclusively about how Frenzy was abused as a child, and how Abuse is Bad, mkay?  It’s not neccesarily bad, but it sure isn’t the kind of thing i want to read for entertainment, no. AWFUL

 

Right, that’s it for me until later in the week — what did YOU think?

 

-B

17 Responses to “ Pitiful Fool: Hibbs Catches Up ”

  1. Well, I think the reason that Silk Spectre comic didn’t sell well is because the character wasn’t protrayed in a way in Watchmen that didn’t have people wanting to read more…I guess The Comedian would be a sort of riff on The Punisher, which is funny, since he’s a riff of The Peacemaker. I was half-expecting the teams to play off the Charlton connection a bit more, but I guess they never read those.

  2. The Violent Sociopath in the Gimp Mask is the fan favorite?

    Yeah, color me shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this estabishment.

  3. Wait, why do half-bird aliens hate gay marriage?

  4. According to one story, the Shi’ar indulge in group marriage; maybe her real issue is that Northstar wasn’t marrying *enough* people?

  5. I completely agree with your misgivings about Northstar, Brian, but that other retailer’s piece about Earth 2 doesn’t pass the smell test. The 33% drop in sales doesn’t sound too out of place for a second issue, and the part where he claims “customers told me how their friends are now giving them grief again about collecting comics” because one of the Green Lanterns is gay sounds like a weak attempt to justify his/their own discomfort with the material.

    But the real tell comes when he identifies his store in North Little Rock, Arkansas as “here in the Midwest.” Dude, Arkansas joined the Confederacy. It borders four other Southern states. We all know which part of the country you live in. If you want to try to conceal that, well, that makes me question every other faulty assumption in your article.

    Also: “Sure, I have customers who are gay but they don’t buy that material, either” = “I showed this to my black friend and he wasn’t offended!”

  6. Well… not a good week for the House of Ideas, huh? Marvel seems to be reeking of desperation right now to me, as opposed to DC, which reeked of desperation last year, but has settled in fairly well. I’m sure that, by this time next year, DC will be desperate again, and Superman will get his trunks back. But, for now, they at least seem stable.

  7. YES!!! Thanks for finding that Quesada quote and linking to it. I was driving myself crazy looking for it.

  8. Apparently the Russian dialogue in AvX Vs can be translated using the Marvel AR app. Because that’s a satisfying way to read a comic, isn’t it? Squinting through an iPhone.

    Of course, anyone who bought the digital version is fucked. So a glimmer of good news for Brian there.

  9. RE: AvX VS #3 (a comic I never thought I’d think about again for the rest of my life but here we are):

    Mr. Hibbs finally lost me forever with this one. I don’t have an iPhone, so there’s no “added value” for me with the AUGMENTED REALITY biz. If I DID have an iPhone, I very likely would not “squint through it” to get the sense of what the gals are talking about because I don’t like squinting.

    And guess what, guys. Ready for the shocker? Are you sitting down? Here it comes: I enjoyed the EVER-LOVING SHIT out of the comic anyway. Why? Because it’s ladies fighting and one of them has a sword made of dreams (or something) and cyrillic characters look cool and I just imagine people speaking Russian which I can’t understand in real life anyway so this is very similar to what it’d be like if I was watching these actual Russian ladies fight (on the moon) (and in magic-land).

    The fact that Mr. Hibbs would rush to the idiotic, juvenile, and kinda bitchy comicsinternetism that the creators of this comic are doing this ON PURPOSE to make us mad or to deliberately cheat us (out of FOUR DOLLARS!!!) or be just plain mean bums me out to no end. Because that’s ridiculous. It didn’t work for you, dude. It’s nothing personal. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re out to get you.

    The fact that he called them “Cunts” leads me to believe that he is eleven years old.

    I like so much that this website provides. While I take a more positive view of comics (and life, I’m pretty sure), it gives me an engaging, intelligent counterbalance — y’know, makes me THINK. I appreciate different opinions. But stuff like this makes me feel stupid and bad and gross and mad at myself for bothering with the bitter, curdled stew that is the internet.

    (Unless Mr. Hibbs is British. If he’s British then I retract my previous statement because it’s ok for British people to call people cunts. Sorry about that!)

  10. “The fact that he called them “Cunts” leads me to believe that he is eleven years old.”

    Way to set an example of maturity there.

  11. “(Unless Mr. Hibbs is British. If he’s British then I retract my previous statement because it’s ok for British people to call people cunts. Sorry about that!)”

    Just imagine he’s American but he’s speaking British. or Russian. or Whatever Floats Your Boat.

  12. I’m English and can assure you it is not ok to call people cunts.

    Not sure how this myth seems to have gathered currency among Americans!

  13. I have to echo Hibbs on both BW books. The Silk Spectre one would have made a kickass Elseworlds tale about the Golden Age Black Canary and her Silver Age daughter, though roughly no one would have purchased it. As for The Comedian, some other reviewer smartly observed that this first issue smells like an attempt to change him from a rapist and murderer of pregnant women to a more commercially palatable Punisher/Wolverine/Deathstroke-type of character.

    And I’m not sure how to respond to someone who doesn’t give a damn whether he can actually read his comic books or not.

    Mike

  14. Hey John Smith! I was sorta kidding, but the myth persists in my mind thanks to the (silly) films of Mr. Guy Ritchie and the dialogue featured in the (silly but awesome) Led Zeppelin chronicle HAMMER OF THE GODS.

    Hey MBunge! No, that’s totally a valid response. But the book is being sold as an all-fighting, punch-heavy frat party of a comic. I didn’t think that would interest me in the slightest, but somebody gave me a copy of the first issue and I’ve had a great time with it ever since. Maybe I’m simple, or maybe it’s because I spent a wasted youth watching un-subtitled bootleg VHS copies of (silly, occasionally awesome) kung-fu movies. But you gotta admit, like our friend John Smith’s countrymen would say: it does what it says on the tin.

    But that’s not really what my complaint was about. It was more this persistent idea in the comment-o-sphere that comics are made by people who deliberately desire to antagonize their audience. I just feel like that’s bonkers and beneath the typical level of discourse I find on this website I like so well.

    Finally, hey Pete! You’re right, too. I shouldn’t have responded to name-calling with more name-calling (age-calling?). It was just a jarring word to read and perhaps I overreacted. For the record, I’m no prude: I have no problem referring to comics (any comics) as FUCK ALAN MOORE.

    Thanks for reading, guys, and I really do appreciate the conversation that happens in these comment sections. I feel lucky to have found some smart comicstalk, even when I disagree.

  15. Re: RF’s response:
    Sir, this is the internet. You’ve forgotten to lash out, amplify the anger, or threaten anyone’s life for being in disagreement with you. Rational discourse is down the hall…

    Oh, wait, forgot what website I was reading…Good job, and carry on!

  16. Before BATMAN 10, I was right with you, Brian. I felt pretty sure I was going to drop the series after the arc, in fact. But the issue refreshed my enthusiasm for the series. I loved the reveal of the new, in-52-continuity Owl Man (I don’t know why Snyder doesn’t call him that any more than I know why they haven’t just named that damn dog in B&R “Ace”). Way cool to me.

    I’d even say Snyder did something I always want comics involving detective work to do, at least to the best of his ability: give the reader a chance to solve the mystery before the hero. Capullo took a lot of crap for drawing Bruce and March as virtually indistinguishable, when we just weren’t accepting the visual info we’d been given. I think Wayne’s orphanage was previously mentioned, too.

    I know it’s not the kind of head-slapping revelation that’s the best kind, but if Snyder had added something to all this about Mrs. Wayne’s medical records, that would’ve just been a dead giveaway. “Oh, he’s got a brother! Well, it HAS to be Lincoln March, right?”

  17. @Adam: Thanks for pointing that out–I think you’ve radically upped my enjoyment of issue #10.

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