Thursday, December 08, 2005

Last Week's Last Lines

Well, snow on the roads kept me from the LCS today ("But, aren't you originally from Pennsylvania?" the clerk asked when I called him to pull the books, "Yes," I answered, "and I hated driving in the snow there too!" That and nobody in Oklahoma can drive on a clear day, so it's certainly not worth the risk in a snowstorm), and fear of spoilers keeps me from roaming the message boards tonight, so I figured I'd do a few reviews since I haven't done so in two months.

Naturally, I'll be basing my opinions on the most important line of the issue -- the one the writer leaves you with. So, Spoilers ahead -- but they are all for last week.

Jonah Hex #1 -- Now he wasn't so sure.
A beautiful piece of narration that captures the mood of the entire story. Also a testament to not judging a comic by the first page. I glanced at the first page in the comic book store, and put it back. Too heavy on the narration, I thought to myself, I'd better just save my three dollars. However, after the tenth positive review I saw on line, I figured I'd give the first book a shot. I'm glad I made it to the last page this time.

Plastic Man #19 -- Turn me so I can see.
If you read this book, you would understand the joke. So, if you're not laughing, shame on you for killing this title.

JLA: Classified #14 -- Ukk!
Ah, the unmistakable sound of a Green Lantern getting kicked in the face. For some reason, physical violence against Lanterns really cheers me up. I think it has something to do with the sheer amount of power they command. There's something satisfying in seeing one get knocked out by a lamp, or dropped with a single punch, or have to grapple for his life.
Of course, I'd have enjoyed it more if it hadn't taken four issues to get to this point. That's what off about this arc, it's just too slow. I was really pleased to see this lineup in JLA:Classified #10 (the best issue of the arc so far), but my nostalgic expectations were set too high. It's not the plot, the dialogue, the mood, the art (although I don't like Butch Guice's Kyle, too old), it's just the pacing. And it's not even that so much as the pacing compared to the usual hyperactive pacing associated with this lineup. The plodding speed would have been acceptable with the Detroit group, or Jones' league, or the satellite league, or even the most recent lineup -- but any version of the Justice League with Kyle Rayner in it demands faster pacing and considerably more action. I know Warren Ellis wants to hang a little cloud of Impending Doom over everyone's head here, but it just doesn't fit these people. I find myself disliking this arc through no real fault of the writer, other than a poor choice of casting. This is a shame, because I know Ellis is capable of approaching Morrison and Kelly action levels. I think if he'd written this more like Transmetropolitan or Authority and less like Planetary or Fell more people would be satisfied.

Fell #3 -- No charge for the suit.
A slight smile at the end frames an overall enjoyable read. Like the book itself, it's simple on the surface but substantial when you look into it.

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #1 -- Frankenstein Lives!
Morrison has written much snappier dialogue.

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4 -- My stepmother's about to invade the earth. I thought of you.
Like here.

The Flash #228 -- ...I've made some progress.
No, you haven't. This current plot has done nothing to make you seem any more dangerous. You are still a cheesy villain who will get his butt kicked. The only reason you did so well is that the Flash is acting remarkably stupid right now as he coasts towards cancellation. If Wally dies this crossover, it won't be in this storyline.

Daredevil #79 -- I think you should tell them were your friend is or I do believe they will put you in jail.
I remember when I first started reading this book. I loved Bendis writing. He makes monologues sound like a real person ranting, as opposed to a prepared, scripted speech. There was something very raw and unusual about it. Of course, like most of my romantic relationships, my love affair with Bendis' writing was doomed to fade. With constant exposure, love turned slowly to mere like, then to utter annoyance. After a while I noticed every character spoke in ranting monoloques and no action ever actually occurred. This line is a perfect Brian Michael Bendies last line. Long, wordy, pretends to urgency, but falls flat after the fourth or fifth issue that ends with a similar note.

Captain Atom: Armageddon #2 -- I'm going to tap into some real power.
This final panel promise of fun ahead bodes well for the next issue. This is better than any cliffhanger. Nobody should be surprised at Capt. Atom's plan of action, but everyone should be looking forward to the results.


  1. I can feel the pain of not getting books when they come out. I live in Japan, so I have to wait awhile... I miss living in Illinois, where I was barely ten minutes from the nearest comic book store. *sigh*

    Oh, and I also miss snow...

  2. That last line in Zatanna is one of things about Morrison that drives me bat shit crazy annoyed about his work. There's no emotion. 16 million mutants died in Genosha and all we got was some scene with Emma Frost as-a-matter-of-factly notating that the dead mutant in front of her could do something or other that was so amazing. Grant Morrison is mostly all big ideas and no emotion. I do like his work, but that aspect is something that I always miss in his work.

  3. Well, there was the fact that of the sixteen million mutants that died on Genosha, only one of them was actually important and he's alive again apparently. The rest were just crappy mutant cannon fodder, which, oddly enough, is the only kind of mutant Sentinels can harm.

    But, yeah, it was bereft of emotion, you're right.

  4. Nice discussion. I'm told that I'm impossible to deal with if I miss my Wednesday visit to the comic store, so I sympathize.

    I actually found Morrison's Zatanna mini emotionally satisfying, with Z's tangled relationship to her father handled well. Her interactions with her apprentice Misty also rang true to me. Not to belabor the point, but I think GM does get people's emotions and motivations right. The Cyclops/Emma Frost/Jane Grey triangle in New X-Men was masterfully written. Though I always hated Emma Frost, after Jane Grey used her powers to dish out a devastating mental beat-down, I changed my view of the character. I thought Bulleteer #1 was also a perceptive take on a character, (though the T&A in that book was way over the top).

  5. Morrison's writing just seems bereft of emotion because he often downplays the melodrama in dialogue, and allows the artist to convey the emotion in facal expressions.

    Personally, I like it.