Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things That Made Me Happy...

... in my comics this week.

I really liked my comics this week.

  • Didn't expect to see Yankee Poodle there, I must confess.
  • Hardtime smackdown uglygirl payback.
  • "The Story of the Robot That Attacked Me"
  • Selina's exit strategy, complete with helpers.
  • Ted's notes; marvelous, simply marvelous.
  • Jim Harper has a new job.
  • So does Zod.
  • And Starman.
  • The So-Called Guardians of the Universe.
  • Heh. Of course the Giant Penny survives. It always survives. God bless Joe Coyne.
  • "Is that a family name?" Nice one.
  • Funny; I was about to drop Teen Titans. But with this (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Brother Blood issue it seems to have suddenly become twice as interesting.
  • Carapax... in two comics this month? Really? That's... wait, really?
  • "Flash fact." Wow; that hit me like a punch in the face!
  • Oh! So THAT's what explains Sarge Steel's strange behavior; ingenious!
  • Another classic Hawkman hissy.
  • Prism pellets. Must. Have. Prism pellets!
  • "Mercy is a sin."
  • Not every day you see Batman's smoldering corpse, you know.
  • The Crystal City of Thalarion, by the Golden River, where dwell the Gargareans.
  • Always good to see Tula, the original Aqua-Girl, kicking butt.
  • It takes a lot to render me speechless. "Call the Queen and tell her to execute Plan 778" succeeded.
  • The house ad for Superwoman. Superwoman is the Sensor Girl of the new millenium.
  • The color scheme of Dick and Tim's civilian outfits; I haven't seen that done since the Golden Age; thank you Dustin and Derek!
  • Herc and Amadeus settle for pizza.
  • W-wait... did she just... castrate Felix Faust?!
  • "You shall die for your impertinence, insectile swine!" God bless the Masked Marauder.
  • Jason does not approve of the New England.
  • "Obey Darkseid" is a terrible movie title.
  • What the HECK is Jay Garrick doing in that story? With THEM? This just keeps getting more and more interesting!!!
  • "Will wonders never cease?"
  • Well, of course I guessed Luthor's password. Didn't you?
  • Lyle's upgrade.
  • Wait... a steampunk upgrade? That's hilarious!
  • Sigh. I guess I will always owe Morrison for bringing back real Aquaman, riding a sea-horse, won't I?
  • The Prisoner of Wayne Tower.
  • Sivana's characteristic "meh" of unimpressibility. Unimpressibility is Sivana's superpower.
  • Gold, silver, and bronze costumers; very nice, Gail!
  • Billy shares a secret.
  • Don't worry, Brainiac will just grow you a new body if something goes wrong!
  • I can honestly say that, in all my years reading comics, I've never seen a rhino used quite that way before.
  • The Return of the Squid Gang!!!
  • I love how Kid Eternity works now.
  • OMG, was that ... supersinging? I'm speechless. Again.
  • Batcave, indeed. Interesting. Incomprehensible, but interesting.
  • "I thought there would be more people not wearing pants."


Gustavo said...

"The house ad for Superwoman. Superwoman is the Sensor Girl of the new millenium."

I expect resolution to be at least half as interesting as the original and not some deux ex machina, which as lovable as this weeks' comics were, overabounded.

CandidGamera said...

'It takes a lot to render me speechless. "Call the Queen and tell her to execute Plan 778" succeeded.' - whence?

Scipio said...

The "Batman Brave and the Bold" first issue.

SallyP said...

Arrrghhh! Snow and ice prevented me from obtaining my books yesturday, so you have intrigued me. Intrigued me GREATLY!

steve mitchell said...

It was nice to see an issue of Justice Society that was actually ABOUT the Justice Society for a change.

And yeah, poor old Felix, he's going to be hitting the high notes from now on.

Odd couple of the week: Namor and the White Queen.

buttler said...

The Zoo Crew pretty much made my day.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the Zoo Crew, being used in the way they were, I said out loud, "Holy #@%!". I never talk to my comics, and I never swear. My children were vastly amused.

Diamondrock said...

I always talk to my comics, but I usually only swear when I'm reading Green Lantern...

Spectrum Bear said...

Scipio –

You are brilliant, funny, endlessly inventive, and possessed of an enormous quantity of knowledge, and I of course love you like the comic-reading brother I never had. I also can’t help but imagine that you are immensely handsome.

That is why it pains me to have to point out that YOU are the reason that comic-book stories (and I stress “stories”) are so lousy these days.

By “you,” I mean “us.” We have all grown so accustomed to the following:

- scrambled or non-existent characterization
- plots that make no sense whatsoever
- settings and backstories decimated by endless retcons, implicit or explicit
- crossovers and prequel/sequel pairs that don’t match up at all

That we not only accept them, but increasingly have affection for them. We no longer expect more; we no longer ask for more. We set the bar low enough to be satisfied by the least gesture in our direction.

And so it is that when Grant Morrison is handed seven issues of the most significant DCU real estate (buttressed by dozens of subsidiary issues), supposedly to give us a magnificent story and set the groundwork for the DCU for years to come, and instead delivers a self-referential rehash of some drug-addled vision of DC comics that no one I’ve read on the World Wide Web can make much sense out of, and which fails to cohere in any meaningful sense whatsoever…

… we say “Isn’t it cool that he included Yankee Poodle??!?”

I must admit that I noticed this tendency in you (after seeing it in dozens of others, including myself) when you mentioned your delight that the JLA/JSA-analogue in a disintegrating parallel universe in Trinity happened to include Black Orchid, although she only appeared in a panel or two and had no lines. For a brief, Pavlovian moment I smiled. And then I thought: is this what we’ve been taught to settle for? No! I won’t!

A smart, imaginative, clever 3-issue Black Orchid miniseries by Neil Gaiman is call for delight. A momentary appearance in Trinity is just a reminder of how bad the character has been ignored and misused since that miniseries.

Final Crisis #7 may be it for me. A comic-book miniseries (I really wouldn’t call it a “story”) made up of metatextual references suggesting – in a manner simultaneously lecturing and obscure - that Superman is the germ at the heart of the multiverse that makes all stories possible does not ultimately thrill me as much as – just for example – a good Superman story.

Of course, I don’t mind the occasional post-modern deconstructionist metafiction, as tired as they can be. But the whole DCU has been one of those, or leading up to one of those, for about four years straight. Does every story have to be a guest-star-studded, paradimensional epic about threats to the very nature of the universe itself? Is it really so necessary to pull the rug out from under everything so often? What’s lost is the beauty of characters, setting, and stories defined by the careful accumulation of detail over time.

Ultimately FC seems to have been about the resolution of the problems of the Monitors. But with the utter destruction of backstory implicit in FC itself, I have no idea who these Monitors are, what they want, what they can do, where they come from, what affects them. As a group, they were only introduced a year or two ago, and they haven’t seemed to really be the “same” Monitors from one appearance to the next. So I don’t care about them.

Admittedly the epitaph that Superman burned onto his tombstone was cool, in its breaking-the-fourth-wall kind of way, as a famous caption from comic books gets imported into the world of the characters. But a bunch of cool metatextual moments – look, it’s Dr. 13! - do not, by themselves, a story make. Do they?

All my best to you, you handsome devil, you!

Allan said...

Uhh.... Yeah.... Meanwhile....

Is it wrong that the last page of JSA has brought back my intense desire for an evil Mary Marvel action figure?

Oh and the two page spread in WW was definitely my kind of kick-ass!


Sea_of_Green said...

>>W-wait... did she just... castrate Felix Faust<<

And here I'd assumed he always WAS a eunuch. Silly me.

Scipio said...


1. You are right. I am immensely handsome.

2. Um, I've never said a word about Black Orchid in the blog (as a word search confirms) So I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you thinking of some other immensely handsome blogger?

3. I know of no comic book blogger more critical of the kind of metatextual writing Morrison does than I, and none who is more an advocate of "the beauty of characters, setting, and stories defined by the careful accumulation of detail over time". It almost sounds as if you've never read anything on my blog other than the "Things That Made Me Happy".

4. I like super-powered dogs. Sue me.

SallyP said...

Ahhhh...finally got my books. So much LOVE this week! Blue Beetle alone was superb, and then there was Final Crises, Wonder Woman, JSA, Trinity, Incredible Hercules AND Final Crises: Revelations!

I am replete.

TotalToyz said...

So did Tula show her soggy face in Final Crisis, or did Kid Eternity call her up?

(Verification word: "conangu". What often dripped from Thusa Doom's sword.)

Spectrum Bear said...

Sorry, I must have gotten the Black Orchid comment mixed in from some other blog.

But none of this was really directed at you specifically. By you I mean us.... And, indeed, I do read your blog. I did not mean to imply that you're a big FAN of the metatextual stuff. Just that we, as comic book readers, have settled for too little.

And, of course, that you're cute beyond words.

Spectrum Bear said...

Allow me to expand upon that a little. I apologize for the misleading nature of my post, and for the extent to which it may have seemed like a genuine insult to you.

I was thinking (grimly) about FC. I wanted to post my comments somewhere where they might be seen. I noticed your innocuous Yankee Poodle comment, erroneously conflated it with someone's Black Orchid comment, and wrote my post from there - using them as a joking justification for posting in your blog.

Although I stand by every word I said about FC, I apologize for any insults towards or mistakes about you, scipio.

Your web site is an Internet treasure. It makes the tubes sing.

Dougie said...

Suriano's Power Girl resembles Madonna.
Verification word-"Coopork": it's pork with the great taste of beef. Or a city on the map from Stalker #1

Anthony Strand said...

Ooh, ooh. You didn't expect to see Jay Garrick in what story?

Anonymous said...

Batman in the Cave ... I bet this is Morrison's inspiration:

Joe Bergeron said...

I'd like to see exactly what a giant seahorse does to propel Aquaman at high speed. Does it wiggle its pointy little tail?

Could be a stumbling block for a iive-action Aquaman movie.

Anonymous said...

Spectrum Bear,

Despite your failed transition INTO your rant, I could not agree more WITH your rant. Do you remember the Superman/Batman movie tease in I Am Legend? We as fanboys have gotten to the point where we often will approve of anything that gives us "that moment." Add to that the fact that we are so in love with OUR version of our favorite characters, and you create an environment in which a terrible, terrible story can be filled with several fanboy moments, and half of us confuse it for a good story.

It's our own fault, and the only way we will change it is by demanding better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Blue Beetle rocked. :)

Matt said...

Spectrum Bear,

Funny thing, you're going to love this, but Blogger is actually letting people make their own blogs these days! Don't pass up on this chance! Get your own blog, today!

Rob Rogers said...

Hi, Scipio. I wasn't sure how to contact you outside of your comments board. I just wanted to let you know that my blog won something called the DARDO Award that you're supposed to pass on to five other blogs, and I nominated yours as one of my five:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you went with "Precisely, Ultra Boy. You don't know. I do." INSTEAD of "Now assume the position, and I'll commence the download."

THAT would have gotten my vote!