Thursday, March 12, 2009

I didn't think it was possible

... to lose respect for Wizard.

But when I read their feature article on the Flash, wherein they describe Bart Allen as Barry Allen's nephew...

I did.

I am sure the man who wrote the article and the editors are perfectly nice people. But, I mean, really.

I'm sure Wizard would get the Summers Family Tree perfect...

Things That Made Me Happy

... in my comics this week.

  • Ah, the sins of Daxam come home to roost. That's comic book irony.
  • Ollie punks Dinah.
  • Mrs. Yat's apology.
  • Well, I was tired of listening to Arkillo blab, too.
  • Michelle tivos her death.
  • Batman and the Riddler really do make a great team.
  • Dewey defeats Truman for head of the Sinestro Corps.
  • The Arrow-Signal.
  • Naked Kyle.
  • Two-Face and Penguin portrayed as powerful rival ganglords... without ever being seen.
  • Ah ha! So THAT's who Flamebird and Nightwing are... .
  • The origin of King Tut. Classic.
  • God bless comics for sentences like, "These Red Lanterns vomit plasma."
  • I could do without another " second-rate 'mastermind' villain unites the real villains and improbably becomes their boss" storyline, particularly in a Batman comic. BUT... this is the first time the reason they follow him as every been plausible.
  • Kryptonian subtitles.
  • Goodman. Buono. Brilliant.
  • Batman, with guns a-blazing!
  • Womb. Dang it, why didn't I guess womb...?!
  • Quitely drawing a Batman and Robin comic...?
  • Cupid is a great new villain.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Obligatory Watchmen Post

Yes, I've seen Watchmen. Yes, I enjoyed it.

I went with a crew from Big Monkey...

The rest of the guys joined us at the cinema. Chinatown never knew what hit it.

In short, I thought the film did about as good a job as it could adapting the book. On the whole, I agreed with what was left out, changed, or tightened.

I was most interested in what the film revealed about the differences in the mediums. Lines that were deadly serious in the book that earned belly-laughs in the film. Talk-y scenes (like the one at the bar in Vietnam) that are passable on paper, but are very unnatural when you seem them acted. Dr. Manhattan's SFX being cooler on the screen, but his abstract nature being a little less perceptible.

There was nothing "unfilmable" at all about Watchmen. To me, the main issues weren't that the book was too complicated to film, or that it was too rooted in the graphic medium to translate to the screen. The main issue was -- and watching the film with some 20-somethings really brought this home -- that the story is so firmly rooted in its time period. The 20-something have no personal knowledge of the time when "the Doomsday Clock" and things like "Defcon 1" were pervading cultural influences...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My hero, the Killing Machine...?

GOSH, there's a lot of killing in the new Wonder Woman animated film!

Okay, to get it out of the way, yes, it was good, and yes, I liked it. Naturally; it's a Gail Simone story.

But GOSH, there's a lot of killing in it.

I guess I thought I had adapted to the Xenafication of Wonder Woman. During the period when my concept of Wonder Woman was being formed, Wonder Woman followed the same "code" as Batman and Superman: no killing. Lesser people have to kill. Cops, soldiers, et al.; regular people have to kill to defend themselves. But for superheroes, not killing was always part of the challenge. Killing makes heroing rather easy, particularly when you are a superhero. You just kill anyone who throws a punch at you, and let the Spectre sort out the rest.

It's not a question of "mere" morality. It's a storytelling issue. Heroes who kill are, well, they're cheating. When Superman killed the Phantom Zone villains (before the last few multiversal reboots), I wasn't so much shocked by the deed itself. He gave a kind of plausible excuse for his right to "execute" them according to Kryptonian law. I wasn't disappointed that Superman failed morally, but that he seemed to have given up intellectually. He failed to solve the problem at hand without killing.

You can say I'm showing my time period; that my perception comes from the Innocent Silver/Bronze Ages, that my brain is soaked in the Superfriends for too long.

Maybe. Yet...

I also remember that in the 1940s, Wonder Woman kicked all sorts of Axis patootie during WWII. Without killing anyone. It was wartime; she was, in fact, a soldier, and, based on that, had a "right" to kill the enemy. But she didn't. And comics weren't exactly delicate then. Bad guys died like flies in the Golden Age.

But, ever since Xena, it's been (apparently) paramount to show that Wonder Woman is a "warrior" (which, I guess, means really really ready to kill at the slightest opportunity).

William Moulton Marston was definitely a wacko. But he wasn't an idiot. He was trying to use Wonder Woman to show us a better way, to show that love can conquer war (as long as it's strong enough!). Wonder Woman is still good; she's still cool. But somehow Wonder Woman the Killing Machine has lost a certain superiority that I long for in my heroes...

P.S. Don't get me started on the fact that Etta Candy -- the ULTIMATE symbol of female self-reliance and empowerment in comic books -- was portrayed as the symbol of what is worst in the women of "Man's World". Just don't get me started.

Monday, March 09, 2009