Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random Reading: Superman: Up, Up and Away!; Ex Machina Vol. 3; and Top Ten: The Forty-Niners

Before getting on with the good stuff, I must express my annoyance at the fact that one of my Incal books arrived today--the second one. So, I won't be reading it until the other one arrives, which could be anytime between now and April, apparently. Still no second volume of DMZ either.

But, on the bright side, the campus bookstore has its 20% off graphic novels sale on right now, so I picked up a trio of books yesterday. I may go back and grab something else, but probably not--especially since I'm heading back to London for a few days, which means getting a lovely stack of books from my shop there.

Oh, and see the lovely changes with labels and everything. Fun.

Superman: Up, Up and Away!

The first thing from DC's one year later I've read. And it didn't suck. It did work WAY too hard at re-establishing the pre-Crisis Superman universe. Hey look! It's the Kryptonite Man! Lex Luthor is a mad scientist! Clark Kent is a bumbling reporter that we're amazed still has a job! Jimmy Olsen has a signal watch! The Fortress of Solitude is back! Chad doesn't give a fuck.

The world we see at the beginning of the book with Clark Kent actually living his life was more interesting. Clark Kent the reporter? More interesting. The internal conflict? More interesting. I wanted more of it all. I wanted more Lois and Clark. We see a little and then it's pushed aside for the return of pre-1986 Superman! Yawn. Okay? YAWN. You know where I can go if I want pre-1986 Superman? PRE-1986 SUPERMAN COMICS. Move forward.

One thing that really bothered me is when Hal offers Clark a GL ring because his powers haven't returned. And he turns it down, which is cool, but why the hell isn't he handing out rings like mad to his fellow heroes? Why wasn't Superman given a ring when he had his powers? What, giving the ring to someone who isn't a weak, normal human seems stupid now? Because those rings NEVER fail. The GL ring should be the JLA's version of the Legion's flight rings. New member? Welcome to the Corps!

I mean, they gave rings to a jet pilot stupid enough not to wear his while flying a jet in unfriendly airspace, some random cartoonist, a gym teacher and an architect. I'm thinking Superman qualifies ahead of those chumps.

But, of course, having the entire JLA have GL rings would make it all so uninteresting and blah blah blah ignore logic blah blah blah Hal Jordan rules blah blah blah.

Oh, and after Lex kicks the crap out of Clark in an alley, why the fuck doesn't Clark call the cops? What a fucking idiot.

Ex Machina: Fact V. Fiction

So, apparently this comic kicks all kinds of ass.

You know what bothered me? On the first page of the first part of the "Fact V. Fiction" storyline, Mitch is in a comic shop that apparently only stocks Planetary and Ellis/Hitch-era Authority comics. And posters. Every goddamn thing we see is one of those. Hey, I know Wildstorm can only use stuff owned by Warner Bros., but, um, doesn't that include the DCU, Vertigo and, hey this is an idea, OTHER Wildstorm titles? Just saying.

Other than that, it was a good read. Good art, too. Although, the lady who yells about having a stroke, is saved and then gets pissed about the hero saving her before her kids? Total bitch.

Another thing that bothered me. The commissioner of police is trying to track down this robot vigilante that claims to be made by the former-Great Machine/current mayor. Has no luck, so she and some other cop follow the Great Machine's former support people as they hunt for it with the intention of both catching the vigilante robot and arresting the two guys for interfering with a police investigation. Um, when you spend all day following two guys all over the city while they do your job for you, isn't that being a total dick by planning to arrest them because they're better at your job than you are? Not a criticism of the writer, just me thinking the character? Total bitch. It's one thing when they actually interfere, but when they do it better--and you actually follow them, hoping they'll do it better? Not cool.

Hell, that's one thing I like about this comic, now that I think about it: people are assholes in that way people are assholes.

Top Ten: The Forty-Niners

A rather interesting take on the idea of super-people of all sorts actually fighting in a war. They fight in the war, come home and get forced into some weird city all together.

I don't know what to say because it's Alan fucking Moore and this book is just a fantastic read. I haven't read Top Ten yet, so I probably missed a bunch of cool little in-jokes, but I enjoyed the hell out of this book. Moore's ability to create characters that resonate with archetypes we know, but aren't just cheap copies is amazing.

And Gene Ha's art here . . . wow.

Buy the fucking book, it's a good read.