Saturday, October 20, 2007

JLA V. Avengers

I miss my shop in London. I took a walk to the shop here in Windsor, hoping to get at least one of the FIVE new books I want that came out this week (being The Boys #11, The Programme #4, Captain America #31, Death of the New Gods #1 and Mighty Avengers #5). Yeah, I walked away with none of them. This is what we call a quality shop, people.

However, I did manage to drop a big chunk of change by grabbing some trades I've wanted for a while, but avoiding buying because of the damn Canadian price. But, I gave in and paid the full Canadian cover price for them--another reason why this shop sucks ass compared to the good ol' Comic Book Collector in London where prices are altered to reflect the current exchange rate. I also picked up a few comics because, ah what the hell.

Justice League of America #13-14

First off, whoever it is at DC that thinks these split covers is a good idea needs someone to smack him/her in the face. Hard. This is the cover of the copy of issue 13 I have (minus logo, etc.):


Oh, and the comic itself? Sucks. The Injustice League is beating on the new, shitty Justice League. I don't care, I really don't. Maybe it could be the fact that McDuffie has inherited a League full of loser heroes that don't inspire me with any confidence of winning. Of course these pathetic losers have been taken down with ease! Oh no, Geo-Force is getting beaten up! *yawn!*

The writing itself isn't good. The dialogue is unnatural and the efforts to create little "character moments" don't really do anything. Jon Stewart and Black Lightning have some banter about the latter's old afro. Yeah. Uh... moving on...

I don't know, I'm just getting sick of this shit, I really am. An army of super-villains against this loser League and I'm expected to believe that in the next issue, the JLA will win? I'm sure it will be clever as all get-out and Lex Luthor and the Joker will get away and oh ho ho, isn't it all so much fun? Except how am I supposed to buy this shit after Morrison's Injustice League stuff? No, really, how am I supposed to believe this shit after reading a more intelligent, well-written take on the idea where the JLA was a much better and powerful team, and the villains acted in a more ruthless and sophisticated manner? I can't look at Lex Luthor in his purple and green armour anymore without simultaneously having the urge to laugh and vomit at the sheer stupidity of it.

The most frustrating part of these issues is in #14 where Luthor hints at what makes him great: Superman always wins, so the only way to get him is to act outside of his comfort zone. EXCEPT ALL HE DOES IN THESE DAMN ISSUES IS ACT LIKE A TYPICAL FUCKING SUPERVILLAIN, WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SORT OF ENEMY SUPERMAN IS USED TO FIGHTING AND KICKING THE CRAP OUT OF!

Er, sorry. I... I think I've got some problems...

I picked up these issues on a whim because when McDuffie was announced writer of the book, the entire internet seemed to cream its jeans in sheer joy that after Meltzer someone of quality was taking over.

Oh, and the art is the sort of shit I'd expect to find in some Wildstorm book where they're using some horrible Jim Lee-inspired house artist.

I can see why this book is the flagship title of DC--but that's more a statement about DC right now than anything else.

New Avengers: Secrets & Lies, House of M, and New Avengers: The Collective

Well, now I have all of New Avengers in some form or another. I acually really enjoy Bendis' writing on this book, but, my god, the art--the art is horrible. Maybe it's me. Am I just out of step with what everyone else considers to be quality art? Are David Finch, Olivier Coipel, Steve McNiven and Mike Deodato really that good and I'm just not seeing it? Oh, I liked Frank Cho's two issues that were in there somewhere, but the rest... it must be me. That's the only explanation.


These volumes were pretty decent. We get the introduction of Ronin and the whole "what side is Spider-Woman on?" thing that hasn't actually gone anywhere really, but let's assume Bendis will do more with that in "Secret Invasion" and her ongoing title. House of M was entertaining, but... I don't know, it just seemed like it skimmed along the surface of the story--the same way Civil War did. Like there was SO much that had to be fit in that we just get the highlights.

The Collective was an interesting story just for the dynamics between the Avengers and SHIELD. At one point, Spider-Man is knocked unconscious and then his brain is picked for details about "House of M" by telepaths. And there are no consequences. What happened to the days where doing that would at least warrant a punch in the face?

Mostly what these volumes reminded me of was the "something is wrong with SHIELD" plot, which, again, I'm assuming is coming back in "Secret Invasion," but, Christ, what a slow as fuck storyline. Shouldn't there be some mention of it now that Stark is in charge of SHIELD? But, yes, let's assume that the evil entities fucking shit up are Skrulls. Whoopie.

The weirder thing is looking at these issues in the light that they lead directly into Civil War and the fact that the division of the heroes into those two factions makes less and less sense. At least, the huge fucking brawls between them do. I've always had a problem with the immediate jump from best friends to kicking the crap out of each other over politics--and reading these issues where you have these characters all working together, it makes less and less logical sense. But, that is a problem when you work so hard to create more mature, complex and intelligent characters and then try to push them forward in a similarly mature, complex and intelligent manner--but do so with old superhero comic cliches and plot points that don't quite mesh with the current reality of the comic book world.

But, hey, that's me. The whole "immediately beat the shit out of each other instead of having a conversation" just seems a little juvenile and, well, stupid to me by this point. And that's mostly because of the last decade of writing or so. Strange that. I'll have to think about this some more.