Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Sunday Open: Fourth Week of May, 2008

This is totally "Grant Morrison Week" with three books out by the man. So, let's get to it...

All-Star Superman #11

My non-love affair with this book resumes here. It's an alright read, but nothing that blows my mind three times. There's something about the Superman and Luthor in this title that just doesn't gel with me. Maybe I suffer from being a member of the "Death of Superman" generation. Maybe it's my utter disappointment whenever Lex Luthor is written as a typical supervillain. I don't know. This is by no means a bad comic, it just doesn't click for me.

Batman #677

Now, this is more like it. An issue of theories as to the identity of the Black Glove: Alfred, Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne... and, like Geoff Klock, it strangely makes me think maybe Tim is right about it being Thomas Wayne, Jr.--who I can't help but think is perhaps Dr. Hurt? He looks similar to Bruce, he claims to know Bruce better than anyone... it's a weird stab in the dark on my part.

What also caught my eye was the Batman costume in a case on page 13, and the teaser for next issue, which mentions the return of the first Batman--immediately, I thought of The Untold Legend of the Batman where Thomas Wayne was the first Batman for a Halloween party. The costume looked different from the one in the case, but the one in the case sure looks like the sort of costume one would wear to a costume party, doesn't it? That just makes me think it will be Bruce Wayne all over again.

I have no idea who the Black Glove is (although, Alfred seems unlikely with that final page), but I am digging this story.

Final Crisis #1

I discussed most of this with Tim on this week's Splash Page, but I just wanted to again say how much I enjoyed it. And, on page 10, JG Jones really nailed the view of Detroit's skyline from Windsor. I was out last night and had that exact view. Kind of odd to see it show up in a comic.

Also, the Green Lanterns acting like actual cops? Genius. Has Geoff Johns been doing that or is this another example of Morrison making a concept work in the obvious way?

Really looking forward to the next issue.

The Immortal Iron Fist #15

Another "tales of the Iron Fist" and it's alright. Much like issue seven, it didn't do much for me. Fraction tells a decent enough story, but it's very simple and lacks that special something. Next issue ends the Fraction/Brubaker/Aja era. Dammit.

The New Avengers #41

This issue fills in some blanks about the Savage Land and the SHIELD agents from the first New Avengers story, but, yeah, so what? Nothing really impressive or interesting happens. These "fill in the blanks" issues are very hit or miss, I'm finding--and, so far, the two New Avengers ones have been big ol' misses.

Thor #9

And, suddenly, this book becomes very good. This is the best issue of the series, easily. We have Loki doing her best to manipulate Balder, exploiting his underlying resentment of Thor--and succeeding. We have a few great scenes with a human calling on an Asgardian with flowers and then trying to introduce basketball to Asgard. I even liked the bit where Balder and Loki kill a Frost Giant, saving a family, only to be arrested and having the dad pissed off because they killed it right in front of his son. I'm also digging Oliver Copiel's depiction of Loki--she is one creepy-as-fuck woman here. I've never been the biggest fan of his work, but it's getting rather good here. I'm glad I stuck with this book.

Supreme: The Story of the Year

Okay, when Alan Moore was writing Supreme, I read a lot of praise for his work and have finally gotten around to the first trade. It's an okay read, but has me wondering why I should care. Yes, it's interesting to see Moore play around with Supreme as a Superman analogy, and discuss the concept of revamps and changes to a character over decades, but what's the point? Does Alan Moore have a thesis or is he just doing it to do it? He seems to have a fondness for those Silver Age stories, but his flashback comics also come off as mocking that type of comic. He seems critical of the '90s sort of hero, but also recognises that older types don't work either. He seems to be struggling to find a balance, to pay tribute to the wonder and fun of old comics, but also fit them into a contemporary context. And, I would say that he fails. These are not good comics. They are boring, antiquated and don't have the emotional impact that Moore clearly hopes for. The only issue that impressed me at all was the Chris Sprouse-drawn one where Diane and Nate discuss Omniman in a manner that mirrors their situation (even if she doesn't know it). It was at least cute. The rest is a failure as Moore can't find the right balance between old and new to make it work. At least, not for me. That said, I plan on picking up The Return because I want to see what Moore does next with the character--maybe he'll succeed after twelve issues of failure. One can only hope.

And that does it for this week. Later.