Friday, September 14, 2012

Bryant Has Issues #18

It's comics time again.  And it was a weak week, so we're gonna polish this one off quick and hope for better times some other day.

I've had it with these lying-ass comic-book covers.

This particular one gives the impression that not only is Hobbes going to be badly injured, but there is also going to be a train wreck involved.  Maybe this is a flash-forward to the finale to the miniseries, but Hobbes doesn't get hurt at all!  And while there is a train wreck, it's got nothing to do with...

Ah, screw it.  I should just complaining about this.  It's been going on for decades, and will continue to do so.  My carping is totally irrelevant.

And anyways ... it's a pretty great cover.  It's a very simple one; the figures are mostly just crude sketches, with splashes of red to add a sense of drama, but it works extremely well.  So you win this one, Dustin Nguyen; but I still think the covers ought to match the stories a bit closer.

Speaking of the story, this one picks up the pace a bit from the semi-standstill issue #3 seemingly represented.  However, #4 doesn't really go much of anywhere, either.  It seems like there is going to have be some serious business going on in #5, or else I'll be labeling Lord of Nightmares a major disappointment.

I talked last week a bit about my mostly-negative feelings toward this Zero Month thing DC is doing.  My negativity is not improved at all by this week's Batman #0, but at the very least, Scott Snyder managed to do the same quality job here that he did on last week's Swamp Thing #0.  So let's keep the negative focus squarely where it deserves to stay: on DC.

Here, what we mostly get is an origin story that --seemingly -- tries really, really hard to not invalidate other people's origin stories.  So we don't get an origin story for Bruce/Batman, per se; we just get an adventure of him fighting the Red Hood gang, and later having an extended conversation with Gordon.  In a backup story by James Tynion, we get an origin story of sorts for the Batsignal.  I'm no Batman expert, so I don't know if this is new territory or not.  It's an effective little story, but I didn't care for the art by Andy Clarke at all.

Not a bad issue, but it doesn't feel essential to me in any way.  It feels a bit as if DC just jacked me for $4, but Scott Snyder felt bad about it and gave me three of them back.

In the continuing saga of Before Watchmen, this week finds me once again putting on my anti-DC boots (which, it seems, are already on thanks to this Zero Month nonsense).  I'd enjoyed the past two weeks (The Minutemen #3 and Silk Spectre #3 were both really good), and was hopeful about this week's Comedian #3.

Which I hated, to be honest.

The majority of the issue concerns Eddie Blake's role in the infamous Watts riots, and I just don't know that I needed to read a story in which Comedian is acting like an ape and flinging dog poo at a policeman.  I get that what we, as an audience, are supposed to feel about Comedian is a mixture of admiration and loathing that results in a sort of status-quo acceptance, and I can't honestly argue that this issue fails on that score.  It just ... I don't know, it just didn't work for me.

Part of my problem, I think, is that it seems clear now that as its own miniseries, Comedian seems likely to have no real through-line.  As seems increasingly likely with Before Watchmen as a whole, it's looking like it's a failure composed of occasionally interesting moments.

Blah blah blah, hell deminsion, blah blah blah, dreadlocked demon, blah blah blah "you're not killing him" "yes I am" "no you're not," blah blah blah, tentacle monster, blah blah blah, destroy the mainframe.

This has by far been the worst arc of Buffy I have ever read.  I'm, like, theeeees close to dropping the book.

Speaking of which...

After this issue of Saucer Country, I'm done with it.  I really enjoyed the first five, and the sixth was okay, but it was basically just a big, expositiony info-dump.  Which would have been fine if it had offered some tangible info; instead, it was info of the "it might be this, but it might be that..." variety.

Even then, I was wiling to roll with.  But instead, issue #7 turns out to be basically the same thing.

It's not exactly what I'd call bad, but look, folks, here's the deal: I'm a busy man.  I've got so many books and movies and comics and shows that I'd like to consume and then write about that it'll take me the rest of my life to get anywhere close to doing it.  In that process, I'm determined to continue to discover new things, but the deal is this: it's got to reward me.  It's got to not feel like I'm wasting time and/or money.

For the past two months, Saucer Country has felt like I was, if not wasting both, then at the very least not using them as well as I ought to be.

And that's just not something I am willing to do indefinitely.  Hence, my pull list has been reduced by one.  If the series continues and I hear good things about it down the road, maybe I'll pick it up in trades.


That's all I've got this week.  It's probably the most negative one of these columns I've ever written, but hey, it is what it is.

See ya next time.


  1. Interesting, I think comics for the most part are a matter of invention, that however doesn't mean inspiration might not slip in.

    That said, I think even invention has its place and deserves to be treated with respect, and that even in invention there's such a thing as going to far.

    Case in point, that line about Comedian just left me shaking my head. I even wonder if the clowns who thought that bit up know much about the sixties.

    Maybe I'm biased, however speaking as a Beatles fan who practically immersed himself in that decade after watching a documentary on the band and never looked back, the writers show an amazing lack of sympathy for what those times stood for.

    Giving it more thought, they seem to be treating the sixties like a commodity they can exploit (think Batgirl/Oracle) and the ndiscard whenever some inner tide has turned and they feel it's no longer profitable, i.e. of no use to them any more.

    I must say though, that's quite an attitude to take for events that were always out of their control, and I mean the sixties weren't even fiction. As Henry dean might say, "You can NOT make this shit up, man."

    On a lighter note, Grant Morrison has writing a book called Super Gods, talking about his time in the comic book trenches. I should warn you though, he's no fan of Alan Moore, and it's possible he goes in for some misrepresentation in his book. Perhaps you know more about that than I do.


    1. I know a little about Morrison's feud with Moore; I know nothing about Morrison's work, except that he's relatively well thought-of by some and detested by more. Of the people whose opinions I trust who have an opinion on him, they mostly tend to fall into the "detest" camp. And the little I've read of him bashing Moore reminds me of a small dog trying to convince a big dog that he's tough by barking incessantly. Seems sad more than anything else.

      But to be fair, that's just my impression of things, and I could be totally wrong.

    2. I love Grant Morrison. He, Moore, and Gaiman comprise one constellation in my comics omniverse. (Kirby/ Lee another; Fox and Swan another and so on and so on)

      I say, read Supergods (particularly the bits about Moore, which, to me, seem more like an apology/ explanation than bitching) and make up your own mind. It explains Grant's approach and thinking better than I can. All I know is, his take on Doom Patrol, like Moore's take on Swamp Thing, or Gaiman's Sandman, intersected my life at just the right time, so I can't be objective about any of them; I just know how they changed me. (For what it's worth, I greatly enjoy most of his subsequent work, as well, particularly JLA and All-Star Superman. And Seaguy is wonderful and weird. Anyway, to each his own, of course.)

      As you know, I've been putting off reading my Before Watchmens, but I pulled this one out of the stacks to read it after reading your review here. I think you (and ChrisC) are correct - both the 60s and the Watchmenverse very much come across as a commodity to be exploited. I kind of liked the Crimson Corsair back-up, though. But... still going to hold off and read them all as one.

    3. Well, you picked a decent one to pull out and read, in the sense that it is a stand-along issue. I think the whole "exploiting the sixties" thing is probably accurate, but to be honest, it's no more guilty of that than, say, "Forrest Gump." And I love "Forrest Gump," so in theory, I've got no problem with that approach. I just don't think it's working here.

      It works a hell of a lot better in the "Silk Spectre" miniseries, though; I'm enjoying that one.

      As for "The Curse of the Crimson Corsair," I pretty much forget to mention it every week. Which really says all that needs to be said about that, I think.

      And I will officially put 1 in the "pro" column re.: Grant Morrison.