Sunday, August 28, 2005

Riddle me this ...

I don't want to write about what good comics you should be reading (despite the title of the blog), because I've done it before. I want to take a quick look at the two big crossovers going on right now from the Big Two, and wonder about it.

I'm not buying anything remotely related to The House of M and Infinite Crisis. I have no interest in them. With regard to the Marvel thing, I read "Age of Apocalypse" ten years ago - do I need to re-read it? Maybe so. I know there is going to be a follow-up to the crossover, but my attitude is Why should I read something that takes place in an alternate reality and will have absolutely no effect on the status quo? Now, you can say that all superhero comics from the Big Two have absolutely no effect on the status quo, and that's a fair point, but this seems specifically designed to have no effect on the status quo. I'm not arguing about the quality of the books, since I haven't read them. I'm just wondering why on earth I should spend my time with them, since they don't mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

With regard to the big DC thing, well, I did read Identity Crisis, which is apparently a set-up to the whole enchilada, and I didn't like it. I found it poorly written, not to mention offensive. And it wasn't because I had some mad crush on Sue Dibny, either. The reasons for her murder were just too stupid, and simply served to open up a whole stupid can of worms. So I decided there was no way I was going to spend money on any of the follow-ups to the series, and I've stuck by it, despite people like Jim Roeg making me rethink Villains United. DC is pursuing an idiotic policy, it seems, with this madness. Batman, off in his little corner of the universe, is participating in his own little crossover, and if Cronin and Larry Young are to be believed (and why shouldn't they be?), everyone in Gotham has gone insane. Again, I don't mind horrible things happening in comics (I'm not morally opposed to the "darkening" of the DCU), but when long-established characters act COMPLETELY opposite to how they've always been portrayed for no rational reason, then I'm glad I'm not buying it.

My question is: those of you who ARE reading these crossovers, are you enjoying them? Are they good comics? Why should people who aren't reading them do so? Are these the greatest epics we have ever seen, right up there with "Atlantis Attacks"? (Oh, calm down. I'm kidding.) Don't get me wrong - I love superhero comic books. I think superhero comic books work on so many different levels that those who dismiss them as childish are, well, a bit annoying. I'm not opposed to crossovers, either. "Secret Wars"? "Knightfall"? "Age of Apocalypse"? "Armageddon 2001"? I'm there!

Give me a reason to read these!

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Blogger Captain Qwert Jr said...

Up till issue 7 I had no problems whatsoever with Identity Crises. It was a solid story that sadly could not find an end, and that kept it from being almost flawless.

Most of the rest of the Infinite Crises miniseries were good ideas that went bad in execution.(Though some like the Return of Donna Troy, were bad from the get go).

There are still good ideas in it. I think jumping a year ahead is a great way to further bury the brain farts of the 90s, and if anything Batman needs to go to Arkham the way he's been written over the past few years. Hell,he needs prison. No one that incompetant should be so be written as arrogant as he is.

8/28/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous HMM said...

"Up till issue 7 I had no problems whatsoever with Identity Crises. It was a solid story that sadly could not find an end, and that kept it from being almost flawless."

My case was that until issue 6 or 7 I just *assumed* that it would all come neatly together in the end and that all the loose ends, or a good majority at least, would be tied up in some grand Orient Express style revelation. Because if it all would be just a single nonsensical twist buried in a sea of red herrings, it'd be a piss-poor mystery story, and no self-respecting author would put his name on such a thing, right?

Sure taught me.

8/28/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Well, I'm reading House of M because I love big superhero-filled "alternate reality" stories period. And for the most part, it's been slow, but exactly what I was looking for otherwise.

DC's minis have been hit and miss. Villains United and Day of Vengeance are just goofy balls out action and fun, and the fact that they're using characters you'd never see otherwise is what really draws me to them.

(On the other hand, Rann-Thanagar War and OMAC Project are descending into slow-moving mush, and so I can't recommend those.)

But I'm not reading these because I feel I have to, or because I want to see changes in the status quo; I'm reading these because they have interesting premises and are using unusual characters.

2 Guys Buying Comics

8/28/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Villians United has been pretty fun, but the rest of the Infinite Crisis stuff has been god-awful. I have, however, been enjoying House of M. I haven't gotten any of the limited series or tie-ins, but as an 8-issue "what if?" story, it's pretty fun. Kind of a neat premise; humans aren't enslaved by mutants but they are tolerated with a liberal condescending attitude. More importantly, the art is pretty-pretty-pretty!!!

So, although I wouldn't say you're missing anything amazing and that you absolutely MUST go out and buy either Villians United or House of M, I think both series are enjoyable.

Omac Project, on the other hand, is crap. It's dark, it's ugly, and it makes no real sense. It's a series of murders of b-characters, and it hinges on the idea that Maxwell Lord stole Batman's spy satellite, which is such a silly idea on so many different levels that I'm amazed Greg Rucka would even participate in such a thing.

And Rann-Thanagar War? Sound and fury, baby. Sound and fury...

8/28/2005 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelson said...

DC books -- I was intrigued by Countdown, which made me interested (only) in The OMAC Project. I kind of like the magic and sci-fi corners, so I picked up Day of Vengeance and Rann/Thanagar War. I had no interest at all in Villains United.

5 months later, Villains United is the only one that's any damn good. OMAC and Vengeance are 4-issue stories stretched out to 6, and Rann/Thanagar reads like it should have been a big 18-issue epic crammed into 6. Actually Day of Vengeance is okay, and has had some very nice character moments in it. The other two are just big messes. And I still want to know how Blackfire survived the Final Night prologue.

As for Return of Donna Troy... I want to like it, I really do. I mean, how can you go wrong with Phil Jimenez and George Perez working together on a Wonder Girl story? But for some reason it just doesn't work.

8/28/2005 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous ArizonaTeach said...

Well, I flat out love crossovers. Even the crappy ones. I had given up on Marvel for years, and you know what got me back into them? Maximum Security. Yeah, you heard me. Shut up. But because of that, I started picking up Captain Marvel (The Micronauts were in it!) Right now, because of the Infinite Hyperbole, I went back and picked up the entire run of Manhunter. The House of M isn't doing anything for me, and I really don't like much of anything Marvel puts out, but I'm buying every issue. Why? Because I friggin' love crossovers.

My favorite? Invasion. Close second? Millennium, because it was so well put together, even if issue 8 blew big time. Worst? War of the Gods, because it WASN'T put together very well...same with Genesis. Marvel crossovers...uhhh...well, I did kinda enjoy Evolutionary War, once again because it was put together well (the backup stories, the usage of the Marvel mythology...sad to say, even Atlantis Attacks did a good job of that, with references to Conan in the back-ups, of all things!)

So, yeah. I love me some crossovers.

8/28/2005 10:33:00 PM  
Anonymous David C said...

Invasion! (don't forget the exclamation point!) was my favorite, too.

On the current ones, I am enjoying the Infinite Crisis stuff for the most part, though not without some irritation (e.g., even for advanced super-duper comic book technology, Batman's satellite is just a little *too* wildly unrealistic, as basically a "see anything on earth, anywhere, anytime, instantly" device.

"House of M..." I'm leaning toward "meh" now. I generally like alternate universe stuff... but this is a pretty blah sort of alternate universe, and one that doesn't seem remotely plausible (mutants are the majority? Already? How can that happen? Demographic change shouldn't work like that!)

I always think if you're going to do an alternate universe, it's sort of like a whodunit, and you should "play fair" with the reader. Identify what the point of divergence is, and have all your changes as plausible results of that divergence. Not just "here's a universe with a bunch of wacky changes that struck my fancy."

8/29/2005 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous said...

I'm not really reading any of the crossover books either; in fact i've dropped the DCU titles that I was reading because they all got sucked into the infinite Crisis and I had no idea what was going on in them.

The only House of M book that I'm reading is the Spider-Man: House of M series, which really isn't that bad. It's sort of a giant pile of What Ifs, with "What if Uncle Ben hadn't gotten shot" at the top. It's not the least bit decompressed, which is a relief, and the overall theme of Peter Parker as a super-successful jerk brought low by J. Jonah Jameson tickles the fanboy cortex section of my brain. The fugly art is a downside, though.

8/29/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

Man, again with the Atlantis Attacks jokes... that was a fine storyline, folks, wonderfully constructed.

8/29/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger joncormier said...

Well, I came back to comics when Identity Crisis came out. I used it as a jumping on point as well as asking the guys at the shops what I missed in the last 10-15 years. A tall order I know.

I enjoyed it. It has problems, yes, but what story doesn't? For the most part, I'm also enjoying the DC minis although I had no desire to buy Day of Vengeance so I can't comment on that. I picked up the R/T War because I was in the mood for sci-fi and it's letting me get introduced to a slew of characters there. Same with Villians United and Omac.

The biggest problem I had with Omac is that suddenly I missed 4 issues called Sacrifice in the middle of the series. I do actually like the story but I went from knowing the scorre in one issue, to having major plot points being achieved in other series. It pulled me out of the series even though I will buy the rest of it - begrudgingly. I know it's my pack-rat attitude, but that's not a way to treat customers if you plan to keep them around. We aren't open wallets.

I think that's where things start to get fuzzy. If you're buying these things and feeling like you're not being rewarded with entertainment but used as a money supplier you start to wonder what you're doing this for? So far, I buy what I think I'll like. I'm buying stuff across the spectrum, and these minis are fun. They're getting me into some characters I know little or nothing about, as well as the mythos surrounding them. Most of that comes from the community built around the medium. A character acts out of character and BINGO I find a few websites, blogs or message boards that give a great character summary, background and reading list.

8/29/2005 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Man, again with the Atlantis Attacks jokes... that was a fine storyline, folks, wonderfully constructed."

Hehe...I will admit to laughing when I saw Greg mention Atlantis Attacks, as I recalled the umbrage took when I made similar remarks awhile back...hehe.

Oh, and Atlantis Attacks Sucks!!!

8/29/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Actually, you know what? I don't think I've ever read any of the Atlantic Attacks stuff. I was buying comics when it came out, but not the right ones, I guess.

The nice thing about it, as opposed to these bloated ones, is it took place in the Annuals. Just something else Annuals were good for.

8/29/2005 05:54:00 PM  
Anonymous spencer said...

I was already to pounce on this one, but it seems that everyone already has, so I'll just add my two cents.

Not reading any of the DC crossovers as I'm not really interested in any of the creators, except for Gotham Central. Am I upset over the tie in? Not at all, just because I have confidence that Rucka will be extra careful with his baby then say...Shuster and Simon's baby.

As for Marvel, I'm going to have to throw my hat into the "I like alternate reality stories." Plus, I'm curious to see what Bendis is going to do. I fell in love w/ Bendis through DD and Powers and he has made me care about characters that I normally wouldn't have. At this point, he's going into a completely new game and its interesting to see how the cards will fall. The art on HoM is good and its interesting enough to keep me going. As for New Avengers, its like watching an movie with an all star cast from my favorite 80s action movies. Yeah, I know that's uber nerdy, but I like it.

8/29/2005 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hey, at least Atlantis Attacks gave us Speedball.

No, wait, that was Evolutionary War. Never mind.

8/29/2005 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Adrian James said...

I'm basically with you on this one. Identity Crisis and Avengers Disassembled annoyed me so much that I can't enjoy any story that builds on them. I was seriously pissed when Morrison alluded to Zatanna's mindwipe in Seven Soldiers, but reluctantly accepted it because the story wasn't built around it.

8/29/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Jim Shooter is to be believe, Speedball was originally created for the New Universe.

Why Shooter saw fit to approve Kickers, Inc. and not Speedball, I'll never know. They were both atrocious concepts, but at least Fabian Nicieza was able to mine potential in Robbie.

8/29/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Foss said...

I'm buying House of M: Spider-Man, and that's it from Marvel's crossover. I haven't heard much good about House of M, and predicted the "internet-cracking" twist without having read either HoM or Disassembled. I don't care for Bendis's ultra-decompressed storytelling on an issue-by-issue basis, but I can stomach it in trades. HoM: Spidey is fun, though, and reminds me why I miss "What If...?"

I thought Identity Crisis was decent as far as comic book mysteries go. Considering that the last hyped superhero mystery was "Hush," which made Brad Meltzer look like Arthur Conan Doyle, I didn't come in with great expectations for the mystery plot, more for the character stuff. I don't mind a bit of darkness in the DCU, and I don't think it's quite the blight that so many are seeing.

I mean, "Hush" about a story that fumbled for its ending.

That being said, I like OMAC's "spy thriller" motif, and it's nice to see the JLI kicking some ass, even if they are getting knocked off one by one. I don't see how Brother I's use of available cameras around the world is all that much less believable than the similar hacking jobs that Oracle has done for years.

Rann-Thanagar War was the one I looked forward to the most, and thus the most disappointing. It's mired in a quagmire of too many characters and too many plotlines.

Villains United is a fun romp, easily the most entertaining of the four miniseries. I hope these characters go on to do something more, and I absolutely love Simone's Dr. Psycho.

Day of Vengeance is generally fun (it's got Detective Chimp, after all), but it has some really slow moments, and the big battles tend to blend together. Also, we're not given much background on some of the characters, and that hurts a reading.

Return of Donna Troy is denser than lead. I love Donna, but getting killed might have been better than yet another origin retcon.

Although this has to be better than "being recreated by Wally West's memories."

8/30/2005 02:25:00 AM  
Blogger Michael May said...

I'm digging the rift between Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman that's come out of IDENTITY CRISIS and leading up to INFINITE. There's a lot of gunk to have to wade through to get to the tie-ins that are good, but I'm finding it worth the effort.

Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have always sort of just gotten along with each other (with the occasional exception between Superman and Batman) in spite of vast differences in world view. It's about time those differences were explored at length. It can only help the characters in the end.

8/30/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Villains United is very good. Day of Vengeance has a flawed central concept, but the team assembled to fight the Spectre is pretty cool, and you can't go wrong with Detective Chimp.

9/03/2005 07:24:00 PM  

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