Thursday, May 04, 2006

Infinite Crisis #7 or a Kick to the Balls: U-Decide!

I know as reviewers we're supposed to offer a thoughtful, objective critique. I know it's important to not be terribly emotive, and provide rational, considered, thoughtful and well-rounded overview of our subject.

But you know, I don't know that a review like that would fully encompass how truly, gutwrenchingly godawful this misbegotten stillbirth of a comic series has been.

In the past, I have defended Geoff Johns. While his writing has never been exactly scintillating, it's been solid, workmanlike, I've said.

Of course, I also wrote a rather scathing review of 'Green Lantern: Rebirth' which included frequent colourful uses of the 'F' word (fuck, just in case). Well, I'm gonna try and keep a cool head and see how long it lasts me before the invective burbles up and I turn into Uncle Kranky, the world's greatest Tourette's suffering comix reviewer.

First of all, I feel a very personal hatred for this comic series. No, it didn't shoot my cat. It didn't kill my wife, or run over my kids. But I work in a comic book store, and there are a lot of people out there who trust me to recommend stuff. I have a policy of not sugar-coating shit. If someone who I know is a fan of Grant Morrisson and Alan Moore's stuff asks me whether I'd recommend X-Treme X-Men trades, for example, I'll say no. Because if I deliberately steer them towards shit to make a quick buck, they'll know better next time and won't listen to the freak behind the counter. Now a lot of folks had reservations about IC. Coming on the heels of Identity Crisis, and heralded by Four Big Comic Book 'Special Events', they were asking me questions like 'Is DC just greedy for ALL my cash?'

But I could see, or thought I could (with apologies to Larry Marder), the Big*Big*Picture.

Government-run agencies in crisis. Outer space exploding. A new secret society of supervillains. The Spectre going crazy. And maybe, just maybe, a connection between all these things all happening to be striking at the same time... hrm...
This is the stuff of BIG, DUMB, FUN SUPERHERO FITES (tm). And when I saw the climactic image of IC#1, I was sold. Ah yeah, I thought, when the world's in THIS much trouble, it looks like a job for Superman.

So yeah, I recommended this sack of crap. To people who trusted me not to steer 'em wrong.

Geoff Johns is a fucking hack. That the man can turn in 22 pages of comic script per title per month is not in doubt. However, he has no sense of drama, of pacing, of style. His characterization is minimal, his ability to maintain a storyline is nonexistant.

Even when given such rich, fantastic tools to deal with, he persists in attempting to force everything with a sledgehammer.

In this way, IC is very much like Green Lantern: Rebirth. He is given a brief (do this, this and this) and he does it. However, there is no art and no craft. He merely hops in his narrative steamroller and heads from point (a) to point (b) and on to point (c), travelling in a series of straight lines and crushing any sort of style, flair and energy out of the narrative as he chugs blissfully onto the final page where he can hit that final '.', hand it over and get paid.

Okay, so let's take a look, shall we?

We have four miniseries which set up four crises in four different areas of the DCU. Omac Project, which affects the Government and our big 3 superheroes. We have Day of Vengeance, which affects the mystical shit community. Rann-Thanagar War which affects the space kiddies. And Villains United, which affects all the baddies. Goodgood. This has all the earmarks of a good big story there.

What does Johns focus on?

The world's first and most archetypical hero standing on his porch waving his cane and yelling at the young whippersnappers to turn down that goddamn ya-ya music!

The world's most powerful spoiled brat punching the heads off teenagers so that people will like him.

The only hero in a world of evildoers poncing about with a giant tuning fork and making Monty Burns speeches.

So yeah, basically, issues 2, 3, 4 and 5 are a nauseating series of talking heads where we get the following lines of dialogue over and over and over again.

Superman: "In MY day, superheroes knew their place! We didn't have all this proton and quoton rubbish. At least you knew where you stood!"

Superboy: "You all suck. I'm the best superhero there is. And to prove it, I'll kill all the other superheroes! Yay for me!"

Alex Luthor: "Moo-hahaha! Soon, my evil plan will be complete and everything will be nice again!"

Repeat until you want to gouge your eyes out with a #2 pencil.

In between, Johns, flailing around desperately in search of a plot, leads us down a number of dead-end streets. The multiverse comes back for two issues, but it's gone again, so that's alright. It looks like one or another of the things that actually lead us to this point (Checkmate, The Omacs, Polaris, The SSoSV...) might get resolved, but you don't care about any of THAT do you? No, you want more of crotchety old Superman, whiny young Superman and evil-in-the-cause-of-good Alex. So grab your partners and we'll recite their signature lines over again in lieu of ACTUAL dialogue or characterization.

So yeah, flailing, repetition and exposition. It's like Johns has some sort of narrative ADD.

"Superman's Back! What'll I do? Let's make him a grumpy old man! Okay, milked THAT idea, what's next?"

"An army of killer robots attack Paradise Island. I know. Wonder Woman fights them! Next!"

"The multiverse returns! Hmm... good for a couple of pages of fight scenes... Next!"

"The death of Lois Lane! Hmm. Superman cries a bit. Next!"

The sorts of ideas that a competant writer could turn into gold, and Johns and his narrative steamroller just roll straight over them. No time, no time, gotta get to the end. No time for story. No time for character. Gotta page count to fill. Gotta cash my cheque.

By the end of the series, there isn't even a story. It's just a series of unconnected images.

Judomaster's crippled.

Peacemaker's dead.

Bart's the Flash.

Now he's not.

Dick Grayson's dead.

maybe he isn't.

It's not coming from anywhere, it's not going anywhere.

It's just a series of still images flashes across your eyes at high speed, with a couple of crowd pleasing group shots amateurishly scrawled by a series of fill-in artists to keep people from realizing that there's no story.

Because there isn't. I looked for it, and it's not there.

I'm fucking disgusted.

Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Stories have characters and a plot. Stories have a series of events which build to a climax and then resolve themselves.

This isn't a story.

It's a tale.

Told by an idiot.

Full of sound and fury. Signifying

nothing.

Read More

53 Comments:

Blogger Adam said...

It's like Johns has some sort of narrative ADD.

haven't read IC, and i've no plans on reading it, but judging from your review, well, it sounds just like a basic Grant Morrison / Warren Ellis JLA/DCU comic book.

i mean, it has the Morrison big scale timespanning/multiverse stuff, a la DC1million and ROCK OF THE AGES, and Ellis' i-do-bad-things-to-superheroes, a la STORMWATCH and AUTHORITY.

narrative ADD. i like that. kind of sums up what i feel about the majority of Morrison's output, which i love greatly, especially the Filth, although i prefer Alan Moore's narrative OC. i get more things out of that sort of storytelling.

so, back to IC: is it really that... insipid?

i don't know... maybe it'll read better as a series of trades, a la SEVEN SOLDIERS?

5/04/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

and, erm, regarding the choice between IC#7 or a kick to the balls, well... if the comic's for free, i wouldn't mind getting that, instead of a kick to the 'nads. i mean, shit man, its a free comic book!

5/04/2006 06:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

I have to say, IC#7 did something pretty amazing, and that was that it got me to appreciate Doomsday. The first time Superman got punched to death by a drooling idiot, at least he got punched to death by an impressive-looking drooling idiot. Getting punched to death by Superboy? Kal-L might as well just wear that L on his forehead.

Of course, the most absurd thing about all this is that after two and a half years and umpteen zillion pages, IC#7 still had no ending. Superboy, Shatterer of Worlds, is still alive! I bet that gets your blood pumpin', don't it, fanboys!

Seriously, I got mad just looking at this thing. If I'd paid actual money I'd be super-pissed.

If there were justice or sanity in mainstream comic book fandom, everyone who's pissed off with Infinite Crisis would refuse to buy 52 and sink Dan Didio's career. Alas, I suspect windfall profits for DC this year.

5/04/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

So....Who's up for some Civil War?
The Art looks purty!

5/04/2006 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Callahan said...

I was ultimately disappointed with IC as well, but do you think it's any worse than Crisis on Infinite Earths? That series was a series of cameos, then shadows attack, then there's one Earth. The end. I certainly wouldn't say there's a whole lot of characterization in that series.

5/04/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

haven't read IC, and i've no plans on reading it, but judging from your review, well, it sounds just like a basic Grant Morrison / Warren Ellis JLA/DCU comic book.

Except that those were actually fun.

5/04/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger naladahc said...

Last year I kind of had high hopes for IC.

I wanted Power Girl's real origin back regardless of how it didn't work in-continuity.

So I got that and it made me happy.

The rest just fell totally flat and I have to agree, the narrative and cohesion was totally missing.

I think I'm just too old to give a shit about superhero comics anymore.

What I want... no... I suppose what I need from the plot, story, and characterization I just haven't gotten in years.

5/04/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Jer said...

"If there were justice or sanity in mainstream comic book fandom, everyone who's pissed off with Infinite Crisis would refuse to buy 52 and sink Dan Didio's career. Alas, I suspect windfall profits for DC this year."

Maybe, but what makes you think that there are THAT MANY folks who are actually pissed off about Infinite Crisis? Most of the folks I've talked to at the store I frequent seem to be enjoying it, its the on-line crowd that seems to be disliking it.

Not that I'm defending it, mind you, the entire exercise from Identity Crisis on through the end of Inifinite Crisis has been pretty "meh" altogether. When I realized that Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor were supposed to be the "villains" of the whole thing, it made me realize that I wasn't the audience that this thing was aimed at.

The shining point of the whole thing was Simone's Villain's United mini-series and last week's one-shot. Unlike everyone else involved in this project, it looks she she got handed a list of bullet points that needed to be hit and she ACTUALLY WROTE A STORY AROUND THEM, instead of just hitting the points and checking them off the list. And the story was quite good too, which is a distinct bonus these days.

5/04/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Town said...

I find your review snotty, unfocused, potty-mouthed, and off base.

Whatever the faults of Geoff Johns and/or Infinite Crisis, they pale in comparison with Marvel's recent output. Infinite Crisis created anticipation and excitement, which are a great and fun things.

5/04/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think IC succeeded in establishing a singular Earth and cleared up the convoluted continuity, which is what the DCU really needed.

I don't think anybody was aiming or expecting new plateaus of artistic achievement.

It got the job done.
Sure it wasn't a great comic, but at least respect how hard is it to focus everything that happened into a coherent story.
You're being way too hard on Geoff Johns.

I think its what starts from here that counts.

5/04/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

I mostly agree, except for one thing.

Superboy Prime.

Prime is, hands down, the best villian creation of the last 20 years.

When was the last time you cared if the bad guy lost? I mean, really cared. Most of the blog posts I see actually admire Luthor, Joker, etc. They are 'cool'. Everyone knows them will lose in the end, so most of the interest is in 'how they do it' or exploring their psychology or life story. Does anyone really care if Captain Cold gets away this time? I bet half the fans want to see Luthor win.

But everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, despises that little shit Superboy Prime and can't wait for him to die.

Right now, DC Fan fantasy #1 is for the Justice League to gang up on Prime and put their boots so far up his ass he's coughing leather. Prime's gonna sell a ton of books from now on, either from gawkers waiting to see who he'll kill next (it could be anyone, he's powerful enough to snuff Superman and juggle planets) or whether this will be the day the DC heroes take their final revenge.

Honestly, the Anti-Monitor was not disturbing. Worlds die, yadda yadda. It's mostly theoretical except for Flash and Supergirl, who, remember, were UNPOPULAR when they croaked.

Prime? Dude killed Golden Age Superman. With his bare hands. He's got unlimted powers and is fucking nuts. IC ends on a big downer, the heroes really lose this time. Anyone here think Kal-L got the dignified end he deserved? No? The villain ruined it.

Merging the Earths is OK, and kind of academically interesting. Having the Kryptonian Ted Bundy sitting around plotting revenge is creepy, doubly so because he's not a Superman knock-off like Black Adam or Ultraman, which allows some psychological distance (it's Superman's evil clone, or a rip-off). He IS Superman.

Admit it, if someone told you last year the next big DC Baddie was an Evil Kid Superman, you'd laugh. But boy do you hate him, right? I would.

Not the concept (it has some good and bad points)- you hate HIM. That's the mark of a good villian- not a dope costume, not a convoluted masterplan, not a complicated explanation. You hate him because he is so wrong. What he did is wrong, he ruined characters you like. I firmly believe this was written this way on purpose. The stakes at DC are much, much higher than before.

Anyone here thinks Marvel has the balls to kill Captain America and Iron Man during Civil War? Because DC just wiped out their flagship character, taking him out like a sad old punk and turning another version of him into Hitler.

The mark of a good villian is you want him to lose and it's upsetting when he doesn't. Prime won. He's still alive and isn't paying for his monstrous crimes.

Turning Hal Jordan evil wasn't disturbing because too many readers were invested in him as a good guy-everyone knew it was a matter of time before Hal reformed.

But nobody gave a shit about Superboy Prime. He has no fans. He's not reforming. Things are going to get crazy.

5/04/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous jacob munford said...

I really don't see how an alternate-dimension Superboy is a revolutionary character concept. The exact same premise is going to be executed in Marvel Team-Up in a few months. He's an uninteresting cipher and this series has been little more than seven issues of Wizard bullet points.

On the other side, Villains United actually told a story and did so in a pretty fun way. Thumbs up to Gail for being able to run with it.

5/04/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Prime's gonna sell a ton of books from now on

Didio? Is that you?

5/04/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

I really don't see how an alternate-dimension Superboy is a revolutionary character concept. The exact same premise is going to be executed in Marvel Team-Up in a few months. He's an uninteresting cipher and this series has been little more than seven issues of Wizard bullet points.

Kid Marvelman is now running around the mainstream DC Universe and killed Superman on-panel and in continuity. Superboy has a long, long DC history, 99.9% of it wholesome. Not anymore.

It's not revolutionary, but it's pretty bold for one of the big 2.

Put another way: what are the chances that during Civil War, Marvel will allow Thor to try to exterminate all life on Midgard, succeed in depopulating Asia, permanently kill Iron Man and Hulk (they will be replaced by new versions), and at the end gives a monologue about how "Thou canst stop me, bitches" after escaping to Asgard, where he will never be punished. Thor is now permanently a villain who is so powerful that his hammer strikes cause Marvel history to change.

NEVER HAPPEN.

IC is a jumping-off point. It's also a big risk. I'm willing to give DC a little time to explore this new character. Tell me, can you think of any other villians upset because of continuity changes? Superman making him bald this is not.

5/04/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Bryan Long said...

I don't think I'm the target audience that Infinite Crisis is aimed at, but I have to wonder, if not me, then who?

I found the story ridiculous, for most of the reasons already outlined in the thread. However, it did cause me to have one reaction. I've made myself a vow: Never again. I will never buy another "big event." Never.

I skipped House of M (no loss), I'm skipping Civil War, and I'll skip 52 and whatever else DC decides to come up with. And I'll make one other point here: Every single "major event" reduces my purchase of DC/Marvel titles. In the aftermath, I invariably reduce my pull list.

I'm not buying ANY of their flagship titles anymore. I'm only getting second- and third-tier titles. It's nice, because my comic spending has steadily dwindled over the last three years.

But that makes me wonder: If I, who has disposable income and visits the comic shop each Wednesday, am not the target audience for this drivel, then who is? Is this "event" strategy really working?

5/04/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dweeze said...

Because DC just wiped out their flagship character, taking him out like a sad old punk and turning another version of him into Hitler.

No they didn't. They killed a character that had been seen once in the past twenty years. They killed a character that no comic reader under the age of 30 gave a damn about. They leave behind a "new" DC universe that is, for all intents and purposes, the same as the DC universe they had at the start. (With the exception of a minor fanboy change here or there.)

I loved the series until yesterday. The final issue was so bad, so anti-climatic, that it swept away any positive feelings I had for the thing. Maybe my reservations will dissipate when I reread it tonight, but my first taste of the issue was very sour.

5/04/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Tyler said...

"Kid Marvelman is now running around the mainstream DC Universe and killed Superman on-panel and in continuity."
It's more like Toro killed the Golden Age android version of the Human Torch.

"Put another way: what are the chances that during Civil War, Marvel will allow Thor to try to exterminate all life on Midgard, succeed in depopulating Asia, permanently kill Iron Man and Hulk (they will be replaced by new versions), and at the end gives a monologue about how "Thou canst stop me, bitches" after escaping to Asgard, where he will never be punished. Thor is now permanently a villain who is so powerful that his hammer strikes cause Marvel history to change.

NEVER HAPPEN."

DC would never do this either. Your analogy is completely absurb. Superboy Prime - a character that appeared during Crisis on Infinite Earths and disappeared immediately afterward - killed Earth 2 Superman, a character from a place that no longer exists and, as Dweeze said, no one had heard from in 2 decades. And who are Iron Man and the Hulk supposed to represent in your analogy? Pantha and Baby Wildebeast? Sorry, but I'm not buying that major shake-ups took place here.

5/04/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Jer said...

"Kid Marvelman is now running around the mainstream DC Universe and killed Superman on-panel and in continuity. Superboy has a long, long DC history, 99.9% of it wholesome. Not anymore."

Actually, not the way I read it. See, Superboy Prime is from our Earth, in the meta-context of the story, he's us. He's the whiny fan bitching about how things aren't like they used to be, complaining about how things are too dark, about how heroes can't be heroes, yadda yadda. He's the ultimate messageboard strawman character.

He's an alternate universe version of Superman, sure, but from his first appearance he's the "fan wish fulfillment" version of Superman too. This link is even MORE pronounced in IC, where Johns has used him as a mouthpiece vocalizing the complaints of an older fandom, but it was there in his first story in DC Comics Presents, lo these many years ago.

As for it being a big deal, well I imagine that if he sticks around, sometime down the road Superboy Prime will get a new name - Eradicator or something - and become "generic supervillain number 6,758", as usually happens. I don't even really see it as all that big of a deal of a concept anyway - crazy Superman from an alternate Universe? Didn't the Clone Saga do something like with Spider-man back in the day (or was that crazy Spider-man from an alternate Future?)

And I take issue with your claim that its not that the concept is hated, but the character. I hate the concept - I think crazy Superboy from an alternate world is a bad concept. I also hate the character - I think the whiny fanboy strawman is a bad character.

The first six issues of the crossover were workmanlike, and mostly okay - I compared it somewhere else to Legends or Infinity Gauntlet. The last issue, though, has brought it down a couple pegs in my estimation. Its still, though, better than Bloodlines or Atlantis Attacks.

5/04/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

High five, Pól.

Y'know, I wish Morrison got to do the Hypercrisis he wanted to a few years back. At least that would've been one of those "Event" comics which was actually readable.

5/04/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cheeseburger said...

I didn't much care for this series. I read it as I got it and it didn't make much sense from month to month. I plan to sit down and read all 7 issues (I know I'm in for some pain) just to see if there's any merit to it at all. And as to the point of this "clearing up continuity" what exactly does it clear up? There was one, ONE page of Alex Luthor saying some things have changed ie. Bruce Wayne's parents' killer being caught. They're just using IC as an excuse to retcon a bunch of stuff. They should just settle on telling stories and to hell with continuity. If a write wants to tell a good Superman story about his relationship with Lois one month and another writer wants a cool Superman space adventure the same month, then they should be allowed to do it. Speaking of stories that leads to my next thought...

What annoys me most is how DC and Marvel always hype that "it's always about the story", and "the story comes first" but that's such a load of bullshit. Sales are what matter to them and that's the bottom line. They don't care that a bunch of people didn't like Infinite Crisis, we bought it didn't we? They got our money and they'll continue to put out this drivel with all the variant covers and they do it to make money. I found out how this variant cover scheme works yesterday and it is such a scam!

For example with Civil War, the variant sketch covers are in a 1:75 ratio, meaning for every 75 regular issues a store buys, they get 1 copy of the sketch cover. Now if there are some retards (say 3) that have accounts at this store who want the sketch covers, the store has to order 225 issues just to cover those people's orders. I suppose a solution is that the stores don't allow people to get sketch covers, but that would likely be bad (but not so bad I think) for business.

Anyways that's my rant. If anyone works in a comic shop and can shed more light on the variant cover thing, I'd appreciate it.

5/04/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

If I may address my many fans,

Your analogy is completely absurb. Superboy Prime - a character that appeared during Crisis on Infinite Earths and disappeared immediately afterward - killed Earth 2 Superman, a character from a place that no longer exists and, as Dweeze said, no one had heard from in 2 decades.

No one heard from him because he was considered so special and untouchable that it was taboo to even mention him. Even Barry Allen got to come back for a little while. DC just killed off George Washington.

And who are Iron Man and the Hulk supposed to represent in your analogy? Pantha and Baby Wildebeast? Sorry, but I'm not buying that major shake-ups took place here.

Superman Earth-2 dead
Earth-2 Lois Lane dead
Alex Luthor dead
Blue Beetle dead
Flash dead
Superboy (Modern) dead
Max Lord villain, then dead
Hawkwoman dead
Freedom Fighters dead
Jade dead
Psycho Pirate dead
Pariah, Harbinger dead
Multiverse dead as a doornail forever
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman on hiatus for at least 1 year.

So we have almost every major CoIE character gone, and at least 3 top-tier heroes dead or replaced. The big three on pause for a while. And Pantha and Wildebeast. Offing/Replacing the Flash is a big deal. They only do it once every 20 years. So, yeah, Iron Man. Tony Stark gets drunk or 'retires' but they never KILL him and let Rhodey take over forever. Hawkeye is the Marvel Universe Blue Beetle. Despite your protestations to the contrary, even killing alternate Superman and Lois is a big deal. These are the holy characters no one could ever ever touch after 1986.

Actually, not the way I read it. See, Superboy Prime is from our Earth, in the meta-context of the story, he's us. He's the whiny fan bitching about how things aren't like they used to be, complaining about how things are too dark, about how heroes can't be heroes, yadda yadda. He's the ultimate messageboard strawman character

That's just written in to get you talking about him. I don't think the writers actually hate the fanboy readers. But I do think they know what will push the most buttons. If the people who love Bob Haney Teen Titans and Green Lantern oaths and talking gorilla comics say "this is stupid bullshit", you are doing something right. It's all stupid bullshit.

And I take issue with your claim that its not that the concept is hated, but the character. I hate the concept - I think crazy Superboy from an alternate world is a bad concept.

How? Are there any DC Villians with a good concept? Joker? A clown that kills people. Luthor? Gordon Gekko with lasers. Deathstroke? Evil Captain America. Superboy Prime cannot be BOTH a reader stand-in and 'just an alternate Superman'.

Yeah, Solomon Grundy is really philosophically sophisticated. And Sinestro is really original, a Green Lantern with a different color ring.

I also hate the character - I think the whiny fanboy strawman is a bad character.

That's not liking his PERSONALITY. His character is that he is more than just evil boy Superman. He is, as Grant Morrison would put it, the story that cannot be erased. I was waiting for Animal Man to go outside the panel and clock him.

5/04/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Jer said...

"How? Are there any DC Villians with a good concept? Joker? A clown that kills people. Luthor? Gordon Gekko with lasers. Deathstroke? Evil Captain America. Superboy Prime cannot be BOTH a reader stand-in and 'just an alternate Superman'."

[shrug]. You're the one who claimed it was a good concept. I don't see anything particularly good or new about it - its just another riff on the "evil doppleganger/clone/twin/mass of protoplasm from another dimension" conceit.

Personally, "crazy Superboy from an alternate dimension" is a bad concept - its lazy and its been done before. Now, the particular implementation of this concept MIGHT be worthwile - many creators are able to take a poor or played-out concept and make it shine in implementation - but Johns version doesn't reach those heights (nor did I think he aspired to - I think he wanted to tweak people's buttons and do something SHOCKING, because looking back over his works that I've read, that's his style - do something SHOCKING, then move on to the next SHOCK, repeat. Sometimes its "fix little bit of continuity that I don't like, do something SHOCKING, repeat").

That said, of course Superboy Prime CAN be BOTH a reader stand-in and 'just an alternate Superman'. The concept is an alternate Superman, his position in the story is 'a reader stand-in'. He can easily be both.

"also hate the character - I think the whiny fanboy strawman is a bad character."

That's not liking his PERSONALITY. His character is that he is more than just evil boy Superman. He is, as Grant Morrison would put it, the story that cannot be erased. I was waiting for Animal Man to go outside the panel and clock him.

Okay, so you're talking about the character at a more meta-level than even I was thinking - you're talking about the possibility of the character, not the actuality of the character. As I said above, I will grant you that there may be a creator who can take the pig's ear that is of Superboy Prime and turn it into a sow's ear - hell, Morrison might be able to do that. He succeeded in finding the underlying possibility of Kyle Rayner Green Lantern enough for me to like the kid, despite the ham-handed way that others had used him.

And, given the meta-contextual way that Johns was writing this story, I'd be perfectly happy to see Morrison write a story where Animal Man pulls the kid out of a comic book and bitch-slaps him for 32 pages with screams of "grow up" and "you can't always get what you want". But that's probably just me.

5/04/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Dweeze said...

No one heard from him because he was considered so special and untouchable that it was taboo to even mention him. Even Barry Allen got to come back for a little while.

It wasn’t taboo to even mention him. Characters didn’t remember him. That was the point of his sacrifice against the Anti-Monitor. No one remembered him anymore during COIE, at least no one other than the people who were present when the universe was reformed. And even that small handful of people forgot everything about COIE after it ended. The only character in the DC universe who remembered was Pyscho Pirate. On the other hand, characters remembered Barry Allen. They didn’t remember that how he died, but they remembered that he went to the future. So bringing him back was no big deal.

DC just killed off George Washington.

No, they didn’t. You ask the average young student who George Washington is, they can give you an answer. You ask the average young comic reader who the Superman of Earth-Two was, and they’ll look at you like you’re nuts.

Superman Earth-2 dead
Earth-2 Lois Lane dead
Alex Luthor dead
Superboy (Modern) dead
Pariah, Harbinger dead
Psycho Pirate dead
Multiverse dead as a doornail forever


Wow – a list of characters and concepts that had to be resurrected in either IC or the build-up to IC so that they could be killed off again half a year later. That’s major.

Blue Beetle dead
Jade dead
Max Lord villain, then dead
Freedom Fighters dead
Hawkwoman dead


Wow – a list of C and D list characters who got killed. Revolutionary!

Flash dead

Except we don’t know Wally is dead. We know the speedforce was yanked away, at least for now. We know that Bart is back, older, and he burned out. Until the new Flash comic debuts. But we don’t know that any Flashes are dead.

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman on hiatus for at least 1 year.

The big three on pause for a while.

No, they aren’t. They aren’t pausing at all. It’s my biggest complaint about 52 – DC says it’s a year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, except, of course, for the fact that they are publishing Superman and Batman comics for all of that year and a Wonder Woman comic for most of that year. So it’s not a year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman – it’s a DC Comic without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and that? Ain’t that unique.

These are the holy characters no one could ever ever touch after 1986.

Excuse me? The holy characters no one could touch? Perhaps no one touched them because COIE was a great story from start to finish with a satisfying ending that, oh, you know, wrapped things up?

Superboy Prime cannot be BOTH a reader stand-in and 'just an alternate Superman'.

Uhm, why? Why can’t he be both?

5/04/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Dweeze said...

And, given the meta-contextual way that Johns was writing this story, I'd be perfectly happy to see Morrison write a story where Animal Man pulls the kid out of a comic book and bitch-slaps him for 32 pages with screams of "grow up" and "you can't always get what you want". But that's probably just me.

I'd buy that.

5/04/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous jacob munford said...

The problem with superhero metafiction is that its no fun. And That's fine with a capable author telling a finite story, but IC #7 is the completely opposite of storytelling. It's just a jumblely-jub of fanboy bullshit and Roy Thomas-style continuity fuddling.

And I'm stuck on new comic book day wondering why a series like Hard Time has to end.

5/04/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Chuck T. said...

Tenzil,
I was going to quote one of your points, but it was quoted a few times, about Thor going evil and all that. My question is, why would you want to read that?
Now, it would be different if any motivation was established: why is Thor (or Superboy, or Alex, or Max Lord for that matter) evil now? Especially when in previous appearances they were good? (I'm using "good" and "evil" just to keep things simple.)
This isn't to say these stories can't be done, but there needs to be motive. You can have Spock try to kill Kirk or Watson stab Holmes in the back; if you can establish a convincing motive. If you see one, let me know.
(To be fair, I haven't read every issue/crossover/editorial press release for IC. I think in the Secret Files issue the world Superboy and Alex were stuck in after COIE was actually a kind of hell, which I didn't read and don't get: they could've left!)
This last issue of IC sounds like a vodka milkshake: I'm vaguely interested, there's some good in there, mixed beyond recognition, and if I paid for it I'll regret it later. Horrible metaphor, sorry.

5/04/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

It wasn’t taboo to even mention him. Characters didn’t remember him. That was the point of his sacrifice against the Anti-Monitor.

I'm talking about real-life editorial meetings, here. It was FORBIDDEN to use Earth-2 or its Superman, no matter how good a story it would be.

In-story, I interpret CoIE #12 differently- Superman and Lois ride off into the sunset, the characters are 'retired' out of respect. Kal-L doesn't have to give up that which is most important to him, Lois. Since no one else from Earth-2 knows him, they don't miss him. Not much tension there.

The only character in the DC universe who remembered was Pyscho Pirate.

And Animal Man.

On the other hand, characters remembered Barry Allen. They didn’t remember that how he died, but they remembered that he went to the future. So bringing him back was no big deal.

Sure it was, because it devalues Wally West to have Barry, the 'real Flash' around. I actually prefer Wally, because his story is more interesting- he is trying to live up to the expectations of a world that wants him to be like his dead Uncle and won't judge him on his own terms. That's a great character.

Wow – a list of characters and concepts that had to be resurrected in either IC or the build-up to IC so that they could be killed off again half a year later. That’s major.

Yeah, it is. If the CoIE and Multiverse have value as stories, killing off their central characters is important. Killing seemingly minor characters often has wide repurcussions- Terra for the Teen Titans, for instance.

Wow – a list of C and D list characters who got killed. Revolutionary!

Again, the minor characters should be judged by effect, not stature. Terra, Sue Dibny, Aquaman's son. All have a major effect.

Except we don’t know Wally is dead. We know the speedforce was yanked away, at least for now. We know that Bart is back, older, and he burned out. Until the new Flash comic debuts. But we don’t know that any Flashes are dead.

We know that the former incanration of the Wally West-as-Flash character is dead or changed beyone recognition. If Wally was fine, they wouldn't have cancelled his book.

The big three on pause for a while.

No, they aren’t. They aren’t pausing at all. It’s my biggest complaint about 52 – DC says it’s a year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, except, of course, for the fact that they are publishing Superman and Batman comics for all of that year and a Wonder Woman comic for most of that year.


Featuring depowered Superman, missing Wonder Woman, and crazy Batman.

So it’s not a year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman – it’s a DC Comic without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and that Ain’t that unique.

Let's see what happens in 52 before determining that.

Excuse me? The holy characters no one could touch? Perhaps no one touched them because COIE was a great story from start to finish with a satisfying ending that, oh, you know, wrapped things up?

Wrapped things up? Tell it to the Legion and Hawkman. Yes, it was a satisfying story. Heed the words of Dr. Manhattan: "Nothing ever ends....in serial fiction"

Superboy Prime cannot be BOTH a reader stand-in and 'just an alternate Superman'.

Uhm, why? Why can’t he be both?


If he is Generic Superman Clone #78, he isn't standing in for the reader unless YOU are a clone of Superman. His standing-in is at most that of Robin or Bucky- asking the dumb questions to move the story forward.

If he REALLY is the 'voice of the fanboy', now that is a whole new ballgame. He's acting like he knows he is in a comic book, which totally destroys the "it's all real" continuity most people love.

5/04/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

Chuck has some great points here:

I was going to quote one of your points, but it was quoted a few times, about Thor going evil and all that. My question is, why would you want to read that?

It's different. I like stories when something you thought was true for a long time turns out to not be true at all, when seen from a different perspective ("Thor's morality really isn't like human morality, we never noticed until it was too late"). Reading Thor pounding the Absorbing Man for the 1,000th time is dull.

Now, it would be different if any motivation was established: why is Thor (or Superboy, or Alex, or Max Lord for that matter) evil now?

This is the best of all questions to ask.

Especially when in previous appearances they were good? (I'm using "good" and "evil" just to keep things simple.)

Maybe they weren't good all along. In the original CoIE, Superboy Prime popped literally out of nowhere and joined the heroes because he had nothing better to do- and they accepted him at face value because he was Superboy and Earth-1 Superman met him once. Alex Luthor was from a world of evil, Earth-3. He appeared to help the heroes, but maybe he was just taking out a threat to his own power. In the Crisis, Darkseid wound up on the side of 'good'.

This isn't to say these stories can't be done, but there needs to be motive. You can have Spock try to kill Kirk or Watson stab Holmes in the back; if you can establish a convincing motive. If you see one, let me know.

As best I understand it:

- At the end of CoIE, Alex, Superboy, Kal-L and Lois go to 'Paradise'. (a/k/a/ editorial limbo)

- Turns out Paradise wasn't that pleasant and it slowly drove them crazy.

- They could see everything happening in the DC Universe and felt the current heroes were unworthy of the ultimate sacrifice they made for them.

- Their rage at being trapped made them evil and twisted. A 'Vader Conversion'.

- Superboy has pre-Crisis power levels and no experience or moral center. And he knows the Universe can be custom-rebooted and how to do it.

- Once they found a way to break out of Limbo, the could wreak havoc.

What's Superboy's motive?

-Insanity(like the Joker)
-Power (like Luthor)
-Oppressing what he considers the Weak to make them serve him (like Darkseid)
-Trying to get back a world that is gone and only he remembers, he is tormented by his memories

What's his character?

-Impulsive
-Unstable
-Man of Steel in a Tissue Paper world- he is grossly overpowered for the current DC Universe
-Doesn't fit in anywhere in the Universe
-Now he is hated and feared by all

5/04/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

If it was up to me, Superboy Prime's big return would last all of three seconds, before a decent villain popped his head like a grape and the story carried on with something less insipid.

5/04/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dweeze said...

Yeah, it is. If the CoIE and Multiverse have value as stories, killing off their central characters is important.

The point was that these were characters and concepts that were not in play in the DC Universe until they were resurrected for IC. Killing them off has no impact, means nothing, because they were, for all intents and purposes, already killed off. Resurrecting them and leaving them in play? Big impact, big changes. Resurrecting them several years ago, letting them have some prominence for awhile and then killing them off? Big impact. Resurrecting them in October just to kill them off in May? Means nothing.

If Wally was fine, they wouldn't have cancelled his book.

They canceled Wonder Woman’s book too. They’re bringing it back. They canceled JLA too. They’re bringing it back. All we know right now is that Wally isn’t here. As it stands, it’s not a matter of if we see The Return of Wally West, it’s a matter of when we see The Return of Wally West.

Featuring depowered Superman, missing Wonder Woman, and crazy Batman.

I can’t comment on Wonder Woman, since it hasn’t been released yet, but you must be reading different Superman/Action and Detective/Batman comics than the ones I’m reading. In the ones I’m reading, Superman is no longer depowered and Batman isn’t crazy.

Let's see what happens in 52 before determining that.

We don’t have to wait – DC is marketing 52 as a year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman and, as mentioned, it is not a year without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, it’s just a DC comic without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and that alone is not all that unique. Not saying 52 won’t or can’t be good, just saying that DC’s main marketing hook is disingenuous at best and a lie at worst.

If he is Generic Superman Clone #78, he isn't standing in for the reader unless YOU are a clone of Superman.

Uhm, no. A reader stand-in doesn’t mean a character who is exactly like the reader. It means a character who takes the point of view of the reader, a character who sympathizes with the point of view of the reader. Any character can be the reader stand-in, and it has nothing to do with that character’s race, gender, occupation, or age.

5/04/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

"Perhaps no one touched them because COIE was a great story from start to finish with a satisfying ending that, oh, you know, wrapped things up?"

I'm glad you put a question mark on the end of that sentence... because I will tell you that anyone who read Crisis on Infinite Earths, really read it, and paid attention, will tell you that the story was not a great story and the ending didn't really, genuinely, actually wrap things up.

I mean, if it wrapped things up, then the world of Man of Steel #1 would be similar to the world of CoIE #12. It isn't.

If it wrapped things up then Roy Thomas would not have continued writing Red Skies issues of All-Star Squadron with a character named Mechanique holding back cosmic changes in nineteen forty-something that have already affected 1986.

If things were wrapped up then how come Wonder Woman disintegrated in CoIE 12 yet was intact and whole in Legends 6?

The entire Post-Crisis Universe as fanboys came to love it took the form it did entirely off-panel well after Crisis #12 was published.

Keep in mind that a large chunk of it was crowd scenes that casual readers may or may not give a crap about and new readers would have no attachment to.

The primary cannon fodder and opponent were the Shadow Demons whose powers, abilities, invulnerabilities, and limitations were not consistent from issue to issue.

I enjoyed it a lot but they never even came up with a good solid answer whether or not Golden Age Green Arrow, Earth-2 Huntress and Earth-2 Robin left corpses behind? Did Kole? Did Earth-2 Speedy? Did Dove? Is there an answer consistent from aftermath issue to aftermath issue?

The proof that I am even a fan of the Crisis comics at all is simply that I care enough to notice that the story is craptacular. It's pretty, but it's not good.

It's okay.

5/04/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

Now there's an interesting thing about the metatextual crap and viewpoints.

In the Pre-Crisis DC canon Earth-Prime was our world, Earth-Prime was real. Events that occurred in the other earths could and would come through to Earth-Prime people's minds so that is why there were comic books in Earth-Prime that describe Earth-One stuff.

So the Earth-Prime on paper was a reaction to the ideas and stories of the Infinite Earths.

Post-Crisis canon we don't even pretend that there is an imaginary real world reflection of us in the comic books.

Grant Morrison, in his "Crisis 2"story in Animal Man, which I did not read, inserted himself. Actually, before and after Crisis 2 he made it a point in the stories to announce and illustrate in the stories that he was outside the stories creating them. Animal Man's fmaily died because he wrote their deaths. In the seventies the conceit was that Earth-Prime Cary Bates wrote the death of someone because that death occurred on Earth-One and it came to his head possibly in his dreams. Bates reacted. In the new Morrison subtext he made it happen; his writing was proactive and creative, not reactive.

He was not Uatu the Watcher, he was a creator and destroyer of worlds. This storyline was pretentious as hell and actually something that Elliot S! Maggin and Cary Bates would and were likely annoyed by. They actually wrote themselves into a JLA-JSA story in the seventies just to point out how pretentious it all is. I believe that was the point. To make a creator-inclusion-in-the-story event that so was so far out there future writers would see the folly and never do it again. It failed.

Later John Ostrander wrote Grant Morrison's "The Writer" character into Suicide Squad and killed him, just to make a point; or to annoy Grant Morrison... I neither know nor care which.

Anyway, all of this is just a roundabout way of correcting you that Animal Man did not at first have a standing notion of the Pre-Crisis worlds like Psycho-Pirate did, immediately after the Crisis. In fact, it was revealed to him that there was a difference and a change, by the Grant Morrison the Writer character and he was informed, told, (maybe shown) that his Pre-Crisis origin was different han his Post-Crisis one.

Psycho-Pirate knew about the Infinite Earths.

Harbinger knew about and wrote in her History that there was a Multiverse before the Universe and that an event at the Dawn of Time actually REstarted the Universe so that all of the relevent events and histor of the multiverse did happen but didn't happen. In fact she made a point of telling that without one there would not be the other even if the events of one did not have miniscule consequences in the other.

5/04/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

"A reader stand-in doesn’t mean a character who is exactly like the reader. It means a character who takes the point of view of the reader, a character who sympathizes with the point of view of the reader. Any character can be the reader stand-in, and it has nothing to do with that character’s race, gender, occupation, or age."

Examples:

From the X-Men Pryde of the X-Men cartoon - Kitty Pryde

From the X-Men movie - Wolverine

From the 1995 X-Men cartoon on Fox - series premier - Jubilee

from Post-Zero Hour DC Comics - Kyle Rayner

I don't care anymore.

5/04/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Answering the original question: I picked Infinite Crisis, but in hindsight I should have picked "kick to the balls" instead.

I may be in the minority here, but I've read the issue where Superboy Prime was introduced, liked it, I was looking forward to seeing the multiverse back and disliked a lot of the crap storylines leading up to the event. I was hoping Superboy Prime would win!

Frig it, I was hoping to see Superboy restart the DCU in glorious Silver Age brilliance. Instead we get the same old stupid crap written by a bunch of pervy seniors who started their writing career during the Boer War or something.

Infinite Crisis was not good comics. DC is not good comics. I hope the Siegel family takes their copyright back and start putting out the new adventures of Superboy and goddamn fast.

5/04/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dweeze said...

because I will tell you that anyone who read Crisis on Infinite Earths, really read it, and paid attention

So because my opinion differs from yours, I didn't read the story, really read it, or if I did I didn't pay attention?

Based on your picture, you're what - 25? 30? I was 25 when COIE came out, attending a top 20 law school. While I only graduated in the top half of my class, I'd still say my reading comprehension skills were more than adequate for the task.

COIE wrapped up within itself. It didn't end with

THE END? Bwahahahahaha

like IC does. What DC did afterwards, and yes, immediately afterwards, doesn't negate that COIE itself did wrap up. Bad guy permanently defeated, good guys off to retirement, slate wiped clean for DC to proceed. That DC didn't proceed with that clean slate, that they got to the brink and then pulled back, doesn't (or at least it shouldn't) take away anything from appreciation of COIE. Those of us buying the individual issues as they were published didn't know DC would muck it up.

By the same token, if what DC does next with 52 and all the OYL titles to come (And at what point do they drop the OYL? When it's OYL? At that point will they change the logo to TYL?) is the most wonderful thing ever to be published in mainstream comics, it won't negate the fact that the ending of IC was such a complete and total stinkbomb that it ruined the whole series.

5/04/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous tenzil said...

Grant Morrison, in his "Crisis 2"story in Animal Man, which I did not read, inserted himself. Actually, before and after Crisis 2 he made it a point in the stories to announce and illustrate in the stories that he was outside the stories creating them

Actually, Chris, I am very familiar with this story. It's even better than what you mention.

SPOILER
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We learn that:

- Animal Man discovers he is a COMIC BOOK CHARACTER, and, in one of the freakiest pages of all time, LOOKS AT THE READER AND FLIPS OUT. ("I can see you!")

- There will be a second Crisis someday. There is a long story arc about a character who feels 'wrong' in the Merged Earth and what this might mean.

- Animal Man learns the whole point of his existence, and the existence of everything he knows (the DC Universe), is so that they can be tortured and murdered for our amusement.

- Grant Morrison then kills Animal Man's family and sets him on a pointless revenge mission...for our amusement.

- Tons of 'lost' Crisis characters and some new ones pop up to talk about the Crisis and how it ruined their 'lives'.

- To beat the out of continuity bad guys, Animal Man LEAVES THE COMIC PANEL, then pops back in. The baddy has a total freakout at this, he can't comprehend it.

- Animal Man meets Grant Morrison, and they talk about how shitty it is for Grant to ruin Animal Man's life. Grant then spends half the final issue shilling for PETA while Animal Man has pointless fights.

The best part of the issue:

Animal Man (picking up comics at Morrison's house): You write the Doom Patrol, too?

Morrison: Yeah, but THEY don't know that.

I won't blow the very end for those who have not read it yet. It's all available in trade, 3 volumes for the whole Morrison run.

If not for this series, no one would have even conceived of a villain who was UPSET at continuity changes and could change history with his punches. It is not a coincidence Morrison is now a big deal at DC Editorial with IC running.

All this spins from the initial conceit in Flash #123: Our comics are dreams of real worlds elsewhere.

5/04/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Shoot. I was hoping that, at the very least, we'd end up with Captain Marvel on his own earth. Needs to be the WORLD'S mightiest mortal or, well, the concept falls a little bit flat.

Didn't happen, huh?

And, yeah, Hard Time WAS good.

And, after the slow starter first trade, I liked X-treme X-men. And I'm a huge Morrison Fan.

5/04/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous JLG said...

I quit reading IC after #4 and the disposable Titans tie-ins (the recap of 4 added nothing to the story save alternate camera points). Johns just had characters show up to be gruesomelly killed, with no set up, explaination, or focus on the fallout (oh, until 52 fleeces you out of your wallet). Pantha became just another Woman in a Refrigerator. Johns can't tell the difference between camp and actual tragedy, and many of the deaths (at least of minor characters, since people only seem to care about the Big Names and their Derivatives) are too over-the-top and jokey. IC really came off like a poor man's Watchmen. And nothing's resolved, and the universe is still dark and hopeless, despite all those promises. It may change in the future, but wasn't 52 supposed to be the process of moving out out of the dark days? I can only wonder what Red Star's going to be like when we see him in Titans. Something like 6 couples in DC were destroyed in IC, 5 of them fatally. OYL didn't change anything major, it's just the same old same old.

But then I liked Pantha, so I guess my thoughts don't count...

5/04/2006 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

...haven't read IC, and i've no plans on reading it, but judging from your review, well, it sounds just like a basic Grant Morrison / Warren Ellis JLA/DCU comic book.

The main difference between IC and Morrisson/Ellis-style Big Dumb Superhero Fite (tm) is that Ellis and Morrison have some idea of (o I dunno) story structure.
In a Morrison/Ellis BDSF(tm), things have consequences and some sort of impact, you have causes and effects which lead to a climax.
In IC, events have no repercussions. It's just *Bang!* something happens *Bang!* something else happens *Bang!* something else happens.

He bombards us with things happening without any meaning, reason, consequences or emotional impact. Things happen, but we're given no reason why we care or even if we should.
Also, there's no sense that it's going anywhere. It's just a series of things which lead nowhere and mean nothing.
At least Morrison and Ellis are actually capable of telling a story. This is more like some sort of collage, thrown randomly at the reader at high speed to dazzle them with light and movement in order to distract themself from the fact that, in the final analysis -
Nothing is actually happening.

5/04/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

...do you think it's any worse than Crisis on Infinite Earths? That series was a series of cameos, then shadows attack, then there's one Earth. The end. I certainly wouldn't say there's a whole lot of characterization in that series.

COIE was a bit of a mishmash, but it benefited from being a complete entity in and of itself. IC is in the unhappy position of having most of the really interesting stuff happening in the tie-in series'.
COIE on the other hand, can be summed up as you've done.
There's a threat - the anti-monitor - a whole bunch of heroes come together to battle it - shadow demons, the white wave, time fluctuations - and in the end, there's a result which we are told about.
IC doesn't even have THAT. It's just a confusing mishmash of seemingly unrelated images without context or meaning which keeps hitting you at high speed until the last page and then stops without anything even resembling a resolution.

5/04/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

I find your review snotty, unfocused, potty-mouthed, and off base.

I'll give you snotty, unfocused and potty-mouthed. I admit that. In fact, I did in the opening paragraphs.
But off-base? hrm.

Whatever the faults of Geoff Johns and/or Infinite Crisis, they pale in comparison with Marvel's recent output.

So just because one company's producing crap, that means that the other company's crap is suddenly made of candy? Hell no.
Crap is crap.

Infinite Crisis created anticipation and excitement, which are a great and fun things.

I agree. However, creating excitement and anticipation and then not following through is a con. It's called 'bait and switch' and it's a cheap ploy used by hacks to sell you crap and tell you it's actually gold.
Or you could just google 'Edsel'.

5/04/2006 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

I don't think anybody was aiming or expecting new plateaus of artistic achievement.

I don't expect artistic achievement. I want a story. It doesn't even need to be amazing.
But it should be there.
You know, beginning, middle, end? Cause and effect? Build, climax, denouement?
Something?!

It got the job done.
Sure it wasn't a great comic, but at least respect how hard is it to focus everything that happened into a coherent story.


If by 'getting the job done', you mean, leaving everything where it needs to be at the end, fair enough.
If you mean, actually crafting a (hell, let's forget the blog's title and go for good. Let's shoot for readable) story which achieves this purpose?
No. No he didn't.
See, it's not enough that DiDio's continuity dictates have been followed. That's like saying that an amateur production of Hamlet performed by drunken actors is just as good as the best production of Hamlet performed by the Royal Shakespearean Society because in the end all the right characters died.
It'd not a product. It's a process, and writers have a duty to do more than just make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.
They are entertainers who create entertaining fictions to inspire enjoyment and enthusiasm in their audience.
That's like saying that painting houses is the same as painting the Sistine Chapel. You get the same result both times, the roof is covered.
But just slapping a coat of paint on something doesn't make you an artist, and being able to hand in 22 pages of text at the end of the month doesn't make Geoff Johns a writer.

You're being way too hard on Geoff Johns.

Geoff Johns is being paid to write comic books. He is making a living as a writer.
Being a professional writer implies that you have certain skills, and are capable of certain basic tasks. If Johns wants to be a writer despite not being able to string together a simple narrative, then he's as worthy of contempt as Rob Liefeld wanting to be a professional artist despite not having any grasp of perspective or anatomy.
These are the basis tools of his craft and if he can't use them, then I have no compunctions in calling him on that.

5/04/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The end was just...bad. I enjoyed much of IC, and I was willing to let a lot of stuff go, but this was just terrible as a conclusion to an epic and it wasn't even good as a set-up for 52.

The Joker comes out of nowhere and kills Alexander Luthor while Lex looks on? Stupid and anti-climatic. A complete waste and not interesting.

The death of Kal-L: eh. Not a great way to go out (though the stuff leading up to the fight on Mogo was pretty damn cool). If they were going to finally put the Glden Age Superman into the ground, they could have done better than this.

But the worst, and biggest flaw of it all: the "reason" Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are off the canvas for a year. Superman, I almost buy, with his powers being gone. But why would Batman just take a year off like this? Because he realized he sucked? Wonder Woman takes a year off to find herself?

Booooooooo!!!!!!!

Lame lamer lamest!

I'm not going to irrationally hate on DC. Because OYL is a fun concept and a lot of the titles are using it wisely to tell some good stories and do some neat stuff. but IC definitely went out with a whimper and not a bang.

5/04/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelson said...

Infinite Crisis shared a lot more in common with Zero Hour than with Crisis on Infinite Earths. I will grant DC the impressive coordination it took to weave together all the elements of foreshadowing, the 5 lead-in minis (even if only one of them (Villains United) was actually any good -- well, 1 1/2, since Day of Vengeance would've been an excellent 3-issue miniseries). HOWEVER.

As you say, Infinite Crisis was more of a laundry list than a story. Whatever COIE's faults in cheesy dialogue, it at least involved problem solving and a genuinely cosmic scale.

With IC, the scale was only in the number of books involved. The villains were three guys with a leftover weapon from another story.

And here's the thing that really bugs me. If all they wanted was to get from point A to point B, particularly in terms of changing history... why not just declare that history had been changed? Why go through 7 issues of disconnected fight scenes and gratuitous deaths?

And I don't mean something half-assed like re-introducing the Doom Patrol as new characters with no comment, not accounting for problems like Beast Boy's origin. I mean making an official editorial statement, like "The all-new DC Universe starts in 2006," and actually going to the effort to plan things out across the DC line so that everything picks up at a consistent place. Do what they're doing with OYL, maybe even 52, without the mess of Infinite Crisis.

I remember an issue of Astro City that dealt with the aftermath of a COIE-like event. The event itself was described in a single 2-page spread. That was it, because the point wasn't how the changes in history were caused, it was what those changes were.

I'm interested in the "History of the DCU" storyline coming up. I wish it were being given its own series, instead of being serialized in 52, because Infinite Crisis actually eliminated the interest I originally had in reading 52.

(Full disclosure: I loved the first half of Geoff Johns' run on The Flash, and liked most of the second half. But Infinite Crisis was a disaster.)

5/05/2006 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

I pretty much agree with Pol that Infinite Crisis in the end came off as a pretty half-assed affair.

Although I admit that I’m not nearly as pissed off about it as my old friend is (hi Pol!).

The thing about a book like Crisis and this was true for the original series too, is that a book like this is desigined to tell the big picture while directing readers toward the various tie-ins telling the little bits. These things are corporate writing and you are just setting yourself for dissapointment if you expect depth.

Where books like this work isn’t in the overall narration as it is the individual BIG MOMENTS.

In the new Crisis the big moments are Superman freeing himself from limbo, the reapperance and disaperance of the Flashes, the destruction of Brother Eye and of course the death of Superboy. And some of these scenes are very well done, but I guess my problem is that I keep finding myself comparing it to the original Crisis and in every single way the new series just didn’t hold up.

I really think that even at his very best Johns is not really anything more then a second rate Marv Wolfman, and all he is doing and for that matter all he has been doing for his entire career, is to ape the writing styles of Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz and Steve Engelhart.

Now some of his work has been enjoyable because of that, but in a project like Crisis where you have to be spot on with all the characterization to make it work, I just don’t think Johns quite had the chops.

Still, it was a fun piece of Superhero popcorn and even though the writing does kind of fall apart in the end, it still was a good time.

Although I’ll never, ever take Superdipshit seriously as a interdiminsional threat.

- rick

5/06/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger paperghost said...

I rather enjoyed the whole event. Te only thing I would say is that the one shots - in particular, Villains United and the Omcac one shots...should have been actual issues of the Infinite Crisis series, as there's far too much important stuff in them to be left hanging.

Trying to make sense of the first 3 pages of IC7, I had no choice but to drop it and pick up the Villians United one shot...a situation that DC have (just about) managed to avoid with their previous one off issues up to this point.

When they stick IC into a collectors edition, they really need to remember to integrate some of those collectables into the book.

5/06/2006 02:01:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

"In the new Crisis the big moments are Superman freeing himself from limbo, the reapperance and disaperance of the Flashes, the destruction of Brother Eye and of course the death of Superboy. And some of these scenes are very well done, but I guess my problem is that I keep finding myself comparing it to the original Crisis and in every single way the new series just didn’t hold up."

Now I am being a huge pain in the ass and I am being a contrarian, but the phrase "original Crisis", taken literally, wouldn't and couldn't refer to the Crisis on Infinite Earths of 1986. I know you mean it to be that and when anyone and everyone here says "original Crisis" they are referring to the Crisis on Infinite Earths and I know that. In point of fact the actual original Crisis was actually published in 1963, nearly 23 years before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it was two issues long. Part one was "Crisis on Earth One" and the next chapter was "Crisis on Earth Two".

Look at his blood thing right here!!!

Heck, Marv Wolfman's Crisis was named after and for all the Crisis names used in the other earth-crossover JLA-JSA team-up stories. The name itself of THAT event was a send-up of a bunch of stories that predate it!

There. I've pulled that stick out of my ass. Now we can refer to the '86 thing as whatever the hell we want to, including "original Crisis" if we so choose but I'm too anal to let it go sometimes....

5/06/2006 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

"Based on your picture, you're what - 25? 30? I was 25 when COIE came out, attending a top 20 law school. While I only graduated in the top half of my class, I'd still say my reading comprehension skills were more than adequate for the task."

Yippee ki ai aye. You have higher academic and professional qualifications than I do and you can't recognize that the Crisis on Infinite Earths was not a self-contained story.

We have characters that show up from nowhere/somewhere in-between issues and then serve a slightly major role in the final issues (Superboy of Earth-Prime). We have moments which start in the series and end in tie-in issues of other series that are running concurrently. What the hell happened to the Red Tornado after the bomb went off and that elemental form went nuts? I don't know. It continues/ends in an issue of Justice League of America.

There are other moments and bits that I can whine about or rationally criticize but since you cannot hand this book off to....

Let's do the 1984 George Orwell test. Without me actually giving a full crap about the subject material Orwell's prose made me care about the character and I was well into the book before I quit reading because I was too damned depressed. I also quit because I skipped to the end and discovered that for all the difficulties that Winston Smith goes through he doesn't perservere and triumph, even in spirit. Oops. Spoiled the ending. Crisis on Infinite Earths can't pass that test. Not only is it a book about dozens of super-heroes defending multiple planets from a universe-crushing genocidal devil-god but they fail. They lose. From an objective, non-fanboy perspective there are dozens of characters going in that few who don't already care about them are not made to care about them fighting a crusade of inconcieveable scale against ultimate evil and losing. And then a lot of the characters don't even remember it.

The last few issues do manage to reduce the cast somewhat but... I cared about Superman of Earth-2 because they finally gave him space.

Never mind that I am unsure when in the continuity of that story that Alexander Luthor had time to pick up and save Lois of Earth-2. Wasn't there a long period where he lost his powers?

I own't even mention the disparity between what Marv Wolfman had planned for issues 11 and 12 and what actually happened.

5/06/2006 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger Iagorune said...

There. I've pulled that stick out of my ass. Now we can refer to the '86 thing as whatever the hell we want to, including "original Crisis" if we so choose but I'm too anal to let it go sometimes....


It's okay Chris, all of us comic types have that problem once in awhile.

The funny thing is that when I was writing my post I stopped at least twice and thought about rewriting the term for exactly those reasons.

5/06/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Lang said...

I had high hopes going into the series with the first two issues. The Golden Age Superman's commentary on how the DC Universe has gone wrong gave me hope that in this series, things would be put right. The 'taint' of the DC Universe would be removed and it would be made abundantly clear that the JLA are not incompetants who couldn't stop a woman from being raped in their own headquarters, and who tamper with villain's minds. All the cynicism and nihilism would be gone, replaced by inspiration and optimism.

However, things started going downhill with issue #4, in which Superboy-Prime massacres a bunch of minor Teen Titans who are given absolutely NO characterization before they're killed. They're established characters (Pantha, Wildebeest) but for all the screen time they're given, they might as well be the Star Trek redshirted security officer who dies before the opening titles.

Personally, I think Superboy Prime should have never been seen again after IC #4. Having him go out screaming "When I grow up, I'm going to be Superman!" was a great moment, and then Geoff Johns ruined it by bringing him back.

Really, I had the impression from the first few issues that the 'darkness' that the Golden Age Superman ranted about was going to actually be dealt with, and that it was infecting Alex Luthor and Superboy Prime too -- they were just too wrapped up in their plan to even realize it. But the heroes' questionable actions are largely unaddressed. Batman redeems himself, but there is no reckoning or anything for the JLA members who participated in the mindwipes.

The remaining issues of IC have their moments here and there (the death of Earth-2 Lois, Superboy's death), but they're largely just an excuse for mindless action and gratuitous gore. Did we really NEED to see the Psycho Pirate's head smashed into bloody goo on-panel? Not only was it unnecessary, but it was so over-the-top that it reminded me of an episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, and I couldn't really take it seriously. It just seemed wrong. (I also liked the way Grant Morrison wrote out Psycho Pirate in Animal Man better).

As others have pointed out, it seems like Infinite Crisis is more about accomplishing goals than telling a good story, and that unfortunately shows in the last three issues. The meta-commentary is more or less forgotten; Alex Luthor and Superboy Prime's valid criticisms of the heroes' behavior are forgotten, the Golden Age Superman is given a 'blah' death scene, Alex Luthor apparently dies an ignominous death in an epilogue, and Superboy Prime is still around. And the way the 'exit' of the 'Big Three' is handled reads like Geoff Johns isn't even trying anymore. Certain 'goals' had to be accomplished, and it doesn't matter how they're done or how believable they are just as long as they're done -- that's the impression I got.

Infinite Crisis started off good, but then seemed to forget what it was going to be about, and then just wandered aimlessly for the last three or four issues, as characters beat each other up and killed each other in gruesome ways. It started off as sort of a meta-commentary on the post-CoIE DC Universe, but ended up with nothing to say.

Very disappointing.

5/06/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Based on your picture, you're what - 25? 30? I was 25 when COIE came out, attending a top 20 law school. While I only graduated in the top half of my class, I'd still say my reading comprehension skills were more than adequate for the task."

Yeah, 3 overpriced years of vague skill sets, sophism training and socratic method really makes you smarter than the general population. Give us a break and get over yourself.

5/07/2006 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

Did anyone else note that Mr. Miracle was the only one that wasn't there in the double splash page, so he's the one that dies in 7 soldiers?

5/08/2006 09:47:00 PM  
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