Friday, June 23, 2006

ScatterThoughts: The Books Of June 21st

The biggest problem with All-Star Superman #4? The fact that I've already read the first three. I've become used to it, taking it for granted - I don't send it flowers anymore. I no longer have that sense of wonder I did with the first issue. Is there another superhero book on the stands today that feels so polished, so perfectly crafted? This is Morrison's finest superhero work, and I hope we'll see a run at least as long as New X-Men.

In issues, not in Quitely Years.

For those who keep track of such things: no, I did not understand Casanova #1. This was planned as a 16-page book, exploded to 32, and still didn't fit everything in. I'm O.K. with the confusion, though. There's a point with Kirby or Morrison or Lovecraft or others where you just ride the wave. It's a bit akin to treknobabble's "warp flux capacitors" or "inverse dilithium matrices" ... it's just there for effect, the details really aren't important. It's got energy and style and moment-to-moment dreamstate reality. It's the music of madness, and why would I need to know the lyrics when I'm being blown away by the virtuoso guitar solos of pencilman Gabriel Ba?

When discussing The Ultimates 2 #11, Kurt smacks that nail squarely on it's head when saying: "Dollar-for-dollar there have been more F@*% Yeah! moments in the last two issues of this book than any five others combined." Mark Millar takes a lot of WeboComicsBlogoNet flak, but I appreciate that he's a bit like Wolverine. He's the best there is at what he does ... and what he does is write F*@% Yeah!* moments. The Ultimates is a F*@% Yeah!* compendium. It is a F*@% Yeah!* concordance.

It is The Gospel Of F*@% Yeah!

Can I get an "amen"?

If someone asked "Why do you like Peter David's writing?", I'd give them this book.

If someone asked "Why do you hate Peter David's writing?", I'd also give them this book.

Giant-Size Hulk #1 pretty cleanly sums up The David Duality. I generally like Peter David as a writer, but it's only by the thinnest of margins. This book's reprint of Hulk: The End sums up the Good David: excellent pacing and structure, strong voices, psychological insight, characters that exist in complex shades of grey. The lead story wherein Hulk and The Champions stand off is the Bad David: incessant pop culture references, snarky winks at the audience, characters that all sound alike because they're all mouthpieces for David's next bit of cleverness.

Exhibit A in "How To Handle A Relaunch"? Allan Heinberg's Wonder Woman.

Exhibit A in "How To Completely Botch A Relaunch"? Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo's The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1.

What a confusing mess of voices, characters, and continuity. For a continuity as confusing as this, a nice and clean recap was essential ... but is missing. rather than any kind of jumping-on point, this felt like it was saying on every page that if you haven't followed the character for 20-odd years, you should pack your stuff and head home. The other real problem I had is that Bilson and DeMeo are another TV-to-Comics team, and it really shows in the narration. With similar diction and point of view, a slight change in the coloring of the caption boxes simply isn't enough. It's as if they were relying on the actor to differentiate the voices in the book.

*The royalty check is in the mail, Dave.


Richard said...

"This is Morrison's finest superhero work, and I hope we'll see a run at least as long as New X-Men."

If Morrison does re-up his 12 issue contract, who would you like to see take over for Quitely (who I'm certain will leave go on to other things, probably also written by Grant)? I myself am thinking Ed McGuiness, who did wonders on Morrison's JLA Classified run - I'd love to see them together again.

Mark Fossen said...

Big Ed is a Marvel exclusive ... as are most of the Seven Soldiers guys.

I would love to see Perez and Morrison work together ... seems his structural panel layouts would really work with Morrison's fractured realities.

Though I'd be happiest if Quitely stayed on it.

Richard said...

Aye - Quitely would be best.

But your Perez certainly does beat my McGuiness - I concede.

Peter Hensel said...

Does the Pak story in Giant Size Hulk enhance Planet Hulk? I've been on the fence whether to shell out teh dough for it, but if the end is so good, that just amde my decision for me.

I don't really see Quitely leaving All Star Superman, but Jose Luis Garcia Lopez on a Morrison story would rock, too, almost as much as a Perez one.

Mark Fossen said...

I'm not sure if the Pak story enhances Planet Hulk it's essentially Hulk vs. Banner in the Hulk's mind, and I don't know if it will have an effect.

It's a good piece, though. Shows that Pak really "gets" the Hulk.

zilla said...

I'm w/ you mark... all star superman is about the only ongoing DC cape book i read... it DOES feel polished because well... it is.

also: personally i loved hulk: the end (though the rest of this giant-size is abysmal IMO)... end was good esp considering how dismal hulk books have been since i've been back.

zilla said...

PS - I enjoyed Casanova but man was it a race to confusion or what? this series has a lot of potential but here's to hoping they slow it down a few MPH. i honestly would have been fine if they had taken 2-3 issues to deliver the story thus far (instead of 1)... but hey we got a LOT for 2 bucks so i almost feel guilty complaining...

joncormier said...


Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

I picked up Giant Size primarily because I'm enjoying "Planet Hulk", and Pak's story therein was a good read. Liked The End, too, though I wasn't expecting to based on how much I hated Wolverine: The End. The Champions story was kind of weak, but at the same time it reminded me how much I used to enjoy them back in the day.

As for Casanova, I'm hooked! Thought it was actually better than Fell, Fear Agent and Godland, all of which came to mind while reading it.