Comic Reviews (Wednesday April 29th, 2015)
From worst to best of what I paid your hard-earned Patreon donations for.
Regrettably, this G. Willow Wilson arc simply didn’t work. He script had interesting ideas, but between subpar writers and a general sense of this being an auxiliary book running out the clock until Secret Wars, this just landed with the dull thud of a story that’s not going to be staying in print. Alas.
The Multiversity #2
Grant Morrison takes his usual superhero story to seemingly new conceptual limits, managing to change it not at all in the process. There are moments of distinct cleverness, but one kind of suspects that the final joke, with Nix Uotan wishing himself $800, is Grant Morrison laughing all the way to the bank.
Silver Surfer #11
The formalist gubbins are in overdrive, and the result is perhaps more a comic to respect than enjoy, with the cleverness really coming in at the expense of actually resolving the Surfer and Dawn’s conflict in any character-based way.
A perfectly competent comic in which Waid plays his big twist both to go into the end of his run and to put the toys back in the box. But Daredevil has been a lower tier book for me for a while now, and in a week as top-heavy as this, this is about where “perfectly fun” ends up.
New Avengers #33
Yeah, I’ve gotta say, I’m not thrilled with the tying into Secret Wars here. The waiting until the same week to release both of these drained momentum from Hickman’s already momentum-lacking run-in. That this seems to, unless I’ve misunderstood the plot, actually tie into the story several issues earlier than where we are right now makes it feel all the more insubstantial. There are some neat ideas in the exposition here, but wow, it’s as overworked as you might have feared. And… eh. Countdowns are never satisfying at the end when it comes to event comics, are they?
It’s very funny to see the Ultimate characters and the 616 characters in the same panel, but talking with different capitalization styles. That’s proper comedy, that is. As for the big Captain America/Iron Man fight at the end… why? I mean, to provide some sort of thematic unity to Hickman’s Avengers run, but given that his Avengers run is going to go down as little more than a 77-issue prelude to Secret Wars, which is to say, and this is worth stressing, the prelude to Secret Wars is longer than Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run, Sandman, Transmet, or The Invisibles… who cares? Why are we doing this? Oh god, I’m having existential doubts about my pull account again.
The New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1
Meanwhile, in “we should have a movie tie-in or two, eh?” we have a mashup of Marvel history punching robots. Robot Odin. A two-headed Hulk. Alan Davis art. what can I say, I really just wanted to put this ahead of Hickman’s Avengers.
Crossed Badlands #76
Apocalyptic horror done right, which is possibly to say as only Avatar can do it, with massive and horrifying levels of depravity. This doesn’t really push the concept of “Homo Tortor” very far, but it does the character work that the first book didn’t necessarily, and this is still tremendously compelling.
Bitch Planet #4
A beautifully non-compliant comic. You are reading this, right? In any case, the plot thickens and starts to cohere, which was a risk over the first three issues. Career-best work for Deconnick. And De Landro’s no slouch either, absolutely nailing some tricky scenes. Really, really fucking good.
April 30, 2015 @ 12:12 am
April 30, 2015 @ 1:43 am
I was really suckered into Infinite Crisis on the basis of those – four dovetailing plotlines, all seeming fairly high-stakes – how will they all come together? Oh, OK, not very well. There you go, then.
Secret Invasion had an excellent build-up – that's the peak of Bendis' Avengers run, I think. The actual event was badly paced and turned out to be another bloody countdown.
April 30, 2015 @ 1:47 am
If you count Infinity, and you should, it's an 83 issue prelude. It's possible that Secret Wars will be a satisfying closing act to a 91 issue storyline, of course. (But in order to be that it would probably have to make less sense to new readers.)
April 30, 2015 @ 7:18 am
I really didn't get the impression that Morrison was trying to change superhero comics with The Multiversity #2. It was an unashamed "event" comic in the tradition of Crisis on Infinite Earths, not his previous Ultra Comics. Of course, being Grant Morrison, it was still a bit weirder than anything most other mainstream comics would dare put out, but, for him, this was pretty traditional.
It was also deeply enmeshed in DC Comics lore. And not even modern DC Comics lore: this was all pretty solidly pre-2011 continuity. The revelation of the Empty Hand is a long-term reference, roughly equivalent to having the Macra show up in the tunnels in "Gridlock."
And I think, in hindsight, this was all very much the point. This is Convergence, Grant Morrison style. It's a celebration of the various different styles and approaches taken by DC in its decades-long history. The point wasn't to push comics writing into new territory so much as it was to explore the oft-neglected nooks and crannies of a shared universe. It was about having the Marvel Family defeat an eldritch abomination by being their usual bright and sunny selves. It was about Captain Carrot's running around trying to find his body against the backdrop of a fight against a corrupted god.
I think it succeeded spectacularly at that, and I like the implication of the ending, that Morrison has deliberately (and, one would hope, with the blessing of DC's editors) left the door open for future stories of this sort.