Comics Reviews (The Fifth of November, 2014)
As ever, from least favorite to favorite, with everything being something I willingly paid money for.
I’ve been getting this out of spite, out of a general commitment to know what’s going on with Marvel, but after the miserable slog that was Original Sin, this, another overly serious take on “what if heroes WEREN’T HEROIC ANYMORE,” is just a bridge too far. I’ll pick up number nine, but this “heroes are villains and villains are heroes and the Avengers and X-Men are going to war again” baloney is just too much.
I was commenting on Tumblr that increasingly, it’s difficult to straight-facedly recommend many of the classics of 80s comics to people who didn’t grow up with them. This is no exception – it’s still brilliant, and you can see so many of the roots of what Alan Moore and his successors would go on to do in it, but everything here has been done better eventually, even if only by Moore himself. At $4.99 for sixteen pages, it remains impossible to straight-facedly recommend.
In some ways this is an improvement for Chew, a series I’m reading in a sort of vigorous demonstration of the sunk costs fallacy. It’s narrowly survived so many culls of my pull list. It’s trying to do something interesting here, and I have hope that part of that being interesting is doing something more interesting than the pile of generic shock deaths it’s pretending to be here. But right now, it’s still just hope.
Gotham Academy #2
This is currently a triumph of style over substance for me, but it’s such a complete triumph of style that I’m going to stick with it in the hopes that it fulfills the brilliance of its premise soon. It’s a book one so wants to see succeed, but it’s still not quite.
The Amazing Spider-Man #9
This was very much why I stuck through eight very generic issues of this. It’s clever and fun and bold, and feels like it’s determined to be a brilliant Spider-Man story that will be remembered for decades. Whether the future history of superhero comics means that a 2014 Spider-Man comic is, as a cultural object, capable of being remembered for decades is uncertain, but it’s everything one could reasonably want out of a Spider-Man comic.
November 5, 2014 @ 1:18 pm
this "heroes are villains and villains are heroes and the Avengers and X-Men are going to war again" baloney is just too much.
What is Marvel's logic here? "If we keep doing it, it's bound to work eventually"?
(Actually, I know what the logic is. Books like these are the opposite of the ones that get great reviews and terrible sales figures…)
November 5, 2014 @ 7:18 pm
I think a lot of my issue with Chew right now is it seems to be in stall mode. I would be less annoyed with the slower release rate if it wasn't that they clearly have time, as seen by the Poyo and Revival issues. I'm also pretty sure that this issue isn't what it seems- the only person who seems to have suffered clearly unsurvivable wounds is Applebee; and he's the one character Layman has said gets out of the series alive.
I'm still enjoying the series, but this year has been frustrating.
November 5, 2014 @ 9:52 pm
Yeah, showing Applebee in that way when we've (supposedly) seen a panel from the final issue with him alive and well and still hating Tony seems to suggest something's amiss, and I assume that was the reason for that panel in the first place.
Agree with you on the pacing – there are few things more annoying than a month of Chew that turns out to be a Poyo special. That joke has been relentlessly run into the ground.
November 6, 2014 @ 1:35 am
Rick Remender made his name at Marvel doing gritty emo fight books about morally ambiguous heroes (Uncanny X-Force, basically) – so AXIS is him doing that at universe-sized scale. But it's not remotely working for me, partly because the ambiguity is a macguffin, and partly it's that the Remender who did Uncanny X-Force was not the Remender who had three successful creator-owned Image titles to do tortured-narrator fight scenes in. His Marvel stuff over the last year has seemed really unfocussed – and this is a problem for Marvel in general right now. If your big name writers are getting equivalent or better money for their passion projects elsewhere, how do you keep them interested in the work-for-hire stuff?