No Comics Reviews This Week
Sorry – I couldn’t get to the shop yesterday, so I’ve not actually read anything this week save for WicDiv, which I didn’t want to wait for, and so pirated in advance of buying a floppy today when I actually do make it. If I make it today. Which I might not, because I have to go into NYC to record that Slate podcast. So, yes, it’s a rather busy week.
WicDiv is marvelous though.
In any case, I’ll either run reviews on Sunday or fold the highlights into next week’s reviews. Last War in Albion will be up tomorrow, and is a fun one – pretty much all John Constantine, and one of the most extended discussions of magic thus far in the War. I’ve started writing the next chapter now as well, and that’s proving fun as well. I’ve decided that the sort of standard “two or three posts of historical background followed by a more or less chronological working through of the comics interspersed with digressions” approach that I developed starting around the Doctor Who/Star Wars chapter, and really honed for the Captain Britain chapter has clearly become a crutch to be discarded, if only for the sake of clearly establishing for the umpteenth time that thinking you know what to expect from Last War in Albion is never entirely safe. So the chapter has all the right bits, but not in the most obvious order – instead, it’s very much structured to come right off the end of the Swamp Thing chapter, and to maintain the tone that ends with. It’s the first time I feel like I’ve really used the “continual essay” aspect of Last War in Albion well over a chapter transition.
More broadly, I’ve finally gotten to where I’m looking at this first volume as a book unto itself, and it seems pretty clear to me that the one-two punch of Swamp Thing and V for Vendetta is the climax of the book. The first seven chapters are an extended exercise in anticipation – the structure of the Captain Britain chapter writ large, in effect. They go through almost everything they can possibly justify going through before getting to one of Moore’s masterpieces. Then we do two in a row in a big, triumphant roar of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century announcing himself to the world. And then it shrinks back down for the final two chapters, to try to get back to a sense of quiet and calm so that when I finally face Watchmen in Book Two, it lands in a world prepared to be completely upended. I suspect Chapter Nine will be 10+ parts again, but that Chapters Ten and Eleven will both be <10. I fully expect to weep, remembering the days I was foolish enough to believe that.
One of these days, I’ll have to sit down and outline Book Two. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to fulfill the promised structure on that, but I find myself weirdly confident that it can be done. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that gratuitous structure is very much my comfort area in writing, for better or for worse.
Spoiler: Last War in Albion will end with Alan Moore standing over Grant Morrison’s dismembered corpse proclaiming that he has delivered the twenty-first century.
More or less.
September 18, 2014 @ 12:24 am
The lack of comics reviews was entirely and more than adequately compensated for by your grandiose plan detailing worthy of a comic book villain. Thank you.
I suspect nothing in the world can stop you now!
September 18, 2014 @ 1:53 am
In the absence of reviews, can any explain to me the difference between all of these different Avengers comics that Phil reads (and possibly the ones he doesn't read – there sure are a lot)? Which one features the "real" Avengers (like whatever Justice League book that features Superman is the real Justice League and the rest are just branding)? What is the point of the rest besides making money? Can anyone help this regular reader but only occasional poster make sense of the Avengers?
September 18, 2014 @ 4:39 am
No problem! Avengers and New Avengers, written by Jonathan Hickman, are the ones you want.
September 18, 2014 @ 9:33 am
To answer the other question, all the other teams have "niches" in the Marvel universe that justify their existence (Uncanny Avengers is the X-Men crossover team, Mighty Avengers is the "street level" team, etc.) so they're not just "more teams of Avengers". In principle.
These niches don't necessarily justify them being called Avengers, but Marvel don't call the Mighty Avengers "Heroes for Hire" for the same reason DC don't call Justice League Dark "Shadowpact" — because they've learned from experience that that's a great way to create a critically acclaimed comic that nobody's actually reading.
September 18, 2014 @ 9:36 am
Someone just posted on Twitter, that today marked the culmination of Grant Morrison's plan to stop sharing a nationality with Alan Moore…
September 18, 2014 @ 9:39 am
It's not entirely accurate to call New Avengers a "real" Avengers book, since it focuses not on the Avengers but on a cabal of heroes fighting to stop alternate worlds from destroying the Earth and occasionally committing genocide if they're Namor.
But it's pretty essential to understanding Avengers, so.
September 18, 2014 @ 10:34 am
If Book Two is all about nineties comics I don't think structure's really a primary concern, just as long as it's awesome and shows a willful contempt for anatomy and scheduling…
September 18, 2014 @ 10:52 am
Are any of them about Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Wasp and two to four of their friends, none of whom is Spider-Man, punching the Masters of Evil in the face?
September 18, 2014 @ 2:42 pm
Book two is about Watchmen, Marvel/Miracleman, and Zenith; according to Phil it will be 12 chapters that structurally mirror Watchmen itself. I'm just hoping he goes so far that he gets somebody to illustrate 4-page comic sections at the end of each chapter but the last to counterpoint the text that would be the bulk of the chapter.
September 18, 2014 @ 11:14 pm
Commiserations, then, Mister Morrison.