web stats

CSBG Archive

Joss Whedon and John Cassaday on Astonishing X-Men: When “awesome” just isn’t good enough

Three men sit in a bar in midtown Manhattan, circa late 2003. Let’s call them, for the sake of argument, Joss, John, and JoeyQ. Let’s listen in …

JoeyQ: So. Let’s hear your ideas for the new X-Men book.

Joss: Where’s Kitty Pryde? I had a huge crush on her back in the 1980s. She was such a teenaged cutie. My 13-year-old self wanted to get with that!

JoeyQ: She’s in college. The previous regime thought it would be best for her to move on. Too many X-Men seem to get stuck at Xavier’s and never grow up.

John: We’ll bring her back. I agree with Joss, she’s a hottie now. College sucks. I’m sure if she were real she’d rather live in a strange, isolated, insulated, weirdly incestuous community of like-minded people rather than, you know, getting to know some non-mutants for a change.

Joss: Plus, we can reference old issues of Uncanny X-Men! That would be awesome.

JoeyQ: Sure, we can bring her back. Why not? We have Emma Frost on the team, right, and Kitty doesn’t like her.

Joss: Damn. Catfight! We can have a scene where she bitch-slaps Emma – figuratively, of course.

John: Hell, I’d draw them wrestling in jello. That would be awesome.

JoeyQ: Not quite yet, John. Maybe down the line a bit.

Joss: If we have Kitty return from college, she has to hook back up with Peter. Colossus is awesome.

JoeyQ: Um, Joss? Colossus is dead.

Joss: What? So? He’s a freakin’ mutant – they come back from the dead all the time. You can set your watch by Jean’s resurrections!

JoeyQ: Yeah, but, y’see, when I came on board here, I famously said, “dead is dead.” You don’t want me to go back on my word, do you?

Joss: But I dig Colossus. Man, he killed that dude in the Mutant Massacre. That was awesome. And John likes him!

John: Colossus is shiny.

Joss: Plus, if we bring Colossus back, you know what we can have him do …

All three: FASTBALL SPECIAL!

JoeyQ: Ah, hell, you twisted my arm. The fanboys will eat it up! Who cares if we cremated him? You’ll figure something out. Fastball specials are awesome.

John: And we figure we’ll put them back in costume – I mean, uniforms. I love Grant’s work, but everyone wants to see Wolverine the tough guy in a yellow outfit.

JoeyQ: What about Emma? She always dresses like a whore. Do we give her a uniform?

John: Hell, no. She doesn’t dress like a whore, she’s “empowered.” And in battle, nothing is more sensible than a bustier.

JoeyQ: Okay, fine. So what’s the story?

Joss: You’re gonna love this – someone develops a cure for mutants!

JoeyQ: …

JoeyQ: …

Joss: What? What?

JoeyQ: Um, Seagle did that plot. Less than a decade ago. Bachalo drew it.

Joss: Who cares? Nobody was reading X-Men back then, even though it was your top-selling book. We’ll do it the right way. And we have to do it.

JoeyQ: Why?

Joss: Because Henry McCoy will be interested in taking the cure. And Wolverine doesn’t like it. So those two can fight. Everyone wants to see the X-Men fighting amongst themselves. Tension within the group is awesome. Can’t you just imagine John drawing Logan and Hank in a big throwdown?

John: The Beast is furry.

Joss: And we can have Sentinals!

JoeyQ: How, exactly?

Joss: Shit, I don’t know. Oh, I know! They’re just a simulation! But it will give John a chance to draw big honkin’ robots!

John: Sentinals are shiny. And awesome.

JoeyQ: What else? The fanboy in me is overriding the editor in me. This all sounds awesome.

Joss: Well, we have to have a scene where Scott blasts Logan with his optic beams. Because, you know, tension within the group is awesome.

JoeyQ: How about Logan baits him because Scott is boinkin’ Emma? That’ll be a hoot.

John: Awesome. And I wanna draw SHIELD’s heli-carrier. I smell a full-page spread on that.

JoeyQ: Sure, why not? That heli-carrier is awesome.

Joss: You know what? This is gonna be an awesome comic book.

***

Okay, so I doubt that’s how it happened. But when I read the first trade paperback of Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men, “Gifted,” that’s what I thought. I resisted buying these in floppy form because it started right after Morrison left X-Men and I was a bit burned out on mutants. I figured that Marvel would collect it, and sure enough, they did. I considered buying the big 12-issue collection that came out, but the good folk at this blog assured me that six issues of the embodied Danger Room beating up the X-Men wasn’t worth it. “Stick to the first six,” they told me. Those, they told me, are – you guessed it – awesome.

What is promblematic about “Gifted” is what is problematic about several mainstream superhero books these days. Cronin has mentioned this in connection with Infinite Crisis, but it’s emblematic of so many books these days. In catering to the fanboys in all of us, Marvel and DC have decided on a policy of “awesome” moments – comics have always been very good at this sort of thing, more so than perhaps any form of literature, and I am not immune to them. When Jean Grey steps in front of the laser beam and sacrifices herself; when Batman shows up for the first time in Dark Knight Returns; when we turn the page in Miracleman #15 not knowing what to expect but certainly not expecting the utter carnage of Johnny Bates’ rampage through London; when Thor and the Avengers bust into Ultron’s stronghold and our favorite Thunder God says, “We would have words with thee.” Comics are practically made for awesome moments – much more so than movies, which are not a static medium and therefore we can’t simply open one up and check out an awesome moment. If I want to, I can dig through my long boxes and take out a comic that I know has an awesome moment in it and simply stare at the gorgeousness of it all.

However. Astonishing X-Men is built on awesome moments, and they feel pre-determined. There is the flimsiest of plots – the mutant cure, which Seagle and Bachalo did back in ’97 or ’98 (the X-books were particularly aimless back then, despite that talent and Alan Davis on the book as well, so my memory of the issues is cloudy), and this flimsy plot serves simply to bring about awesome moments – Logan fights Henry! The X-Men get their uniforms back! Peter returns from the dead! Peter throws Logan almost into orbit!

“Gifted” reads like a survey of comic book fans. Here it is:

1. Which X-Man do you want to see return from the dead?

a. Colossus.

b. Phoenix.

c. Psylocke.

d. Doug Ramsey (ha, we’re kidding with that one – everyone knows he sucks).

2. Which X-Man should have a confrontation with Emma Frost?

a. Iceman, because she once possessed his body.

b. Shadowcat, because she when she first met the X-Men, Emma messed with her.

c. Phoenix, because Emma stole her man!

d. Gambit, because he’s kewl.

3. Which famous manuever and/or phrase from X-Men history do you want to see return?

a. “The focused totality of my psychic powers!”

b. “I’m the best there is at what I do.”

c. “Fastball special, Petey!”

d. “A world that hates and fears them!”

4. Who on the X-Men should fight each other?

a. Any two women, because catfights are awesome.

b. Beast and Wolverine, because Logan kicks ass!

c. Cyclops and Wolverine, because Logan kicks ass!

d. Gambit and Wolverine, because Logan kicks ass!

5. Costumes: good or bad?

a. Good – superheroes rule!

b. Bad – superheroes r stupid!

In “Gifted,” we hit all of these plot points without really earning the right of awesomeness. You see, “awesome” moments have to be earned. It’s not enough to simply say, “How cool would it be if Logan and Henry fought each other?” Their fight, like much of “Gifted,” comes out of nowhere. Yes, Logan was once a crazed hothead who would fight you as soon as share a beer with you, but those days are long gone. If Whedon wants to read that Logan, I suggest he read early issues of Claremont’s X-Men instead of writing Logan that way. “Gifted” appeals to us in the worst possible way. Most of the reviews of it mention how it’s a return to the Claremontian X-Men we all loved back in the 1970s and 1980s. Well, that’s a lie. Pick any six consecutive issues of that book and I can guarantee that at least three times as much stuff happens. But that’s not the point – “writing for the trade” is the norm now, and I’ll have to deal with it. Claremont’s issues weren’t built on “awesome” moments – think of the awesome scenes in Uncanny X-Men from 1976-1991 and the chances are that it was built up over pages and pages and issues and issues, so when it comes, it’s truly spectacular. One example leaps to mind: when the Reavers attack Muir Island in the #250s. The awesome moment, of course, is when Forge blows Skullbuster away. But leading up to that, we had the attack, the death of Irene, fighting between Freedom Force and the bad guys, Avalanche’s death, Pyro’s failure to create fire, Lorna almost saving the day, Banshee showing up – lots and lots of little cool moments that allowed Forge the time to build his weapon and start kicking ass. It only took a couple of issues, but Claremont built up to that moment, and when it happened, we said, with conviction, “awesome.” Whedon doesn’t do any of that. Peter’s resurrection is supposed to be a shock, I know, but why on earth would Logan simply attack Henry? Because he’s curious about the cure? It makes no sense. Of course, the whole idea of a cure makes no sense either. I do not like when Marvel delves too deeply into the mutant gene idea, because we are forced to confront the fact that a displaced gene gives someone weird powers, and that makes no sense (for the record, Morrison’s “secondary mutation” idea annoyed me too, before you think I believe everything the man writes is golden). The problem is, of course, is that the story does not matter – all that matters to Whedon and Cassaday is that they get to do “awesome” moments – and the plot is secondary to that. This makes “Gifted” a pretty and occasionally interesting story, but ultimately a failure.

Yes, it’s a failure. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it on some levels. Cassaday’s art is beautiful, and Whedon does write Kitty, especially, well. Ord is, well, stupid, but at least he’s new and not “someone from the depths of the X-Men’s past!!!!” Scott and Emma are a worse couple than Scott and Jean ever were, but at least Whedon tries to make them believable. I don’t really give a tiny rat’s ass if every single Marvel character ever created comes back from the dead, but JoeyQ’s famous dictum should hold for a while, shouldn’t it?

What I’m puzzled about is the overwhelming positive reaction to this, at least the first arc (the sentient Danger Room arc is another story). I suppose the only thing I can think of is that this is pandering to the fanboy in the worst degree. As I said, I’m a fanboy as well, and I appreciate the “awesomeness” of the scenes, but is that just the initial reaction? Have the people who lauded Whedon as the true successor to Claremont gone back and re-read these issues and seen how devoid of anything else they really are? Like I said, “Gifted” isn’t awful, but it’s not the greatest mutant book ever written, either. It is probably the best X-Men book of the three, but that speaks more to the others’ lack of quality than anything (and I still think Milligan’s work is slightly more interesting, as wrong-headed as a lot of it is).

What Whedon did, really, is pull back on the insanity of Morrison’s run. Many people reacted negatively to Morrison because he didn’t care about building on what Claremont did. He spat on our memories. We’ll ignore the fact that he took the X-Men further than anyone since Claremont and even, really, ended up trying to fit the X-Men into the continuity of their own history – people thought he was too weird, and John Sublime was too bizarre, and Quitely’s women were too androgynous, and Cassandra Nova too difficult to understand. Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is meat-and-potatoes mutant comic book stuff. That’s part of why people like it, but it’s also the problem. There is nothing here that distinguishes itself from anything else we’ve ever seen on X-Men. This run is as memorable and important as (dare I say it?) the stuff in the late 1990s. Nothing more, nothing less.

Of course, this is what we want from our comic books. Astonishing X-Men sells well. Infinite Crisis sells well. “Awesome” moments make up good-selling comic books. It’s a shame, because it’s tapping into the nostalgia we feel for the books of our youth, and that’s holding back creators from really telling good stories. We all remember the “awesome” moments, as I’ve mentioned, but we should also remember the quality story-telling and characterization that made those “awesome” moments so much better. Something like “Gifted” is short-hand storytelling – all payoff. And that gets boring after a while. At least it does for me.

57 Comments

See, I am one of Whedon’s biggest fans. So much so, I want to buy this t-shirt. But that’s because he’s a brilliant filmmaker. His comics work leaves something to be desired, whether it’s Fray or X-Men.

X-Men? I thought it was insipid, for most of the reasons you listed. It started off decently enough… sure, the first issue was loaded with fanboy pandering, but the second one had some great sequences and the third issue wasn’t that bad, even with the random Beast/Wolvie fight. But it went downhill from there. Colossus, one of the most boring X-Men ever, returns, only to do absolutely nothing for the next eight issues. But that’s basically what he’s good at, standing around (I hear that it’s his secondary mutation, and widely used in the movies).

The stories just weren’t good at all (I’m very tired of gratuitous Nick Fury appearances), and it made even the pretty Cassaday art to look lifeless on the page. Agh! There’s so much wrong with the state of the X-Men. At least Morrison tried to give them a jumpstart, and New X-Men is the closest those damn muties have come to being literature…

I’ll be doing a post on X-Men one day, which will hopefully highlight, analyze, and solve some of the problems the comics have got going for themselves.

Yeah, I hate “awesome moment” writing. Whedon did it in Astonishing, Loeb did a whole bunch in the last Superman/Batman arc. If someone could effectively merge the awesome moments with a honest-to-goodness great story, it wouldn’t be so bad. When the awesome moments are expected to BE the story, which is usually the case, it leads to horribly overrated comics.

oops, i thought i was reading a marvel book i enjoy, not and indie comic that is supposed to be held up to some kind of higher standard. thanks for reminding me that xmen is supposed to be more than something that i finish and say “i liked that. it did its job”

next time i look at the stories ill make sure i get something more out of them.

So, is this the moment when the Joss Whedon backlash officially kicks in? Because I’m working up a chronology, and I’m not sure quite when to call time on it. :)

Seriously, I do think it’s odd that this is a book that’s being criticized for being too awesome. It feels like Whedon’s being blamed for his audience’s cynicism–a sort of ennui has crept in, so that no matter what we see, it’s “Been there, done that, can’t you do something newer and better?” Which is interesting, because the second criticism I’ve been hearing right after “Whedon’s being too much like Claremont” is “Whedon’s not being enough like Morrison.” (“Newer, better, and more like what we read last month!”)

I enjoyed it. I thought his characters made sense (in some ways, more sense than they have in the last decade. I’ve _never_ understood why people are just, “Oh, forgive and forget” with the White Queen, given the number of times she’s attempted torture and murder on the X-Men with no more motivation than, “I’m bored and I get off on torture and murder, what’s your problem?”) I thought the story worked. I can understand some of what people said about it tearing down what Morrison wrote, but let’s face it–Morrison’s one weakness as a writer is that he tends to write stories nobody can follow up on. (See “Animal Man”, “Doom Patrol”, and arguably “JLA”.)

And lumping it with ‘Infinite Crisis’? Now, that’s just mean. :)

“And lumping it with ‘Infinite Crisis’? Now, that’s just mean.”

Good point. Few comics deserve to share the hall of shame with the crapfest that is “Infinite Crisis.

Addendum: Resurrecting Colossus

I think that when both Joss Whedon and Grant Morrison are telling you, “We should bring back Colossus, it was a mistake to kill him off, they never should have been allowed to do it,” then probably you should listen. I’m against reset buttons in general, but sometimes writers mess things up so badly that the only thing the next writer can do is say, “Just kidding.” and move past it as quickly as possible. (See “Clone Saga, The.”)

kyle: oops, i thought i was reading a marvel book i enjoy, not and indie comic that is supposed to be held up to some kind of higher standard.

I don’t know how one can be pretentious about their anti-pretentiousness, kyle, but you’ve managed it.

All comics should be held to high standards. Why reward anything less than greatness? Maybe it’s just me, but I expect comics to be good.

John: Seriously, I do think it’s odd that this is a book that’s being criticized for being too awesome.

It’s not criticized for being awesome. It’s criticized for trying far too hard to be awesome, and failing at it. Astonishing X-Men isn’t offensively bad, like Infinite Crisis and its ilk; no, it’s just sadly mediocre, which disappoints me immensely, as Joss Whedon has been a huge influence on my work as a writer. Unfortunately, he just can’t write good comics. But I’ll be first in line to see his Wonder Woman movie.

“oops, i thought i was reading a marvel book i enjoy, not and indie comic that is supposed to be held up to some kind of higher standard.”

Pardon me, but… shouldn’t ALL comics be held to a higher standard? Should there really be some unwritten rule that superhero comics only have to “be what they are”? I don’t care if we’re dealing with an indie comic or a random mainstream X-book – it should be something worthwhile.

Whedon’s run, in my opinion, has been decent. It’s not as fun, nor as mind-blowing, as Morrison’s run, but it’s better than the X-Men were before that point. I like where the current storyarc is headed, but the series has been a bit spotty thus far. It’s entertaining, but does not excel. Which is a shame, because I know he can do more. And I don’t think it’s crazy to expect just that.

Thanks, Bill and Bry, for backing me up so eloquently. We should hold all comics to a high standard.

As for Colossus, I think that WAS probably the rationale for bringing him back, and again, I don’t have a problem with it. But for Quesada to thunder so publicly about keeping characters dead and then very publicly allowing not only Colossus but others (Psylocke, for instance) to come back just makes me laugh. Sure, if it will make money for Marvel he’ll do it, but I just thought the backtracking was humorous.

Sorry for lumping it in with Infinite Crisis (which I haven’t read yet, but will very soon – for free!). That was probably a cheap shot!

I NEVER understood the x-men till Morrison came along. As a result of reading astonishing x-men I’ve started reading the great little uk trades of the claremont/byrne issues issues. Simply so I can understand the stuff they are refrencing. like Fastball special.

Even if people dident like danger (which would have been a great on going ‘B’ plotline for an x-men tv show.) the latest arc builds on one of the freaky images that Morrison came up with and uses it to disect Cyclops. It’s great stuff and worth a read.

The thing is, these sorts of books are incredibly easy to recommend to new readers.

As much as Hush sucked as a story, I have no problem recommending it to new readers when i’m at the store, because they’re so lacking in continuity, they have familiar characters, and because it’s what people who havn’t read comic books in ages expect.

Then i try to hard sell them on Brubaker…which doesn’t always work.

At least I can give people One year later stuff to look at, sorta…sometimes.

I wish todays writers would look a bit more to the past as to what worked and what didn’t. Two of the best “team” comics I can remember were Marvel Comics’ Strikeforce Morituri and DC’s (don’t laugh) Atari Force. GREAT characterization and use of extended subplots — all leading up to that AWESOME moment.

A feeling that the characters are inhabiting their universes, not just there to put on a show for the readers. Too many recent comics play that way and it rings false no matter how much you enjoy it.

Look at the original Poseidon Adventure vs the remake. Perfect example of telling an awesome story vs showing us a series of AWESOME moments.

“The thing is, these sorts of books are incredibly easy to recommend to new readers.”

I’m a fairly new reader to comics. I got back into them 6 years ago for a solid year, then stopped reading. Then two years ago I got back in big time. I love the comics that are coming out today from the indie to DC and Marvel. I’ve been collecting as many trades as I possibly can and reading up on all the history behind all the characters I’m reading on places like Wikipedia.

I’ve honestly never been that interested in the X-Men besides the FOX cartoon, and their videogames starting with the first one on Genesis. I always liked the characters and wanted a reason to read about them. When I got back into comics and started finding websites dealing with them all I heard about was the continuity behind the X-Men and all of this crazy stuff that’s been happening for 20+ years. I would flip through some comics at my shop and most of time couldn’t tell you who most of the characters are.

When Astonshing came out I figured I would give it a go. I was never a Joss Whedon fan, mainly because I was totally unfamiliar with him since I never watched one of his shows (TV wasn’t my thing until I got this evil DVR). Anyway, I heard all the hype behind it and, like I said, I always wanted a reason to read the X-Men.

Well, nothing in this series has been awesome to me at all. I had no idea Colussus was even dead, so that meant nothing to me. The cure storyline just seemed like a retread to me, and I’ve never even read an X-Men comic before. I have no idea why people loved this series at all. I guess maybe it has to do with going back to the roots of these character that it sounds like Morrison might have left on his run. Whatever, it doesn’t matter to me. I love the art, but the writing definitely does not blow me away. I hated the Danger arc, but am still on board for now. The last issue, even though I had no idea what I was supposed to be getting out of it, was my one of my favorites on the run because it seemed like something that might make me say “awesome” with you guys might be coming up. God, I hope so, really.

My only two experiences with X-Men titles (besides X-Factor) is this, and Deadly Genesis so they haven’t been good ones. If anyone can recommend something that pretty much considered good by everyone and a good place to start I would appreciate it.

“oops, i thought i was reading a marvel book i enjoy, not and indie comic that is supposed to be held up to some kind of higher standard. thanks for reminding me that xmen is supposed to be more than something that i finish and say “i liked that. it did its job”

next time i look at the stories ill make sure i get something more out of them. ”

Oh, this was sarcasm?

It made so much sense that I thought you were being serious.

Yeah, as sarcasm, it is silly, as comics should be good. Not “indie comics should be good.”

“Superhero comics don’t have to be as good” is probably one of my (if not THE) biggest pet peeve.

I don’t see anything unearned about the awesome moments in this story. The basic plot has been done before, but that is going to happen with any writer (besides maybe Morrison) on any title that’s been published this long. Every single storyline pertaining to the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Superman, Batman, etc. has been done. The trick is doing it well. And this is done well. The plot makes sense.

There’s a lot of stuff I shouldn’t like about Whedon’s run. It’s written for the trade. It has huge splash panels and individual issues read more like the acts of an episode of a TV series than entire episodes. It came out horrifically late until it went bi-monthly. But the fundamentals are done right. It’s fine writing and fine art, so I’ll tolerate the other things.

The Beast/Logan fight doesn’t come out of nowhere. Tensions are high and Beast looks like he’s ready to change sides, as it were. To walk out when the X-Men can’t afford walk outs. They talk about this- an X-Man takes the cure, that gives the “cure them” movement momentum up the wazoo. This isn’t implied, it’s explicit.

I would argue, in the abstract, that though I think the plot of “Gifted” holds, plot does not always have to be the most important thing, nor does a flawed story preclude a work being good overall. THE BIG SLEEP is the famous example- there are holes that even the guy who wrote the book can’t explain, and every film critic says “whatever, it rocks.” CITIZEN KANE has the problem where nobody is around to hear the title character whisper “Rosebud”. KING KONG raises so many questions that even the Peter Jackson mega-remake couldn’t answer all of them. And yet these things work. I don’t see why comics should be any different. Plot is important, but so’s character and so’s atmosphere, and visual beauty and visceral pull and thematic complexity. A work can succeed or fail in any number of ways.

As for “shouldn’t JoeyQ’s dictum hold for just a little while”, the answer is no. The drama of events comes not from their permanency but their execution in and of themselves, and more importantly, we need Moira back, dammit.

I dropped Whedon’s X-Men after four issues. I recently got the first two trades out of the library and after reading them I can say with clear conscience that Whedon’s X-Men, like most all of the X-Stuff being put out today, suffers from an extreme case of “meh”.

moose n squirrel

May 29, 2006 at 4:30 pm

What can I say? I thought “Astonishing” was pretty mediocre from the word “go.” If nothing else, it returned us to an era of conservative, backwards-looking storytelling on the X-Men, discarding most of Morrison’s greatest innovations on the title. Under Morrison, the book felt like it was actually about something, heading in an actual direction; now it just feels like another exercise in servicing aging fanboys, from the retro spandex costumes to the oh-so-eighties Shadowcat-and-Colossus relationship.

Yes, I do think that you’re right–Astonishing did discard most of Morrison’s greatest innovations on the title. That’s because (warning: blasphemy and heresy ahead) the next writer to follow Morrison always has to discard Morrison’s work, because Morrison paints himself into a corner, then hands the brush to the next guy and vanishes.

Look, I love the guy dearly, I’ve got whole shelves of Morrison’s writing, but he is lousy at leaving a book for the next writer. Look at ‘Animal Man’. The only possible thing a writer can do with ‘Animal Man’ once Morrison leaves is ignore everything he’s written, because his run ends with Buddy finding out that he’s nothing more than a comic book character being written by Grant Morrison. There’s no place to go from there.

Look at ‘Doom Patrol’. His run ended with Niles Caulder being a ruthless supervillain, then getting his head ripped off. How do you do anything but a reboot after that?

And now look at his run on X-Men. He’s killed Jean Grey and put Scott into a relationship with Emma–a relationship that he himself has stated is based solely on Scott being mind-controlled into it by Jean’s ghost (yes, I know, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it.) How can you possibly write that as a believable romantic relationship if you’re the next writer? They’re not compatible personalities, they don’t have common interests, they don’t have anything to keep them together other than “Jean’s ghost’s mind control”, and to top all that off, everyone who doesn’t know about JGMC (which is everyone) just sees Scott shacking up with Emma before Jean’s body even cooled off. All you can realistically do with that relationship is break it apart in a very ugly way.

And that’s not the only example–Morrison’s X-Men run is great, but he did not write something that led organically to more stories. He doesn’t do that. More power to him, I guess; I’ve liked pretty much everything he’s written. But I understand why the next guy after him invariably winds up undoing everything he’s done.

I think one of the reasons Morrison doesn’t leave books in good shape for the next writer is that it helps him look that much more brilliant when the remaining writers have a hard time. Frank Miller did the same thing, he wrecked Matt Murdock’s life, took away his job and money and reputation, shacked him up with a drug-addicted prostitute that took all his money and put him in the ghetto. A very depressing hard-to-work status quo, and as a result Miller looks daring and progressive and every writer after “Born Again” looks like a tool.

Julio Dvulture

May 29, 2006 at 11:47 pm

I think the fact that the way exhausts all storytelling possibilities of using his ideas when he leaves a title underlines something that makes manga so interesting and satisfying to many people and that for the longest time made it the no. 1 reading for me: it ends.

That is the problably with any superhero comics: it never ends and it’s written but a host of different authors so if you are a fanboy for many years you will inevitably see a lot contradicting stories and repeated plots. Sure when the comics were for kids this wasn’t a great problem since the reader would be reading just for a couple of years so the chances of it happening were small.

But know with readers counting sometime more than 30 years of being fans is really difficult to conceal that fact that comic books don’t have no real change and ultimately no final payoff: people don’t age and no lesson can be learned forever.

Manga on the other hand is written by one author only and always with a ending in mind: if the story tanks in sales it will have to at least have some kind of resolution. And that is not the only reason they think of a ending early: is a way of making the story relevant.

And since most things on manga have a reason of being, even the most decompressed stories don’t feel padded (with possible exception of famous shonen mangas like Dragon Ball and Naruto, since they are cash cows that milked for all that they are worth). Recently I finished reading Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou for example: a manga that published a chapter a month for a total of 140 chapters. That is basically 14 years of story about a robot that owns a cafe on rural area and seldom get visitors. But damn, was it worth.

See the last chapter was a step-by-step repeat of the first chapter… except that at least 30 years must have passed between them and that is subtly made clear even if you only read the first and last ones.

That is unfortunally something that will never happens on superheroes comics. I think that is the reason that so many people like “Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow” from Alan Moore: it provides closure. And closure is maybe reason 3 on a top ten reasons to enjoy a story in any medium.

You see, I think Morrison agrees with this: he seldoms revisits characters that he wrote before. Ellis thinks the same too in my opinion, except that he may not revisit works (well, I don’t think we will see new adventures of Spider Jerusalem any time soon) but in some ways he is always writing the same character (the tough, hardned by life guy who takes no bull from no one) in the same story (the tough guys goes on a rampage screwing everyone who he thinks that deserves it).

So most of all, I think the problem is with the nature of american comics (indie comics lots of time escape this by having endings. For that matter the same happens with vertigo on lesser scale… since the comics end but some small corner of the Sandmanverse keeps being written till now).

So the facts that stories lines are so dilluted right now that they are reduced to moments instead of narratives, I think the fault is because since everything has been repeated so many times, modern writers think they just need to use shorthand writing and will be enough. And since lots of them are old fanboys writing for old readers they are not far from the truth: most of these stories from Geoff Johns, Joss Whedom and others stay most in their heads, but is not a problem for people that already read all that 10 years ago.

I thought there was a lot of potential in the mutant subculture and the X Corps from Morrison.

Ok, by no means is he the easiest writer to follow but he does make sense of allot of things before he brings in his own brand of strangeness.

The first thing that Morrison did with the x-men was put them in clothes not costumes. The next thing he did was re-brand the basic function of the team.

Before Morrison they were people who have powers, wear costumes close to bondage gear, and get into fights for very little reason.

After he made his changes. They wore black hardwearing leather jackets and trousers with heavy boots. All the central team members were emblazoned with a big X. Their stated objective was now to be a mutant search and rescue team.

The costumes put them apart from society; the search and rescue clothes made them something that an ordinary person could understand. It would look appropriately menacing when you wanted people to back off and be allot more hard wearing then a single layer of material made out of *ahem* unstable molecules.

There is a massive amount of fiction that is predicated on the idea of a sci-fi search and rescue team. Thunderbirds (and all it’s imitators), The James White hospital ship novels, about a quarter of star trek plots (and all it’s imitators).

To me at least Scott and Emma’s relationship made sense. In the light of what Wheedon has used in his most recent X-men story about Scott and Emma; Morrison seems to have left plenty of unfinished business for a talented writer to pick up on.

As a side note I did love that of the three X books that were going at the start of Morison’s run. One was Morrison writing people dealing with the forefront of mutant issues; the second was the more violence orientated team book; where they had slightly more costume like clothes. The third was the ‘west coast x-men’ written by Claremont. I Love the fact that the book was set in sunnier climes so the women can still ware less and the costumes, while still black leather with colour pops, actually looked like bondage and fetish gear.

X-men is a concept so overloaded with ideas you can love and hate an issue at the same time so easily.

The trick, as far as I can see, is to separate the modern sci-fi rescue from the overblown action hero. Then to give another book that still caters for the people who like looking at sexy people wearing costumes getting in to convoluted plots.

In a way, having Morrison plot the books would make far more sense. So the cultural shifts in mutant society can occur in all books not just one. Also people can be insulated from his ‘shotgun of ideas’ dialogue; that seems to overload most traditional comic readers.

moose n squirrel

May 30, 2006 at 4:31 am

There’s no way you can compare where Morrison left the X-Men and where he left the Doom Patrol (getting rid of the entire team) and Animal Man (effectively replacing the protagonist with himself and calling into question at least half the events of his run). In fact, next to his run on JLA, his “New X-Men” run was the one that most easily set up a follow-up run. While he provided a closing arc to tie up the various themes of his run and let everyone know where his plotlines would have eventually headed with “Here Comes Tomorrow,” he also deliberately flipped a reset switch so that closing arc could be ignored by the next writer.

When I talk about rolling back Morrison’s changes to the X-Men, I mean the focus on human evolution, the mutant community, sci-fi over superheroics, and subplots that actually resolve themselves within a year or so of being brought up instead of dragging on for a decade before Ed Brubaker decides to dig them up again in “Deadly Genesis.” Now Joss Whedon certainly isn’t responsible for all of this – it was Quesada, after all, who wanted to depower millions of mutants in “House of M” – but he’s the hot writer who got the flagship X-book, and he ran back to Claremont-derived stuff as soon as possible.

Well, if it’s simply a case of Whedon focusing on different themes… well, isn’t that just what happens when writers change? I like what I’ve read of Morrison’s NEW X-MEN work, but I don’t see why it should be the authoritative guide for the franchise.

I’ll be doing a post on the X-Men as a concept one of these days… I seriously think the concept has been broken horribly for a good long while and needs to be analyzed and fixed.

Look for it.

moose n squirrel

May 30, 2006 at 12:48 pm

“Well, if it’s simply a case of Whedon focusing on different themes… well, isn’t that just what happens when writers change?”

It’s not just that they were different themes, it’s that it was the same stuff that everyone had been doing for twenty-plus years before Morrison’s run. It’s rehashed Claremont. I want these people to do something new and different with this concept. Morrison did something new with it; Milligan and Allred did something new with it; Whedon just went back to exhuming the stuff Claremont did in the 70s and 80s.

All this denouncing of Whedon and Brubaker is making me sick. Morrison is so overrated that its not even funny. He did nothing new with the X-Men. They have always been a team that helped mutants and took them in to train them in the use of their powers. Do you Morrison rabid fanboys honestly think the X-Men should be stuck in a rut of no action and boring weirdism? If so check yourselves at the door because there are people who are enjoying Brubaker’s work and Whedon’s work.

Mimick: Do you Morrison rabid fanboys honestly think the X-Men should be stuck in a rut of no action and boring weirdism?

You must not have read the same comics I did.

Anyway, “action,” by which I presume you mean “super fights” does not make or break a story. It simply is. It does not mean things are happening. Several issues in a row of Astonishing X-Men were all action, and, guess what? Nothing happened in them. They were boring.

Bill Reed said: You must not have read the same comics I did.

Anyway, “action,” by which I presume you mean “super fights” does not make or break a story. It simply is. It does not mean things are happening. Several issues in a row of Astonishing X-Men were all action, and, guess what? Nothing happened in them. They were boring.

I wasn’t talking about only physical action. I was talking drama about as well which I see being grouped with action. Whedon is setting up things at a slow pace like Claremont is. He said he was a big fan of Morrison’s run and as such he brought that awful Mary Sue Cassandra Nova back to help reform the Hellfire Club and help take down the X-Men from the inside. So what if the team wears costumes? They tried the leather clad civilian look and it didn’t make people trust them any more then they did before. If you and these other Morrison fans are X-fan’s as you claim you would know that the X-Men have tried different ways of approaching the dream and all of them have failed. As for Brubaker your lowballing him because in your mind he can’t measure up to Morrison. If you had actually read Bru’s Captain America and Daredevil you see that it make Morrison’s work look like the garbage it is. But then that would be placing faith in some one who I imagine thinks Morrison’s idea of ReSilver Aging the DC Universe is the greatest idea ever.

I love making people angry simply because I question whether a comic book – A COMIC BOOK – is good or not. I happen to like Morrison a lot, but I have issues with his work as well. I certainly wasn’t comparing Whedon’s work necessarily to Morrison’s – they both have different approaches, certainly, but it just seemed to me that with Whedon, and Claremont, and Austen, Marvel was trying to undo Morrison’s stuff as quickly as possible. I could be wrong. In a complete and total vacuum, “Gifted” simply isn’t that compelling. It’s okay, but it feels like, as others have mentioned, that Whedon is trying too hard to be awesome.

As for Brubaker on X-Men, I’m actually looking forward to it. It will be interesting, at least, to see what he does with them.

I have a lot of faith in Brubaker on Uncanny and I don’t think he will disappoint. His Captain America is fantastic from what I have of his run and I have heard great things about his Daredevil.

Do you think you could leave out the insults, please? That’s not the kind of tone that we want to have here.

What I don’t get is how you can complain that there was no action in Morrison’s run (apparently you missed the issues with the riot, the U-Men attacking the school, Prof. X shooting Cassandra Nova in the head, Jean catching Scott cheating, and the intergalactic invasion), and then praise Whedon’s run for “setting things up at a slow pace”.

You’re contradicting yourself.

You misunderstood what I said. Morrison’s run had violance, but it didn’t have any emotional/dramatic impact. It was like a bunch of cardboard cut ups that he and Quitely dressed up as the X-Men and said “Hey look at this! We are the X-Men! Watch as Xavier blows his make believe sister away!” None of his New X-Men run fits with what Marvel is trying to do now(and wouldn’t fit with the Marvel of yester year either…). They are trying to be more realistic with their heroes because the current crop of readers have more realistic expectations. Grant Morrison from what I have read of his work is known for his pre-crisis DC silliness and bizarre work which doesn’t fit with the current expectations of readers nowadays. Whedon draws his inspiration from Claremont’s past run which identifies with alot of older readers who loved his work and also those who are a fan of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Honestly its a win-win situation for Marvel and Whedon.

Just clarifying on the Whedon point. While Whedon draws inspiration from Claremont’s past run he adds his own realistic, sci-fi, and humorous spins on the book which makes it different then Claremont’s. Brubaker I think will his own spin on the mythos as well.

Mimick: I wasn’t talking about only physical action. I was talking drama about as well which I see being grouped with action. Whedon is setting up things at a slow pace like Claremont is. He said he was a big fan of Morrison’s run and as such he brought that awful Mary Sue Cassandra Nova back to help reform the Hellfire Club and help take down the X-Men from the inside.

Of course, those that actually read Morrison’s run would know the true fate of Cassandra and how bringing her back doesn’t make sense, though I believe Whedon’s going to end up putting a certain twist in at the end there.

So what if the team wears costumes?

They’re ugly, that’s what.

If you and these other Morrison fans are X-fan’s as you claim

I claim the exact opposite. I hate the X-Men, aside from Morrison’s New X-Men and Milligan and Allred’s X-Force/Statix.

As for Brubaker your lowballing him because in your mind he can’t measure up to Morrison. If you had actually read Bru’s Captain America and Daredevil you see that it make Morrison’s work look like the garbage it is. But then that would be placing faith in some one who I imagine thinks Morrison’s idea of ReSilver Aging the DC Universe is the greatest idea ever.

Well, I didn’t say anything about Brubaker. Personally, I loved Gotham Central (his bits were better than Rucka’s) but his Marvel work hasn’t done anything for me, and that includes Captain America.

And yes, I have my opinions on the “Re-Silver-Aging.” Because, you know, the Silver Age was known for unbridled imagination and originality, and that’s what comics need more than ever.

They are trying to be more realistic with their heroes because the current crop of readers have more realistic expectations. Grant Morrison from what I have read of his work is known for his pre-crisis DC silliness and bizarre work which doesn’t fit with the current expectations of readers nowadays.

Morrison’s X-Men work does not read the same as, say, All-Star Superman. He’s capable of different styles, and I’d say New X-Men was more “realistic,” I suppose, if that’s the term you want to use. I’m getting the distinct vibe that you haven’t actually read any of Morrison’s run beyond maybe the first three issues.

All I expect is for comics to be brilliant; I don’t care what genre they’re in or how bizarre they are so long as they’re good, you see.

But I don’t find Marvel’s output realistic at all, mainly because they haven’t thought most of their major plans and ideas through as thoroughly as they should.

Whedon draws his inspiration from Claremont’s past run which identifies with alot of older readers who loved his work and also those who are a fan of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Honestly its a win-win situation for Marvel and Whedon.

Well, I never liked Claremont, but as I said above I’m a tremendous fan of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. And I think Whedon’s either phoning this in, fanwanking way too much, or just isn’t that good of a comic writer. And, I mean, the man’s a huge inspiration on my own writing, so it’s kinda odd.

But now I see I *really* need to write that X-Men post that’s been brewing in my head. Look for it sometime this weekend.

Re: 26- I just don’t think something has to be new and different to be *good*. WHAT a story is about is not what makes it good, it’s how it’s about it. And I think AXM executes its premises well. The characters are vivid and well-drawn, the stories have made sense so far, the dialogue’s good, the art’s strong, I like the costumes, it’s been working out well. Whether it’s new or retro or what doesn’t matter to me.

Frankly I find the whole first bit of the review rather immature- just because one doesn’t like the work doesn’t mean one can presume to know exactly what was on the minds of the people who created it, and shoving words in their mouths to show what stupid fanboy hacks they are is rather cheap IMO.

Bill Reed:I claim the exact opposite. I hate the X-Men, aside from Morrison’s New X-Men and Milligan and Allred’s X-Force/Statix.

And you just proved my point for me. Your just whining because Morrison isn’t still writing an X-Book and people hated Milligan’s run on Adjectiveless X-Men (though I thought Milligan’s run was interesting)

Evan Waters: Frankly I find the whole first bit of the review rather immature- just because one doesn’t like the work doesn’t mean one can presume to know exactly what was on the minds of the people who created it, and shoving words in their mouths to show what stupid fanboy hacks they are is rather cheap IMO.

Agreed. I thought reviewers were supposed to be neutralist and say what they like and didn’t like. Not tearing down writers because their work doesn’t appeal to them.

Mimick: “I thought reviewers were supposed to be neutralist and say what they like and didn’t like. Not tearing down writers because their work doesn’t appeal to them.” As opposed to you tearing down Morrison’s work because it doesn’t appeal to you? Sheesh – doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore? I don’t have to be neutral at all – if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work – for me, at least. And from what I have heard, at least from Quesada, he does think like this, way too often.

Mimick: And you just proved my point for me. Your just whining because Morrison isn’t still writing an X-Book and people hated Milligan’s run on Adjectiveless X-Men (though I thought Milligan’s run was interesting)

You had a point? Aside from obviously ripping into creators you don’t like and calling us all idiots.

I don’t care if Morrison isn’t writing the X-Men anymore. I don’t follow characters. He told the story he wanted to tell, and I liked it; that’s all that needs to happen.

Milligan is very hit-or-miss; I could tell from the start X-Men would be “Bad Milligan,” and I have a feeling editorial interference was really bringing his work down; he’s probably too “weird” for the “mainstream.”

“Sheesh – doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore?”

I was thinking the same thing, Greg. If these guys get so worked into a tizzy over what you said, what’re they gonna do when I actually start cutting loose at this new location? ;)

My two cents.

First of all, I agree very much that the story was fanboy writing. I have no problem with /a little/ fanboy writing. Kitty Pryde joining the team made sense. The return of Lockheed… a begrudging okay. The return of Colossus? That’s where you lost me.

If a character is going to return from the dead, don’t treat it like the Pearly Gates have a revolving door. Comparison: Kevin Smith on Green Arrow. It had its flaws, but it essentially went like this: Ollie’s back, why? The entire storyarc was about how it happened and what the price was. Also, Geoff John’s Hawkman return foreshadowed for several issues, cleaned up continuity, and established reincarnation consistant with his Egyptian background. Colossus seemed just as it was, “Open door number three and Colossus is there!” Insert two lines about mistaken identity and move on.

The “fastball special” earned more of a groan than a cheer from me. Maybe I have no love for nostalgia or comic book hokiness.

Ord was pathetic. He was a major distraction from the plot (such as it was) who reminded me of an interdimensional slaver from Christ Claremont’s “triumphant” return to the X-Men. At that moment I thought “Uhh… does Joss Whedon realize he doesn’t need to write for a makeup artist?” Ord seemed like someone from Buffy or Angel inappropriately inserted.

The cure plot: I don’t care that it was done before (not only in the comics, but also in the cartoon). I /do/ care that Beast got his fur from a bungled attempt to cure himself in the first place (which was never addressed), but mostly, it wasn’t followed through. An ethical question was raised, toyed with a little, but it was overshadowed by Ord, Colossus, and the renegade SHIELD agent.

Finally, I’m one of the few who liked “Danger” more than “Gifted.” I think that the villain (while not great) was much better than Ord, I don’t think it was playing “fan service.” It had some great ORIGINAL moments like Cyclops going all out on a Sentinel, Xavier driving a big rig, and foreshadowing of the Hellfire Club. However, the first issue made me desperately wish Whedon was writing the Fantastic Four instead.

The good: Characterization and dialog (i.e. Wolverine to Johnny Storm, “I like beer,” and “I’ll make you obsessed with his art. I mean, sexually.”) Danger Room gags including the children’s play room and the tiny Hawaii.

The bad: Plot. Villains. Fan service. If Whedon overcomes these problems, he’ll be trully astonishing.

None of (Morrison’s) New X-Men run fits with what Marvel is trying to do now(and wouldn’t fit with the Marvel of yester year either…). They are trying to be more realistic with their heroes because the current crop of readers have more realistic expectations.
Explain to me again how a minature dragon, spandex costumes, the barely explained revival of a years-dead character, and Ord of the Breakworld is Marvel being more
“realistic” in comparison to Morrison’s run on New X-Men.

Anonymous: Explain to me again how a minature dragon, spandex costumes, the barely explained revival of a years-dead character, and Ord of the Breakworld is Marvel being more “realistic” in comparison to Morrison’s run on New X-Men.

Very funny. I know who are so don’t even try that BS with me. The whole point of what Marvel is doing is trying is to create a medium for differing perspectives of the real world and the Marvel Universe. Hence they are trying for stories that come as close to realistic as possible. Is it flawed trying to ground stories they should float on the clouds? Maybe. But its not for us to decide. We can only pass on the book for something better or give it a try.

Greg: Sheesh – doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore? I don’t have to be neutral at all – if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work – for me, at least. And from what I have heard, at least from Quesada, he does think like this, way too often.

Except your far from being humorous.

Bill Reed: You had a point? Aside from obviously ripping into creators you don’t like and calling us all idiots.

I don’t care if Morrison isn’t writing the X-Men anymore. I don’t follow characters. He told the story he wanted to tell, and I liked it; that’s all that needs to happen.

Milligan is very hit-or-miss; I could tell from the start X-Men would be “Bad Milligan,” and I have a feeling editorial interference was really bringing his work down; he’s probably too “weird” for the “mainstream.”

The reviewer and yourself ripped into the current X-writers just because they won’t rub you the weird way like Morrison does. So why should I show respect for Morrison when the Reviewer and you yourself among almost everyone who posted in this faux review has shown nothing, but disrespect to the current X-writers. If none of you like X-Men don’t read the book! Its that simple. Go to DC where Morrison is super stroking Superman back to Jesus levels and ruining the DC Universe in his new cushy editor position. No one is forcing you to read what you don’t like. There is no laws making read what you don’t like and frankly no one wants to hear you complain.

Sorry for coming on too strongly. I just disagree with your views…

Mimick: but disrespect to the current X-writers.

You must’ve missed the part where I said I worship at the altar of Joss Whedon. And Milligan is one of my favorite writers, I just think he’s had trouble with some of his most “mainstream” work, is all. …Claremont, okay. But I’m sure he’s a cool dude.

If none of you like X-Men don’t read the book! Its that simple. Go to DC where Morrison is super stroking Superman back to Jesus levels and ruining the DC Universe in his new cushy editor position.

Well, I’m NOT reading the X-Books, you see. I gave up on them.

And, well, whatever. While this little discussion has been, er, interesting, let’s move on to something new, then. I’d rather not spiral down this road and get too bashy.

Jesus Christ!

So rude!

This is not a Morrison fan, who finds Whedon to be an over-rated hack, saying that, Mimick; you’re making an utter fool of yourself. Your points barely make sense and revolve either around Morrison-hate or repeating that somehow Whedon is trying something more realistic, evidence of which you have yet to produce, and even dismissed when Anonymous brought them up.

Say what you will about New X-Men; at least Morrison wrote them as human beings, not as bland excuses for “witty” one-liners (This does not equal characterisation) which barely manage to be any different from his previous characters in his one-trick pony TV series and comic endeavours.

What point do none of you get? Modern readers have a certain limit on what they can believe. They can believe a man can fly, shoot eye beams out of his eyes, gods, and demons up to a certain limit of comfortibility and understanding. Morrison’s clear out and out weirdism is way too far out their comfort zone and understanding for which is why he putting him on a book like X-Men won’t sustain it. That is why his New X-Men is loathed. You guys can’t get that because you enjoy his out and out weirdism and how he straddles the fence. I only enjoyed his JLA: Earth 2 which he didn’t phone in. The two issues I have of his New X-Men which had Fantomex were rubbish.

I loved Claremont’s run and I have read very little of Whedon’s run. Two issues in fact and while it does remind me of the Essentials I read. It isn’t the same thing. Every one has their own taste. I hate a majority of Morrison’s work because its phoned in while he is high on something. I grew up on the Stan Lee’s work and the like. Like them I didn’t like his portrayal of the X-Men and found it to be a bastardization of what the X-Men stand for. That’s why I spit venom when I speak his name. The theme behind the idea of the X-Men was obviously lost on Morrison.

As for AXM it is far from groundbreaking. It isn’t the best X-Book out there. All it is is a comfort zone for the readers who were disgusted with Morrison’s run. I am such a reader and I think it and the X-Franchise as a whole is getting low-balled so people can beg Marvel to bring Morrison back to further ruin the franchise is terrible crime.

I have nothing more to say on this.

moose n squirrel

May 31, 2006 at 7:58 pm

Modern readers have a certain limit on what they can believe. They can believe a man can fly, shoot eye beams out of his eyes

Really? Who are these modern readers who believe in the possible existence of high-flying, eyebeam-blasting mystery men? Please tell me they’re properly sedated.

Morrison’s clear out and out weirdism is way too far out their comfort zone and understanding for which is why he putting him on a book like X-Men won’t sustain it

Well, far be it for me to contradict “modern readers,” but I seem to recall sales jumping during Morrison’s run – which seems to imply that someone was reading it. And as far as Morrison not being able to sustain a book like X-Men, he wrote what – forty issues of that comic? That’s one of Morrison’s longest stretches on any title, and nothing to sneeze at in today’s “twelve issues of Hush and we’re off to something else” era of creative commitment.

Sure, the majority of people don’t want post-modern hip leisure. Right.

Which rock have you been living under for the past century?

You’re giving very little credit to us, and even less credit to the audience these works are directed towards.

For all his “weirdness”, New X-Men was probably one of the most reasonable things Morrison has written yet. It works perfectly well with the bizarre mutant ménagerie and plots available to the universe. To most people, it wasn’t a problem.

Well, far be it for me to contradict “modern readers,” but I seem to recall sales jumping during Morrison’s run – which seems to imply that someone was reading it.
I think his response will be something along the lines that those weren’t modern readers, people who actually appreciate the X-Men, those were us Grant Morrison fans, who apparently insufferable elitists who hate the X-Men and everything they stand for and aren’t weirded out by really weird crap that he still has yet to specify beyond a broad accusation that Morrison’s work was “phoned in while he was high on something.”

Man, if you honestly think New X-Men is “out and out weirdism,” I’d hate to see your readction to Flex Mentallo. That’d probably be even more embarassing to watch.

I always hate to dog pile on anyone, and I’m not going to do it to Mimick, especially because he (I’m assuming) has finished with the subject. But I’ll do it a little. First, I have a name, and it makes me sad when people don’t use it. I may cry. When I mean “sense of humor” I don’t mean you have to find something funny, but when we discuss comics, we all need to lighten up a bit. I did mention Whedon’s run as a reaction to Morrison’s run, but I don’t think I gave any impression whether I liked Morrison or not, just that Astonishing X-Men is a reaction to it. And as for not reading something I don’t like, I do not plan on buying the next trade of Whedon’s run. I just bought this because I had heard a lot of good things about it. Now I know better! Astonishing X-Men is certainly not horrible, but I am a bit puzzled by the reaction to it, and I wonder if it is people who don’t like Morrison – which is certainly understandable – wanting “their X-Men” back. I am concerned with the quality of comics, but I’m also very concerned with WHY certain people like certain comics, and I don’t like knee-jerk reactions to those questions. If you like Whedon’s work, fine, and for the most part, people here who did like tried to explain why. I just don’t get when someone challenges them (and this goes for me, too, although I do try to act better) about why they like something, they get all defensive. If you like something, tell me why, and we can debate it. That’s all we’re about here.

If you’re reading, Mimick, thanks for the thoughts. I actually do appreciate them. But be warned – I’m not going to be nice, and if I think creators who are better than something they’re working on, I’m going to mock them. If that makes me mean-spirited, so be it.

I’m sorry Greg and I apologize for this getting out of hand. I apologize to Bill and the others as well. I just think that there’s a difference between what the sophisicated readers want and what we the unsophisicated readers want. I understand that those of you who read Morrison and Joe Casey want comics to evolve, but some of the fanbase just isn’t ready yet and may never be ready. That’s just the sad truth.

Reading where this thread has gone, particularly Mimick’s comments, I had a Simpsons quote run through my head:

“This man does not represent us.”

I liked Grant Morrison’s run on X-Men. I like Joss Whedon’s current run on X-Men. These two things are not mutually exclusive. I merely brought up the point about Morrison’s run because:

a) one of the two criticisms I frequently hear about Whedon’s run is, “He’s undoing Morrison’s stuff!” And my response to that is, “So does every writer who has to follow Grant Morrison. That’s how Grant Morrison’s stories usually work.” X-Men isn’t on the level of ‘Animal Man’, true, in what needs to be retconned, but that’s because more editors pay attention to the X-books than they did to ‘Animal Man’. :)

and b) the other of the two criticisms I frequently hear about Whedon’s run is, “He’s so unoriginal! He’s just rehashing Claremont! Why doesn’t he do something more like Grant Morrison did?” Which I find generally amusing, since people are saying he should be more original, but what they mean is that he should slavishly imitate Writer A instead of Writer B. :)

Obviously, these two criticisms might not represent your view. Please feel free to assume I’m not talking about you.

But ultimately, I do feel like this is just the inevitable backlash–whenever a popular writer/artist does a new project, there’s invariably a huge initial positive response, then a huge subsequent re-evaluation of the work and negative response, then people’s opinion settles down a bit and finds a more accurate path. Talk to me about it in another year. :)

“I understand that those of you who read Morrison and Joe Casey want comics to evolve, but some of the fanbase just isn’t ready yet and may never be ready. That’s just the sad truth.”

So what? You think that every single person in America wanted to free the slaves?

That’s the whole point of this blog. It’s not here to talk about what people like. It’s here to talk about what’s GOOD.

LL_the artist

June 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I liked Morrison’s New X-Men for the reasons I’ve enjoyed all of his work (excepting the Filth), because it makes me think and he definitely shows a good deal of affection for the characters he writes.
His X-Men actually came across as real people. People who just happened to have fantastic abilities.
My thought on Joss Whedon’s AXM is that he really wanted it to read like a movie…..that’s how the pace moves and he relies heavily on having John Cassaday on art…..splash pages devoted to really nice drawings. In re-reading AXM, I realized I could get through most issues in about 3-5 minutes. I don’t think that’s a good thing

Hello Stephen Elliot. I just got a letter dated 1/19/12 from Lorelie Lee in an envelope from you. I’ve no idea whatsoever how I got on your list. But I’ll write Lorelie back (a real letter, even), because it was pretty fucking brave of her to write that.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives