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Watching the River Flow for 12/12

What’s the matter with me,
I don’t have much to say,
Daylight sneakin’ through the window
And I’m still in this all-night cafe.
Walkin’ to and fro beneath the moon
Out to where the trucks are rollin’ slow,
To sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow.

It’s been about a half a year since I last did this bit, so to recap – this is for me to just ramble about various stuff that are not worth a full entry to themselves.

There will probably be discussion of spoilers within! Beware!!! And Enjoy!

* For all the problems Ultimates Vol. 3 #1 had, one thing that should not be blamed is the coloring. It looked as bad as it did not because of the coloring, but because of a printing error.

So everyone, apologize to Christian Lichtner!

* I tried doing a Musical Reviews for this past week, but the books just did not lend themselves to the musical I picked. Hopefully next week!!

* Boy, the whole “will Robin agree to join Ra’s Al Ghul?” plot is awfully silly, isn’t it? Talk about some leaps in logic.

* You know, it’s bad enough to have seemingly all of DC’s superhero books tying into Countdown, but what’s even worse is when they don’t even do them on time.

To wit, McDuffie’s first JLA arc just ended – and it was a lead-in to…a comic that came out weeks ago.

The Superman/Batman before the most recent one was a lead-in to the deaths of the New Gods, which has been going on for HOW many months?

And the MOST recent Superman/Batman story was designed to tell us how Dr. Light got to join the Injustice League a few months back?

Why?!?! WHY?!?!?

* The Sinestro Corps War sure got dull, didn’t it? I think I jinxed it by pointing out how much stronger it was turning out than World War Hulk.

* Not that World War Hulk ended well, either. Boy howdy, did it not end well.

* Betty #170 was a complete and utter total LETDOWN. The cover seemed so promising – and so was the story idea – Betty determines she will no longer be Archie’s second choice for dates. Great concept.

But then she finds out that for their latest date, she was his first choice.

Problem solved!!

How ridiculous is that? It was clever for Betty to acknowledge that Archie treats her poorly quite often in relation to Veronica, mostly because he knows Betty is more understanding – and then writer Barbara Slate just has Betty drop it because this time Archie just so happened to have picked Betty first?

So silly.

* Last month’s Supergirl ended with one of the most confusing pieces of art – artist Drew Johnson drew this reflection of Supergirl’s face that did not really match what was going on IN the scene – it was like in Heroes when the lady with the mirror self talks to herself – only it was meant to just be a normal reflection!!

* This week’s Supergirl, though, was a big improvement. I know Puckett did not come up with the whole “Supergirl was meant to be OLDER than Superman when she got here” thing (at least I am pretty sure that’s been around for awhile), but boy, is it a great twist on her origin. And anything that gets away from the silliness of her previous origins – with the crystals popping out of her or whatever the heck was going on when the book was awful.

* In Dynamo 5, how silly was the shapeshifter guy making out with some girl while he was impersonating his hurt teammate? I mean, dude, have a LITTLE impulse control! You can hit on the girl LATER – not when you’re impersonating another guy. Also, what the heck is this girl making out with some guy in the high school hallway, like, three minutes after meeting him? Jay Faerber rules, and Dynamo 5 is a good book – but that really didn’t work for me.

* Suburban Glamour has basically the same plot as Mike Carey’s God Save the Queen. I get that it is not intentional, but boy, that is weird. I guess “Changeling from the land of Fairies is raised as a human, but then gets caught up in a war in the land of the Fairies” is not THAT original of a concept, no?

* The Luna Brothers kill off way too many people in their comic. I think they would be way better off if they did not kill so many people.

They draw really well, though! And Sword is SOOOOOO much better than Girls, it is nuts. I knew they could not be as bad as they seemed in Girls, especially as Ultra was so good. So Sword is still a good read – but boy, is it violent.

* Oh, did I forget to mention how fun Proof has been from Image?

It has been fun.

* Moondragon as an actual dragon…well, it is AN idea.

* The Order continues to be one of the best superhero comics out there.

* How the hell did Larry Stroman get BETTER as an artist since 1992??!!? Maybe he just had a lot of time to draw What If…? Rise & Fall of the Shi’ar Empire?

* Fernando Ruiz had a fun, informative story in Jughead and Friends Digest #25. I love when comics give history lessons. This time, it was explaining where Jughead’s famous hat comes from.

* Larry Hama is actually doing a nice job on GI Joe: Stormshadow, which is surprising, as I have NO interest in a Stormshadow ongoing series.

That’s all for now!

39 Comments

I trust there’s a Sweeney Todd-themed Musical Review coming up, Brian?

(I’d offer to do it, but I don’t read nearly enough comics in a given week)

The colouring on Ultimates #1 was the one part I liked. It was subdued and moody. It’s kind of telling that that was by accident.

Complain, much?

How about late books?

Blame the writers? or the artists?

* Re: Resurrection of Ra’s, Sinestro Corps War & World War Hulk – the track record for finishing these things off is not so good. I thought all three started strong (or in the case of the Batman “event” with some interesting set-ups, at least), but then – damn. To be fair, Aftersmash helped to redeem WWH in my eyes, but only piqued my interest in the supporting cast’s continuing adventures. At present, I have no interest in what’s going to go on with Bruce/Hulk nor in spending money on a Loeb-penned book to find out.

* The Dynamo 5 thing feels pretty nit-picky. One of Faerber’s things is soap opera, dude! This stuff is going to happen. I’m willing to overlook it in this and Noble Causes based on overall quality.

* Suburban Glamour‘s plot is older than just Carey & Bolton, right? I wasn’t an English lit major, but I think this story has been around forever. Hell, with a few tweaks it’s the whole Joseph Campbell/George Lucas shooting match. McKelvie’s strong characterizations and gorgeous art make this a good comic for mine.

* The Order rocks. Best Marvel universe comic not named Immortal Iron Fist. Fraction rocks.

* Well, if the latest issue of Conquest is any indication, Heather won’t have been an actual dragon for long…

Brian, why don’t you do more of these posts as part of the “Cheers and Jeers” series? I used to like those a lot, but I haven’t seen one since the end of summer…

So, where DOES Jughead’s hat come from? (And when, oh when, will they release an Archie hardcover archives?)

I’m still an overall fan of the Sinestro Corps War. A couple chapters were filler — mostly notably, the GLC issue before the last one, which merely showed snippets of fights, vamping for time until the new Ion arrived to take on Superman Prime. Boy, that was a stinker of an issue. (And we got shortchanged on the only fight I really cared about: Kilowog versus Whatzizname. Arkillo? Ahh, I haven’t had my coffee yet and I’m too lazy to look it up.) But most of the chapters have been good, and one or two have been great, and I actually have to say I was surprised at the outcome of the Ion vs. Prime fight. Another thing I’ve appreciated is that the Guardians’ decision to permit the Corps to kill has not been roundly greeted with unanimous enthusiasm.

Anyway, if we hadn’t had to wait so long for the final chapter — that’s due out today, right? — it probably wouldn’t have lost its momentum. Although I’m skeptical that Johns can pull off a purpose for the resurrection of the Anti-Monitor, and dispose of him in a realistic way, or at least force him into temporary retreat for the time being.

As badly as world war Hulk ended, and it’s not as if I’ll be picking up the follow ups either, I must admit that “Aftersmash” is a great word.

I find it kind of funny that people couldn’t tell that the Ultimates issue had a printing error, as some of the previews had colouring that looked nothing like that issue. Obviously something was lost in translation, but I thought that both of them looked all right, at least in comparison to the crappy art and writing.

“I trust there’s a Sweeney Todd-themed Musical Review coming up, Brian?

(I’d offer to do it, but I don’t read nearly enough comics in a given week)”

I gave him a copy (’05 rival cast) to listen to, but he hasn’t really delved into it yet. I think he’s waiting to see the movie first, but maybe I can get him to watch the original B’way production video before that.

For what it’s worth – s1rude, yep. SG is fairly deliberately an old fairy tale device with a modern retelling, as a means of exploring the themes I wanted to deal with. Hopefully I’m putting enough of my own spin on it to make it worthwhile!

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I read that Storm Shadow got cancelled at issue #6. Not due to low sales, but at the request of Hasbro…

I trust there’s a Sweeney Todd-themed Musical Review coming up, Brian?

That IS a really hard one to match up with comic book releases.

Hey Jamie – thanks for your comment, and just wanted say that my comment was not meant as a knock on the work at all. Sorry if it read that way. I was just responding to Cronin that it’s not “weird”, but a common thing when telling stories of any sort. For SG, you’ve developed the characters (especially Astrid & Dave) so well that whatever the plot holds I’m positive it will be real & unique for them. Which is really 99% of what I’m looking for in a work of fiction. You’ve got my money for this and whatever you do next!

— Sean

The colouring on Ultimates #1 was the one part I liked. It was subdued and moody. It’s kind of telling that that was by accident.

I dunno, looked muddy to me.

Complain, much?

I just went back and looked at the piece, and of the bits that were complain and/or praise, there were seven praise bits and nine complaint bits.

That’s a good percentage, isn’t it?

* The Dynamo 5 thing feels pretty nit-picky. One of Faerber’s things is soap opera, dude! This stuff is going to happen. I’m willing to overlook it in this and Noble Causes based on overall quality.

It’s not a huge deal, but it’s clearly a fairly important plot point, as seen by the ending.

And as far as soap opera stuff go, wouldn’t it be just as soap opera-like if he fell for the girl while stuck impersonating his teammate, so he goes BACK to the school (while as his teammate) to see her again – and THEN they get involved?

And THEN we get the drama of this issue?

The way it actually unfolded seemed way too rushed.

* Suburban Glamour’s plot is older than just Carey & Bolton, right? I wasn’t an English lit major, but I think this story has been around forever. Hell, with a few tweaks it’s the whole Joseph Campbell/George Lucas shooting match. McKelvie’s strong characterizations and gorgeous art make this a good comic for mine.

It’s not a knock on the comic itself. Just noting that it is weird that two comics came out the same year that featured a “normal British girl who is actually a fairy changeling and is instrumental to an ongoing fairy war.”

The book is still good.

* Well, if the latest issue of Conquest is any indication, Heather won’t have been an actual dragon for long…

Yeah, that might have been actually odder than just making her a dragon!!! To make her a dragon, then kill her off a couple of issues later?!?

Brian, why don’t you do more of these posts as part of the “Cheers and Jeers” series? I used to like those a lot, but I haven’t seen one since the end of summer…

My problem with Cheers and Jeers is that it is a stricter format – I need 15 or so things to compliment and 15 or so things to complain about – it is a good bit when I get the time to do it, but this free-form thing is a lot easier (and, amusingly enough, it ended up with about equal Cheers and Jeers! :)).

So, where DOES Jughead’s hat come from? (And when, oh when, will they release an Archie hardcover archives?)

Since the sole purpose of the comic is that fact, I feel bad giving it away. ;)

Anyway, if we hadn’t had to wait so long for the final chapter — that’s due out today, right? — it probably wouldn’t have lost its momentum.

That brings up an interesting point – what’s the last notable comic “event” that actually finished on time?

Not this.

Not World War Hulk.

Not Civil War.

Not House of M.

Not Infinite Crisis.

Not Identity Crisis (or did it?).

What other notable “events” have their been in the last couple of years?

Anyway, if we hadn’t had to wait so long for the final chapter — that’s due out today, right? — it probably wouldn’t have lost its momentum.

That’s too bad.

Looking back at ICV2’s top 300 lists, Identity Crisis did finish on time–#6 came out in November 2004, and #7 in December. So I guess the answer to that question would have to be “Identity Crisis” (notably, not a series with a lot of tie-ins).

Sean – Don’t worry, didn’t take it as a knock! Glad you’re enjoying it.

As for late “events” in recent times, here’s hoping that Marvel’s “Messiah Complex” continues to ship on time during its weekly schedule. They came SO close to keeping the 18 part “Endangered Species” on time until the last chapter.

Nice piece, but could we perhaps get a moratorium on the word “silly?”
Will

I think Brain uses “silly” as a way to avoid terms like “stupid” and “absolutely fucking braindead”.

“That IS a really hard one to match up with comic book releases.”
Would it help if Christopher Priest had a book out that week? A book that was worth trying?

I bet he loves it when we call him Brain.

Looking back at ICV2’s top 300 lists, Identity Crisis did finish on time–#6 came out in November 2004, and #7 in December. So I guess the answer to that question would have to be “Identity Crisis” (notably, not a series with a lot of tie-ins).

Thanks!

Did you check each month?

I think Brain uses “silly” as a way to avoid terms like “stupid” and “absolutely fucking braindead”.

Basically.

I am sometimes amazed, though, at how people get seemingly REALLY mad about me for using words like that (not you, Will, your problem was reasonable enough – I did use “silly” three times, which is probably at least one time too many).

Actually, I think it was four, but who’s counting? :) And like I said, I really enjoyed the piece. I don’t read a lot of superhero stuff, so I always enjoy li’l rapid fire impressions of those books. Makes me feel like I’m less out of the loop, I suppose. My comic shop didn’t get Suburban Glamour, unfortunately, so I’ll have to wait a week or two to get caught up. Blah.

Will

Oh, HA! I just checked for “silly,” not for “silliness.” :)

Glad you liked the piece.

I agree that the recent parts of the Sinestro Corps War had been pretty disappointing, but the last part… my god. Best ending to a crossover event in years.

And as far as soap opera stuff go, wouldn’t it be just as soap opera-like if he fell for the girl while stuck impersonating his teammate, so he goes BACK to the school (while as his teammate) to see her again – and THEN they get involved?

And THEN we get the drama of this issue?

The way it actually unfolded seemed way too rushed.

You’re absolutely right – this would have made a little more sense, worked just as well and provided even more dramatic potential (love triangle?). Good call.

“How about late books?

Blame the writers? or the artists? ”

Neither. Blame the editors.

The Great and Wonderful Cronin said:
“I just went back and looked at the piece, and of the bits that were complain and/or praise, there were seven praise bits and nine complaint bits.

That’s a good percentage, isn’t it?”
—–
Not as high as the Best Shots Group, but certainly much better than the Savage Critics group. Those guys hate everything.

But what if everything stinks?

And I wasn’t, like, trying to be equal – that’s what Cheers and Jeers is for. This was just stream of consciousness, and I’ll admit that more often than not, things that irk me are usually more memorable than things that I dug.

I had 15 years to draw it to be exact. Wait until you see the black panther. I’ve been waiting my whole like for that. be prepared…

Hah!

Well, it was damned impressive, Larry. And it’s not like I didn’t like your work BEFORE, but I opened it up and it was just, “What the hell?! How the hell did Larry Stroman get this much better!?!?”

thanks for the comment, brian

sometimes, its the same old cooking. but you let it sit awhile and it gets better seasoning. maybe i just needed a vacation.

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