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Random Thoughts! (March 27, 2012)

Random Thought! It’s colder out again. I am pleased. Keep it up, weather. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. 411mania for wrestling reviews and the occasional CD review.

Random Thought! Last week seemed to be filled with comics where I couldn’t care less about the plots or characters, but enjoyed reading them for style reasons. Weird.

Random Thought! Remember Nostalgia November? Well, to free up some space, I tossed most of those comics out last week.

Random Thought! So… the Phoenix Force hasn’t arrived yet, but Hope has the Phoenix Force? When it comes to Marvel, I can never tell when it’s something that will be explained or it’s just a case of them doing whatever they want, assuming no one will remember in a week. I understand ‘consistency’ over ‘continuity’ (and support it), but they have a horrible track record of putting out comics that contradict one another in close proximity.

Random Thought! Batman: “You could have been an evil servant of rich folks!” Nightwing: “So… what…? It didn’t happen…” Batman: “…I thought you’d care.” Nightwing: “Well, I don’t. Why would I?” Batman: “I… don’t know…?”

Random Thought! I finished reading The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner this morning. It’s a read that alternates between fun/entertaining and extremely tedious. It’s a myth that not only contains the myth, but the performance of the myth, discussion of the myth, subversion of the myth — all of which is made part of the myth itself. Basically, every performance of the myth becomes the myth, so it shifts from a small, succinct paragraph into pages of conjecture and repetition and self-aware discussion of what’s coming at the end — even though that never actually happens! It’s a weird book. Basically, take the self-awareness post-modern elements of Leyner’s previous books and turn the volume up to eleven. I love how much of the book revolves around debate over how much the god XOXO is fucking with the narrative, because that’s what he does — it becomes a battle between the narrative and the god! I may try to write something longer on it soon… I’m still trying to get my head around it completely.

Random Thought! A rule that is never wrong: if I’m at work and an awesome song comes on the radio, those will be the four minutes where the phone doesn’t stop ringing.

Random Thought! I rather enjoyed Wonder Woman #7, but can see how others would view it differently. The only argument I’ve heard put forth that’s seemed strange is the idea that the Amazons are rapists because they kill the men after. Basically, the idea being that, if the men knew that, they wouldn’t consent, making it rape. Taking that idea to its logical conclusion, wouldn’t a lot of consensual sex be considered rape if you raise the idea of retroactive consent based on actions taken after the act is finished? That strikes me as rather ludicrous. Granted, the case in question is extreme (murder), but, conceptually, it doesn’t quite make sense. The cases of men who resist or don’t want to (or are influenced by magic) are obviously different. What happens after, though… that strikes me as a problematic argument to make. (I do agree with Kelly’s point that it’s odd that Diana didn’t know about this practice, though.)

Random Thought! I kind of want every issue of AVX: VS to feature no dialogue, just narration by ‘announcers’ calling the fight.

Random Thought! My Summer of Punk DVD set arrived in the mail today. The perfect pre-WrestleMania viewing material? Quite possibly. Yesterday, I watched some of the matches on the third disc of The John Cena Experience and, for the first time, saw Cena’s match with Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2007. What’s funny is that those two gained a reputation of delivering bad matches thanks to their prolonged feuds, yet every one of their matches I see in isolation is pretty good. I think the overexposure of the two wrestling together dragged those matches down at the time. The big one that I’ve yet to see is their Iron Man match from Bragging Rights 2009 and I really want to. I’ve heard different things about it and am curious to see what they did. Also, if the WWE keeps doing those ‘rivalry’ DVD sets, I would love to see one featuring these two guys. They were in OVW together, rose through the ranks of the WWE in sort of parallel paths, had numerous feuds — and, judging from John Cena’s comments on the Orton DVD where he said he used to hate Orton, there’s probably a lot they could talk about. But, I wouldn’t want to see that for a while considering the potential for the two to mix it up again in the future.

Random Thought! I love shipping schedules. This week is a big week and so it next week… but next week also contains the Flex Mentallo hardcover and the second paperback edition of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World (the copy of the Bendis “Oral History of the Avengers” book will probably be in then, too). Why must everything come out at the same time? Why can’t slow weeks be bolstered by a trade I oredered? I know, I know, this is dumb to complain about. Sorry.

Random Thought! This week, Deadpool MAX ends, Scalped is one step closer to ending, Moon Knight ships its penultimate issue, Spaceman passes the halfway mark, and Avengers vs. X-Men almost begins with the zero issue. Plus, a whole bunch of other comics. Still, I’m looking most forward to The Ultimates #8. I really do love that comic.

Random Thought! Oddly, the only DC books I’m buying this week are Vertigo titles (the trio of Scalped, Spaceman, and The Unwritten). And, next week, OMAC ends, taking another DC book off the board — after I’ve dropped many of the ‘nu52′ books I began buying when they launched (Men of War post-Ivan Brandon, Stormwatch, Justice League Dark, Batwoman, and Swamp-Thing).

Random Thought! If Avengers: X-Sanction cut out 3/4s of Cable’s narration, it would have been a much better comic. Also, I wrote about it, kicking off my ongoing series of posts on Avengers vs. X-Men.

Random Thought! My prediction for Avengers vs. X-Men: the Defenders win with an assist from the Fantastic Four. SWERVE!

Random Thought!I agree with everyone else: the soundtrack to Avengers sucks. Then again, I remember hoping that using AC/DC for the entire Iron Man 2 soundtrack would have made Marvel and company realise how to produce great soundtracks. Then, they released Thor and Captain America and, well… here we are. They should have recruited Them Crooked Vultures to record their next album as the soundtrack. Or the Raconteurs. Or the Dead Weather. Or the Hives. Obviously, the Hives don’t fit the theme, they’re just awesome. (I’m listening to the Hives right now.)

Random Thought! Also: THE D IS BACK!

Random Thought! What would be the DC equivalent of Avengers vs. X-Men? Justice League vs. ??? Justice Society? Teen Titans? Legion of Super-Heroes? Stormwatch? Wildcats?

Random Thought! The real question… which will I miss more: The Boys or Scalped?

Random Thought! And because some people have asked: it’s only been two weeks of not reviewing for CBR. If I wanted to go back already it would be sad. So, no, I don’t miss it. Not one bit.

***

Random Joe Casey Question! Are there any projects you regret accepting? Any that you regret passing up?

Random Joe Casey Answer! I like to work, I’m pretty much a blue collar bastard in my approach to the physical act of writing (as much as it is a physical act… which is not much), so I tend to find some value in even the dopiest gigs I’ve taken over the years (even if I have to dig deep for it). So I would say I don’t regret anything, in terms of actual jobs I’ve accepted. Certainly I regret some of the work I did on some of those jobs, but I can only hope that everybody feels that way about their own work. It’s a healthy way to keep your ego in check.

The things I’ve passed on… well, I only pass on things I’m absolutely sure that I don’t want to do, so there’s never any regret there. As a professional, you eventually learn to weigh all of the factors involved when it comes to new opportunities… and, at this point, whether or not I’ll have some fun doing it is definitely a factor I consider. If we’re talking strictly about comicbook projects, I feel like I fiercely protect that strand of my work life. I fuckin’ love writing comicbooks way too much to risk that bromance by becoming bitter taking jobs that I knew going in were going to suck ass. Now, despite my reputation as a no-filter loudmouth, I hesitate to specifically name check any of those projects, out of respect to the writers who ultimately took those jobs (and probably made a better go of it than I ever would’ve)… but they’re out there.

***

Random Comments! Every comment is special to me even if I don’t feature it here.

FunkyGreenJerusalem said: It was a big letdown for me, as I was hoping for the magic that Wildcats V2 had, but that annual he did made up for a lot. That book was perfect.

The annual with Ashley Wood and the final two issues with Sean Phillips are quite good and show what Casey was capable of doing on Uncanny X-Men. A little too late, though, unfortunately.

Jeremy said: The thing about Brubaker’s Captain America is that it’s lost all the dark, espionage stuff the run was built on. Brubaker is at best when his characters are playing in the shadows. It really felt like he had this big arcing plan in the first fourty something issues, and you couldn’t turn away to see what happen next. Is this Winter Soldier guy REALLY Bucky Barnes? Holy fuck, it’s Bucky Barnes! How does Steve and the supporting cast react to this? Well, now he’s dead!? Who’s Captain America then? Bucky is Captain America!? How is THAT gonna work!? There was this constant build to big actions, the big actions happening, the consequences/fall-out of that building into MORE big actions, like one big story. But after around 50 issues of that, it became obvious that Brubaker didn’t have anything else to say about the character. He brought Bucky back, he made him Cap, had a few adventures and uh…yeah. All he could do was keep bringing back enemies from his past over and over and over again. He just ran out of things to say with the character. Bucky is off in his own book now, but he’s still bitching about his dark past, which is dark and full of bad stuff and I gotta redeem myself, and here’s ANOTHER enemy from my dark past.

I agree. That was around the time that I began losing interest — but, oddly, after Steve came back and James continued as Cap, Brubaker seemed to find the book again, briefly, with the trial story. I don’t mind stories involving James being rooted in the past to a degree since there would still be so much fall-out from his return. To gloss over that is a mistake. Steve, on the other hand, was revealed as a character that worked better as a presence that hangs over the characters than as an actual character. The book was at its best when he was dead…

Riley said: Does Joe Casey plan on bringing Zodiac back into the fold at Marvel anytime soon?

That question will be answered next week… sort of… Really, Casey will answer an entirely different question, but it relates to this.

Francis Dawson said: I’m just going to copy and paste Tom Spurgeon’s comments because I totally concur with them: “I think the weirdest thing at this point is how many people get worked up about the kind of objection Alan Moore is making in a way that suggests they feel they have some sort of significant — or even equal — interest in perpetrating their consumption habits exactly the way they’d prefer to maintain them as he does reacting to what he perceives as a cycle of abuse over a quarter century of his professional life. It seems to me like there’s enough material out there to enjoy that doesn’t involve an aggrieved creator. I guess some folks disagree with that notion, though.”

I actually agreed with most of what Spurgeon wrote on Before Watchmen — or, at least, couldn’t disagree with his points despite having a different view/perspective on the matter. Then again, my comments about Moore last week really had nothing to do with Before Watchmen and were about how I don’t let the personal views/opinions of creators affect what I choose to buy/enjoy.

Travis Pelkie said: Woo hoo, bleeding cool reporting that the Marshal Law Omni (with just the solo stories, crossovers possibly in the future) coming out in about a year! About damn time!

Not including the crossovers has killed whatever interest in this I had. I’m not sure how much I would have cared since I own all of these comics, but the crossovers were less crossovers than Marshal Law comics featuring other characters. Leaving them out leaves out chunks of the story. Why bother doing a ‘complete’ omnibus and leave out parts of the story? Ideally, the omnibus would include everything, including the novellas.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

24 Comments

Matt Seneca wrote a great article on the first issue of X-Sanction, talking about how it’s another Jeph Loeb story heavily informed by the death of his son. The descent of his writing’s quality seems to have happened after that event, with every story he does dealing explicitly with death while punishing the living. Reading it like that, X-Sanction is much more meaningful; Cable is Loeb, still grieving the loss of one child, desperate to keep his other child alive and well, and demolishing every potential obstacle with extreme brutality.

Of course, that’s no excuse for the completely irrelevant plot, the heavy-handed narration, and the absolutely childish fight scene banter.

Wait, people think the Avengers soundtrack sucks? It’s got a ton of guys I like on it, but then again I’ve been more of a 90s alternative rock/ nu metal guy (and I honestly say that with pride). My problem is that Bush is on it, a band I LOATH. But FFDP doing a song for a superhero movie? That’s like ten different kinds of awesome to me. I was thinking the soundtrack might actually be a way for me to go see this since I really don’t like the Avengers the way Marvel is promoting them currently (although I really like Iron Man on his own).

I’ve always been an X-Men and Spider-man guy, so when Marvel says stuff like the Avengers have been their A-list, I’ve rolled my eyes. They think because JLA is DC’s A-List, and the Avengers is their equivalent, that that suddenly makes the Avengers their top property. I’m sorry but the X-Men just has more mass appeal outside of comic circles (frankly I’m shocked their wasn’t a Generation X live-action series on MTV back in the day instead of the abortive Fox attempt), and Spider-man will always be the number 1 solo Marvel character. So seeing all this retroactive history making Marvel has done in the past eight years or so and now the heavy promotion all the solo Avenger movies are getting (plus, obviously, the Avengers movie itself) annoys the crap out of me when you just had an awesome X-Men movie this past year that went relatively unnoticed, and despite that there’s a sequel in the works. So long as Bryan Singer stays on to produce it should be great. I don’t even want to go into how much better the X-men books post-Schism have been compared to the Avengers books. So yeah, sorry for the tangent. Go X-Men, and Marvel, learn your priorities.

Wait, Flex is finally coming out? Man, I preordered that and Batman Inc. early last year, and have just got used to the “new delivery estimate” emails coming in regularly.

I’m still completely baffled that Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant Song was not in Thor.

Because it would have made too much sense — and possibly cost too much.

Man, you quitting reviews has left me without someone to relate to on the CBR review team. I hate all of those dudes’ taste.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I will definitely miss both The Boys and Scalped, but I’m severely disappointed in the lack of Darick Robertson’s art in the final storyline.

If the indications of DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT solicitations are to be believed, Russ Heath is still the artist on the book past The Boys # 66. I would have thought that Mr. Robertson would be back as the final artist on the final storyline. Y’know, end as you began, sort of poetic thing.

@MrZone666 – oh, man, even me? (Probably especially me :)

Billy Bissette

March 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

“Taking that idea to its logical conclusion, wouldn’t a lot of consensual sex be considered rape if you raise the idea of retroactive consent based on actions taken after the act is finished? That strikes me as rather ludicrous.”

When I was in college, there were feminists who openly supported that idea. Along with the “Look to your left, look to your right, one of you three has been raped or sexually assaulted” lectures and the “Men cannot be raped, and it is an insult and disservice to women to even suggest that it is possible for a man to be raped”, there were people who effectively argued that “Vocal consent before and during the act does not discount the possibility of rape.”

There is a logical basis to the argument. If consent is given under false pretenses, then how valid is that consent? It is also connected to the impared judgement issue (where “yes” doesn’t necessarily mean “yes” if the person saying “yes” isn’t thinking clearly).

The problem is that it can (and during my college years was) get taken to extremes. If a woman can decide the next morning that her “yes” really meant “no”, then what about a week later? Two weeks? A year? Then you add in the extreme situations… Every now and then we get stories where some spouse finds that their partner has been living a lie for years, and the retroactive lack of consent argument could be used to claim years of rape. Then there are the “I just changed my mind” situations that men fear. Or the vindictive situations. And men fear because dating and sex so often has some measure of lies, deceptions, or at least unspoken details from both parties. Even if the charge falls flat, rape allegations can destroy lives.

“Random Thought! Batman: “You could have been an evil servant of rich folks!” Nightwing: “So… what…? It didn’t happen…” Batman: “…I thought you’d care.” Nightwing: “Well, I don’t. Why would I?” Batman: “I… don’t know…?””

Instead, he’s a GOOD servant of rich folks, so it’s all ok. Yeah, I’m not reading Batman, but this Owls storyline sounds dumb. Particularly since Morrison has (virtually) just been doing a “secret society has been influencing Batman through the years” type story. Is Batman Incorporated v2 coming out next month, then?

Yeah, I’m definitely not digging the “no crossovers” part of the Marshal Law omni. I posted that quick after I read the news, knowing it’s of interest to you, but damn, it does indeed defeat the purpose. I know the Savage Dragon book is definitely very important to Law’s character growth, and not including it is just dumb. The only thing I can think of is that the crossovers were mostly later, so the “no crossovers” is basically the “first half” of the story. But it appeared that the whole reason for the delay was probably that they were clearing legal issues to allow the appearance of all the crossovers, and that DC took over when Top Shelf just couldn’t somehow make it happen, but I guess that was sheer conjecture on my part. It would have been much better from TS.

And if you please, remind me again the names of the novellas, so I can search for them? I know, I know, I should look them up online….

Flex Flex Flex!!! Yay!!!

I would be totally amused if for the Random Joe Casey Question of the week, you followed it up with a literally Random Joe Casey Answer of the week. As in, you ask him about Automatic Kafka and he responds about Codeflesh. hee hee

Random Thought! What would be the DC equivalent of Avengers vs. X-Men? Justice League vs. ??? Justice Society? Teen Titans? Legion of Super-Heroes? Stormwatch? Wildcats?

It is probably JLA vs. Doom Patrol, which says a lot about the difference between the nature of the DC and Marvel lines. Marvel has way more viable team concepts than DC does.

As to AvX and the DC equivalent, there was that DC vs Wildstorm Dreamwar thing that came out a few years back.

Yeah, I barely remembered it either, which tells you something.

It would be JLA vs. Authority, everybody knows that……

I could see a decent feud between Orton and Cena that work/shoots on why Cena hated Orton. It’d never happen since they’d have to turn Orton heel again. Entitled 3rd generation prodigy vs. the someone who actually lives his gimmick of hustle, loyalty and respect. It’s not a new concept, but at least it’s something fans can get behind rather than whatever else they were feuding over 3 years ago.

I’m tired about every match up they have right now though, they start so many interesting things with CM Punk just for them to end so flat. Let him be the Ric Flair making Sting into a superstar.

Once upon a time, the Wolfman/Perez-era Teen Titans were clearly perceived as DC’s equivalent to the Claremont-era X-Men (they even had a crossover like the Avengers/JLA), and much has been made about the similiarities between the X-Men and the Doom Patrol, but a JLvTT comic would have a lot more baggage than AvX (what with the Titans comprising a lot of the League’s sidekicks) and JLvDP would be a route (and sound unnecessarily dirty).

In the old DCU, I think JLA vs the Outsiders would be closest in spirit to AvX, with Batman in the Wolverine role as the guy who’s on both teams (the League still has the edge on power, but that’s pretty much the case with anyone you’d put them up against, but put Batman on the Outsiders’ side and you’ve at least got yourself a ballgame.)

In the New 52 … Justice League vs. Stormwatch? Maybe? They’re at least equivalent in power levels, I think, and it has the “shiny popular heroes vs. shadowy outsiders” vibe AvX at least SHOULD have (whether it will remains to be seen).

You threw comics away?

*shocked silence*

The Avengers and X-Men are special because they’re so freaking huge, currently and historically. Many other teams can claim one or the other but not both.

In fact JLA vs LSH would be more similar. And JLA vs Titans also works. And did work, that mini was superb and felt less like a giant marketing exercise, which AvX smells of.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 28, 2012 at 5:16 am

Me, I never throw comics/tpbs away. I trade them for credit towards new stuff.

Throwing away comics is next to committing sacrilicious heresy. The breaking of the 11th commandment: “THOU SHALT NOT THROW AWAY COMICS!!!!”

Billy Bissette

March 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Tom, you know a place that will take comics? They seem to be worth about as much as comic book trading cards where I’m at. Perhaps worth less, because while no one will buy cards, they at least take less storage room.

Other than a few special cases, the shops don’t want old books. I’m not even sure you can give them away for free, at least not more than a handful of issues at a time.

You can always donate them to Goodwill. I’ve seen Goodwill Bookshops with surprisingly meaty comic book sections.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 29, 2012 at 5:09 am

@ Billy Bissette: Yeah, but you know what we’re paying for comics these days, every little bit helps out, eh? ;-)

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

@ Chad: Up here in Winnipeg, it’s snowing mixed with rain. I hope that you’re DAMN HAPPY now!!!! :-(

I suspect that current DC’s “Avengers vs X-Men” would be “Superman vs Batman”, to be honest.

Depends how you’re comparing AvX to DC. If you’re doing power levels, I’d say Justice Society. If it’s historical popularity (big in 80s, not so popular beforehand), it’s the Titans. “Big Guns vs Outcasts” is Doom Patrol. Two most popular lines I’d have to say would be the Green Lantern Corps.

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