web page hit counter

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Looking at DC & Marvel, but through Octopi Eyes!

You remember how not too long ago I was all hating on comics for being crappy? Well, they're still mostly crappy, and thank god for that because without crappy comics I don't think any of us would ever have a reason to go online, but I'm finding my distaste for them going on a seasonal decline. Why? Beats the hell out of me, really. Since I won't have the funds until friday to purchase new vittles for my comic book reading appetite, I've been going through some old trades to get my jones on. I can't think of a better time and place than now to talk about them so let's do just that!

JSA: The Golden Age
As you all know, I am not what you call a 'DC Guy.' When I think of DC comics, I think of playing peanuckle with my grandma while sipping tea on lazy sunday afternoon. Its great and all, but I'd rather be doing other things. That's just me, though. The good thing about JSA: The Golden Age is that it is the DCU straying away from that middle-of-the-road super hero business and getting down and dirty with it. Its got that edginess laid out in front of you, but with a touch of class that usually escapes most Marvel comics. Using the Red Scare as a backdrop, James Robinson crafted a well thought out suspense thriller that works as a great send off to the bygone era of the 40's and 50's mystery men. Re-reading this makes me wish that there was a comic where Alan Scott punchs Hal Jordan AND Guy Gardner in their stomachs to show the world how sissy they really are when compared to the Tower Of A Man That Is Alan Scott The Original Green Lantern, big puffy sleaves and all. Alan Scott is the type of guy that will be 80+ years old, sitting in a wheelchair, talking about how he could whoop your uppity 20 something year old punk ass. And he probably would, too. Alan Scott is not one to be fussed with. When I first read this a year or two ago, it actually made me want to catch up on the JSA and see how things were going for them in the current DCU. Maybe one of these days I will. Until then, I can look at this Elseworlds Tale and say "Me and Hourman have something in common: we've both done drugs!" Not even reading Amazing Spider-man can make me say that. And that's something.

Fantastic Four: 1 2 3 4
The only FF comics I own are Civil War Tie-ins or are drawn by Mark Bagley. I like the FF, but I just haven't read the right FF story to get me completely hooked. I know, I know, apparently John Byrne is where its at with this book. Enough already. I got this trade because, well....its Grant Morrison and Jae frickin' Lee! And its gooooood. Dark, moody, and scary as all hell at points. Morrison takes one of the brightest, shiniest super hero teams and puts them up against the ropes while Lee illustrates it all for us to see in usual dark and moody style, which works out great to accent to the feeling of DOOM hanging over our heroes' heads. Through the eyes of Grant Morrison, you get a real sense of what makes these characters tick. Its a psychological thriller that only lets up when the good guys finally beat on the bad guy. Its not enough to make want to buy everything FF yesterday, but it helps push me in the right direction.

Kingdom Come
I don't know what's so bad about Alex Ross. Sure, he's all antiquated in ways regarding the DCU and the only new changes that he acknowledges are those that lean towards the ones we see made in Kingdom Come, but brothers and sisters.....the dude can paint. And sure, sometimes the painting comes off as stiff and doesn't explode at you from the page like a Kirby panel would, but that's 90% of the guys working in the industry right now. Regardless, y'all got your opinions and I got mine. Let's move on, shall we?

I like Kingdom Come because I like Alternate Futures. They're fun. Its always interesting to see what time can do to our beloved heroes and villians. What do you think Spider-man's gonna be like when he's older? Let's go to the future and see! You ever think Wolverine will just keep on living while the rest of the X-men die, and if so, will he be all emo sad about it? Let's go to the future and see! Now I can agree with you that most stories that jump forward in time are usually piles of crap. But we're talking about super hero comics here. They're all usually are just big piles of crap. Knocking the premise just because a writer doesn't know what to do with it is unfair and childish.

What Kingdom Come is, is a love letter to DC. Apparently DC has a lot comics that function on this same kind of level, its just that Kingdom Come is doing it like Woah. Kingdom Come works so well as a love letter from Mark Waid and Alex Ross to the DCU that, that love is so great and exponentially infecting that it even transferred itself on to me. That's right! Kingdom Come knocked a little bit of ice off of my cold, cold Marvel heart. I even gave my friend Ryan, a DC fan, a hug after reading this. Its interesting when you compare Kingdom Come to what's going on right now in the current DCU. Not that I'm reading a lot of DC comics, but by the look of things, its getting pretty bad. If I must say, its starting to look like Marvel comics stayed over for the weekend and left the DCU with nothing to show for it except a heaping dose of STDs. If the current issue of the Flash is a clear cut indicator of what DC is doing as a whole(which it seems it has been the past week), DC and Fun had themselves a little bit of a falling out. I thought One Year Later was our way of getting away from all that negativity, but it looks like they're still knee deep in it over there. Sorry, DC fans, but it seems that the Marvel way of doing things is so damn lucrative and appealing that the guys in charge are trying to steal our thunder! We're just better looking, is all! Don't believe me? Go check out the Bendis Board! Nothing but 20 to 30 something year old hotties posting about New Avengers and Veronica Mars! LOL!


Jason said...

Hey dude, if you liked the Golden Age, you'll proabably want to stay away from the current JSA series, lest all of the whining make you write fan-fic about Alan Scott beating up the entirity of the current squad. Instead, I'd pick up JSA: The Liberty File. It's elseworlds, but it's totally WWII superheroes beating up on Nazi-collaborating supervillains.

Oh yeah, and when you pick up Iron Fist this week, put on a helmet, cause it may very well blow your mind. On the first page alone you get a reference to the "Lost Drinking Games of Me-Lao".

Spencer Carnage said...

Ah yes. Iron Fist. I knew there was a reason i wanted to go to the comic shop. Didn't Cap and Criminal come out as well?

I've seen that liberty files and it looks good. Its got Batman in it, right? And Harris on art? What about the old JSA? Is that good? You know, when it was Robinson and Goyer. I kind of want to check that out.

Jason said...

Cap was out last week, and it was good. Criminal's out too, but it kinds of suffers this month for being an all set-up and backstory issue. Still good, but not a lot happens.

Liberty files was Harris on art with Batman played more as a spy (but still in costume). Plus, it actually portrays Mr. Terrific as a bad-ass. I always thought it was a hidden gem.

As for the old JSA, I actually followed all of it in trade and it was good, but it didn't rise to the Golden Age. Robinson's work on Starman was much more in that vein. That was probably my favorite series ever, so I'd recommend picking that up.

pachoob said...

yeah, the old starman stuff is really, really good.

i tried to reread the golden age again recently, and oddly enough i had a really hard time getting through it. the first time i read it i was totally blown away, but for some reason it just didn't hold up for me.

the new iron fist is really really good. but i'm a little worried it's going to be one of those titles that's all badass for the buildup and then a sweet hot fart for payoff.

i picked up the first 52 trade and i have to say, i really liked it. because 52 was so good i decided to read a couple issues of countdown, and woof. it's like DC spent all its "good comics juice" on 52 and ran out. the flash is butt, countdown is butt, and pretty much everything else (except vertigo and half of wildstorm) is butt.

Spencer Carnage said...

I started reading Starman trades about a year and a half ago. Got up to the point where Jack's back from Space and they beat up that midget that was impersonating shade and just.......got fatigued and bored. That last shade arc was horrible, especially with it jumping around so much. Also, i kind of got sick of how Robinson handled the characters. They got too cheeky. Too chummy. One of these days I'll get back to finishing the series, but not any time soon.

And 52, I might pick up that trade. Might be an interesting re-introduction to the current DCU.

But yeah, DC seems to be slacking. At least we got the Hulk punching stuff over here. Can't go wrong with that.

Carla said...

Yes, FF:1234 is fantastic, has some of my favorite art ever, but... you want some real stories of Marvel's First Family, you gotta find the Fantastic Four trades of Mark Waid. Man was a genius at creating a fun and funny environment with all the high science earmarks that a book with Reed Richards should have in it. If you find a HC edition, you get his "Fantastic Four Manifesto" that has all of his notes on how the book was going to be under his regime.
Don't get me wrong, the stuff around Avengers: Disassembled wasn't that great, but the first trade's definitely a keeper.