Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Sayin'--Catching Up In More Ways Than One

Apologies for the lack of updates lately--the twin afflictions of real life and my recent addiction to Game of Thrones (I like that Game of Thrones disc come equipped with a "what the hell are these people talking about" which delivers exposition on demand. More shows should do that) have conspired to cut into my blogging time. As I've accrued quite a lot of backlog of things to write about during that time (Plus Mad Men starting up soonish) ought to get things busier around here soon.

Speaking of catching up, as I got my new shipment of comics recently we've got double-shots to cover. . .

BATWOMAN #5 and 6--Erm. This book is beautiful to look at and I am still enjoying it (though I'm sad that Amy Reeder is already gone--Trevor McCarthy's not a bad replacement, but I enjoyed that Reeder has graphic ideas that are similar and yet very different than J.H. Williams' art)

However, this book has storytelling issues. namely, we've spent five issues kinda building up the Weeping Woman as a big threat, only not, and after hovering around for five issues, she gets dealt with rather perfunctorily and leads into . . .well, Batwoman joining the DEO and learning of the threat behind the Weeping Woman.

All of which is fine, I guess. But the problem is, the flow feels off. Events don't roll smoothly from A to B to C. The Weeping Woman pulls Alice (Batwoman's twin) out of her mind and there's a brief confrontation and then on to the next thing, though one thinks that there should have been a lot more time with that confrontation, as it had been a major part of "Elegy" and the fallout from "Elegy" has been driving the book ever since.

But now we're on the DEO stuff and Batwoman is apparently going to be pursuing a group called Medusa (not to be confused with Checkmate, Hydra, Kobra, Skull, The 100, the 1000, the 2000 Committee or any of the other myriad secret organisations I've forgot or am otherwise too lazy to put in here) Couple this with the fact that the whole Flamebird stuff, having served it's purpose is pretty much put on the back burner (really, Batwoman's not all that bugged it seems about her sidekick getting nearly murdered) and. . .well, you hate to use the word "fridged," but . . .

In any event, we'll see how it goes from here. For the moment though, we're six issues in and it really feels like they threw the ball to home, but missed the tag somehow.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #5 and 6--But Batwoman's problems are not a patch on this book. Hoo boy.

People have compared Justice League to a comic book that you would get with an action figure, but these people are wrong, because comics you get with action figures are so much better than this turned out to be. Having run out of characters to do the "character shows up and acts like an asshole, kills parademons, yells at others," Geoff Johns decides instead to go all experimental and write a comic so thin on plot, it makes a Bazooka Joe comic seem as dense as Watchmen.

Seriously, stuff happens with random and frightening precision. Batman lectures Green Lantern on teamwork and tells GL to stand up and be a leader, and for some reason needs to reveal his identity to him to persuade him (why I'm not really sure) Green Lantern immediately screws this up and they go beat on Darkseid some more. Darkseid doesn't really do much (he hardly moves like, three feet in two issues time) Cyborg . . .literally shows up (which is not unlike what he does in Justice League: Doom, but we'll get to that one soon enough) and ultimately, random stuff happens and the day is saved because six issues is long enough for this stuff.

This book is utterly baffling, and it shouldn't be. Even at his worst, Geoff Johns was never this muddled before (and that one guy shouting "You're the world's greatest superhumans" should never be forgotten as one of the most tin-eared line in any comic ever) and Jim Lee's usually been pretty reliable to make his action, if not logical, at least somewhat dynamic, fills page after page with confusing poses and "action" that feels hatefully static. I know Wild C.A.T.S. was no great shakes in terms of stories, but art-wise, one could always depend on Lee to do dynamic and cool-looking images. That's one of the reason he still has cachet after twenty years, after all.

But here (and to be fair, also in All-Star Batman & Robin) everything's scratchy, clumsy and . . .kinda bland, which only draws your mind that much more to the book's logical failings and generally lets it down in a way it can't afford to, being the keystone book of the DC relaunch and the entry point for the new continuity.

On both fronts, it really falls down.

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