Thursday, July 29, 2010


I'll be honest, I liked Blackest Night. I didn't care much for the tie-in miniseries that I read (though I thought most of Johns' tie-ins were fairly good), and I thought the ending could have been a lot more daring and interesting and status quo altering than it was. But it was the kind of event comic I tend to like, and my opinion of Geoff Johns is still somewhat positive.

So when word came of "Brightest Day," I was all for it. Limited to 26 issues, it sounded like it'd avoid some of the problems of Countdown, and I was all for following characters like Martian Manhunter and Aquaman in the happier, more optimistic aftermath of Blackest Night.

And on the other side of things, "Justice League: Generation Lost" was announced with Judd Winick at the head. And while I may have associated Geoff Johns with over-the-top gore and violence and unnecessary character deaths, I associated Winick with character derailment, overwrought melodrama, and turning every series into a sociopolitical soapbox. I'm a dyed-in-the-hemp liberal, and I enjoyed the Terry Berg subplot in Green Lantern, but for awhile it seemed like Winick couldn't write anything without making it an outlet for his political views and social causes. After all the crap that the JLI crew has been through in recent years, the last thing I wanted to see happen to them was maudlin Winick.

So naturally I subscribed to "Brightest Day." But I gave "Generation Lost" a chance too, picking up the first issue at the shop.

Four issues later, I came to a decision. By issue 4 of "Brightest Day," it was clear that the series was showcasing the worst of Geoff Johns' dialogue (somehow both stilted and blunt, lacking any real sense of character or nuance) and plotting (story snippets that advance each plot a hair's breadth each issue, causing the book to move at a snail's pace) with none of the optimism implied by the name. In contrast, by issue 4 of "Justice League: Generation Lost," I was willing to assume that Keith Giffen wrote the whole damn thing.

Seriously, Winick and Giffen have put together a pretty compelling story, using an entertaining cast, and they clearly have a plan going forward. The story in "Generation Lost" has already taken a twist or two that I didn't expect (for instance, I expected the mystery of where Max was and what he wanted to last a lot longer), and making the team into a group of underdog outcasts puts them in an intriguing position. And so far every issue has either introduced something significant or moved the main story forward significantly, which is more than I could say for "Brightest Day," where I'm pretty sure Hawkman and Hawkgirl spent three issues walking through a door.

So, good on you, Judd Winick, for largely redeeming my opinion of you. It may just be that Keith Giffen turns pretty much anything he touches into gold, but I'm not so sure about that. The quality of "JL:GL" almost has me considering Winick's run on "Power Girl." Almost.

So, yeah, I switched my subscriptions around two issues ago. And I haven't looked back. If you're not reading "Generation Lost"--and especially if you're reading "Brightest Day"--you're missing out.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

I too have been rather surprised about JLI:Lost Generations. It has improved quite a bit. I liked the first issue, but the second one drove me into a frenzy of rage at the abysmal character treatement of Ice. has improved. And Booster has been written quite well, so I can't complain too much.

I'm still liking Brightest Day, but I do agree that it would be nice if they could actually have something happen once and a while. Maybe instead of spreading out each issue amongst all the characters, they could focus on one or two each issue and get something going.