Saturday, July 09, 2005

Panopticomic: Quick! Super-glue the Internet back together!

House of M Spoiler Alert!

So, the Internet was supposed to break in half because a popular character who suffered a recent, highly publicized, unpopular death, came back in the context of a major crossover? Why didn't I see this coming?

Maybe because Superman's done it twice in the last fifteen years (once more literally than the other). Maybe because it's par for the course in the comic world. Maybe because I'm not following House of M, I didn't follow Disassembled, I'm not an Avengers fan, and I *still* called this one a month ago:
    I can imagine some of the plot points already. Reality is turned upside-down, and familiar heroes in unfamiliar circumstances have to choose whether they want to put things back the way they were, or keep things the way they are. Characters who have been drastically changed, like the new FF, have a vested interest in the new universe. Others want things the way they were. At the center of it, Spider-Man must decide whether he wants to give up a life of fame and fortune, with his uncle and girlfriend still alive, for the life he had before, filled with death and pain and torment, etc.

    Meanwhile, Hawkeye discovers that helping restore the universe will result in his own death. In an act of stunning self-sacrifice, he strikes the final blow against the Scarlet Witch, and reality slowly goes back to normal. Clint has just enough time to say something heroic before he fades away.

    It worked out well in JLA/Avengers, not so well in Zero Hour. I expect to see a couple of new characters spawned from this, at least one of the HoM counterparts will become a regular in Exiles, and a few minor characters will step through the revolving door into Death Hotel.

    I'm not bashing Marvel with any of this. DC does the same stuff. I really don't expect Blue Beetle or Ronnie Raymond to stay dead any more than Hawkeye. Only Uncle Ben stays dead."

But, hey, who am I to judge? After all, it could still pan out differently. Right.

I shouldn't bad-mouth Marvel, but lately it's seemed like there has been a sort of desperate hostility from Marvel towards DC, like a resentment that DC seems (IMO) to be putting out more original, compelling material. No matter what your feelings on Identity Crisis or anything else, it got people talking and excited in a way that "Identity Disc" sure didn't, and "Disassembled" failed even more spectacularly, if net buzz is any indication. JMS made his needless comments on DC's originality in the pages of a needless, abysmally bad (and Identity Crisis-derivative) Amazing Spider-Man arc, citing one creator's nasty comment to another as grounds to denounce the abilities of an entire company full of his peers and companions. Now, with Infinite Crisis and Seven Soldiers in full swing, it seems like House of M is a feeble attempt at cashing in on the current DC crossover mentality. After all, it's not often that a company-wide crossover is supplemented by satellite miniseries instead of just dipping into the monthly books. Disassembled didn't have a special "Avengers Disassembled: Spider-Man" four-issue limited series, but Infinite Crisis sure does. I mean, it seems like quite the coincidence.

Oh well, I'm not buying it either way, I just find it interesting.

So, what else? Ah, right, Battle Pope. By now, most of you probably have heard, at one point or another, the basic concept behind the once-independent Kirkman/Moore collaboration. Now the first issue's out again, in color, and I picked it up out of my new love for Kirkman and my long-standing love for hilarious religious satire. I enjoyed Battle Pope, it's a fun idea and it's well-exectued, with nice riffs on various sorts of comics and buddy action movies. In fact, if I'd picked this up five years ago, I'd have thought it was brilliant and wonderful.

Today, though, I think it's Preacher without the thinking. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy BP, but it feels like the toned-down Preacher in just about every aspect. The gore is toned-down, the sex and violence is toned-down, and the depth and theology is toned-down. It's still a decent read, it's just nowhere near as risky or thought-out. The satire is more juvenile; it's the young readers' version of Preacher, if there were such a thing. I'd definitely recommend it if you haven't read the Ennis/Dillon series, but those who are looking for something in the same vein may be disappointed. 6/10.

Last note: Over at Comics Should Be Good, I read the first bad review I've ever seen of "Y: The Last Man." And, incidentally, it was quoted from another source, so that makes two people at least who dislike the book.

I guess, in comic fandom, there's enough people that someone has to dislike everything. And here I was, thinking that "Y" was the first ever example of pleasing all of the fanboys all of the time.

Or maybe it's just that the "Comics Should Be Good" folks should recognize what comics are good.

No comments: