Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dirty Pool and more

I don't remember exactly where I read the phrase "dirty pool" in regards to this, but it sounds good enough. Before going much further, here's the obligatory


So, I finished off "Sacrifice" today, the story arc that ran through the three Superman titles, Wonder Woman, and The OMAC Project.

Why today, you ask? Because in 1992 I saw a cryptic ad in a Wonder Woman comic featuring a large white silhouette over a torn Superman symbol, saying "Doomsday is Coming" and suggesting you should subscribe to the Superman titles. So I did. Thirteen or so years, and several locales, later, I'm still subscribed (with only a few hiccups, two of them related to the introduction of a character in the electric blue costume).

Back to the point, the nice thing about subscription is that I get the Superman comics at a discounted rate without ever having to drive to the comic shop or worrying about whether or not they're in my pull bag or sold out or whatever. Also, when the titles suck for a year or three, I don't feel like I'm actively wasting my money. Unfortunately, they rarely arrive on time. So, within a day or two after I bought Wonder Woman #219 and OMAC #4, the last two parts of the arc, I received the first two. The Adventures issue came today, two weeks after I bought the issues that followed it. Rabid fan that I am, I read the last three parts in one sitting as soon as I could.

Yes, I waited, and I'm glad I did.

Greg Rucka, writer of those last three parts (and probably the architect of the previous two), has been accused of playing dirty pool by having a key part of the OMAC Project's story occur in other titles. Rucka publicly apologized for that, and that's more than you can expect from most people. No one apologized to me when Green Lantern and JLA had key parts of the Death and Return of Superman storylines. I applaud Rucka for that move, continuing to prove what a nice guy Greg Rucka is (heck, OMAC #3 even had a blurb at the end telling you to buy Sacrifice before #4, though that's probably too little too late for retailers and such).

EDIT: Apparently, the blurbs in Previews oh-so-long ago included just that sort of solicit text, so you can't fault DC too much. I guess they should have made it big, bold, and flashing.

I already buy all those series, so it didn't affect me whatsoever. "Atlantis Attacks" could have crossed over into Action Comics, I'd already be buying it.

Dirty pool? Sure it was, for three reasons:
1. It turned OMAC into (ostensibly) a ten-part series.
2. It interrupted stories in two non-Rucka comics.
3. It forced fans to buy two issues which contributed almost nothing to OMAC.

And I think it's number three that's the worst. There's no denying that the Adventures of Superman and Wonder Woman issues are vital to the OMAC story, but what's in the preceding issues? Wrapping up the previous plot threads in Superman plus some weird battle with Brainiac, and a ridiculous boxing match with Darkseid on Apokolips, along with the JLA coming after Clark. The only part of those two issues that has any real bearing whatsoever on OMAC is the last page or two of Action Comics, where we learn that Clark had beaten up Batman. I see how the hallucinations of the previous two issues went to show Clark's mindset and how screwed up he is, but it wasn't necessary to waste two whole issues on those, derailing any momentum Verheiden and Simone had on their plotlines and making OMAC into a 10-part series.

So, it's like The OMAC Project is an eight-issue maxi-series with two optional parts.

I really think a short recap at the beginning of OMAC #4 would have been nice.

Despite all that, it was a good story that kept me on my seat and has me anxiously awaiting the next issue. I hope the other series get to this sort of climactic event this quickly.

Also: more hate for the JLI-era league, as Rocket Red 7 takes a possibly fatal beating from an OMAC. Oh, and Max Lord gets his head turned around the wrong way, but we all saw that coming.

I don't think Rucka & Co. hate the Giffen-era league. In fact, I think the fact that they're giving the major characters such prominence speaks to how much they like them. I just think they might be equating "big changes" and "major deaths in high-profile series" with "reverence" a little too much.

And Blue Beetle stays dead because it's a good story? Shenanigans. If that logic worked, Superman would still be dead. When I get to DC, Ted's the first one I'm bringing back. Except maybe John Henry Irons as Steel.

Make it happen, folks! Get me into the DC offices! I gots ideas!

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