No, I haven’t died and neither has this blog. I’ve just been unbelievably swamped between completing a project for a client (business would be so much easier if I didn’t have to deal with clients – it would also much more closely resemble unemployment), dealing with sick family members and youth baseball. Every time I sit down to write something about comics I wake up 30 minutes later to find drool on the keyboard and an entry that looks like this:
And I’m completely behind on whatever is the hot comic blog topic de jure. Oh well. Maybe I’ll just recycle an old IDENTITY CRISIS post.
Even with my cramped schedule I thought about creating my list of 50 Best DC characters. I love stuff like this even though I’m constitutionally incapable of completing a list that long. My ADD kicks in around number 25 at which point I start rattling off any characters I can think of just to finish the thing. Hmm…Ace, the Bat Hound, uh, Triplicate Girl, Kid Eternity, and, er, Brother Power The Geek…
I will say that I would probably have The Creeper farther up the list than most of you, Composite Superman is on there somewhere and Darkseid doesn’t get a sniff. After that it’s pretty much the usual suspects. I can’t even tell you who my number one is because that changes from moment-to-moment, book-to-book too.
Anyway, what were we talking about?
All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder #4
This title has the weirdest distribution of time I’ve ever seen. Each issue covers what, about an hour? It’s like 24 - without all the action. And I could easily see Kiefer Sutherland as Miller’s Batman – after a few “training” sessions Barry Bond’s chemist anyway.
The six page Batcave pullout was cool in the way these often are. Six pages seems like one-upmanship though. Did the last guy do a five page pullout? The multi-page Batcave spread has become one of those stock Batman images that every artist has to have in his repertoire. Everyone does it pretty well because the concept is so cool, but the basic problem is that everyone does it. (And I can’t imagine this the first one Lee has done - I’m just too lazy to go back and find another.) So to differentiate they add pages. Eventually someone will publish an entire comic that’s just one big foldout of the Batcave. Or has that been done too?
So not much really happens, but Miller does manage to work in a little de-creepifying of the whole Batman as Dick Grayson’s stalker theme. And Bruce Wayne does not eat rats. That’s just wrong. I think to further prove the whole tough guy talk was largely that, my panels would look something like this (click for larger):
SQUADRON SUPREME kind of fell off the truck in issue #3. This group has always been Marvel’s little bastion of superhero meta-commentary but Straczynski turned the thing into an anti-US screed and kind brought the train to a grinding halt. The writing has been on the wall since the early issues of SUPREME POWER, but honestly, I didn’t expect the whole of the first plot line to be resolved like this. Eh. It seemed like even the Squadroner's themselves were looking around at each other thinking, "What just happened?" If I want real-world influenced plot lines I’ll read CIVIL WAR. At least there I’ll get Cap surfing a fighter plane.
FANTASTIC FOUR: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY would make a perfect FCBD comic. I offer this advice free of charge to the Marvel powers that be.
Speaking of meta-commentary…
If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ve noted that I’ve a weakness for the super hero genre, particularly ensemble (i.e. super teams, but not always) efforts by smaller publishers. I’ve followed titles like GROUNDED, BATTLEHYMN, INTIMIDATORS, PLANETARY BRIGADE and LIVING IN INFAMY all to varying degrees of satisfaction. Of all the derivations I’ve read so far, John Ridley’s THE AMERICAN WAY has been the best.
There’s a lot going on here, and I’m not completely sure Ridley will pull it all off, but so far he’s hit most of the notes pitch-perfect. I love his choice of eras and he’s very deftly established a large cast of characters by spinning off slight variations on the standard archetypes. This kind of thing can easily fall in to the “me too” category, but Ridley avoids that. The last few pages were a bit grizzly. For a minute I thought I was reading a Geoff Johns’ book and then I realized the violence wasn't gratuitous.