At this point, I don’t think that I even have to mention that I’ve been back into comics since the Secret Empire event sucked me back in. However, even I am surprised that I’m still reading them now that the event is over. I didn’t last much past Civil War during my previous comics phase. We will obviously see if this current run continues, but I haven’t missed a week in nearly three months and getting a steady paycheck through December means that I probably won’t for the foreseeable future.
The Good: I wasn’t terribly impressed with the first issue of this story arc. It wasn’t terrible. I just thought that they could do so much more with the premise. ranted, it was an introductory issue. I kept that in mind and I held out hope that it might get better. This is usually where I say, “I’m glad I did” or “I shouldn’t have bothered”. While I’m not sorry that I continued reading, I won’t quite say that I’m glad I did, either. Wow, what a weird good section, right? Don’t get me wrong. The story is decent. It’s just a bit too generic “coming back to the present to save the future” for me.
The Bad: Well, if that’s “the good”, then there must be plenty of bad. No, not necessarily. Overall, the story isn’t good more bad. It just sort of is. With both Marvel and DC playing with the idea of a multiverse, alternate history, and reinvention, this is one story that really didn’t need to be told right now. At least, it should have spent a little more time in development.
The Ugly: Loo, I get that I’m a frustrated writer. I also understand that critics are often failures in whatever they criticize. That is why I’m very careful and overly positive in my reviews. I’m not going to tear into this book. But, as you’ve seen, I haven’t been able to give it the full stamp of approval, either. For someone like me, that feels ugly and like it betrays my positive outlook on creative projects.
Justice League America
The Good: Similar title, similar heroes, vastly different results. This has been a much better book overall than the other Justice League title right now. That is in spite of not focusing too much on the main heroes. Maybe it is because they haven’t centered the story around them. I mean, the book has Lobo in it. The story revolves mainly around a character with size manipulation powers that travels to the “microverse” to find his mentor. It controls the narrative by itself and lets the JLA do theri things in the background. It plays much better than the Justice League title right now.
The Bad: This one, too, started off a bit slow. Like the other Justice League book, I almost didn’t give it more than one issue. Seeing as how this is a recurring theme, I suppose that I just have to realize that DC arcs–other than their big ones–use the first issue to set the stage. I will accept it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
The Ugly: Speaking of Lobo, I’m glad that he has only a small supporting role. Similar to Deadpool, I can only tolerate Lobo in small doses. Anything more and the schtick just gets tired. Kudos to DC for recognizing my aversion to the character and writing specifically for me. Otherwise, it could have gotten ugly.
The Good: As far as I know, this is an original story, which is hard to find in a medium that has been around for 70? 80? years. Furthermore, it is an entertaining blending of the two mythologies. Of course, I’m not a comic book scholar, so this might have been done before. Alsok if I’m being honest, the story is simply an alternate telling of the Wonder Woman origin in the context of the Conan world. Still, the first issue was good.
The Bad: As I jus wrote, they may have done this crossover before. Now that I think about it, I’m sure they must have done this a least one other time during the “wild and crazy” 90s. I’m too lazy to Google right now. If so, then there’s no shock here. If not, or if there are new fans due to the movie, then the retelling of the Wonder Woman origin might turn some away.
The Ugly: Look, I know the rather sordid background of Wonder Woman. More specifically, a few months ago, I read an article about some of the stuff that her creator wrote into the book because of his “preferences”. The end of this book, while not fully embracing the roost of the character, came uncomfortable close to those dated and ugly themes.
The Good: While the stand alone title has not been as good as it was in the beginning when Greg Rucka was writing it, the lastest storyline has grown on me over the last few issues. As mentioned earlier, an all too familar refrain with DC arcs is that the first issue is very weak. Since that introduction, the story has improved enough to keep me buying a book that I thought might end up only being “I bought this for Greg Rucka.”
The Bad: I hate to harp on a point over and over, but DC really has to work on their intro issues for new stories. As a frustrated writer, I understand that stories have a certain structure; introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. I also understand that ever since Brian Michael Bendis changed the format, comics are all about setting things up for the eventual trades. As a result, that first issues ends up being a throw away for the minor stories.
The Ugly; I guess that, ultimately, my quarrel is with the structure of comics in the current era. Since every story has to be a 5 or 6 story arc and there isn’t much room for the random one off issue. Although, I will say that Batman did a successful one of team up with Swamp Thing that I thought was going to span multiple issues. That’s how ingrained the thinking is. I just wish that there were more of those and less focus on dragging their feet to fill the issue quota. Oh well, something ugly that I’ll just have to live with for now.
Next: That’s all we have time for in this review. I’ll be back in a few days with my thoughts on how Aquaman is succeeding (or not) in taking back his throne, how Batman is dealing with a war between two of his worst enemies, and how another Batman is coming face to face with nightmares from other universes!