Conservative Comic Book Pundit

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Review: Pulse #14

Brian Michael Bendis (BMB hereafter) ends yet another excellent series.

I'm not sure how to review this one. With BMB off this and Daredevil, he has in essence jumped from, except for the Ultimate titles, the types of comics that show off his strengths. BMB writes best when dealing with small character dramas only occasionally punctuated by moments of grandiose importance (witness his most recent Ultimate Spider-Man issue "Deadpool: Part 1" and you can see what I mean). He fails when doing multi-level crossovers and epic level events. House of M sold well, but I was unimpressed. It moved too slowly for its genre and, in the end, it seemed less like an epic crossover and more like an excuse for an epic crossover. Marvel's next epic event will be Civil War, and one can only hope BMB does a better job with it.

Despite his rather odd public persona (which always seemed more affected than real) and the fans' near revulsion of him, Bill Jemas did many things right at Marvel comics. He got the Ultimate Universe going, and he helped oversee BMB's duties as a writer for Daredevil and Alias (a very "mature" comic, not the TV series), both of which were comics that played to BMB's strongest skills. The Pulse continued Alias (but without the nudity and swearing). With The Pulse gone, we have lost (except for the Ultimate brand) the last, best remnants of the Jemas era.

Now is the era of the return to the 90s: Multiple covers, massive crossover epics. Hopefully Marvel learned something from the 90s, and they can strike a middle ground between the post-bankruptcy Jemas era and the pre-bankruptcy 90s. For me, I'm going to miss Bendis dealing with nitty gritty bad side of the street level superhero comics.

As for this issue of the Pulse: It's sweet. Jessica Jones is a treasure and Luke Cage is a lucky, lucky man. We finally get to see how they first met, as well as her response to his proposal of marriage. Nothing much political, although I'm sure liberals will think conservatives must hate this issue, since it contains all those things liberals tell themselves conservatives hate: interracial couples, out of wedlock births and bad attitudes. But really, none of that is important. It deals with those things conservatives really care about: individuals (as opposed to many liberals who seem to have decided group identity trumps everything). What we have is the story of an individual who makes the most of her otherwise cracked and distorted life, rises above it and finds some measure of redemption and happiness through her decision to start a family.

I smiled the whole way through the issue.