Conservative Comic Book Pundit

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Summer Comics

So, I just finished reading through my stack of summer comics, and here are some thoughts:

1. Planet Hulk is the best storyline in comics right now. Totally unpretentious - it doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: Hulk fighting a whole lot. It's as sophisticated as a buddy movie, but it works.

2. Marvel's Civil War is way too pretentious. The main series plays it (mostly) straight down the middle, but spin offs like Civil War Frontline make it rather clear the whole series is really about the evils of the current American Government (and they aren't subtle about it - the short but well-done piece on Japanese internment camps was about as subtle as a pitchfork up the nose).

3. Spider-Man revealing his secret identity: The gutsiest move ever made in comics. Killing off Superman was a cheap publicity stunt: Everyone knew he would be back. Killing off Spider-Man would have the same reaction. But the reveal of the secret identity? Now that is serious status quo shakeup. I don't like it, but now that they've done it, I hope Marvel has the guts to stick with it. Having a mystical memory wipe a la the Flash would be a cheesy cop out.

4. The new Battlestar Galactica comic has horrid art and a barely comprehensible storyline.

5. Peter David's Fallen Angel at IDW comics is, hands down, the best comic he has ever written. (Fair Warning: it's "mature readers" with some nudity and language). It's incredibly cynical, but I find myself enjoying it far more than any other comic currently on the market - except for Fables, which is the best comic Vertigo/DC produces.

6. Marvel's Exiles remains a nice guilty pleasure. I generally can't stand mutant books, but this one manages to be very fun and avoid all the mutant angst usually found in the X books. Plus, the latest issues make fun of Wolverine's overexposure by giving us more Wolverines in story arc than you could have thought possible. (best scene: 14 Wolverines and they all say "Bub.")

7. The new Moon Knight comic outs Frenchie, in a totally unnecessary scene that basically says anytime two men are really good friends, one of them is gay and in love with the other one. Whatever. Instead of outing old characters, I think it would be better to create newer ones that happen to be gay. The scene in Moon Knight took up too much space, made little sense given Frenchie's history, and attempts to justify it by (in essence) declaring that heterosexual men can never be really, really devoted friends. Ugh.


  • 1. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the Planet Hulk TPB at my local library. I'm lucky enough to have a library system that gets all the good stuff on a timely basis. The whole Planet Hulk thing has a "it's just so crazy, it just might work" vibe to it, in that it's just so different from anything that's come before it (the only thing close would be Hulk's long-ago visits to Jarella's world as a sort of warrior-king figure).

    2. Yeah, my "spidey-sense" was going off big-time when it came to the Civil War presale hype. Even though everyone was blathering on about how "even handed" they were going to be, the second I found out Captain America was on the anti-goverment side, I knew the fix was in. I think anytime you put Cap onto a certain side, it's got all of his moral authority that comes with it (whether or not Cap would actually take that side). Sadly, so many of Marvel's writers are so unbelievably liberal (some all-out Leftist), they really don't seem to recognize how distorted their "even handed" treatment really is.

    3. I wasn't very happy with the reveal. It seems Spider-Man has been taken far afield by many of his most recent writers, chief among them JMS...whom I have serious doubts about as to whether he really understands the character. The whole Gwen Stacy thing, to the Spider-Totem junk...bleh. Now this, where Peter seems to be strung along by Tony Stark like some naive 2nd grader. It just doesn't seem like the Spidey I used to know. I can't imagine how they're going to get themselves out of the corner they've painted themselves into.

    4. I gave the Galactica show a try last year, but just couldn't get into it. The shaky-camera technique drives me insane, in addition to me just not being able to combine the style of a heavy TV drama (like the CSI shows) with sci-fi. Probably a stupid bias on my part, but there you go.

    5. Haven't tried Fallen Angel, though I have liked some of David's past stuff. However, they guy himself kinda irritates me (I've stopped reading his blog entirely), so it's always a little tough picking up something new from him.

    6. Sounds interesting. I'll be on the lookout for the trades.

    7. Both Moonknight and homosexual topics aren't my cup-o-tea. I agree, it's sad that two males can't be shown as good friends without the intimation of sexual attraction. I think our modern times have (sadly) distorted alot of this stuff.

    By Anonymous Mark Engblom, at 2:39 PM  

  • I agree Peter David's blog can be hard reading (I check it out often, but have started skipping the political posts, since they amount to little more than unreasoned rants).

    As for Battlestar Galactica - I'm a huge fan of the original, and (despite my initial skepticism) I think this new BSG is one of the best shows on TV right now (though LOST and House are at least as good, if not better). But I also can see how it wouldn't appeal to everyone. It's politics seem to lean slightly left, but I get the idea the writers and producers are trying to be as honest as possible to all sides of the issues.

    JMS: well, yeah. I love Babylon 5. But he seems to be hitting the same notes over and over again. His "mystical additions" on Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four all read like they are leftovers from Babylon 5 (actually, in the Fantastic Four, he plagarized himself by using direct quotations from Babylon 5).

    However, when he writes a straightforward superhero tale, rather than making it mystical or rewriting history, he does a great job. His Hulk arc in the Fantastic Four was a great read, and the New Avengers arc in Amazing Spider-Man was a nice adventure yarn.

    By Blogger John Phelan, at 6:07 PM  

  • 'Glad you're back and posting again.

    I liked the first issues of Planet Hulk, but at the same time it started, my apathy for many of the other titles I read kicked in (the month after HoM every title I paid for just sucked or was insulting), and there isn't enough that I want to read to get me to the comic book shop buying Planet Hulk.

    Civil War--ugh! Don't care, don't care, don't care... It's self-serving, and I won't risk a Marvel "event" after the HoM storyless miniseries. Their advertising for CW was a turn-off.

    The last time I liked Spider-Man was when JMS and JRJr worked together on Amazing Spider-Man. That was a much-needed good run! I enjoyed that stuff and had no problem with totem aspect--but it was OVER... yet it keeps going (like The Other). I saw on The Drudge Report that in the story Spidey revealed his identity, but I didn't think it was a good idea or a bad idea--I just didn't care. Spider-Man was always my favorite superhero, but the only thing that keeps my interest in the character now is the three movies. They could have the comic character become an transgendered nazi activist and I just wouldn't care anymore.

    I used to buy more titles from Marvel than from DC and others, but I moved to more DC titles around HoM time. But DC lost me in, I'd generously say, 2 months. IC and OYL was all bad.

    I love the medium and much of its past superhero stories, but the industry has left me nothing in it to care about.

    By Anonymous z ryan, at 6:20 PM  

  • I agree that "Civil War" is pretentious and poorly written, but "the evils of the current American Government (and they aren't subtle about it - the short but well-done piece on Japanese internment camps was about as subtle as a pitchfork up the nose)." I don't really consider the little backup stories in "Frontline" to be commenting on the "evils" of the gov't. Heck, if anything, they do plenty defending of the gov't as with the Japanese internment thing and supporting the troops. You've got to be kidding, right?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:27 PM  

  • No, not really.

    And the recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man where Tony Stark claims his interstellar prison is perfectly legal because it isn't on US soil?

    My complaint is that Civil War is badly transparent, and designed to be a negative commetary on the current situation in the US. Rather than telling a good story (that comments on the situation), they've gone straight to nuanceless political propoganda.

    By Blogger John Phelan, at 2:55 PM  

  • Right now, Marvel's going into overkill on the crossovers and "events" so that I can't get into any of the books. Which is a shame, since what I've seen of "Planet Hulk" and the current Eternals mini in the stands seems to be pretty entertaining. I really do think that Marvel is in need of some sane helmsmanship up there since JQ and his pals have been so busy pissing in the punchbowl. I guess since they've gotten bored with the "Every other hero is really an alcoholic who was abused as a child" memé, they've now begun pulling up the "Every man's best friend is really his secret homosexual admirer" trick.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:30 PM  

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