Conservative Comic Book Pundit

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Snapshot reviews!

52, weeks 24 and 25: Well, issue 24 let me see what this series is missing: Ambush Bug! In fact, any DC series could use more Ambush Bug. Otherwise, this series is spinning its wheels big time.

Stan Lee Meets the Thing: It's nice to see Stan can still write and write well (Ravage 2099 had me worried), and while this is quite hilarious, I also worry that maybe Stan can only write humor anymore.

Daredevil 90: This series gets weirder and weirder, but in a good way. It's nice to see Tombstone as a serious villain.

Exiles 87: Still the only "X book" worth reading. Avoid the mutant (read: perpetually adolescent) angst and read something fun about reality hoping heroes. Bonus for this issue: Galactus as the good guy and the Silver Surfer as the really, really bad guy.

Classic Battlestar Galactica 1 from Dynamite Press: Only one issue of this series out so far, and it's already behind schedule. This is the reason why nearly all the other BSG comics didn't last. This one seems to be set sometime very early in the series (Serina is still alive), and it seems to be pulling in elements from the new series as well (resistance fighters back in the colonies - sort of). This one was fun to read. Meanwhile, the New BSG series from the same company is a confusing mess.

Angel: Masks one shot: Over priced, but a nice read for fans of Buffy and Angel. The stories aren't really for newcomers, and they don't add anything to the mythology, but they function as comfort food for fans of the Buffyverse.

Planetary 26: I can't believe this actually happened. The wrap-up. The final confrontation with the Four. It basically ends with a whimper rather than a bang, but what a whimper! (that was meant in a good way. Just don't expect wild theatrics. It's good, but very low key).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Christopher Priest on Civil War (not really, but sort of)

Christopher Priest is one of the better comics writers out there - Marvel should be ashamed it doesn't give him more work. His politics are to the left of mine, but he usually writes good stories that put characters and story first. Here is a post from his blog I found intriguing in light of Marvel's heavy handed Civil War. Some excerpts:

Half the fun of reading comics (or any serialized literature) is The Rules. Birds of Prey Must De-Cloak Before Firing. The bane of most fantasy fiction has been the trend, mostly by people who have run out of ideas, to break or ignore these rules, seemingly at will.
To help figure out Captain America, I once posed this question to Jim Shooter. Billy Bob has a farm. Magneto, Thanos and Dr. Doom have a bunker at the remote end of Billy Bob’s property. Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and Captain America arrive at the farm. Do they cross Billy Bob’s property to save the world?
Spider-Man doesn’t even stop at the property line. He just goes right in without giving the matter any thought, followed by Johnny Storm (and, likely, Sue Richards, who nobody can see anyway). Reed Richards asks permission (as Ben Grimm scoffs), Billy Bob says no. Reed regrets having to go against Billy Bob’s wishes, but there’s simply too much at stake. They go in, leaving Cap at the property line.
Reed turns, tells Cap to come on. Cap says he can’t. The man said no. Cap won’t violate the farmer’s rights in the name of saving the farmer’s life. Reed says time is running out, what will Cap do?
Cap heads off in another direction, saying, “I’ll find another way.” And he will. That’s Captain America, and those are The Rules.
These days, writers seem to change the rules whenever they feel like it.


I’d be much more impressed by writers who can thrill and entertain within the conceit of The Rules rather than coming up with new ways to ignore or break them simply because they’re either burnt out or don’t really know the character or the universe. The resultant music may seem exciting, but if you know what you’re listening to, it all has a dissonant sameness and disingenuousness that just makes you long that much more for the real thing.

Go read the whole thing. Now, think about Civil War and how Reed and Captain America are being used by Millar and Marvel.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'll have reviews for this week up in a day or two...

But as for last week?

Well, Plant Hulk chugs along at a fun pace, and the new Dr. Strange comic shows promise (and makes a good introduction to the character for new readers).

However, I haven't posted on last week, because every time I do, it devolves into an angry rant over JMS' awful, awful Fantastic Four #540. I like to think I'm better than that, but I don't know if I am. Here are some small points and then I think I'll go to a happy place where writers don't subvert beloved characters to make cheap political points:

1. JMS always insisted that both sides would be represented fairly, and even the pro-reg side would make good arguments. Except in this issue, Reed Richards can't refute any of Sue's "ripped from the Democratic Party's press release" talking points. When he tries to convince Spider-Man he's right (after Sue leaves him), he basically argues that opposing Senator McCarthy back in the day was the wrong thing.

2. Okay - Sue Storm can drag out the Nazi analogies (yes, she does) and Reed can't refute her. But when he finally does make an argument, the best he can do is come up with a really bad historical analogy? There is no balance. Sue Storm was clearly the moral center of this issue, so there's no going "well, that's the character talking, not the writer" - the writer lets us know loud and clear just who is right in this issue. If JMS actually thinks a modern conservative (other than the wildly over the top Ann Coulter) would argue "support McCarthy" he suffers from too much liberal propaganda.

But then, JMS has defended Michael Moore as a powerful truth teller, so the man just doesn't write fiction - he lives in a fictional world.