Been Caught Reading

Or, as I might have called it…

“Flashback! To A Ton Of Comics Everyone Already Read Months Ago…!”

It’ll be a short one this time; however I will have a follow-up.

One of Superman: only read the first Johns/Donner/Kubert Action Comics issue, but…wow. Loved it. Seriously. Fanboyish questions about new Kryptonian kids aside, not only is it an engaging story in which I totally recognize the Superman I grew up with, but my God Adam Kubert can draw! Holy crap! I’ve always liked him, but this knocked me flat. Absolutely fantastic. And, even better, absolutely Superman. Where I impotently complained about the story-necessity of Venom’s presence in Spider-Man 3, here I’ll play the hypocrite: as a relaunch of Superman, this is great, even if it’s great for exactly the same thing that makes me wring my hands about Spidey. Must get all the other other current Superman titles now…!

One of Dr. Thirteen: were people really complaining about the jumped-up Freudian humour in this feature? Wow, but I think it’s enormously clever, don’t you? I’d read this at its present length as a weekly, it’d be great. I’d be thrilled to buy it in different sizes and formats as a TPB, too, chopped up into Roman-numeralized chapters: fantastic! A completely brilliant idea, in or out of the DC universe.

One of Eternals: similarly, I don’t see how anyone could hate this series. Not only is JR Jr. somehow getting even better at drawing comics every time he does one, but after a little quiet reflection…yes, I think this is as good a reintroduction to the Eternals as anyone’s ever likely to cook up. It’ll never be Kirby, but then we knew it wasn’t going to be. And the story certainly isn’t a Kirby story. But, you know…look at what it is, because by this time our eyes should be quite used to seeing it: it’s an ambitious reclamation that actually utilizes the old Alan Moore devices (and how long have writers been using those elegantly-wrought wrenches to hammer their twopenny story nails into particle-board for, anyway? Twenty years now? Twenty-five?) in order to place Jack’s creations in a universe whose continuity he’d already outgrown by the time he made them. The Eternals…my God, what a problem they were! Too much imagining, not enough rationalizing, for the post-Anarchy Period Marvel to deal with. And although in the past I’ve had my own small ideas about how to bring them back without vapourizing their charm, or even their inconsistencies, and even though my methods are not the ones Neil and JRJR seized on…still, I mean whaddaya want? The Marvel Universe has grown incredibly boring as time’s gone on, because after it stopped its imaginative expansions it had nothing else to do but consume its own heart…but these Eternals, Deviants, and Celestials are different from what they were before, now. They’re potentially interesting. You could do things with them, now. The way Jack left them they were far too radioactively Kirbyfied for anyone else to risk touching them, but so was everything at Marvel, once upon a time…and what wasn’t Kirbyfied was Ditkoized, which can be even more dangerous. Admittedly, this was some of Jack’s more far-out Cosmic Origins stuff, so it was always gonna stay hotter for longer…but, that only meant it needed a more nuanced approach to reclaim it from the bottom of Jack’s unique mod-myth ocean. And nuanced is just what Neil’s delivered, if anyone would care to look: think that Civil War crossover was an accident? Think the amnesia thing was chosen just because it was superficially convenient? It was superficially convenient, of course, but it also was made to make sense with the specifics, and in my opinion it succeeds wonderfully. But I’ll have a little more to say about that at some later date.

Two of Batman: I like these new/old Batmen. What more is there to say?

One of Astro City: really, Internet? You thought “The Eagle And The Mountain” was all charged with post-9/11-ness? I’m not saying it’s a super, super stretch, mind you, but…it isn’t exactly sitting right in your hand, is it? Maybe on the bedside table…

Two of Agents Of Atlas: I still miss the 3D Man, but I don’t see how I could ask for much more than this.

Two of Dr. Strange: boy, Neilalien must be happy with “The Oath”. I know I am. Unreal, somebody gets it, I truly am amazed and pleased. I was beginning to think no one really liked Doc very much anymore. Not as a property. As a character. An incredible relief to find out I was wrong about that.

One of The All-New Atom: hey, this is great! Could’ve gone for some less Wikipedian science-quotes, but…wow, again I can’t believe it, I liked it, I’m…just really speechless, it’s such a relief to read comics which aren’t totally boring…

Okay, that’s all I can do for now. I’ll be back, and more coherent, later. Unfortunately I’ll also probably be more long-winded, too.

Oh well! So far it makes a nice zippy four-colour stew in my head…maybe things aren’t so bad after all…

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3 responses to “Been Caught Reading

  1. Of course, I don’t mean to say Jack’s original Eternals weren’t interesting, because I love them. But no one ever came back to them with any kind of storytelling purpose, they just sort of wished them away into the mists of continuity. Mark Gruenwald tried everything he could, I believe, to properly “Marvelize” them…hmm, not sure I put the quotes around the right word, there…”properly” Marvelize them, I should have said…but it didn’t do much except render them kind of boring. Steve Englehart did ONE story with them, a Silver Surfer annual, that really piqued my interest because it kind of acknowledged “hey…this doesn’t fit! How come?”, but then he never came back to it…probably would’ve in his FF, if they hadn’t screwed with him…grumble…so really this whole potentially really cool extra dimension to the MU, with lots of elbow room in it, has just been sitting there for a couple of decades, doing not-much. Just more costumes. What a waste. Meanwhile other Marvel characters muck about senselessly with the Celestials, but that’s not the way that’s supposed to work, obviously. That’s what the Eternals are for.

    Anyway…

  2. Which Atom was it? I’m a big fan of the series; it’s one of my current favourites. As David Letterman used to say, it’s more fun than humans should be allowed to have.

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