Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Slippin' and a-slidin' all along the waterfall with a bunch of reviews, my brown-eyed girl

Teen Titans #39-42: So, pretty much all that happened during the year off is that one member of the team did... something... traitorous but the rest of them don't know who or what and Raven's running around the world doing... something and it was all just a backcountry road bringing us to the return of Jericho as a good guy. You know how hard it is to care about somebody being a traitor when all the suspects are new characters and thus almost total cyphers?

I think I'm speaking for a large segment of the population when I say that I don't give even half a damn about Jericho in any capacity - he actually worked better as a villain, as far as I'm concerned and the first arc of this book would've been a decent enough send-off had they never used him again. I guess the Titans only have, like, three noteworthy villains, though, so he was almost guaranteed to come back eventually.

And it still bugs me that Robin acts about thirty years older and ten times douchier in this book than he does in his own.

On the upside, the Kid Devil solo issue was surprisingly solid, Miss Martian's pretty awesome and Titans East seems like it might be a good idea, so things are sort of looking up after a few months of rather dreary wheel-spinning.

Batman #659-662: Holy jumping mother of God. I've heard this likened to a bad marriage - you stick with Batman through all the drinking and abuse because when he's sober and not actively beating you about the face, he's a good guy - but I think it's more like a crappy affair from a good marriage. Morrison/Kubert's your girl, but you're at the bar one night and you see an old flame - Ostrander/Mandrake was pretty great all those years ago, right? - and think "what the Hell, let's take another run at her." But it turns out that, in the intervening years, her teeth have fallen out and she's picked up a raging case of crabs. And she tells these stories about stereotypical Russian mobsters and the Yakuza using a freaking karaoke-themed hitman. And a villain whose identity was so telegraphed I'm pretty sure the denouement had STOPs instead of periods. And then she keeps coming over. Like, twice as often as you expected.

This had to've been an inventory story, right? I mean, there's a character working in Leslie Thompkin's clinic who I'm pretty sure is Leslie Thompkins but they call her something else so as not to contradict that whole "Leslie Thompkins is in Africa because she killed the Spoiler" thing.

Ugh.

Detective #824-827: The Dini issues are all good - #826 is the best of them, with Robin and the Joker, but you probably knew that. The Ventriloquist issue's sort of weak, but I think I only feel that way because it isn't quite as done-in-one as the others. The fill-in issue is... okay, I guess. I can't believe Dr Phosphorus is A: still alive in spite of Ted Knight killing the bejeezus out of him and B: only just now getting around to killing the guys that made him into a skeleton that is on fire. I mean, it's a decent motivation - I'd kill people that made me into a skeleton that is on fire - but what the Hell's he been doing for, like, twenty years, here? Coming up with this fool-proof "burning them to death" scheme?

Justice League of America #0-5:"So I was reading this Justice League of America, and, hah, the pacing, the pacing was so glacial...""HOW GLACIAL WAS IT?""The pacing was so glacial that the book is leaving lakes and mountain ranges behind when it recedes.""Hiiiiyo!"

There. I think everyone on earth's already made a "ZZZOOOOOMG, they're still at the TAAAAABLE" joke, so you get bad glacier humor.

There's stuff I like - Benes consistently turns in solid art, Dr Impossible's pretty cool (even if he shares a name with a Venture Brothers character), the writing is snappy, even though it's unbelievably slowly paced. However, there're some things sticking in my craw. I mean, beyond the fact that in six issues we've gotten enough plot to fill the first two pages of a Roy Thomas story.

Minor stuff first:
  • Roy's wearing a different costume on the covers than he is in the book. I don't know why that bothers me so much, but it does. Especially since he's wearing a red Green Arrow get-up that still has a big "G" on the belt buckle. Because that makes no sense.
  • This is a pretty weird JLA lineup, honestly.

Bigger stuff:
  • What the Hell's the point of having five issue's worth of voting scenes if it's clear the League is going to form out of a really unlikely series of coincidences? Green Lantern and Black Canary pick up Roy instead of Ollie for... some damn reason... to go find Red Tornado's body. Check. Black Lightning happens to run into Hawkgirl and they both go to the Batcave where Wonder Woman and Superman are already hanging out. Check. Instead of just building a new Amazo, Professor Ivo needs Vixen's totem (and Parasite's forearm) to replicate powers he's already managed to replicate like five times before in a different robot, which pulls Vixen into the coincidence singularity. And somebody blew up Geo-Force, I guess because Brad Meltzer really liked The Outsiders back in the day.
  • So Solomon Grundy needed Red Tornado because he's "resilient"? I don't know, "resilient" wouldn't be my go-to word to describe Red Tornado. Maybe "relatively easily rebuilt by somebody with enough skill and time on their hands." Red Tornado's like a sandcastle - sort of neat looking, but ultimately going to get kicked apart by the first asshole to walk by. Whether or not it gets put back together is up to whether or not you want to blow a big chunk of your day knowing full well that either another asshole's going to come by and kick your work apart or the earth itself is going to swallow it back up - either way, it's not lasting long. Just like Red Tornado.
  • And how the Hell is Red Tornado more resilient than Amazo, anyway? One of them can ape the powers of Superman, the other one has gotten his limbs ripped off six or seven times.
  • Finally, I can't imagine throwing Turner on cover duty actually changes sales on this book worth a damn. This'd be DC's top seller if you had a kindergarten class doing the covers in fingerpaints, so why not let Benes handle the cover work? With the exception of #3, the covers have been weak sauce.

More soon. I swear.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Rejected Damage Logos

For reasons I don't fully understand, Damage's new costume - that of a Mexican wrestler themed after a combination of Hourman and Atom Smasher, apparently - rocks the internationally recognized warning sign for biological hazards instead of his old go-to costume design element, the symbol for radiation. To be fair, the radiation symbol barely made sense - I'm pretty sure he wasn't radioactive so much as generally explody - but it still befuddles me.
See, I'm reasonably sure Damage is not, in fact, a biological hazard, so I have to assume that the logo is there because it looks neat instead of for any logical reason. Or because prior attempts to craft a new logo were summarily rejected by DC higher-ups.

I have in my possession documents that prove this. Because I just made them. I have the journalistic integrity of CBS News.Rejected in an effort to avoid confusion with the Justice Society's two other star-themed characters. Yahweh knows readers are easily confused. You'd think it'd be because the character isn't Jewish, but, Hell, he's not really a biohazard, either.Not threatening enough. "Caution" is nowhere near as scary as "OMG MEDICAL WASTE."See above.Dan DiDio's not a big Ghostbusters fan. Always liked Stripes better, as Bill Murray vehicles go. So this one was right out.Scrapped at the last minute when Geoff Johns decided to write out Damage's new superpower - the ability to turn into a bitchin' jambox.

(Sidenote: I would absolutely read a Damage series that featured the character's newfound ability to transform into a bitchin' jambox. Sidenote to my sidenote: my spellcheck recognizes "bitchin'" as a word, but not "jambox." It is not as down with the streets as I had hoped.)

Have fun creating your own nonsensical Damage logo! Here is a blank provided for your own perverse enjoyment!(By the way, this is the part where the next issue of JSA explains that Damage is, in fact, made entirely of medical waste. He'll end up being the living embodiment of a New Jersey beach, or something.)