Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday Is Blackester Night For Alls I Care #52

Blackest Night #6
Blackest Night:JSA #1
Justice League of America #40 (2010)
Blackest Night:Wonder Woman #2
R.E.B.E.L.S. #11 (2010)

Let's take a brief look at cause and effect before the reviews, shall we?

Cause: 8 years of retailing drives me batty, followed by two shitty experiences buying from other shops.
Effect: I pay for my comics in advance via mail order at such a magnificent rate, I could resell them at twice the discount local shops offer and still pull a profit.

Cause: Diamond Comic Distributors dick retailers around on timely shipping of the Previews order catalog, forcing my source to jack up their shipping rates for anyone requesting the catalog.
Effect: I buy mine at the LCS.

Cause: Diamond decides "fuck it, we're just not shipping anything the last week of the year."
Effect: DC ships "Blackest Night #6" the week before that, but contractually obligates retailers to hold it for a week. Some retailers lie to your face about not having the books.

Cause: Many retailers are man-children.
Effect: Embargoes broken, and actual businessmen forced to debate upholding contract or losing sales to these fucking toads.

Cause: New sites report internet wide leaking of "Blackest Night #6."
Effect: Loads of easy illegal downloading, thanks in part to the alert of the media.

Cause: Even though I paid for "Blackest Night #6" two months ago, and it shipped two weeks ago, I still won't receive my copy until February.
Effect: Miraculously and at no additional expense to myself, I'm able to vaguely recall "Blackest Night #6" enough to write a review through implied but undisclosed means.

Blackest Night #6 (DC, 2010, $3.99)
I think maybe my copy is broken, because I don't seem to be reading the same book as everyone else. You guys must have the copy that follows the classic horror formula of distressed civilians staving off waves of zombies while struggling with one another in tense exchanges before 90%+ of our heroes are left doomed in the end. My copy follows the formula of Silver Age DC heroes dropping weak exposition in between battling waves of impotent zombies until 90%+ of our heroes are left unchanged or in improved circumstances. I'm seeing pretty pictures and water treading story up until the Care Bears show up at the end, which at least broke up the monotony with silliness.

Blackest Night:JSA #1 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
Y'know, I like Eddy Barrows. The guy took a lot of heat for the grotesque shit that went down in his Teen Titans run, and he draws gross zombies here, but he didn't write either book. This comic looks like nice super-hero stuff, and I can follow it fine visually, so let's form a fan club already. Meanwhile, James Robinson tries to tell three origin stories and a modern through line on each of the first five pages, a bonehead move writers should know by now to avoid. Plus, at least in this issue, they serve no purpose besides filler. Actually, that's the book in a nutshell. This is the exact same "RISE" resurrection sequence from every DC comic over the last few months, but do to personnel changes, it hits the JSA just now in a set aside mini-series. Nobody "dies" here, nothing gets done with the latest Black Lanterns yet, everything relevant was told in other books and its all pretty pointless. But pretty, like I said.

Blackest Night:Wonder Woman #2 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
After one gut-wrenchingly awful Wonder Woman run after another, it was comforting that Greg Rucka ended the 80-90s series on a note of mildness. His work wasn't actually good, just inoffensive. It took me forever to get out of my abusive relationship with the Wonder Woman comic, and after breaking free and beginning the healing process following the Heinberg relaunch, I had no intention of backsliding into this mini-series. Yet, I'm making an effort to see Mera as more than the psychotic shrew she was cast as from the 80s on, and there was some celebrity death in this issue, so I bought it off the stand. My mistake.

For starters, Black Lantern Diana, who exists in a half living/half dead state thanks to a mostly ignored stunt during John Byrne's shitty run, opens the book by telling Mera "If I were you... I'd be pretty pissed off right about now." Now, that's not particularly strong Deadpool scripting, but it's all kinds of off for Wonder Woman, even while possessed. "Diana" and "Mera" then have one of those overly familiar, first-name-basis conversations during combat that have plagued comics since at least Claremont's X-Men. Look, when the Fantastic Four call each other by name, it's because they're a family with publicly known identities. When the JSA does it (see above,) you can chalk up the amateurish behavior to zombie stress and decades of cooperation. When its two characters who've had just about nothing to do with one another, especially when the dialogue hinges on exploiting a past relationship that isn't there, it's a shitty story.

We've got ten pages of Diana struggling to control her dark side, then refusing to kill Mera, whose wedding she attended for one panel in 1964. Then she rips out her protege Wonder Girl's heart after one page, but gets upset about it, and successfully chops Black Lantern Donna Troy to pieces. It ain't just Mera starting to smell fishy around here. Yes dear reader, you're being fucked by a dream sequence, which involves Batman coming down from the heavens to consummate a half-assed aborted JLA subplot from a decade back, and so that the Dark Knight can high five Superman over how they both left that pussy wet and wanting. Goddamn DC comics for passing Wonder Woman around like the needy girl in a group of male friends, everybody getting a turn (and hey, there was that even shorter lived flirtation with Aquaman that could have been exploited here.)

In closing, fuck everybody involved with this comic, even Nicola Scott, a decent enough penciller who ruins it by being a woman, garnering her extra notice undue if based on pure merit.

Justice League of America #40 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
The Justice League Detroit reunion train reaches its final destination with no casualties, much to my surprise and relief. James Robinson suffers from a compulsive disorder forcing him to open with yet another origin, told rather cockeyed. Wasn't Steel's daddy dead before he grew teeth, and shouldn't his alter ego be more clearly identified? Despite the absence of a bunch of other undead Leaguers (including Martian Manhunter, who has a flashbook appearance wearing goddamned bracelets,) it's a kick seeing them what did show, and Mark Bagley is a natural with a character like Steel. The inks are better than they have a right to be out of four hands, and my affection for the characters help me coast. The story is padded as all hell and mean-spirited, but I'll allow for it in this context. Well, except for Vibe ragging on Vixen. What color of the emotional spectrum is incredulity? Speaking of which, how stupid are the Black Lanterns for playing with their food while hunting silverback?

R.E.B.E.L.S. #11 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
Tony Bedard swiftly wraps up his obligatory crossover tie-in in a satisfying fashion. Vril Dox looks great in Sinestro yellow and black, but Bedard does right by making clear Dox in at heart governed by will, but more green wouldn't complement his complexion. Harbinger is more impressive dead than alive, but Stealth doesn't contribute enough. Nice job pointing out how retarded Starro and his fucking space battleax are. I really can't see Dox breaking down as he does in the end here, but general good will and the promise of a three way Brainiac battle helped me overlook it.

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