Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Is Martian Manhuntery For All I Care #135

Green Lantern Corps #5 (2012)
Legion Lost #6 (2012))
Stormwatch #5 (2012)
Stormwatch #6 (2012)

Green Lantern Corps #5 (DC, 2012, $2.99)
This was better than last issue in the sense that I now knew enough not to feel like I was starting cold, but it was worse in the sense that nothing happens but getting the people together who will stop the antagonists. Apparently, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, and I guess Telly Savales are now retroactively in the Corps, but between pale likenesses and paler characterization, one would be forgiven for not noticing. This one was about tough guys being tough and solving problems in the dumbest, bluntest way possible, including dumping Martian Manhunter into a thankless cameo to solve any problems with exposition for these shitheads. I'm really sorry to see the appealing art of Fernando Pasarin wasted on this dreck.

Legion Lost #6 (DC, 2012, $2.99)
I've only skimmed the previous issue of this book, but it was old school in plot density and necessary exposition, so I was able to follow everything pleasantly enough. The super-team was cool, and I appreciated yet another Martian Manhunter guest appearance where he did more and looked better than in his own regular title. I like these characters from years back, and found their handling more true under Fabian Nicieza than whatever the fuck Paul Levitz is trying to do with his 30th Century Legionnaires these days. Shame a proven shittier writer takes over next issue, or I might have hung around for more. Is solid artist Pete Woods staying, at least?

Stormwatch #5 (DC, 2012, $2.99)
Dear Pat McCallum, editor of this book,

The Shadow Cabinet was a team book that came out towards the end of Milestone Comics' existence. I think they still hold the trademark, so it's good you changed the name to the Shadow Lords, except that name sucks and you should have fixed it before "Shadow Cabinet" was used in #5 & 6 alongside "Shadow Lords."

The Martian Manhunter has made a lot of guest appearances lately, and been drawn by a couple of different artists in Stormwatch. Everyone draws him better than Miguel Sepulveda. Please ask your series artist to stop using an Atom symbol vector on the character's chest piece interchangeable with the "pie" symbol used here and elsewhere. Also ask him to stop drawing every male character with the same body type like he had them all programmed into a computer template that he can manipulate. Tell Mr. Sepulveda to look at how other artists draw that new ridge-thing on the back of J'Onn's head, since he's the only one who makes it look like a wash rag is dangling behind him all the time.

Typically, when a writer decides to give six consecutive issues one title, it's because they're telling one story. So far, this book has had numerous plots, the primary one resolved last issue, but none really qualify as much of a story. For instance, a bunch of stuff happens in this issue, none of it is adequately explained, and nothing is brought to closure. For instance, Adam One has been a sucky leader, but you don't have a writer proxy come out of nowhere, wish Adam into the cornfield, and then tell readers what each character's motivations are supposed to be. That's bad writing, and you shouldn't have to pay for it.

I'm not sure if the character of the Midnighter has ever been unmasked or given a "real" name before. I remember that in the old continuity, he even got married with a mask on. It seems to me these revelations are kind of a big deal, so revealing both in an offhand manner and having Midnighter look almost exactly like Apollo but with brown hair and a little scar on his cheek is cheesy. Also, your writer is chronicling the start of a relationship between two men as though they were in a Silver Age romance title where all the girl's lines have been given to Apollo. Midnighter's lines seem to come from a stalker/rapist. You should maybe make sure your next writer is more GLAAD friendly, because Paul Cornell seems like he's writing an evangelistic brochure about pederasty that will end with these characters burning in hell for all eternity.

Why did the traitor decide on that specific moment to try escaping and blowing everything up? Everyone was wired and battle ready. Couldn't he have waited until folks were comfortable and asleep? Weren't two of the most powerful members planning to leave entirely before his actions? You know, the betrayal was telegraphed almost from the beginning. Couldn't you have made things more surprising than creating an arch-enemy specifically for Midnighter, and more importantly, did we really need to devote large chunks of the first five issues to three characters that exit this issue?

Finally, readers have seen that specific ending countless times, meaning it made for a less than compelling cliffhanger. Despite it spinning off into three separate titles, do you honestly believe readers are too stupid to realize that two of those titles are completely tangential, or that anything that happens next issue will really relate to the first four in this "story arc?"

Mr. McCallum, in light of the creative and personnel changes to come, please try to make Stormwatch less crappy before the end of the first year. The bloom is coming off the New 52 rose, and telling everyone this is an important book is bound to lose mileage if what you show remains so run of the mill.

Stormwatch #6 (DC, 2012, $2.99)
Talk about ending with a whimper. This arc started with Stormwatch battling the whole entire moon, and ends with them arguing with their alien autopilot so that it will fix itself in a manner least credible. Midnighter continues to make my skin crawl. There's a world of difference between including homosexual heroes and writing them in a manner that doesn't come across as homophobic or plain ignorant of how human beings talk to one another. So many subplots were botched that a list of my grievances would run as long as the script itself. It was neat how thoroughly Martian Manhunter was retconned out of JLA history after being confirmed in the first issue, and by neat I mean "fuck you all a lot." It was also something how all the forward momentum of an already limp plot petered out halfway through the issue, so that readers were treated to whole pages of random army guys at computers talking over coffee. It's such a treat to see Jack Hawksmoor look at grid coordinates for another full page. Yeah, you super heroes sit at that conference table like you really mean it. This title is pioneering in its exploration of how not to write a team book. Maybe next issue Jack can make out with Jenny while Engineer bitches some more and some random threat shows up to be sidelined anti-climatically? Ooo, spoiler?

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