Saturday, September 1, 2007

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 8/29/07

Forgive the lateness of these reviews. I was held up by a stomach illness Thursday, a full work day Friday and a Saturday of various pre-Labor Day preparations to attend to.

AMAZONS ATTACK #6: I can almost, ALMOST forgive this entire insipid, banal crossover for the ending... even if I did like it a lot better when Grant Morrison wrote it with White Martians and it was called New World Order.

Why? Well, there's a number of reasons.

1. It did bring the Amazons back from the limbo that Greg Rucka shunted them into. Granted, they are scattered across the world and have no memory that they are/were Amazons. But there are still Amazons existing in some form on Earth.

2. It did bring Hippolyta back from the dead. Granted, she has been driven a wee bit crazy by hubris and the fact that Circe used part of her own twisted soul to bring the Amazon Queen back from the dead... but still, she is alive.

3. Circe gets sucked into Hades. Naturally this won't be permanent... but maybe it will keep her from being the villain in every Wonder Woman story in the NEXT year.

4. The final two pages, in which it is revealed that all of this conflict has been arranged - not by the Greek Goddess Athena - but by New God Granny Goodness posing as Greek Goddess Athena. What is more, Granny Goodness is holding all the Olympian Gods prisoner.

Let me repeat that; Granny Goodness is holding ALL THE OLYMPIAN GODS PRISONER!

As much respect as I've had for Jack Kirby's work, I've never really thought of the New Gods as actually being... well, gods so much as very advanced aliens with very high opinions of themselves. A large part of that is, probably, due to the fact that most of the New Gods characters (Darkseid in particular) have been used for so long as generic alien conquerors that it is hard for most modern comic readers to think of them as deities.

With this story, not only is one of Kirby's greatest creations reworked into a credible threat after years of being a rather comical figure (She was voiced by Ed Asner talking in falsetto, for crying out loud!) - but something has finally been done to explain away one of the more confusing aspects of the DC Universe post-52. That is, why on earth is the Goddess Athena taking a personal hand in creating women's shelters all around Earth and taking in any manner of young women but turning away single mothers and battered wives who need the help more.

Now it becomes obvious; Granny is obviously getting ready to create her own new army of Female Furies on Earth and is using the Amazon teachings and the guise of Athena as a front to keep recruiting. Between that and now having control of every Amazon on Earth in a sleeper identity...

... well, this idea - to say nothing of the thematic idea that any woman could be a goddess in disguise - is one that almost negates the stupidity that Wonder Woman spent most of this series mewling like a kitten over a dying Nemesis, that Wonder Girl and Supergirl were shown to be borderline incompetent, that Black Canary didn't even get any dialogue much less get shown leading the JLA in battle and that the final magical whammy against Circe is delivered, not by Zatanna, but by Batman repeating something Zatanna told him.

FANTASTIC FOUR #549: Mr. McDuffie?

Thank you.

No less a fictional personage than Victor Von Doom - widely agreed upon to be the most dangerous supervillain of all time - noted that he considered Susan Storm to be the biggest threat out of all the Fantastic Four members. This was due not only because of the level and versatility of her powers but because she was the one who would become the most dangerous if pushed.

You showed this on two pages as Invisible Woman single-handedly took down the entire Frightful Four in a matter of seconds.

The extra three pages of Sue taunting The Wizard after she had him pinned down? That was just icing. :)

It is my understanding that you are not long for the writing of this title, which is a shame as I haven't enjoyed a Fanastic Four book this much since the days of Mark Waid and the late Mike Wieringo. Still, I look forward to your run on JLA and hope that DC Comics has the sense to offer you an exclusive contract, if not an editorial position.

TEEN TITANS #50: Why did I pick this book up?

I'm not a big Teen Titans fan. Never have been.

While I've heard good things about Sean McKeever and how he is the greatest thing since sliced bread when it comes to comics written for a Young Adult audience... I've never read anything by him that I can remember. So unlike most of my fellow ComicsNexus brethren, I did not consider his coming onto this title to be a sign of hope.

And I certainly wasn't giving this title a chance as a new book to grip me as it is, in reality, a hodge-podge of stories by different writers and artists and not really a proper First Issue.

So, why did I get it? Probably because this was a light week and because I could afford it and because I took pity on the local comic shop clerk, who seeing me looking at it, noted that as an Issue #50 "it's a collectors item that will be worth something someday". I remember too well what it is to be the guy trying to push some book that the boss over-ordered using whatever excuse is handy... so what the heck?

And yet... despite all of this... it wasn't all that bad of a book. Heck, the Blue Beetle story here finally sold me on the character - which is something even Mark Waid and Keith Giffen couldn't do, so maybe it's a great book. I just didn't have much point of reference for anything that was going on apart from Bart Allen being dead and the Titans kinda/sorta going through a rough-time with keeping a hold of new members.

Still... not that bad of a book, all things considered.

WONDER WOMAN #12: I barely flipped through this one, just to see how much it had to do with Amazons Attack.

Sod and All, honestly.

There's just enough to spell out what happened for everyone who had stopped reading Amazons Attack out of boredom or annoyance and then another short, silly story to reestablish that Diana is getting feelings of a sort for Nemesis, Nemesis has eyes for Wonder Woman while ignoring his hot new partner in the shades and Lara Croft bodysuit and the whole thing is still just a sad parody of the good ol' days with Diana and Steve Trevor.

I said it before and I'll say it again.. for the last time. Bring on Gail Simone!


  1. ...
    Amazons.. not being amazons anymore.. OH FOR FUCKS SAKE

  2. I rather enjoyed Sean McKeever's first issue on Teen Titans, though alas it continued the angst-tastic theme the book's had for the last year or so. (At this point I expect Wonder Girl's upcoming mini-series will just be 6 strait issues of her crying over how much she misses Connor and Bart.) That said I couldn't help but look at the flashback and wish I was reading a McKeever written Young Justice title instead.
    As for Amazon's Attack I do believe it's one of the most misunderstood comics to come out on shelves in years.
    Amazons Attack is clearly a masterpiece of Neo-Dadaism. Will Pfiefer and Pete Woods have clearly written this to express the confusion of the post 9/11 world. By not even trying to make the comic vaugley coherent they have embraced this disorder through Dada, using it as a means to express their distaste for the aesthetics of the previous traditional comics and and the violence of the modern world. Through this rejection of traditional concepts of "good storytelling" and aesthetics they have expressed a deep personal understanding of the true nature of modern society.
    Amazons Attack is not a comic. It is the anti-comic. Where traditional American comics have been concerned with aesthetic concerns and story telling these brave creators have ignored such trifles. While traditional comics have at the very least an implicit or latent message, this is a crossover that expressively strives to have no meaning beyond shocking, confusing, and offending. I applaud them for that.
    Anyway I've almost wrapped up my internship at the Herald Dispatch so it looks like I'll be back to writing about comics online soon.

  3. Good news for those of us in the professional on-line bitching about comics arena, then.
    I don't think Amazons Attack can be classified as Neo-Dadaism, though. The artwork is too conventional for that. It does, however, meet most of the standards for an Absurdist piece.

  4. Oh, they're still Amazons.
    They're just scattered about the globe, living ordinary lives, with no memory of who they are. Just like The White Martians from Grant Morrison's JLA run.
    The kicker is that in the climax, Athena herself showed up on the battlefield, kicked Circe into Hades (the realm, not the god), declared that all of this had been a test of the Amazons to see who would live up to their ideals and - surprise, surprise - they all failed miserably because nobody stood up to a resurrected Hippolyta to say that teaming up with Circe is a bad idea or that they were going WAY outside the boundaries of acceptable wartime behavior.
    Since they all failed the test, except for Diana, Donna and Cassie (who were the only actual Amazons fighting to END the conflict), they were all being punished. So Hippolyta is now ruling over a totally empty Themyscria, the Amazons are now living ordinary lives with no memory of who they are and as far as the main-line Amazon superheroes are concerned they are - for the moment - it.
    And then we find out... the last few pages... that Athena isn't really Athena and is actually Granny Goodness.
    I'm sure this is temporary and is just being used to build up a better story... hopefully Final Crisis.

  5. "by Batman repeating something Zatanna told him"
    So Batman has Zatanna's powers now? This... should be interesting.

  6. ORDINARY LIVES... BAH but yes good point.. it was an evil scheme of Granny Goodness...

  7. Yeah, I'm not too happy about the ordinary lives thing either.
    I'm just saying that it beats the alternative a year ago, when they were all written out of reality by the Greek Gods. At least now there's a chance they'll come back. In fact, given that The New Gods are supposed to tie into the next big crossover and that there's been an active subplot about how "Athena" has been slowly buidling up small groups of women undergoing combat training in all the major cities...
    Can we say sleeper agent Furies?

  8. Yeah - I've got no issue with Batman throwing a magic powder or something that Jason Blood prepared for him. Being able to repeat a spell Zatanna created really shouldn't work, for a number of reasons...

  9. He's done ritual spell-casting in the past. I think that by DC's vague rules anyone can do that but it takes whatever it is Magicians have to do off the cuff casting. Which is what Bats does in AA of course. Making it one of MANY things that are stupid about the mini-series...
    I soooo feel sorry for Simone...

  10. Hey, she actually made CATMAN cool.

  11. Amazons Attack: I caught the Grant Morrison JLA swipe, too. Great minds think alike. If they end up having the Amazons imprisoned in the Phantom Zone and then having Diana going apeshit crazy and killing them....
    FF: Sue is the bomb.
    Titans: I picked it up for the past creators and to read McKeever's writing.
    Unfortunately, those past creators' work only took up a handful of pages, and this format is too premature to judge Sean's work. Seeing the past teams does indicate how far the book has fallen today prior to his arrival. Also, this book is in dire need of different art. Jamal Igle or Andrea DeVito maybe?
    Wonder Woman: I resent the shoehorning of Nemesis into the dumbass Steve Trevor role. Even Trevor was badly written over the Pre-Perez WW history. He could've been written as more capable. (Think early Lois Lane vs. the modern one.) And in Nemesis I'd hoped there was a chance to rectify this. But no, we got Nemesis as Idiot Steve v2.0.
    Fix this, Gail! PLEASE!!

  12. So what's going to stop Batman from asking Zatanna to prepare spells that he can cast just by speaking out loud for, say, every time that he could think of? Since he is supposed to be a brillant strategist he shouldn't just throw away a clear edge...
    Execpt writers, of course.

  13. Which is really amazing considering what Brad Meltzer did to him as a joke...
    Which, come to think of it, makes Gail even more qualified to fix Ollie.

  14. Nothing... apart from Bruce not really understanding how magic works and not wanting to grow dependent on something he can't fully control. Because Bruce knows just enough about magic to know how it is - for the most part - fundamentally unreliable unless you are a born sorcerer (like Zatanna) or have some other form of magical bond (like Jason Blood).

  15. "As much respect as I've had for Jack Kirby's work, I've never really thought of the New Gods as actually being... well, gods so much as very advanced aliens with very high opinions of themselves." first exposure to Darkseid was in the Legion of Superheroes "Great Darkness Saga" (LoSH was pretty much the only comic I was reading regularly at that point), and Darkseid was defintely portrayed as a god (or at least very close to it) in that. GDS was (and still is) my favorite comic book story of all time.
    Granted I discovered him at the end instead of the beginning, but I was always dissapointed in how every other characterization I saw of him he was presented as a 'generic alien conqueror' instead of a god. So it's nice, for me at least, to see him get some of his 'godhood' back. It still doesn't make me want to read "Amazons Attack" though :-)

  16. Well, I discovered him as the evil guy with Dr. Claw's voice who was obsessed with marrying Wonder Woman... so what does that say?