Okay, it’s been a good long while since I unleashed a comic book rant here and got my geek on. If you don’t read comic books, or don’t care, or whatever, you can safely pass this by. Otherwise, expect this to go long, and you may even be a little embarrassed for me.
What’s prompted this rant was the final issue of Marvel‘s big "Civil War" crossover series, which I picked up the other day. After reading it, I pretty much realized that yeah, even though I liked the premise and even defended it and the series to my buddy Paul (who’s old school about comics), I pretty much hated it.
Yep. Hated it, and hate what they’ve done to the Marvel Universe. So I’m falling right in line with Paul. I guess I’m pretty old school, too.
The premise was interesting. Had a lot of potential, even. But the execution fell apart, characterizations are way off the mark, and they’re slaughtering too many sacred cows to just let it stand. There’s too many plot holes you can drive a truck through, and things are basically left unresolved. There’s a term for that: bad writing.
I mean, what the hell? They turned Iron Man and a bunch of other superheroes into fascist killers, and then let them win? No. You don’t win against Captain America. You just don’t.
And all current trends that I can see indicate that this is the new direction for the Marvel Universe. Ummm, no. I used to like what Bendis was doing, but now it seems like the powers that be have given him full creative reign and now he’s gutting and retconning pretty much everything. And that’s just not cool.
(Examples? Apparently he’s retconned Captain Mar-Vell into the "Civil War" series… his "Illuminati" series is retconning major Marvel events… including the "Infinity Gauntlet." When I heard this, I was pretty much horrified. There’s lines, and there’s lines.)
In fact, I’m disliking it so much that I’m hoping that Marvel’s big "World War Hulk" crossover they’re planning this summer basically has the Hulk coming back to Earth (don’t ask) and kicking everyone’s ass and just destroying everything. Game over, and reboot things back to the way they were before.
I guess I’m feeling vengeful over it.
Of course, that’s probably exactly what the Marvel Powers want people to think, just so they can sell more books. It’s all a setup. Bad Marvel, bad.
Now, I’m not feeling this way about all the Marvel books. Here are the ones that I’m liking:
Daredevil: Still good, and not dabbling in any of that "Civil War" nonsense. It took two storylines, which ran a bit long, but writer Ed Brubaker was able to clean up most of Bendis’s loose ends and set things on an even keel again.
Astounding X-Men: For my money, the only X-book worth reading. Joss Whedon and John Cassady are putting out a fantastic book—I just wish they could do it on time. And stop dragging out the stories forever.
The Punisher: Well, Garth Ennis‘s Punisher, at any rate. Ennis is pretty much the only one who can write the Punisher any more, he’s had that profound an influence on the character. Any other writer on Punisher is coming across really weak. Plus, Ennis’s stories continue to surprise me, so that’s always a good thing.
Although—and here’s where I’ll recant some of my excoriation of "Civil War"—the new "Punisher War Journal" (not by Ennis) is so far enjoyable to me. I mean, the Punisher killed Stilt-Man! How can you go wrong with that? Plus the latest (third) issue is masterful, even though Frank wipes out a bunch of long-standing supervillains.
And speaking of Ennis, the man is a machine. How many books a month is he writing now, six? But despite that, he’s a good writer, and can meet his deadlines. That seems to be a pretty rare thing these days. More on him a bit later…
The Ultimates: I love this book. Love it, love it, love it. Weird, right? Because it’s set in the Ultimate universe, outside of main Marvel continuity, and I’m pretty tepid on the other Ultimate titles out there. It is, however, the worst book in terms of how late every single issue is. Seriously, I think they go four to six months between issues or something. Good grief.
But I can’t quite figure out why I love it so much. It’s written my Mark Millar, and I can’t really say I’m a fan of his other stuff: the main "Civil War" series (go figure), "Ultimate X-Men" (which I thought was mishandled from the start and is now pretty much a waste of time), even back to his "Authority" days, which was creative but too… I don’t know, over-the-top, I guess. Too farcical, or something. Not coherent. Which pretty much sums up his writing style.
But still, I love "The Ultimates." The exception that proves the rule, I guess.
Simply the best comic book to come out in the past year. The best. Period.
Written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson, it’s… well, it’s hard to describe if you haven’t read it. Basically, it’s a superhero book, but it’s really not pro-superhero. It’s about the people who are tasked with watching the superheroes and stomping on them when they get out of line.
And, it’s for mature readers. There is no question that you don’t want your kids getting ahold of this book. Garth Ennis is writing it, and well… he said this book would "out-Preacher Preacher," and if you’ve ever read "Preacher"…
I can’t even do this book justice. Just go buy it. Buy the back issues. Prepare to be shock and awed.
Here’s a stupid thing, though: DC Comics (who owns Wildstorm) canceled the book. Apparently the retards at DC that are in charge of such things were "concerned" over the content of the book and killed it. Never mind that it was not only the top-selling book that Wildstorm was publishing but also the only book published on time—which is huge in the industry right now.
Seriously, nobody can get a regular monthly comic book out on time these days. It’s laughable.
So anyway, DC decides to kill the top-selling, only-on-time book one of their subsidiary publishers was producing. It boggles the mind.
There’s a happy ending, though: Dynamite Entertainment has picked up "The Boys" and will continue to publish it. I predict that this is going to be huge coup on the part of Dynamite and at some point DC will try to buy back the book, realizing their enormous error. Losers.
Okay, enough on the DC ‘tards. Just go check out "The Boys."
What else? Oh, I picked up the first issue of the new "Star Trek: The Next Generation" comic not too long ago. It was pretty terrible. I’m not sure if it was more terrible than when Marvel had the Star Trek license a few years ago, and stunned even the fanboys by producing an X-Men/Star Trek crossover… but just not good.
Okay, I’ve run my course for now. Sure, I’ve got a bunch of ideas about what Marvel should be doing and what kind of books and creators I’d like to see combined and produced, but until one of the companies hires me on as a writer…
…I’ll just have to blog about it all at some point.