This week, I found myself surprisingly excited for Justice League #1 … and that’s kind of weird. If you read my teary-eyed, rage-filled rant over the New 52 when it was announced a couple of months ago, then you know I was heartbroken and angry. DCnu? What? I didn’t want new. I wanted the old stuff—the good stuff. The stuff that got me into this publisher in the first place. My Wonder Woman and my Catwoman, my Birds and my Bats. Except that DC claimed that the old stuff was NOT good stuff anymore (despite all their earlier statements otherwise), and they now needed something new and fresh. You, dear comics fans—you, who have loyally and perhaps misguidedly been there from the very beginning, were being told it was time to let go … again. The search for “new readership” deems that we also become readers of the new.
So I ranted and raved and pissed and moaned, and got myself all worked up over this like the fangirl that I am, because hey—I care about these characters. And frankly, it didn’t feel like DC cared as much as I do.
But that’s kind of silly, right? Of course they care. It might not feel that way on occasion—when you are reading about gimmick after gimmick, event book after event book, tie-in after pointless tie-in, you kind of start to question the ideologies behind these companies, don’t you? Are they doing these things because they genuinely think it makes for a better story, or is it solely about being a big business—a bit of a heartless machine? Well, it’s a combination of both, and that can sometimes cause the line to blur. But at the end of the day, the people behind the scenes live and breathe comics the same way that we do, and I am trying hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. They seem pretty excited about it.
So I want to be excited for this, too. I want it to work. I want it to be good, and FUN.
Some of you—many of you—hopefully attended the midnight release of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1. I won’t be getting my copies until late tonight, so it’ll be a few hours yet before I can form some thoughts on the debut of this initiative, but the excitement is there. It’s hard not to be after getting texted at quarter to 8:00 this morning with a lovely spoiler from my friend Phil (thanks a lot).
(Skip over these images if you don’t want to be spoiler’d. Really.)
<Update: Deleted! He’s had enough embarrassment.>
I’m the one in the green, obviously. Please ignore my friend’s deplorable use of grammar and punctuation.
So, yeah. It’s 2:30, which means I have another four and a half hours or so before I can get to the comic shop. I’m excited and I’m giving this a chance. I hope it doesn’t let me down.
Actually, it’s only Flashpoint for now. For the next hour(s) it takes me to write this, because that’s absolutely all I can take of it. After that, I’m reading Walking Dead and X-Men: Legacy and calling it a day. Helloooo, four-day weekend.
Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1 – I read this book first, despite the fact that Emperor Aquaman came out before it. I’d seen a preview online of the first few pages and was taken in by the artwork, so I just had to grab this up, and I actually wound up loving it overall (first time I’ve enjoyed a Wonder Woman book in over a year). The story opens up with a great scene that just so perfectly captures naïve, happy, laughing Diana and makes me miss the Wonder Woman I know and love all that much more—ironic that she’s not actually the Wonder Woman I know and love. We’re quickly introduced to Aquaman by way of baby Kraken, and although I suspected some of what would happen (yes, Diana’s mother is killed, because apparently there’s some decree that Hippolyta must die every year), there are still some nice twists I didn’t see coming that add another layer to the story. Good job by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning in keeping things fresh via these twists, rather than recycling the same old lazy narrative over and over. The artwork, which piqued my interest in the first half of the book, got a little weird toward the middle and started to fall flat toward the end. It’s an odd style to try to describe, as the backgrounds have almost a CGI feel to them, but I didn’t entirely despise it. At least, I didn’t let it detract from the story and from the better pencils. If you’ve picked up Emperor Aquaman and if you’re at all interested in the behind-the-scenes of the Flashpoint world, I encourage you to pick up this title.
Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1 – So, it’s a good thing I read Wonder Woman and the Furies first, because this would more or less have spoiled everything otherwise. While the former title shows us the backstory of Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s encounter, this title skips ahead into the Flashpoint world as we know it. It’s a nasty one where Aquaman has a grudge to bear, and he shows it by drowning the heck out of Rome. Let me take a moment to say that this is where Ardian Syaf’s pencilwork absolutely excels; Michelangelo’s Pietà floating in the background, Aquaman swimming menacingly through the water, paying absolutely no attention to the dead bodies polluting it—that stuff is gold. Wussy, old school Aquaman? He ain’t here. This Aquaman is villainous, and he’s even got the butch, redundant buzzcut to prove it. Amazing. You absolutely should read this if you want to have any hope of understanding the war between the Atlantians and Amazons. It isn’t a masterpiece by any means, nor is the end “surprise” of the issue anything that you couldn’t already deduce, but this slightly above middle-of-the-road work is sufficient for a tie-in and the writing is decidedly better than some of the other stuff running. Let’s see what happens next issue.
Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1 – Umm… I honestly don’t know what I just read. Maybe I’m zoning out because I read it so late last night and was on the verge of falling asleep, or maybe it’s just because the book was completely uninspired. Wow. Yeah, that was genuinely bad … then again, I saw “J.T. Krul” written on the cover and didn’t expect much, so I guess I wasn’t let down. I generally like the guy’s story ideas, but his execution is typically poor. There’s just too much that doesn’t fit or doesn’t feel natural, particularly some of the dialogue. It’s too forced. Too rushed. I wasn’t buying it, and that makes me sad, because this is DEADMAN and the FLYING GRAYSONS, for goodness’ sake. This should be AWESOME! But … it’s not. And aside from like, one page, it’s completely unessential reading. We waste half the book on nothing—absolute nothing, because the set up (happy Grayson family juxtaposed with cranky egotistical Boston Brand) could have been accomplished in four pages instead of the ten it took. Boring, and so very cookie-cutter. The only positive I can give this title at all is that the rendering on the artwork was rather lovely. Unfortunately, that alone is not worth my time. Passing on the rest of this.
Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1 – Now here’s one that really confuses me. This is written by the same team who did Wonder Woman and the Furies, so I expected something more than what I actually got from this issue. Maybe it’s the pressure of writing two three-issue tie-ins at the same time with a limited window in which to get them done and published, but … that’s really no excuse, is it? I was let down by Lois Lane and the Resistance. Especially when you look at the cover. Check that out. I’ll be among the first to tell you not to fall for what you see on a cover, but that totally sets you up for something different than what’s being offered here, at least so far. I also hated the interior art, and the entire thing overall just felt so … 1991. The story itself? Nothing to write home about. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are trapped in Europe when Aquaman’s big drowning wave hits, and Jimmy Olsen bites the bullet. Did I just spoil that? No, I promise you I didn’t, because his scene—which should have been emotional and tragic—just fell completely flat and took place in all of one panel where you don’t even see him. You just see water, and Lois Lane cries “JIMMY! OLSEN!” Disappointing. What feels like two minutes after that rush of flood and death, the big bad Amazons appear out of nowhere and “rescue” the select people they see fit to rescue. I put “rescue” in quotation marks because these Amazons are just so darn mean and tough and bad that it really isn’t a rescue so much as arguable enslavement. And in the context of the story, none of this makes any sense. Groan. As let down as I was by this issue, I’ll still probably check out the next one to see if it gets any better. I demand to see a badass Lois Lane leading a Resistance at some point in this mess. Let’s get on that.
The score is Likes: 2, Dislikes: 2. That’s a better result than I anticipated, though I suspect it would be heavily swayed toward the latter if I were to read more of these.
Okay—I’m out! Everyone be sure to fire up those grills and have a safe and happy Fourth of July. Go out and get some sun!