Saturday, June 30, 2007

Best. Summer. Ever.

Just how awesome can big event comics be? Just how awesome is my summer looking?? Just how awesome is it to be reading comics right now???

This awesome. And this. And this. And especially (warning: spoilers on) this.


Annihilation Conquest: Prologue perfectly captures the strength and flavour of Marvel SF. I don't know how better to describe Marvel's approach to science fiction except to say that its image of deep space is deliciously cold. Because of this, there's a level of grim beauty and high seriousness that acompanies its science fiction stories, giving them a more adult feel than DC's. Perhaps this is Kirby's doing; perhaps it's rooted in the predominance of humanoid races over the wackier alien creations that DC's space books sometimes favour (though Rocket Raccoon gives the lie to this one!). Whatever it is, Annihilation Conquest taps into it in spades. The Prologue, sumptuously illustrated by Mike Perkins, promises great things ahead. Two words: more Moondragon. Two more words: no Skrulls.

And speaking of space sagas, do they get any better than last week's perfectly executed Sinestro Corps Special? The nearly universal praise this Special is receiving is justly earned. I can't recall when I've read such an entertaining 64-pager--much less a single comic so crammed full of surprises. Some might not like Geoff Johns's neo-Hegelian mania for synthesis (even I feel exhausted by it at times), but it's irresistable here. Finally, that last remaining shoe from Crisis on Infinite Earths has dropped! Bonus: Ethan Van Sciver produces the best work of his career to date. Gorgeous.

Last but not least is World War Hulk #1. I rarely read the Hulk, but the combination of John Romtia Jr. illustrating the Hulk's rampage and the inevitable Iron Man beat down was too tantalizing to pass up. The World War Hulk event is genius marketing on Marvel's part: now they get to profit from all the rage and ill-will that have been simmering within fanboys and fangirls over Civil War. Perfect timing. Perfect planning. I can't help but fall for it. Who doesn't want to Hulk-out on Tony Stark and expend their disgust and loathing for the Avengers-Universe by throwing a violent temper tantrum that turns Manhattan into a war zone? Joe Q, your recent decisions have ensured that I won't be buying an Avengers title until well into the next decade, but you are a smart, sneaky E.I.C.! Will the Hulk be paying a visit to Marvel's New York offices in the great 70s tradition of Bullpen cameos, too? Now that would be sneaky--and shameless! FYI: Greg Pak and Garry Frank's WWH follow-up in The Incredible Hulk #107 is all kinds of awesome too.


Nobody said...

Query: is it possible to understand (if not truly appreciate) the Sinestro Corps Special if I'm a fan of the DCU (now DCM!) but have never read a GL book and don't know anything about Sinestro?

Spot 1980 said...

Jim - Do you feel that there is something different about the current slew of event comics than the 90's slew which, along with variant covers, destroyed the industry? I have a sneaking suspicion that you might have been just as excited Armageddon 2001 or Infinity Crusade back in the day. And while I always admire your enthusiasm, I can’t help but worry that these things are destroying the industry. I’ve already jumped ship and I can’t imagine I’m the only one.

Spot 1980 said...

But now that I think of it, it WAS an early 90's cross-over, The Infinity Gauntlet, that got me into comics in the first place. So perhaps while event fatigue is setting in for myself, a whole new generation of readers are being drawn in by these events. I hope so anyway.

Jim Roeg said...

Had a crazy week, so am replying to these rather late, but...

nobody - yes! I think so, at least. Reading GL: Rebirth would probably enhance the experience--and the bonus is that it's the same writer/artist team.

spot - Waitasecond, are you suggesting that I'm a great big DUPE??? Oh hell. You're probably right.

In my defence, however, I did NOT look forward to the cruddy, shoddy, depressingly bad, Armageddon 2001 with anything remotely like the glee expressed above. Honest! Thems were bad times--and back then, you really KNEW it.

Crossovers today... Very different, I think. Some shoot very high and fall somewhat short of their marks (Infinite Crisis). Some just piss me right the hell off (House of M, Civil War). Others are competent and diverting (Annihilation). A few are dazzling (52). The interesting thing about them for me right now is that even the bad ones have at least something going for them. Armageddon 2001? Not so much. (A textbook case of "making it up as you go along"--badly.)

As for the fate of the industry...? I'm kind of an optimist about the survival of these things--and I think you're right that for every fan they lose with these crossovers, they'll probably rope in a new one--maybe two? Hard to say. In a lot of ways, though, despite the sometimes disappointing stuff being produced, things are really extraordinary right now in mainstream superhero comics. There's so much energy at both Marvel and DC to really polish things up and DO something, tell BIG stories--even if some of it misfires badly. Since pruning my list recently, I'm just amazed by how much I'm enjoying the books I get every week (somehow, culling the list has made me savor the books I do enjoy more intensely--my reading pleasure is no longer diluted). Anyway, blahblahblah.

I do know what you mean about the dangers of "event fatigue"--and I'd even agree that Marvel and DC are overdoing it right now. But...there are some fun stories being told all the same. And of course, I'm such a junkie for integrated storytelling and weekly storytelling, etc. that there's pretty much no hope for me all.

And what is this Infinity Crusade you speak of? Did I miss an event?? Kidding. I know you're just pulling my leg--AREN'T YOU? Spot!!

Spot 1980 said...

I guess maybe my problem is just that I'm not all that interested in "big" stories most of the time.

My favorite part of the Daredevil movie was when he came home, listened to his girlfriend dumping him on the answering machine, downed a bunch of pain killers, then pulled out a loose tooth!

That's a movie example, but its the type of little thing that I'm really interested in.

Even though 52 was billed as some sort of mega-event, it was really just several intimate stories thrown together into a weekly format. That's why the WWIII mini was so terrible. They were trying to turn 52 in a "big story" event, which is never really was. It was about Black Adan finding salvation and redemption through love. About Montoya losing herself and finding herself. Steel's relationship with his daughter. Those were the stories that held my interest for a year straight.

Jim Roeg said...

I hear ya. That is why 52 was so great. It's the same reason why Avengers used to be one of my favorite Marvel titles--waaayyy back in the 80s and 90s. It was basically a soap opera in which every issue was packed full of small character moments, the tone of which was quite different from the Bendis-era.

And yikes, yeah. I forgot about WWIII--hideous.

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