Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Schwappathy Continues

I've been treading water with the comics habit lately. I'm buying stuff and reading it, but not being wowed. All of the stuff that grabs me is largely read in trade format. Thankfully, I had periods of time where I was out of comics, so there is a wealth of stuff from years back that I can read for the first time today (Gotham Central, for instance).

But what I had been looking forward to snapping me out of my current mainstream comics doldrums (since even the TPBs I'm enjoying are largely from smaller publishers) was FLASHPOINT. I didn't care about the comparisons to the Age of Apocalypse, mostly because I enjoyed that event so much. But man...

I know they couldn't have this sneak up on readers like AoA did. We live in a different age where information can't be kept from the masses (even in cases when it arguably should). But the run up to it had no suspense or excitement. Instead, we saw a few issues of Flash that largely spun their wheels and had everyone read more than a little bit emo.

Then we get the first issue of this alternate reality and never has the term "meh" seemed so appropriate.

Judging by an alternate cover, I get the feeling that we're supposed to be wowed by Cyborg's place in the super-hero world as a leader. But then the contents of the issue show him to be ineffective, with everyone scattering when he can't deliver a more important teammate.

Try as I might, I can't really get excited by the new or obscure characters remade in this reality. Maybe one of the problems is that we weren't really shown what key change was made that turned this reality on its ear. One of the things that made AoA so interesting to me was that we were seeing how some of the players might have been effected by the absence of Xavier. Here...we don't know what, if anything, is missing. We're supposed to be keenly interested because we're trying to divine what that item is that led to this world? Sorry...not really grabbing me.

But one of the biggest whiffs for me was best pointed out by a friend of mine: the product of Shazam was turned into Captain Planet-Thunder. It wasn't really much of an interesting change. I felt like the kids in the group already annoyed me with a surprisingly short exposure.

The only thing that topped it, though, was the "shocking" reveal of an identity at the end. Dropped with a thud.  I'm not really curious how this makes anything different. To my thinking, it just further cements the idea that little is going to feel changed when this story is done.

In typing out these thoughts, it struck me how this issue really was just a collection of scenes slapped together more than a natural story. We just seemed to flip through "hey, look at this different character" moments, rather than focus on telling a story. What little story and character was introduced wound up denied oxygen due to exposition and costume redesigns sucking all of it out of the room.

It's going to be a long summer.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Holy Shit

He's dead.

I feel sadness remembering everything from September 11th and the people lost, both physically and emotionally, on that day.

I feel joy that comes from such a cathartic moment as seeing something evil die.

I feel afraid to go to sleep for fear that I'll open my eyes to find out it was all a dream.


noun - when the owner of this blog is apathetic about the subject matter he generally covers.

Folks, I'm not dead, dismembered or laid up in a hospital that will want my first born (and then some) to cover the expenses.

I'm just busy, tired and seriously lacking in motivation to write about comics lately.

Since the last week of November, I've been working a day job, again. Started up a help desk at a company that had previously used site techs at all of their locations. Not as part of management, but the first and most seasoned member of the actual desk. I'm one who often takes things way too seriously, so I've poured myself into the job and the hours I spend with my mind and actions on the job (in and outside of paid times) more or less fill the day.

Now, that said, I'd still be able to find the moments to write about comics and the like...if things weren't so disappointing and/or boring from the big two. I've been reading plenty of comic book material from anywhere else BUT those companies that is worthy of discussion (The Sixth Gun Volume 1 TP, Locke & Key V. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft TPB, etc). The rub? It would take more time and energy than I seem willing to give.

You see, the "mainstream" comic material that is good or bad enough to comment on doesn't always demand precise wording and detailed thought for discussion. One doesn't feel quite as guilty for basically saying little beyond "me like" or "SCHWAPP SMASH" about those offerings.

Lately, what I've read hasn't even really struck me as clearly good or bad. What I've liked hasn't necessarily had anything particular stand out about it that would encourage a post. I'm still enjoying Secret Six every time I buy it, but I'd be hard pressed to write two paragraphs about it, for instance. What I've disliked is the same. I don't know how many times I can point out what I feel are James Robinson's shortcomings on JLA or if I really want to bother bringing attention to his poorly juggling a hundred and one narrators to someone who can't pick it up on their own.

Beyond that, though, is the problem of the "meh" work. I've been sufficiently underwhelmed by so much of late. BRIGHTEST DAY and JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST come to mind. How much they both seemed to whiff on their final swing of their series is the closest they've come to really giving me any reason to want to say something about them to the five or so people that still look at this blog on occasion. I mean...if a stilted introduction of Swamp-Punisher-CaptainPlanet-ExpositionMan-Thing is the way you finish a book? Next time, don't start it.

Maybe if I had been weened on Marvel as a young 'un, FEAR ITSELF would deliver the goods more for me. If DC wasn't running in place or, in the case of REIGN OF THE DOOMSDAYS, trotting backwards, I might muster up some excitement for FLASHPOINT. I don't know.

I hope this post might be the start of my putting something up here at least weekly. I pray that, by the time I finally get a regular work schedule, I can post more frequently than that and give time to the non-"mainstream" works I'm really digging. But be warned: whenever I've prayed or hoped in one hand, it's always the other hand that's been filled faster. As long as I'm at it, I'm hoping/praying that Cullen Bunn could get at least half the attention that Nick Spencer has gotten over the last year, since, to my thinking, he's at least twice as deserving a talent.