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.

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