Monday, 5 November 2007

Questions From The Bar

As any regular readers will know, I'm a big fan of DC Comics; my (usually) weekly posts headed Who'd Like A Cocktail? deliberately focus on the comic that I've enjoyed most that particular week. There are other blogs out there that bitch and moan - some of them I read regularly because they're also funny about it, while others seem to just moan for the sake of it.

I'm not much of a whiner - if I don't like a comic I'm reading, I'll give it a few months and if it doesn't pick up, I'll ditch it. However, there were a couple of issues this week that bugged me so I thought I'd do something a little different and have a look at them.

JSA Classified has rotated stories about the members of the Justice Society with different writers and artists and the last three issue long story arc called Mr Horrific has finished in #31.


Story-wise, it featured the JSA going up against an American senator with apparent leanings toward Nazism.

Art-wise it featured Alex Sanchez's attempts to render human beings as contour maps; just compare his drawing of Heinrich Himmler with a portrait I found just by doing a Google Image Search.

The story was weak to begin with but by this final issue it appeared the writer, Arvid Nelson, had just had enough of his own half-arsed story and made no attempt to play it straight. Having (presumably) written himself into a situation where only the most bizarre idea could rescue him, he reveals that the brain of Heinrich Himmler is alive and well and living on the Moon!

No, seriously! To make it worse, Himmler wants a harem "stocked with the finest German women!"

I'm not making this up and I wish that Nelson hadn't either. When you consider that Justice Society of America is one of the DCU's premier teams and being written by one of DC's premier writers, why is this companion title being treated as a dumping ground for terrible stories and atrocious artwork?

Some people may like Sanchez's work but I don't and when coupled with a really poor story like this, I can see it being pulled, either by the company or from my reading list.

The other thing that bugged me was Countdown To Final Crisis #26, the first issue of what used to be called Countdown to have its new full title.

It was extremely exposition heavy which was a deliberate move by the writers according to this interview at Newsarama and whilst I didn't really need it, I can see it had some benefits. It summarised what was happening or had happened in Countdown up to that point and revealed the big villain behind everything as Darkseid . . . even though he'd been revealed as the bad guy in the first issue, #51. As far as summarising everything was concerned, it made no mention of Pied Piper and Trickster's story nor Holly Robinson and the Amazons; Eclipso and Mary Marvel barely got a mention as well so while it attempted to offer everything as a neat little package, it left some bits missing.

That wasn't what bugged me, though. It's been established that for each of the fifty-two universes in the Multiverse, there is a Monitor. Fifty-two universes equals fifty-two Monitors, right?

Check this out:
That's page 1 of Countdown To Final Crisis #26, the opening to the series that will lead to DC's big event of next year.

Everyone of those red dots is a Monitor and without counting the half dozen to a dozen or so that could be hidden by the panel in the top left or the two or three directly in front of the main Monitor, there are seventy-four of the buggers.

Seventy-four! That doesn't even include Bob whose off exploring the Multiverse with the Challengers From Beyond!

Someone at the DC offices really needs to have a word with Scott Kolins who drew almost half again too many Monitors.

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