Thursday, 31 July 2008

Christmas Comes Early

And sometimes, so do birthdays.

It's my birthday in about three or four weeks but my wife has already bought and let me have my present - the Absolute Edition of Crisis On Infinite Earths!

God damn it's a beautiful looking pair of books. The collected series looks as good as the trade paperback that I bought when it was released though I've done little more than skim through it at the moment. Most of my attention has been on the Compendium, the second book that throws a lot more light on how Crisis came about and how it affected other titles being published at the time.

Poor old Roy Thomas and his All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc titles seemed to have suffered the harshest blows with the Earth-Two versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman being ret-conned out following the Crisis and altering his stories set in the Golden Age. That's kind of ironic as, from the memos reprinted in the Compendium, it seems Roy Thomas was eager to help out with Crisis as much as possible as long as he got to keep control over the Earth-Two/Golden Age heroes' fate.

It's a fascinating read not only for someone interested in Crisis as a story but also the way DC worked at the time - not only the editorial mandates that came down or the "like it or lump it" approach to many of the story's ramifications but also the sense of community that the editors and writers shared, the swapping of ideas and willingness (on the whole) to work together.

I'm off to carry on reading!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Work, Work, Work

It gets in the way of everything, doesn't it? I got to see The Dark Knight (and it was fantastic!) last Thursday, despite being unwell, but have been busy as all feck in work.

With a bit of luck, things should be a lot quieter over the coming weeks so I can get back to showing this place the love it deserves!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

I Will Go To The Ball

I've been ill for the last three days - my entire head is no 90% mucus and my lungs are adapting to breathing liquid.

I could really do with staying home and doing nothing.

But goddamit I have tickets to see The Dark Knight this afternoon and I'm damn well going!

Friday, 18 July 2008

I'm Sorry, Okay?

I am so behind on things lately - I've hardly blogged on here at all; people have left comments on here that I haven't responded to; they've sent notes about the Final Crisis Annotations which I haven't acknowledged; I haven't started the notes on Final Crisis: Requiem and now Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge #1 turns up.

I'm sorry - life's just been hectic lately. As a small apology, though you've probably seen it already, here's the trailer for the Watchmen movie.

God damn, this looks good!

Monday, 14 July 2008

About Goddam Time!

The news that Warner Bros have finally remembered they have a comics company under their all encompassing belt is good news indeed.

I was going to bang on about the number of characters DC has that are so well known and can push a movie easily, but Scipio over at The Absorbascon's done it much better than I could.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Friday Night Fights - Ghostly Goings On!

Back in the mid-90's, Dark Horse Comics weren't solely producing top-notch movie tie-in comics, oh no. They had their own universe going, including Ghost, a title featuring . . . a ghost, actually. Elisa Cameron, undead avenger and protector of the innocent, or in the case of her sister Margo, the not quite so innocent.

Elisa tracks Margo down to the dingy set of a homemade . . . discerning gentleman's movie, the sort of thing that nowadays gets put on the internet.
Unfortunately, Margo is due to be the psionically induced star of this production, a fact which doesn't sit well with Ghost.
One of the handy things about being a ghost is being able to move through things; one of the handy things about being Ghost is being able to move porno actors through things and leave them there.
And Ghost proves she's willing to go through her own personal hell and back to rescue her sister from the scum holding her hostage.
And what thanks does she get . . .

In the following issue, Ghost enlists Bahlactus to teach her whining sister a lesson!

Who'd Like A Cocktail? #20 Final Crisis: Requiem

It was a sad day when Libra killed the J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter back in Final Crisis #1. Not just because one of my favourite heroes had been killed but also because of the way he was killed: done away with in a single panel, with no fanfare and little build up.

It's unfortunate but that's the way many people die in the real world: there's no drama to many deaths, particularly murders or accidents, no matter what the TV or films tell us. Many deaths are pointless in life which is why, perhaps, there's almost a need in fiction for a character's death to have meaning, to be big and leave us with an impression that the character mattered.

I'm thankful, then, for Peter Tomasi bringing us Final Crisis: Requiem which could be seen as a shameless tie-in to Final Crisis or some sort of admission by DC that J'onnz's death in #1 was given short shrift.

Whatever the reasons for the book's existence, I'm glad it's out there.

Tomasi gives us, thankfully, not only a fuller account of J'onnz's murder which shows him as the true hero he was, fighting to the very end. He also offers us a look back at J'onnz's history and I'm glad to see he picks up on several things introduced in John Ostrander's run on the Manhunter's title from a few years back.

The thing that surprised me most, though, was the humour that was evident in a comic dealing with the death of a character with huge amounts of history. It could have been very easy to have everyone wandering around, sobbing into their capes, swearing vengeance upon the criminals responsible.

Instead, even in the midst of his death, J'onnz himself elicits a wry grin if not a chuckle from the reader as he introduces his "super-friends," a line that riffs not only on decades old Justice League cartoon but also Scarface.

As his death approaches, J'onnz uses his telepathy to alert his friends amongst the superhero community that he is about to die, sharing his last memories with them. A side effect of this shows the heroes bursting into flame which allows Tomasi to once again throw out a couple of nice one-liners.

Even though this is a book that deals with death, those little snippets of humour are handled well, with respect and deference, and are true to the characters as well.

But this is a book about death and the Manhunter's funeral - all one page of it in Final Crisis #2 - is expanded here, as his death is. It's touching, genuinely, and Tomasi deserves to be applauded for writing something that brought a fitting end to the story of J'onn J'onnz.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

So, Farewell Then, The All New Atom

Another ongoing series bites the dust - The All New Atom (which, if we're honest, was stretching the "All New" part of the name after a year or so) has finished with issue #25.

I really enjoyed the vast majority of this series, primarily because of Gail Simone's writing. I've said in various posts before now that it was Simone's sense of fun and adventure that made The Atom reach the top of my to read pile pretty much every week it showed up amongst my comics haul.

Whether it was Lovecraftian cancer gods stalking the sewers of Ivy Town, tiny aliens talking nonsense and living on the back of The Atom's dog or the difficulties in dating a villain who was about forty feet tall, Simone never failed to bring it off.

The Atom himself, newly arrived in the States and eager to follow in both the teaching and footsteps of his hero, Ray Palmer, was an engaging character. Ryan Choi stepped into Palmer's shoes almost effotlessly and proved himself more than up to the challenge.

With Palmer back in the DCU, it could have been very easy to push Ryan to one side, but writers in the DCU seem comfortable with the idea of legacy characters, of more than one hero wandering around with the same name.

Thankfully, Rick Remender - the writer who brought the series to a close - seems willing to leave Ryan be. True, he might have removed the link between Ryan and Ray by revealing that Ray had never corresponded with Ryan for all those years, let alone left him his size changing belt, but that was done in a way that made sense and didn't just trample over everything Simone had done before him.

I shall miss The All New Atom, but that's not such a bad thing.


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