Shawn’s FWIW: Brubaker’s Capt. America

For What Its Worth:

  • Ed Brubaker’s Captain America is the best ongoing comic today. Starting from issue #1, Mr. Brubaker has been telling a rollicking adventure story that has all of the elements of a mainstream success. It is very accessible, having multiple jumping on points. There is as much a focus on the title character’s relationships and development as there is on superheroics, fight scenes and supervillians. All of the plot twists in the story push the story forward, nothing has been a swerve. This title has even survived the death of its main character, and shows no signs of having, or needing his resurrection anytime soon.
  • Secret Invasion at least had a promising premise. Dark Reign has me scratching my head. It snapped whatever suspension of disbelief I had to see Tony Stark’s life plummet so fast and Norman Osborn’s rise so high. And that haunts every page I read in this new “event”. It was part of a poor ending for Secret Invasion and made the status change from Stark to Osborn way too quickly. Then again, Secret Invasion took years of slow build up and squandered it. 
  • New Exiles only problem is that it is a huge Elseworlds/”What If” story that has no 616 continuity implications. For reasons I hope to address in future articles, not being tied into the official continuity robs a Marvel title of some of its weight. New Exiles is a fun romp exploring facets of established characters through parallel universes by the writer who has most singularly influenced those characters. I only hope that some of these characters do get to see some use in the “616” continuity.
  • Letting Wally West go into the superhero reserves and a bit of semi-retirement to be with his family is a refreshingly good choice for DC. It makes it easier to reestablish Barry Allen, it keeps Wally around and most importantly it is in character for him. Wally, as the Flash, has been a fairly “average person” character in the DCU. From the start, post-crisis, he had to grow into the shoes, and took years to truly do that. He matured before our eyes, and now that he has a full blown family with some truly special needs, he should be focusing on his family. Besides, he only has a few years before they are teenagers and want nothing to do with him anyway.
  • Why hire James Robinson on a Superman title (Adventure) and then take Superman away from it. That would be like hiring Alex Ross to paint the JSA, and all of a sudden changing the status quo on the title to the All Star Squadron. They will do a great job, but why have the talent lined up and not give them their shot.
  • The more I see of the Watchmen trailers, the more I want to see the movie. I’ve read the story more than enough times to know it backwards and forwards, but the trailer still excites me. Respect for the material, and the intentions of the creators, seem to be in abundance. March is too long to wait.
  • DCU needs to dig itself out of a hole. Maybe its just that Final Crisis is late and holding up a lot of announcements and stories, but DC has squandered the good will it generated after Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis and 52. Almost every editorial decision seems to have caused trouble.

    Bart’s woefully short run as Flash, Winick’s Titans, Terror Titans, the wildly swinging and eventually contradictory Countdown that didn’t lead to Final Crisis, the largely inconsequential Elseworld known as Trinity, not establishing Jason Todd as one of Batman’s biggest threats, a spate of new characters that didn’t catch on, Batwoman not having her own title yet, rebooting the Legion AGAIN and the JLA becoming the new Showcase comic for other titles to name a few.

    A few victories aside (JSA and Green Lantern) even Batman’s payoff is tied into the ending of Final Crisis. I’ve read enough good Morrison that I can still be optimistic enough to know its possible for Final Crisis to deliver a good ending.

  • Ultimatum was the first printed comic I have seen that made me worry about legislation against comics. When the Blob is shown, graphically in gross detail, literally munching down on an already half eaten hero and yelling “tastes like chicken” I have to worry how many folks had to approve that scene before it was printed. Just too graphic for a mainstream Marvel comic, parental warning or not. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean its a good idea.
  • The Secret Invasion: War of Kings one shot did so many things right, so many things that Secret Invasion itself did wrong. Most important to me, is that it was accessible. I am a total stranger to the cosmic part of the Marvel Universe, and writers Abnett and Lanning provided some of the smoothest exposition ever.

    At no point did the exposition slow down the story, rather it propelled it on forward. Add that to clean art, and an interesting storyline with a clever swerve, and this did what Secret Invasion #1 did not.. It made me interested and curious about what lay in the next issue.

If you agree or disagree, I’ll try to read the comments here, but I’ll certainly participate in the forums (see the link at the top of the main page).

13 Comments

  1. Well done, I agree with most of the points you made. I think you really should’ve made a section for Jeph Loeb/Marvel, because practically everything he’s been doing (from the Hulk comics to the Ultimate Line) has been crap.

  2. I really think the Final Crisis delay is unforgiveable. That and 2 bleh weekly series in a row are really eroding the good will toward the DCU.

  3. I agree with what you are saying about Robinson on Action Comics but also think Robinson can pull it off. I wonder if Robinson’s run on Action Comics will make the main character Metropolis, much like Opal City was a significant character in Starman.

  4. New Exiles WAS fun. For 90 issues. The non-continuity was a non-issue; they made their own continuity. Then Claremont completely made it confusing, convoluted, and some of the ‘alternate earths’ were just plain stupid. Its not the lack of 616 continuity, if anything, Claremont used more 616 characters. It is bad writing.

  5. I think you’re being too kind on DC, Rokk.

    I think that the overall handling of Final Crisis is a Deathmate-level fail, and it is made even worse with all of these “lesser” stories being delayed even more. After looking at a preview of FC #6, we see it was supposed to take place AFTER “Superman Beyond” and AFTER “Legion of 3 Worlds”, both of which are STILL not yet finished. And let’s not forget that everything we see with FC and all of its spin-off stories seem to have very little, if anything at all, to do with the DCU. Batman RIP is WASTED because his final fate is revealed in FC. The Daily Planet goes “boom”, Lois Lane is dying, we don’t know who else survived, and that’s all seemingly forgotten, because the normal Superman titles are busy with the “New Krypton” story without any hint of there being anything wrong. Wonder Woman is corrupted into becoming a tortured Female Fury, but her title is busy with the Olympian story, where she is being tortured by her normal writers. And don’t get me started on the JLA, which of late has become more and more like Justice League Detroit.

    Fail.
    Fail.
    FAIL.

    Hey, here’s a novel idea… how about for, let’s just say two years, that DiDio and the rest of the DC staff be physically BARRED from even thinking about doing a so-called “earth-shattering crisis event”? I mean, they obviously don’t know how to MANAGE these things anymore, it gives the writers a break from having to re-invent the wheel for the trillionth time, and quite frankly I’m burned out just hearing about these things.

    As for semi-retiring Wally West, I’m disappointed. Why waste all of that time bringing him back from the “Flashverse” (aka the Speed Force) if all he’s going to do is hang up the boots so he can be a daddy? And what’s he going to be now? Not-So-Kid Flash? Impulse II? Reverse-Zoom? The Blurry Guy? This is just another DiDio DiDisaster. If he’s so hard-up to bring back the classic characters, he needs to be shuffled off to his own little “Earth-DiDio” and treat that as Marvel does with its “Ultimate” stories.

    At the very least, someone needs to show DiDio the door and replace him with someone better. At this rate even Rob Liefeld would be a marked improvement!

  6. Have you read Robinson’s Superman. It’s awful. Superman’s a jerk (talking about how “hot” a dead fellow superhero was), Lois is whiny and insecure and Jimmy was given to metaphysical rambling. The only thing better would be to take him off entirely.

  7. ..

    The most amusing aspect of Batman RIP is Dangerous Dan Dido’s reading list for the “story”.

    It’s yet ANOTHER You-Don’t-Understand moment.

    “But didn’t you REALIZE? You have to read two issues of BM RIP then FC 1-2, then FINISH BM RIP, then FC6.”

    OF COURSE!!! Who couldn’t figure THAT out from the lack of internal referencing? I feel so DUMB.

    It’s amazing that I can digest and write my thesis on Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu” but I can’t piece together SIX COMIC BOOKS.

    ..

  8. ..

    Oh, David 2.

    You are SO RIGHT.

    I ran out of the will to TYPE before I could get all of that out.

    Thanks you.

    ..

  9. It’s been established that New Krypton takes place a week before Final Crisis and during RIP (which Morrison has said to take place a week before FC), remember that scene with the new Nightwing and Flamebird investigating the emerging of the red skies seen in Final Crisis? Accroding to GM all titles including WW takes place a week before FC. Anyway, just pointing that out, I agree with everything else you said.

  10. ..

    “…It’s been established that New Krypton takes place a week before Final Crisis and during RIP (which Morrison has said to take place a week before FC…”

    But if this is the case, then why not PUBLISH the books in that order?

    WHY? Dido couldn’t wrangle his “creators” in a line to produce these books in ORDER?

    Why wasn’t New Krypton published in the first part of the year? Then FC could come out WHILE BM RIP was happening? And it would ALL MAKE SENSE. (What an odd concept for Dido’s DC.)

    DC might have generated cross sales instead of isolating 7 books in their own “time bubbles”?
    Isn’t that what the EIC is there FOR? To coordinate this stuff so it dosen’t have to be explained away later?

    I’m tired of these after-the-fact excuses. I like New Krypton and BM RIP was pretty cool until that last issue. But to tell us (as ususal) that we-didn’t-understand, or didn’t read these books in the “correct” order is disingenuous, to say the LEAST.

    I WANTED FC to make sense. I keep TRYING to let it make sense. But it doesn’t.

    Bane breaking BMs back was a “classic” (arrgh!!) compared to this over-cooked LA-LA.

    ..

  11. @Kirth: If Didio could co-ordinate better and Queseda did some thing smart for the first time it would be Christmas Miracle.

  12. Talking about trying to complete a Batman story in R.I.P. and Final Crisis, DiDio said “And this is reflective of the world that we live in now – the world of collected editions.”

    This explains it all; he does not feel that monthly scheduling is important to DC Comics. The monthly readers are no longer his target audience. Everything he does is intended primarily to produce a marketable collection to sell after the indiviual issues have been released. Whether this is a realistic adaptation to present-day market conditions, or a betrayal of the artform entrusted to him and its loyal supporters, is for each of us to decide for ourselves. (Betrayal. Choose betrayal.)

    I’m surprised that the boards haven’t been showing more anger over this, but then I haven’t felt like DiDio wanted me to read his comics for quite a while, now. I’m clearly not the target audience.

  13. I believe the only reason why Marvel is higher in the sales is because of their one million tie-ins to their titles, seriously there are like 4 ties-ins for Dark Reign and because of their Ultimate and Marvel Adventures. This does not make DC innocent, scheduling problems, crappy descions and not concentrating on titles like Teen Titans, Titans, Manhunter, JLA etc.

    Even if DC suffers from poor scheduling conflicts AND constant silver age rehashes their heroes are still heroes. Even if Batman died he still took Darkseid with him and that’s something worth someone like his caliber and did not get eaten or canniblised ::shudders thinking of ULT. Wasp::

Comments are closed.