Brightest Day: The End of the Road

Dear Brightest Day:

From the beginning, this was a marriage of convenience. You were the next big thing in event comics; I wanted to remain in the DC loop. I’d already dropped some middling books from my pull list (See ya, Green Lantern!), so I figured there was room for you in my life. Surely, we could work through my event fatigue issues together — especially with Peter Tomasi and Ivan Reis in the mix.

Just make out already.

Unfortunately, there was trouble early on, starting with that frickin’ white lantern in issue #0. I knew you came with some Blackest Night baggage, but I underestimated just how damned sick I was of that whole white light business and the various candy-colored corps. “Hal Jordan again?!” I fumed, prompting my oldest kid to ask what my problem was. And why I was talking to myself.

But then, you quickly appealed to my weakness for doomed lovers Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter. You also had that muscular, swaggering art from Reis, who draws a bicep like no one’s business. For a brief, shining moment, I truly believed we were gonna go the distance. I told V. that you were making an effort, but like someone who has heard one too many excuses for a friend’s sketchy lover, she was dubious: “If you say so, girl. I’m dropping it.”

By issue #4, I began to suspect that we just weren’t that into one another. For one thing, Firestorm made himself (themselves?) a little too comfortable, and I couldn’t hear the rest of the book over the sound of Jason and Ronnie’s incessant, tedious bickering. (For the record, Jason’s kind of a dick. I know Ronnie is inadvertently responsible for his girlfriend’s death, but still.) Mera and Aquaman’s issues, which seemed rich with promise, took a turn for the boring. Don’t even get me started on Deadman.

I’m not opposed to a little well-placed gore — I love Secret Six, after all. But when you gleefully began ripping off innocent bystanders’ heads (and limbs), it came across as desperate, and a little cheap. There was just too much going on, and it felt like a pileup of empty sturm and drang that was headed nowhere fast. It’s never a good sign on Wednesday nights when you hear yourself muttering, “I don’t have time for this.”

BD, I’m under no illusion that you need me. Heck, you can have almost any DC reader you want, you handsome, shallow devil. I just think it would be best for me to move on — y’know, see what else is out there before I start to resent the fact that you’re costing me $2.99 every other week. That’s a lot of tall Starbucks café Americanos. I’m sure you understand.

Best regards,
E. Peterman

I’m So Anti, Crisis Don’t Matter

By the absurdly slim margin of 51.7% over 48.3%, it has been decided that I should finish reading Crisis on Infinite Earths. Hooray for me.

For those who voted for me to move on, thanks for trying. I’ve got some juicy stuff waiting for me. Now it’s taunting me. Perhaps that will get me through the 200 and some odd pages remaining.

For those who voted for me to finish, I am a woman of my word. I will do it, however begrudgingly.  Once I am done, I will also write about it honestly. So, if by some slim chance I end up liking this bullshit, I will tell you that I liked it. BUT if it continues to suck, my review will contain as many four letter words as possible.

I do know one thing, Crisis will be the last time I tolerate the uncreative, plot-devouring, manga-robot mothafucka that is the Anti-Monitor. Brightest Day, consider yourself dropped from the pull-list.

It’s time to go rip this band-aid off.

Comic Judgment: The Hit Parade

Maybe I was feeling a tad sensitive last week, but there were several comic book moments that left me all verklempt. It was also one of those rare weeks when my pull list produced nothing but hits, with two (Batman and Robin and Secret Six) in a dead heat for first place. There will be spoilers.

Batman and Robin #12: Damian Wayne has haters for days, but the more Grant Morrison delves into his character and unfortunate lineage, the more he grows on me. As the book opens, Damian’s mother, Talia al-Ghul, has literally turned him into a puppet whose movements are being remotely controlled by Deathstroke to kill Dick Grayson. But Talia has (again) underestimated Dick’s Batman-certified skills, as well as her son’s ability to resist manipulation. Once Dick and Alfred shut down the puppet show, Damian decides to confront his mother, who offers an ultimatum: Come back home, or consider yourself my enemy. No one will ever accuse the littlest Wayne of being cuddly, but when Damian asks her, “Can’t you just love me for who I am? Not what you want me to be?” we’re reminded that he is, after all, just a 10-year-old boy. As expected, Talia’s response is not the stuff of greeting cards — and it is thoroughly on. A moving story, plus the no-they-didn’t ending revealing creepy Oberon Sexton’s identity, adds up to one awesome issue. Dick wins the Best Line Award for his response to Damian’s concern that Talia will have him killed: “She can try.”

Secret Six #21: Am I the only one who hears Young Joc’s “It’s Going Down” while reading Secret Six? Because every time I think Gail Simone’s scripts can’t get any more gangster, she finds a bigger machine gun. This book almost never fails to deliver a satisfying blend of poignancy, spit-out-your-Coke-Zero humor and medieval conflict. Tom’s (Catman) early memories, dominated by his repugnant father, are gut-wrenching, thanks to J. Caliafore’s all-too-vivid illustrations. Back in the present day, the anti-hero is on a mission to punish the crew that kidnapped (and possibly killed) his infant son, and his former teammates are following the trail of corpses. The Sixers have seen just about everything, so you know it’s bad when they’re taken aback. After observing the sliced-and-diced remains of one of Catman’s victims, the usually unflappable Deadshot says, “All right. I don’t know what normal people think. This is &^%$ed up, right?” Yeah, but it’s a tea party compared to what Tom has in store for the sadist, metahuman thug, Loki. It involves back trouble, and very big cats.

Red Robin #12: I’d say any comic that shows Ra’s al-Ghul stammering in disbelief is worth $2.99, but in this issue, Tim Drake cracks Mr. al-Ghul’s face — at least metaphorically — with flair. With a little help from his super friends, my favorite Robin thwarts an elaborate plot to kill Bruce Wayne’s associates and bilk Wayne Enterprises. Ra’s throws Tim’s battered body through a skyscraper window, but Dick Grayson (in Batman mode) grabs him right on time. Call me a sap, but I really dug the moment when Dick asks Tim how he knew he’d be there to save him. “You’re my brother, Dick. You’ll always be there for me.” Sniffle! The Best Line Award goes to Damian Wayne, who goes off on his grandpa via walkie-talkie for sending rank amateurs to take him down: “Really, Grandfather? Ninja? I’m insulted.” Writer Chris Yost is moving on after this issue, but he’s ended his Red Robin run on a high note.

Brightest Day #1: Now this is more like it. Following the #0 issue that left about as much of an impression as zero suggests, Brightest Day #1 (or at least part of it) finally feels like an epic adventure with some surprises up its sleeve. I certainly appreciated the moment when Aquaman and Mera put a hurting on some child kidnappers at sea, and a pedophile’s death-by-undead-shark was a particularly awesome touch. However, the subplots are breaking down neatly into care/don’t care categories: Filed under “care” are the Aqua posse (including) scary Black Manta, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman and Hawkgirl. In my “don’t care” category are Firestorm (sorry, Shag), Boston Brand and Hal Jordan/Carol Ferris/Sinestro. I’m just a tiny bit burned out on these three lanterns in general. Nothing personal, guys.

What did you like last week?

Resurrection Rundown

The interwebs are abuzz with reviews praising the colorful conclusion of Blackest Night #8. The art in this book is what really swept me away. That damn fold-out splash page is off-the-charts awesome. Ivan Reis, YOU are a rock star! Heartfelt moments, foreshadowing, resolutions and resurrections abound!

J’onn J’onzz: Yippee-mothafuckin’-ki-yay! His death in Final Crisis was so wicked that his return from the dead  seems only fair. My excitement is compounded by my newfound admiration for the character and his Martian method of affection. I am certain the DCU will be a much better place with him in it. He also has the best line of the whole book:

Max Lord: UGH! I hate that guy. Really, really hate that guy. Of course, he chose to come back, and I suspect he is going to be a huge pain in the ass. The silver lining is that I no longer have to tolerate the wholly incorrect portrayal of Diana as a remorseful warrior. She can now be free of her editor-induced guilt for killing him. And finally, Bruce can get off his judgmental high horse and get with that. Go, Batwondy, Go!

Deadman: Why isn’t he supposed to be here? Do you know? I haven’t a clue.

Osiris: This means I’m going to get more Black Adam. Hot damn! They better do it right. The Black Marvels have the potential to be cool characters as long as DC doesn’t make them one-dimensional baddies. Sprinkle a little anti-hero on my beefcake-y Adam and let Isis stay all evil so he can be the one to rein her in. That would be ironic … and interesting. Do it.

Firestorm: This makes Shag happy, and does absolutely nothing for me.

Aquaman: Okay. Yeah. Whatever. We all knew Geoff Johns was going to do this. Yet, I’m still left with questions about the vague, Arthur-centric conversation between Diana and Mera in Blackest Night Wonder Woman #3. I really thought there would be some kind of explanation. Did I miss something?

Hawk: Applause for our homie Chocotaco, who figured this out early on.  Now we can fill in the blacked-out figures on the Birds of Prey #1 cover. How cute! They have bird names.

Reverse-Flash: Ummmm … yeah. I got nothing.

Captain Boomerang: Still nothing.

Jade: She immediately jumps on a stunned Kyle, and kisses him while Soranik watches from the sideline. How much does this suck for Soranik!? I mean the whole scene on Oa when Kyle dies, and Soranik revives his heart with the help of the Star Sapphire; that CAN’T be for naught.  Soranik Natu is my second-favorite Lantern, and Kyle better choose her. That aside, her moment of heartbreak was made tolerable by Kilowog’s sympathetic expression.

Hawkman & Hawkgirl: From their gruesome, violent death to an intensely romantic reunion — what a well-deserved and satisfying resolution. And holy friggin’ cow, she brought Carter to tears. Carter Hall cried, you guys! The reunion kiss was one for the history books, literally. I loved Reis’ detail of Shiera grabbing his hair. This was by far the most monumental of the resurrections. One question though: What about the power source for the Star Sapphires?

Black Hand: The remorseless, serial-killing, psychopath is now enslaved by the Indigo Tribe of compassion. Irony. Justice. Word.

Did anybody else notice how huge the Indigo Tribe was? I’m so gonna miss the Atom in his tribal outfit. It was festive. Speaking of outfits, Wonder Woman’s white lantern getup was pretty hot, and a step up from that Star Sapphire nonsense.

I feel obliged to give our boy Sinestro a few sentences since he was foiled yet again. Old boy was forced to take a back seat and one-upped by Hal, as usual. I had hoped he would have a sort of “come to Jesus” moment with the white light and all. Instead, he was sent back to his character corner, where he’ll have to make do as an arrogant prick. I guess he kinda deserves it.

Thanks, DC, for entertaining me this go ’round. Final Crisis was so dense, and the end was so depressing. Blackest Night provided some much-needed cheesecake, but it was rich, tasty cheesecake. And once again, I gotta give it up to Reis for the art: In the last two panels, Hal and Barry are channeling Adonis.  I would like to order one Hal & Barry sammich to go, please.

Alright. I’m done.

After Blackest Night Comes Brightest Day