Friday, 28 September 2012

#80 All Star Superawesome Morrison

Thank you Morrison for making a Superman story-arc that made him interesting for me again.  This is one of those re-imaginings that fall out of the DC continuity, so Morrison has complete control on what he does here.  And it is beautiful. The art by Frank Quitely is understated and calm.  Just look at the cover of the first issue.  Superman is relaxing on a cloud without any eccentuated superhero pose.  This is a superman we haven't seen, just in his posture.  This is the art for the whole book, and it is refreshing to see a different approach to the man of steel.
Even better is Morrison's re-definition of Superman as a sort of sun god.  This is a theme throughout the book where superman is a beneficent diety here to protect the world.  The ending, spoiler alert, has Superman return to the heart of the sun and fix it so that earth can continue to live.  Brilliant!  You actually can relate to Superman in many ways here as he seems more human and more god at the same time.  Well done Morrison and Quitely!

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Remember that time in the 80s when Supergirl died?  Yeah that was this book, when DC figured that it's multiverse was too complicated for new readers.  People couldn't keep track of all the parallel earths and continuities so they decided to reboot the whole universe which affected all of the characters of DC and Vertigo. In the process they killed Supergirl and the current Flash.  Did I mention that this comic was basically one cosmic battle after another that it eventually drains on the reader who has to read 400+ pages of superhero battles.  There is such thing as attrition.  Every time I turned the page I thought to myself, "Oh no, not another battle."  Maybe I have been reading too much Grant Morrison because he knows how to pace his stories so they don't turn into some giant battle at the slightest instigation.  This is also a vey wordy graphic novel, I guess while punching the anti-matter Monitor in the face Superman has a lot to say.  Usually the words are didactic in origin, which felt like a unwanted reference to the Silver Age of comics.  Basically I did not like this comic.  It was long and boring because of too much action. Characterization was limited and ideas were to few and scarce.  Maybe I read this in a piss poor mood, and I may end up reading this again in the next couple of years as I work on my dissertation on comics.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Death of the New Gods

In the 70s Jack Kirby created the forth world, which is basically a personification of Heaven and Hell with Darkseid being a sort of Satan figure.  Before the 2011 reboot of DC, they decided to kill all of the New Gods except for Darkseid.  This I guess caused a bit of an uproar as some of these New Gods were integral parts of some comics, such as Miracle Man and Big Barda.  The artwork and writing was done by Jim Starlin who made the comic, as is his style, with a retro feel to it.  The drawings seemed a little outdated, and his writing was not as fast as modern writing.  I enjoyed the story in that it made sense, and of course I love the breakdown of time and the universe.  I am really starting to appreciate the DC Universe more and more.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Barely making it

I am barely keeping up with schoolwork right now and yet I somehow found time to indulge in comic book reading.  Over the weekend I read all 26 issues of Grant Morrison's Animal Man and enjoyed it all.  The eponymous hero is on a quest to find out who he is, and it turns out he is a comic book character.  This reminded me a lot of Man in the High Castle by P.K.D. in that the main characters learn they are creations of a writer.  In Animal Man's case he actually gets to meet Morrison in a hilarious exchange that ranks in my funniest moments in comics chart.  I am appreciating Morrison more and more, especially as he took PKD's theme and enhanced it with humor, and explanations using physics and reality.  I can't wait to tackle the Invisibles.

The Confidence Man

My first finished novel for school is one written by Melville.  I never knew this book existed.  The editors of the book would like for the reader to believe that the devil is wandering about a Mississippi steamboat tempting people and gulling them.  At times funny and at times boring, this will go on the back of my shelf when this class is through.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

#75 Final Crisis

I know recently I placed David Sims ahead of Grant Morrison as favorite comic book writers.  After reading Morrison's Final Crisis I am afraid that Morrison has now moved ahead of Sims.  This was an amazing graphic novel that I wished was twice as long.  This is the sort of novel you wonder how it got published, and now that it has you are thankful.  Morrison, who writes sci-fi in a postmodern way is difficult to grasp if you lack the knowledge he is working from.  I have never seen string theory applied to a plot like in Final Crisis.  In the DC Multiverse there are 52 universes each with their own versions of all the super heroes, though they are usually different either in appearance or attitude.  Anyways these 52 Earths are watched over by the Monitors, who represent a sort of Godlike presence.  On the other end is Darksied (Pictured) who represents a sort of Hell.  Now Darksied tries to take over Earth-0 (DC Universe) and he does this through the collapse of space and time and an "anti-life equation" that turns anyone that reads a mathematical equation to be automatically his slave.  THe Monitors on the other hand become celestial vampires that start feeding on the 52 worlds.  These two powers collide and results in the complete fracturing of the multiverse into one chaotic mess.  By the end, when all seems utterly hopeless Superman manages to have a glimpse of the "Miracle Machine" which will grant him one wish.  So after Darksied is killed and leaves a black void where Hell was, Superman wishes the best for everyone, resulting in the disappearance of the monitors.  So in one grand sweeping Epic Morrison has killed the afterlife using String Theory.  There is much much more, but elaboration breeds more elaboration.  The only thing about this book I would want more of is time for each superhero to breathe and develop in there own roles.  I felt sometimes the action was disconnected.  I wonder if I was missing some stories that were published elsewhere.  The main themes are here, I just wanted more.  I will have to read this again when time allows, along with my other favorite Morrison book, The Filth.

Life of Milton

So this is my first entry for school reading and it is Samuel Johnson's Life of Milton.  I feel a sort of kinship to Milton's political views and enjoy his staunch Parliamentarian attitudes which is why I had difficulty with Johnson.  He writes with such bias, and even if it is couched in humor, I still find it difficult to get past the fact Johnson is so different in politics.  His bias didn't pop up on every page, but it colored everything he said and put into the biography.  On some occasions his bias was blatant and in the foreground, and these passages were the least enjoyable.  It felt like listening to Fox News go at it.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Identity Crisis

Despite reading reviews saying this was a terrible story that involved shamelessly killing a lovable character.  I think the people writing the review were far more entrenched in the DC Universe than I am.  I had no connection to Sue Digny, so when she died it really wasn't a terrible thing for me.  I guess she was the modern Gwen Stacy for the Elongated Man.  I enjoyed the mystery of the book and how it played out.  I read this rather long piece over the Labor Day weekend and am a little upset with the end.  The person murdering the loved ones of super heroes was a jealous ex-wife that walked out on her husband.  Her motive was to get her husband to care for her again and so they could be together.  Is this the modern representation of women in comics today?  Either as jealous ex-wives or as voluptuous sex goddesses (Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Starfire.........).  So I found the ending less than awesome.  I don't care if there isn't some unimaginably powerful enemy or a simple non-touched human, I just want the story to satisfy, and this one did not.  Though I will say the characters are well written and believable in all of their actions.  The dialogue was smooth, and only a couple of times did I read something that didn't quite fit.  I just wish the ending had as much polish.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

#72 Church and State I

So I have started school now, and contrary to logic am reading less full books than I normally do.  But one I recently finished is the first epic part of Church and State, which follows Cerebus as he becomes high Pope and uses his unlikely position to divinely threaten his new found flock with destruction and apocalypse.  Quite funny, even as it pokes fun at the infallibility of the Catholic Pope, this satire is light hearted and non-threatening.  As I continue to read about Cerebus the more I am convinced Dave Sims is one of the finest comic writers of this generation.  I have just moved him above Stan Lee and Grant Morrison.