I noticed, as the year crept on, an unsettling depression creeping over me on Wednesday afternoons. Now, this was remarkable, as Wednesday is the day I lie to everyone and say I’m writing on my laptop at the coffee shop, instead go to Meltdown Comics on Sunset, pick up the week’s books, and then run to the food court and read comics and eat pizza and weep and purge and weep and purge …
I share too much. The point being, this should be a happy day. Why the hell was I so bummed?
I think it’s because, for some reason, nothing much I read this year was, well, fun. It was the Year of the Bummer. Some of them were well-written bummers. Some of them were the best plot choice. But some of them were just lazy, and dreck.
The return of Books of Magic is unceasingly dour and cryptic. This is actually a different impending rant, so let’s leave it at that.
I’m probably just having a problem with Hellblazer because it’s coming off such an amazing run, and now is sliding back into pariah-Constantine. Rake at the Gates of Hell, people, just stay on that, and the book’ll be fine.
The Flash had a secret identity and then, didn’t, again. (In screenwriting we call that an “up and back”, and what is considered a flaw in movies and television is apparently Comic Writing 101)
The big Bat-crossover, War Games, besides being yet another blow to Gotham’s property values -- seriously, can you even get home insurance in that city? – not only brutally beat to death a young female character I kind of dug, but also relied on the plot device of somebody stealing one of Batman’s contingency plans. Mark Waid did it first and best in the
Speedy has AIDS. ‘nuff said.
I’m a big fan of the Bats/Superman crossover book, despite the dueling thought bubbles. But the whole “evil heroes” arc … yay, I get to see Supes strangle Diana to death with her own lasso. My life wasn’t complete without that moment.
A great Aquaman relaunch turns into Aquaman fighting … the spread of heroin in Sub Diego. Soon McGruff the Crime Carp will join him.
Gwen Stacy gets dry-husk-sucked in the Ultimate book.
Robert Kirkman, who I think is fantastic, has Walking Dead (yes, I get the double entendre) and Invincible. Walking Dead is now adding characters just so they can die miserably, making increasingly illogical choices along the way. Also, I don’t know what Kirkman’s home life is like, but DAMN the wife in this book is a hateful shrew. She just bitched in the last issue, about how hero Dan keeps “taking off” and how she’s “sick of him.” Oh, you mean the guy you LEFT IN A COMA? The guy who crossed the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the flesh-eating dead because he LOVED YOU? The guy who saved your ass and the collective asses of everyone in the group MULTIPLE TIMES? The guy who was incredibly cool about maybe your baby not being his? Seriously, nobody’s that pinheaded.
And Invincible – still one of my favorite books – teeters on the edge of pathos. More Atlantean courtship fights, less with the drunky-drunky mom.
100 Bullets, well, it’s supposed to be grim. But added to the Year of Bummers …
We3 – wonderful. But mega-bummer.
Peripherally, I actually liked some of the Cross-Gen books. Poof.
Just as the New Avengers kicks my ass and delights me, it turns out there’s a traitor in their midst! Good Lord, can’t just tell some interesting team stories, can we, we have to break the paradigm from moment one. Bummer.
Mark Millar … heh. Why, why, when he has such chops, does he insist on the juvenile eye-stabbing? In the same book he writes one of the best Hulk variants and by far the smartest Thor update, he turns Cap into a right-wing asshole and completely misses the point of Nick Fury – Fury’s a bastard, but he’s a righteous bastard. (Oh, and by the way, big props to Ed Brubaker for, in his latest issue of Captain
New rule: I’m not buying another Millar book unless he can get through an entire year without a wife-beating or a sodomy reference. I will actually contribute a $1000 to the Comic Book Legal Defense fund if Millar can write twelve issues without them.
Which leads us to the two biggest bummers of the year, united by a common them I like to call ...