Quid Pro Quo Comic Thoughts

Cronin linked to my embryonic wrestling blog, and since I'm throwing him a bone by finally getting this little site* some traffic from my legion of fans (who are surely hitting refresh every 10 seconds waiting for me to actually post something besides some lame inside jokes about various wrestlers). So here are some unsolicited opinions about comics from some guy who isn't named Greg, Brian, Bill, or Tadhg.**How the hell is it that I did not know about this until Abhay linked to it in one of his occasionally coherent yet inexplicably fascinating posts at the Savage Critic, as an aside to whatever the hell he happened to be talking about no less? Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon doing a web comic that I can read for free? Why was this news not directly broadcast to my brain? I'll blame Bill Reed for this one, since we seem to share the same brain despite having never actually spoken to each other in any meaningful form of communication.*** Although I have to echo Apodaca on the Dilbert thing, buddy.

I'm not sure if you've heard this, but Criminal is quite a good comic. Probably more so if you're just buying it because it's by Brubaker and Phillips and do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of crime fiction that allows you to not only follow the back pages essays, but know whether they're full of shit or not; just a feeling I get, you know? That said, it's damn good comics; I'm not sure I like it more than Sleeper, but it's still a nice present to get in my pull box when it comes out, even if I'm finding that I can barely remember what happened in the last issue when I get the new one. I could alleviate that by waiting for the trades, but I consider the book too good, and my feeble memory too weak an excuse, to not buy it in installments.

So, to recap there, Criminal good. I hope I was clear on that.

I just picked up Batman #666  and #667 the other day. I'm not sure whether it's because I haven't read #665 or not, but I had no clue what the hell was going on half the time. I mean, I got the joke, and I figured out that it was an alternate reality and everything, but I had that overwhelming "What the hell is going on here?" bewilderment that a lot of philistines talk about in relation to Morrison's work when criticising it. In a way, it kind of encapsulated the way I've felt about pretty much all of Morrison's run on the title; lukewarm. 

I mean, there are the requisite cool ideas, and his characterization of Batman is as enjoyable as it was in his JLA stories, if not quite as fun because it's not co-existing with big cosmic spectacles that were so prevalent in that title; it just tends to leave me cold. Comparing it to his other Batman solo work doesn't help; I'm not a huge fan of Arkham Asylum, but it does have Dave McKean's gorgeous artwork going for it, and all of the impenetrable (to me) symbolism made it seem like it was about something, even if I'm not learned (or interested enough to be) to crack the subtextual code. His Legends of the Dark Knight arc, Gothic, was a pretty interesting mash-up of a typical Batman story with Vertigo sensibilities (which makes sense, considering that it was written when Vertigo was still in its nascent state).

His run on the "real" Batman comic, on the other hand, has thus far had some cute scenes, a little bit of playing with the form, but it's lacked the energy of his JLA, the verve of his X-Men, the technical sheen of All Star Superman, and the combination of all three, with a huge heeping of ambition, that made Seven Soldiers so damn fun to follow. It its place, we've had Batman Jr., who I was just starting to like before Morrison went and blew him up (which he has apparently recovered from), a valiant attempt to make Bruce Wayne an actual character again, and nothing outright bad, but something lacking in the intangibles that make even Morrison's missfires worth reading.

So, enter JH Williams! He brings that technical sheen I was talking about, given that he and Quitely are neck and neck for most visually impressive mainstream cartoonist. I could go in to some approximation of greater detail, but I think Jog pretty much nailed everything that needs to be said in his review when this thing was fresh. It's a very good review, at least the parts I was awake for. I kid! But really, I had to make a joke about Jog's high minded wordiness inducing drowsiness at some point, and this seemed as a good a time as any. At any rate, I'm more interested in Morrison's Batman than I was, even if I'm not sure how I'll feel after Williams takes his leave after this arc is over. 

If you're not inclined to read it after that bitchy little aside I just made, at least check out this link to Barbelith he provided, where JH Williams talks about his process a little. It just occured to me that I ought to write something for this wrestling blog I pestered Cronin in to plugging for me here, so I'm off.

*This is Snark Free, right?

**Tadhg posts here, right?

***He sent me a telegram about how great Dilbert was one time, and also a "Do you like me: Check yes or no" note on a paper airplane, but that's it.

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