Random Thoughts! (May 12, 2009)

I have no idea what I'll come up with as I write this. I assume there's content of some kind below the jump, but since I write this bit first, I have no idea what it is. Let's learn together, shall we? It's random thought time! Get excited!

Random Thought! The new Vulture looks like a Red Lantern reject, except he vomits acid instead of boiling blood. Even Spider-Man is getting pulled into "Blackest Night."

Random Thought! I wound up getting a few Free Comic Book Day books this week, including Blackest Night #0 and have a question that no one seems able to answer: since when are willpower and death emotions? It strikes me as funny that this whole spectrum of emotions multiple corps thing springs out of the Green Lanterns... whose requirement/power isn't even an emotion.

Random Thought! Coming out tomorrow: Unknown #1, Unthinkable #1, and Unwritten #1. I love it when shipping schedules work out like this.

Random Thought! You should really read Jog and Tucker Stone's series of posts on the DC/Humanoids books. It's the best comics critic team-up since Tim Callahan and I began doing our Splash Page column (which will return sometime soon after a brief hiatus -- but, if you haven't, go read our columns on Final Crisis).

Random Thought! There was a bit of commentary surrounding the Avengers Free Comic Book Day issue being smaller than most comics and, while true, Marvel does have a history of smaller comics. There was a period in the late 90s/early 00s where their comics were a little smaller than everyone else's. Not by such a large degree as in this case, but they were smaller at one point.

Random Thought! I've been thinking about reviewing comics today. This weekend, I wrote a review of Bang! Tango #4 for CBR where I gave the book zero stars out of five. It was the first issue of the series I'd read and it was a mess. Now, while it is unreasonable to enter a story halfway through and expect to understand everything, I couldn't follow the logic of the issue at all. I've been reading comics since before I could read and have over two decades of experience in picking up random issues. Hell, that's all my childhood was when it came to comics most of the time. So, when I can't follow along at all, there's something very wrong with the comic in question. Or, to put it another way, when a 26-year-old with a master's in English can't follow your writing (and you seem to be trying to tell a straight-forward, linear story), you've fucked up. I'll defend my assessment of the comic and the choice to give it zero stars, because I couldn't think of one positive thing to say about it aside from the Howard Chaykin cover -- but you can see that for free online, so it's not really a major positive. But, my decision to come down so hard on this issue raises the question of was it appropriate of me to pick up this issue randomly and trash it? Well, yeah, it is. As a reviewer, I don't want to, nor should I, just review books I'm familiar with. If I did that, I'd continually review the books I have on my pull list and you're going to get nothing but 3-star or above reviews as I struggle each month to come up with new ways to discuss the same books. I will review books I'm already buying more frequently, but I do try to mix things up and that means dipping into random issues. It's the only way to do the job (unless you're Tim and are already buying everything) and 99% of the time, you don't notice, because we're not idiots. We know how to read comics we pick up mid-story and what mental adjustments need to be taken into account. I also reviewed Amazing Spider-Man #593 last week and haven't read an issue of that series since #551 over a year ago -- does it show in the review? Hopefully, it doesn't. What I'm trying to say is, Bang! Tango #4 was a very bad comic and the fact that I didn't read the first three issues won't change that.

Sorry for the shorter post this week, but I just don't have a lot to say.

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