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Monday, March 31, 2008 

Wash. Times columnist goes gushy over "Lightning Saga"

It's a real shame when a newspaper that used to be very good starts deteriorating, as the Washington Times is now, and the columnist they have for comics, toys and other pop items is certainly a letdown these days, as this incredibly dumb article about the incredibly dumb "Lightning Saga" indicates. He clearly is out of touch with the rest of the fanbase online, or he's being deliberately fluff-coated for the sake of good relations with DC Comics, when he writes this lunacy:
An assembly of some of DC Comics' brightest creative stars brings together a trio of superteams to resurrect one of comics' speedier stalwarts.
Which is certainly welcome, but not the way it took as many as 5 interminable, pointless issues to get to where Wally West and family turned up, and he introduces himself as if his friends didn't already know who he was!
Writers Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns, along with artists Ed Benes, Shane Davis, Fernando Pasarin and Dale Eaglesham deliver roughly 30 heroes to the pages over a five-issue event.

This hardcover chiefly compiles the crossover event seen in Justice League of America, Nos. 8 through 10 and Justice Society of America, Nos. 5 and 6 that chronicles a time-traveling mission by some members of the Legion of Superheroes.

I defy anyone without a scorecard and advice from a string theory physicist to try to keep straight all of the universes and versions of characters presented here.
And I guess he defies anyone who's curious for an explanation about why he's being so sugary about a story that was such a cop-out too, does he? And won't even explain why he found some of the storytelling approach here, which was a rehash of some elements seen in Meltzer's earlier work on Identity Crisis, worth excusing?

Sure, it seems as though he's explaining why he liked this in the following quote...
Although events have major implications in the current DC universe, the reason for my Cheshire cat grin is just enjoying the celebrities mixing it up in the issues. For example, a knock-down, drag-out between Batman and the Karate Kid, or Red Tornado almost delivering a lethal blow to Red Arrow during a training mission, or Wild Fire taking part in raptor races in Gorilla City.

I got a bit giddy seeing a battle outside the old Secret Society of Super Villains swamp base (fondly from my Super Friends days), and an appearance by Triplicate Girl cemented my nostalgia trip.
...but what he tells is very, very superficial, and suggests that he's just saying he enjoys the book for image value only. How does any of the above make a story, really? Doesn't it just underscore the main problem with the Lightning Saga, that in the end, there was no real nemesis to deal with, which makes it anti-climactic? Comics Should be Good once wrote a much more convincing take on why the Lightning Saga fails.

This is the problem today, one that might've actually been around for a lot longer too: to some would-be fans, there is no good or bad when it comes to comic books, and everything like this is just a holiday party worth celebrating. They don't pay any attention to if there's bad forms of storytelling injected into the script at all; for would-be fans like that columnist who wrote that gushy garbage, everything, according to how selectively he makes up his mind, is good.

It has to be more, much more than just nostalgia, to say that the book is good. And by not telling any more beyond what he does, his "review" simply doesn't have any impact.

I notice, on the other hand, that in the same article, he gives a negative take on the TPB of Ultimate Power from Marvel Comics. Now that's odd, because for all I know, he could just as easily have gone gushy over that as well, if he wanted, yet there, if it's bad, he's admitting it. It's a very strange paradox when he's willing to admit if a Marvel book is bad but not when a DC book is the same. And that's exactly why I just can't accept his "opinion".

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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