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Saturday, December 28, 2013 

Salon gushes over Dan Slott's inferior work, among other poorly written series

Salon ran a list of the "best" superhero comics of 2013, and man, what a waste it is. First, here's what they say about Grant Morrison's run on Batman:
Back in July, Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s “Batman Incorporated” ended, but it wasn’t just the end of an excellent series that featured Batman’s international Bat-squad vs. Talia al Ghul’s terrorist group Leviathan: it ended Morrison’s sprawling, immortal, 7-year run on various Batman titles. In his run, Morrison took the opposite approach of DC’s current brain trust, who tossed their history in the trash with the New 52: by contrast, Morrison treated the entire seven-decade history of Batman as canon, imagining what kind of guy such a life would produce. Along the way, Morrison pulled the neat trick of paying respect to Batman’s entire history while adding more new elements to Batman (like his son Damian) than anyone I can recall. While DC’s current flagship Batman title has its charms — like Greg Capullo’s wild art — it’s usually overwritten and under-original. It’s basically Batman for Dummies, while Morrison was writing Batman for Smart People, yet somehow managing to do it in a non-pretentious way. Do yourself a major solid by going back to the beginning of Morrison’s run and following the whole thing through.
That's actually the problem with his comics; you need to read them more than once in order to figure out what they're all about, and even then, there's not much point to it. And since when does somebody who rambles as badly in interviews as Morrison does write for "smart" people? That sounds more like a claim the Salon writers are smart, which I don't think is so at all.

And some of Batman's Silver Age history was still canon for many years; they just don't get into it in-depth. That was Marv Wolfman's type of approach anyway: he once spoke about how he did his New Teen Titans storytelling without making deep references to the early stories with their goofy slapstick approach, yet did not disavow them as canon either. The same could be said for most of Batman's Silver Age tales, so Morrison's MO isn't new.

Now, here's where they become even more horrific, by paying lip service to Dan Slott's work on Spider-Man Dr. Octopus:
This ongoing story of Dr. Octopus’ attempt to be the “Superior” Spider-Man after taking over Peter Parker’s body is fresh and compelling. In fact, it’s damn addictive. Writer Dan Slott and a rotating group of artists have created a new kind of anti-hero: a villain who accomplished his greatest victory, then decided to become a hero, yet couldn’t help doing so through villainous means (blackmail, murder, minions, Spider-Bots, etc.) Conventional wisdom would suggest that Peter Parker will be back by the time of “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but man, I hope not. I could go for five years or more of Spider-Ock.
Of course he could, because tragically, the writer of this dud article is exactly the kind of insular, mentally adolescent addict Marvel's modern brain-less un-trust is marketing for in the basement. These are the very people doing whatever they can to keep the incumbent direction going, since they don't care that it won't appeal to anyone outside comicdom, and never did. Predictably, this has all been seen as a great thing by Slott, in one of his various self-congratulatory tweets. The Salon propagandist then says:
Bonus Spider-comic: Over in the Ultimate Universe, Miles Morales continues to be a one of the best characters in comics and a fine replacement for Spider-Man, who died in that universe in 2011. Sorry, traditionalists: There are two awesome Spider-Men, and neither is Peter Parker.
A confession he was never a fan of Peter Parker to start with. If he likes Miles Morales, fine, but his declaration about Peter is inexcusable. I suppose if Doc Ock had taken over Peter's body completely in the mid-60s, he'd think it'd make a better comic in every way. This is not compelling or event the least bit addictive; it's just a protraction of a story that could've been told in a handful of issues bloated out of proportion to something very drab and insulting. The propagandist's take on the inferior spinoff series is no better:
This series should not have succeeded. Its title is a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of the Doc Ock Spider-Man, who isn’t present in this comic at all. It’s trying pretty hard to be the new “Hawkeye.” It’s about Boomerang and other fifth-tier supervillains. That’s a lot to overcome, but somehow, it is the new “Hawkeye,” as well as being a great crime comic and humor comic too. “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man” is what would happen if the losers from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” or “The League” decided to put on costumes and pull heists. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Steve Lieber have shown us that we’ve been wrong to focus on glory boys like Superman and Lex Luthor. The little guys in the superhero game are a lot more interesting. Let’s hope this series does well enough that Marvel adds a series for the ultimate minor league villain: Stilt-Man.
When was Lex Luthor ever a "glory boy"? But his declaration about Superman, that I understand. Hence, I doubt he was ever a real Super-fan. Though he's being ironic, his comments about how this spinoff should not have succeeded and the blatant title are actually correct; it should not and it is one of the most blatant insults, enough to turn some people off of superhero comics for good if they think publishers are turning to spotlighting villains instead. That's what happens when all these properties fall into neglect by the ownerships and the wrong editorial hands. The writer proceeds to gush over Bendis and Waid's Daredevil stories:
This eight-issue limited series, set in a possible future, features the death of Matt Murdoch, aka Daredevil, Marvel’s blind superhero in the devil suit. But this is no funeral: it’s a celebration of one of Marvel’s strongest characters and some of his greatest writers and artists. Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Klaus Janson and Bill Sienkiewicz tell a mystery story with hardly any Daredevil that is somehow one of the best Daredevil stories ever. That’s a testament to the creators and DD’s supporting cast, especially journalist Ben Urich, whose investigation of Matt Murdoch’s death leads him on a tour of DD friends and enemies, including Elektra, the Punisher, Nick Fury, the Purple Man and an astounding number of sandy-haired children who look like little Matt Murdochs. The story will capture you, and the art will knock you on your bippy. I can’t stop re-reading this one.

Bonus Dare-comic: The current run of “Daredevil” by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee has brought fun and swashbuckling back to the character after years of doom and gloom. In fact, you’d do well to read everything since Waid started on the book in 2011: it’s one of the best runs on the character since Frank Miller singlehandedly made DD awesome back in the eighties.
I've learned not to trust any Marvel comic with Bendis' name on it, and Waid's managed to lose me even before this whole debacle. Bendis is bad enough, and Waid has only trashed the chance to make his take on Hornhead one of the best runs by shoving his left-wing politics into the mess. The writer goes on to say about Fantastic Four:
The scenario is simple: the Fantastic Four are going on a trip to space, which should only take seconds on Earth. Since plans tend to go like plans, Reed Richards and co. recruit a substitute Fantastic Four to take their place: Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Medusa (queen of the Inhumans) and Darla Deering, a pink-haired pop singer with no powers. Of course, things go wrong (over in the far less inventive “Fantastic Four” title) and this substitute FF has to hold down the fort at the Baxter Building, which is also home to the Future Foundation. The Future Foundation is a think tank and school for some remarkable children, including little mole people, the Impossible Man’s reality-bending (and adorable) green tyke and a supervillain’s young clone. There’s so much to like here. Mike Allred’s poppish art (colored by his wife Laura) is downright joyous, and the dialogue (by Matt Fraction and Lee Allred) is quick, funny and often touching. There’s humor everywhere, but Ant-Man’s attempts to atone for the death of his daughter (in a previous series) are anything but a joke. Jump on this series soon, because there’s a confrontation brewing with Dr. Doom (isn’t there always?) and then this unique story will be finished.
I won't be around to bother. I wasn't when Joe Casey produced a terrible, derivative X-Men story over a decade ago. The part that angers me here is that they're going along with an earlier story that might've taken place in Young Avengers, where Scott Lang's daughter was done in. It was nothing more than another of countless stories they've produced in the past decade that center around limp deaths of characters. The writer also states about Wonder Woman:
Bonus female-centric comic: DC’s “Wonder Woman” has been a rare bright spot in their mostly painful New 52 lineup. Oliver Sava nails the appeal of the current run, which is reason #4,981 why it’s malarkey that there hasn’t been a Wonder Woman movie yet.
Is this what they consider appealing? I think it's just the reason why there hasn't been a WW movie yet. But how surprising the writer admits New 52 has been a load of manure. Well, he almost does. It's not just mostly, it's VERY painful. Geoff Johns is but one of the biggest problems with the relaunch. And he once claimed he loved the Justice Society, though his claim circa 2000 that it wouldn't be JSA without Alan Scott and Jay Garrick in the cast suggests otherwise about many of the other heroes co-starring in the past series.

Salon has thus demonstrated why they're on a list of "mainstream" news outlets unqualified to tell the public what the best comics are.

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Morrison wasn't writing "Batman for Smart People." He was writing "Batman for (and by) People who Take Lots of Drugs."

I tried reading a TPB of FF this past week at Books-A-Million. Yeah. Completely inaccessible and unreadable excrement. Pretty pictures, though.

I'm likewise shocked they were willing to admit the new 52 is trash. I'm sure there has to be a good book or two in there somewhere, right?

Good points there, Drizzt. Fanboys often overlook the fact that Morrison is an avid drug user and incorporates that nonsense into his work.

And I don't know why Superior continues to get gushy reviews from people. I don't see what's so great about being forced to root for a villain in a hero's body.

Brain-dead books for brain-dead people, though I'd argue that this isn't a recent trend, they're just more brazen and out-in-the-open about it now than in the past.

Also, nothing about Slott's works prior to Spider-Man?

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