Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dan Didio Didn't, Did He?

Team books and Batman rule this week in comics.

Final Crisis is finally over...oh, no, sorry, it isn't. But the murderer of Batman is finally revealed. And I'm not sure what to think.

Somehow, between fighting the Black Glove and disappearing, cowl-less, after an explosion, and the entire anti-life domination and dissolution of human civilization, Batman finds his way to Darkseid, the author of the madness (or at least the one taking credit...I get confused because I can't bare to reread the last ones.) With some natural but not remarkable dialogue Batman decides to abandon his lifelong principles and use a special Doctor Who type gun to shoot Darkseid in the heart, who simultaneously uses his zig-zaggy Omega beams to shoot Batman in the heart. Darkseid's wound looks like cosmic gore, but Batman's looks more like he just said Shazam! That is, until Superman shows up stony-faced, bearing the burnt crispy body of Bruce.

Dan Didio, revered throughout the internet for his wisdom, has said in interviews that Batman is alive but "he'll definitely be gone for awhile." If there is a plot gap they intend to capitalize on it would be the pages between Batman's Omega g.s.w and Superman showing up with a burnt body in a Batsuit, which he's not carrying before. In that case the rumor of Bruce taking a sabbatical on his own volition, with the cover-up help of Supes, would make sense.

The rest of the issue is slightly more eventful than the previous ones, with Black Canary being pretty cool, Supergirl being almost interesting, the anti-life equation suddenly being fairly easy to cancel out, Lex toasting Libra (whom I've already forgotten), and the Flashes running. But how could you top a(n attempted) Batman-murder? Or better yet, how could they have truly pulled it off?

Perhaps by neglecting a little marketing action in exchange for doing the story right. This two-page killshot, and its two lead-up pages, is the culmination of a storyline begun in May 2008, having been talked about well before. Batman R.I.P. stretched across 17 issues, with 12 more 'fallout' story lines tied on like very expensive bait for all us stupid fishes who love Batman too much to NOT buy a comic he has anything to do with. Had they kept it down to a 10 issue arc, maybe a balance of quantity and quality could have been achievable. As it is they inflicted much pain and frustration for an anticlimactic easy-way-out. Grant Morrison is a coward, and in killing Bruce has done the one thing to Batman that should never be done.

Huh, guess I do know what to think after all.

Since I'm feelin' no fear and takin' on the fat cats, apparently JG Jones exited as artist of Final Crisis, in part causing the massive delays, because Dan Didio has been sleeping with JG's wife. First, even as a comic lover, I would do the same thing as Jones, especially with such a weak spaceshipwreck of a script, and second, I'd like to thank Mrs. Jones for keeping Didio busy. I was spared this week the grating sound of his forced smile as I read DC Nation, and discovered that someone simply boring, as opposed to in denial, has taken over the duties of addressing us on their blog-like back page (which traditionally was for OUR letters, not theirs. Please restore tradition.)

Elsewhere in the Bat-world, Nightwing continues to struggle with the death (that's the word they're going with for now) of Batman, and continues to dislike being in Bruce's shadow, and continues to mope about, and continues to fight Batman's villains to a standstill, leaving them with some poignant truths. There were several opportunities for interesting insight in this story, for original reflection and emotion, but instead Tomasi gives us yet another Bat-Cave fight with a mob of ninjas, and a sword-fight and final page directly from Jeph Loeb's Hush. How about we end this title on a good note, say with a manned-up Dick Grayson, in cooperation with Tim, showing Gotham and Batman's rogues how things are going to be now, with him taking over.

Nightwing is also prominent in this week's Titans, a Faces of Evil (FOE) issue told through the perspective of Jericho...who is currently in possession of Nightwing's body and having a whole inner-psyche-one-on-one chat with Dick. I've been a Judd Winick fan for awhile now, particularly the underrated post-Hush Jason Todd storyline, and he continues to prove he has a good handle on these staple DC characters. This Titans issue is one of the best, starting with the stirring retelling of Jericho's fairly-messed-up-Marv-Wolfman history and capped off with one of those completely simple and totally brilliant textbook comic moments; the revelation that everyone Joey Wilson has ever possessed exists within his consciousness. With a two-page ensemble spread (God I love ensemble spreads,) a clear handle on both Dick and Joey's voices, and a cliffhanger face-off between the Titans and the newest JLA, this is solid Titans-fan sustenance.

Over in Marvel the only title of note was X-Infernus. Though a little short on action, this issue is better than the first. I was wary about another Illyana story line to begin with (I wasn't very crazy about the New X-Men Belasco arc; bad art and weak ending, though it led to Pixie becoming a promising character who has joined the ranks of Jubilee and Hisako as a Kitty Pryde replacement) but clearly a more experienced, emotionally invested X-team going to Limbo has major potential. That being said, what do Dani Moonstar and Roberto DaCosta over in Young X-Men have to say about being left behind? Or Sam and Rahne and Magma for that matter? I love the depth of the X-bench, but I hate when bonds fall through the cracks without even an acknowledgment from the characters.

To summarize, the team books are the ones worth reading, and Dan Didio needs to be replaced by a single man who would choose reading and creating comics over repeated illicit sex.

My e-mail link is just over there to the right. It's the Storm vs. Thor picture. I have a good resume. Well, it's definitely a resume. My answer is Yes, I'll take the job, if that makes it easier for you to ask.

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