Thursday, February 08, 2007
Comics! Yet more Pepito-poop!
Ah, the eternal, unchanging rules of life! Never eat at a place called Mom's, never play pool with a man named Slim, don't spit into the wind, don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, don't tug on Superman's cape, the check is never, in fact, in the mail, and ... my arch-nemesis Pepito will always buy crap when he goes to the comic shop.
He goes in almost at random, one imagines. He probably has things in mind that he WANTS, but as often as not he walks out with, well, just anything. Examine the sedimentary layers on the floor of Pepito's crude lean-to, and you'll find single crossover in a series of which there are no other issues, say, or the third issue - and only the third issue - in a mini-series. There's no reason or system to any of it, which adds a certain interesting element of the unknown to any batch of Pepito's comics my young friend Elmo manages to snatch for my examination.
Take this latest batch.
It starts with YET ANOTHER issue from the Brubaker/Lark run of Daredevil, surely the worst run on the title in living memory (including that horrendous ongoing plotline about Matt Murdock's happy-go-lucky twin brother, and that's saying something). Surely ONLY Pepito is still buying this title - and yet, we say that about so MANY titles, and it can't be true of ALL of them.
This issue features an in-jail dialogue between Matt Murdock and the Kingpin - for Pete's sake, you'd think NOBODY could screw up such drama-packed scene. But in Brubaker's hands, it sits there as flat as a pancake.
Then there's the last issue of the Creeper miniseries, none of the previous issues of which Pepito bothered to buy. This last issue is of course incomprehensible therefore in terms of plot - perhaps Pepito only bought it for its Batman guest appearance. But despite that guest shot, despite not knowing what the frack is going on, it's still pretty clear this issue is crap - crappy writing, crappy artwork, even crappy coloring. Wearily, we turn elsewhere.
To nothing better, alas. Once again, we have to believe that Pepito is pretty much the only person still buying 'Ion - Guardian of the Universe.'
In case you had the good sense not to buy the - gakk - ten issues of this title, it revolves around Kyle Rayner, the Green Lantern nobody loves, and it has the remarkable distinction of being the ONLY Green Lantern-related title currently on the market that ISN'T slam-bang fantastic. Instead, it stinks like manatee-breath.
And yet, Greg Tocchini's artwork has real potential, if not yoked to this pukey title. And this latest issue fetures a cameo appearance by Guy Gardner that's as delightfully in-character as ALL his appearances these days seem to be.
Then there's the latest issue of Blue Beetle. Not THE Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, the one we all KNOW is going to be back among the living someday soon (disasterously so ... big guns like Hal Jordan or Green Arrow, no matter how well-done their deaths are - and boy, Green Arrow's was done well! - HAVE to come back ... but Blue Beetle? The character's best contribution to DC continuity was to die for it - the shock value of his resurrection would invalidate SO much good stuff ... you'd like to think the powers that be at DC would see that).
No, this title is devoted to the kid who inherits the original Blue Beetle scarab, and as written by John Rogers it's pretty entertaining. Once again, we can easily imagine Rogers - matched here with first-rate artist Rafael Albuquerque - doing some OTHER book, some book that MATTERED and therefore could develope into something really, really good. A young super-hero would be best (these two clearly have a knack for the demographic) - might we suggest a reboot of Kid Eternity? One that, unlike the last few, doesn't suck? Just a thought.
Still, even Pepito is bound to pick up SOMETHING that's actually interesting. But even there, a problem crops up: because the book in question, Teen Titans, shouldn't BE interesting - it should be great.
Difficult to pinpoint exactly when this book stopped being that, but sure as hell isn't these days. Geoff Johns' writing is the least skilled he's done in years and years, almost mysteriously so, since he has material to work with here. And Tony Daniel's artwork is just competent enough to be atrocious - every body looks the same, all the action sequences are garbled and static, and there are about two facial expressions to go around.
But it's the writing that really nags at you. This issue features Deathstroke (him again ... yawn ...) building his own Titans team comprised of evil clones, drug-warped good guys, and former good guys with issues.
It's the barest possible hint at the truly fantastic storyline that could be here instead, but good luck finding more than scattered hints of that in this current run.