Friday, May 16, 2008
Countdown to Redundancy
So I wrote this article about Countdown to Final Crisis like, a month ago, and I never could do much with it that didn't sound exactly like 52 other online whiners, so I dropped it. Still, I purchased and read, then re-read the whole miserable thing, then wrote up a bunch of half-assed, half-focused "witty" observations. Never let it be said I let anything go to waste. Here then, are my unfocused, rambling half-thoughts about a subject everyone else has long since left behind.
The whole Monitor thread confused me beyond belief, especially with fifty-two of the fuckers running around, all looking alike, especially when part of the story hinges on their gradually differing appearances. The art varied from issue to issue, veering crazily between style and quality, until it became impossible to recognize any of the human characters let alone aliens who are supposed to look alike but sort of don't, and that's important to the plot. Were Bob and Solomon the same guy? I know there was the one guy who wanted to aggressively pursue and terminate reality-jumpers, and there was the other guy who opposed him, but eventually the Monitors all joined the violent crazy guy, and the other guy took off. Which one was Bob? There was a third Monitor, wasn't there? Mojo Nixon, or Nix Uotan or somethin'?
Ray Palmer gets further tortured, only to end up renouncing his ties to Earth and teamed with Donna Troy, which is actually a sort of torture in itself. All this would be much more impressive if coming attractions didn't show Donna with the Titans, Kyle with the Green Lanterns, and Ray Palmer with the new proactive, James Robinson written Justice League. So much for that team.
Count me among the camp that sees no point in "darkening" Mary Marvel. But then , I've never been sold on the Marvel family in the DC Universe anyway. Jerry Ordway's Power of Shazam! was probably the best, and I followed it for most of its run, but even then it was an uncomfortable fit with the larger DCU. Mary's appointment and journey to evil did not engage, and felt like padding. And an excuse to have this young girl running around in a leather micro- miniskirt.
The Holly/Harley stuff seemed equally surplus. Their appearance seems to have been pointless. If nothing else, they should have kept the powers that the gods bestowed them, but instead they take a bus back to gotham. With Jason Todd, who also reverted to (stereo) type.
Then there was that whole Superman Prime/ Monarch /Super Army deal. That all came to a head when Superman Prime pulled open Monarch's armor, but what was the point? Apparently, and I had to get this from an online interview, that explosion blew up the one "perfect world" Earth that the armies tore apart, and made way for "the Great Disaster" Earth. The inclusion of Monarch, the Extremists, and Monarch's Countdown: Arena army was just carnage and filler, since DC apparently has no further plans for any of them.
Then, lest we forget, we had poor,poor Karate Kid, killed yet again to give birth to the Kamandi / OMAC universe. For awhile there, I thought that all these divergent paths were going to lead to Jimmy, Donna, Mary, et al to become the New New Gods, somehow, but I didn't expect nothing to happen. For the most part, these guys are headed back to their status quo, whatever that may be.
Top all this off with an out-of-left-field ending, and its one of the sloppiest reads I've seen. I can't really blame anyone but myself for buying this. It had Donna Troy in it, for God's sake; how much of a fucking sign post did I need? Like the rest of the marks, I'm bitching after DC got my $155 for this padded fiasco, so they totally win.
We're still in the early days of comics-by-committee, but this second attempt suggested that maybe comics written by six guys and drawn by thirty may not be the best way to effectively deliver complex and nuanced storytelling. Who knew?