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This is why we don't have nice things

[community profile] scans_daily is currently posting bits from the old "Doom's Master" FF story, which included both one of the worst moments of Doom characterization I can conceive, much less know of — lets just begin with Victor Von Doom calling somebody, anybody, anything, "Master" — and one of Doom's crowing moments of awesome, when he was thoroughly trashed (I'm being hilariously understated here) and thrown back into the Pliocene to be eaten by giant sharks. That's not the awesome part, of course (except in that it implies you're the kind of person who rates the sort of enemies who can do that) – the awesome part is what he did then. So I've always been ambiguous about that.

Except that now they are also posting bits of Dark Avengers #176, showing how the Thunderbolts, in the far past for irrelevant reasons, happen to rescue Doom. The Thunderbolts. Rescue. Doom. And he of course betrays them for their time machine, and that's how Doom survived that thing.

No. Nope. Nooooooope. No-no. No chance. Nah. I refuse to acknowledge that Marvel just retconned one of Doom's Peak Doom moments into little more than outrageously good luck. It's worse than the time DC retconned Hal Jordan's completely understandable grief (together with maybe completely understandable plans) and subsequent one-man blitzkrieg against the Crops and grim semi-godhood into "possession by weird cosmic entity," rendering meaningless what had been a psychologically and narratively *interesting* event. Mostly because I'm a gazillon times more interested in Doom than in Hal and, to borrow a 2016 vernacular we'll never use again, the eons-long Big Bang-sized dumpster fire that is everything the Guardian have tried to do, ever.
I'm reading Alan Moore's Providence (a twelve-issues mini of which I think nine have been published so far). Some random observations:

  • You could say it's something like "Planetary meets Lovecraft and the Gang."

  • You have to assume trigger warnings for graphical depictions of pretty much everything you could imagine.

  • The way it plays with time, dreams, and symbols is fascinating, and leverages the medium very well. It's Alan Moore, of course; that's kind of what he does.

  • The humor... I don't know if humor is the right word, YMMV, but another way of describing this would be Mr. Magoo Goes to Hell. This is bleakly funny sometimes, and other times almost intolerable. Every issue ends with a few pages of the protagonist's Commonplace Book (more of a journal, actually), which you definitely shouldn't skip over.

  • The story is its own meta, unashamedly and deliberately so.

My reaction to Rebirth #1 is my icon

Probably the worst part of being a Flash is that you're drafted into the early stages of every damn single end-of-everything multiversal conflict, and they keep happening more and more frequently.

We're rushing towards some sort of singularity where we'll just have #1 issues of everything every week: Pages 1-7 say it's a new universe and make an impressionistic description of it, pages 8-10 have the titular hero defeat a foe but with an unsettling hint of something cosmic going on, in pages 11-18 a cosmic entity we've never heard of before will gather the hero and about forty-five others to fight some sort of multiversal threat that's an overpowered variation of the one three weeks ago, in page 19 everybody sacrifices themselves, page 20 is all white with a box saying something about death, page 21 shows a new world and something about life or hope or rebirth or whatever.

Under no circumstance will you get to page 12 without encountering the word "crisis."


Well, that was enjoyable

I like slice-of-life superhero comics, so the fact that Mockingbird #1 begins with her weekly checkup at one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secret-but-very-civilian-looking health clinics was reason enough to read it.

It has a very "Hawkguy" feel, although of course Bobbi's life is a bit less of a mess, within the very relative parameters that apply to people who work or have worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. It's also a tiny bit horror story, and well done at that. Recommended so far.


Comics! (Violent Bastards Edition)

James Bond #6: This is a very physiological version of Bond (nothing sexual implied whatsoever). The villain is one Ellis has written many times, but there are touches of brutality in Bond that feel both interesting and in-character.

East of West #25: One of the superficially quiet issues. Hickman is very good at telling an incredibly dense and eventful story in a way that feels leisurely while being in fact quite fast. I don't think he has ever quite pulled it off with his Marvel work; as much as I love what he does with Doom and the FF, the problem is that the Marvel Universe just doesn't make a lot of sense, and the more cosmic you go, the less sense it makes (same for DC, and then some). But East of West is a world he designed instead of being forced to make sense of like Doom had to, it's just an easier one to work with.

Karnak #3: The usual Ellis mixture of curious facts, cynical musings, and conceptually and/or visually inventive violence; I could've said the same about the Bond one above, or his Moon Knight. I'm not complaining; it's a combination I enjoy.


Just throwing it out there

An East of West TV series a la Game of Thrones.

Fascinating civilizations? Check. Epic battle scenes both one-on-one and thousands-against-three? Check. Five-way political plotting with multi-level betrayals? Check. Star-crossed romance? The literal Four Horsepeople of the very central-to-the-overall-plot Apocalypse? Impossibly hypermodern cities in multiple architectural styles? The desert? The dreamspace? Oracles? Financial shenanigans? Evil kids? Slash? Western-style gunfights? Cyborgs? A world in which an African-american country is by far the main financial power in the continent and the Amerindian Endless Nations supply technology to everybody else? Checks all over the place.

Hell, it'd also make a kickass Civilization-style game (at times it feels it's the comic book version of one, but in a good way).

Secret Wars, the short version

  • Doom find being God boring, and wishes he could be Reed Richard instead.

  • Hickman is a Dune fan. He also thinks Sinister is funny.

  • We can't have nice things. We can't have not-nice things. We can't have anything, because the Big Two are the Great Wheel that destroys everything.

(I feel like the last one should end with And now, the weather.)


On the premise of Marvel's Civil War

(No spoilers for the trailer, as this is (also) a comic book version thing as well.)

I find it interesting that Tony Stark took the pro-Registration side, and Steve Rogers the anti-Registration one.

TL;DR Tony, your privilege is showing.Collapse )

Things of note (not really)

There isn't a single comic coming out tomorrow I'm waiting for. On the other hand, I'm very happily following Schlock Mercenary and Atomic Robo as webcomics, so I have reason to believe I'm not old as much as old-fashioned. And I confess I sometimes peek when somebody posts bits of Injustice: Gods Among Us, which is at times so heartbreakingly bad that reading it feels like finding a hole in the very foundations of the universe and peeking through it at the malignant insanity that slithers between moments and watches us with blank unending patient hunger, knowing without knowledge that at the end of time the walls will break and we will be consumed across time and space and possibility, and every place will be death and every moment will be death and every choice will be death and every thought will be pain.

It's pretty OOC, that's what I'm saying.


"Truth, justice and the American way" has a very different meaning to a Superman raised by poor immigrant farmers. He’s seen abuse and injustice his whole life – and now he’s ready to let the world know what happens when a Man of Steel gets angry..

On one hand, there's an interesting (Watsonian) argument to be made about how Clark Kent's usual tendency to maintain overall status quo in spite of the physical, technological, and political power at his disposal is intimately tied to being raised in a cultural and social milieu where, when things go wrong, the instinctive response is to blame it on change from the past, rather than showing the need of change from the present (whatever your opinion on their suitability as child-rearing environments or their ecological sustainability, family farms are in economic terms heavily subsidized historical reserves, specially in the developed world). The same, by the way, can be argued about Bruce; he reminds me of that episode of NewsRadio where billionaire Jimmy James pretended to run for President, and he said something along the lines of You know what's wrong with America? *Nothing*. From where I'm standing, everything looks alright.. The first and biggest thing that ever went *personally* wrong for Bruce was the murder of his parents, so he dedicated himself to fighting that. He does good work with the Wayne Foundation, but he isn't personally invested in social change the way he's personally invested in punching criminals. It's weird, but fitting, that Diana, who's bona fide royalty, is the only one in the Trinity attempting to help along a profound societal change, being the real outsider among them (and, although it's change in a direction of making our society closer to hers, it's done out of empathy for people who suffer something she *hasn't* (although her society did went through it in a particularly traumatic way), and thus speaks well of her even beyond the intrinsic undeniable worth of what she's attempting). This Superman is angry in a way that canon Superman should be. I'm not saying he should go full Red Son, but there are degrees. (Bruce is a bit more excusable - even a person with his resources cannot change an entire city, specially one as deeply fucked up as Gotham - but still, as Batman he attempts the impossible in a weekly basis, as Bruce Wayne he does things Thomas Wayne would have done, and in the way he would have done them --- and there's a clue, methinks).

On the other hand (having lost sight of the first one)... if AU!Superman is to canon!Superman as AU!Batman (remember, villain-eating vampire) is to canon!Batman (and the pre-movie shorts do show this Superman ignoring civilians in danger during a fight), then the underlying message is simply a racist and classist one ("see how latinos and poor people raise their kids?").

I mean, a vampire!Batman AU is definitely a dark one (heck, the title is Gods and Monsters, and I'm not sure it refers to different sets of individuals), and the change in premise for Superman is that he was raised by migrant latino farm hands (I also think he's Zod's son, which adds a different layer of genetic predisposition awfulness).

Ok, now I know how I feel: intrigued by the critical possibilities involved in the premise, and disappointed by the social backwardness of the execution.

DC: We have looked at all possible universes, and nobody is as decent as a Kansas farmboy, or as cool as an East Coast billionaire. Feel free to cease your societal criticism and dedicate the time to figure out who'd win in a fight between them. You're welcome.


cass, can you not

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