Disclaimer: It might just be me having a bad day.
Disclaimer's Disclaimer: I just wrote that to be polite and cover my bases.
Disclaimer's Disclaimer's Disclaimer: I LOVE comics. I usually enjoy them. I'm a comic-loving person, a comic-loving *geek*. This is not a "comics are bad" rant. This is a "comics are good, what the heck is *this*?!" rant. I apologize if I diss your favorite comic - in a more lenient mood I'd find more things to like about these titles. I like them, more often than not.
My reading pile consisted of Deadshot 3, Detective Comics 803, JLE 8, Superman 213 and Supreme Power 15. Not a random sampling of comics, but the ones I judged most likely to please me from the crop available last week in Buenos Aires. A pretty conservative set, I admit, but I don't really like most indies - their "T&A + angsty violence/plot" ratio seems to be even higher than in more mainline comics.
Smallish title-specific rants, and then a big fat (although maybe short) comics rant.
Deadshot: Deadshot got his both obligatory and gratuitous fight with the local hero, Green Arrow. Technical draw, the populace in favor of Deadshot, they talk over a couple of beers whereof Deadshot reveals that he's really Arsenals' *other* missing brother. Well, not quite, but c'mon. A marksman with a four years old daughter and just out of doing classified work for the govt. Obligatory big picture/small picture discussion. Afterward the Corner gets attacked by some bulletproof tough guy who's going to be beaten next issue. And then Deadshot will leave because his presence in the corner attracts more trouble that it's worth or something. Just guessing.
Short version: Blah blah *blah*. Oldest B-movie plot in the *book*, the battle was boring and *gah*. Not a good way to start my reading binge.
Pithy phrases: I have the impression the writers thought they put quite a few, but can't really remember finding any.
Detective Comics 803: Batman is a freak that interrogates dying people with Strawberry Gum, and living ones by burying them alive. The rest of the city matches. The title of the issue was "Horror Show" or something like that. Yeah, yeah. I *knew* Gotham was bad. Give me plot! Give me snark! Give me tension. Give me... *something*. I just watched random people being freaks and talking to themselves or to their assistants. And I'm a Batman *fan*.
Short version: Bad, bad, Gotham.
Pithy phrases: It's mysogynistic and wrong from me to find this half-funny, but...
Penguin's assistant: "Bubblegum Charlie reported that Mr Freeze went to investigate--"
Penguin: "And he found a woman."
PA: "Yes. How did you know?"
P: "Because when there's trouble... there's always a woman!"
Cobblepot is just a big fat baddie from *any* Bogart movie, people. You can't tell me those lines couldn't be fit into any noir film.
Oh, and Batman: "I need to see a lawyer." You totally need to, dude.
Justice Elite 8: Metron hid the Universe's most powerful thingy (#3) in The Wall. Freaking original, Oh Spineless New God. The world might or might not end. Betrayals we saw coming from miles away. The killer was probably a Bad Person Controlling Somebodys Mind. Galactus' sister has the same fashion sense in hats than him. I... just... Again, *nothing*. We've been here and done this so many times it's not even funny anymore.
Short version: Look, the wall! Don't mind the crazy person over there.
Pithy phrases: "Kiss him later, you old queen!"
Superman 213: So it was *Superman* all along?!? And his parents are there!?! And, of course, Zod. Of *course*. Right. "Call me Kal-El". A-OK. There's no amount of pretty in the world (even Jim Gordon's cool evil twin brother) that can cover up for the fact that AZZARELLO IS MAKING THIS UP AS HE GOES, AND HE DOESN'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT HE WROTE THE PREVIOUS ISSUE!!! Either that or he's just testing our crap ingestion tolerance.
Short version: Superman is insane. Azzarello is insane. *I* am getting insane. Fuckit.
Pithy phrases: Not even that.
Supreme Power 15: I get it, I get it: this is the DCU's gritty, realistic counterpart. Cool. Superman rebels, Green Lantern is a warm-hearted psycho, Flash just wants to get along, Batman is even more annoying and Aquaman is a woman. The military uses, again, superpowered psychos. Oh, and Diana is... surprisingly close to what she could/should have been, considering her origin. Nice. Yawn.
Short version: Look! They are like our heroes! But *darker*! Uuhhhhh....
Pithy phrases: "Apparently some woman decimated a unit of Italian police, not
that that's difficult, mind you."
The more general rant
I've been reading comics for ten years. I *love* the genre. It has sci-fi, it has noir, it has violence, it has psychos, it has humor, it has big fat opera, it has *people*.
Last week -and, I suspect, a lot of previous last weeks- there was *nothing*.
Rehashed plots they have given us pretty much once a year: "the JL[A/E/whatever] goes to the Wall", "Gotham Gets Ugly, And So Does Batman", "Darker, More Realistic DCU Version", "Superman faces a reality-altering psychosis/evil/evil psychotic twin/whatever", "Goodish bad guy/Baddish good guy gets into a bad town and cleans it, after/before fighting to a draw the local official hero" [Hitman anybody?!]. Characters being parodies of themselves. Ollie the womanizer. Batman the nutso. Superman the... confused?
Leftovers. That was the metaphor I was looking for: this week felt like reheated leftovers from the genre's fridge.
In a medium where telling a new, great story *isn't* more expensive that telling the same old shit from last year, there's NO - FREAKING - EXCUSE.
*raises fists to the sky*
Take back this crap. Give me my COMICS.
Perhaps next week I'll enjoy them again and look at this as just having had a bad day or something.