Monday, April 18, 2005

Big Dumb Superhero Comic: Action 826

I like Captain Marvel. I always have. I think the concept is fun, the original work is wonderful and creative, and that it still has a lot of potential. So, because he is a cruel, awful person, Alex gives me the latest issue of Action Comics, wherein the Big Red Cheese starts a guest-appearance story. The story is written by Judd Winick and drawn by Ian Churchill.

I also like my fiancee. But if someone gave me a version of her sculpted from shit, I would not like that very much. Just because a work of art features something I like doesn't mean it's going to be any good, or that I won't find it repulsive.

Metal Helmet Hair ACTION!

Let's look at the cover. Cap and Superman are going down an alley. Cap is flying, having apparently very recently said "SHAZAM" and changed from Billy Batson. You know this because there's an "electrical" outline of Billy in the background. That's not really a very awful idea. Point for Churchill. However, I don't recall Cap ever wearing a black, striped, metallic helmet at any point in time. So that's kind of weird. Superman is busy taking off his clothes. He has floating eyeglasses behind him and a tie so skinny and poorly-tied that it makes me wonder if Clark is both retarded and living in 1981. That's a bad cover.

Next we get some poorly-relayed exposition. It's almost as if this were a DC comic. Oh, right. After a few pages of that, we get to see Captain Marvel standing funny.

Someone doesn't know how to do laundry.

I would stand funny, too, if my clothes fit that poorly. Oh, what the hell, let's throw in some references to Infinite Crisis so that all the fanboys can speculate/finger-their-own-anus.


Gargle gargle hrrrrnf!!!

Superman's eyes roll back into his head. WATCH OUT! SUPERSEIZURES CAN BE DEADLY!

Oh, hey, everyone! It's crosseyed, fashion-stupid Lois Lane!

That outfit is justifiable reason for murder.

And her TITS!

Dear Mr. Churchill, please spend time with real women, thank you.

We get a few panels of that, with a little bonus of Clark's glasses changing in almost every panel.

He's got more glasses than Elton John!

That fashion HOUND! There's nothing he won't try. Considering the disgusting would-never-be-made outfit Lois tries to fit her giant spheres in, I guess he has to make up for her.

Then there's a big bad guy hurting things. He says "I'm waiting for you!"

Then Superman says, "You'll have to wait a lot longer," and hits him. Except that doesn't make any sense at all. He didn't have to wait at all. If you're going to make a dumb action quip, say, "Well, you're wait's over." Or, "I'd hate to keep you waiting." Or maybe even, "I'm really fucking poorly drawn! Jesus Christ, did this guy study under Liefeld? Where did all these lines come from?" Shit, bad action dialogue is easy. DC can't even do THAT? Frickin' Michael Bay can get that done!

Then, of course, a last page cliffhanger that was obvious from the beginning and has been done to death already, anyway. Even with Cap/Superman stories, Eclipso's been done. Zzzzzz.

I just . . .what is the point of this? Me, Mr. Cap Marvel fan, I can't even enjoy this. It's ugly, it's full of silly expository writing, and the plot isn't compelling at all. There's nothing exciting or new here. It's just a string of things that have been done millions of times, and not even done particularly well. People say this is "big, dumb comics" as if that's an excuse. Since when is "dumb" writing defendable? If it is dumb, it is by its very nature ungood. We put up with this shit because we're dying to get some good cape action, but the longer you make excuses for this kind of hackery, the more distant your memories of actual good storytelling will be.

I'm ready to give up on superheroes at this point, but are you?

21 Love Letters:

Blogger alex said...

That book sucked my balls.

And not in a good way.

At long last, I'm officially over comics about superheroes.

I'm all growed up, I guess.


7:50 PM

Blogger Joe Rice said...

Weep for our forgotten immaturities.

But superhero comics CAN still be great . . .they're just not, usually.

7:55 PM

Blogger ADD said...

This is a great new sub-genre, Hush-Lite with writers and artists even worse than Loeb and Lee. Staggering to comprehend, no?

7:58 PM

Blogger Joe Rice said...

I'm having trouble even typing at all after thinking that.

8:18 PM

Blogger TCSmith said...

That "sclupted from shit" line is the funniest thing you ever said Joe!

8:03 AM

Blogger Ed Cunard said...

I'm ready to give up on superheroes at this point, but are you?

"One of us! One of us!"

You make me smile.

8:28 AM

Blogger Joe Rice said...

Nothing can conquer the sheer humoric value of a Korean woman made from fecal matter.

My total hatred of superheroes won't last long, Ed. Invincible and a Seven Soldiers book both out this week . . .unless . . .Morrison . . .disappoints me again. Sniff.

9:55 AM

Blogger Ed Cunard said...

I don't totally hate them either, you know.

I really do need to check out INVINCIBLE at some point. They're making with the big hardcover collection thing, right? I'll buy that.

10:13 AM

Blogger Joe Rice said...

Yeah, they are. And a fifty-cent primer issue or something, too. It's not heavy stuff, mind you, but it's the genre done well in a time where that's awfully rare.

10:15 AM

Blogger alex said...

I just read KLARION. It absolutely fucking rules.

Maybe the best yet.


7:25 PM

Blogger Brad Curran said...

I flipped through this in the shop on Friday and was hoping you'd read it. I knew it would give you some good material. You didn't disappoint. That said, I'm not ready to give up on superhero comics. Just shitty superhero comics. I'm pretty sure that's ADD's line, but what the hell.

8:07 PM

Blogger Goody said...

Losing Michael Lark and gaining Ian Churchill will not benefit DC in the long run.

7:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure this really is a superhero comic? Because it sure doesn't look like a superhero comic. The guy in the red doesn't look like Captain Marvel, for example, and surely that isn't supposed to be Superman next to him? Superman doesn't look like that. Hmm. Must not be him, then.

I think instead this is probably some kind of ad for an upcoming fashion show, with the models dressed up as superheroes for the ad. They're trying to tell us it's going to be a "super" fashion show, see? It's going to be all pop culturey like that. Yes, I'm sure that's what it is.

See, there they are posing, and it also says one of them has "arrived." That means people know who he is now, because the fashion show is such a good one. And there's the lady who designed all the clothes, you can tell because of her avant-garde clothing style, only designers can get away with wacky outfits like that. These designers always get really frenzied during a show, too, because it's got to come off perfectly. She's obviously very agitated talking on her cell phone, she's probably talking to the modelling agency because someone's late for the show. That's why she's crosseyed, because she's so worried things will go badly if the model doesn't get there. Even her tits are worried; they're crosseyed too. Oh, there's the model, he's not late after all, he was just thinking really hard about something, you see? So everything will be fine now. Everything will be just fine. What a great ad. Real pop art stuff.

God, I'm so glad I don't have to read this thing now! Thanks, Joe.

4:23 AM

Blogger Joe Rice said...

No, thank YOU masked stranger. You put all our minds at ease.

5:47 AM

Blogger Chris said...

Those Clarks look like bad attempts to swipe from Quitely's sketches, except for the ones that look like bad attempts to swipe from Tom Grummett's run on Superman.

3:29 PM

Blogger Joe Rice said...

"Bad imitation of Grummet" is one of those phrases no one should ever, ever have to think about. "He's bland and uninteresting . . .but worse."

3:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, what is with those faces? I'm getting a real Sprockets vibe off Clark Kent here...

4:01 PM

Blogger Joe Rice said...


4:03 PM

Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Yeah. I was pretty sure that Jud Winnick on Captain Marvel was the worst idea ever. Sigh.

9:59 PM

Blogger Violet said...


2:30 AM

Blogger Violet said...


2:30 AM


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