Box Four 12/19/07
my stack of books last week, it became obvious that I'm
long overdue to crash in crossover fatigue. Yet still some
of the reading has been extremely satisfying - mostly when
the crossover in question is background, not imperative
to the story.
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At first, Booster
Gold #5 shot to the top of the stack - then I had
to think about it. Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz have repositioned
Booster as DC's continuity cop, but they're not revisiting
old stories in quite the way you would think. Last issue,
they offered up a really intriguing idea, that the things
we've accepted as in continuity may be the flaws undoing
the very fabric of the multiverse.
So Booster spends
most of this issue trying to undo the paralyzation of Barbara
Gordon at the hand of The Joker. Aside from taking several
beatings from The Joker - either proving that Booster has
a lot to learn about fighting or that The Joker is just
insanely bad-ass - Booster shows his desperate determination
to do the right thing no matter what personal cost.
it's admirable. As sweeping action, it's a fun ride. And
then you realize that the "lesson" Rip Hunter teaches Booster
actually contradicts the premise of the series so far. At
least the villains come into clearer focus. Time travel
always has its tricky edges, and Booster Gold keeps
falling on them. But if you ignore that, the book continues
to be a breezy read. Ignore the ramifications and hope against
hope that somehow it won't butt up against The Final
ran into Countdown was Captain Carrot and the
Final Ark #3. Last week in the podcast I defended
the book, glad that writer Bill Morrison had taken steps
to right the wrongs established in Teen Titans. Then
suddenly this issue shifts gears and abruptly lurches toward
Here's a hint
of how drastic the change is - creator Scott Shaw! relinquishes
the last four pages to Phil Winslade. In some ways it's
bringing Captain Carrot full circle, but it's jarring, ridiculously
inconclusive and no doubt alienating any adult picking up
this cute funny animal book for their kids this Christmas.
Sigh. Maybe their time has passed - just like Bird Rental's
should be on the ascendancy, as Countdown Arena #2
proves the guy can take an obvious "it's going to happen
no matter who writes it" job and give it a little spin and
sparkle. Given a little more freedom in the DCU,
the guy may really make things fly.
Witness a Nazi
Earth Ray - or better, just listen to the way he talks.
It's a great streetpunk Nazi propaganda argot that makes
this Earth seem like more than a throwaway, even though
I fear events elsewhere in Countdown will just throw
And even though
some plot points got determined by fan voting, Champagne
manages to spin new points off of them that should reverberate
a while. Coupled with Scott McDaniel working at the top
of his game, and Countdown Arena feels like the best
of the spin-offs. That's not faint praise - it's a lot more
fun than The Search For Ray Palmer or Aftermath
books have been.
In fact, it
reads a lot better than Countdown To Final Crisis
#20, though that might not be saying much. This
book has been all over the place, and not just because of
its wide cast of characters. Very little moves forward this
issue, with more attention being placed on things like Val
and Luornu's possible unspoken attraction to each other
than things like the OMACs they've unleashed.
focused on the inner lives of the characters, and everybody
liked that. But characterizations were actually developing;
here they're slave to the plot. For old-timers, there's
not only nothing between Val and Luornu - it just doesn't
occur to us.
Then it's saddled
with Howard Porter art, in which Turtle Boy Jimmy Olsen
unmasks Forager to realize she's "…weirdly pretty." Jimmy,
Jimmy, that's Porter pretty, which is to say that
you can tell us all you like; we're not going to believe
for Fables #68. In some ways, I can hardly
wait for this series to end so that I can go back and truly
appreciate all the groundwork carefully laid by Bill Williingham
and blithely ignored by readers. Every step of the way,
Willingham delivers the unexpected, from the revelation
of the Adversary to last year's horrific retelling of Snow
Now he has repurposed
Flycatcher Ambrose, aka The Frog Prince, as the Christ figure
of the Homelands. If you haven't read Fables, then
you don't get what a tremendous feat of storytelling this
is. Start from the beginning and bear in mind that no character
is what he seems. Except maybe for Shere Khan - that tiger
is a bastard from start to finish. Having said that, now
Willingham will prove me wrong.
My stack ended
with Green Lantern #25, the finale of "The
Sinestro Corps War." The artwork has been nothing short
of spectacular, done here by Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver.
The action has been almost exhausting in its exhilaration,
and within the confines of a title, it feels like something
of real lasting impact has happened.
On the down
side, some of it got telegraphed by scheduling, with spoilers
revealed by that pesky Countdown. Yet if you could
go back and re-read everything in chronological order instead
of order of release, it would add up smoothly.
The end promises
another huge event, with Geoff Johns having the courtesy
to inform us that he will wait until after the smoke has
cleared from The Final Crisis. I think that's best;
don't you? I've got plenty of stuff to keep me occupied
between now and then.