The Doomino Effect for the week of May 16, 2007

Hello, freckled blockheads, and welcome to this week’s installment of The Doomino Effect.

Getting us started is Batman #665. I had stopped reading Batman somewhere a few issues back. I thought the Damian / Ninja bat storyline was stupid, then there was that Grotesk arc, and then I remember an issue with lots of typography. I was like screw that, man. But for some reason I picked up this issue, and much to my surprise, I dug it! I know Grant Morrison is supposed to be a god among comics mortals and whatnot, but like I said, I thought his first arc on this book stunk. There certainly are elements of this book that seem to walk the line between intriguing and goofy, but I loved the characterization of Batman.

The first page, with Batman collapsing from the beating he took, narrated with his internal monologue of “Must – Must be – Must be a better way – to strike terror – into the hearts of criminals.” And then thud. Nice! I also loved “Cop or no cop – you’re on my list.” That’s a man who’s on a tunnel-vision power trip and that’s Batman. I’m also intrigued with the Black Casebook, even if that little turd Damian is involved somehow.

And speaking of little turds, that leads me to Action Comics #849. I touched on most of these issues in the last podcast, but here is a summary of what I hated about this issue:

1. The cover says “A Crisis of Faith!” in the font used for Infinite Crisis and Crisis tie-ins, implying that this is a big event. Abusing such implications in such a deliberate tease is insultingly cheap.

2. It’s a judgmental, condescending sermon against those who are judgmental, condescending preachers with the intellectual strength of a junior high student who just read his first philosophy book.

3. The religion of the Kents and Superman is sold out in order to strengthen Fabian Nicieza’s stupid story. I just can’t believe that DC editorial allowed what could have been such a powerful situation (Superman crossing paths with religion / faith) to be presented in such a heavy handed, preachy self-parody.

Speaking of self-parody, that leads me to All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #5, which is how some interpreted this romp through fake Batman’s world in one half of our two-part Book of Doom this week. We took on ASSBAR #5 and Ultimates 2 #13, so I’ll leave my thoughts on the other side of those links. I did notice that Rokk over at Rokk’s Comic Book Revolution somewhat agreed with me on ASSBAR. We might be the only two who liked it in a non-ironic way.

And speaking of irony, that leads me to Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #3: Captain America in which Hawkeye has returned from the dead to take on the role of recently-deceased Captain America. It explains how Hawkeye ended up on the side of the resistance, as we now know that he is Ronin. I’m really enjoying this series, though this issue read pretty quickly. I liked the story better than last issue, but too bad this one has that awful John Romita Jr. art in it. If he wants to come back to this blog and flame us like he did last time I ripped on his art, I say bring it on!

For the initial volley, I present this bit of evidence from the final page of the aforementioned issue. First we see Hawkeye, with his back turned to Iron Man. Then we see Iron Man, visor raised, with the mug of Tony Stark. Out of curiosity, I put Hawkeye’s face into Iron Man’s armor and drew a little Tony Stark goatee. Notice anything familiar?

Of course not! Hawkeye has blue eyes.

But speaking of people who look exactly the same, that leads me to Mighty Avengers #3 where Ultron has reshaped Tony Stark’s body and armor into a hotter version of Janet Van Dyne! I’m enjoying this book for the most part – not as much as New Avengers – but it seems like they’ve just been taking turns hitting things for three issues. I’m going to expect more than just hitting things next month. Like brief out-of-the-blue love scenes between Hank Pym and Tygra (which did get a chuckle out of me even though the obviousness of the punchline was more painful than a Tygra bikini-wax. Just goes to show that Frank Cho can make anything look like a hot woman when he puts his boobs on it. I also enjoyed the brief confusion over who would lead SHIELD, other than the fact that Ms. Marvel was inside reacting to Black Widow’s anointment while she was outside helping Sentry and Wonder Man.

And speaking of teams having new leaders, that brings me to Uncanny X-Men #486, finally concluding the 12-part Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire storyline. Color me un-freaking-impressed, but that tends to always be the case when you have an all-powerful creature. The X-Men defeated Vulcan by…shooting him a lot with lots of powers. Meanwhile, Corsair dies a totally pointless death and the undoing of House of M continues as Professor X gets his powers back. The one thing I did like about this issue was the apparent launching of a new team of Starjammers with Havok and Polaris holding the reigns. I don’t really understand why they couldn’t come pick up the cat lady for their trip.

And speaking of cat ladies, that leads me to Justice League of America #9, where the creative team manages to break their own records for the amount of time taken to tell a really short story. I don’t even really know what’s going on, but the Power Girl breast situation has gotten ridiculous. Her breasts have now gotten so big that they have apparently fused midway down the cleavage line from being pressed together for so long. And was this the first revelation that she’d been hanging out on Thanagar for the past 6 months hooking up with Hawkman? This book has gotten so confusing to me that I’m just starting to wonder, is it possible that JSA could be written this poorly or am I just having brain problems? I mean, I read Legion of Super-Heroes, but I don’t know who these people are! And I realize that non-linear storytelling can be effective and cute, but rarely both, and I feel like I’m getting way more of the latter.

Justice League has been far more frustrating than rewarding since its relaunch. So frustrating that I’m going to end this week’s column now.