The Doomino Effect for the week of October 24, 2007

I have to confess, I haven’t done the Doomino Effect in a while.

Actually, I probably don’t even need to confess. The fact that there weren’t any Doomino Effects on this site the past few weeks pretty much points a finger at me.

I’m not a big fan of “Sorry I haven’t posted more!” posts, unless they actually come with more content, which is what this is. But to be very honest, I’ve been losing a lot of enthusiasm for comics in general. There’s a lot about the industry that reminds me of when I lost interest the first time around. There are special variant covers that exist for no reason (i.e. the “zombie” variant); there are series and miniseries devoted to the most tangential characters that really no one asked for (i.e. “Metamorpho: Year One”); along those lines, publishers seem to be cranking out series after series with some kind of frantic anxiety, as if there’s some set date in the future after which no more comics may be sold (i.e. “Countdown,” “Countdown to Adventure,” “Countdown to Something Else,” “Countdown to Mystery,” etc.).

However, this past week wasn’t so bad. I’ve trimmed back my selections in the past few months, and this week, I lucked out with a pretty pleasing crop of books.

I’ll start out with Green Arrow: Year One #6. I couldn’t segue into this as the first book, because it was actually not pleasing. This series quickly unraveled when it became entirely dependent upon ridiculously convenient coincidences. It started out reasonably strong, but it just really petered out. And this is a shining example of one of the things I was mentioning before.

This series didn’t need to happen. There was no greater context with some kind of hood of ambiguity concealing the details, and here comes GAYO to shed some light. It was just a series thrown out there to cash in on Green Arrow.

Something like this needs to be really good. It must be a story that needs to be told, because otherwise you’re left with what we now have: a character as important to the DC Universe as Green Arrow with a really lame origin. Sure, it’s largely based on previous versions of his origin, but the details – you know, those little things that make a character who he really is – reek of amateurishness.

If the secret to all the Crisis events is that every character has a new origin which needs to be retold in a new miniseries, I have a feeling that’ll backfire eventually. It actually made me stop liking one of my favorite characters.

So one of my favorite characters now has a really lame origin. And not coincidentally, I haven’t been picking up the new Green Arrow & Black Canary series, even though just a few short months ago, I was really bummed that Green Arrow was being canceled. Great work there, DC.

And speaking of great work, except not sarcastically, though speaking of series that I had lost hope for, that leads me to Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman-Prime. I had originally planned to buy all four of these, but the Ion one was so bad I was like “Screw that, man!” This one, however, had Geoff Johns writing and Pete Woods and Jerry Ordway illustrating, so I figured at the very least, it’d be a well-written, well-drawn bad issue.

It reminded me of the parts of Infinite Crisis that were done well – the way in which supplementary issues would add to the story and help fill in the background details. They wouldn’t be essential – you didn’t have to buy them to follow the story – but you’d be really glad that you did. I’m not sure if I’m remembering the right issue, but I think it was the Villains United special that was really like Infinite Crisis #6.5. You can sit and read Infinite Crisis #1-7 and get a full story, but if you stick that Villains United special in between issues #6 and 7, it’s even better.

That’s what this Superboy issue reminded me of. I had actually just read Green Lantern Corps #17, which ends with the same ending scene we see at the close to this issue. But before that, we see Superboy losing his armor and retreading some steps from Infinite Crisis in a big battle scene, but we also see those quiet moments back on Earth-Prime that led to both his willingness to sacrifice and his current instability.

I am also so glad that they acknowledged what had previously been a completely ignored rift between Superboy and the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor was the ultimate object of Superboy’s hate, yet here they were, teaming side-by-side in the Sinestro Corps. I’m not surprised that if any writer would think to explain that, it would be the ultra-thorough Geoff Johns.

Speaking of the Sinestro Corps war, that leads me to Green Lantern Corps #17, which I already mentioned. I have a feeling that this lethal force thing is going to catch up to the good guys at some point; it’s been an increase of power that has just worked out too well. Also, the elevation of the new Ion had been broadcast for a while, but it’s nice that it has finally happened so that each issue can now exist without the obligatory “That rookie sure is full of himself, but man, he’s good, isn’t he?” I do like the idea of him basically being Superman with a power ring. With the Ion powers too, he’s gonna be pretty badass under Earth’s yellow sun.

And speaking of people being under other colored suns, that leads me to Action Comics #857. I was pretty annoyed with the first issue of this arc, but I went ahead and bought the second issue mainly to see Eric Powell’s art. I think that came during the period when I wasn’t writing, though. Well I have to say, as stupid as the “Bizarro JLA” looked, I am happy I bought this issue and I ended up really liking this storyline all thanks to this final installment.

I just had to accept that you can’t think about the blatant writing inconsistencies with Bizarro stuff. It’s just too stupid. So once that’s put aside, this actually became a really cool story that made me laugh out loud several times (I think “Arkham Amusement Park” was my favorite). It ended up being very heartwarming, and this proved – much to the dismay of countless idiotic writers out there – that you can write for all ages without having to drastically dumb-down your content or throw in risqué adult jokes that go over the heads of kids. Bravo to Johns and Donner on this – I was very happy to have misjudged it from the start.

I really don’t have the energy for a segue, so the last book is Daredevil #101. I’d been growing a little fatigued on Daredevil. This issue didn’t much to stop that, but it also didn’t make it worse. “Matt Murdock on the edge!” is something that’s just been happening for about 90 issues now, and I’m more than a little disappointed that Brubaker hasn’t been able to come up with more. However, I am very pleased that now The Hood has been tied in with what’s going on.

For those who aren’t reading New Avengers, The Hood has been working to rally all the Z-list villains in the Marvel Universe under some kind of organized crime umbrella. I am always a big fan of series having little touches to contextualize what is going on in the rest of their universe. That last page made me go from yawning at whatever Mr. Fear was up to next to being intrigued as to how this Hood business is going to affect the rest of the Marvel U.