The Doomino Effect for July 22, 2009

I’ve heard that one of the best ways to get your audience emotionally involved in your story is to make it easy for them to identify with one of your characters.

In Immortal Weapons #1: Fat Cobra, Fat Cobra spends money on a book and quickly finds himself thinking it’s crap. Mission accomplished, Jason Aaron!

This issue is basically one big joke — Fat Cobra thinks that he’s this awesome tough guy killing machine who must have some fittingly awesome tough guy killing machine origin, but guess what! He doesn’t! His secret origin is that he was a SUPER FAT KID! And then not only was he a super fat kid, but he WAS AN OPERA SINGER! Har har har, it doesn’t get much better than that. And by that, I mean “This book continues downhill,” as opposed to “Those are great jokes that would be hard to top.”

Y’see, while Fat Cobra was an intriguing character throughout Ed Brubaker and Duane Swierczynski’s run, Jason Aaron turns him into little more than an oft-repeated punchline, sort of how he uses the names of fighters’ moves as a punchline in one of the hilarious love scenes in the book. And the jokes just keep on coming — Fat Cobra traveled to Olympus for “a battle unlike any other” — an eating contest! Heyoooo! And he spent the ’70s teaching kung fu moves to Fat Elvis! Oh snap!

This was really awful. And the awfulness was only underscored by the fact that there’s a Swierczynski / Foreman backup story. It’s unfortunate that not only has the should-have-been can’t-miss Immortal Weapons series gotten off to a terrible start, but the Iron Fist story by the creators who are good at this has been relegated to backup status in a series I’m not going to keep buying.

Speaking of metatextual commentary that acknowledges the reader’s experience of the medium in which the story resides, that leads me to Legion of 3 Worlds #5 of 5. There are a few things that stand out about this issue.

1. I have more sympathy for a writer dealing with the awful time travel scenario of past and future selves being in the same place at the same time when the writer didn’t bring it upon himself. So I could excuse Geoff Johns writing the Superboy vs Old Superboy exit as “Poof! They canceled each other out!” had he not backed himself into it. But he did, so I don’t, and it was dumb. I did laugh quite a bit as the two bickered, though.

2. I don’t understand what the Legion was talking about after said “Poof,” though. They acknowledge the Time Trapper’s body disappeared after self-destructing. We also saw Superboy Prime get sucked back into Earth Prime. So who and what are they talking about when they say “As for Prime, the trauma to his body has most certainly left him powerless. For now…” Is there a body lying around that George Perez forgot to draw?

3. Prime getting sucked back into Earth Prime was pretty terrible, but it was also profoundly fitting for a character with such a ridiculously arbitrarily stupid origin.

4. There was no redemption of Superboy Prime. Not even close. So basically Superman completely failed at his issue #1 goal.

5. How weird would that be to have to read Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds in order to find out what your son was up to? It would make those publishing delays that much worse. I wonder if everyone in the family bought a copy, sort of like my wife and I did when Harry Potter #7 came out, or if they took turns to read each issue and find out who their son / boyfriend killed now.

Speaking of people who died, died, that leads me to Green Lantern #44, part of the Blackest Night crossover. I was pumped from the lead-in to this Big Event but I’ve been a little underwhelmed by the execution. Doom DeLuise and I were thinking about recording our next podcast on the topic of how the start of Blackest Night compares to the start of the Sinestro Corps War. But that’s a topic for another day.

Martian Manhunter is zombified and on the attack. Black rings are traveling across the galaxy. MM is super powerful and undead, yet he still needs to rely on illusions.

Stuff’s getting bad. I sure don’t know how they’re going to get out of this one!

Speaking of things getting really bad and not knowing how people are going to get out of the badness, that leads me to Guardians of the Galaxy #16, in which the 21st Century Guardians get plucked out of time by Starhawk and dropped into the 31st Century where they meet the other Guardians of the Galaxy!

I sure hope that the original Guardians have more than a one-issue cameo, because it was nice to see them again. And I’m glad that we’re starting to see more of the ties between what’s going on in War of Kings and what’s happening in the great Avengers Mansion Bubble of the Future. I wonder what they’ve been eating.

But I haven’t done one of these Doomino Effects in months and so I’ve lost all my blogging stamina, and I don’t really have anything else to say other than “Jeepers. I hope everything turns out okay!”