The Doomino Effect for Jan 21, 2015

The Doomino Effect for Jan 21, 2015

I forgot to do this column for the past 80-some weeks so let’s get back in the swing of things, shall we?

Speaking of swinging, that reminds me of The Amazing Spider-Man #13, part 5 of Spider-Verse.

I cannot tell you the last time I thought a crossover was this much fun. I think on paper, this is probably everything I would hate about crossovers. A lot of the action happens in other series, and there are a lot of other series in which that action is happening, meaning if you want the whole story, you have to buy a lot of other books. There are ridiculous characters, such as a spider-pig and a 1960s Spider-Man, and one that appears to be newspaper Spider-Man, presented in all their absurd glory, and often presented for laughs. Much of the storyline is little more than let’s fight, flee, argue, repeat.

But my goodness, it is flawlessly executed — story and art — and incredibly fun.
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Podcast of Doom (transcript): Survivor Series 2014 Predictions

[SFX: Intro music]

JIM DOOM: Hello and welcome to the latest Podcast of Doom. I’m your host, Jim Doom, and with me as always is Doom DeLuise.

DOOM DeLUISE: Hey.

JIM DOOM: Ever since Fin Fang Doom declared us to be a wrestling site also, we’ve made a little more effort to talk about wrestling —

DOOM DeLUISE: Definitely more of an effort than we’ve made to talk about comics.

[audience laughter]

JIM DOOM: — and last month, we previewed WWE Hell in a Cell. I don’t remember how we did, but shall we take this month like we did last month, and start from the bottom of the card and work up?

DOOM DeLUISE: Yes!
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The Music: 24 Hour Comics Day 2014



The Doomino Effect for August 28, 2013

My comics from the past two weeks are all mixed up so this is two weeks’ worth of comics all mixed up. Not that it’s probably worth noting that they’re “all mixed up,” since it’s not as if I review these things in any kind of order.

Speaking of order, that leads me to Justice League #23, part 6 of 6 in the Trinity War, but the first issue I bought. That’s out of order!

I avoided Trinity War from the start for several reasons. 1) I had dropped Justice League a while back because I had stopped enjoying it. 2) I dropped Justice League of America after issue #1 because I never enjoyed it. And 3) I have never had any interest in reading Justice League Dark. So when you put it that way, I’d be pretty silly to start reading this crossover! It’s like “Hey, here’s a big story that crosses over between three books you don’t read!” And then in case that sold me, Doom DeLuise’s review was the nail in the coffin.

That said, supposedly Trinity War was what was leading into Forever Evil, and I suppose I’ll have no choice but to read Forever Evil tie-ins, so I was curious enough to pick up this issue.

It was okay! I love Ivan Reis’ art. My lack of familiarity with most of the characters didn’t matter (I’ve known many British people over the years. I lived in England for a year. I’ve never known a single British person to actually say “Blimey.” But I can tell Constantine is supposed to be British, because that’s how Geoff Johns writes him! See, you can get to know these people right away) because the action was easy to follow — except for when I had to keep turning the book sideways for those double-wide splash pages that were vertically oriented. This was embarrassing because I was reading my comics in public (sometimes already embarrassing enough) but then I kept having to turn the book sideways, and I was wondering if people thought that my comics had a centerfold in them.

I have some questions though. Why do they call that skull “Pandora’s Box” ? Who is going to see a skull and be like “Let’s call that thing a box” ? I think any reasonable person, from this world or any other, would call it “Pandora’s Skull.” But one might say “Historically and colloquially, we know Pandora’s little vessel to be called a ‘box.'” Ok, then in that case, just be like “Hey, Ivan — quit drawing jewelry skulls and draw a freaking box.”
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UPDATED: Does this mean Scott Snyder is leaving Batman?

This, from BleedingCool.

I can’t tell if Johnston is answering the question as “These are my top 5 DC writers,” or “Based on Marvel solicitations or other planning news that has since emerged, these must be the five to whom Brevoort is referring.”

I think I credit Scott Snyder’s run on the New 52 Batman for my renewed interest in comic books. I have no loyalty to Batman the character. I’ve dropped all other Batman books. But his work on Batman has made me as excited for new issues as anything in recent memory. I want Scott Snyder to write Batman forever.

That said, I’m curious what Marvel would put him on. I haven’t read any of Snyder’s American Vampire or Severed work, but what I love about his Batman stories (including before The New 52) and The Wake is how he builds an unnerving atmosphere around the story. He has done an amazing job of making Gotham City a character of its own, and the undersea station in The Wake is an essential part of that story.

The comparisons between Batman and Daredevil have been ongoing for decades, but Daredevil is really the only character I can think of off the top of my head whose character is so connected to his surroundings. Maybe Namor?

UPDATE: Rich Johnston offered a clarification via Twitter:



All-New X-Men is kind of brilliant

I normally would do a Doomino Effect this time of week (if by “normally” you’ll accept “once every couple of years after previously doing it every week”), but this past week I only bought four comics — two issues of the new Ted McKeever book (my shop only had #2 and #4, because I only just realized there was a new Ted McKeever book, and since I only have #2 and #4, I didn’t read it yet), something I don’t remember, and All-New X-Men #15.

I’m not going to carry out my gimmick so I can write one segue between two issues, so instead I’ll share with you why I think All-New X-Men is such a genius idea.

I was looking at the cover of issue #15, with Beast kissing Jean Grey, and thinking about what this series actually is. It’s Brian Michael Bendis writing adventures of the original X-Men. Let’s say one day Bendis woke up and was like “I want to write some adventures of the original X-Men.” He would have several obvious options, and I probably wouldn’t have read any of them!

1. It’s a series of “lost” adventures, taking place within continuity back in the old days.
The stories might have been fun, but if they took place within continuity, then we’d know that there were really no lasting implications. Therefore the stories are ultimately inconsequential. I would skip it.

2. It’s a series of “What if?” adventures that takes place outside of continuity.
These stories too might have been fun, and they may have lasting implications for the characters, but being outside of continuity, these stories too would be ultimately inconsequential. I would skip this too!

So what has the guy done? He’s figured out a way to write what are probably going to end up being fairly inconsequential stories anyway, but he’s come up with a pretty unconventional way to do it. By yanking the X-Men out of the past and putting them in the present, but establishing from the get-go that they’ll eventually be put back in their normal time with their memories of these events wiped from their minds, Bendis can have all sorts of interpersonal fun with the original X-Men, as long as they remain not-killed, but there can be lasting implications for present continuity without damaging the playthings from the past.

Aside from the fact that this is one of my favorite ongoing series and one of the main reasons I’m enjoying comics as much as I am this past year or so, I’m really impressed by the way he built this playground for himself!



Avi Arad shines some light on the depth of thinking behind the Spider-Man reboots

Comic Book Resources shared an interview yesterday with Avi Arad, chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment, regarding the upcoming sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man.

The interview is all of two questions long, and Arad’s responses are largely just salesmanship, but there’s a passage in there that reminded me of the review that Doom DeLuise and I did last year and some of the implications of the choices made in the rebooted franchise.

The CBR interviewer mentioned “…the first ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ film was marketed with the idea of telling an untold origin for Peter Parker,” but then pointed out that this so-called “untold origin” failed to materialize, and Peter’s transformation remained “as mysterious as the circumstances of the original.” True! But Arad’s response reveals that maybe the “untold” component is temporary.

So I loved the whole idea of what [“The Amazing Spider-Man”] did that never happened before was that, for the first time, Peter Parker asked himself ‘where are my parents? What really happened?’
[…]
So that’s the struggle we have, to make the best movie possible, marrying the origin but bringing in new ideas. And then you can depart from it. […] We looked at it like, if I’m Peter Parker, you’d say, “tell me about your life — like why do you live with your aunt and uncle?” Well, my parents disappeared. “Where to?” I don’t know. “You don’t know?” Of course he wants to know. So that’s how you have to look at the storytelling — what kind of questions do I have?

That’s edited somewhat for clarity, because the interview transcript seems remarkably faithful to some particularly rambly responses. But what comes across is that Arad seems quite proud of himself that these new films pursue the path of “What happened to Peter Parker’s parents?” which few have dared tread before.

In our Doom and Doomer review, DeLuise said that Amazing Spider-Man introduced midichlorians to the Spider-Man origin, by which he meant it “explains something that didn’t need to be explained.” While I disagreed with the severity of those implications (roughly paraphrased, DeLuise felt that ruined the relatability of Spider-Man’s character; I thought it changed the relatability from something like “I could be Spider-Man!” to “I too seek the approval of my parents!” Check out the full review for more depth to that), I agree with the nature of his claim. While I felt that there was potential in the changed focus of Peter’s relatability, in order for that shift to work, it needed to be handled carefully or everything DeLuise alleged would come true.

And Arad’s response suggests to me that he gave it no deeper thought than “Oh hey, nobody has ever done this before!” without any care given to how that affects the character, what he represents, and why he resonates with audiences. The implied self-satisfaction with Arad’s response doesn’t fill me with much hope for the sequel. Does he really think that five decades worth of writers haven’t even considered that? Or is it possible that maybe five decades of writers left that untouched because of what the ambiguity brings to the character? That thought doesn’t seem to cross his mind.

I enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man much more than DeLuise did, but unlike the first two Sam Raimi films, I’ve had no interest in seeing last year’s reboot again. Time is proving DeLuise right on this one.



The Doomino Effect for July 31, 2013

So a funny thing happened. I was doing this weekly review called The Doomino Effect, and then I just stopped doing it for about two years. And then there was like a two year gap before that. But before that, I went strong for like three years!

But speaking of things that go on for about seven years and then just sort of end, that leads me to Batman Incorporated #13, the conclusion to Grant Morrison’s epic run on various books with the word “Batman” or “Final” and “Crisis” in them. This run has seen its ups and its downs, but it’s something that has definitely kept me strung along over the years. I think a big part of what hooked me was the belief that there was going to be some kind of satisfying payoff at the end of it all.

But no. In no uncertain terms, there’s not. Much of those oddities cast throughout the series had no meaningful place in the finale. I’m not kidding, but the way this resolves — SPOILER ALERT — is that you find out all along that the drama and suspense didn’t really matter, because Wayne Enterprises had secretly outsmarted Talia Al Ghul all along and her secret death trap wasn’t really a threat. And the final battle between Batman and her didn’t really matter because Jason just tricked Talia into giving Batman the antidote. And the day was saved when someone who was supposed to be dead just turned out to (surprise) not be dead.

What a weak, uninspired ending. As if, nearly a decade ago, Grant Morrison was sitting down thinking “I have this great climax where Batman loses a fight but somebody gets him an antidote and then someone else just walks in and shoots the bad guy. But I’m going to need about seven years of story to build up to it.”
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Why I’m glad I quit reading Captain America in one sentence

From my google reader today:

“CBR spoke with ‘Captain America’ writer Rick Remender about his protagonist’s battle to recover his foster son from the villainous Arnim Zola and escape the nightmarish reality known as Dimension Z.”

Click here if you want to read the interview. Maybe it’s good.

(If you’d like to read about why I quit reading Captain America in many more sentences, there’s this.)



Podcast of Doom (transcript):
New ‘Man of Steel’ trailer!

[SFX: Intro music]

JIM DOOM: Hello and welcome to the latest Podcast of Doom. I’m your host, Jim Doom, and with me, as is frequently the case –-

DOOM DeLUISE: Always the case.

JIM DOOM: — is Doom DeLuise.

[SFX: Intro music fade out]

JIM DOOM: Today on the Podcast of Doom, we’re going to —

DOOM DeLUISE: Hey Jim.

JIM DOOM: We’re going to —

DOOM DeLUISE: Hey. Jim.

JIM DOOM: What?

DOOM DeLUISE: What’s one of history’s greatest mysteries?

JIM DOOM: Where the Freemasons buried their gold?

DOOM DeLUISE: You see the new Man of Steel trailer?

JIM DOOM: No, I haven’t. Is there a new one?

DOOM DeLUISE: Here, why don’t you go ahead and watch this.

JIM DOOM: Well, I was thinking today we could talk about —

DOOM DeLUISE: Watch it.

[SFX: Audio from trailer. Plays for approximately two and a half minutes.]

JIM DOOM: How does Superman shave his beard?
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