I'm Just Sayin'…#66
by Greg Manuel on July 8, 2009

Hello and heydi-hey, comic book heads! Once again we’re on for another edition of…

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In further reference to THOR #602 and our pending loss, I just gotta say: it’s moments like Thor rescuing Sif…

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…this brief scene with Donald Blake and the terminal patient Mrs. Chambers, in whom Sif was trapped…

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…and this chilling portent of things to come…

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…are exactly the kinds of things I’m going to miss when J. Michael Straczynski leaves that comic. Y’know something, Marvel – it’s not too late to give this all a second thought…just sayin’ is all.

I wasn’t moved enough by the first issue to buy it, but this past Shipment Day I bought BATMAN & ROBIN #2, I admit, largely because of three sequences. There’s this one, featuring Batman/Dick Grayson…

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Hang on…I gotta break this down so you can really appreciate the awesome.

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Boom…

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Ping…

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…POW.

Y’see that? Did. You. SEE. That?! Even the Cirque D’Etrange’s Kung-Fu Conjoined Triplets are temporarily disabled by the awesome, like one of those baddie drones from VIEWTIFUL JOE!

Simply Viewtiful

That one has to be all Quitely - Morrison may be brilliant, but how do you even script that?! – I don’t always like his artwork, but I just loved that double-page spread there. And this next one, featuring Robin/Damian Wayne, I think props have to go to both Quitely and Morrison…

BR Awesome Sequence 2

Combine those words with that scary-ass look on Robin’s face? Very arresting. Very nicely done.

But as much as I enjoyed BATMAN & ROBIN #2, Greg Burgas makes some solid points around the premise behind the entire book, over at COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD!

Quoting Burgas: Anyway, as much as the current regime would like us to forget it, I just can’t get “Prodigal” out of my mind.

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I guess that was never meant to be permanent while this change surely is (wink, wink), but Dick’s woe-is-me attitude in this book doesn’t ring true because he’s already replaced Batman once. Gordon and the cops sussing out that something is wrong doesn’t ring true either, because Gordon already knows that others have taken up the Batman role, and he wasn’t too jazzed the first time it happened. Morrison’s writing isn’t bad when Dick is speaking to Alfred about how sucky it is that Gordon just won’t respect him (wah!)…

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…but it’s just odd because Dick knows what replacing Bruce is like, and he should have gotten this out of his system long ago. It points out the fatal flaw with both “Prodigal” and “Batman: Reborn”there’s no reason why Batman is necessary. Nightwing can patrol the streets of Gotham as easily as Batman can, and while he might not have the same relationship with the cops or the same effect on punks, leading to a spike in crime initially, once he beats the snot out of some of them, he’ll be established and everything can return to normal. Pretending to be Batman just makes people question you, as Gordon and the cops do, and as Damian does. Damian respected the man inside the suit, not the suit itself. Why should he respect Dick?

Again, an excellent point – and I’d be a lot more hung-up about it, if this were a Marvel comic. But I let it slide here, because I hold DC to a different set of rules – because if you ask me, different expectations are key as to why you should buy one publisher’s comics as opposed to another’s. If you can expect the same thing from any given publisher, what’s the point?

Plus it doesn’t hurt that Morrison throws a great insight out there through Alfred, which was my third favorite part of the comic:

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Check out the "Alas, Poor Yorick" feel of Panel One. Nice touch!

And then there’s an honorable mention to the final page, because I gotta say…

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Dear Spider-Mobile: To quote the eminent scholar, Chris Jericho: "DON'T YOU WISH YOU WERE ME?!" Signed, Bat-Quad.

…this MORE than makes up for that Batmobile! BAT-QUAD, FTW!

Speaking of choosing what to buy and what not to buy…I tried reading this interview Joe Quesada gave in his latest “Cup o’ Joe” column on why most (if not all, I don’t pay attention THAT closely) of Marvel’s comics have gone up to $3.99 and after a few minutes of trying to understand the Marketing, Capitalism & Economics 101 doublespeak, I realized something…we have become the first generation of readers who actually use the word “afford” when talking about buying a comic book. Haven’t we lost sight of something here? Wasn’t one of the major selling points of the comic book was that they were fun, they were entertaining and they were cheap?

And furthermore, didn’t cheap comics encourage you to buy more? It sure did for me – heck, I took a chance on STEAMPUNK nine years ago, largely because comic book prices had yet to explode out of control. If things were still that way, I’d be taking a chance on this one, too – it certainly looks interesting, and yet who knows if I’ll actually buy it? Two or three extra dollars on the cover price is all the difference between buying and potentially becoming a loyal reader to a new series, and flipping through it in the store and putting it back on the shelves…or skipping it altogether.

I mean, doesn’t anybody realize just how big of a reason this is, as to the question of why comics have been able to hang with radio, TV, movies and video games through the decades? My point is this, comic book heads: you may not be able to afford an X-Box. You may not be able to afford a car. You may not even be able to afford a night at the movies. Even in 2009, cable television might be a luxury. But you should ALWAYS be able to afford a comic book, and you should ALWAYS be able to afford AS MANY COMIC BOOKS AS YOU WANT!

…or is it just me?

ROBOT 6 recently posted a great little column entitled “6 Comics That Made Us Cry.” A pretty straightforward and great premise that resulted in scores of comments, and I would encourage all comic book heads to go there and add one of their own.  Naturally, I had one – which I’d like to elaborate upon below - HEROBEAR & THE KID.

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I had to do quite a bit of searching for the following excerpt, but I think it’s well worth it. This page from HEROBEAR & THE KID #5 recaps the story thus far. A young boy named Tyler has recently suffered the loss of his grandfather…and immediately his life begins to change, well…in a manner befitting a comic book.

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…Tyler inherited from his grandfather a stuffed polar bear that transforms into a live polar bear in a red cape that can fly and kick the crap out of evil, and a pocket watch that doesn’t tell time, but can determine good and evil down to the exact percentage. Oh, yeah – and his grandfather was in fact SANTA CLAUS.

Even in light of the fact that he’s already met the aforementioned superbear and has seen the pocket watch work, Tyler reacts to the Santa Claus bit in the only way you can when you get that kind of news – he busts a gut.

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Nonetheless, Herobear and Henry (Grandpa’s former butler and now working for Tyler’s family) insist that they’re not pulling Tyler’s leg. And really, I think they’ve earned that trust at this point…but they do have further proof.

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The middle of this chapter has a scene where Herobear and Tyler defeat the villains of the story (Monocle Man and his Giant Wind-Up Robot), and then there’s a scene with Tyler and his father, and then another scene with Tyler and his best friend from school. I’m skipping all of that because I want to get to the end of the story, and back to the mysterious gift box.

And here is where I just shut up and let the pages tell the story themselves…

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…aw, crap. It’s getting to me again. I’m back in Border’s, making that face all guys make when they don’t want to own up to the fact that their eyes are welling up…

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AND NOW, JUST CUZ…WELL, I COULDN’T FOLLOW THIS WITH ANYTHING ELSE IF I TRIED…

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Til next time, everybody – I’m Greg Manuel, and I’m just sayin’, is all…



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