I'm Just Sayin'…#79

Alright comic book heads, before you get out there and enjoy some of this weather while en route to the comic book shop, we’re back with another edition of…

On top of everything else that’d been slowing production down lately, I’ve actually found myself somewhat uninterested in a good deal of the goings-on in comicdom of late. Having gone past burned out, I’m just plain bored with the mega-events that just seem to keep coming and coming (I know it just started, but is SIEGE over yet? What about BLACKEST NIGHT?) Having spent some time roaming the message boards, it’s been a little disappointing to see certain writers and editors – recently promoted ones, in the case of the latter – behaving towards readers and customers in a manner that can be described as…well, if you want to be gentle about it…dickish. And the ATOMIC ROBO withdrawal sure isn’t helping either, that’s for sure…I hope another MUPPET SHOW is due out soon; I feel like I’m gonna develop the shakes any second…

…wait a minute…

…what’s this I see coming to stores April 14th?

Oh, sweet merciful Stan, thank you for this! Okay, now where was I…oh, yes – now that I’m at the keyboard, I figure I should get it out of the way; it’s about a month late, but congratulations goes out to these guys – particularly Geoff Johns, for his promotion to Chief Creative Officer over at DC Comics. So if you were worried that Hal Jordan and Barry Allen were living on borrowed time, you may resume breathing. Nah, just playin’; there’s no denying that the guy’s put in mad work in getting DC to where it is in 2010 (complete with that 1950s/60s aftertaste), so congratulations where they’re due…

A reader I didn’t know I had by the name of “Greg” pointed out that I seem to be going over the same old topics ad nauseum, and as I said in reply, he’s got a point – I mean, I’m sure Joe Quesada is as tired of defending NO GOOD REASON as I or its many other detractors are of torching his legion of strawmen  – but even in my boredom with the industry and its output right now, I did happen to pick up a few comics, including CAPTAIN AMERICA #604…

…I’m beyond annoyed that it cost me four dollars – seriously, who do I need to go upside the head with a cricket bat to restore Jim Shooter’s “Two Candybar Rule”? – but that’s a tirade for another time. Within this pentultimate chapter of “Two Americas” we have proof positive of something that was apparent to everybody but Warner Todd Huston…

…the Tea Party was never the villain of this story, as he claimed. Thus leaving the only thing Marvel should be apologizing for with regards to this book: these lackluster NOMAD back-ups. Gonna have to do a lot better than that, if you’re looking to justify a $4 cover price. Just sayin’.

As I’m continuing to enjoy the adventures of Bucky Barnes as Captain America, I must confess that his continued presence as the lead in the book is making me miss Steve Rogers more and more. It’s through no fault of Bucky’s, mind you – “Two Americas” is better suited for Bucky as the protagonist,  in both a practical sense (his uniform is of course easy to distinguish from Crazy 50s Cap’s more traditional look, which also supports the story’s underlying theme), and the metatextual sense, in that we have two successors to the mantle, one sanctioned, the other a rogue, in a conflict to determine which America – and which Captain America – will see the dawn’s early light…

And yet, I still miss Steve Rogers right now, and keep hoping he’ll be back before Ed Brubaker leaves the book. Why? Because the Bru has demonstrated that he can write Steve Rogers as Captain America with ease, and not many comic book writers can say that. Bucky Barnes is a snap, by comparison; as a character he’s practically a blank slate. Writing a good Steve Rogers takes some talent. In fact, I can maybe count four or five writers in my 25+ years of reading comics, who could make Steve Rogers read like a cool character and a man of action, and not a fossil or a square. So here’s hoping Brubaker’s tenure on CAPTAIN AMERICA is one of Gruenwaldian proportions – if only so that he can go back to writing Steve-as-Cap a little more…

Meanwhile over at DC, I don’t miss Bruce Wayne as much, even as BATMAN & ROBIN #10 sets the foundation for his return…

…$3 is a little better. Not by much, but still better…

But anyway, I could be wrong but it looks as though this issue is the most time the mysterious Oberon Sexton, a.k.a. “The Gravedigger” has gotten, yet – especially while interacting with a main character:

I wasn’t paying that close of attention to him before this issue, but now I imagine Grant Morrison wants us to – especially since it’s through Sexton that we learn that we’re not quite done with the Black Glove, or the aftermath of Bruce Wayne’s epic throwdown with them in “Batman: RIP.”

So if you weren’t asking yourself just who “The Gravedigger” is before, between Dick Grayson’s interactions with him, and Dick’s newfound acceptance of Tim Drake’s assertion (over in the pages of RED ROBIN, which is also a fun read, by the way) that Bruce Wayne survived the events of FINAL CRISIS, BATMAN & ROBIN #10 makes every effort to put you on notice – Oberon Sexton is someone to have your eye on. And not just him, either…

(Important Dialogue Here: click, then click again to read!)

Remember what I said about the Black Glove? Seems like Grant’s getting ready to reveal a little more about their leader coming up, too…

Another little bit of news that caught my eye was this interview Judd Winick gave to promote an upcoming miniseries titled RED HOOD: THE LOST DAYS.

Those of you interested in reading more about this miniseries feel free to click and read on, but that’s not why I care about this, personally. In fact the only reason I’m mentioning it is because it’s June release date is deliberately scheduled to coincide with DC’s next animated feature: BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD.

The description found on Wikipedia is as follows: 

Years after the murder of his young protégé, Jason Todd (the second Robin)…

Batman and the former Robin, Dick Grayson – now the hero Nightwing

…find themselves being stalked by a mysterious yet familiar figure known as the vigilante Red Hood, who apparently knows all of their secrets.

As the Dark Knight tries to unravel the true identity of his stalker, he must also battle three of his enemies; Joker, the criminally insane Clown Prince of Crime who murdered Jason…

Ra’s al Ghul, the immortal international terrorist who is somehow connected to the Red Hood, and Black Mask

…the notorious kingpin who is launching a campaign to take over all of Gotham City’s criminal underworld.

I saw the preview for this when I scored my copy of JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS (a phenomenal piece of work, by the way!), and at this point I think I’ve watched that maybe two or three times more than I actually have the main feature! Needless to say, I am very excited about seeing this, because we have a great opportunity to see a great Batman story retold without that INFINITE CRISIS stumbling block. Because let’s face it, the thing that drags this story down…

…is the explanation. Ever notice how nobody has ever explained how the Joker cheats death? He just turns up again, right? Winick had the right idea in BATMAN #641. If he left it at this…

…that would have been perfect. It doesn’t matter how Jason returned from the dead. What matters is that he’s back!

That reality punch nonsense was a big mistake that I don’t think anybody would dispute, and guess what? It’s not going to be there in the video adaptation! So without any goofy plot points to trip it up, we get to enjoy possibly the best idea Judd Winick’s had to date. It may just be that CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS was so damn good that it’s really raised my expectations for everything else DC’s animation department cranks out from this point forward, but I cannot wait for this one!

 AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

I’m telling you, guys…on FIRE!

That’s it from me folks – enjoy the sun, (for the love of Stan make sure you have some deodorant on) and I’ll see you next time! Til then, I’m Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’, is all…

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