Friday, August 13, 2010

35-7-35: Unlocking this Week's New Comics

Let's take a look at what I picked up during my weekly visit to the Laughing Ogre on Wednesday.  It's a selection that certainly proves those famous last words, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."
"That was disappointing." Those are the first words that popped into my head after I finished reading The Brave and the Bold #35.  You would think that any story teaming the Inferior Five with the Legion of Substitute Heroes would be funny without even trying, yet this story tries so desperately hard and falls so woefully short of the mark that it's kind of sad, really. There are certain people who just shouldn't attempt comedy, Jay Leno for instance (a cheap shot, to be sure, but sadly true), and B&B writer J. Michael Straczynski has officially added his name to that roll call with this issue.

The blurb on the cover of Booster Gold #32 proclaimed that "Giffen & DeMatteis Reunite to bring the BWA-HA-HA Back to Booster Gold!" but it wasn't until #34 that they really lived up to that bit of hype. In that story, which continues into the just released #35, our time traveling protagonist has gone back to the  days of the Justice League International and been pulled by Blue Beetle into another misadventure as super-powered repo men (as seen in Justice League International #25 and Annual #2).
Giffen and DeMatteis have taken some hits from other on-line fanboys for living in the past and attempting to recreate their glory days of two decades past.  Me, I'm OK  with it for three reasons:
  1. I really like the old JLI stories, even more now than when they were first coming out in the 1980's, and...
  2. I'm not all that happy with the current goings on in the post-Identity Crisis, Dan Didio-Geoff Johns DC Universe, and...
  3. Keith and J.M. are really good at reliving their glory days. This is a witty, fast paced adventure romp that can proudly stand alongside the best of the early JLI tales, and I'm looking forward to reading more next issue.
As far as I'm concerned, there's only one thing that could make me enjoy this  story any more than I already am:
Another comic that could probably benefit from a visit by the Canine Crusader is Justice League: Generation Lost.  
I started out picking up both of DC's current bi-weekly limited series, but dropped Brightest Day pretty quickly, and after the pointless waste of time and paper that was its sixth issue, I figured I'd be giving up on Generation Lost pretty soon, as well. The absence of Keith Giffen's name from the credits of #7 seemed to bear that out at first. 
However, that issue was actually pretty good, so I'll be sticking around for a couple more at least.  After three and a half months, the story finally seems to be getting started. Sure, you  kind of expect a 26 issue story to be somewhat languidly paced, but this is sort of ridiculous. The low point was, as I hinted above, last issue, which seemed to me to be just filler that didn't advance the story at all. 
Even without Giffen, Judd Winick is doing a decent job of evoking the JLI spirit.  While this story is more serious than the ridiculous goings on in Booster Gold, the interaction between the characters gives the proceedings a lighthearted feel.  In that way, Generation Lost is more reminiscent of Justice League Europe, which was my favorite of the two monthly JLI books back in the 80's.  I especially like the team's new Rocket Red. Winick and Giffen have created a character who is as likeable and funny as Dimitri Pushkin, the League's previous representative of the Rocket Red Corp, yet is not just a rehash of the older character.  He's  the best thing about this book.
If  Winick can keep turning out issues like this,  I might just stick around for the full 26.

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