Friday, November 05, 2004

grafiction: chaos

Spoiler warning.

The final issue of Bendis' "Disassembled" story arc on the Avengers came to its unbelievably lame conclusion this week. The Big Reveal? Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, using her probability-warping powers was the culprit behind the Avengers' version of a Really Bad Day (which killed Antman and Hawkeye) - thus, "Chaos" as the inner book's title.

Bendis' story has no hallmarks of a story that was thought out. It is irrational and such an obvious ploy to attract attention. It is one thing to write new stories that take characters into new situations, but it is another thing to be able to write those characters in a consistent manner.

On the other hand, his writing in Ultimate Spiderman continues to make that book among the best written series. The latest trade, Ultimate Spiderman Vol.11, gives us at least two sterling moments of finely developed characterization: MJ and Gwen talking about different thing and Aunt May trying to reach Gwen's mother about her daughter's death.

Astonishing X-Men #6 made Joss Whedon my favorite X-Men writer. Unlike Morrison's senseless (though very cool) psychobabble, Whedon was able to prove that a great story does not require twisting reality around to fit agenda. Besides, Piotr and Katya are a touchstone of my X-Men years.

Speaking of Grant Morrison, reading his recent JLA Classified #1 felt like reading any random issue of his initial run with the JLA. Same boring manner of storytelling, same build-up of cool ability, same-sounding dialogue once you strip the posturing. And of course, his pet Batman has a flying saucer and goes to the JLA lab on Pluto. Of course. I don't know what has happened to this man whom I worshipped circa Doom Patrol and enjoyed with The Invisibles (except for the final volume which Nikki and I gave away because it was so unacceptable). He comes up with The Filth and Seaguy which both have the value of wet farts.

I thoroughly enjoyed James Robinson's Starman: The Grand Guignol. A detailed and well-orchestrated war on Opal City reveals the truth behind the Shade. Wonderful characters, exciting battles, marvelous pacing, intelligent writing - one showstopping moment: Elongated Man finding his wife, Sue Dibny, and telling her "I'll never leave you." Yeah, right. Tell that to Meltzer and the folks of Identity Crisis.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Suikoden III Vol.4 brings more revelations about fate and the horror of war, as the three main story arcs continue to converge. I was excited about this series, being a huge fan of the various Suikoden games, but this manga lacks two things: a sense of urgency and face time for the 108 stars. I may just drop it like the very disappointing Battle Royale series.

Really, I'm starting to think that my only hope for huge-group drama is Mark Waid's upcoming Legion series next month.


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