Comics Wednesday, July 2009

Justice League Unlimited

Friends, please note that my blog is no longer available at Yahoo 360. You can find it at MySpace.com or under my “edemaitre” Yahoo Profile. As promised, here are some of my thoughts on recent comic books.

As I mentioned in my previous posting, the San Diego Comic-Con is this week. While I
haven’t yet made the hajj to the largest annual genre/popular culture event in the U.S., I have closely followed coverage of it for the past few years. Movies, comic books and graphic novels, action figures, television shows, games, and more are announced or previewed at this convention. I hope to get to smaller shows here in the Boston area, such as November’s Super MegaFest.

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying DC’s Wednesday Comics, a 12-issue experiment in weekly comics on tabloid newsprint. The quality of the writing varies, but the art is
impressive
, and it reminds me of lying on the floor reading Prince Valiant in the Sunday funnies.

DC‘s big summer storyline crossing over several titles is Green Lantern: Blackest Night, which addresses the temporary nature of death among costumed superheroes (and villains). Although I don’t plan to spend even more on comics than I do now, it has gotten good reviews so far.

I have continued picking up the Batman family of titles, as Bruce Wayne is presumed dead and former Robin/Nightwing Dick Grayson has taken up the mantle. I wasn’t a big fan of Grant Morrison’s trippy run, but he, Paul Dini, and company have upped their game with the creative freedom granted by the temporary change in lead characters.

Similarly, Marvel Comics is winding down its run of Bucky Barnes as Captain America with the imminent return of Steve Rogers. Unlike the regular shakeups for Superman, Spider-Man, or the X-Men, Rogers has been gone for a few years now of continuity (fictional history), and the espionage/thriller tone of his title remains engaging. I’ve been avoiding most team-based Marvel and DC books lately because of overly convoluted continuities and gimmicky crossovers designed to sell more issues.

Speaking of alternate histories, I’m still catching up on collected editions. I’ve recently read Dark Horse’s convenient omnibuses of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and I look forward to getting to the next installment of the steampunk The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (not the weak movie adaptation), the metahuman procedural Powers, and the political Ex Machina. Dynamite, which I’ve praised previously for its handling of licensed properties such as Buck Rogers, will also be handling the next batch of Stargate comics.

Typically, fiction is adapted from print to television or movie, but in the case of Nickelodeon’s excellent Avatar: the Last Airbender, a fantasy cartoon is being adapted to a live-action film series directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Last Airbender shouldn’t be confused with James Cameron’s upcoming science fiction movie Avatar.

The first previews and still photos of the young cast have appeared online. I sympathize with those who feel that Last Airbender should have had more actors of Asian descent in its cast, I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ll have to wait and see whether planned movie reboots such as Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, Astro Boy, and Green Hornet are closer to Watchmen or to Dragonball in quality.

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