Monday, June 25, 2007


-The current winner for funniest unintentional statement made on a blog is this comment, left by one "Lt. Marvel" on Greg Burgas' review of Justice League #10:

"I guess the book isn’t written for whiny fanboys too lazy to bone up on DC history...."

Yes, Justice League is a serious business; one must sequester himself away from family and friends to study the great works of Fox, Levitz, and Shooter before he is worthy of contemplating the glory which is Brad Meltzer. What the FUCK is wrong with comics fans? And what makes it even better is the concluding statement:

"I haven’t seen a review this bad since the People magazines review of Mars Attacks!"

Holy shit, I think I just developed a mental image of this guy. Short, wispy mustache, huge wire rimmed glasses, lives with his grandmother, works in the software/video game department at Circuit City.

Anyway, Burgas' post inspired that Scipio dude to offer a post basically agreeing with him, only arguing that even a dedicated fan willing to "bone up on DC history" (hahahahaha) could find the story entirely execrable. But his main complaint is that the writing is too Marvel-ish, particularly too Bendisian. Scipio and Burgas both identify characters' insistence on using first names (instead of code names) as one of the Meltzer's most annoying affectations; Scipio associates this with Marvel. I associate it with Marv Wolfman's New Teen Titans, a book with absolutely ludicrous dialouge. Which, I suppose, hearkens back to Chris Claremont's X-Men. Which, in turn, reminds me of Jim Shooter/Cary Bates on...Legion of Super-Heroes. Is that the first team book where the characters called each other by real names?

But the Bendis comparison is what interests me. I've seen this criticism leveled against Meltzer repeatedly, but I'm not sure if I buy it. Bendis might not be your cup of tea, and he did struggle with whiz bang superheroics when he started writing Avengers. But at least his dialogue always made sense (even if was absolutely insufferable; I gave up on Powers about 10 pages in). Even at his worst, Bendis seemed like a competent writer struggling to adapt to a new sub-genre or format. And apparently he's really into annoying thought balloons.

Meltzer, on the other hand, is a confusing, frustrating, and flat-out icky writer. He's had, what, three major projects as a comics writer? The Green Arrow run was the best, partly because he could just bask in the glow of Green Arrow's incredible goateed awesomeness without having to bother with conflict or plot momentum or anything like that. Identity Crisis, as an ostensible mystery, couldn't replicate the same breezy pace. And so it was a narrative mess--the lurching narrative captions, the lame mystery, and the preposterous solemnity of the whole thing just wore me down. It sucked. I only read a few issues of the current Justice League series, but it seemed again quite a bit like the Green Arrow run--Meltzer was more interested in expounding upon the coolness of his characters rather than producing a compelling story--or any story at all, really. (That, Messrs. Cronin and Andrew, is what separate fan fiction from bad fiction, at least IMO--starstruck writing more concerned with telling the audience how cool the characters are, rather than taking the opportunity to fashion a story which could serve as an illustration of the characters' supposed coolness.)

So anyway, this all leads me to what you're about to see: another Hate Poll.

So, which is it?


Matt Brady said...

Meltzer's an easy choice in the hate poll. I still like Bendis, even if I barely read anything he writes any more. I'm not interested in his Avengers stuff, or Ultimate Spider-Man. I was reading Powers, but I recently dropped it in single issues in plans to read the trades (unless I decide not to). I think the thought balloon thing is a fairly recent "innovation" of his, confined to Mighty Avengers. But I do generally like his writing, especially on his older stuff, Powers, and Alias. I realize that he's not as great as I once thought he was though.

Oh, and yeah, that comment on Burgas's article was hilarious. That guy's a dumbass. There are many insults one could levy at Burgas, but "whiny fanboy" probably isn't one of them. Unless it comes to Moon Knight.

Greg said...

Moon Knight RULZ screw U!!!!

And hey! "many insults"? Now my feelings are hurt ...

Scipio said...

"Scipio associates this with Marvel. I associate it with Marv Wolfman's New Teen Titans, a book with absolutely ludicrous dialouge. "

Actually, I associate Marvel Wolfman's New Teen Titans with Marvel as well, so I agree with you completely.

MarkAndrew said...

Possibly fan-fiction is like God. It's a concept that everyone defines for themselves, but no two people's definitions match.

starstruck writing more concerned with telling the audience how cool the characters are, rather than taking the opportunity to fashion a story which could serve as an illustration of the characters' supposed coolness.

And while I haven't read much of Metzler's oeuvre, I can't think of any mainstream writer who do this on a regular basis.

Well, Claremont. But his character's do stuff, too.

Caleb said...

Meltzer. The main problem with Bendis is that he often applies the wrong pacing to the wrong type of book, and that too many of his characters sound alike. When you consider he's written and/or drawn about eight million comic books, some of which are quite great even if a lot of them aren't so hot, well, Meltzer's an apple to Bendis' orange, isn't he?

The main point of comparison between the two I think is both started off major runs on their company's respective flagship team title with a horrible decompressed, written-for-the-trade story that regular readers weren't expecting.

The Mutt said...

Nice job tracking back from Wolfman through Claremont to Shooter. As a kid, it always bugged me when the Legion ran around calling each other Dalg and Gligj and Blimlimlim.

With Meltzer, I don't know what bugs more; That he has Bruce and Clark revealling their identities to whatever stray mutt the JSA happened to take in that month, or that they shout out each others names in front of strangers and villains.

I've been reading JLA since the '60s. It has always been a fairly weak comic, with a nadful of great runs and more that a few horrible ones over the decades. The Meltzer run will rank among the very worst.

Ten years from now it will look as ridiculous as a mid '90s Image comic. Hell, add a few more pouches to Red Arrow's costume and it would BE an Image comic.

Matt Brady said...

That's right, Burgas, tons of insults! Like, uh, um, let's like Moon Knight! Damn, I used that one already. You don't read miniseries until they're finished? You don't unquestionably worship Grant Morrison? Yeah, take THAT!

Thom said...

"You don't unquestionably worship Grant Morrison?"

I don't know...that's enough for me to hate a person.

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