1. If Final Crisis #4 were a Pretty Things song, it would be "What's the Use." Finally got to read it tonight (DCBS shipment arrived Election Day), and I really kind of struggled just to get through it. Read like a run of the mill crossover, with just enough gratuitous cameos by b- and c-list characters to wear down my enthusiasm to where it's mostly hypothetical now. I should like this comic; I liked the first three issues, I like Grant Morrison, and I generally like JG Jones. But Jones and Morrison both seem kind of uninspired here. Especially Jones, who (dead giant dalmatian scene aside) seemed like just another artist this issue. And there was at least one confusing sequence which reminded me of the debate over Morrison's storytelling deficiencies from earlier this year. The Turpin-into-Darkseid stuff was good, but that's about all there is for non-Flash fetishists. I could understand the comic veering into train wreck territory, but it's hard to forgive it for becoming a typical bullshit event book. Since I've already paid for the next couple of issues, I have good reason to hope that this is just a plate setting issue and not Civil War-style entropy.
2. I guess it's possible that Final Crisis just seems shoddy compared to the other stuff I've been reading in the last couple of days: Popeye, Black Jack, Or Else #5. Not a fair comparison, to be sure. Segar and Tezuka aren't merely all-time greats; they're the sorts of cartoonists who make other all-time greats look weak by comparison. And Huizenga, while certainly not as accomplished as Segar or Tezuka, is probably one of the five best cartoonists active today. So no, not a fair comparison. But I've got so much unread stuff of comparable quality laying around that it's hard to make myself read the last couple of issues of Uncanny X-Men.* Don't know if this means that I'm ready to abandon superhero comics or what. But when you've got new stuff by Yuichi Yokoyama and Lewis Trondheim in the to-read stack, it's a little hard to muster up enthusiasm for the latest issue of Captain America.
*Needless to say, Greg Land's art doesn't much help.
3. I also passed on watching an episode of Justice League Unlimited I'd never seen before the other day. I liked that series even back when I wasn't reading comics a few years ago. Maybe I really do need a vacation from the cape and tights stuff. It's not like I expect Captain America to measure up to Trondheim, but I'm not even enjoying superhero comics on their own terms like I used to.
(FWIW, I think I ended up watching one of those ultra-meta NFL films things, like where Steve Sabol waxes nostalgic about the follies compilations of yore and makes fun of the sweaters he wore in the 80s. Can't get enough of the meta!)
4. I mostly played Saints Row 2 with music saved to our XBox 360 hard drive (see here for partial playlist), so I only rarely heard the music from the radio stations. But when I did.... I occasionally feel guilty for not keeping up with contemporary music, and I realize that it's no more fair to judge it by listening to middle-of-the-road emo than it would be to judge early 90s indie rock by listening to something like Collective Soul or Candlebox. But holy shit, is there ever some terrible music in that game. I don't know that I was ever going to read The Umbrella Academy, but I don't know if I could ever bring myself to do so after hearing "Teenagers."
5. On a more positive note (sort of), I can't get over how much I like the music from Life on Mars. There's a little too much Simon and Garfunkel for my taste, but I can't deny the pleasure of hearing tracks from Muswell Hillbillies on a network show. I'm not convinced that Life on Mars isn't a waste of my time yet--it mostly still seems like a dumb cop show at heart. And the bit with Jim Croce last week was Quantum Leap-grade idiocy. So yeah, I guess the soundtrack has successfully pandered to me, cause I'm not so sure why else I'm watching. Here's hoping we hear some Pink Fairies before the show gets canceled or I lose interest.
6. The internet is right about the awesomeness of Takehiko Inoue. More on this later.