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February 02, 2015


Illogical Volume

Empty is thy hand.

Jones, one of the Jones boys

" little sign of any greater ambitions for the project as a whole"

That mostly sums up my reaction to his Batman comics, which I couldn't even make it through. His grand themes there seemed to be (a) Batman is awesome and (b) every Batman story actually happened (i.e. servicing continuity). I never bought into the Morrison-as-Messiah schtick, but it's still been dispiriting to watch his abrupt decline

Has he written anything after Final Crisis that was worth reading? How about Joe the Barbarian (which I haven't read)?

(BTW, I finally got a hold of yr monograph on him last year. I thought it made a convincing case for much of your interpretive approach)

Jones, one of the Jones boys

(not that I thought Final Crisis was worth reading, either. It was at least amusing to see how rapidly that reboot got rebooted. All that ado for nothing)


I thought the stuff with the Lil' Justice League being revealed as just toys that can be broken and rebuilt by a distant, cruel creator was inspired.

I wonder if the Empty Hand is basically Adam Smith's invisible hand rendered as a comic book supervillain.

And the art on the Kamandi/BiOMAC stuff was very beautiful (it makes me wish that there was a Kamandi revival series).

Otherwise, you're right, the bankruptcy of DC was laid bare. The empty hand, indeed.


I loved Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye. (Joe the Barbarian, not so much.) Individual parts of Multiversity have been great, inversely proportional to their relation to what passes for the plot. And I liked Batman and Robin and parts of Batman Inc., when it stopped being a meta-Batman comic and just settled for being a really good Batman comic.

But yeah, the decline has been precipitous, especially when you consider where he was in the middle of the last decade: New X-Men, the Filth, We3, Seven Soldiers, All Star Superman.

I think part of the problem is that Morrison has traditionally had two outlets for his work: corporate-owned superhero comics and independent(ish) creator-owned work. When he can play both modes off against each other, he produces great work at the intersections. But if he allows either one to atrophy, it pulls the other down with it. For whatever reason, he bet big on the continuity-heavy superhero sagas seven or eight years ago, and the work has suffered across the board.


Robby: I think the series is pretty clearly headed towards some sort of metafictional reveal about the villains. That's been percolating through all the books, even the more or less independent ones like Thunderworld; Sivana literally mining the magic out of the Rock of Eternity, and replacing it with a bland corporate office, makes the point more pungently than any number of allegorical antagonists. Morrison seems to be working through his own dissatisfactions with DC and corporate superhero comics, and maybe once I would have gotten a buzz from his decision to do that from the pages of DC's story bible.

But after enough years of reading that story from him, and no others, you have to wonder... why not just do something else?

Jones, one of the Jones boys

That first Seaguy series is great, if depressing. I decided to trade-wait the second one, expecting to read it all together with the third series, which, yeah, well. Eventually, fingers crossed?

I gather the art gets way more consistent, in quality if not specific style, later in his Batman stuff. I'm down for an unambitious but well-told Batman story, but that earlier art, ugh.


Oh yeah, the art improves tremendously: Quitely, Stewart, Irving, Yanick Paquette, and Chris Burnham is amazing pretty much right out of the gate. I even like Andy Clarke's stuff from that run. And I am a sucker for that Dick Grayson/Damien pairing.


Marc: I totally understand where you're coming from. You're basically recapitulating my feelings about the first two installments. I didn't feel that as much this time, but it's valid.

But wouldn't you love to read a Paolo Sequiera Kamandi ongoing? My biggest regret was that the Kirby character adventures were so curtailed. More Tuftan/Kamandi/BiOMAC/New Gods in the style of PRINCE VALIANT!


I loved the little details, like the drive-in movie theater on the "Island of the God-Watchers" or the vintage Kirby map. Naturally, I would have preferred that they come with a story that wasn't limited to watching Kamandi and co. read notes for a bunch of other stories, which will also never get told. But I think we're on the same page there.


Marc: That part was very much "when are they gonna get to the dynamite factory?" for me as well.

Jones, one of the Jones boys

Is Annihilator any good? On the one hand, Frazer Irving; on the other hand, a screenwriter who finds his creations have blurred the line between reality and ficzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


That's about the size of it. It's improved a lot since the first issue, but the high concept may constitute a very low ceiling. I'm not quite ready to sign on to the Morrison Renaissance just yet. (Hi, Graeme and Jeff!)

I may write about this and Nameless later--we'll see.

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