On JESSICA JONES Trailer, Tom King’s BATMAN, and DCs SWAMP THING show!

Let us start in the middle Tom King’s BATMAN.

I listened to a recent podcast where they were bemoaning the news of Tom King stepping off the BATMAN comic. All kinds of speculation on him being removed, etc. That he was doing a brilliant run on Batman, etc, etc. And they couldn’t understand how DC could not see what a great, innovative job he was doing, and that DC execs must not like great stories, yada, yada.

This very minor and relatively harmless rant from this podcast I watched, illustrates perhaps a less wholesome issue with our culture in whole. This inability to see or look for, or acknowledge, viewpoints other than our own.

The truth is out there, to paraphrase a show I was never a fan of, beyond the odd ‘monster-of the week’ episode.

The truth is out there, but we have to look, and we have to do our homework.

It doesn’t have to be controversy when we get news we do not expect or agree with.

It doesn’t have to be DC executives are stupid.

It could be as simple, if Tom King was removed, as simple as the books were not moving in the numbers they liked, or meeting with across the board praise.

A simple look at reviews of Tom King’s BATMAN run, whether podcasts, or Youtube videos, or blogs or websites, when you extend the search beyond your circle, your chorus, you see a run, a body of work, that from the first trade on, was conflicted. And grew more uneven and conflicted, in terms of the writing, and the response to the writing with every trade/issue.

I think a lot of people make excuses for Tom King”s work when they do not love it. Like they refuse to admit they didn’t love it because of Tom King, so they blame the publisher, or the editor, etc.

A writer is a lot like a director, you get the praise when a product is great. You should also carry the blame when a product isn’t. A lot of people like to give King the former, and make excuses to keep him from the latter.

Stop making excuses or trying to blame Editorial if you do not like a Tom King story. You do not try to give them the praise if you love a Tom King story. So let’s not be hypocrites.

And I am not anti-Tom King, I am not one of these knuckle dragging anti social justice warrior, anti-woman, anti-diversity, psuedo neo nazi nuts. I judge the work, on the work, and wait to read it, before having an opinion on it.

Tom King can be a great writer.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MAm9GC

His VISION series is one of the greatest things I have read in years. (And if you have not read it, I urge you to pick up the collected hardcover… it is that good.)

His OMEGA MEN very good.

https://amzn.to/2EZQGHG

His Batman, in pieces, standalone, I’m thinking specifically of ANNUAL 2, can be great. Annual 2 was great.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MzJsk0

However, specifically to Batman, other than that standalone story,  his actual run on Batman, the first 4 or 5 trades, I found awful. I mean… awful. “I am suicide!”As his take-away on the character of Batman. Really???!!

Batman: I Am Suicide (The Complete Story) - YouTube

The great flaw of Tom King’ s BATMAN (for me), was always Tom King’s take of the character. He keeps writing the same broken, suicidal, and ineffective character, over and over again. And while it worked for the Vision and Mr. Miracle, shoehorning that Hamlet type protagonist and calling him Batman or Kid Flash, does not work at all.

He keeps trying to tailor these heroes and archetypes to his ptsd framework, and it increasingly does not work. He needs to start writing to the character, than simply shoehorning them into his rigid story.

We get it,

Tom King brings a military background, and a CIA background, and an espionage background, and a background of those places where we all break under stress and pressure. And again telling that story with certain characters can work, however retelling that story with every character does not work.

There are more stories than that. And another reason we look to these heroes is because they are our aspirations writ large, they should not all be stand-ins for the places where we fall down, they should be the standards of how to standup. They should be our hopes writ large, not our insecurities. The VISION type stories should be the exception, not the rule.

I do not want to read a comic with a Superman dealing with PTSD. It starts to become one note writing, rather than great writing, to make all the heroes analogs for the common man, or the Hamlet in us.

So yeah, while I will not be picking up the individual issues regardless of who writes BATMAN, because paying more than $2.99 for a single Marvel or DC comic is insanity (Marvel and DC should both be ashamed of themselves for charging more than $2.99 for scant pages of comics. Now, smaller Independent publishers I cut them slack on pricing, because their page count and quality is usually higher. However Marvel and DC has the economies of scale to keep prices low. To not do so comes down to mismarketing, mismanagement, and short term greed, over long term sustainability and growth) , I will, if the word of mouth is good, check out the books when they hit the $1 bins of the secondary market or in collected edition at the libraries.

I look forward to a new take on Batman, and a new writer.

Okay… next topic…

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JESSICA JONES Season III trailer. Here is the thing, I was not interested enough to watch the 2nd season of JESSICA JONES. And by all reviews I did not miss much. But I went into the the trailer for season III hoping it would be good. I have to tell you, I found it incredibly uninteresting.

I can only take so much of brooding, not quite likeable, characters so, just with the way the protagonist is played, with a listless, can’t be bothered attitude, the performance of Jessica Jones is typically the weakest part of the show JESSICA JONES.

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So that said, you need charismatic, interesting people surrounding her to make the show worth while. You need a Luke Cage, you need a Purple Man. You need dynamism to counteract the plodding, disaffected, and starting to get annoying, performance of the protagonist.  And unfortunately the trailer for Season III offered none of that. Offered an Antagonist, absolutely as uninteresting as the protagonist. A battle of who could bore me more.

 

So yeah the trailer to Season III of JESSICA JONES, a hard fail. That is not going to make my watch list, based on that trailer.

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Finally, the news that the DC Swamp Thing show has been cancelled before the 1st season really starts.

It has come out the reason DC/Warner Brothers pulled the plug is largely because North Carolina, an increasingly politically suspect state (excuses to my North Carolina Friends, but you are starting to be run by the pointy hat crowd. And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You know you need to start cleaning your house, much the same way the Nation needs to clean its house) basically bailed on their promise to help finance the production of SWAMP THING in their state.

It is a great shame, because I have to tell you, I absolutely loved the full trailer to SWAMP THING.

They looked like they had all the elements for a wonderful , long form story, worthy of the kind of eerie, brilliant, haunting storytelling that creators Alan Moore, Bissette, Totleben, Wein, and Wrightson laid the ground work for.

Such a shame.

Maybe someone else will add the additional funds so we get to see this vision of Swamp Thing, eventually played out.

Well that’s it guys.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on those 3 topics. Take two seconds and support today’s recommended comics.

You know when I was saying I cut Independent comics a slack, because of their quality of content and packaging. ALTERNA COMICS and AHOY COMICS are two cases in point. There are a lot of great writers/artists in comics, arguably one of the best of them is Eric Powell. I absolutely am enamored with his GOON and his HILLBILLY and his SPOOK SHOW. And ALTERNA comics addreses all the issues with price gouging that we are getting from the big two, Marvel and DC, while giving us quality products. So you can preorder comics from both publishers and get them direct mailed to you.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice

 

Use the links above get great books, support these publishers, and earn a few pennies for this blog. A win-win!

 

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Netflix Series of the Month : LUKE CAGE by Cheo Hodari Coker! Report card on Episodes 1 to 8!

The long awaited third Netflix/Marvel series, LUKE CAGE, has launched, and helmed by relative unknown show runner, Cheo Hodari Coker, eight episodes in and I’m LOVING IT!!!

Here’s a minor recap of the eight episodes seen to date. It’s relatively innocuous comments, but to cover my bases I will say minor spoilers ahead, if you haven’t seen the episodes. But really I don’t think it spoils anything. But if in doubt, watch the episodes first.

Episode 1 and 2 written by Cheo Hodari Coker and directed by Paul McGuigan are exceptional. As strong, if not stronger of a start than the previous Netflix entries. It’s really some fantastic, rich, long overdue writing that touches on everything from Crispus Attucks to Walter Mosley to Dennis Lehane.

Episode 3 is good but I have minor quibbles with it. The first 2 episodes sets up Luke Cage as someone who doesn’t curse and doesn’t like profanity, so his going into a battle listening to a profanity laden rap song seems questionable.

Also the Director has the chance to make a pivotal action scene to match the wonderful episode 3 highlight of the DAREDEVIL season 1, and misses a mark with a pretty unremarkable action sequence. However the remaining episode, good dialogue, nice twists, and a literally explosive ending keeps this episode in the winner category.

Episode 4 is FANTASTIC. An excellent origin story. Superlative story

Episode 5 is FANTASTIC! Yes!

Episode 6 Wonderful wrap-up. If this was a 6 episode season it would rock! In many ways this is the end of the first story arc, if this was a comic trade-paperback. And episode 7 begins the 2nd arc.So you should really approach starting the 7th episode, after a small break, like you are starting a new story arc.

Episode 7 – Fantastic score highlights this episode. Probably the best score of any of the episodes. A fantastic origin story, this time for the antagonists. What makes a great hero, is a great villain. And this episode shows you the roots of two of them. One of the best episodes!

Episode 8 – The machinations against Luke tighten as his life, and the lives of those around him come tumbling down. Another engrossing episode, that I was thoroughly entertained by from beginning to end.

3/4ths done and I think this series is a Home Run. I like it much better than Daredevil Season II, and have to wait to see if it sticks the landing… to see if I like it as much as DAREDEVIL Season 1 and JESSICA JONES.

The Marvel/Netflix juggernaut continues to be, like Luke Cage, bullet-proof. 🙂

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Currently Watching : Netflix’s JESSICA JONES

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Netflix continues to just hit it out of the park these days. As smart and succesful as Marvel Studios has been crafting the most succesful movie Franchise in history, Netflix is making those kinds of historic strides in the area of streaming entertainment.

The quality of the projects they produce and they purchase is just phenomenally high. They know how to pick and make great projects, from HOUSE OF CARDS to LONGMEYER to DAREDEVIL they have not just made good shows for a streaming channel, they are making great and groundbreaking television… by anyone’s definition.

JESSICA JONES, the 2nd of their Marvel Universe properties, continues that midas touch streak. Three episodes in and I’m loving it. It’s a different beast from DAREDEVIL, perhaps not as compulsively brilliant, it’s more of a slow burn, but so far that’s working out just fine.

Brian Michael Bendis, the writer whose graphic novel ALIAS this series is based on, and the producer on this series, should be justifiabbly pleased. This series so far is doing justice to his acclaimed graphic novel, while being distinctly its own thing.

If you are not watching it yet, my recommendation is to start. It is very good. Oh, and for mature viewers only. 🙂