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

Currently Reading : BATMAN Vol1-3 by Tom King

Tom King in a few years has made quite a name for himself as a writer of Slims (comic books).

Always suspicious of hype, I went into his VISION quite skeptical. Long story made short, his VISION lives up to the hype. You can come into it not knowing anything, and be quickly swept away by the sheer power, and humanity and hurt; in a story about what it means to be human, in an inhuman world.

http://amzn.to/2sytRaa

 

It truly is fabulous and if you have never read it, it is a highest recommendation. There is a just dropped hardcover available at remaining Bookstores everywhere.

His MISTER MIRACLE released half a dozen Slims in 2017, the issues were definitely good, though the final verdict is out till he sticks the landing this year. Like the VISION and his earlier OMEGA MEN, it is about a damaged character, a broken character. A slightly off kilter world view.  So far all titles are relatively intriguing and well crafted.  In the case of the VISION masterfully crafted.

 

Then we come to the books up for review this installment, BATMAN VOL 1-3 from the DC Rebirth Line of books, by Tom King.

 

http://amzn.to/2EstqnA

http://amzn.to/2EtmNRZ

http://amzn.to/2swBT3r

 

The irrationality and poor decision making and erratic, even stupid, behavior; that worked well in the tale of a broken Android, a torn freedom fighter, and a suicidal God, does not work well in the BATMAN books.

The very conceit for the whole three volumes, is that Batman (the world’s greatest detective and inventor), is distraught about an emotionally damaged ward, and decides in a world of super scientists, magicians, and Gods, the only way to help his ward, is by stealing a mediocre villain, with the power to make people feel happy, so he can smile at Batman’s traumatized ward and make her feel happy. If that is not a brain-dead enough premise, it becomes even more moronic, when he decides to accomplish this by putting together a suicide squad and risking war and death, and doing this knowing it will wake a retired and sleeping dragon.

It is just the type of moronic plotting one tends to associate with brain-damaged villains seeking world conquest, not the resourceful Batman. And adding stupidity on stupidity, KIng redefines what drives Batman, to be not a sense of justice, or outrage, but a desire toward… (wait for it) Suicide.

And that definition doesn’t stick. Not with any interpretation of the character that makes sense. The desire to die doesn’t push you to be a beyond Olympic level athlete, it doesn’t push you to endure, it doesn’t push you to overcome.

Ultimately this addled definition is Tom King’s definition of the character, unfortunately, it seems to be the same broken, frayed creature that he tries to shape all the characters he writes into. And what worked with THE VISION, and THE OMEGA MEN, and seems to be working with MISTER MIRACLE, does inherently not work, does not graft, does not fit… onto the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Plus I can really do without the Yellow costumed Sidekick. I can do without the sidekick dynamic period. Either make him his own character (his own man) and get him out of the insipid yellow costume, or don’t have the character in the book.

Tom King is instead of tailoring the story to the character, seemingly making every character fit into the same story mold. All Tom King’s character are horrible tacticians, who make horrendous plans. That is not any type of Batman I want to read about. I picked up the three Tom King Batman volumes from the library to give a try, and I am so glad I didn’t buy them. It is surprisingly uninteresting, tedious, and disappointing reading.

Final Grade: AVOID